Archive for January, 2014

A MAGICAL JOURNEY

Peter, Enchantment and Stardust:The Poems

Written by William O’Brien

William O’ Brien is not only a talented storyteller but a gifted poet as well. This collection of poems is meant to accompany his children’s book, Peter, The Darkened Fairytale. In that story, Peter is the protagonist who must fight and overcome the forces of evil.

In this wonderful poetry collection, the author presents us with a mix of
lighthearted poems that inspire us with hope and love. On the other hand, we meet dragons, demons and witches waiting to snare the unwary child. O’Brien
sets the tone in his first poem, “Drawers and Doors.”

Peter,Enchantmentpic

The thoughts one thinks may not be real
And sometimes they will make you squeal
Biting, scratching, tastes hang true
Inside this book, you’ll meet things new
Must be careful, for if you fall
These evildoers will seize all.

These words present a challenge that most children will be glad to take up! There are silly poems like “Wandering Twondle” and “Cuthbert,” scary poems like “Devil’s Wish” and “Zombie Queen,” and fantasy creature poems titled, “Elves and Goblins,” and “The Vaandorg Dragon.” Some of the nature poems remind me of William Wordsworth.

Spells that dust the sleeping flowers
May just drip with April showers
In summer lands frolic and sing
Still protected by nature’s wing

One thing children always seem oblivious of is the element of time. O’Brien addresses the concept in his poem titled, “Eternal”

Fairy love
Starlight blessed
In your heart
Feel the test

Touch and wander
Your spirit through
Flowers speak
Holding new

Bash of rain
Sleet and snow
Leaves do fall
Please don’t go

Apples, chestnuts
Tease my eyes
Always there
Never dies

The author employs alliteration, personification and metaphors to make the reader feel that she is on a magical journey to a very special place. So close your eyes and lose yourself in the recesses of your mind. Tweens, teens and adults will enjoy the ride.

TODAY IS MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Welcome! We are so glad you are here.

multicultural childrens book day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day:Celebrating Diversity in Children’s

Literature

January 27, 2014

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event.  On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

Content does matter, and we know that the more children read—especially about themselves—the better the odds are to close the achievement gap,” Prewitt said, who speaks to groups about the 30 Million Word Gap. The study showed that low income children hear 30 million fewer words by age three than high income children.  “It’s time for the publishing industry to catch up with reality and maybe Multicultural Children’s Book Day will be the catalyst.”Renee Prewitt-Author and CEO of Prewitt Group

Meet your hosts and co-creators of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

Valarie Budayr

Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book is a best-selling children’s author of The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide To Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and is proud to be a play and reading advocate. Valarie’s mission is to inspire children,families, and communities, to experience and create our world together while having fun.

MiaMedium

Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom is a Harvard grad with a love  of children’s books (picture books through YA) and sneaking in teachable moments in art, science, math, foreign language and language arts. Mia is passionate about getting kids excited about reading and helping parents ensure that their child is successful at school.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Have a special Multicultural Children’s Book Day book read aloud time.
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Read Around the Continents and Countries. Great resources list a JumpIntoaBook.com and PragmaticMom.com
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day page at Jump Into a Book.
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Do a craft or activity presented on Jump Into a Book or Pragmatic Mom which relates to the many cultures in our world. Here are a few of our favorites:

Read Around the Continents: South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

The Monkey King

Grandfather Tang’s Story: Storytelling with Tangrams

Mama Miti

Children of the Tipi: Life in the Buffalo Days

Our Wonderful Sponsors!

Wisdom Tales Press:

Wisdom Tales Press is a children’s book imprint of World Wisdom for the purpose of sharing the wisdom and beauty of cultures around the world with young readers and their families. Visit Wisdom Tales Books.

Chronicle Books:

Chronicle Books

One of the most admired and respected publishing companies in the U.S., Chronicle Books was founded in 1967 and over the years has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books. Recognized as one         of the 50 best small companies to work for in the U.S. (and the only independent publisher to receive this award), the company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes illustrated titles in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle and pop culture, as well as much-admired books for children and ancillary products through its gift division. Chronicle Books’ objective is to create and distribute exceptional publishing that’s instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value. For more information about Chronicle Books, visit www.chroniclekids.com

Chronicle Books proud presents Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson as their Multicultural Children’s Book pick!

«“Baker’s entire life spreads out in this tapestry of words.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

« “An extraordinary dancer and woman is here celebrated with style and empathy.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Lee & Low Books:

Lee & Low Books

LEE & LOW BOOKS is a award-winning children’s book publisher focusing on diversity. Our books are about everyone, for everyone. Our goal is to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy. We publish picture books, middle grade, and YA titles, including bilingual books under our CBP imprint and science fiction and fantasy under our Tu Books imprint.

Author Susan Fayad

Susan Fayad

Susan Daniel Fayad, author of My Grandfather’s Masbaha was written as a tribute to her father to honor him in the eyes of her children. Fayad wrote the book to highlight Lebanese culture while emphasizing a universal theme of appreciation and counting your blessings. You can connect with Susan on Twitter (@grandadmasbaha ) or Facebook.

MyGrandfathersMasbaha
Tweet: Please Pin, Tweet, Like,Honk, Dance or Shout to help us spread the word on this important event! http://ctt.ec/PY3BG+ #MCKlitDay

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Support our MCCBD Review  Bloggers!

60+ wonderful bloggers stepped forward and agreed to review multicultural children’s books for our special event. Please take a moment to visit these bloggers, read their reviews and say “thank you” for spotlight all of the amazing books, authors and publishers.

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom · Kid Lit ReviewsKid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil  

UNFORTUNATELY, I DID NOT RECEIVE MY BOOK TO REVIEW SO I AM SHARING ONE OF MY FAVORITE MULTICULTURAL BOOKS

Four Feet, Two Sandals

Written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed

Illustrated by Doug Chayka

FourFeetTwoSandals,pic

This story is based on Mohammed’s experiences working with refugees in Peshawar, which is a city on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It tells the story of two preteen Afghani girls living in a refugee camp in Pakistan, but the authors point out it could easily apply to any of the 20 million refugees living all over the world. The majority of them are children.

Lina and Feroza become friends when a “clothing dump” arrives at their tented camp. Both girls find one sandal and agree toshare and take turns wearing them. Most children can’t conceive of the hardships suffered in these camps. This short book portrays them in its illustrations, scrubbing their clothes clean with rocks in the stream and carrying jugs of water from the well. The girls practice their writing with sticks in the sand because there is only enough room for the boys to learn in a small one room used as a school. As time goes on the girls develop a deep friendship. One day Lina and her family find their number posted on the board for placement in America! But Feroza and her grandmother are not so lucky. Feroza offers a gift to Lina. Will she accept? What does the future hold for these girls who have forged a deep friendship out of the ravages of war?

Chayka does a marvelous job with the illustrations by using warm, soft colors to give the feel of the desert and by poignant facial expressions. The book is targeted to children age six and older. Younger children will get the idea from the pictures; older children who can read independently will want to discuss topics with parents and teachers. The subjects of friendship, sharing and displaced persons are all explored. I highly recommend this book to teachers as a good introduction to teaching about the conflict in the Middle East.

 

BREAKOUT

The Dolltender’s Adventure (The Dolltender Series)

Written and illustrated by Nancy Hill

TheDolltender'sAdventurepic

This is latest book in the Dolltender series of books that are written and photographed by Nancy Hill. I read the kindle version which features beautiful photographs of Victorian dolls from antique shops in Oregon and Washington. They are beautifully done; my only regret is that the photographs are not larger.

The story includes many elements that appeal to children. Our protagonist is an adorable young girl named Natalie who has been living in an antique shop with an old man and woman since her parents disappeared into a mirror. Right, here comes the element of fantasy. Natalie does all the chores in the shop and takes care of the dolls. She seldom has the opportunity to go outside and never plays with children her own age. Her world consists of her interaction with the dolls. Natalie pleads with her caretakers to take the dolls outside the shop. They have been cooped up there for years. The dolls tell her they wish to see the butterflies, sunbathe or hear the birds sing. Natalie almost gives up hope of ever bringing them outside when, one day, the old couple are invited to a lavish party at a nearby town. Natalie convinces them that she should stay home and watch the shop. Then she hatches a plot to take the dolls outside. She comes up with a plan for the dolls to draw cards to see who will go first and then take turns riding in her doll carriage.

The wise Sage doll makes a request. He asks that Natalie bring him the most beautiful leaves. If she is successful, she will be granted whatever wish she desires. Natalie promises that she will do so and embarks on her adventure of making three trips outside. As she completes them, she worries that she will not be able to return on time and keep her promise. She has many adventures with her doll friends, but as nightfall arrives, she becomes lost and disoriented. How will she ever keep her promise and return the dolls safely without her owners discovering her secret? Will she satisfy the request made by the Sage?

The author combines personification, fantasy and realism into a fairly coherent tale. As a reader, you want to see Natalie succeed; solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, grow into a happy child, and become a heroine to her unusual collection of antique doll companions. This short story that is just under one hundred pages moves along quickly encouraging the reader to finish it in one sitting. Just the kind of book for readers age eight and up to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

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DANGERS AND DRAGONS PRINCESS MADELINE BLOG TOUR

Princess Madeline and the Dragon: Book Three

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

Illustrated by Sara Twitty and edited by Jeremy Sandler

PrincessMadelineBlog, pic

This is the third book in a trilogy based on the adventures of Princess Madeline. While I do heartily recommend that you read all three, a reader will find any of the three a satisfying fantasy adventure aimed at tweens and teens but no less enjoyable for adults.

Pulioff expertly guides the reader into this story by setting the stage in the Prologue in which we learn the kingdom of Soron is again under attack. Long ago, Lord Hawthorne followed out orders to attack the dragons in the surrounding forests ushering in a battle between dragons and humans. The wizard, Elias, tells Princess Madeline that all lived in peace until humans tried to steal the magic in the dragon’s eggs and the red dragon was captured. Now the kingdom is threatened by the wrath of the green dragon. When King Theodore is burned by the dragon and lies near death, the fate of the kingdom falls into the hands of Princess Madeline and her twin brother, Braden.

As they makes plans for the kingdom to survive, two major events will take place the next day: the coronation of Braden as king, and the marriage of Madeline to her knight, Daniel. The wizard Elias will accompany Madeline, Daniel and their friends as well as the villagers through the system of underground tunnels to safety in a land to the north near the Dragon’s Gate. At the same time the new king prepares for the battle with his knights in an attempt to rid the land of the dragon threat.

While treking through the dark tunnels, Elias reveals the prophecy of Queen Eleanor, who died while protecting Braden and Madeline. No one has yet deciphered the meaning of “He who recovers the orbs holds the line of the future.” When Madeline finds the missing dragon eggs and holds one up that illuminates the darkness, she realizes that she might have found the secret. She rushes to find Braden, who is already engaged in mortal combat; he is determined to destroy the eggs and the dragon.

Madeline and Braden both have strong personalities that have been developing throughout the series, but their philosophies and ensuing actions are at opposite ends. Whoever succeeds in persuading the other on how to proceed forward will determine the future of the Soron Kingdom and whether, or if, that kingdom will survive. The culmination of this inward struggle produces the most action of the series in this third volume. Pulioff has again succeeded in carefully delineating her characters. At the same time she produces more than enough adventure, action, fantasy and mystery for tweens and teens to enjoy. They may not even realize they are learning valuable life lessons and character development!

IMPORTANT NOTE; The second book in this series, The Battle for Princess Madeline is currently available FREE on AMAZON until Jan. 24, 2014. http://motherdaughterbookreviews.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=5bbf14b751f589ebf5ff0e6ba&id=ebd900fd06&e=f4533b3c18

You can read my review of the first book in this series, The Escape of Princess Madeline here https://bamauthor.me/2013/08/14/princess-in-peril

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ABSURD ADVENTURE

Jellybean the Dragon

Written by Elias Zapple

Illustrated by Jade Young and Ilaeira Misirlou

NewJellybeanthedragon, pic

In this eBook short story we meet Emma, a ten year old orphan who lives in a castle plunked down in a forest of make believe fruit trees. Her parents died when they ate too many carrots in an eating contest, which left her sole ruler of the land of trees and pet crocodiles. Emma is no ordinary little girl, she has already completed training as an astronaut and has her own spaceship.

One day a red and green flying dragon crashes down and burns a mango tree in the process. The townspeople are angry that he has destroyed this tree so Emma rescues the dragon by squeezing him into her rocket and flying him home to his planet named Hoppity, next to Dino, far into space beyond the planet Neptune. The reader is introduced to facts about the planets as each of them is passed along on the journey to Hoppity. Her dragon friend gives her the gift of a magical plant that will grow all kinds of treasure.

Once they arrive on the ground, Emma also finds a cool reception. The dragon townspeople led by Nixon sentence her to fifty years in prison. Jelly puts her in his mouth and rescues her once more and flies her on his back to another planet named Earth. Here Emma befriends Miss Tickler, the talking cat. Jelly’s twin Cyril is as Jelly puts it, “his stupid brother.” Soon, strange vibrations occur. The dragons know there will be an earthquake soon. Emma and her friends escape in the nick of time.

She is transported to Zanu where she meets the dragon king named King Buttercup. Here Emma is finally welcomed. The king desires to make her a princess and showers her with gifts. Emma wants no part of this; she tells him that she wants to be, Emma the Guitarist. The king will agree only if Emma participates in a competition with their best guitarist, Fillmore. Fillmore is known there as, “Les Paul of Dragons.” Emma spends lots of time practicing her riffs only to discover from Jelly that this competition has a catch. The loser must have his arms chopped off and stay away from the planet Zanu forever. What a dilemma! If Emma loses where will she find a home and how will she survive?

You will have to read the story to see who wins the competition and what happens to Emma, Fillmore and the rest of her dragon friends. As you may have guessed, there are lots of incongruities in the story and the humor is the type that appeals to the middle grade reader. For example, the author talks about, “other works by This Dude,” and mentions in the preview of soon to be released books, “coming soon to a bathroom near you.” I like the glossary which includes more difficult vocabulary words like malfunctioned, imprisoned, scythe, and made up terms like orangeness. Children are also introduced to some information about the planets and space travel. This eBook is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Please note that at the request of the author, I have updated the cover and illustrator information that have changed since I originally read and reviewed this post several months ago.

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FLASHBACKS

Horse and Dog Adventures in Early California: Short Stories and Poems by Ransom A. Wilcox

Edited by Karl Beckstrand

CaliforniaHorseandDog,pic

This kindle book was promoted as a free e book. For some reason, I was drawn to it, and I am very glad that I picked it up. The book is largely autobiographical. It tells the story of Ransom A. Wilcox who was born a Canadian, the sixth of seventh children. Because he was a sickly child, the family relocated to northern California where they farmed, fished, hunted and struggled to make a living.

Wilcox is a gifted writer. He has the ability to draw you into his story with a combination of simple language and homespun charm. The stories have a bit of everything, adventure, melancholy, joy and a sense of pride. The book consists of short stories and poems. They cover such scenes as Ransom’s hard work being rewarded with his very own horse, and his dramatic escape from a wild boar by climbing a pole that he cleverly stuck in the ground. There is a touching scene with the family dog named Old Blue.

Many of his poems are included. The subjects range from those dealing with family like “To A Granddaughter” and “My Little Girl”, a group that talks about nature like “To The Redwoods!” and “Quiet Waters,” and some that talk about personal issues like “Character,” “Friendship,” and “Immortality.” These are not complicated verses; they are written with both common sense and pathos.

The editor says that the work is for all ages. I think that children age ten and up would be able to handle independent reading. Local dialect make it an authentic read. The few black and white photographs included of family and surroundings fit perfectly with the mood of the story. It is classified as a multicultural book by the publisher, Premio Books. Teachers might want to consider using the book as part of a study unit on American life in the early twentieth century. The kindle as well as a paperback version is available on Amazon. I find it difficult to explain why I like this book so much, but I recommend that you give it a try.

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STRANGE BUT EFFECTIVE

Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine

Written by Shelagh Watkins

Mr.Planemaker'spic

When I first started reading this book, I was unsure of what to expect. At the beginning of the story we meet what seems to be an ordinary family living in Pierton, England. Soon the reader learns that the father, Mr. Planemaker is seriously ill. The successful builder becomes depressed at his forced early retirement and seeks a hobby, which turns out to be making a model airplane. Some very strange things happen when he tries to teach himself how to research the internet to lay out his plans. He has mystifying dreams that involve colleagues seeking to entice him to enter a dark and grey house which then miraculously disappears. A kitten suddenly materializes in his car and strange talking characters like A. Leon Spaceman appear on the computer. Is he going crazy?

On the day his model airplane kit arrives, Mr. Planemaker passes away. Here I feared the story was going down hill. Part Two takes a whole new turn. Now the children assume center stage. Emmelisa and Dell Planemaker are now nine and twelve struggling to overcome difficulties with peers and adjusting to a life without their father. Emmelisa is being bullied at school because she refuses to join the gang led by Mayja Troublemaker. Her brother has moved to middle school and no longer can protect her. She keeps all this to herself and as a diversion decides to pass time by using her father’s old computer now hidden in the attic. To her surprise, she learns that her father has a whole set of plans and hidden secrets within it. Their mysterious family cat named Cosmos helps the children to unlock them. They discover its secrets by stepping into the computer itself and taking a real tour of the inside of a computer in nanosecond time. While inside the computer, the children discover their father has left them a mission to follow his “trail of light.”

Here is the third part of the story in which the reader is taken on a space flight on their father’s original model plane kit which the CPU staff has put together for them. They train there as astronauts, but their space flight will be controlled by Astrow Naught and Mission OnControl. The children learn a lot about the space station while they whiz pass all the planets and observe comet behavior. There are lots of surprises on the journey leaving in doubt their ability to find their father’s trail and make a successful return journey home before their mother notices that they are missing.

This book is a strange mixture of elements, coming of age, bullying, grief issues, computer knowledge, metaphysics and realism. I can’t explain why, but ultimately it works. The author successfully grips the reader into being a willing captive to the personalities of the characters and the strange twists and turns of the story line. Critics might say that it is rambling; yet valid issues are addressed and a great deal of information is relayed. Tweens and teens interested in any of these issues will find it to be a satisfying read. The quirkiness of the novel kept me glued to it because I could not figure out what would happen next. My bottom line is this book is really different; give it a look.

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