Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







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Tales from the Arabian Nights

Tales from the Arabian Nights

by Donna Jo Napoli (Author), Christina Balit (Illustrator) 

Blast from the past

One of the earliest memories of stories from my childhood were from the Arabian nights. The charm and mystic around Scheherzade’s 1001 stories enchant and enthrall kids today. So when I came across National Geo’s publication of Donna Naploi’s collection from the”Tales from the Arabian Night”, I was delighted to read this one to my little one. And to my pleasure our little one read it cover to cover!

Aladin

This rendition of the “Tales from the Arabian Nights” is a selection of the 1001 stories. This book has the popular Sinbad, Aladin and Ali Baba stories and a few other interesting stories. Author Donna Napoli does the stories justice by weaving them into one another seamlessly. The stories within the story is superbly executed, keeping the reader wanting to find out “what happens next”! Christina Balit brings these beloved stories to life with beautiful bright and colorful illustrations. The double spread of pages alternating between text and illustrations makes this book a great addition to the home library.

Theives

What makes this book extra special are all the “extras” in the book. Side notes and snippets educate to various cultural aspects of the original stories.  The glossary has a a beautiful map of the middle east with a detail on the time period for these stories. The author has also tried to identify various cities and places that were highlighted in the original stories.

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I would recommend for middle graders and above. The stories although selective, flow very well and make this book a very gift worthy, library worthy book.

Highly recommended!

Find it here: Library, Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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The Storybook Knight

The Storybook Knight

by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty (Author, Illustrator) 

A gentle Knight

Leo was a gentle knight! He liked to mostly sit and read. But that is not what Knights are “supposed” to do, is it? So Leo’s parents decide to “encourage” him to go out into the world and fight some dragons and win some fame and glory!

The Storybook Knight Parents

So Leo packs his bags, carries all the books he will need on his journey and his new shiny sword and shield. First he meets a beautiful griffin! Leo is unafraid and “reads” his way out of a fight. Next he meets a troll. Leo manages to charm him with his story telling skills. Finally, Leo reaches a town stinking and filthy. Scared faces look out of the window. A ferocious dragon approaches Leo. Will Leo be able to escape this one without any harm?

The Storybook Knight fierce dragon

Written in verse, “The Storybook Knight” is a wonderful tale about courage viewed from a different lens. The message for little ones if very strong: look for different ways to solve the problem! or one need not “fight” to be brave! We loved reading this book by ourselves as well as aloud many times. The beautiful detailed artwork with lovely kid friendly shades of colors are eye catching to say the least. The Storybook Knight will delight all ages, but is ideal for ages 3-5. Highly recommend for your home or school libraries!

And finally, here’s your chance to win a copy of art!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Max at Night

Max at Night

by Ed Vere (Author, Illustrator) 

Its time for bed!

Max is ready to get to bed. He drinks his milk, brushes his teeth and cleans behind his ears. It is time to say “Good Night” to his friends.

He wishes the gold fish good night. He wishes the box good night. He wishes the spider good night. Finally, he wishes good night to the moon. But wait! Where is Moon?

Max at Night goodnight 2

“Max at Night” is such a sweet super simply story for bedtime. Max has his regular routine for bed time and won’t deviate from it. Obviously, when something goes wrong, he has to fix the situation. Otherwise, how is he to go to bed?

Max at Night goodnight 1

Ed Vere’s illustrations are appropriate for the toddler+ age group, with bright colorful pages and expressive eyes for the cute cat Max. The simple language and limited text on each page is paced so well for bedtime stories. and for the kiddos who want more of Max, find an activity page for Max at Night here.

And finally, here’s your chance to win a copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Race Car Dreams

Race Car Dreams

by Sharon Chriscoe (Author), Dave Mottram (Illustrator) 

Ready for bed!

After a long day full of zipping and zooming, a race car needs to rest and relax.

As his friends head back home, Race car’s engine revs down and his headlights blink on. As he rolls of the track, he is looking forward for his bed time routine.

First, its time for a nice bubbly foam bath; making sure to get his rims all shiny too! Next its time for an long oily gulp at the Guzzle and Gulp. Finally as his head gets sleepy, its time for a nice bed time story!

Race Car Dreams inside

Sharon Chriscoe’s simple rhyming text in her “Race Car Dreams” is a perfect addition to your bedtime routine. Little ones will love that the author uses their favorite car specific language (“octane”, “rims”, “headlights”). Each page has no more than a 3-4 sentences, making this perfect for your 3-4 year old.  Dave Mottram’s colorful spreads are engaging. But our favorite illustrations were the cute Race Car art work . The little blue shiny race car, with the perfect “smiley” face and the neat expressions of getting sleepy and finally falling asleep are very endearing.

Race Car Dreams releases September 13th! So grab a copy for your night time routine. A fun bed time book for your car loving little ones!

“Race Car Dreams” is on a tour! Find more upcoming reviews here:

9/6 My Word Playground

9/7 MomReadIt

9/8 Unleashing Readers

9/9 Once Upon a Time…

9/10 Stacking Books

9/11 Geo Librarian

9/12 Flowering Minds

9/13 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

9/14 Little Crooked Cottage

9/14 MamaBelly

9/15 #kidlit Book of the Day

9/16 Just Kidding

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Beautiful

Beautiful

by Stacy McAnulty (Author), Joanne Lew Vriethoff (Illustrator) 

Re-defining beauty!

Every girl is unique! Every girls is talented and lovable. Every girl is BEAUTIFUL!

Beautiful girls are graceful.. beautiful girls are smart and talented.. beautiful girls light up the room! Challenging each frame is a vivid double page spread by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s breaking the stereotypical definition.

Beautiful move graceful

Stacy McAnutly redefines our preconceived notions of beauty. What makes a girl beautiful? Breaking away from each conceptual “idea” behind what makes a girl beautiful, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s bright and bold illustrations that upends the premise.

Beautiful dress

“Beautiful” is a picture book for both girls and boys. Colorful illustrations diversify the viewpoint of these bold, empowered and independent little gals.

“Beautiful” is a book after my own heart. Breaking away from stereotypical princess-y, floral “Pinkalacious” flavored themes, “Beautiful” is empowering and redefining. It is uplifting and real, it delights and makes you smile, and it completely surprises you! Re-think “beauty” and open your heart to these simply amazing little girls!

“Beautiful” is on a tour! Find more upcoming reviews here:

8/29 Flowering Minds

8/30 Kids’ Book Review

8/31 My Word Playground

9/1 Stacking Books

9/2 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

9/3 MomReadIt

9/5 Enjoy Embrace Learning

9/6 Geo Librarian

9/7 A Foodie Bibliophile

9/8 MamaBelly

9/10 Diapers and Daydreams

9/11 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog

9/12 Unconventional Librarian

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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The Fall of General Custard

The Fall of General Custard

by Matthew Damon (Author), Gideon Kendall (Illustrator) 

The Overthrow of a Leftover!

Life in the refrigerator is peaceful and quite. Queen Honeydew is a just and fair queen. Various food groups have their respective shelves and they are nice and neat. Every food has its own place in the fridge.

Then one day a fresh jar of maraschino cherries arrive. The fruits called out “hello!, come join us!” and so the cherries find themselves next to the jar of olives on the top shelf. Rosaline the cherry makes a new friend with Romeo, the olive. They played hide-and-seek and have such fun together.

Fall of General Custard friends

But there are grumbles and rumbles in the bottom shelves. General Custard, an unhappy old leftover, is causing quite a stir. He has a bone to pick! and demands the cherries to join the desserts and not sit with the fruit! But the fair queen intervenes and allows the cherries to make the choice. General custard is furious that the cherries won’t join the desserts and in the stealth of the night hatches a plot.. a plot to “foodnap” the cherries!

Fall of General Custard battle

Oh what is to happen in the peaceful land of fruits? Would the cherries be separated from the olives? and who will make a stand against the evil intentions of the sour General custard?

“The Fall of General Custard” is a delightful and engaging tale about a food fight that needs to be resolved asap! Matthew Damon writes with wit and rhyme. His sense of humor, simple rhythm and play of words makes this story entertaining and engaging. Gideon Kendall’s delightfully detailed art work pulls the reader in and keeps one hooked. We kept looking through all the food emotions and reactions… the food fight was really the most fun page to “watch”.

A perfect read out aloud book or a bedtime story! This is sure to be a favorite among kids!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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What a Beautiful Morning!

What a Beautiful Morning!
by Arthur A Levine (Author), Katie Kath (Illustrator)

Beautiful inside and out!

L ittle Noah loves those days when his grandparents come to visit. Every morning is a wonderful, beautiful morning. Grandpa and Noah are first to get up while grandma sleeps in. They sing to a lovely tune while they cook up some breakfast and coffee for grandma.

What a Beautiful morning together

Grandpa and Noah look up their “docket of ideas”.. they always have so very many. And so many lovely mornings pass, until one day Noah finds that his grandpa forgets how to cut his french toast!

What a Beautiful morning forgetting

 A few days later, grandpa gets up startled from his nap and has forgotten who Noah was!!! Noah dashes outside, broken-hearted and not sure what has become of his beloved grandpa.

What a Beautiful morning forgetting things

Arthur Levine’s “What a Beautiful Morning” is a poignant, touching tale of aging and memory loss. The author’s simple to follow text highlights the joys of togetherness and the sorrow and hurt that comes with finding out something is wrong with your loved ones. Katie Kath’s brilliant watercolor artwork adds a superb dimension to the tale. The gentle yellow and brown hues draw you in enveloping the reader in the warmth of the relationship between grandchild and grandparent. The contrasting grays subtly draw out the feelings of sadness and loneliness.

With the help of his grandma, Noah learns to cope with his grandpa’s sudden forgetfulness. He learns to celebrate the times when grandpa is around and then be patient and wait until the next moment comes.

“What a Beautiful Morning” is a beautiful picture book, a tale of love and empathy, about finding your way back through compassion and patience. Highly recommended!!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Journey trilogy

Journey trilogy
by Aaron Becker (Author/Illustrator)

The finale!

Wordless Books are not a new phenomenon in children’s picture books. But Aaron Becker has mastered the art of visual storytelling through absolutely stunning artwork.

In his first book, Journey (winner of many awards!), Aaron Beckers tells us a story about a girl who is extremely bored! Mom’s cooking, dad’s on the computer and her sister is glued to an electronic device. So when girl spots a red crayon, she starts painting a bright red door.. which magically opens to a wondrous  imaginary world. Girl goes on an adventure of a daring rescue in this fantastic world.

Aaron Becker Journey inside

What is more magical, the visual story that the author draws us into page after page, or the amazingly detailed world that you discover as you read through the book? Hard to tell! We were hooked!

So when the author’s second book “Quest” came out, we made a beeline to the bookstore to take a look. This time, girl has a friend with whom he goes on an adventure.. a mystery they must solve by collecting a few crayons and rescuing a very important person! “Quest” is equally beautifully, equally engaging and just as fantastic as “Journey”.

Aaron Becker Quest inside

Wordless picture books takes not just artistic skill but the vision to create a compelling storyline. I can imagine that it would be easy to lose the reader or to have too much on a page and distract the reader. So the skill lies in having the right balance of art and leading the reader in the right direction. Aaron Becker has done so magnificently! So ready for the last one in this series? We just had the cover reveal:

Aaron Becker Return cover

 Meant for young and old, seasoned readers and reluctant readers alike, there is really no age bar for the Journey trilogy. And when you have read the Journey trilogy, I am sure you will agree that this set is truly stunningly beautiful!

And thanks to Candlewick Press, here is how you can win a prize pack of 1 copy of Journey and 1 copy of Quest! (Open to US/CA only!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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My Forgotten Self

My Forgotten Self
by Lynyetta G. Willis PhD (Author), Michele Phillips (Illustrator)
My Forgotten Self cover

 My Forgotten Self is the story about a girl Tiev and her journey into self discovery. The story begins with Tiev wondering what she would be when she grew up. She discovers many wonderful things that she wants to do. An explorer or a performer, maybe an artist or a teacher. However, she discovers that every time she shares her dream with her near and dear ones, they discourage her or demotivate her. Finally, one day she shares her dream with her grandmother who encourages Tiev to do “more”. Tiev hears her own inner voice re-assuring her that she could succeed at many things.

I struggled hard to enjoy this story line. I also didn’t find kid appeal in the book. I like the idea or the theme of self-discovery, however, the predominant negative theme that the book opens with was not appealing. The author clearly had good intentions and a strong desire to empower children in the face of negativity. However, there was so much lacking that it left me disappointed.

First, this was a story of a young girl of color deduced only through artwork. This book was also presented as a “Diversity” reading. However no where in the story does the character stand out based on her background or culture. Just because the book is about a child of color, does not equate to building an understanding of culture. It did seem like a lost opportunity.

Secondly, the title “My Forgotten Self” itself felt misrepresented. I expected the child to follow a path not of her choosing and then course correct as a matter of self discovery — hence the title “Forgotten Self”. However, that was not the case.

Also, I really failed to see the kid appeal. To relate such a challenging abstract concepts as “self discovery” or “empowerment” and “enlightenment”; there needs to be extremely strong story telling AND character building.

Finally, I would love for this work to really come to life. The idea of showing choices but being beaten down by reality .. the theme had such potential. I wish the illustrations had brought that to life.

Overall, I felt really let down by “My Forgotten Self”. I wish there was more and that the author / illustrator had put more thought into the character building as well as showcasing the situation better.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

 From MCCBD team:

Our Mission: The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.

Sponsor Mentions

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers

Bronze: Pomelo BooksAuthor Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon BooksGoosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash ShaheghChina Institute.org*

CoHostsMulticultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can view them here.

Classroom Reading Challenge:Help spread the word on our  Classroom Reading Challenge . This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children’s book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.


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