Body/ Health

When a Kid Like Me Fights Cancer By Catherine Stier

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Back of Book:
When a young boy finds out he has cancer, he learns a lot right away. He learns that cancer is something you fight, and that cancer isn’t anyone’s fault—especially not his. He discovers that many things change with cancer, but some of the most important things stay the same. He also learns that having cancer is easier when everyone around him wants to help him fight.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Albert Whitman in exchange for an honest review.
Cancer is among the scariest things that can occur to children. When a child is diagnosed with Cancer they have many questions. Catherine Stier did a terrific job of writing an encouraging story while giving readers answers to many of their questions.  The story is written in a first-person narrative and follows a young boy through his journey of fighting cancer. The book gives readers a definition of the disease as well as side effects, including hair loss.  The text describes the hospital atmosphere and how sometimes children can still have fun even when they are sick. My favorite part of the story is seeing all the support that the boy has. It is a beautiful look of the human spirit. The illustrations by Angel Chang are realistic and show the strength and determination of the boy, and his family. The front of the book has an introduction from Melissa Helms about the research and support of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
This book made me cry, but also gave me hope in the amazing research that has been done so that children can fight cancer. A must-read for anyone fighting this battle.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages 

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Christmas

Peanut Butter & Santa Claus: A Zombie Culinary Tale By Joe McGee

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Back of Book:
 Reginald (the zombie), Zarfon (the alien), and Abigail Zink (the human) are all preparing for Christmas in Quirkville when the terrible news breaks: CHRISTMAS IS CANCELED! Santa is snowed in at the North Pole. The three friends hatch a plan to save the day. They load into Zarfon’s spaceship—along with lots of peanut butter for a surprise Christmas delivery to his home planet later on—and head straight for the North Pole. When they arrive, they find that Santa and his elves are trapped, not by snow, but by a marshmallow cream explosion. With a little bit of creativity, a little bit of Christmas spirit, and one big KA-POW!, the pals from Quirkville save Christmas and inadvertently create a delicious treat!
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Abrams’s books in exchange for an honest review.
Joe has perfectly blended the themes of Halloween and Christmas and created another laugh out loud addition to the Zombie Culinary Tale Series.
Reginald, Zarfin, and Abigail are back and this time they are on a mission to save Christmas. When a storm prevents Santa from delivering presents, the three friends race to see how they can help. When they realize that the culprit is marshmallows, they come up with a quick, and yummy solution. The illustrations by Charles Santoso are familiar bright images that readers have fallen in love with. I loved the expressions on the character’s faces. Especially when they realize that the storm is made of marshmallows.  This is a terrific read-aloud for the Christmas season.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages
Friendship, Read Your World

Birdsong By Julie Flett

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Back of Book:
When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing  health of her new friend?
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Greystone Kids in exchange for an honest review.
Julie Flett has created a tender and moving story about the impact of change and the importance of friendship.
The story follows a young girl named Katherena as she adjusts to a life far from her old environment. She meets a neighbor named Agnes who gives her hope, and courage to face the challenges of her new world. The two bond through a passion for creating things. Katherena begins to adjust and enjoy her new chapter of life.  But with the joy, comes sadness as Agnes’s health begins to fade. Katherena realizes that she can use her art, and give one final gift to her friend.
This is a truly moving story that brought a tear to my eye. I loved that the text was broken up by seasons. It allows readers to follow each part of the story. The illustrations beautifully match the tone of the story with muted colors and amazing detail. I loved that the Cree culture was delicately woven throughout the story.
This is a lovely ode to the importance of learning from and loving the elderly.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages
Tough Stuff

The Traveler’s Gift: A Story of Loss and Hope By Danielle Davison

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Back of Book:

Liam loved his father’s stories of life at sea. But one day, his father’s ship doesn’t return, and Liam’s love of stories fades. Then the Traveler, a mysterious old man who spins stories with a magical beard like a tapestry, arrives, reminding Liam of his father. They embark on the Traveler’s final voyage together, and before the journey ends, the Traveler passes on his magical gift to Liam.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Publishing exchange for an honest review.
This lyrical picture book is a stunning look at love, loss, and sharing memories.
Liam is devastated when his father dies and begins to disappear inside himself. He doesn’t know how to live life without the tales of his father. When the storyteller comes, it gives Liam renewed hope in life. The end of the book is a beautiful look at the importance of passing stories from one generation to the next.
The illustrations by Anne Lambelet are vibrant and stunning. I loved that she drew Liam as a gray color in his grief, and as he healed, his color returned. The expressions on the faces are beautifully crafted and showcase Anne’s talent.
This is a story with a true message of hope and holding tight to the memories of a loved one. I can see it being a great book to share with a child who is grieving a loss of a loved one.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Winter

Snow Globe Wishes By Erin Dealey

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Snow Globe Wishes
Back of Book:
As the worst snowstorm of the year rolls in, one family hunkers down together in a cozy blanket fort for the night. A little girl makes a wish on a snow globe and, in the morning, the sun rises on a winter wonderland–beckoning all outside. And what if, on this snow-filled day, families shake their busy lives and everyone goes out to play? A lyrical holiday story about wishes and community and snow–lots and lots of snow.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Sleeping Bear Press in exchange for an honest review.
The weather is cooling down and the promise of snow is in the air. Snow Globe Wishes is a whimsical story that celebrates the beauty and fun of snow. The story follows a family as they prepare for a winter storm.  The little girl makes a wish on a snow globe in hopes that snow will fall overnight. When she wakes up, she finds that her dream has come true.  The end of the story captures the beauty of a community coming together to celebrate the winter wonderland. The lyrical rhyming scheme of the text draws readers into the beauty of the story and captures the essence of childhood dreams. The illustrations by Claire Shorrock are filled with soft colors and exquisite detail. I love anything that Erin Dealey writes and this story is no exception.
A perfect read-aloud to share during the winter season.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Bedtime

Pippa’s Night Parade By Lisa Robinson

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Back of Book: 

Pippa’s wonderfully wild imagination is perfect for dreaming up wildly adorable creations. But at night, her imagination runs a little too wild. That’s when the villains and monsters and beasts sneak out of her storybooks to scare her. Pippa tries everything: from night-lights to triple knots to clever disguises. But when the baddies keep coming, she realizes she’ll need to come up with something new. To prepare for this battle, Pippa will have to use everything she’s got—especially that wild imagination. Ready or not, here she comes!

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Two Lions Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

  All children have nightmares from time to time and are scared to go to sleep by themselves. Pippa has a wild imagination and becomes frightened of the idea of the monsters from her storybooks coming to life. After she tries everything she can think of, Pippa comes up with a fabulous idea to have a parade of monsters and make them less scary. 

I love that Pippa uses problem-solving skills to find a positive and creative solution to her fears. The illustrations by Lucy Fleming are vibrant and fun. I love the expressions on each character’s face. They go from being scary images to entertaining images. This is a perfect bedtime story that will have kids laughing along the entire time. 

Ages 5 and up

32 Pages 

Biography, STEM

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom By Teresa Robeson

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Back of Book:

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Sterling Book Press in exchange for an honest review. 

This inspirational biography follows the life and work of Wu Chien Shiun who would be labeled Queen of Physics for her groundbreaking research in science. The book begins with Chien Shiung from her childhood in China. China did not promote the education of young girls. So Chien Shiung’s parents created a school for girls so she could learn. Chien Shiung excelled in all academics and continued her education far from home. As she grew, she also became a voice for her people. She led marches and protests against the government. Chien Shiung focused her main work on the study of the mutation of beta decay. Although H\her experiments on beta decay and parity were groundbreaking, her male colleagues win Nobel prizes. 

Wu Chien Shung did not allow racial prejudice or gender bias to affect how she did her research or her job. She bravely broke stereotypes and went on to do amazing things with her career. 

 Debut author Teresa Robeson did an exceptional of showcasing the struggles and highlights of Wu Chien Shiung’s life and career. The illustrations by Rebecca Huang are expressive and detailed. The back of the book has more information about Wu Chien Shiung as well as a glossary of scientific terms and definitions. 

This is a wonderful story that celebrates an unknown woman in STEM and her contributions to the world. 

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages 

Biography, Books and Library, History

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature By Sue Macy

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Back of Book:
Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
Before reading this story I had never heard of Aaron Lansky or his amazing mission to gather as many Yiddish books as he can find and. This story follows Aaron from his childhood loving books to him studying  Yiddish texts. When Aaron realized that stacks of Yiddish books were being thrown away, he went on a quest to create a place where all of these books can be shared and enjoyed. Sue Macy did a beautiful job of capturing Aaron’s real-life journey as he preserved the precious Yiddish literature.  The illustrations by Stacy Innerst are lovely and capture the strength and determination that Aaron had as he traveled and collected books. My favorite illustration is the one near the end of the story that showcases the Yiddish people. It is a breathtaking snapshot of the people who came so long ago. The back of the book has a wonderful afterword written by Aaron Lansky himself. It also has a glossary of Yiddish words and expressions as well as the address for the Yiddish Book Center.
This is a wonderful biography of an unknown hero of the Yiddish language and stories.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

Autumn, Friendship

The Scarecrow By Beth Ferry

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Back of Book:
This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others―a tale that will inspire and delight children for generations to come.
All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.…
He saves the tiny baby crow.
Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?
My Review:
Autumn is my favorite time of year. It is a beautiful time for family,  friendship, and harvest.  The Scarecrow is a stunningly lyrical picture book that celebrates the importance of friendship. The story follows a lonely scarecrow through the different seasons. Noone approaches him until a baby crow falls near him. The scarecrow scopes him up and nurses him back to health. When the crow heals and flys away,  the scarecrow again feels alone. But soon the crow comes back with his mate, and scarecrow knows that he no longer will feel alone.
Beth Ferry did a fantastic job of weaving together a poem that shares the sadness and joy of scarecrow.  The rhyming scheme draws readers into the story. The illustrations by The Fan Brothers captured the colors and details of the autumn season. The artwork also captures the scarecrow in a stunning way that makes him look lifelike.
This is a perfect way to usher the beginning of the autumn season.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages
Biography, History

A Race Around the World: The True Story of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland By Caroline Starr Rose

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Back of Book:

In 1889, New York reporter Nellie Bly—inspired by Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days—began a circumnavigation she hoped to complete in less time. Her trip was sponsored by her employer, The World. Just hours after her ship set out across the Atlantic, another New York publication put writer Elizabeth Bisland on a westbound train. Bisland was headed around the world in the opposite direction, thinking she could beat Bly’s time. Only one woman could win the race, but both completed their journeys in record time.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from author Caroline Starr Rose in exchange for an honest review.

I love reading about historical events that changed the course of history. I never realized that Nellie Bly went around the world, let alone that Elizabeth Bisland did it with her. I was instantly captivated by the courage these women had to literally race around the world. Caroline Starr Rose describes the journey in vivid detail and immerses the readers into the experience. The illustrations by Alexandra Bye are absolutely stunning. She captured both women’s journeys with detail and vibrant colors. The back of the book has a note that shares more about Nellie Bly Elizabeth Bisland the incredible journey that they took. 

This is a fantastic book to share during National Women’s Month or any historical lesson. 

Ages 6 and up

32 Pages