Posts tagged ‘artists’


In partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Ona Gritz.


August or Forever

Written by Ona Gritz

Ages 9 + | 108 Pages

Publisher: Fitzroy Books | ISBN-13: 9781646033072

Publisher’s Book Summary: Ten-year-old Molly has always loved having a sister, but sisters are supposed to live together, right? Molly certainly thinks so. Unfortunately, her older half-sister Alison lives on a whole other continent. Their video chats are great, and Molly is thrilled when Alison’s hand-written letters arrive in the mail like surprise gifts.

Still, it’s not enough, not compared to what other siblings have. That’s why when Molly finds out that Alison is finally coming to visit over the summer, she devises a plan to get her sister to stay. But then Alison arrives with plans of her own, a fragile heart gets broken, and Molly stumbles upon a painful piece of her sister’s past. Molly has always loved having a sister, but this is the August when she’ll learn what it really means to be one.




Barnes and Noble


Ona Gritz is the author of two previous children’s books, including Tangerines and Tea, My Grandparents and Me, a Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Alphabet Book of the Year and Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine Teacher’s Pick. Her essays and poems have been published widely. Recent honors include two Notable mentions in The Best American Essays, a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project, two 2021 Pushcart nominations, and a 2022 Best of the Net nomination.

Learn more about her work at



August or Forever

Written by Ona Gritz

Ten-year-old Molly is excited that Alison, her older stepsister, will be leaving her home in London to visit upstate New York. Throughout the years Molly has carried on a virtual relationship with her sister, meeting only once years ago. Now Alison has graduated university and Molly devises a plan to ensure her visit becomes permanent.

This tale is narrated in first person by Molly. Perhaps she loves Alison too much. Each of the girls have experienced troubles and losses. Molly needs to learn to recognize her sister’s needs as well as her own.

Gritz develops the characters in detail, using apt dialogue that conveys their emotions. She explores family bonds including complex issues like love and loss. The chapters are short and easy to follow. While the book targets a middle-grade audience, it also strikes a chord among adult readers. A great book for a book club or classroom discussion; the author includes starter questions at the end of the story.


Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of August or Forever, autographed by Ona Gritz, and a glass heart necklace (like one that figures prominently in the story)!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A signed, paperback copy of August or Forever

A glass heart necklace

Nine (9) winners receive:

A signed, paperback copy of August or Forever



Wednesday, February 1, 2023The Children’s Book ReviewA book review of August or Forever
Thursday, February 2, 2023The Fairview ReviewA book review of August or Forever
Friday, February 3, 2023Writer with WanderlustA book review of August or Forever
Monday, February 6, 2023The Momma SpotA book review of August or Forever
Tuesday, February 7, 2023The Growing Readers PodcastAn author interview with Ona Gritz
Wednesday, February 8, 2023Barbara Ann Mojica’s BlogA book review of August or Forever
Thursday, February 9, 2023My Reading GetawayAn author interview with Ona Gritz
Friday, January 10, 2023J.R.s Book ReviewsA book review of August or Forever
Monday, February 13, 2023BookshelfmamaAn Instagram post of August or Forever
Tuesday, February 14, 2023The Children’s Book ReviewA booklist featuring August or Forever
Wednesday, February 15, 2023Cover Lover Book ReviewAn article by author Ona Gritz
Thursday, February 16, 2023Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersAn article by author Ona Gritz
Friday, February 17, 2023icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review of August or Forever
Monday, February 20, 2023Life Is What It’s CalledAn author interview with Ona Gritz

Exactly what it says…

Anyone Can Draw Unicorns: Easy Step-by-Step Drawing Tutorial for Kids, Teens, and Beginners How to Learn to Draw Unicorns Book 1 (Aspiring artist’s guide)

Written and illustrated by Julia Smith

No mystery here. The book matches its title. Smith presents 35 color pictures of unicorns. Then she gives a step by step method one box at a time to complete the drawing.

If you have a child who is enamored of unicorns, this book provides an opportunity to lend a creative outlet. Smith encourages young artists to add original details to make their drawings unique. She reminds them to practice over and over as artistic expression is a learning curve.

Budding artists who are in late elementary and middle-school will be entertained by the book

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Check out a zillion more opportunities for your family at


Magical Manhattan

Written by Gregory Hoffman


An intriguing urban fantasy tale that will appeal to young adult and adult audiences, but one that might be enjoyed by children as young as ten who will “grow into” the meaning of these fantasies as they mature.

Fourteen year old Sam has just received a bad report card. On Saturdays, he has a ritual of accompanying his mother to her job in an antique store on 80th street in Manhattan. Once there, he leaves to spend the day walking down to the twin towers in Lower Manhattan and back again. As they leave their apartment, Sam ponders how to break the bad news. He places the report card on the console after they cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Little does he know that he will experience an adventure that changes his life on his walk today.

Sam will meet a homeless man named Elijah who asks Sam for his shoes. Subsequently, they will encounter a bicycle messenger a human antenna, a talking train, spirits of artists in the Metropolitan Museum , a princess cloud and many others. The streets of Manhattan are transformed into a water paradise filled with lush vegetation. What does it all mean? Will anyone else believe Sam’s story? Does the experience have a impact on Sam’s future?

The adventure is magical on several levels. It is a wonderful walking tour of Manhattan; the author expertly captures the essence and spirit of New York City. The imagination and allegories presented by the author to the reader as food for thought have many layers of meaning. Clever and creative with no objectionable content. This book could be used for so many topics as a classroom discussion or starter for creative writing assignments.

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Van Gogh Today: Short Stories: How Van Gogh still touches our Daily Lives (Secrets of Van Gogh Book 3)

Written by Kelly Cole Rappleye


I really enjoyed the marriage of a discussion of one of my favorite artists intertwined with stories explaining the influence of this man’s work on the lives of six very different individuals.

For example, Lily Evans is a young girl of twenty who is passionate about both art and her writing, but she cannot find the correct path to channel her passions. A chance visit to Van Gogh’s art show at The Hermitage Museum allows her to view his painting, “The Pink Orchard.” She realizes that Van Gogh never gave up on finding enjoyment in life. Her depression is lifted and her writer’s block removed. Another character named Brett Smith is a wealthy businessman in New York City. Behind the scenes, Brett has just returned from one year of rehabilitation from cocaine and alcohol addiction and is attempting to readjust to his former lifestyle. He is inspired by a friend’s prized possession, Van Gogh’s painting, “The Little Stream,” painted just one year before the artist’s death. Reverend Dan is a minister who works at Juvenile Hall and attempts to give the troubled youth something positive to keep them on the right track. The minister showed them Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to display an example of the beauty of this world that can be found anywhere, even if one grows up in the ghetto.

Van Gogh is one of the world’s most talented artists, but he never received recognition during his life and spent a large part of it living in poverty and depression. At the same time he was driven to share a positive image of the world around us. Rappleye, in my opinion, has written a unique and inspiring work that shares photographs and insights from Van Gogh’s life and work, while at the same time creating interesting characters who change their lives as a result of his influence.

I recommend this book to tweens, teens and adults who are interested in learning about a gifted artist, and who are also willing to open their minds to exploring the influence of art on our thinking and everyday lives.

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