Review: Greta Grace

***This is a partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Emerald Lake Books. All opinions are my own

An engaging, hard to put down novel about friendship, bulling, insecurities, self-esteem and how complex school and relationships can be. The narrative and characters are very well developed.

The book presents relatable situations, making it a great tool for teachers, educators and caregivers to discuss coping mechanisms, mediation, problem resolution, empathy , bullying and the importance to find our own voices with teenagers.

Greta is a not very popular seventh grader who carried her life without much drama. Until challenges and changes begin to overwhelm her. Her elderly neighbour and friend end up in a coma, she begins to suffer aggressive bullying at school and online, at the same time she deals with her long time crush finally noticing her. A rollercoaster of feelings and emotions.

At the end, the readers will have enough to reflect about perspective, reasons behind behaviours, and how to deal with hard situations the best way possible, avoiding drama without being an outsider.

Recommended to middle schoolers.

GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Greta Grace, along with a 1-hr coaching session for a parent on how to raise a super-empowered teen.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A copy of Greta Grace

A 1-hr parenting coaching session with Joanna Quinn

Four (4) winners receive:

A copy of Greta Grace

The giveaway begins September 20, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 20, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

To enter:

https://gleam.io/4Pvl7/greta-grace-giveaway

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joanna O’Reilly Quinn can usually be found learning something new to teach teens. As a former middle school teacher, founder of Super Empowered One, and life coach, it is no surprise that her middle-grade fiction book, Greta Grace, weaves some teachable moments into her character’s very relatable experiences. Think, middle school… Ahhh!Through her company, Super Empowered One, Joanna teaches kids how to access their confidence, happiness and power, so they can live their best life. Joanna loves writing, the ocean, a good run, and living in Fairfield, Connecticut, with her husband and two kids. Visit her at superempoweredone.com to learn more about her coaching services and Greta Grace.

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

This is a partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Tom Durwood. All opinions are my own

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism is a great resource for teachers, students and all those who are passionated about children’s literature. Divided in three main sections, the book break down iconic and main stream kid’s stories and use popular culture, games and movies to analyze, and discuss genres, language, characters development and literary elements.

Interview with scholars and lesson plans are a welcome bonus and useful to create discussions with students of different ages. It also provides good insights and analyses of story structure,  symbolism, cultural and political elements, different genders, same tales told in different ways and more. 

The read is easy and enjoyable. A good addition to the new school year activities and reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history.  Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as a guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam’s Neck Annex of the Naval War College.

Tom is editor of an online scholarly journal, The Journal of Empire Studies (www.empirestudies.org). Peter Suber, Berkman Fellow at Harvard University, an advocate of the open access movement, praises the journal as “a new opportunity for overcoming access barriers to knowledge and research.”  Dr. Julian Fisher of Scholarly Exchange has also applauded Tom’s efforts. “Creating valuable academic content and then hiding it behind financial firewalls – the traditional scholarly publishing model – runs counter to the essence of scholarship, learning and sharing,” according to Fisher. “To see a journal such as the Journal of Empire Studies breaking that mold is exciting.”

Tom’s newspaper column “Shelter” appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Tom earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, where he edited an undergraduate arts journal and studied with David McClelland (Roots of Consciousness).  

For more information, teacher resources, and lesson plans, visit www.kidlitcrit.com.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism!

Ten (10) winners receive:

  • A digital copy of Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

The giveaway begins June 29, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends July 29, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Embeddable HTML code for giveaway form:

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One Big Canvas Book Series – Review

This is a partnership with The Children’s Book Review and the REED Foundation for Autism. All opinions are exclusively my own

This book series is so amazing! A great tool for caregivers and educators to talk about behavioural differences and autism with young children. Colourful, fun and engaging stories, that without mentioning any disability or emphasizing too much any challenge, tackles the importance of accepting differences, kindness, empathy, understanding and how each and everyone have their own gifts to share.

As a mother and a teacher, I’m really happy to add ” The Masterpiece” and ” The Molding of Clay to my classroom and libraries. They are definitely in the “must read aloud list!”. And I really enjoyed discussing it with my class after we read together.

Written by Jay Miletsky
Illustrated by Luis Peres

A group of paintbrushes get together to create a grand masterpiece. Reese leads the gang and they all start creating. All paintbrushes raced to begin, except one. Estelle sat off aside rocking back and forth humming a single note. Her friends gave her options of paint and invited her to join them if and when she wanted. They all had the same understanding and welcoming attitude towards Byron who would only draw circles and Lee that screamed and moved a little too strong. The result is a beautiful and inclusive painting. A real masterpiece!

Written by Jay Miletsky
Illustrated by Luis Peres

On the second book of the series the brushes are back and excited! They are expecting a visit from their good friend Clay! With a banner and flowers they prepare a big welcome. But when Clay arrives greeting everyone, one of the brushes – Paul – has a hard time and covers his ears yelling that it was all too loud. A little later, Estelle’s humming bothers Clay, while another brush can’t stop talking about boats, waves and canoes. The other brushes talk to Clay about how it was all ok and how important was to understand and be kind. To respect and include all. Clay smiles and says he can mold himself into new things… he leaves for a while and come back as a boat. He finds a way to play something fun together, with ALL friends. Everyone is happy, comfortable and above all: respected and included!

GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a ‘One Big Canvas’ book series prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A hardcover copy of One Big Canvas: The Masterpiece
  • A hardcover copy of One Big Canvas: The Molding of Clay
  • A $50 Amazon gift card

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A hardcover copy of One Big Canvas: The Masterpiece
  • A hardcover copy of One Big Canvas: The Molding of Clay

The giveaway begins April 23, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT, and ends May 23, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3d5cb282224/

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Stand Like a Cedar

This is one of my current favourite books to celebrate our planet, the environment and nature. It’s about connection with the land, adventure, curiosity and exploration. 

It talks about gratitude, grace and being a part of something bigger than our individual selves. It also celebrated and showcase Indigenous peoples and their culture.

Young readers learn animal names in Indigenous languages and the book includes a glossary with pronunciation notes at the end.

I used in my class for Earth Day celebration and after reading aloud with my children we had a great discussion about our responsibility and how to take care of our planet and ensure we leave it better for future generations.

Highly recommend it, it’s a wonderful and powerful addition to home and school libraries.

Thank you @zgstories for sending me a copy. All opinions are my own. 

Stand Like a Cedar

Words by Nicola I. Campbell & Illustrated by Carrielynn Victor

Published by High Water Press

MESOPO – REVIEW

***This is a partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Eva Dietrich. I was sent an electronic copy of the book, but ALL opinions are my own.***

Mesopo is a fun, engaging and well written fantasy book. I couldn’t put it down. Among the many good elements, the fact that it’s one of the few of its genre to be based on Middle Eastern’s culture is a more than welcome plus, especially to expose children and young readers to different cultures and traditions.

Ankido Gulzar is 12 year old boy who loves words. His passion is so strong that he even creates his own. And it’s also what connects him with his beloved grandmother, Habubti. When his father, a British/Iraqi archeologist goes missing, Habubti has no choice but to leave her grandson with his aunt Geraldine and uncle James, not the kindest people.

Shortly after, Ankido is sent away from his home, the Gulzar Estate and finds himself into a magic book, in the world of Mesopo, having to save the fantasy world, his own… and stories everywhere from the dangerous words thief Humbaba.

Reading the book, brought me back memories of the wonderful NeverEnding Story, where a young warrior is given the task of stopping the Nothing, a dark force, from engulfing the wonderland world of Fantasia.

Characters are well developed and interesting. Young readers will relate to Ankido’s frustrations, doubts, insecurities and how he seeks for his role in the world as he faces challenges.

No doubt a great reading for fantasy fans and book lovers. The power stories celebrated at its best! Highly recommend it.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Mesopo and a feather dip quill pen writing set!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A paperback copy of Mesopo
  • A digital copy of Mesopo
  • A Feather Dip Quill Pen Writing Ink Set

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A choice of:
    • A paperback copy of Mesopo
    • A digital copy of Mesopo

The giveaway begins April 1, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends April 30, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3d5cb282216/

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eva Dietrich is the author of The Great Rainbow Hug (Le gros câlin arc-en-ciel, from Samir Editeur, 2011), recognized by La Revue Des Livres Pour Enfants in 2011 as their annual selection. Eva holds Masters’ Degrees in Children’s Literature from the University of Surrey, London, and Creative Writing from the Metropolitan University of Manchester, UK, and is the founder and director of Aladdin Books. She is equal parts Spanish and German, and currently resides in Madrid with her three kids, three dogs, two cats, three rabbits, and lots of hens.

For more information, visit https://www.aladdin-books.com/

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rCz7Ts

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/2078/9781733367103

This book tour started on April 1st and will end on April 26th. You can check out the previous and following reviews:

TOUR SCHEDULE

Thursday, April 1, 2021The Children’s Book ReviewA book review ofMesopo
Friday, April 2, 2021The Fairview ReviewA book review ofMesopo
Saturday, April 3, 2021Library Lady’s Kid LitA book review ofMesopo
Sunday, April 4, 2021Barbara Ann Mojica’s BlogA book review ofMesopo
Tuesday, April 6, 2021Lisa’s ReadingA book review ofMesopo
Wednesday, April 7, 2021A Dream Within a DreamA book review ofMesopo
Thursday, April 8, 2021Crafty Moms ShareA book review ofMesopo
Monday, April 12, 2021Life Is What It’s CalledA book review ofMesopo
Tuesday, April 13, 2021icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review ofMesopo
Thursday, April 15, 2021Book Bug CAA book review ofMesopo
Monday, April 19, 2021J.R.s Book ReviewsA book review ofMesopo
Tuesday, April 20, 2021Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersAn interview withEva Dietrich
Friday, April 26, 2021Tales of a Wanna-Be SuperHero MomA book review ofMesopo

Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down – REVIEW

This is a new release out on April 2021 that I excited about and believe it will be a great addition to families and classrooms’ libraries! And so is Dante (my 3 years old) who loved reading with me and saw himself in most of the situations! 

A playful and fun book about sensory experiences and how they are felt by toddlers and younger children. We follow a young girl through her day as she interacts with sounds, motions and tactile experiences. 

The vibration in her feet when we run, the tap-tap-tap of her spoon on the table at mealtime – these are the things that calm her jitters down.  We also see how sand on her hands or “losing her arms as she puts on a shirt can unsettle her.

So relatable to children and also parents of young children. You will laugh and be able to talk about feelings and sensations. 

“This book is for anyone who has ever felt the need for a wiggle, stomp or squeeze!”

Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down”

Words by Lindsey Rowe Parker and Illustrations by Rebecca Burgess

Publishes by: BQB Publishing

One Jar of Magic – Interview with author Corey Ann Haydu

**This post is a partnership with The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins Publishers**

I’m very excited about the release “One Jar of Magic”, by Corey Ann Haydu and the chance to interview her and learn more about the book. I hope you enjoy our “chat” as much as I did!!!

Welcome, Corey! I’m so excited to talk to you about your new release, One Jar of Magic! Can you tell us about it?

ONE JAR OF MAGIC is about a girl, Rose Alice Anders, who has been told her whole life that she is destined to follow in her father’s footsteps and become the most magical girl in her whole town. She lives in a place that runs on magic that the townspeople capture in jars once a year, and when she fails to meet her destiny and capture a sufficient amount of magic, everything starts to fall apart for me. Her friendships are challenged, her whole standing in the community unravels and in that disarray, Rose starts to see new things about her family. Things that she maybe saw all along but didn’t want to tell anyone or even admit to herself. She sees a side of her father that isn’t in line with the magical, famous, beloved man he’s supposed to be. And in all of that change and unsteadiness, Rose has to figure out who she is, if she isn’t who she was told she’d be. 

From where did the idea for the book come?

This book, maybe more than any others, came in bits and pieces. The jars of magic came first, and I had to find a story that fit with that magic system. Rose’s friendships came next– I really wanted to write about jealousy in friendship and feeling lonely and not good enough– things I’ve felt many times. But as I built out that part of the story, I realized I needed to tell a story about Rose’s family, and I very quickly understood that her family was one with difficult secrets, something I know about from my own childhood. 

Do you have a favorite part?

This is so hard! I think my favorite scene is the scene on New Year’s Day, where Rose goes off to capture magic with everyone in her town. It was an early scene that I wrote in an early draft, that grew more complicated and layered and interesting over time, and I love what remains from the early draft and also how much changed as I got to know Rose. 

Any challenges during the writing process?

There are always, always moments of being totally lost when I’m writing, being so unclear on what it is I’m trying to do or say, or if it will ever turn into a book. With this book, there wasn’t one huge moment of panic, but lots of little moments of being unsure. Luckily, my editor, Mabel Hsu, was a huge support and helped me every time I was unsure or lost or having some new, big, foundation-shifting idea that would change the direction of the book. I LOVE big foundation shifting ideas in my early drafts, I love thinking of a whole new way to tell the story, and luckily Mabel was so supportive of that, and able to help me make those wild ideas make sense. 

If Rose (the lead character) could send a message to her readers, what would that be? 

Trust yourself, even the you that is just simple, imperfect you. It’s a message I need to hear sometimes too. 

Would that be Rose’s only tale, or can we expect to see her again in a future book?

I expect this might be Rose’s only story, but I never know for sure! 

What books have you enjoyed lately?

Recently in middle grade, I’ve read and loved: THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN by Brandy Colbert; REDWOOD AND PONYTAIL by K.A. Holt; WE DREAM OF SPACE by Erin Entrada Kelly; and CLOUD AND WALLFISH by Anne Nesbet. I read a lot in YA and adult as well! 

Do you have anything in the works?

Lots of things! I have a new YA novel in verse that I’m working on that follows multiple generations of mothers and daughters. I also have a new middle grade novel, TREE, that is based on the myth of Daphne and Apollo, and the last two books in my HAND-ME-DOWN MAGIC series, about a beautiful patchwork purse and a mysterious tea set. I am super proud of the series, and love spending time with the family that lives in those pages. 

I always like to ask: Any favorite quote(s) from a book? It can be yours or by another author.

My very favorite literary quote is from Sylvia Plath, from her beautiful poem ELM. It’s a quote that’s given me strength and calm in difficult moments

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:   

It is what you fear.

I do not fear it: I have been there.

GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a set of books by Corey Ann Haydu, including One Jar of Magic.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic
  • A hardcover copy of Eventown
  • A hardcover copy of The Someday Suitcase
  • A hardcover copy of Rules for Stealing Stars

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic

The giveaway begins February 9, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends March 8, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3d5cb282209/

To purchase a copy of the book:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cHPUky

Audible: https://amzn.to/3oOWkjS

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/2078/9780062689856

Find more about Corey and her other books : www.coreyannhaydu.com

Maria Montessori – Little People, Big Dreams

From an early age, Maria challenge norms studying science at an all-boys school. She was the first female doctor in Italy and specialized in care of children.

To me, most importantly, she changed the course of education by giving love and respect as part of treatment for disabled children that were treated as sick and not exposed to resources and learning tools. She created a method that allows children to believe in themselves and want to learn.

By using games and fun activities, Maria created a way to encourage curiosity and become their own teachers. She learned them to ask questions and look for the answers instead of just push answers and concepts on them. Her method allows them to be more independent, resilient and in control.

This is a great book to share Maria Montessori’s story with children 3 to 8 years old. 

A trail blazer, but above all someone that lead the way for children to be valued. And showed the world that disabilities and learning challenges are NOT sickness.

\

Maria Montessori (Little People, Big Dreams series)

Words by Ma. Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Illustrated by Raquel Martin

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess

***Celebrating Multicultural Children’s Books Day #MCBD2021 #ReadYourWorld***

Inspired by the life of Broadway actress Kayla Pecchioni, this is the first of a five part series about family, dreams, knowing your worth and how support and open conversation builds confidence.


Kayla’s mom wakes her up every day and asks her: “What’s your plan today”. Mom explains plans give us hope and dreams. Mom works very late everyday, past Kayla’s bedtime. But today it’s different. Mom is coming home early with good news!


Mommy arrives and tells Kayla she got a promotion. And then tells the little girl the best promotion she ever got was to be a mom. While giving Kayla a beautiful tiara, she talks about how special her daughter is and that she must believe in herself and all the things she can do. That despite obstacles, she knows she will MAKE a way.


That night Kayla went to bed dreaming about what the future would bring and promising herself to explore it and be the best version of herself.
This book is so beautiful in so many ways. It talks to the young reader abour a hardwork parent, believing in themselves, persistence, the power of family, dreams and love.


Once again, the author Deedee Cummings gives us an inspiring book to start important conversations. Her choices of words and the great rhythm is perfect for reading aloud with groups.  My young bookworms enjoyed it so much!
Recommended for children 3 to 6 years old.

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess
by Deedee Cummimgs

Bully

The Julie Payette story is showing us, once and again, how essencial it is to fight the “bulling culture”. 

We must start in school and educate our children. To raise better leaders and to protect them. But we must never forget that is work to be done with the grown ups too.

Not long ago it happened to me. I was bullied and humiliated by someone at work. Constantly. Until I had enough and spoke up. And told my superiors I would not work with the person again.

So I was moved to another sector and life went on. But that person did not suffer consequences for the actions and got to do it with my replacement (who also raised the matter).

So, why do organizations allow it to happen? Being a great professional (my bully was) does not exempt you for treating people right. Does not allow you to humiliate them and break their spirit. It must never be tolerated! 

I deeply hope Payette’s case shines a light on what success and leadership should be. And that undermining others that have “less power” than you is just not acceptable.

This book is a classic and a great one to start the conversation with the young ones. We read in class today. 

BULLY

By: Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Published by: Roaring Brook Press

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