Archive for ‘Books by Topic’

March 16, 2018

Room In Your Heart

Title: Room In Your Heart

Author: Kunzang Choden
Illustrator: Pema Tshering
Publisher:  Kitaabworld, March 27, 2018
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-7
Theme: Kindness, Generosity

Opening Lines:

To the east of Thimphu and west of Trongsa, somewhere among the mountains high, lived an old woman in a little house.

A gray cat, a yellow dog and a brown speckled hen lived with her and shared her hearth.

Synopsis: (from Amazon website)

“Neypo shong gna? Is there room for me?” a wandering monk asks the old lady who lives on the hill. The question is repeated again and again as more and more visitors arrive. The kind lady welcomes them in one by one. But how will they all fit in her tiny little house?

This charming tale contains an important teaching about openness and generosity of spirit.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:
A folktale that will delight and enlighten while opening the eyes and hearts of readers to Bhutanese life. In this tale, a charming old lady in a small one-room home offers hospitality to a monk, a messenger, a traveler and so on without even the slightest hesitation. She shares her meal with all of her guests even though it is not much “one got a single bit of turnip leaf, another a tiny piece of bone, another got a drop of soup” and the guests “savored their dinner and licked their bowls clean“. The appreciative guests wonder how the old lady could fit them all in, to which the monk answers with a wise saying which left this reader with a warm glow deep inside. The backmatter included some interesting facts about Bhutan. For instance, the GNH (Gross National Happiness) index that measures the nation’s prosperity is based on the citizens’ happiness.

The lyrical text paired with soft watercolors is a perfect combination for this tale of openness and love for all.


Find Room In your Heart at the following spots:
Kitaabworld | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0999547623
ISBN-13: 978-0999547625

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

Advertisements
February 23, 2018

Festival of Colors

The Indian holiday of Holi is coming up next week, March 1 & 2, 2018 so it seemed appropriate to review this wonderful new picture book which introduces the holiday that will appeal to both newcomers to the holiday and those already familiar.

Title: Festival of Colors

Author: Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal (check out the interview with this mother-son duo at Children’s Book Podcast)
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Publisher:  Beach Lane Books, 2018
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Theme: Indian Holidays, Colors

Opening Lines:

Guavas are ripening. Lotuses are blooming. And Holi, the Indian festival of colors, is almost here.

Synopsis:

Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

A wonderful, colorful, accessible way of introducing young children to the Indian holiday of Holi. The simple structured text gently guides the reader through the fabulous colors while keeping the reader wondering what the two young characters, Chintoo and Mintoo, will be doing with the collected flowers. We then see the kids prepare the colored powders, which the authors term as petal-powder {love}. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the viewing lens expands beyond Mintoo and Chintoo’s home to show the reader that Holi is something bigger than just their family. The lines for the section read:

Chintoo and Mintoo are ready too! <page turn>
And so are their parents. <page turn>
And their friends. <page turn>
And their neighbors. And then … <page turn>

The book then conveys the sentiment of Holi being about friendship, forgiveness, and fresh starts, not just within the family but extending to the community as well. An author’s note at the end provides a brief overview of the holiday.

The artwork is dynamic and vivacious and most importantly kid-appealing.

Take a look at this wonderful 3D animated book trailer.

Find Festival of Colors at the following spots:
Kitaab World | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1481420496
ISBN-13:  978-1481420495

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

February 9, 2018

Be Kind

I’m so excited to share this lovely book. It seemed like the perfect choice since Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week is coming up February 11-17, 2018.   

Title: Be Kind

Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Jenn Hill
Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press, 2018
Editor: Connie Hsu
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Kindness

Excerpt:

What does it mean to be kind anyway?
Maybe it’s giving.
Making cookies for Mr. Rinaldi, who lives alone.
Letting someone with smaller feet have my too-tight shoes.
(He might win races in them, too.)

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

Activites:

  • Kindness lesson plan
  • Have kids do a Random Act of Kindness. Here is a link to my past blog post to get some ideas.
  • There are tons of other resources on the Internet. I recommend searching Pinterest. Here is a link to get you started.

Why I Like This Book:

What’s not to love. The succinct text, the musings of a young child, cheery illustrations, with a message of empathy and compassion. A charming book which shows that kindness can be done in the simplest ways with the potential to grow. The book can be used as a springboard for discussions at home and school about kindness and can be extended with a kindness activity.

Also, check out this adorable trailer where kids answer questions about kindness.

Find Be Kind at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1626723214
ISBN-13: 978-1626723214

October 31, 2017

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years

Title: Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: David Litchfield
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2018
Editor: Sally Doherty
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Earth, Space

Opening Lines:

Hi! My name is Earth.
Some people call me Gaia, the World, the blue marble, or the third planet from the sun.
You can call me Planet Awesome.

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth’s life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day. Beloved children’s book author Stacy McAnulty helps Earth tell her story, and award-winning illustrator David Litchfield brings the words to life. The book includes back matter with even more interesting tidbits.

Activites:

Why I Like This Book:

A brilliant approach to a topic that has been written about many, many times. The author cleverly portrays Earth with a child-like persona which is warm and inviting and most importantly relatable for young readers. The reader learns about Earth’s siblings (other planets in the solar system), friends (Moon), favorite activities (spinning and circling the Sun).

Not to worry there is also something for the adult reader too. Check out this funny pun which is a nod to parenting.

“I don’t remember what it was like to be a baby. Who does? But I’ve been told I was a hot mess.
Explosive. Gassy! Very cranky.”

There is a wonderful timeline with major events (presence of air, insects, dinosaurs, flowers, homo sapiens) shown against a ruler to help the reader get a grasp of the massive time scale.

The book does touch on the rough times Earth has had with asteroids, volcanoes, and ice ages. While it can seem scary, the author does a good job of reassuring the young reader that Earth is still the same on the inside and continues on. The book ends on a note of environmentalism.

The art is cute and inviting with bold colors. It is rendered through a combination of pencils, ink, watercolor paints, and digital art tools.

There is additional backmatter regarding the continents, the location of Earth in space, and the five major extinctions and a bibliography.

A great book for a preschool, lower elementary, or home library.

Find Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 125010808X
ISBN-13: 978-1250108081

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

September 8, 2017

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk

Title: It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk

Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Edwardian Taylor
Publisher: Two Lions, 2017
Editor: Marilyn Brigham
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Fractured Fairytale

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!

With laugh-out-loud dialogue and bold, playful art (including hidden fairy tale creatures for kids to find), this Jack and the Beanstalk retelling will have children rolling with laughter till Bessie the cow comes home.

Activities:

  • Pinterest board full of Jack and Beanstalk related crafts and activities.

Why I Like This Book:

A hilarious fusion of a modern boy in a classic fairytale. The use of meta makes this a stand-out book in a saturated genre. Brilliantly clever!

The smart book design clearly depicts the three voices.

  • Narrator’s story voice in old font.
  • Narrator to Jack in bold font.
  • Jack’s dialogue – to the narrator, to himself, to other characters in the story – in bubbles.

Jack is a boy with modern sensibilities and complaints. I loved Jack’s dialogue since in some ways it voices the thoughts and feelings of today’s young reader. From Jack’s adoration to his pet cow Bessie to his attempt to negotiate with the narrator regarding the size of the beanstalk.

While Jack’s attitude is whiny in the first half, it serves him well in his dealings with the giant leading to a revamped ending that is wonderfully unexpected and satisfying. Be on the lookout for cameos from Cinderella and other popular fairytale characters.

A fun read for all ages!

Find It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1542045657
ISBN-13: 978-1542045650

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

%d bloggers like this: