Archive for September, 2019

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Familiar Shadows: A tale from The Federal Witch Series

Written by Taki Drake and T S Paul

This is the first book in an interesting series featuring magic, fantasy, and witches. The narrator is a Russian blue cat named Dascha. At the outset, Dascha has just had an argument with the members of her clowder. She comes from a long line of magical cats, but Dascha just wants to live a normal life. As she walks away, she is swept up by an eagle. Her vision is blurred, her hip is pierced, and she senses imminent death.

Suddenly another larger steppe eagle comes along and snatches Dascha away from her captor. When Dascha awakens, she finds herself in the company of the eagle named Glenfry and his familiar, a witch named Henley. These two live apart from a small village, which they try to protect. Dascha learns to love and revere her protectors, who will entice her to embrace her magical lineage. There will be an adventure, danger, and magic along the perilous journey.

This book of fewer than one hundred pages contains interesting characters and plotlines. I would recommend it for readers ages eight and older.

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ROCKS ALL AROUND

Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound

Written by Shelby Wilde

Illustrated by Yana Popova

Scout is an inquisitive seven-year-old explorer who became hooked on rock collecting when she found an orange rock in her backyard. She searches everywhere for rocks to add to her collection. In this tale, Scout crawls into a dragon’s den to find Azurite, she travels under the sea to extract Fluorite from the bottom of the ocean floor, and then zooms into outer space to grab Alexandrite floating around in one of Saturn’s rings. Finally, she explores a collector’s canyon out West to come across a treasure trove of crystals. Wilde describes different methods of removing the minerals and provides details about each type of mineral, its place on the Mohs scale, and the types of tools a geologist uses.

The illustrations are vibrant and seem to jump off the page. Scout is an adorable strong-female role model character. Rhymes are crisp, alliteration makes them fun to read out loud. I highly recommend this book to elementary grade children. This book combines a bit of fantasy, an adventure, and a nonfiction story about rocks with a cute narrator to entice readers to come along and learn with her.

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ARA ROCKETS TO SUCCESS

Ara the Star Engineer

Written by Komal Singh

Illustrated by Ipek Konak

I loved this picture book which featured a determined young girl named Ara. She is aptly named for a constellation that contains seven stars. Ara is obsessed with big numbers. She introduces her readers to a number with 100 zeros, a googol. Together with her computer robot, DeeDee, Ara sets out to find out how many stars exist. They visit Innovation Plex, where Ara seeks experts to help her in her quest.

She meets Kripa, a problem solver, in the Data Center who tells her to have courage. Big Problems are solved with a plan. Next, she greets Parisa in the Ideas Lab, who creates the algorithms that permit computers to solve big problems. The next stop is the Coding Center where Diane writes code that allows the algorithm to communicate with the computer. When Ara and Dee put the plan into action, they come up with an error. So Ara visits Maria, the Troubleshooter, who installs more computing power with a new processor and memory chip. At last, they achieve success. Ara learns that collaboration and teamwork solve problems.

At the end of the book, readers find a journal record of the steps Ara followed as well as an introduction to some superheroes in computer science. There is also a glossary of technical terms from the story. The author targets this book for ages five through seven, though I would highly recommend it for older boys and girls as well. The design of the book features many bright colors and multicultural female role models. They certainly draw the eye inward but may be a bit too much stimulation for the younger reader. Hope to see many more books in this series.

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STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF

The FED-UP Cow

Written by Peta Lemon

Illustrated by Maria Dasic Todoric

This is a cute picture book for preschoolers and primary grade children that reminds them to be true to themselves and their unique qualities. Hilda is a cow who decides one day that she would like to be a sheep. She goes to elaborate lengths to change her appearance but eventually decides being a sheep is not fun. Then she decides to become a pig. That doesn’t work out either. Finally, Hilda is sure that being a hen is the way to go. Alas, she is not accepted there. Maybe being a cow is the right choice after all.

The rhymes flow well, and the illustrations are simple, colorful and attractive. Recommended especially for children ages two through five.

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#MEETTHEAUTHOR

I have begun a new feature on my blog. Rather than simply reading and reviewing family-friendly books for my audience, I will be taking a peek behind the scenes at the writer. After all, we all want to know the mysterious person behind the curtain. So without delay, let me introduce you to the talented Ben Jackson.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ben Jackson was born in Tasmania, Australia and is a successful indie author that has been writing for over four years. Ben is married to Sam Lawrence, and together they specialize in self-publishing children’s books. They have been married for several years and have traveled together between Australia and Canada. Ben is also a freelance writer that specializes in writing website content for businesses and a wide variety of different articles.

They have published a series of children’s books called My Little Fart, as well as If I Was A Caterpillar and several other non-fiction books. Ben has numerous books in progress.

Hockey Wars 3 – The Tournament Is Finally Here!

Welcome to the third book in the Hockey Wars Series!

In Hockey Wars 1, we met the boys and girls from the Dakota Lightning and Hurricanes. Old rivalries were settled, and an uneasy friendship was reignited as Cameron and Lillie reignited their childhood friendship. Oh, and there was an epic pond skating game to settle who was better, boys or girls!

Hockey Wars 2 – The New Girl turned both teams’ upside down! No one loves change, but when new girl Mia inadvertently drives a wedge between Cameron and Millie, it throws both teams into chaos. Will new girl Mia be able to settle into the new team and find her groove on the arena ice, or will it be a complete disaster?

Both teams are on the road in Hockey Wars 3 as they head off to the first tournament of the season! Hockey Wars 3 sees the Lightning and Hurricanes hit the buses and head off to the hotel for a long weekend packed full of hockey and drama. When a strange boy starts showing some interest in Millie, will Cameron be able to reel in his protective nature and focus on the game, or will they head home without the tournament trophy?

Hockey Wars Series Purchase Links

Hockey Wars 1 Available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Hockey Wars 2 Available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Hockey Wars 3 Coming soon! Available for Preorder on Amazon now!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BEN AND HIS WORK:

Ben and Sam Authors Instagram

Ben and Sam Authors Facebook

Ben and Sam Authors Goodreads

Ben and Sam Authors Twitter

Ben and Sam Authors Amazon Central

Ben and Sam Author Book Bub

WHAT TO DO?

Hermione Granger’s Unofficial Life Lessons and Words of Wisdom: What would Hermione (from the Harry Potter series) Say?

Written by Euphemia Pinkerton Noble

This is an interesting read for fans of the Harry Potter series of all ages. The author presents questions written in a journal format. Noble chooses situations that pop up in our everyday lives and then poses the question of how Hermione would answer.

Hermione Granger is the smartest witch at Hogwarts. She is a hard worker, who places a high value on loyalty, friendship and love. Hermione often chooses the more difficult path because she knows it is the right, if not easy, thing to do. At first, the boys ignore or resist her, but eventually come to know she is the one who holds things together.

Noble urges her readers to first read through the book quickly and make a few notes about the questions they find most relevant to themselves. I particularly enjoyed the section on facing challenges and chasing dreams in which so many middle-grade and teen readers will find much to think about. The last section on believing in yourself probably sums up Hermione’s philosophy on life best.

This book could become an asset for preteens and teens who are struggling to develop their own views. Parents, grandparents, and teachers might find this book a good way to open family discussions.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST

Babu and Bina at the Ghost Party (Babu and Bina Book Series 1)

Written by P Tomar

Illustrated by Giulia Iacopini

Mama and Papa Trunk are preparing to take their elephant children, Babu and Bina to the old Indian fort. The children are excited. When a candy man warns them to watch out for the ghost of the Maharaja, their interest peaks even more. As the children eagerly explore the fort, Pina, their pup, takes off. They follow her and get locked in a mysterious room where they will meet many ghosts of the fort gathered together for a celebration. Will the children find a way back to their parents?

Babu and Bina are an adorable brother and sister pair who teach their readers much about sibling cooperation and Indian history. This promises to be an interesting series on Indian culture and history. Vivid illustrations will engage even the youngest reader. The short length makes it a good choice for a bedtime story or a read- aloud. Recommended for children ages three through eight.

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