NEW RELEASE – “CROSSING THE LINE” by Bibi Belford is Historical Middle-grade Fiction at its finest. A 5 Star Read recommended for ages 10 to 110. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Title: CROSSING THE LINE

Author: BIBI BELFORD    

Genre: FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 287 PAGES

Publisher: SKY PONY PRESS – An Imprint of SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Received From: PUBLISHER

Release Date: AUGUST 22, 2017  

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0800-6 

Price:  $15.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  


DESCRIPTION:

“I’m excited about my new historical fiction,CROSSING THE LINE, a middle grade novel to be published in 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

It’s set in Bridgeport, Chicago in 1919, and told through the eyes of eleven-year-old Billy McDermott.

Billy is pretty sure skin color doesn’t matter. Not when you and Foster, your fifth grade buddy and his brothers, Odelle and Emmett, are just horsing around, building a raft.

But in the Red Summer of 1919, it does matter, and Billy’s misguided innocence causes Odelle’s murder, igniting Chicago’s bloodiest race riot.”

Bibi Belford, Author of Crossing the Line, Canned and Crushed, and other middle grade fiction.


MY REVIEW:


CROSSING THE LINE
 is a brand new middle-grade fiction novel released August 22nd, 2017. The timing of this book’s release could not be better.

With racial tensions currently  rising across the United States, it is time to remind adults that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Even though this book is targeted at children between the ages of 10-14, it is written in such a way that adults will enjoy reading it as well.

Set in the year 1919, this is a fictional story told around actual historic events. CROSSING THE LINE would be perfect for book reports and/or book clubs. I believe that after reading this book, children will be interested in digging deeper and learning more about their nation’s history. Even if that does not happen, readers will find themselves with a much better understanding of the role of race in American history. 

I love the fact that author Bibi Belford chose 1919 as the time period for this book. The events in the book occur after the soldiers who survived have returned from World War One. In fact, the main character, Billy, is dealing with his father’s return from the war. Instead of returning as a celebrated, conquering hero, Billy’s Dad is confined to the Veterans Hospital with a severe case of Shell Shock. This leaves Billy as the “Man of the House” and leaves his mother struggling to provide her family with a roof over their heads and to put food on their table.

To help reduce household expenses, Billy leaves the Catholic school he has always attended and in which he was just another Irish Catholic kid, like all the other students. There was zero diversity among the students and their families.

Now attending Public School, Billy befriends a student in his class named Foster. Both boys love baseball and bond over that as well as the fact that both their fathers fought in the war.

The author took this picture of CERMAK BRIDGE which is where one of the scenes in the book takes place.

Foster is black and even though the two boys see nothing wrong with being friends, but when the city’s residents find out about it, a series of events take place that culminates in murder and citywide mayhem.

five policemen and one soldier with a rifle standing on a street corner during a race riot in the Douglas community areaof Chicago, Illinois

A white gang looking for Black victims

An African American being stoned during the race riots

With perfection in character building, and a plot that will have readers riveted, CROSSING THE LINE is a 5 Star Read. It will remind people of one of the darkest periods in Chicago’s history and remind us that small actions matter. The time to stand up against racism is now. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.

I highly recommend this book and I would like to thank the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Teacher-turned-Author  

|  Literacy Advocate  |  

Educational Consultant

 Gardening Enthusiast 

 |  Writer-Mentor  

|  Admirer of Lighthouses

 | Kid’s-Fiction Writer

Bibi Belford is the author of books for middle grade readers: CROSSING THE LINE, CANNED AND CRUSHED, THE GIFT, and ANOTHER D FOR DEEDEE (coming 2018). 

She lives in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois with her husband. She enjoys books, gardening, beaches, and spending time with her grandchildren. 

Belford also works as an educational consultant and volunteers in public schools. She is a member of CWA – Chicago Writers Association, SCBWI-Illinois, and has served as a panelist for author Success Stories at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute.

To learn more about this author visit the following links: 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

GOODREADS       

TWITTER       

FACEBOOK       

INSTAGRAM          

PINTEREST     

AMAZON


CHAPTERS


 

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: 

Launched in fall 2011, Sky Pony Press is the children’s book imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. Following in the footsteps of our parent company, our goal is to provide books for readers with a wide variety of interests. Our continually growing list includes fiction, picture books, educational books, novelty books, and midgrade, and we even reissue some well-loved classics. Since we do not view our potential readers as generic age groups, but rather as individual children, each with specific talents and needs, we publish in a broad range of subject matter to celebrate their diverse interests.

To learn more about Sky Pony Press click on the logo above, or click HERE.

*** Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of CROSSING THE LINE. 



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VANGUARD by the talented ANN AGUIRE – Book 4 in the Razorland Series 

Title: VANGUARD    

Series: RAZORLAND – BOOK FOUR

Author: ANN AGUIRRE      

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, POST-APOCALYPTIC FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION 

Length: 368 PAGES

Publisher: MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING GROUP      

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY 

Release Date: JULY 25, 2017

ISBN: 9781250089823 (HARDCOVER)

Price: $17.99 USD (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

  


DESCRIPTION

This book begins ten months after ‘The War of the River.’

Tegan sets out to fulfill her mentor’s last request and to fulfill the wanderlust in her soul. She is accompanied on her journey by Millie Faraday, who is trying to outrun her reputation of being “the kindest girl in the free territories.” 

On her way to the first stop on their  adventure, she encounters Szarok, the Vanguard of the Uroch. Szarok offers to travel with them and Tegan accepts, knowing there is safety in traveling with him.

When Tegan is offered a job as a ‘long-haul ship’s doctor’ Millie, James and Szarok all sign onto the ship as well. Each has a different reason for traveling aboard the ship, but none is more important than Szarok’s reason. He is on a mission to save his people and despite the strange feelings he experiences whenever in Tegan’s presence, he is determined to fulfill his mission.

Tegan’s affection for the strange but somehow beautiful Uroch grows over time and she defends him from the blatant prejudices of other humans.

As their time together lengthens, it is Tegan who, through stormy seas and a variety of strange, new lands, will become stronger than she ever knew possible.


THE MORAL OF THE STORY:  

The very thinly veiled moral of this story is that prejudice is NOT OK. This may seem like a very basic idea to many of us, but unfortunately, there are still many people who have yet to recognize this very basic truth. 



MY REVIEW:

The previous three books in the Razorland saga followed the adventures (and romance) of Deuce and Fade. Tegan was very much part of the story, but she was never the sole focus. In VANGUARD, Tegan steps out of the shadows and takes center stage.

Although this is the fourth book in the series, it also works as a stand-alone novel. Those who have read the first three books in the Razorland saga will be able to connect with the history of the post-apocalyptic world they live in as we as what led Tegan to this point in her life. Author Ann Aguire has included enough detail about the past that new readers will not find their enjoyment diminished in any way. In fact, I believe new readers will be so intrigued by VANGUARD they will want to run out and buy the rest of the Razorland saga immediately.

The story begins once Tegan’s Doctor/Mentor/Father-Figure dies and she decides to head out into the world. Tegan’s skill as a healer affords her the ability to provide for herself wherever she goes.

When she meets up with Szarok at the beginning of her journey. Szarok offers to travel with her and although the peace between his “people” and the regular humans is tenuous, his offer affords Tegan a measure of security that she knew she would be foolish to refuse.

Tegan and Szarok start off their journey as acquaintances who both find each other visually unappealing and dislike each other’s scents and eating habits. They do recognize certain similarities, but their historical and cultural differences and the clear division between their “tribes” are not easily put aside.

When the two end up stranded alone together they learn more about each other and their differences cease to be an issue. This is realistic. Once you spend time with someone, regardless of their race or faith you realize that surface differences no longer matter. This is a lesson that is important. People need to understand that skin color, religion, and other differences are not the entirety of a person – they are just the wrapper. It is what is inside that matters.

This situation reminds me of racial differences  and smacks of ingrained discrimination. Readers should be able to relate Tegan and Szarok’s tale to instances of interracial or interfaith relationships.

This book is an extremely easy read and its length makes it perfect for a weekend at the cottage, the beach, at a campground or for a lazy weekend at home.

Ann Aguirre uses her considerable writing talent to pen a romance between unlikely characters. Readers can view this book as just a wonderful, light-hearted romance, or they can look a little deeper. If readers choose to look deeper, they will realize this book as one that combats racism.

Choosing two different races as her main characters, Ann Aguirre demonstrates a truth that many people have yet to embrace; the fact that just because a person looks different from you on the outside does NOT mean they are different on the inside.

I rate VANGUARD as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

The only reason this book did not receive a 5th Star was that in some ways, the plot was predictable. However, this did not in any way diminish my enjoyment in reading this tale.

To read more of my reviews – Follow me here on my blog as well as on INSTAGRAM and TWITTER   

* A special Thank You to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Photograph and description obtained from her website.

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.

To learn more about this author visit the following links: 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

GOODREADS       

FACEBOOK     

TUMBLR     

AMAZON      

CHAPTERS    

TWITTER    
FIERCE READS     

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE     

BARNES & NOBLE  

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This children’s book celebrates individualism – I LOVE MY PURSE by Belle DeMont deserves 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

Title:  I LOVE MY PURSE

Author: BELLE DeMONT    

Illustrator: SONJA WIMMER         

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS

Target Age Group: AGES 4 TO 7   

Length: 36 PAGES

Publisher: ANNICK PRESS 

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY 

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 

ISBN: (Hardcover) 978-1-55451-955-2

ISBN: (EPUB) 979-1-55451-956-9 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


DESCRIPTION & REVIEW:

Charlie loves the bright red purse given to him by his Grandmother.

One day he decides to wear the purse to school. His father sees him and tells him that boys don’t carry purses. Charlie reminds him how much he loves his inappropriate Hawaiian shirt.

At school Charlie hears more of the same type of comments from friends, teachers and even the school crossing guard.

When they ask why he is carrying the bright red handbag, he replies: “Because I love my purse.”

This children’s book has wonderfully expressive illustrations that combine whimsy alongside reality. The illustrator has a true knack for drawing expressive faces and in using color to evoke emotion in movement.

This book is one that needs to be on the shelf of every child. It celebrates individualism and helps teach kids that it is ok to be different. It celebrates not only children making choices for themselves, but also teaches them to stand up for what is important to them.

The story is not just a life lesson, it is also a fun and funny book that will grab AND HOLD a young child’s attention from beginning to end. The writing style comes across as almost rhythmic.

The author, Belle DeMont is Canadian and I love to support the many talented writers who live in Canada. 

Canadian children’s books are among some of the best of all time.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Belle DeMont is an illustrator from the salt-licked city of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Her love of visual story telling brought her to the Nova Scotia college of Art and Design where she completed her BFA focussing on drawing. She then went on to do a certificate in digital illustration at Montreal’s Concordia University.

Belle breathes life into simple line drawings and saturated colours.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

GOODREADS    

TWITTER    

FACEBOOK     

INSTAGRAM     

AMAZON   

CHAPTERS     


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 


Sonja loves painting pictures and telling stories. After studying and working for some years as a graphic designer in her hometown of Munich and Brussels, she decided to pack her suitcase and move to Barcelona to study Illustration at the “Llotja” Arts and Crafts School.

Since then she lives between brushes and all kinds of wonderful tales, working as a freelance illustrator for publishing houses and other clients around the world.

Her work has won multiple awards including the 2012 International Latino Book Awards Second Place for Best Children’s Picture Book-English and the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal for Best Illustrator.

Sonja eventually moved back to Germany where she now lives with her family near the German Alps between two rivers and surrounded by forests.

To learn more about this illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE       

 

GOODREADS         
FACEBOOK      
AMAZON     

CHAPTERS          

 

WATER MEMORY – A 4 STAR GRAPHIC NOVEL by Mathieu Reynes will thrill all ages. 

Title: WATER MEMORY     

Author:  MATHIEU REYNES   

Illustrator: VALÉRIE VERNAY    

Genre: FICTION, GRAPHIC NOVELS

Publisher: DIAMOND BOOK DISTRIBUTORS     

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: NETGALLEY        

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

ISBN: 9781941302439

Price: $14.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟    


DESCRIPTION
:

“A new life begins for Marion when her mother inherits an old family house and decides to make it their new home.  With its own private beach and a view of the sea, the house has all the makings of a happy new life. But when Marion discovers strange rock carvings nearby, and learns that a sinister-looking lighthouse watchman may be part of a local legend come to life, it becomes clear that things are not as idyllic as they seemed.”


MY REVIEW:

A gorgeously illustrated graphic novel with a plot that will draw in readers and keep you turning pages.

I did not know just how well an author and illustrator could work together to create characters with as much depth as Marion and her mother exhibit in WATER MEMORY. It is impossible to read this graphic novel and not feel like you know Marion intimately. 

The story and the mystery unravels at the perfect pace and the illustrations add to the air of otherworldlyness and will have readers guessing as to what is happening.

The ending will surprise readers and it  creates the possibility of a sequel. Personally, I hope a sequel is written, as I, for one, will buy it.

With beautifully illustrated pages and a gripping story-line, WATER MEMORY is a wonderful graphic novel that I rate as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 and I highly recommend it to lovers of mystery and even though it is a graphic novel, I believe that even those who have never read this type of book, will be drawn in and will enjoy it immensely.  

**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this graphic novel.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   

Photo of Author and Illustrator. Click on the photo to be taken to the source website


Mathieu Reynès is a French comic book writer and artist. Since 2002, he has worked with many of Europes’ top comic publishers including Ankama, Dupuis, Paquet and Spirou. He illustrated the successful Alter ego series, wrote Water Memory, and is currently writing and drawing the supernatural graphic novel: Harmony.

Born in 1977 in the western suburbs of Paris, France, Reynès spent much of his childhood near the Basque coast. Initially studying science in Bordeaux, he decided to change course and pursue cartoons and 3D animation at the CNBDI in Angoulême. He released his first album, Banana Fight in 2002, in collaboration with writer Frédéric Brrémaud. The duo went on to create two volumes of Sexy Gun and three volumes of Lola Bogota.

Reynès worked predominately in the field of humour, until 2011, where he embarked on the conspiracy series Alter Ego. Reynès used a more realistic style to tell the complex intertwined story. Written by Denis Lapière and Pierre-Paul Renders, the series spread across 11 albums. This series won the 2011 Saint Michael Award for Best Story.

In 2012, Reynès wrote the two-part story La mémoire de l’eau (Water Memory), which was undoubtedly inspired by his childhood memories of the Basque coast. Beautifully drawn by Valérie Vernay the story balances reality and mystery and is just as good for a pre-teen as for an adult.

To learn more about this terrific author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

GOODREADS     

TWITTER      

FACEBOOK           

TUMBLR    

INSTAGRAM           

AMAZON   

CHAPTERS     
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 


VALÉRIE VERNAY trained as an illustrator at the Emile Cohl school. With her illustrator’s diploma under her belt, she published her first children’s book “Le Gardien de la Nuit” (published by Petit à Petit). 

 Over time, she edged her way onto the comic book scene: step by step, a secret dream she never thought would be possible. She started by participating in several collective works, and worked as a colourist on “Sexy Gun,” volumes 1 and 2 (published by Soleil), before creating volume 1 of the comic book adaptation of the “La guerre des Boutons” (published by Petit à Petit).

At the same time, she illustrated another children’s book “Perdus dans la forêt” (published by Magnard). She has now created her very own series “Agathe Saugrenu,” with Vincent Zabus on the script (published by Dupuis), and is continuing to do children’s illustrations for magazines on the side (published by Milan and Normandie Junior.)   

To learn more about this terrific illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE        

VALÉRIE’S BLOG    

GOODREADS           
FACEBOOK     
LINKEDIN          
  

**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this graphic novel.