Posted in Book Review

The Bridge Home

By Padma Venkatraman

Book Source: purchased

Book Status: Available

My reasons why kids should read this book.

1. This was a hard book to read. They don’t say when the story takes place but Mom says it could be now. She said there are kids who live like this now. This story shows how other kids live now.

2. There strong girl characters. Both the main character and her sister. The sister is even most likely a special needs kid and guess what – she is still a valuable member of the team.

3. They create their own family that is loving and caring. Their parents don’t treat them well so they run away. They meet two boys who become their brothers.

4. The title can mean so many different things. There is the actual “Bridge Home” but it could also mean finding their home.

5. The story is sad and hard. As the author states in her note, it is based on real stories. It helps kids see life could be worse. Maybe it will even inspire them to want to do something for others.

Posted in Book Review

The Library of Ever

By Zeno Alexander

Book Source: my awesome library

Book Status: available

Today is my last day of 4th grade and this book is the best for today.

Here are the reasons kids should read this book.

1. This book is about a library and the main character becoming a librarian.

2. She becomes cool things like Official Court Librarian Of The kingdom Of Starpoint Seventeen and (gasp) THE HONARARY QUEEN OF THE PENGUINS!!! (Ohmygosh I’m so jealous I’m mad!!)

3. She nearly goes into space with a tardigrade ( a water bear otherwise known as).

4. She arrested like a superhero.

5. It shows how librarians need to do a lot of work, so the should be appreciated.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Meet the authors

Lorena Alvarez

1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

Yes, I loved to read when I was your age! My favorite books were those about nature, I was really interested in understanding how our planet and the universe works. I think I still am. I did like the books teacher assigned us at school, but I used to browse into my parents’ bookshelf too.

2. What is a book that made an impact on you?

I should mention that the first book that got fixated in my memory was Gnomes written by Wil Huygen and illustrated by Rien Poortvliet. I still remember how fascinated I was looking at the illustrations of the gnomes living and working in trees and taking care of the forest. It was really clever how the stories combined fantasy and actual facts about plants and animals from those places. I still look at that book from time to time, it reminds me why I love to draw.

3. Is it hard to come up with book and illustration ideas?

I think that you need a lot of patience, because when you’re writing something you are opening yourself to a new experience and it takes time and discipline to make sense of it. When I started to write my own stories I would get upset because I couldn’t came up with a complete idea right away, I had to understand that it was possible to start from small things, an image, a memory and build my storytelling from there. It also takes patience to understand that sometimes your stories won’t be as good or interesting you want them to be, I still learning to deal with that!

4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?

I have two authors in mind. One is Molly Mendoza with Skip, a beautiful comic book that is not only a feast for the eyes but also has a fabulous story, I really admire her work. Another author is Emil Ferris, her debut comic My Favorite Thing is Monsters really made me think about how much you can experiment with drawing and writing in comic books.

5. Is there a new or lesser known author or illustrator you think kids should be aware of?

There’s a lot of Colombian authors and illustrators I’d love to be known everywhere! I admire a lot the work of Paula Ortiz, Henry González, Paola Escobar and Catalina Vasquez, they are all remarkable illustrators and story tellers.

6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an illustrator?

These are things that I’ve learned so far:

Trust your gut and be disciplined.

Be open to try new things.

Share your ideas with people who also likes to draw.

Even if you choose another profession, don’t stop drawing.

7. How do you make your illustrations- by hand, on the computer or ??

I always start with a pencil sketch, I really like to draw with blue and red pencils. Then I scan them and color them on Procreate or Photoshop. Sometimes when I’m working for an exhibition I use acrylics or watercolors. Most of my work is digitial, but I really enjoy working with traditional media.

8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

that’s a good question! I would choose Mommy? by Maurice Sendak, is not only one of the funniest books I’ve ever seen and I love how horror movie icons are portrayed in such a warm way, besides it is a pop up book, so you feel like you have a lot to explore in each page.

Posted in Book Review

Nightlights & Hicotea

By Lorena Alvarez

Book Source: bought at TCAF

Book Status: Available

I had the chance to listen to Lorena Alvarez explain her process at TCAF. I also picked up her books. My interview with her will be posted on Wednesday.

Now my reasons why you will her two books (they are a series)

1. Her art is absolutely gorgeous, which is funny because it is kind of a dark story. She is a colorful, brilliant illustrator.

2. The story is super interesting even if dark. It is about a girl and her imagination.

3. Because it is about imagination, it leaves a lot of opportunities for creativity. She really explores those.

4. Can I say the artwork again? I would love to have her illustrations on my wall. She showed some crafty projects which are also cute.

5. It involves school and a new girl…. Or is she? There is a field trip to a wetland, a grumpy teacher and well kinds of things that happen at school. Middle grade kids will relate to it.

So check this out…

Posted in Book Review

The Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem

By Kevin Sylvester

Illustrated by Britt Wilson

Book Source: bought at TCAF

Book Status: Available

I met Kevin Sylvester at NerdCampMi last year. He is super funny and we took a super silly photo together. He is using it as his official NerdCamp author photo. Haha! I finally got a copy of one of his books to review.

Five reasons why you should read this

1. The main character is allergic to pretty much everything. For kids like me with allergies, the allergy kid is not often the main character.

2. It turns out the allergies are a super power

3. Did you pick up the main character is a girl and it is a superhero adventure! Woohoo for girl super hero

4. It is a super fun adventure that was exciting to read. This would be a great summer read for someone who needs a break from serious books but still wants to read a chapter book.

5. Britt Wilson did the illustrations that make this a partial graphic novel. It starts out as a graphic novel and then becomes a novel

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Meet the authors

Debbie Gonzales

Author Website:

Business Website:

Podcast: The Debcast





When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

I loved reading non-fiction. Articles about bugs and bobcats fascinated me. Stories about people who had done extraordinary things inspired me. Science stories confounded me. I would lose myself in stacks of National Geographic magazines. It’s no wonder I’ve written a non-fiction picture book about gutsy women who impacted sports history, right?

What book has had an impact on you?

Wow. It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll try. If I stick with the topic of sports novels, I have to say that Bruce Brook’s THE MOVES THAT MAKE THE MAN has made a lasting impression on me. Though the novel was written in 1984, it’s still one of the best expressions of how sports can become part of a person’s inner being. Not only is it an amazing story about an unlikely friendship between a black boy and white boy in a racially charged time in history, it addresses the topic of mental illness in a tender way. But the best part about the book is way that basketball is intrinsic to the protagonist’s character. The kid is so connected with the sport, he can juke and jive like the best of them in the dark without a ball. It’s a great book.

Is it hard to come up with book ideas? Why write a book about women’s sports?

GIRLS WITH GUTS was inspired by an assignment for school! While working on my master’s degree in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, the topic of my thesis was the history of the female athletic protagonist. I studied how and when our heroine showed up in books throughout history. There were times when she was represented as kind of silly and not serious about her sport. Later, she became a warrior, focused on winning at whatever the cost! It’s cool that the research became a book about the history of females in sports, and how overtime, she’s become a force to reckon with!

What author or book have read recently that impacted you?

Check out Stephanie Parsley Ledyard’s HOME IS A WINDOW and get set to be wowed. It’s a sweet story of a family who is moving across country. I absolutely love the text! The poetry is perfection. And, the subtle way that Pixar illustrator Chris Saski interpreted the message of the story is incredible. Moving isn’t about the stuff that is shipped across the nation, its about the love the family shares, no matter where they live.

Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

In keeping with the strong women in sports theme, I encourage you readers to consider debut author Kim Chaffee’s HER FEARLESS RUN: KATHRINE SWITZER’S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON. It’s an amazing non-fiction picture book about a woman who dared to run the Boston Marathon at a time, not so long ago, and was openly threatened when she did. Kathrine Switzer is alive and well today, committed to empowering females through her 261 Fearless, a global network for women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Read. Read. Read. Be interested in anything and everything. Pay attention to what your teachers are telling you. Do your very on your assignments. You never know when an assignment might become a published book!

As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I am having SO much fun with this book! I generally hear from my readers via social media. I love it when they post an image of their copy of the book and how much they’ve enjoyed reading it. This makes me so very happy.

If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

I’d like to portal into the book that I am currently writing right now. It’s a ghost story about a girl named Tobi, who is the only female on a Little League team. It’s set in 1974, just after the time that Title IX was passed. I wish I could travel back in time to attend baseball practice with her, sit next to her in class, and encourage her as she struggles to live every day with a broken heart, one that only a ghost can heal.