Author of the Month, December: Barbara Ann Mojica

Source: Author of the Month, December: Barbara Ann Mojica

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Yuri And The Legend of the Seventh Sea

Written by Denis Boystov

Illustrated by Lana Khrapava

This is a sort of coming of age tale of a curious and brave fish named Yuri. Little Yuri lives in a lake where he is loved by his parents and big brother. Yuri is always questioning and never takes no for an answer from his parents and teachers. When he overhears his father tell of a hidden secret map that gives directions to the Seventh Sea, which is a paradise where fish live forever in peace without enemies or danger, Yuri immediately launches a search to find it. He is tired of dodging boats filled with humans, fish hooks, and larger sea creatures desiring to eat him.

After embarking on his journey, Yuri meets up with many dangers but also makes the acquaintance of another fish named Otto who looks out for him.   Yuri and Otto eventually find themselves at the entrance to the Seventh Sea. Now they must get through without wakening the Sea Serpent who will destroy them. Will Yuri survive and if he does, will he find that the paradise truly does exist?

Yuri is an adorable character that children will love. He appears almost human with a personality much like a curious human. The dialogue among the characters is so realistic that readers will forget that Yuri is a fish. I found myself cheering for him to succeed. Children can see themselves in Yuri as he tests his limits, but also faces his fears. The illustrations are beautiful. While I did enjoy this book as an adult reader, I would especially recommend it to a middle-grade audience.

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LOST PARENTS

Title: Operation Dragon Rescue

Written by Daniel Gate

Robin and her brother, Caden are siblings who enjoy computer games and watching cartoons. One day their dad walks into the room and demands they turn off the electronics and go outside for a walk. Once outside, the children begin reminiscing about times when their parents spent time with them shopping, camping, cooking and sharing experiences. They realize how much they miss spending time with their parents.

The siblings encounter Reggie, a young dragon whose parents have been kidnapped by ruffians. Reggie convinces the children to help him find them. Caden is determined to be a superhero. The children retrieve a bike and a scooter to search for the missing dragon parents. These three unlikely friends are determined to reunite Reggie with his family.

In the end, parents and children realize the importance of family bonds. Will Caden and Robin convince their parents to spend more quality time with them? Do Reggie and his dinosaur parents succeed in finding a safe home?

This book is primarily geared toward primary grade children, but the colorful and attractive illustrations will also appeal to younger children as a bedtime story or read aloud. There are a few minor issues with word choice and editing, but the story is unique and the lessons important for children growing up in a digital world.

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HAPPY AND HEALTHY

Paleo: Paleo for Kids Top 100 Paleo Diet Recipes for Kids

 Written by Paul English

 

 

This book contains breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes, although many of these are interchangeable. They are detailed, easy to follow, and nutritious choices for both children and adults. There a quite a few that I want to try. In the breakfast area, I discovered berry pancakes, Scotch eggs, and omelet cupcakes. Under lunches, pork and apple stew and pumpkin bacon hot salad look appetizing. For dinner, I might try bison and butternut chili or zucchini pizza for a unique change of pace. Passion Fruit and mango sorbet and fruit and almond soufflé have my mouth watering. While some of the recipes might be familiar, a lot of these unique combinations are certainly worth a try for picky eaters or anyone searching for a healthy, change of pace.

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SPREADING GOOD CHEER EVERYWHERE

The Christmas Elf: Fun Christmas Stories for Kids

Written by Arnie Lightning

Tinsel is one of the longest-serving elves for Santa at the North Pole. This elf is notable for having the capability of spreading the spirit of Christmas everywhere he goes. For that reason, Santa has appointed him a special helper. Every year Tinsel is assigned to a child who feels despondent at Christmastime.

Readers are taken on a trip around the world to experience Tinsel’s successes.  A boy named Timothy whose father has passed away, a girl named Maria Luisa whose family will be unable to be with her this Christmas, and a boy in Chicago whose family never celebrates Christmas are included among those adventures. Tinsel uses his creativity to lull each of his clients and those around them into the true spirit of the holiday. Children who are experiencing separation, divorce, a new community and fears of alienation will feel a lot better after reading about Tinsel and his charges.

This is a delightful forty page book that will delight elementary school age children and warm the hearts of adults who read it. Good choice for a classroom or family holiday read aloud.

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TURNING ON THE LIGHTS

Electrifying America: From Thomas Edison to Climate Change

Written by I. David Rosenstein

The author is an engineer and lawyer who has spent more than forty years in the industry. Rosenstein begins his story in the mid-nineteenth century. He reminds readers that everyday tasks were time-consuming, back-breaking tasks before the advent of electricity. Soon electricity would transform life in the home, on the farm, in the office, in the factory, and on construction sites. Before that energy could be utilized, someone needed to invent the electric light bulb.

 

Thomas Edison already possessed a long list of inventions before tackling electricity. His work with the telegraph, telephone and phonograph had great potential. Unfortunately, Edison was a lot better at inventing than implementing his ideas in the business world. The fatal flaw in Edison’s direct current could be found in its limited ability to deliver electricity at any distance from a dynamo.

 

Nicholas Tesla had left his native Hungary to work with Edison in his lab. Edison’s insistence on using direct current led to a break when Tesla failed to convince him to consider using alternating current. Tesla left in 1885 to work independently. George Westinghouse had been experimenting with transformers to increase the voltage of alternating current over greater distances from dynamos. Westinghouse invited Tesla to use his facilities to develop a motor to use his system in factories and businesses. During the 1880’s and 1890’s, the two competing systems of AC and DC battled for supremacy in “The War of the Electric Current.”

 

After presenting the early history, Rosenstein moves on the powerful monopolies of the 1920’s, and the Golden Age of Electricity after World War II when the world turned back to business development on the home front. He talks about the failures of the industry in the Great Blackout in the Northeast in 1965 and traces the crises of the Oil Embargo of 1973 and the difficulties in California during the 90’s.

 

By the end of the 1900’s retail electric companies had begun to access electricity through a system of independent suppliers. Then the author discusses recent history and the issues leading up to climate control and the Paris accord. He ends the book by stating his opinion that a reconsideration of the concept of energy supply responding to public sentiments will likely lead to substantial changes in the future.

 

This story is an interesting study written by an expert in the field in layman’s terms. The concise book contains less than 150 pages and is easy to follow. Students who have an interest in history, electrical engineering and inventions would find this book a good resource. Recommended for anyone age ten or older.

 

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PONIES AND PRINCESSES

Magical Adventures and Pony Tales: Six Magical Stories in One Spellbinding Book

Written by Angharad Thompson Rees

A magical collection of tales that feature ponies, princesses, adventurers, and sorcerers. Each of the six tales features a type of pony, some of them are real, others are carousel ponies or rocking horses. Little girls will love the combination of princesses and magical ponies, boys can empathize with Hannan seeking his lost parents in the Sahara Desert. Six separate tales feature a well-conceived plot that is filled with an adventure and characters that young readers will find worthy of emulation. The human characters are sometimes naughty and sometimes nice. All of the ponies are personified creatures who bond with their human protagonist.

My favorite story is the first one featuring a painted pony on a carousel ride who dreams of coming to life and spending time running free in the woods. I have fond memories of jumping on my favorite carousel horse and imagining myself doing just that. One night a boy named Seb tells Stargazer about the wild ponies who run free. He dares the pony to wish for more than being trapped on the carousel. Seb encourages Stargazer to imagine, dream and believe. Then anything becomes possible. Will Stargazer achieve his newfound dreams?

I loved the enchanting characters and wonderful relationships the author creates in these tales. While the plots are fanciful, readers of all ages come away really wanting to believe. Targeted for children in grades three through six, these tales are short enough for young readers and engaging for older readers as well. My only critique lies in some formatting issues of text when reading on my Kindle HD Fire. These do not appear to be present in the paperback edition.

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