SOARING TO STARDOM BOOK BLITZ

Title: A Bird Brain Book: Sammy Steals the Show (A Singing Cockatiel Wants to be a Star) (Bird Brain Books Book 10)

Author: Emlyn Chand

Illustrated by Noelle Giffin

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I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Short and sweet story featuring a spunky and talented cockatiel named Sammy. He is easily satisfied and does not mind spending long days alone in his cage at a dreary apartment. Sammy spends many hours waiting for his owner, Lisa, who works as a waitress, to return home. He passes the days singing in his cage, while his Rock Dove friends outside listen.

One night while watching TV with Lisa, Sammy learns that auditions are scheduled at the Sydney Opera to discover new singing talent. That gives him an idea. Aided and abetted by his Rock Dove friends, Sammy flees the coup and makes the journey that could lead to fame and fortune. Does Sammy succeed or will his quest lead him to unexpected discoveries about himself? The ending is a surprising one that carries an important message to its targeted audience of three to eight year olds.

The simple illustrations are sweet and charming. This book also includes a lot of supplementary information, biographical information, and previews of other books in the bird brain series in its seventy-four print pages.

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PINT-SIZED MYTHOLOGY

Greek Mythology: The complete guide to Greek Mythology, Ancient Greece, Greek Gods, Zeus, Hercules, Titans, and more!

Written by Nick Plesiotis

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That title is quite a mouthful! This kindle book will give the reader a bird’s eye view of Greek mythology, its history, and a few examples. Greek myths have been around since approximately 900 B.C. They played an extraordinary role in the growth of politics, religion, and social life of the ancient world. Much of our modern day literature reflects their influence.

The author divides the Greek mythological world into three periods: the age of the Gods, the age of Gods and Mortals, and the Age of Heroes. He explains the ancient Greek religion and gives a brief summary of the gods and their equivalents in later Roman mythology. Then Plesiotis goes into detail about some of the more popular heroes like Hercules and the twelve labors he was forced to perform. One chapter explores the Trojan War and the famous Trojan horse ploy used to defeat the Spartans. Prometheus is a Titan who was particularly close to mankind. The author describes how this Titan bestowed the gifts of fire, husbandry, and metalwork upon man.

This twenty some odd page digital book is my no means a definitive guide, but is a great reference for a middle grade school report or introduction to further exploration of Greek and Roman mythology. It would have benefited from a few illustrations to accompany the stories, but I would still recommend this book as a well-written clear reference guide for children and adults age eight and up who have an interest in the subject.

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LEARNING TO LEAD

WHO IS A LEADER: A mindful approach for family and classroom discussions

Written by Kristil L. Kremers

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The author is a college teacher who has spent many years researching emotional intelligence, ethics and mindfulness in leadership. In this short book she manages to produce a comprehensive guide and discussion on the subject for children in the elementary grades. The colorful multicultural graphics are simple and the text is appropriate for early readers.

Kremers begins with a definition of leadership. A leader looks at the outside universe but knows we must look inside first and follow our heart. The leader never leaves the heart at home and acknowledges responsibility for herself and others. A boss is not the same as a leader because a leader connects with her team before correcting them. The leader creates a culture where team members can feel safe, respected, happy, and successful. Leaders bring out the best in others and support members in success and failure. Any person can become a leader when making a good decision that allows others to join in their project.

Next the author names leaders children might be familiar with: parents, teachers, and preachers. She uses the leadership profiles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Dr. Neil De Grasse Tyson as biographical examples.

At the end of the book there are three separate discussion guides for families, kids, and classroom. The questions within these can be modified or adapted depending on the age of participants. This forty page book provides a mini management training seminar for children and boosts self esteem. Recommended especially for children ages six through ten.

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SITTING ROUND THE CAMPFIRE

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DADS OUT THERE….This one is dedicated to my dad, who loved to tell stories.

The American StoryBag: A Collection of Tales

Written by Gerald Hausman

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This author has been collecting stories since 1965. He loved to listen to stories which he scribbled down and later retold on paper. These tales focus on every aspect of American life. As I was reading them, I had the distinct feeling that I was sitting around a campfire listening to a storytelling master. Hausman has won numerous awards for his yarns, which speak of ghosts, demons, fantasy, humor, truths, and everyday life.

The author divides his tales into sections like Heroes, On the Road, Humor, Reflections, Out of this World, Moments of Truth, and Yarns. He has been compared to Mark Twain. The reader feels as if he is there in the story. Some stories will inspire you like the tale about an autistic child who survived a struggle in the swamp, some of them portray the legends of Native Americans as in The Horse of the Navajo or the bravery of a father and son in A Real Life Goliath.

The Discussion Questions that Hausman suggests are a wonderful beginning for students or book groups to use as a jumping off point for further exploration of the subject matter in individual stories. These questions could also be the basis of interesting essays on many topics. Teachers might want to use them in connection with other curriculum areas. The questions also assist in understanding the deeper layers of culture surrounding them. Finally, the author interview included at the end of the collection provides insight into why the author is so successful as a storyteller, lecturer and writer.

Recommended for readers age eight and older, all those who love to tell stories or listen to them!

DISASTER IN THE DISTANCE

Sweetly The Dragon Dreams

Written by David Farland

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Novella is a a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and technology rolled into one. The humans have lived for more than 100,000 years under the subjugation of a superior alien species. As the story opens, a young human girl named Tallori is gathering damselflies as an offering for the goddess known as the Holy Mistress. Humans must bring these offerings to the palace where the resplendent being resides with her skraals. When Tallori finds a dragon’s skull, she alerts her drunken father, Angar who gossips about his good fortune. Meantime Anduval who is gifted with four brains and favored by the holy maiden, is ordered to retrieve the dragon’s head. Angar has already split it with an axe; the magical lights from it arise, and Anduval catches and is blinded by one of them. The Holy Mistress realizes than an attack by the enemy is imminent and the entire kingdom is put to work to build a worldship on which to escape. The Holy Mistress urges Anduval to bring Tallori to the palace; he treats her as his sister, but Tallori falls in love with him. As the Holy Mistress prepares to give birth to her chrysalis, the kingdom struggles to put their escape plan into effect.

The plot is amazingly well developed considering the length of the tale; readers get a good taste of the characters. At the end of the story, I wanted still wanted more. Though this type of story is not my preferred genre, I felt compelled to read it cover to cover in one sitting. There are some veiled sexual references, but nothing objectionable for teen readers. Recommended for sci-fi, tech geeks, and even fans of romance.

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SUBWAYS TO SCOTLAND

The Camelot Kids: Part One

Written by Ben Zackheim

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First book in a new middle grade series that mixes medieval history, knights, castles, adventure and coming of age with a modern twist. Protagonist Simon Sharp is a fourteen year old who becomes an orphan at the age of twelve when his archaeologist parents die in an airplane crash over Scotland. Simon finds himself in a New York City orphanage and foster care. He is clever, smart and streetwise, though he is bullied by Brad. When strangers ask how his parents died, he replies, “King Arthur killed them.” Their lifelong mission had been to find Camelot.

Simon’s unlucky situation becomes more mysterious, when he gets a letter from an uncle in Scotland who claims that he has just found out about the accident and will assume responsibility for Simon. The boy is soon on a plane to Scotland and a new life in a mysterious castle. Though he now attends a private school, the bullying situation is the same. Simon will discover hidden passages and meet mysterious creatures like gargoyles, trolls, and magicians. Who are they and what is his connection to them?

This book of slightly less than one hundred pages has charming black and white illustrations that add to the depth of the characters and setting of the tale. The writing of the plot is well-executed and the characters are interesting and endearing. Zackheim seems to have found the right combination of modern day grit and medieval fantasy in setting the right tone for the series. I think tweens and teens will want to get involved with this story. I know that many adults like me have fond memories of Camelot.

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BOOK BLITZ – LEMON FESTIVAL FIASCO

Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco (Frankie Dupont Mysteries Book 2)

Written by Julie Ann Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

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Frankie Dupont is a pint-sized detective who wears a fedora and is accompanied by his trusty dog, Sherlock. His dad, Inspector Cluesome, has provided the incentive for his ten year old son to follow in his footsteps. In his first book of adventures, Frankie solved the mystery of Elderby Manor. He returns to that setting in Book 2 to solve the mystery of what happened to the lemon orchard.

At the outset the reader meets Frankie and Sherlock attending the new composite class at Maizon Valley Elementary School. His cousin, Kat, and friend Amy will again use their smarts to help Frankie solve the case. Almost as soon as class begins, Miss Chestnut presents a lemon meringue pie to the new head teacher, Mr. Mulberry, who immediately becomes ill. Frankie is determined to find out why.

When Miss Chestnut brings the class to the lemon orchard at Elderby Manor to pick lemons for the festival, everyone living and working there is under suspicion, One by one Frankie and his friends interrogate suspects and use their detective equipment to eliminate the innocent and find the culprit. There are enough twists and turns to keep the plot interesting and the reader guessing, and the characters are believable and humorous. The illustrator, Andrew Avellino, presents charming pencil drawings for each chapter. Book length is just around 100 pages, perfect for the eight to twelve age group. Look forward to joining Frankie again in Book 3 when the science fair will be sabotaged. Available in kindle and paperback editions.

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