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

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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*

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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The Not Very merry Pout-Pout Fish

The Not Very merry Pout-Pout Fish
by  Deborah Diesen(Author), Dan hanna(Illustrator)

Search for the Perfect Gift!



Mr. Fish is back in this new installment in the beloved “Pout Pout Fish” series of books. This time he is faced with a new dilemma. Mr Fish needs to find the “PERFECT” gift for all his friends. And he has a good idea of what a perfect gift looks like. In his own words:


A gift should be big,
And a gift should be bright.
And a gift should be perfect-
Guaranteed to bring delight.
And a gift should have meaning
Plus a bit of bling-zing,
So I’ll shop till I drop
For each just-right thing!

Mr Fish is ready to shop till he drops! He goes to the first store and finds many shiny things… too many things! How is poor Mr. Fish to decide?

Pout Pout Fish Christmas Inside

Its a busy shopping season. Fishes and sea creatures all around are in a tizzy crowd looking for the seasons best “thing”. Unfortunately for Mr. Fish, they are all SOLD OUT!!!

Poor Mr Fish is busy going from shop to shop. Soon its too late and stores are all closed or sold out. Whatever is Mr Fish going to do now??

In yet another fabulously silly and fun rhyme, author Deborah Diesen and illustrator Dan Hanna, give us a heart warming tale of Mr Fish’s deary weary woes and how one special friend lends a helping hand to find the TRUE meaning of Christmas cheer and giving.

A wonderful read aloud (once again), “The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish” comes to us at the right time reminding us about the true holiday spirit!

A BIG Thank You to MacmillanChildren’s Publishing group for hosting a GIVEAWAY of a copy of “The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish”!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find it here: Library, Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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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In The New World

In The New World
by  Christa Holtei(Author), Gerda Raidt(Illustrator)

A Family in Two Centuries!

“In the New World” : A Family in two centuries is a fascinating story about a fictional German immigrant family and their 5th generation descendants. The story opens with an introduction to what life was in the 1850’s in the country of Germany. Lack of food due to various conditions had made it difficult for people to survive. Many people chose to migrate and come to the “New World”, America. The picture book introduces to us a German family of 4: Robert and Maragaret Peters (Dad and Mom), and their two children Johannes and Dorothea (son and daughter).

The story then intrduces to us life in the village and invites us into the home of Robert and Maragaret. We soon discover that the family faces many challenges and inevitably they are forced into making the decision to move to America. Preparations for departure begin. The family must sew cloth sacks to carry their possessions after selling off their belongings. They pack a large trunk to carry the rest. And they take a souvenir picture to take with them as a memory of their days in the village. Finally they are on their way..

In The New World inside3

The kids are excited about their voyage. The boat is a noisy place to be in. Space is cramped with everyone sharing sleeping bunks. Conditions are not sanitary and the air stinks! But despite everything, the people on the boat keep their spirits up. They play music and pass time by helping each other. Soon enough the 310 passengers arrive in the port of New Orleans.

But New Orleans is not the final destination for the Peters family. They must travel onward via the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri. From there they take the Union Pacific Railway to Omaha, Nebraska — their final destination.

In Omaha, the Peters family is allotted a square piece of land. In Omaha the family buys supplies and load up their brand new wagon to travel 10 long days to their allotted piece of land where they will finally settle down and re-build their lives.

Time goes by and the generations of Peters family who live in there now are the 5th descendants. One day they discover the photo sovenier of their ancestors and wonder where the family came from. To learn more the descendant family of 4 travel back to Germany to find out more…

In The New World inside2

This picture book is really a portrait of two generations of families highlighting immigrant experience from back in the late 1800’s. Through carefully crafter verse and beautiful pencil and color illustrations, the book brings to life a challenging experience for the many people who travel thousands of miles for a brand new start.

We really enjoyed reading through this book. This book is great as conversation starters for current immigrant families. I loved looking through the art which so beautifully captures the mood and period of the book.

“In The New World” is really a beautiful example of non-fiction and fiction, tender and insightful, emotive and informative for readers of all ages!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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by Odile Weulersse (Author),Rebecca Dautremer(Illustrator)

Wise words!

Ihad read a ton of Nasreddine Hodja stories in my childhood. In those stories, Nasreddine was a clever young man who would outwit others, come up with clever solutions to strange problems and help the needy with his quick thinking and wit! So imagine my  surprise and pleasure when I found a Odile Weulersse’s version at our local library!

In this rendition, Nasreddine is a young hard working boy, who helps his father in his daily and weekly tasks.

One morning Nasreddine’s dad asks him to fetch the donkey form the stables. It was market day and they were going to take a bag of dates to the market to sell. Nasreddine helps his father load the basket on to the donkey’s back and then sets off on foot while his father rode on the donkey’s back. At the city gates a vizier looks at the duo and laughs out loud, ” There goes a lazy man who makes his son slosh through the mud”. Nasreddine face turns red while his father calmly says,” Your words hurt my ears, sir!” Ashamed Nsreddine makes an excuse and returns home.

Nasreddine inside

The next week Nasreddine helps to shear wool from the sheep. His father then loads bags of wool in a sack and gets ready to go to the market with the donkey. Nasreddine remembers the humiliation from last time. He pretends that he has a twisted ankle and begs to ride the donkey this time. However on the way a group of women complain about how the youth being lazy and the father having to do all the hard work and walking! Nasreddine embarrassed and angered again decides to go back home once again!

The following week Nasreddine helps gather a group of hens in a cage. When his father calls out to him for market duty, Nasreddine comes out with a clever plan. He decides that both of them along with the cage of birds will ride the donkey this time! His father smiles and agrees. At the marketplace, yet again, Nasreddine overhears nasty remarks from a group of old men. They claim that the poor donkey has been tortured by the owners and they had no mercy for the animal! Nasreddine’s face turns red and he makes another excuse to head back home.

Nasreddine inside2

The week after, Nasreddine decides he has the PERFECT solution! He can’t wait for market duty and must tell his father his plans. He knows that no one will make fun of him and his father this time!

Will Nasreddine succeed this time around?What was his plan and will he be able to convince his father to carry out on it?

Although this was Nasreddine set out in his childhood, it was still a wonderful story to read. The artwork in this book is superb! The watercolors and the use of white space to create drama was very effective. We couldn’t wait to see how the story unfolds and it doesn’t disappoint!

Definitely a story of wisdom and wise words from a father to son worth reading !

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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If an Elephant went to School

If an Elephant went to School
by Ellen Fischer (Author), Laura Wood (Illustrator)

Unique animal behaviors!

Have you ever wondered.. If an ELEPHANT went to school, what would she learn?

If an Elephant Went to School Classroom

 Would she learn to read and write like you do? NO! He would probably learn to use her trunk in different ways!

If an Elephant went to School collage

What if an OWL wen to school? What would he learn in class? Counting from one to hundred?

If an Elephant went to School Owl

This is another super sweet, quirky, silly but FUN installment from Ellen Fischer’s series of books. After her first “If an Armadillo went to a Restaurant” , we were looking forward to another “If a __” book and this one DOES NOT disappoint!

Laura Woods lovely illustrations of the various young animals learning survival skills that are so different than ours. We love that “If an Elephant went to School” is similarly illustrated and feels like a true companion book to her earlier “If an Armadillo went to a Restaurant”.

If an Elephant went to School is best suited for beginning readers and can be used in lessons for Cause and Effect. It also makes for a perfect read aloud for younger audiences. Each page follows a pattern where the author asks the reader what if an animal went to school, what would he/she learn? You will find animals such as the zebra, a frog, a honey bee and even a SKUNK!

With gentle pacing and simple language, little readers will be thrilled to learn how different animals require different skills for survival.

A great companion picture book non-fiction for libraries, classrooms and home reading.

Find it here: Library, Amazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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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