Posted in General

A Year in Review

15732699_10210125598088064_5147477789162733760_o
Use with permission from Toni Yuly
Today, I am looking at how my blog has done. Mom showed me how to read the stats. It is cool to look at.

  • I launched my blog on June 15, 2016
  • I have written 183 blog posts (oops, 184 with this one)
  • The posts have been viewed 6,392 times
  • There have been 3,208 visitors from all over the world (HI!)
  • My most popular post has been the first Ask the Librarian with Meaghan Battle
  • The second most popular is my interview with Author Gary Urey
  • I have reviewed 109 books (and read even more)
  • I have interviewed 28 authors, 23 librarians and 3 illustrators
  • I was on Kids Place Live national radio with Absolutely Mindy and Guy Raz
  • I was on a podcast with Chloe of Chloe’s Friendship Circle

2016 was a good launch year. Thank you for being part of it.  I am excited about what 2017 will bring.

Happy New Year!

Posted in Book Review

The Hanukkah Review

Today I am reviewing three books on Hanukkah. They are Hanukkah by Roni Schotter and illustrated by Marylin Hafner, The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl and illustrated by Laura Hughes and Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar.

I read these three books to learn more about Hanukkah. I even went to the lighting of a 9 foot menorah in my town earlier this week. There was dancing, fire, soup and donuts. They also gave rabbi dolls but I decided not to take one.

These books explained about Hanukkah in a way a non-Jewish child like me could understand. Plus Santa was not in it, which seems more correct.

One thing I learned about Hanukkah that they eat latkes, play with dreidels and their parents give them presents every night. Hanukkah is eight days. I was confused by why the menorah had nine candles for eight days but looking it up, it seems the ninth candle is for lighting the menorah.

The three books I read are from PJ Library, which makes sure Jewish kids have books about their beliefs. I think that is really cool.

 

Posted in Book Review

Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf

Image result for shmelf the hanukkah

By Greg Wolfe

Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

I found this at the library. I was curious about Hanukkah, so I borrowed it. It is fun book to read. And it is funny there is an elf who celebrates Hanukkah and he works with Santa. His sleigh is pulled by a Jewish reindeer named Asher. I am not sure that makes sense though as Hanukkah doesn’t always fall at same time as Christmas. They are two separate holidays, so I don’t think they share Santa.

The book does a good job of explaining Hanukkah. Eight days of gifts sounds nice. The oil lasting eight days sounds like a story I would like to learn more about. I am borrowing some more books on Hanukkah from a Jewish family near me so I can learn more. This was a good starter.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Hanukkah. I even shared this book with my class. I think this good book for kids to read to learn about a different way to celebrate.

Posted in Book Review

The Gingerbread Pirates

Image result for gingerbread pirates

By Kristin Kladstrup

Illustrated by Matt Tavares

The Gingerbread Pirates is good. The story is about gingerbread pirates and Santa helping them become toys so they can play with the boy. I don’t want to spoil how that happens!

This is another unexpected Christmas story. Gingerbread cookies are very tasty and very common at Christmas. It was funny to read a book all about them. Seeing they were pirates, maybe I should have had Annoying Little Brother review this!

This story is about wishes coming true. I like the pictures. The cookie details are really neat. I wish I could make cookies like that.

I recommend this book to people that like pirates and gingerbread men.

———–

Dear readers, Thank you for reading my blog. I am going to take a small vacation to enjoy the holidays and probably read lots of books. I promise to come back. Have a great holiday!

Bridget

Posted in Book Review

The Christmas Boot

Image result for the christmas boot

By Lisa Wheeler

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

I like this book. It has very pretty illustrations. The story is a nice, calm story. It was not what I thought the book was about. It has a surprise!

Hannah lives in the woods by herself. She finds a black boot and it fits her just right. It is a magical boot and brings her many things, including a special visitor.

This is a really pretty Christmas story. It is about appreciating what you have and the sometimes the simple gifts others provide. You do not need a big gift, you don’t need the fancy gift.

I recommend this book to all my readers!

(Bridget note: I have met Lisa Wheeler. She is really nice. My parents met Jerry Pinkney. They say he is really nice.)

Posted in Meet the authors

Meet the author: Jean Reagan

mugdsc01770

Tell me a little about yourself:  I’m the author of the silly HOW-TO series that started with HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA in 2012.  Lee Wildish is the super talented, hilarious illustrator.  HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA came out in 2014, and then in 2015 HOW TO SURPRISE A DAD and HOW TO CATCH SANTA were published.   Next year will bring two more books:  HOW TO RAISE A MOM and HOW TO GET YOUR TEACHER READY.  Just in time for Halloween 2018, HOW TO CATCH A GHOST will be out.

I was born in Fairhope, Alabama, but spent most of my childhood in Japan.

Something you may not know about me is that each summer, my husband and I are wilderness volunteer rangers in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  We live in a little cabin without running water or electricity. Elk, deer, bears, and an occasional mountain lion are our neighbors.

mystic-1
When you were my age, did you like to read?   I struggled to learn how to read, even though I tried really, really hard.  I felt SO frustrated. Finally at eight years old, I became comfortable reading.


What was your favorite story? SMILING HILL FARM was the first book I loved.  Then I discovered Beverly Cleary’s early books and ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN.


How do you get your ideas? I start with a title (or premise) and then brainstorm ideas around that.  All kinds of ideas—good and bad, serious and ridiculous.  Then I choose my favorites and try to work a story around them.  I also ask friends and family for suggestions.  (I’m great at “stealing” ideas!)


Is it hard to write a book? 
 For me, sometimes writing flows very easily, but other times it feels positively hopeless and impossible.  While writing each book, at least once I experience a period of I-should-go-do-dishes-because-at-least-I-know-how-to-do-dishes!! I can be quite dramatic and pathetic.  ☺  By the way, I got over 300 rejections from publishers before I sold my first book.  So, yes, it was hard for me.  Other authors have success WAY before that many rejections!

Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated? Generally my favorite book is the one I just completed.  It feels so fresh and exciting.  Plus, I love wallowing in my huge sense of relief that it’s off to the printer!


What author do you really like right now?
  I love anything by Kate DiCamillo.  I also find Sandra Boyton’s books absolutely delightful, but they’re for very young kids.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read, read, read!  And better yet, do what you’re doing, review books.  While you read ask, “What do I like?  What don’t I like?” and most importantly “Why?” and “How did the author do that?”

Enter writing contests!  My first successes came from writing contests.  Winning contests kept me going despite all those dreaded rejections.