Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri


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Picture Book Review: Taste Your Words written by Bonnie Clark, illustrated by Todd Bright

I feel for so many different groups of people who are being affected by this pandemic in different ways. I feel so badly for the kiddos who didn’t get to say goodbye to their friends or teachers for the year. My heart breaks for graduating seniors who got no prom, no commencement ceremony, and missed out on half of their senior year. I can’t imagine how difficult this time has been for those who live alone and can only interact with others virtually. While that helps, it’s just not the same.

Kait's Bookshelf Taste Your Words Cover

I also feel so badly for authors, especially debut authors, who were to be published during this time and had to have their pub dates pushed back. Or to authors whose books did publish on schedule but were unable to promote their books with signings, school visits, etc. This will undoubtedly impact book sales, and it just doesn’t seem fair.

So for today’s blog, I’d like to highlight Taste Your Words, the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark, which released in April.

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Book Review: Don’t Check Out This Book! By Kate Klise (illustrated by M. Sarah Klise)

Kait's Bookshelf Don't Check Out This Book!I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.

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Book Review: Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Kait's Bookshelf Front Desk by Kelly YangSo far 2020 has brought incredible reading my way. If you missed my review of Cynthia L. Copeland’s debut graphic novel for young readers, Cub, you can go back and read it here. My second read of the New Year, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, has been on my TBR for some time. I am so happy I finally got to read this book and only wish that I’d pushed some others out of the way and gotten to it sooner!

Front Desk is a book I will keep, re-read, and recommend. In fact, I hope everyone reads and recommends this book, especially teachers. Front Desk is a timely tale about a ten year old Chinese girl named Mia who immigrates to America with her parents. Drawn largely from Ms. Yang’s own experiences growing up, Front Desk is an emotionally charged novel sure to tug on your heart strings and get you fired up at the same time.

From the publisher:

“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”

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New Scary Stories for Kids!

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.

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Picture Book Reviews: Moon’s First Friends and Unicorn Day

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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.

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Book Review: The Borrowers by Mary Norton

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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.

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Friday Firsts: Frog and Toad

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I have decided to start a new blog series called Friday Firsts. Each post will feature a first book-related experience like my first mystery read, my first scary book, the first time I really fell in love with reading, etc. For my first Friday First post, I would like to talk about the first book I remember reading by myself.

The Adventures of Frog and Toad! 

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Book Review: What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With A ProblemI love picture books. I loved them as a child, and I still love them as an adult. When I went back to school, one of the first classes I took was a Children’s Literature course. One of the things I learned in that course is that picture books are designed so that the pictures are for the kids and the words are for the adults. I can see how that’s true with several picture books. There are jokes in certain books that go over kiddos’ heads but manage to give the adults a chuckle.

But, as an adult, I have developed a real appreciation of both the text and the illustrations in picture books. It’s not just an appreciation of the art that goes into these books, though the art is often what makes a few words on a page come to life. But it’s more about the life lessons that picture books instill in children while offering a gentle reminder to adults as well.

One such picture book is What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom.
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