Mark Your 2018 Calendar for the release of FISH-BOY by Vanita Oelschlager – AN INUIT FOLK TALE Beautifully Illustrated 

Title: FISH-BOY    
Subtitle: AN INUIT FOLK TALE    

Author: VANITA OELSCHLAGER

Illustrator: MIKE BLANC 

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, MULTICULTURAL BOOKS, INUIT STORIES

Length: 25 PAGES     

Publisher: VANITA BOOKS
http://www.vanitabooks.com

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-938164-20-0 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1- 938164-21-7 (Paperback)

Price: (HARDCOVER) $15.95 USD

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟
DESCRIPTION:  

The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures.  The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. 

Fish-Boy is an origin story involving an odd young boy who has a big heart. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers.  But he has a way… and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.

MY REVIEW:   

I have always been fascinated by folk-tales and those told by Aboriginal or Inuit storytellers are some of the very best.

 There were two main reasons that traditional Inuit stories were told. Firstly, stories were used to explain the world around them, and secondly, they were used to teach traditional values to the next generation.

The cover of this book is so beautifully illustrated that I was immediately drawn to it. I believe that children will be drawn to it as well. In fact, the illustration of the boy with the puffin on his head brings to mind Disney illustrations. Mike Blanc is obviously a very talented individual.

FISH-BOY is the story of “… why there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands of the far North.” 

It is the story of a lame Inuit fisherman who one day saw a fish that was unlike anything he had seen before. “It appeared] to have a head like a man and feet behind its tail.” To the fisherman’s surprise, the fish spoke to him saying, “Do not spear me. I am not a fish. I am Fish-Boy … I have no parents, and I am very lonely. I want you to be my father.”

The fisherman was lame, but he had found a way to survive. He wasn’t sure what use an armless Fish-Boy would be, but out of kindness, he took him in and Fish-Boy became his son.

This act of kindness changed both their lives for the better and the pair had amazing adventures.

You will need to read this book to discover exactly what adventures they had, what trials and tribulations they faced and to discover how their story finally reveals the reason that there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands today. I promise that this is a story worth reading.

I love that this book not only tells the story of Fish-Boy, but also includes details of traditional Inuit life. Also included at the back of the book are definitions of some of the story’s less commonly known words.

In addition to being a fantastic story, another wonderful thing about not only this book, but all books published by Vanita Books is that they donate ALL net profits to “charities where people help people help themselves.” Ten percent of the net profits for FISH-BOY will be donated to The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis, the other ninety percent will go to other charities. 

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


VANITA OELSCHLAGER is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet.

She is a graduate of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at the University of Akron.

She and her husband Jim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. Vanita also won the Congressional Angels Adoption Award for the State of Ohio in 2007 and was named National Volunteer of the Year by the MS Society in 2008. 

 
To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 


MIKE BLANC is an author and an award-winning illustrator of children’s literature.

His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration.

He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandchildren.

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

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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: 

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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. 



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:

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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:

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LOVE, ISH by Karen Rivers is a unique and engaging middle-grade novel that should be read by all ages. 

Title: LOVE-ISH    

Author: KAREN RIVERS     

Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION

Length: 236 PAGES

Publisher: DANCING CAT BOOKS   

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR  

Release Date: APRIL 22, 2017 

ISBN: 978-1-77086-492-4   

Price: $12.95 CDN    

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟 
DESCRIPTION:

Mischa “Ish” Love knows she’ll be one of the first settlers on Mars. She’s applied to – and been rejected from – the Mars Now project forty-seven times, but the mission won’t leave for ten years, and Ish hasn’t given up hope. She also hasn’t given up hope that Tig will be her best friend again. 

When Ish collapses on the first day of seventh grade, she gets a diagnosis that threatens all her future plans. As Ish fights cancer, she dreams in vivid detail about the Martian adventures she’s always known she’d have – and makes unexpected discoveries about love, fate, and her place in the world. 


MY REVIEW:

Most Middle-grade books, especially those targeted at female readers, seem to contain little more than what I call “fluff.”

From their stereotypical pink covers to the oh so dreamy boy the main character has a crush on, Middle-Grade books for girls SUCK!!!

I LOVE that LOVE, ISH is different from any other book targeted at Middle-grade readers.

The cover of this book is awesome. It shows off Ish’s long red hair, and the artist’s decision to have her standing on the globe of Earth and looking towards Mars is 100% perfection.

I was not as happy with the description on the back of the book as I was with it’s cover. It does not really do this book justice, but I have the feeling that this was done on purpose to grab the interest of the target age group. Once they begin reading and are pulled into the story, they will realize that this book is truly one of a kind. Readers will discover that even though there are some very serious issues discussed in this book, they will want to keep reading despite the fact that they will be learning in the process.

Parents who do not try to keep their middle-grade children in a bubble and who realize that kids are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for, will want to buy this book for their sons and their daughters. Just because the protagonist is female, does not mean that this is a girl’s book. In fact, both boys and girls will be able to relate to Ish and to her struggle to find her place in the world [or, maybe on Mars instead.]

The writing style of author KAREN RIVERS draws middle-grade readers into the story instantaneously. Her knowledge of what clothing and footwear appeal to this age group is an example of her attention to detail, sibling rivalry and the jealousies that seem petty to adults but feel so very important to tweens and teens are another example.

Ish’s dream is to be the first woman/girl to live on Mars. In pursuit of this goal, she has read anything and everything that she could get her hands on that has to do with Mars and about the difficulties of colonizing a new planet.

I love that this book encourages readers to dream big. Ish found a website where people can apply to be part of the first Mars colony expedition. She is only twelve years old and has already applied more than 40 times. She has received a rejection every time so far, but she will not give up hope. She plans to keep applying until they finally accept her. The message implied by Ish’s actions is twofold. First, young people have dreams and aspirations and should be encouraged to follow those dreams, no matter how unlikely they seem. Secondly, the message to others is to be tenacious, and to not allow setbacks (or the opinions of others) to stop you from pursuing your dreams.

This book deserves a very high rating. There is so much contained in it’s pages that is unlike any other middle-grade book on the market. In fact, even though the target readership is ages 10 through 15, I believe that readers of all ages will fall ìn love with LOVE, ISH and that upon completion, they will recommend it to their friends and families. 

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars in the Middle-grade Fiction category.    🌟🌟🌟🌟

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Living with Elliott is sort of like coexisting with a talking, breathing shard of broken glass. You never know when it’s going to poke you in the foot and leave you bleeding all over the clean floor.”


“My brain is basically a salad spinner, whirling unrelated ideas.”


“The thing with chemo is that it is the worst and also, it sucks all the energy out of me, leaving me as floppy as a piece of paper. I feel like I’m constantly carrying something heavy, but that heavy thing is me.” 


***** CAUTION *****


*****STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO KNOW WHAT ISSUES ARE BROUGHT UP IN “LOVE, ISH.” *****

So, if you are reading this, you have decided that you want to know. Good for you! I would have made the same choice.

Some very important social issues are discussed in LOVE, ISH. Some of these are discussed below: 

Ish lives on the shores of a lake in California and, just like in real life, the lake is getting smaller and smaller. 

In fact, the lake pictured below is called Lake Cachuma which is Santa Barbara’s primary water source. According to the New York Times, it is currently only at 7% capacity and is expected to dry up completely by the end of 2017. 

– Above is a picture of Lake Cachuma as it is today.

– Below is a picture of that same lake when it was full of water. The difference is staggering. 


[To learn more about California’s very real and extremely terrifying present-day water crisis, click 
HERE]    

Not only is the lake water disappearing, but before that started happening, a large chemical company located on the opposite side of the lake from Ish’s home, spilled a large amount of toxic waste into the lake. 

Ish even mentions the fact that the water changed to a bright blue color for several weeks after the incident.
Unfortunately, this type of corporate negligence happens way too often in our world today. 

It is an issue that our children will be left to try to remedy when they grow up. Not only that, but the polluted water can (and often does) end up entering into the water that comes from the taps in our homes. Recent news stories regarding the tainted water supply in Michigan prove that this is very much a relevant and legitimate problem. 

 
This will not only affect our children in the future, but it can cause very real, and very scary health problems, right now. 

What happens to Ish (being diagnosed with a brain tumor) could, in fact, have been due to the toxic spillage into the lake behind her house. This possibility is not explicitly mentioned  in the book, but astute readers will pick up on it anyway. 


[To learn more about recent toxic spills into lakes, rivers and oceans click 
HERE

Ish passes out on her first day of middle-school and it is discovered that she has a brain tumor. She undergoes chemotherapy and radiation treatments and the author does not shy away from writing about the aftereffects of those treatments.

“The thing with chemo is that it is the worst and also, it sucks all the energy out of me, leaving me as floppy as a piece of paper. I feel like I’m constantly carrying something heavy, but that heavy thing is me.”

I cannot think of any other middle-grade book that writes so openly and honestly about this topic. In other middle-grade books, if cancer is mentioned at all, the authors usually gloss over the details, and, almost always, the cancer sufferer is an adult, not a child. It is my opinion that by doing this, we are doing a disservice to our children. With the prevalence of cancer in today’s society, it is likely that most children will experience cancer in some way; whether it is a friend, or a family member, or even just the old lady who lives down the street.


[To learn more about childhood cancers click 
HERE]

I give HUGE Kudos to Author KAREN RIVERS for writing such an important and yet entertaining novel. I hope everyone who reads this review runs out and buys her book immediately. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Information was taken directly from the author’s website. 

Q & A About Karen Rivers

Where were you born?

I was born in Nanaimo, BC, on June 12, 1970.  

Where do you live?

I live in a little green house in Victoria, BC with two kids, two dogs, and two birds.  

Where did you go to school?

I did most of my schooling in Victoria.  After I graduated, I went to UVic for a couple of years, then I went to UBC and ended up with a degree in International Relations (‘91) and most of a degree in Physiology, that I never quite finished.  

Why did you become a writer?

I became a writer because I didn’t have any other choice. Every time I tried to stop writing, a new idea would pop into my head.  Sometimes I wish I had a job with regular hours (and a regular paycheque!) but mostly I feel incredibly lucky to be able to tell my stories for a living.

Where do you get your titles?

I don’t know!  Much like writing the books, I think a lot of it is magic.  And sometimes, my editor comes up with a much better title, so we use that one instead!   Writing a book is like being part of a big team.

What were you like when you were a kid?

Karen at age 10

I was a bookworm. I read so many books, it was ridiculous. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books. I was also really skinny. When I was nine, I got glasses. Big glasses. It was the 1970s and/or 1980s, so that’s what glasses looked like. I had a lot of bad haircuts. I blushed a lot. I never knew how to do a cartwheel. I thought they’d teach us at school but it turned out everyone else knew how to do one before they even got there! I was pretty quiet and very shy. I think I was sometimes funny, too. I was always competitive so I got good grades. I think at different stages of my life, I was a lot like some of my characters.  I still am.  I think we are all always every age that we’ve ever been, like the layers of an onion. 

What’s your favourite book for kids?

For a long time, I avoided reading kids’ books or YA at all because I thought if I read someone else’s book, I might think my own books didn’t measure up and I would be filled with self-doubt.  I hate to think about all the great books that I missed by worrying about that.  Now I read a lot of YA and Middle Grade, so much that I have a hard time picking a favourite, but today I”m going to say that Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME is topping the list.     

Are you married?

No.

Do you have any pets?

Yes.  I have a dog named Happy and a dog named Augie.  They are rescue dogs.  And I have two birds, named Herbert and Feisty.   

Do you write every day?

Yes.  Even if I don’t actually write it down, I’m always thinking about the book that I’m working on, and trying to unravel all the tangly bits.  

Writing every day is necessary to keep me from panicking.  It makes me feel more sane than when I don’t write every day. But I do take some days off.  That’s life!  You can say, “Oh, every day I will drink 8 glasses of water!”  But the truth is, some days you just aren’t that thirsty.  The same is true for writing. 

What’s your favourite of your books?

I’m so proud of all of them for different reasons, I could never pick a favourite.  Usually my most favourite is the one I’m working on right now.

What’s your favourite colour?

Green.

Lucky numbers?

3. And 14.  And, of course, 42.

Favourite ice cream?

Coconut


To learn more about this amazing Canadian author visit the following links: 

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A DIFFERENT POND by Phi Bao is one of the most meaningful children’s books I have ever read. 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Title: A DIFFERENT POND     

Author: BAO PHI  

Illustrator: THI BUI     

Genre: FICTION, CHILDREN’S FICTION, IMMIGRANT FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION    

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: CAPSTONE   

Type of Book: JACKETED PAPER-OVER-BOARD   

Ages: 4 TO 8

Received From: NETGALLEY     

Release Date: AUGUST 2017 

ISBN: 978-1-62370-803-0  

Price: $15.95 U.S. / $19.95 CAN 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

FROM THE BACK COVER:

An unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. A young boy wakes early, hours before his father’s long workday begins, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis.

Unlike many anglers, the boy and his father fish for food, not recreation. A successful catch means a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, the boy’s father tells him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. On these early mornings, the young boy begins the hard work of self discovery. 

MY REVIEW: 

Not only is this book beautifully written and illustrated, but the story within will enchant children while simultaneously evoking a sense of nostalgia in the child’s parents.

Despite the fact that the characters in this gorgeous children’s book are Vietnamese, every child will be able to relate to the main character’s delight in spending time with his father and in the disappointment when he is left behind while his parents go off to work. 

Readers will notice that the father and son are fishing for food, rather than fishing for fun. When they have caught enough fish: 

Dad smiles, his teeth broken and white in the dark, because we have a few fish and he knows we will eat tonight.” 

This line is an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the immigrant experience and through this discussion, they can help to foster equality and to help eliminate racism in our society. 

Image obtained from http://weneeddiversebooks.org/


It seems trite to say that “Children are our future,” but as cliché as it sounds, it is true.

Books such as this one are important for many reasons. It is important for children of visible minorities to be able to find and read books that show people who look just like them, and that they can relate to. It is equally important that all children are exposed to multicultural books since we live in a multicultural society. 

The illustrations in this book are a cross between a graphic novel and a typical children’s book. This unique illustrative style is the PERFECT accompaniment to the story.  

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 and suggest that all parents, teachers and librarians put this book on their “To Be Purchased list” or that they go ahead and pre-order a copy today. I predict this book will win many awards upon its release. 

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

BAO PHI was born in Vietnam and raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

He is an author, a poet, a community organizer, and a father.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:  

THI BUI was born in Vietnam and grew up in California and New York. Now all these places are a part of her.

She draws, writes, and teaches. She recently completed her first graphic novel, THE BEST WE COULD DO (Abrams, 2017), which is about her mother and father.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

TUMBLR      

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THE NIB   

GOOGLE BOOKS   

GERTRUDE & TOBY MEET THE WOLF by Shari Tharp – A beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written book for ages 6-8 – COMING SOON

gertrude-and-toby-meet-the-wolf

 

Title: GERTRUDE AND TOBY MEET THE WOLF  

Series: THE GERTRUDE AND TOBY FAIRY-TALE ADVENTURE SERIES   

Author: SHARI THARP 

Illustrator: JIM HEATH

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION  

Target Readership: AGES 6 to 8

Number of Pages: 40 PAGES = 950 WORDS 

ISBN (Hardcover): 9780996967976           Price: $16.99

ISBN (Softcover): 9781945033001              Price: $7.99

ISBN (eBook): 999781945032                      Price: $4.99  

Release Date (Hardcover): December 15, 2016

Release Date (Softcover & eBook): January 5, 2017  

Publisher: ATLAS PUBLISHING    

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars    

 

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MY REVIEW:

“Gertrude and Toby are best friends and live at McFarland Farms. Every Friday when Farmer Sam goes shopping in town, Gertrude and Toby sneak off the farm for a fun adventure.”

This is the third book in the Gertrude and Toby Fairy-Tale Adventure Series and the first book that I have read. It is NOT necessary to have read the first book to enjoy the third. Each title works as a stand-alone story.

Gertrude is a goat and Toby is a tortoise. They seem to make an unlikely pair, but they work perfectly in the story. In each book the pair go on an adventure and they run into characters from other fairy tales.

At first I was skeptical that this concept would come across as fresh and unique, but it definitely does. I loved the fact that the pair head out to go fishing at Trout Lake and they decide that whoever catches the most fish will be the one to choose what adventure they will embark upon.

As they are walking a boy runs by on a few separate occasions yelling that a wolf is close by (from the fairy tale “The Boy Who Cried Wolf) and later in the story when a wolf actually does appear, readers meet the pigs from the fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs.”

The illustrations are simply gorgeous and a treat for the eye.

Parents (or Grandparents) will enjoy reading this story to their children just as much as the children will enjoy listening to the tale of the two best friends. I highly recommend this truly wonderful book and I believe that it will make a terrific Christmas gift. Since this book is due to be released in hardcover ten days before Christmas, the timing is perfect.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars and I look forward to reading the first two books in the series as well.

I received a free copy of this book from the Publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Shari Tharp is a graduate of San Diego State University and a former teacher. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and son. Her debut book, GERTRUDE AND TOBY’S FRIDAY ADVENTURE, won a silver medal IPPY award for Best Illustrated Ebook.

The next two books in the series, GERTRUDE AND TOBY SAVE THE GINGERBREAD MAN and GERTRUDE AND TOBY MEET THE WOLF, are scheduled to be released in late 2016.

In addition to writing, Shari enjoys playing chess, hiking, biking, and reading (of course!).

To learn more about the author visit the following links:

SHARI THARP’S OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBPAGE

FACEBOOK   

GOODREADS    

AMAZON CANADA

AMAZON USA      

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PRESS RELEASE FROM ATLAS PUBLISHING:

BREAKING NEWS!

Gertrude and Toby’s Friday Adventure

Wins IPPY Silver Medal Award—Best Children’s Illustrated E-book  

 

 

3 Stars for THE FISHER FAMILY FLOATS AWAY by Barb Asselin – CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW


Title: THE FISHER FAMILY FLOATS AWAY 

Author: BARB ASSELIN

Series: A READ-WITH-ME BOOK

Length: 26 pages 

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Beginning Readers 

Release Date: May 13, 2015

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
MY REVIEW:

When you purchase this book, you receive a link to download a free activity book called AFRICAN ANIMALS ACTIVITY BOOK. This is a nice bonus. 

The Fisher family consists of Mom, Dad, Toby and Darcie. 

I’m not sure if Darcie is Toby’s little sister or if she is his big sister. Why am I unsure? Well, It is because the author refers to Darcie as both “little” and “big.” 

The story reads: “Toby’s wish had come true. ‘OK’ he shouted, then he ran into the house to get his favourite baseball cap and tell his mom and his little sister, Darcie.” Then a few paragraphs later it reads: “Hey, Darcie, Toby said to his big sister.” 

So, which is it? Is Darcie the little sister or the big sister? 

Another issue I have is that the word “mom” in the above paragraph is not capitalized. 

Toby is excited when his father comes home from work with a boat tied to the top of his car. The whole family then get in the car and head to the stream at their local park. They proceed to have an adventure in the new boat. The storyline is quite cute and I believe children will enjoy the story. 

However, I found this book confusing. The boat is referred to as a boat throughout the story and the paddles are referred to as “oars” BUT the picture clearly shows that the “boat” is actually a canoe. If that is the case, then the “oars” should be referred to as “paddles.” I’m not sure if I am just overly picky, but when I read a book to my grandchild I want her to know the proper names for things and to know that there is a difference between a boat and a canoe, even if she is only four. 

Additionally, I had an immediate negative reaction to the fact that when the family members get into the canoe, not a single one of them puts on a lifejacket. As a parent and a grandparent who likes to go fishing and who has experience with both boats and canoes, I would NEVER allow children near the water without a lifejacket. I believe that books should reflect life and that they can be terrific teaching aids.

Children are incredibly observant and I can visualize my granddaughter saying, “Why do I have to wear a lifejacket? The people in the story we just read didn’t wear them.”

The accompanying picture also shows the family in the canoe without lifejackets. 

With a bit of editing this could be a terrific story. I loved the ending and think that children will get a good laugh out of it, but currently the negative aspects of this book outweigh the positive. Because of the reasons stated above, I rate this book as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barb Asselin is a college professor and best-selling author who has published books in many different genres including education, cooking, law, real estate, Internet marketing, entrepreneurship, baby sign language and children’s books. 

Barb wrote her first children’s book when her first child was just six months old. Since then she has written many more. Her work has been published online and in Appleseeds magazine. 

Barb lives in Canada with her husband, Mike and their two adorable daughters. 

Feel free to contact Barb through any of the following social media outlets (she loves to hear from her readers).

Email: barb@barbasselin.com

Facebook 

Twitter 

Pinterest 

5 Stars for A TALE OF TWO MOMMIES by Vanita Oelschlager – CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW

A Tale of Two Mommies Cover Art

Title: A TALE OF TWO MOMMIES

Author: Vanita Oelschlager

Illustrator: Mike Blanc

Length: 40 Pages

Genre: Children’ s Fiction, LGBTQ Awareness for children

Target Readership: This book is appropriate for children from Kindergarten to Grade 4 – Ages: 4-8 years

Edition: Hardcover

Publisher: VANITA BOOKS

Release Date: September 1, 2011

ISBN: 9780982636664

Price: $15.95

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars *****

 

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”

This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.

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MY REVIEW:

This book was written by Vanita Oelschlager. Previously, she authored the book “A Tale of Two Daddies” and decided that it was important to write these children’s books so that they could be used/read aloud not only by parents, but also by librarians and teachers. In fact, if you visit the Publisher’s website you can download (for free) “An Educator’s Guide” to “A Tale of Two Mommies.” This guide is amazing and helps parents and teachers learn how to answer questions asked by their children regarding same sex parents. It also is a guide to how the subject of same sex parents can be talked about in a non-threatening way.

Firstly I want to talk about the gorgeous illustrations in this book. Mike Blanc has done a truly great job creating cute but also realistic child characters. The way he has shaped their faces gives them  friendly countenance. The fact that the three children in the book are all obviously friends despite the fact that the girl is Caucasian and one of the boys is Asian and the other is African-American is very nice to see. Children do not notice race or colour, they just see potential friends and playmates and his book reflects that fact.

This book takes place on a visit to the beach. The kid’s are asking their friend questions about his two moms. He calls one Mom “Momma” and the other “Mommie”

The kids ask: “Which Mom coaches your T-ball team? Which Mom’s there when you’ve have a bad dream?”

To which he responds: “Mommy is the coach of my T-ball team. Both Mommies are there when I’ve had a bad dream?”

The rhyming, lyrical quality to the writing is perfect for the target age group and I believe they will love to have this book read to them. It is a great way to open up a discussion about the many types of families that exist in today’s society.

The illustrations never include the moms, you see a bit of their hands, or the bottom half of their bodies, but you never see a full image of them. I think this was a brilliant decision because by not including pictures of the Mommies, kids will not get any ideas that Lesbian couples look a certain way. Very smart decision.

Overall I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. *****

CLICK THIS LINK TO BUY THIS BOOK: 
A Tale of Two Mommies on Amazon

** ALL PROFITS FROM SALES OF THIS BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO CHARITY**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Tale of Two Mommies author pic

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.

She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.

She has also supported and helped her husband Jim as he built Oak Associates, Ltd. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won’t go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this “elephant”, and to share some of the larger lessons about life they’ve learned through the disease.

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

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Mike Blanc is a life-long professional artist.  His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration. He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandkids.

Mike was born in Akron Ohio, in 1953. On February 9th, 1964 he witnessed the first performance of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in the living room with his brothers; Pat, Gene and Joe and also his toddler sister Lisa. He went to Coventry Senior High, Class of 1971. Mike married Gail Smith in 1973 and they have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Mike is a self-taught artist. He has created many hundreds of designs for t-shirt and textile impressions for Champion Bowling Supply in Akron, Hooper Handprints, Florida, and Air Waves, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Mike worked in an artists’ colony, Halbert’s Incorporated in Akron for a year creating heraldic art. Looking back, he believes that his Halbert’s co-worker was Chrissie Hynde, the Pretender and art major (please confirm this, Chrissie).  He’s been self-employed at Mike Blanc Studios since 1974. From 1989 till present, he’s a full-time associate at Artists Incorporated and is associated with VanitaBooks, LLC, of Akron an independent publishing corporation.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER VANITA BOOKS:

Vanita Books Header

–> – The information below was copied from the Publisher’s website.

We’re In Business To Help Others

100 percent of the PROFITS_logo_001

VanitaBooks publishes books for children ages 4-8 that are short tales teaching a moral or value. Each book presents a dilemma or fear that a child may have, and resolves those issues through the loving and reassuring guidance of a parent, or through the plot of the story itself.

VanitaBooks is a for-profit business. Our goal is to produce popular, fun books that we hope lots of people will buy. Because our other goal is to donate ALL of our net profits to worthy organizations.

Here are the groups we are supporting so far. We will add more as we publish more books. We urge you to support them too.

Holt International
An international adoption and children’s support organization.
www.holtinternational.org

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National organization providing programs for people with MS and supporting research to find its cause.
www.nationalmssociety.org

The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis
Ohio-based clinic that provides state-of-the-art care.
www.oakclinic.com

5 Stars for OVERSCHEDULED ANDREW by Ashley Spires – BOOK REVIEW

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Title: Over-Scheduled Andrew

Author: Ashley Spires

Illustrator: Ashley Spires

Type of Book: Hardcover

Price: $19.99 CDN

Release Date: January 12, 2016

Length: 32 pages

ISBN: 978-1-77049-484-8

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Self-Help

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars *****

 

MY REVIEW:

Andrew loves putting on plays so he decides to join the drama club at school. Determined to make his performance the best it can be, he joins the debate club to practice his public speaking. He signs up for dance and karate to help with his coordination. Then he’s asked to play for the tennis team and edit the school newspaper. Before long he’s learning to play the bagpipes, attending Spanish classes and joining the French film club. Suddenly Andrew doesn’t have time for anything or anyone else, not even his best friend Edie. And he definitely doesn’t have time to sleep.

It astounds me how over-scheduled kids in today’s world seem to be. OVER-SCHEDULED ANDREW highlights the perils of this rampant practice. While this is a children’s book and has gorgeous illustrations and is written in the simple prose that will appeal to young children, it contains a lesson, not only for the children, but for their parents as well.

Andrew signs up for more and more activities and the reasons that he signs up are admirable, but as his schedule becomes more and more full, he becomes more and more exhausted. Andrew finds himself not only tired, but also confused. He no longer has time to simply be a kid or to play with his best friend. Sadly, this happens to many, many children today.

Proof of this is easy to see. Go to any subdivision on a beautiful, sunny day and look around. When I was a child (in the 70s and early 80s) that subdivision would have been full of children outside playing with friends, riding their bikes, etc. Now, that subdivision looks like an adult-living community where no children actually reside. The kids all seem to be inside their houses; either watching television or playing video games. As far as I am concerned this is an epidemic.

Of course, as parents, we want the best for our children. I believe that is as true today as it was in the past, but unfortunately many parents have fallen into the trap of over-scheduling. They want to offer their children every opportunity and so they sign them up for every activity possible. This can actually have a negative impact on the child rather than the positive impact which was the original intent.

I absolutely LOVE the illustrations in this book. Andrew is a bird and his best friend, Edie, is a deer, but the illustrations are stylized perfectly. Each illustrated scene shows just enough detail to be relevant to the wording on that page, and does not contain distracting elements. The balance between detail and simplicity is simply superb. The illustrations also contain the perfect amount of humor.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars and I highly recommend it for children between the ages of 3 and 7. I recommend that all parents read this book no matter how old their children are since it contains a simple message that all parents should heed.

Purchase this book online at the following retailers:

Amazon.ca

Chapters-Indigo Books

McNally-Robinson Books

Amazon.com

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (Illustration obtained from www.ashleyspires.com)

Ashley Spires Author Illustration

Ashley Spires is the author and illustrator of numerous funny books for children including The Most Magnificent Thing and the Binky the Space Cat series.She was born and raised in BC with eight cats and a dog.

After spending some time living in Toronto and Saskatoon, she has returned to the BC life, living in Ladner with three cats, one dog and a man. When she is not running or bike riding or over-scheduling herself, she makes children’s books, many of which have won numerous awards, including Ontario’s Silver Birch Express, the Atlantic Province’s Hackmatack, Saskatchewan’s Shining Willow and BC’s Chocolate Lily Award.

Visit Ashley at her website www.ashleyspires.com or follow her on twitter: @ashleyspires

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Stars for IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN CHINA by Carole P. Roman – BOOK REVIEW

  

Title: IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN … CHINA

Series: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around The World

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga

Type of Book: eBook 

Length: 30 pages

ISBN: 9781511440844

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Release Date: June 7, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I really love the idea of having children’s books that introduce kids to other cultures. In today’s global economy, it is will be very important that children grow up knowing about other races, religions and cultures. 

This book won the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award 2015 – for Children’s Interest 

I believe these types of books are also essential to eliminating racism and prejudice from our world. Everyone knows that today’s children are our future leaders and instilling a sense of global community in them at a young age can only be a good thing. 

I love the fact that the author has included the information of how to pronounce the words that may be unfamiliar to the reader, such as showing that China is pronounced as Chai-Na. What a great idea!

The only negative I could come up with regarding this book would be that I would have liked the font to be larger and that I would have preferred to see an extra empty line between sentences just to make reading the book easier. 

This series has books about many different countries and I hope to get a chance to read all of them. I am also looking forward to sharing these books with my three year old granddaughter and introducing her to other cultures. 

According to Amazon, these books are targeted at readers ages 3 to 10, but even adults may find themselves learning things they had not known before. 

The illustrations are clean and relevant. They are the perfect compliment to the story. 

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born.”Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life” has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. “Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series.

Her new non fiction series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico” has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children’s Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca’s Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in …France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in…France for best in children’s non fiction literature 2013. They will be followed with Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.

Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.

http://caroleproman.livesitehost.com/

http://caroleproman.blogspot.ca 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

  
Kelsea Parks Wierenga graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2006. She has worked seven years as a professional illustrator and designer for CreateSpace.com, a Print On Demand book publisher in Charleston, South Carolina. Sometimes I’m a Fire-Breathing Dragon is an original story that Kelsea wrote, illustrated and published in 2010.

Kelsea is currently illustrating author Carole P. Roman’s cultural children’s book series available on Amazon.com. These informative and entertaining books detail every day life for kids living in countries around the world including: Mexico, France, South Korea, Norway and many more.

To learn more visit https://kelsea.carbonmade.com/about