Follow:
Browsing Category:

book reviews

    book reviews, diverse books

    Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin (A Book Review)

    978-0062798602 Published by Harper Kids Pages: 32
    Format: Hardcover
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role. But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role. They whisper, they snicker, and they glare. Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call? Not Quite Snow White is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost. Tameika encourages us all to let our magic shine.

    Many fairy tales depict a world of predominantly blonde heroines with twinkling blue eyes and a fair complexion. This is problematic and an unrealistic view of the world we live in today.

    Seeing oneself is an affirming moment, but for little girls of color, this mirror image is as rare as Cinderella’s glass slipper fitting properly. We all crave representation and deserve access to reflections of ourselves, and that is why I’m excited by this book: Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin illustrated by Ebony Glenn.

    When little Tameika auditions for the role of Snow White, she overhears kids saying she’s “too chubby” and making comments about her having brown skin. They whisper and giggle and stare at her which in turn causes Tameika to second guess her decision about playing the lead role.

    I adore this book for so many reasons. It shows all marginalized kids that everything is possible. Tameika auditioning for the role of Snow White is powerful not only for readers of color, but for everyone, enabling us to see beyond the dominant images of White protagonists in childhood stories and fairy tales.

    It is revolutionary that fairy tales and stories represent children of all colors. With her brown skin, and kinky hair, Tameika is the furthest from classic Disney fantasies—but closest to my reality.  Hopefully all children (and adults) reading this book will realize that we can become our wishes and dreams, and that we’re worthy of being seen despite what others may think or say.

    I think this book is a winner! It has great read aloud appeal, beautiful illustrations that inspire, and messages about body positivity, acceptance, self-love, bravery, diversity and inclusion. Ages 4-8 and up.

    five-stars
    Share:
    book reviews, cover reveal

    Marvin’s Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion Cover Reveal

    Marvin’s Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion COVER REVEAL!

    In partnership with Familius, I am thrilled to be revealing the cover for the forthcoming August 2019 book Marvin’s Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion by Dr. Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen.

    • Total Pages: 116 pages
    • Publisher: Familius
    • Publication Date: August 1, 2019
    • Recommended Ages: 7-11
    • Pre-Orders: Available for Pre-Order Now!

    Synopsis
    Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, emotions that sometimes overwhelm him (and others), and a diary to record it all. While Marvin got it together in Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, his lab partner Lyssa’s emotional roller coaster is a bit out of control. Can he help her—and win the Science Scare-Fair—before she explodes?

    In the same humorous spirit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion Using the “monstercam” and “ST4” techniques developed by Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Arizona, Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion teaches kids how to be mindful, observe their surroundings, and take time to think about their actions. Marvin’s hilarious doodles and diary entries chronicle his delightful adventures, misadventures, and eventual triumph in a funny, relatable way. It’s the series on ADHD that kids will actually want to read!

    Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion also includes a resource section to help parents and teachers implement Dr. Melmed’s methods, plus ST4 badge reminders that kids can remove, color, and place around the house.

    Check out Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion when it publishes in August 2019!

    About the Author
    Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, is director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and cofounder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. He is the author of Autism: Early Intervention; Autism and the Extended Family; and a series of books on mindfulness for children: Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, Timmy’s Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress, Harriet’s Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious, and the next in the series, Marvin’s Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa): ADHD Emotions.

    Share:
    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Women’s History Month: Our Legendary Ladies Presents Anandi Gopal Joshi (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from MCP Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Anandi Gopal Joshi Published by MCP Books Format: Hardcover
    Source: MCP Books
    Buy on Indie Bound
    four-stars

    A baby book highlighting the life of Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian woman to receive a western medical degree and a trailblazer for women's rights and education.

    The second board book in the Our Legendary Ladies series, this board book introduces tiny readers (ages birth – 4 and up) to Anandi Gopal Joshi.  Born on March 31, 1865, Anandi Gopal Joshi was one of the first Indian female physicians.

    Joshi was married at the age of just nine, which was common in 19th century India, to a man 20 years older than her.  She gave birth to their first child when she was 14, but her baby son died 10 days later due to a lack of medical care for women.  The death of her son served as her motivation to study medicine.

    During a time when it was unthinkable for a woman to get an education, Anandi defied the odds and came to America to study medicine at the Women’s College of Philadelphia.  She later returned to India and received special recognition and congratulations from Queen Victoria.  Anandi dreamed of opening a medical college for women, but due to an early death from tuberculosis on 26 February, 1887, her dream was never realized.  She died at the age of 21.

    In 1997, a crater on the planet Venus was named after Anandi by the International Astronomical Union.  She is one of the few notable to receive this honor.

    Although Anandi’s life was short lived and she is lesser-known, she was a true inspiration and pioneer of her time.

    About the Our Legendary Ladies Book Series
    The books are written by Megan Callea and illustrated by Jennifer Howard.  For each featured lady in this book series, a leading historian signs off on the final version of the book.  Each book is well researched and fact checked for accuracy.  In addition, for each book purchased, a portion of the proceeds, and books, will be donated to these non-profits: Bright by ThreeJumpstart and Operation Showers of Appreciation.  Following Anandi Gopal Joshi, future Our Legendary Ladies books will include Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart and Anne Frank.

    For more information about Our Legendary Ladiesclick here to visit the official website.

    four-stars
    Share:
    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Go on a BabyMoon and Bring This Picture Book With You: BabyMoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    I received this book for free from Candlewick in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Go on a BabyMoon and Bring This Picture Book With You: BabyMoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-NealBabymoon by Hayley Barrett
    Published by Candlewick Pages: 32
    Format: Hardcover
    Source: Candlewick
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern. While the term “babymoon” is often used to refer to a parents’ getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding. Paired with warm and winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett’s lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

    Have you ever been on a babymoon?  Do you even know what a babymoon is?

    ba·by·moon
    /ˈbābēˌmo͞on
    noun
    a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before (or after) their baby is born.

    The term Babymoon was first coined in a 1996 book, The Year After Childbirth, by childbirth educator Sheila Kitzinger.

    Essentially, a babymoon is sort of like a honeymoon, only it happens after you confirm that you are pregnant and expecting a baby, and before (or after) the baby arrives.

    My husband and I didn’t go on a babymoon before or after having either of our children.  Why?  Because I had no idea this was even a THING!  Now that I know the definition of what a babymoon is and especially after reading this beautiful book, it ALMOST makes me want to go and make another baby!  Seriously though, as far as I’m concerned, my baby making days are over, but thanks to Babymoon I can live vicariously through these gorgeous illustrations and imagine what a babymoon might be like.

    In this rhyming book, readers meet a sweet family (a biracial family of color) who decide to go on a secluded babymoon with their newborn baby.  The baby is gender neutral which was a purposeful decision.  I love that the family chose to take their babymoon AFTER baby arrived along with their pet cat and dog in tow as a way for them all to bond as a family.

    As first-time parents, they have so much to learn about caring for a new baby.  From changing diapers to nursing to building trust.  If you are a parent then you know having a child changes the family dynamic dramatically.  The baby becomes the center of attention from the moment he/she arrives.

    I like how the parents in this book are investing time and space to be together as a family unit away from home.  It gives me hope these parents will walk into parenthood more connected than ever.

    Newborns should be spending the vast majority of their time in the arms of their mothers and fathers and that’s exactly what this book shows.  And since they were away from their home, they won’t have to worry about being their baby bombarded with the smells of other family members, friends or neighbors.  All of that can be confusing to a new baby, especially when they are still learning to nurse. Babies are primal little creatures and rely on their nose to guide them.

    Although this babymoon getaway is blissful, it is peppered with a bit of anxiety as the parents look like they’re trying to decipher baby’s cries.  This shows the reality of parenthood and how tough it can be at times having a newborn.

    Here together.  So much to learn.  We muddle through each new concern.

    The illustrations in Babymoon will take your breath away and make you feel the love these parents have for their baby.  I think this is some of Juana Martinez-Neal’s best work to date.  Each illustration is so tranquil infused with gentle and loving tenderness.  A definite must-have for newborn parents or parents-to-be.  Add this one to your baby shower gift giving list!

    Your turn: Seasoned parents, what tips or advice would you offer a new family to help them get through the first couple of weeks? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!

    About the Author
    Hayley Barrett wrote BABYMOON to encourage growing families to take time together to rest and fall in love. Once an aspiring nurse-midwife, she honors the arrival of any child, whether newborn or older, by birth or by adoption, as a momentous event.  Hayley lives in eastern Massachusetts.

    About the Illustrator
    Juana Martinez-Neal is the author-illustrator of Alma and How She Got Her Name and the Pura Belpré Award–winning illustrator of La Princesa and the Pea and of La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños, both by Susan Middleton Elya. Juana Martinez-Neal was born in Lima, Peru, but currently resides in Arizona.

    five-stars
    Share:
    book reviews, children's books

    So Here I Am: Speeches by Great Women to Empower and Inspire by Anna Russell

    So Here I Am: Speeches by Great Women to Empower and Inspire by Anna RussellSo Here I Am: Speeches by Great Women to Empower and Inspire by Anna Russell
    Published by White Lion Publishing on February 5, 2019
    Pages: 176
    Format: Hardcover
    Source: White Lion Publishing
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    The first dedicated collection of seminal speeches by women from around the world, So Here I Am is about women at the forefront of change – within politics, science, human rights and media; discussing everything from free love, anti-war, scientific discoveries, race, gender and women's rights. From Emmeline Pankhurst's 'Freedom or Death' speech and Marie Curie's trailblazing Nobel lecture, to Michelle Obama speaking on parenthood in politics and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza's stirring ode to black women, the words collected here are empowering, engaging and inspiring. With powerful illustrations from Camila Pinheiro, this anthology of outspoken women throughout history is essential reading for anyone who believes that change is not only possible, it is necessary.

    Published just in time for Women’s History Month, So Here I Am is an inspiring, and beautifully illustrated book of empowering speeches about women who have broken boundaries and achieved their dreams.

    As the book introduction states,

    These are speeches that started revolutions, both the kind that take place in the public square – in mass demonstrations and violent clashes – and the quieter kind, which take place in the mind.  These are speeches that should be remembered.

    I can honestly say prior to reading this book, I wasn’t familiar with many of the speeches featured in this book.  Throughout the book you’ll find speeches given by famous scientists, activists, novelists, politicians, suffragists, prime ministers, First Ladies and modern day CEOs.  It was refreshing to see the anthology’s exploration of women in fields like science and business that are sometimes not represented in other books of its kind.


    For each woman featured, there is a brief summary of her personal story, struggles, and successes, including how they got to where they are now if they are still living.  In essence, So Here I Am shares, explores, and celebrates the strong women out there who have worked or are currently working to pave the way for women.  This book gave me the confidence and encouragement to go out and do the same.

    Here are a few snippets of some of my favorite quotes from the book:

    Servern Cullis-Suzuki
    Environmental Activist

    In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid of telling the world how I feel.

    Toni Morrison
    Novelist

    Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence…

    Cheryl Sandberg
    Chief Operating Officer at Facebook since 2008

    But if all young women start to lean in, we can close the ambition gap right here, right now.  Leadership belongs to those who take it.  Leadership starts with you.

    Sylvia Rivera
    LGBTQ Activist

    I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights.

    Maria Stewart
    Journalist and Abolitionist

    …it is not the color of the skin that makes the man or the woman, but the principle formed in the soul.

    J.K. Rowling
    Novelist

    And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

    Your turn: Have you read this book yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    five-stars
    Share:
    black history, book reviews, children's books, diverse books, giveaways

    Black History Month: Waiting for Pumpsie + A Giveaway!

    waitingforpumpsie

    I received this book for free from Charlesbridge in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein
    Published by Charlesbridge Format: Hardcover
    Source: Charlesbridge
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.

    This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.

    Waiting for Pumpsie is based on a fictional character named Bernard and his family, but based on true events from Pumpsie Green’s life.

    All Pumpsie Green wanted to do was play baseball. He didn’t aspire to play for the major leagues initially, but he eventually went on to become the first Black baseball player to integrate the Boston Red Sox. Although Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, it took the Red Sox another twelve years to integrate their team. They were the last team in Major League Baseball to have a Black player.

    This is an inspiring and feel good story about equality and change. Pumpsie Green is currently still alive today and is sometimes invited back to Fenway Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Red Sox games.

    Click here to see a list of the first Black players for each Major League Baseball team.

    About the Author
    Barry has been a bartender, taxi driver, song writer, substitute teacher and writer for the Major League Baseball.  He grew up as a Mets fan and was eight years old when he first heard the name Pumpsie Green.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.  Visit his website: onedogwoof.com.

    About the Illustrator
    London Ladd currently lives in Syracuse, New York.  He’s a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration. He has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed children’s books including March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (Scholastic), written by Christine King Farris, the older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (Disney/Jump at the Sun), written by Doreen Rappaport, and Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and her Secret School (Lee & Low Books), written by Janet Halfmann.  His goal is to open an art center in Syracuse so that young people and families can create their own art.  Visit his website: londonladd.com.

    The Giveaway!
    One (1) winner will receive a copy of Waiting for Pumpsie courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing.  Open to all US based residents age 18 and over.  Good Luck!

    Waiting for Pumpsie Book Giveaway

    five-stars
    Share:
    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from Penguin Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel
    Published by Penguin Kids Format: Hardcover
    Source: Penguin Kids
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    four-stars

    A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

    Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

    If you look up the phrase “hands up” in many dictionaries, you’ll likely see a negative definition written.

    For example:

    ▪️an order given by a person pointing a gun.  Source: Collins dictionary
    ▪️to admit that something bad is true or that you have made a mistake. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    ▪️to deliver (an indictment) to a judge or higher judicial authority.  Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (By the way, do you know the history behind raising your right hand to testify in court? Look it up, I found it quite interesting.)

    This book shows a little Black girl named Viv putting her hands up in various everyday situations like: greeting the sun, playing peek-a-boo, raising hands in defense during a basketball game, raising hands in class, picking fruit off trees, and raising hands during praise and worship at church. In the end, readers see Viv a little older raising her hands in resistance and strength with a group of friends at a community protest march.

    With sparse text and lively illustrations, Hands Up! cleverly shows readers lifting your hands doesn’t always imply negativity. It gently encourages children to feel happy and confident to raise their hands. It also supports reticent kids in speaking up or standing up for what’s right.

    It was interesting and refreshing to be reminded of all the times we raise our hands throughout the day from stretching in the morning when we wake to reaching for something high on a shelf like a library book.  My personal favorite page is little Viv raising her hands in church demonstrating joy and praise to God through worship. Viv sets her power aside and praises God by physically and publicly demonstrating to Him that she needs Him which empowers her.

    The back matter has notes from the author and illustrator which explain why this book was written.

    I worry that this world casts Black kids as victims, villains, or simply adults before they’re grown up. – Breanna J. McDaniel

    This brilliant reminder from Breanna helped guide me back to lifting my hands in joy. – Shane W. Evans

    Hands Up! is available now online and where books are sold. Ages 4-8 and up.

    Your turn: Have you read this book yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    four-stars
    Share: