Archive for February, 2015

STELLACARDIA BOOK BLAST

I am pleased to be a part of the Book Blast and giveaway for Book Three  of Julie Ann Grasso’s middle grade sci-fi series centered around the adventures of Caramel Cardamom.

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be hosting a Book Blast for the third and final book in the “Adventures of Caramel Cardamom” middle grade science fiction trilogy by Julie Anne Grasso: “Stellarcadia”.

Stellarcadia by Julie Anne Grasso

About the Book

Title: Stellarcadia (Adventures of Caramel Cardamom, Book 3) | Author: Julie Anne Grasso | Publication Date: December 24, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 128 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Book Description: Caramel Cinnamon is one lucky elf. She can hardly believe she’s invited to attend the first Intergalactic Youth Summit, on-board the Stellarcadia. Her friends can’t wait to go “hyper,” but even the thought of it chills Caramel to the bone. However, nothing could compare to the icy reception she receives upon her arrival. Keen to get to the bottom of it, Caramel stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy, but no one will believe her. In the exciting conclusion to The Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy, Caramel will have to do more than outwit her enemies, she will have to convince her friends to take her seriously. For ages 8-12.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

The Early Buzz

The book is also a perfect mix of magic, science, and technology. Don’t be surprised if readers get to use their imaginations and learn something. Julie Anne Grasso has proven herself to be an original and versatile author…” ~ 5 Stars, Ilana W., Amazon

“Couldn’t put it down.” ~ Jemima P., Goodreads

 

About the Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Julie Anne GrassoWith a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories to encourage and entertain them.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Danny and their little girl, Giselle.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Twitter | Goodreads

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: March 25, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Julie Anne Grasso and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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CHINESE NEW YEAR FOR LITTLE ONES

Mao Mao and the Nian Monster

Written and Illustrated by Anna Zech

MaoMao,pic

 

This book is a delightful interactive kindle picture book for young children seeking to explain some of the traditions of Chinese New Year,

Mao Mao is an adorable panda bear who lives in a bamboo forest. She loves to play with her human friends who live in the village nearby. But the inhabitants of the village were fearful of the Nian who came out after dark to plunder their livestock and food. Once the sun set, the entire village barricaded themselves inside their homes. When Mao Mao’s grandma gives him some books to read, he discovers that monsters are afraid of loud noise, bright lights, and the color red. So Mao and his friends outfit the village with all three of these elements. Mao and his friends come upon Nian while playing in the forest one day. They find out that Nian is more like them than they thought. Will the villages and the Nian find a way to coexist after all?

The simple text and beautifully done illustrations will assist preschoolers and primary school age children in understanding some of traditions involved in the celebrations of Chinese New Year. This book is an excellent choice for a teacher exploring multiculturalism or a parent’s bedtime story.

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SUMMER ANGST

Indian Summer

Written by Tracy Richardson

IndianSummer,pic

Twelve year old Marcie Horton is feeling good about finishing the last day of school, but at the same time is dreading the upcoming summer. While she has always enjoyed spending time at her grandparents’ home on Lake Pappakeechee, this year is different. None of her friends will be going.

Marcie is a talented and competitive athlete, but not one of the “popular girls” at school. Her discomfort is increased when the parents of one of these girls inform her that they have just built a huge house on the lake, and invite her to spend time at their home with their daughter, Kaitlyn.

As the summer unfolds, things get more and more complicated. Kaitlyn pushes Marcie to make decisions with which she is not comfortable. Her loyalties are torn between peer pressure and family. When Kaitlyn’s father plans a development that will threaten the existing lake environment, Marcie is again forced to choose. To make matters worse, strange visions are haunting Marcie. She feels as if she in living both in the past and present. An unexpected turn of events allows her to be drawn by some mystical force to make a miraculous discovery.

In some ways the plot is predictable, yet the characters are compelling and so well-drawn that I read the book in one sitting. This book hits on so many issues that face tweens and teens. A bit of magic, history, fantasy, coming of age, environmental issues, family, and loyalty all combine to make one entertaining story With a page count of just over two hundred pages, it is a bit long for a middle grade read, but the book is a comfortable and easy read. Recommended for ages ten and above with lots of appeal for both boys and girls.

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SHARING MEANS CARING – BOOK BLITZ

Bash and Lucy Fetching Jealousy Book Two

Written by Lisa and Michael Cohn

Illustrated by Heather Nichols

BashandLucy,pic

Book Two in the Bash and Lucy Picture Book series is a charming picture book for children in the early elementary grades. In this adventure, Lucy is the mascot of Bash’s soccer team; her support has helped lead them to the team championship. Lucy delights the crowd with her antics dressed in her baseball uniform and cap. But on the day of the championship, another team led by a boy named Tristan asks that they allow Lucy to guide their team to a win in the Special Olympics. Bash and his teammates are overcome with jealousy as they watch Lucy cheering and entertaining for another team. They become so desperate that they crawl around the ground acting like puppies in order to lure Lucy back to them.

Lucy is overjoyed to help her new friends and doesn’t have a problem sharing, but Bash and the team can’t seem to understand. Who will win Lucy’s loyalty? Is there a way that both teams can win?

The illustrations in this book are beautifully done in soft pastel colors, portraying the emotions of the characters well. I think that children will experience the deep emotions on both sides. This book can help parents and teachers guide children to understand their feelings of jealousy in a simple, forthright way. Recommended especially for children ages five through eight.

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AGAINST ALL ODDS…

The Leopard Tree

Written by Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu

TheLeopardTree,pic

Three African children meet while living at the Nyumba wa watoto orphanage in Kenya, Africa and become fast friends. Their favorite spot is a tree they call “the leopard tree.” Daudi’s mother died of Aids when he was two; recently his grandmother has died and left him orphaned and abandoned without medication. Masozi is blind and lost a leg to a land mine due to civil war in Sudan, and Ramla from Rwanda witnessed the rape and killing of her family in her village. The trauma from that event has robbed her of her speech. Daudi reads the story of the Wizard of Oz to his friends, which inspires them to seek a wizard who can make life better for them and the children of Africa. Rosa Carson is a photojournalist who often visits Africa in an effort to create awareness of the poverty and medical needs of children in orphanages throughout Africa; she is drawn to and takes a special interest in these three children.

On one visit to the orphanage, Rosa agrees to take the three children on a day trip to Nairobi airport. When Daudi finds a passport on the floor, the adventures begin. The children stow away on a jet flying to San Francisco. From that point they travel by bus to Reno, a minivan to Kansas, and a goat trailer to Missouri. They walk along railroad tracks and stow away in a freight train until they arrive in Pennsylvania. Where are they going? Daudi has learned there is a UN conference in New York. He is determined to plead his case to the Secretary General Akama. All along this journey, the children must hide from the immigration authorities while they face all sorts of personal physical danger. To make matters worse, Daudi has been without any medication and his medical condition is deteriorating.

Rosa desperately wants to find these children to keep them safe and eventually adopt them as her family. She uses all her resources and contacts in an attempt to track them down. All the odds are against them succeeding; will these three unlikely spokespeople for Africa’s impoverished orphans succeed in the quest?

This book is a powerful presentation of the issues that face so many children everyday. Characters are deftly created with powerful personalities. Heartbreaking twists and turns in the plot abound. The authors paint portraits of the best and worst of human nature. I found it difficult to put the book down. Young adult and adult readers should not miss this book.

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KANSAS KIN

Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman’s Tale of Life on the Prairie

Written by Linda K. Hubalek

butterinthewell,pic

Dedicated to Maja Kajsa Svensson Runneberg, the homesteader who settled the Kansas farm on which the author grew up, this work of historical fiction is written in first person as if the journal of Kajsa, the protagonist. The author carefully researched her life in the late 1800’s in the Smoky Valley of Kansas. Many Swedes emigrated because famine, crop failure and social structure prevented Sweden’s farmers from earning a living. Large numbers of families sold their possessions to buy passage to America; many wound up in Kansas after the Homestead Act of 1862 offered free land to those willing to settle there.

Kajsa and her husband Carl arrived with their infant daughter in 1868. They did not know the language, brought little money, and had no roof over their heads. Brutal winters, hot summers, crop failures, insect plagues, windstorms, and disease claimed many of the settlers’ lives. Kajsa’s story traces her journey, living underground in a sod house, making friends with neighboring Swedes, the arrival and death of family members. As they alternately take steps forward and face calamities, Kajsa enjoys the heights of joy and falls to the depths of despair when Carl is struck and killed by lightning. Time passes slowly, but within the next twenty years, the Smoky Valley will see the rise of churches, schools, towns, and even railroads.

The reader wants to cheer and cry while following Kajsa’s journey. Hubalek says the book is appropriate for ages nine through ninety-nine. Those who have an interest in history, memoirs, or psychology will enjoy the book. Though the plethora of details provided sometimes become tedious, the photographs, maps, and recipes are a pleasant addition. Teachers interested in giving students a unique perspective on Westward expansion will find this book useful.

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DEVELOPING CHARACTER THROUGH PLAY

A Boat Full of Animals: Fun Activities to Develop Character in Kids

Written by Sally Huss
Boatfullofanimals,pic

I have read many of the Sally Huss books, but this one takes her work a step farther by showing children how to put the lessons into practice. This book contains thirty animal games which allow a child to play while developing skills in kindness, gratitude, appreciation, goodness, patience, and truthfulness. We have all heard the expression, “ A happy life makes a happy wife.” Huss believes the same applies to children; by creating happy children we will build cooperative communities of future happy adults putting these virtues to good use worldwide.

There are thirty games featuring different animals; they can be divided according to time, virtue or animal preference. Each of them provide interactive questions for the child and then create a scenario in which to imagine and act the game out. Here is one example: #4 The Cat Game. Huss points out one of the best qualities of a cat is how it cleans up after itself. Then she gives the child reasons why cleaning up is a good thing and how good it makes you feel. Next she presents the steps in playing the game. The child is asked to make a mess at different times of the day and then clean up seven times. At the end of the day, think of what has been done and how much you have learned. As time goes on, be sure to remind yourself how happy your success has made you.

Each of these games is so cleverly crafted that it is hard to choose. Let me give another example. In #16 The Rabbit Game, the child learns that a rabbit’s long ears are for listening as well as hearing. He must be alert for danger. The child is asked how many times must he hear something before he pays attention. Listening is fun because when we listen we learn new things. Instructions are to really listen at least five times when parents, teachers, siblings or friends speak to you. Then put your rabbit friend on your animal boat and both he and you will be happy listeners.

As a child moves through the book, he will eventually have filled his boat with thirty animals and all their good character traits. A child will have learned how to assimilate their good traits and apply them to everyday life situations making each day a happier experience for the child and those around him. These games are fun to play, and parents or teachers may choose to zero in on those qualities which need the most reinforcement. Highly recommend the book, particularly for children in the five to eight age group.

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