The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.
Today, I’ll be sharing reviews of two new picture book releases from Sourcebooks. One is about the Apollo 11 mission and is a great way to introduce kids to science and space. The other is a whimsical story of inclusion and acceptance featuring unicorns and rhyming words.
What a month! What a couple of months actually! I have been very busy with work over the last six weeks or so – but that’s a great thing! I love being a writer and working on articles and new book projects.
I have been fortunate enough in my writing career to become a published author. I have written several nonfiction educational books for children and teens, and just recently finished working on a couple of new ones that will be out in 2020.
In January, I had a new book release as part of a middle grade series called Inventions That Changed the World. I wrote about Facebook. There’s no denying that social media, and Facebook in particular, has had a huge impact on our world. That’s what I dive into in my latest book, How Facebook Changed the World.
I love middle grade novels. Last year I did a post about why I love reading the young adult genre, and I think I may have to do a similar one about middle grade in the future. MG novels are the best! The characters are usually around 10 to 13 years old and still figuring out who they are, where they fit in, and what the world is all about (aren’t we all?!)
I recently received a new MG novel from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. To be honest, the title and the cover drew me in right away. Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers. But, come on, look at it! Those beautifully blended winter blues and purples in the trees and reflecting off the snow…that gorgeous pink moon…the young girl dancing in the snow…and is that a dog? For a dog mom like myself, you just can’t beat a book with a dog on the cover. I was intrigued from the get-go.
Well, July is in full swing and that “summer vacation” feeling is in the air! I stated in my last post that I often gravitate toward middle grade and young adult books in the summer. I chose The Borrowers as my July book bucket list pick for this very reason. I figured that I would probably be in the mood for something light and imaginative, and I have wanted to revisit this childhood favorite for some time. It seemed like the timing would be perfect, and it was.
Since I didn’t get to read many books in June, this post will serve as both a book review post and my June wrap-up. I did thoroughly enjoy All the Stars in the Heavens, and I did get to my book bucket list pick for June, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I can’t wait to write my review of that book, though nothing I write will ever do it justice. If you missed All the Stars in the Heavens, you can go back and read my review here. My review of Diary of a Young Girl will be my next post so watch for that in the coming days.
Moving on to today’s reviews, I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz amongst both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s work since Disney kindly gave me an advanced reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!
This month I was fortunate to receive two new titles in the young adult and middle grade genres from a new indie publisher called Neem Tree Press. Neem Tree Press is a publisher of international fiction in translation in the UK. Both of these books were intriguing stories told with a unique voice. I love reading stories told from a young person’s perspective. Children see the world in a way that adults can’t or won’t, and they usually offer some eye-opening insights while telling their stories. Today, I’d like to highlight both of these new books and invite you to explore them further.
“But Jane and Michael were not taken in by that snap. For they could see in Mary Poppins’s eyes something that, if she were anybody else but Mary Poppins, might have been described as tears…” – Mary Poppins
Earlier this month I shared part of my Book Bucket List. It is a list of books that I feel I must read in my lifetime. It differs from my To Be Read list in that these are books that I really feel compelled to read for one reason or another. On the other hand, my To Be Read list is a list of books that I think look interesting or amusing or that someone gave to me and I’d like to read eventually. But they are not books that I’ve always wanted to read nor will I be devastated if I don’t get to them in my lifetime.
My Book Bucket List consists of a variety of titles of literature for adults and children. Maybe it’s a book that has been traditionally controversial and I need to know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s a historically important piece of literature. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve heard referenced throughout my life but have never read myself. In some cases, they are books from my childhood, classic children’s tales that I remember enjoying but am fuzzy on the stories themselves. So I’d like to revisit them as an adult to fully appreciate their contributions to children’s literature and to my childhood as well. My January Book Bucket List pick is Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Continue reading
I am very excited to share the news of my first children’s book from Cavendish Square Publishing! The title is Property Rights, and it is part of a series that teaches Civic Values to grades 2-4. I am very proud to be a part of this project. I signed on for this series last year and it is so exciting to finally see the finished product! Continue reading
“It had been good to climb, as good as anything he had ever done. It had not been so good to fall, but he would recover. All in all, he thought, it was worth the fall, just to have climbed the tree.” – The Ghosts & Jamal
Jamal is a thirteen year old boy in rural Nigeria whose favorite drinks include Fanta and Sprite. He seems like everyone else except that he lives with epilepsy. His epileptic episodes are misinterpreted by his family as “bad spirits” coming upon him. So Jamal lives apart from his family, in a separate hut on the outskirts of his village. This isolation will ultimately save Jamal’s life during a terrorist attack on his village. I read Jamal’s story in one sitting. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I was worried for this young man – for his health, for his safety, and for his feelings – as he set out on his own to try to escape the attackers and to find his grandfather, or anyone else who survived, and might be able to help him. I feared for him and wanted to help and protect him. Continue reading