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







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Mad About Monkeys

Mad About Monkeys
by Owen Davey (Author, Illustrator)

So many Monkeys!

Making a non-fiction subject kid friendly is always a challenge. But when it comes to a topic as broad and generic as “Monkeys”, the task becomes even harder. Owen Davey tackles this very uniquely.

“Mad About Monkeys” is not just a basic introduction to the “monkey” family. The book begins with an introduction to primates and how and when this species evolved. The first double spread page covers what these monkeys eat and where you can find them.

Mad About Monkeys uncle

Having covered the basics, the author jumps into more specifics. Did you know we have “Old world monkeys” (down facing noses) and “New world monkeys”(flat noses)? Follow the page to a quick quiz on identifying which monkey belongs to the new world and which ones is an old world monkey.

Mad About Monkeys types

Owen Davey goes on to describe the social life and hierarchy. Other spreads talk about the “weird and wonderful” monkey species found in different parts of the world. Fast facts makes it fun for the reader to keep reading. Turn the page to find out about the monkey with the longest tail (the Spider monkey), or how about the “hairiest” monkey (Bearded Emperor Tamarin)?

Mad About Monkeys Featured creatures

What makes this book special is Owen Davey’s visually striking geometric patterned art work and intriguing layout of textual information and illustrations. This book was hard to put down and we loved pouring over it from front cover to the back! Highly recommend it!

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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Rose and the Wish Thing

Rose and the Wish Thing
by Caroline Magerl (Author, Illustrator)

A Journey of Friendship

Little Rose had just moved into a new home. Outside her window was a whole new city. Inside her home, things were getting unpacked and old things were put in place. And in the midst of all that, Rose wished for a “thing”.

So Rose calls for it.

Rose and the Wish Thing calling

But the Wish Thing has no name. So she tries to draw and look for it. But the Wish Thing does not come.

Rose can not be comforted. She wants more than ever for the wish to come to her. So she searches everywhere for her wish. Everyone searches for the Wish Thing along with Rose. Yet, there is no sign of it!

Rose and the Wish Thing in the sea

This is a lovely story of longing and wanting comfort and friendship in face of change. I loved the story that was told with almost poetic narrative and then the part that was untold. The story unfolds with narrative about Rose and her search of the Wish Thing on one side and simultaneous wordless story unfolding on the other spread. This cadence of Rose’s searching and the Wish Thing “arriving” is a wonderful symmetry of story telling. The pencil, water color artwork is reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s art style. The pencil strokes in the book seem to give motion to the story of bringing the two pieces of searching and finding closer to each other.

Rose and the Wish Thing tells a story of looking for friends and comfort in a place which is new. Although this isn’t a new theme, the author does justice via a very unique perspective of wordless story telling and narrative alternating.

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


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This Little President

This Little President
by Joan Holub (author), Daniel Roode (Illustrator)

A “little” primer to American Presidents!

Joan Holub does it again! This time she brings a little introduction on American Presidents to baby board books

Written in verse, the author talks about many popular presidents and what they were most known for. For example George Washington the First President of our country

This little President Washington

This Little President introduces you to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln,Ulysses S Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. The book ends with a portraiture of all the Presidents from Washington to Obama and ends with a little “?” and a “You” underneath.

 Anything can happen in the USA.

Hey! Maybe you’ll be president someday!

This Little President is a very accessible read to kids of all ages. I have to admit, I absolutely loved the art work. The cute mini figures of Presidents, their bold black eyes and simple smiley faces are simply adorable. One can’t help but think what an appropriate title “This Little President” makes for this book.

So whether you read this as a quick primer to Presidents or read this as part of regular read aloud time, “This Little President” will leave you smiling.. just like the lovely smiling faces inside this book.

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


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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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Ira’s Shakespeare Dream

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream
by Glenda Armand (Author) , Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

Dreams DO come true!

 Ira Aldridge, born in the late 1800s, had always known that he wanted to become an actor. Specifically, he wanted a role in William Shakespeare’s plays. Standing high on the balcony, Ira would watch and memorize the lines of the current Shakespeare play. In his school, Ira would pace back and forth and recite lines from Hamlet expertly. Listeners would heartily compliment his skills and his delivery.

Ira's Shakespeare Dream reciting

Ira was convinced that he wanted to pursue a career performing. But his teacher reminded him that only white actors performed in plays in America at that time. Ira decided to share with his pa, his big Shakespeare Dream. But Pa was less than convinced about his son’s chosen path. He even called Ira’s Shakespeare dream foolish. Despite all the negativity, Ira wouldn’t give up on his dream. He would sneak out to watch plays in the new theaters nearby.

One day Ira decided to leave home in pursuit of his dream. He headed to London where he found work running errands at small theaters. He also became an understudy and finally after waiting for months, Ira got his chance.

Ira’s performance was very well received. A few scoffed and remarked that Ira needed more training. And few more insisted that Ira should not play “white actor roles”. But Ira was not to be discouraged. He knew he had to work hard, study and prove that he was an actor worthy of any Shakespeare play.

Ira's Shakespeare Dream finally

This is a well written picture book biography of an African American actor, Ira Alderidge. This is the story of an actor who didn’t receive recognition for his excellent skills in America, but he earned his stars abroad. Ira Alderidge was considered one of the best Shakespearean actor of his time.

Beautiful oil painted illustrations capture the stage and drama in its splendor. We loved reading Ira’s spellbinding delivery of Othello on stage. This is a true story of grit, determination, hard work and above all a desire to pursue a dream amongst hardships.

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream is an excellent addition to any non-fiction collection. A well-researched, African American biography, a diversity read for every age group really.. 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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Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Please join in me in celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day this week. We love to read books from different cultures and love to participate in multicultural activities! As part of an effort to promote multicultural reading, I have joined hands with a fantastic groups of passionate bloggers to bring forth some unique kidlit!

Here is their Mission Statement:

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

 Two books from Chinese culture were chosen for book review at Stacking Books. Here is a sneak peek!

Bowls of Happiness

Bowls of Happiness: Culture and heritage at its best!

This is a story about little “piggy” and her mom who is making a special bowl for her. In  Chinese culture, making a bowl is an intricate process. Every color and item is chosen carefully as each of these elements have a deeper meaning. As mom adds first the base color, and then symbols, we learn about what they symbolize. This book is just lovely!

Beautifully illustrated, each spread shows a detail of the bowl and the text matches it up with what the symbol or color depict. The book is divided into a story and then followed up with an activity plus a section which highlights different types of bowls, the artwork on these bowls and their symbolic meaning in the Chinese culture. The activity, as you might guess is to create your own bowl.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The Chinese artwork is captivating, the colors are lively and to read about the symbolism from a cultural perspective was enlightening. I definitely learned something new about the culture. A beautiful way to capture tradition, culture and pass it on to the younger generation. Don’t miss this one!

Find it here: Amazon

What was it like Mr Emperor

What was it like Mr. Emperor?

How was it like to grow up to become the emperor of the Forbidden City? As a child, what was the routine for an emperor? What happened if the first born was a girl and not a boy? Were there any girl emperor’s in those days?

These are a few of the questions that the book attempts to answer. Written in a dialogue mode between a child of today asking the questions, the author leads you through “a day in
the life of a Emperor”. This book is packed with tons of information and written to suit a younger audience. Readers will enjoy comparing the life style of a child from that era to
their lives today. The bold black outlined illustrations are kid friendly.  Overall an interesting take on Chinese history and culture. Recommended for ages 8+

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!

 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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Goodnight Selfie

Goodnight Selfie
by  Scott Menchin (Author), Pierre Collet-Derby (Illustrator)

Selfie taking obsession!

 A little girl gets her brother’s old camera phone. Her brother also showed her how to take a selfie! With a few tries, she is able to take a really good selfie! There it is!!!

Goodnight Selfie inside

Now little girl can take a selfie anytime she wants. When she wakes up with and her hair is all crazy… when she brushes her teeth.. when she puts too much jam on her toast and eats it!

Little girl can’t stop taking selfies! She is trying all kinds of  poses, and in all kinds of places. After a whole lot of days of many many more selfies, mom has an idea. “Why not take a picture of others in it?” she suggests. Will little girl take the hint and turn away from selfies?

Goodnight Selfie inside2

I am not personally into taking selfies, but found this book a real fun read. My 8 year old was also mildly amused at the selfie taking obsession going on in the book. We both really enjoyed reading this one. This book reminds me of when kids become obsessed with a new game and will obsess over it for a while until something else comes along We also really liked the illustrations. The sharp lines and crayon coloring makes this a fun book for kids to read.

Would you like to win a copy?? Enter here:-
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

 


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Casey’s Bright Red Chhristmas

Casey’s Bright Red Chhristmas
by  Holly Dufek (Author), Paul Nunn (Illustrator)

A Christmas tale!

 It’s Christmas time on the farm. Casey and her friend Tillus, the worm, are excited about Christmas day! So many things to do and so little time! Casey has to finish her chores before she can start setting up the farm for Christmas.

Casey chores

“A-choo!” Casey sneezes. It looks like she is certainly coming down with a cold. But she has to finish her chores. So off she goes to clean the stalls. As she cleans up, she notices the box of Christmas lights. She takes them to the shed for decoration after she finishes her chores.

“A-choo!” she sneezes again! As she makes her way to the shed with the Christmas lights, she notices that the fence is broken. She immediately sets about to fix it.

She sniffles and sneezes but manages to finish the gate. Inside the shed she finds a box full of stockings that needs to be hung before tonight. “There’s so much to do!” she murmurs to herself and starts to hang the stockings. Thinking about chores, she starts to think about all the remaining chores. How is she ever going to finish and start decorating for the party?

Casey warms herself a bowl of soup as Tillus looks upon his tired friend. But Casey’s eyes are closing.. she falls asleep at the table. Its up to Tillus now to figure out how to help Casey make the best of Christmas!

Casey's Bright Red Christmas help

“Casey’s Bright Red Christmas” is a great addition to Casey & Tillus series of farm tales. Although this is a Christmas tale, the story runs a theme of team work and friendship. Bright Christmas themed colors run through the tale, making this a lovely book to read for holidays.

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 more here: Library, Amazon


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