February 24, 2017

Picture Book Review: In a Village By the Sea by Muon Van

Title: In a Village By the Sea
Author: Muon Van
Illustrator: April Chu

Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.

I read this book because it's one of the books nominated for the Star of the North Award.  I don't think I would've pick it up otherwise.  Thankfully I did.  It's such a sweet story about family and missing people when they are gone.  I think any kid that has a family member that travels or is gone for long lengths of time will really relate to the story.  More than that though, it's a fantastic story to open up the dialogue of different countries and cultures.  Kids will be interested because they can relate, but they'll also be curious because the setting is not a place they might be familiar with.  What a great door to open and explore.  I also really liked the illustrations.  They are detailed but yet simple at the same time.  I know, I know how can that be? But yet they are.  I think it's because the colors are muted.  The pictures don't scream at you but they details pull you to them.  Well done.  

February 22, 2017

Wanna Have It! The Hidden Memory of Objects

I love a good mystery! Give me something tense and suspenseful and full of twists and turns and trying to figure things out and I am a very happy reader.  This one seems to fit that really well.  

I will be checking out for sure when it comes out!

Release Date: March 21st

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

February 17, 2017

Book Review: Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Title: Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret
Author: Bob Shea

Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests--making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade--goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles's leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what's wrong. Sparkles doesn't want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won't want to hear. What Sparkles doesn't know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?

This was my first Ballet Cat book, and I'm glad I read it.  It's a cute story about taking turns and thinking about others.  At first I will admit I was annoyed with Ballet Cat at first.  I thought she was selfish for not letting Sparkles the Pony pick what they should play, but then I realized that was the point of the book.  I liked the little message it had with making sure to think of others, but it also did express the idea of making sure your friends know you are friends with them even if you don't like to do what they like to do.  It is the secret of being a book friend! 

February 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite +GIVEAWAY

Today I get the pleasure of sharing with you a super, super cute picture book:

Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.…

To prove he’s still Lily’s favorite, Mr. Fuzzbuster will have to ask her, but will her answer surprise him? This funny, heartwarming story is for every child who has ever wondered if there’s a favorite in the house.

I absolutely loved this book!!!  The idea that Mr. Fuzzbuster thinks he's the favorite and then finds out something different than he expected was adorable!  And I love what it shows to kids - that everyone is unique and loved for who they are.  What a great lesson.

In celebration of this book I have a guest post from the author Stacy McAnulty and a GIVEAWAY!

First about the author and illustrator.

STACY MCANULTY is certain she's her mom's favorite. Her younger brother disagrees. She's the author of Beautiful, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; and 101 Reasons Why I'm Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She doesn't have a favorite. You can find her online at www.stacymcanulty.com.

EDWARD HEMINGWAY is certain he's Stacy McAnulty's favorite illustrator, although the illustrators of Stacy's other books may disagree. Edward himself is the author and illustrator of the children's books Bump in the Night, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, Bad Apple's Perfect Day, and Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, he now lives in Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing at the master's level at SVA in Manhattan. If he has any favorite students, he'll never tell. Learn more about him online at www.edwardhemingway.com.

Stacy is sharing what it's like to go on school visits.

The Best Job in the World: Tales from School Visits

Most of my work days are spent alone in my office with my three dogs. They’re adorable, stinky, and don’t say much. So I love when I have the chance to visit elementary schools where the children are also adorable but don’t usually stink, and they always have lots to say.

At some school visits, I get to have lunch with students. This is generally small group of kids and it gives us time to chat about their favorite topics ranging from books to best video games to foods they would never eat. While I would never eat dog chow or anything discharged from the human body, students I talk to avoid things like escargot and broccoli. At a visit in November, one little girl waited until the rest of our lunch buddies left before she shared something special with me. It was a book she wrote and illustrated. We sat down together and I read it aloud. She beamed, and it was the highlight of my month.

When time permits, I like to end my presentations with a Q&A. Some schools have the students prepare the questions ahead of time. Which results in well thought out question like…

  • Where do you get your ideas from? (A: Everywhere! But a lot come from my kids.)
  • What’s your favorite book that you wrote? (A: I’ll never tell. Add maniacal laugh.)
  • If you weren’t a writer what would you be? (A: A paleontologist.)

But it’s the off-the-cuff questions that make me laugh and, sometimes, make the other adults in the room cringe?

  • How much money do you make? (A: About 89-cents on each hardcover book sold.)
  • Did you know my grandmother writes books about chickens? (A: I did not know that. Your grandmother sounds very interesting. I would like to meet her someday.)
  • Why are your teeth so big? (A: It’s the microphone. Makes my teeth look huge.)
  • You’re pretty. Can I have a hug? (That honestly happened! The girl got a hug and so did the 23 kids in line behind her.)

Yeah, I may have the best job in the world. Hugs to all the kids.

As a new elementary teacher this year I can relate to so many of her off-the-cuff questions! The "you're pretty" one is sooooooo true! 

Did you know Mr. Fuzzbuster loves writing notes? 
He wants to send cards to young readers across the country.  Maybe he will be your favorite.

More information can be found at http://www.stacymcanulty.com/fuzzbuster-email

Now for the giveaway!

Two Lions is offering a copy of MR. FUZZBUSTER KNOWS HE’S THE FAVORITE to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).

a Rafflecopter giveaway