Posted in Book Review

I am enough

By Grace Byers

Pictures by Keturah A. Bobo

Book Source: owned by me

Book Status: published

This is a picture book about how you were meant to be here and there is no way someone can say otherwise. In the book, it states how like everything else in the world , you are here for a reason. Like the air is here for us to breathe and you are here to breathe. Like the trees, you are here to grow and be the best person you can be.

This is a book that makes you feel better about yourself. It reminds you that you are here for a reason and everyone can change the world. The illustrations are diverse and represent everybody. Kids can find themselves in this book and that is important.

Everybody should have this! I might share my copy with my class or my librarian or my principal because this is an important book for my school and classmates.

Posted in Book Review

Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy

By Gareth Wronski

Book Source: Borrowed from library

Book Status: published

A lot of people suggested I check out Holly Farb so I was happy to find it at my library. Spoiler these people know me!

This book is about a girl named Holly Farb who gets kidnapped by pirates in space along with her teacher and a classmate. Their names are Mr Mendez and Chester. The pirates think Holly is the Princess of the Galaxy. When they escape from the pirates, they find a cruise ship where they are rescued and a whole adventure starts as they try not to get recaptured and learn to work together. Spoiler Chester and Holly don’t get along very well.

This book is unique because of the diversity in species and gender of the character. Hint one character is an alien. Plus two characters have been to space before.

I like this book because it is an adventure in space. The lead character is a girl but boys will still like this. Holly would be the perfect partner for chaos with my all-time favorite character, Cleopatra in Space. Add in Zita and the chaos would quadruple ten times plus add 30,000. If kids liked those books, they will like Holly.

I am desperate for a second Holly Farb!!!

Posted in Book Review, Reviews by Annoying Little Brother

Double Book Review: Volcanoes and Dinosaurs

Volcanoes by Arianna Soldati

Dinosaurs by Lela Nargi and Steve Brusatte

Book Source: Provided by Masters Media in exchange for review

Little Brother and Bridget review

These books are by National Geographic Kids. They have facts from actual paleontologist and volcanists. They share information on dinosaurs, why a dig is like and how dinosaurs lived. The volcano book tells the science behind Volcanoes, the different lavas and how you study them. It was very fun to read.

These would be good additions to a science classroom or for a kid interested in dinosaurs or volcanoes. They would learn a lot and could read the books multiple times.

Posted in Meet the authors

Helaine Becker

hb author photo.jpg

  • Author website/social; twitter @helainebecker  I have an instagram acct @helainebecker but I never use it.

When you were my age (9), did you like to read? Oh yes. I was AVID. I was very lucky – we had a great public library in my town, and my parents took us kids at least once a week. They were avid readers too. Nobody told me what I could or couldn’t read, so I ranged widely through the kids’ section first, then the adult section. When I was nine, I read and loved books like Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer, Half Magic and Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager, The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright, The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes and The Borrowers by Mary Norton. I’d probably discovered The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis by then. I also started reading books for adults like Tolkien’s The Hobbit and mysteries by Agatha Christie. I didn’t always understand everything I read, but found them pretty fun anyway. I’ve attached a picture of me on a summer vacation in Rhode Island. A very typical picture of me at that age – I was 9 that July – turning 10 later in the summer.

9 yo Helaine reading on the beach

What was your favorite story?I fell head over heels for the Lion the Witch and Wardrobe, which I stumbled upon by accident. I remember finding it on the shelf at the library, taking it home and loving it – but then I couldn’t find it again!! I didn’t remember the author’s name or the complete title. It was probably two years before I stumbled across it again – AND discovered there were six more books in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I was ECSTATIC. I read every book at least 3000 times.

How do you get your ideas? For me, ideas are everywhere. They are like breathing. I pay attention to what’s going on around me, and am constantly asking myself questions, of the “I wonder….” and the “What if” variety.  I also still read a lot, and when I read, I learn stunning bits of info that just seem to scream out to be turned into book. As far as retelling stories goes – no story is ever complete. When I read a story like Cinderella, I wind up with questions. Like, “what if Cinderella had the stinkiest feet of everyone in the whole town?” THAT then becomes a new story, a “retelling” of an old one, but with a new twist that only I can provide. (That retold Cinderella became a poem called “Smelly Smelly Cinderelly.” It originally appeared in my book Mother Goose Unplucked. It’s hilarous, if I do say so myself. When I do school visits, I sometimes read another poem called Tinkle Tinkle Tinklebell, about a Tinkerbell like fairy with a bladder problem).

What author do you really like right now?I am madly in love with the books of Kim Brubaker Bradley. I love how she tells complicated stories simply, without dumbing down or sanitizing the tough bits. Jefferson’s Sons and The War That Saved My Life are both brilliant.

Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?I live and work in Canada, so I know a lot of Canadian authors. They’re doing amazing things now! You will love love love books by Helene Boudreau, Deborah Kerbel, Frieda Wishinsky, Karen Krossing, Mahtab Narsimhan, Heather Camlot Lena Coakley,Adrienne Kress.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?Ah. The question.  You know some of the biggies people always tell you, like read a lot, already. They are right, but I won’t repeat. Here’s my one extra point:  Most of us think that if we try and write something and it comes out bad, that means we’re not good writers. That’s not true. EVERY writer’s first draft stinks. It’s so stinky we have a term for it – we call it “word vomit.” It’s hard to get the ideas out of your head and onto the page. The first draft, therefore, is just your raw material. Pro writers revise and revise and revise until their eyes cross, trying to turn that mess into a shiny jewel. The ones who succeed are the ones who worked the hardest at that revision stage, not the ones who started out with the best first draft.

As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that? I love knowing that my work touched someone’s heart – whether to make them laugh, learn to read, or get through a tough time. Writers spend a lot of time in our offices alone, doubting ourselves. Getting feedback like that gives us the courage and will to keep at it.

If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?Through most of my life I would have instantly said, “Narnia.” Talking animals! Centaurs! Kids get to be queens! But now? Hmmmm….it’s going to have to be a world with working flush toilets…and no sexism or racism….I pick The Zoom, where Sloth in Sloth at the Zoom lives. I think she’s got a pretty sweet gig going!


Posted in Book Review

Double Book Review: Counting on Katherine & Mae among the Star

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker; Illustrated by Dow Phumirk

Mae among the stars by Roda Ahmed; Illustrated by Stasia Burlington

Book Source: owned by me

Book Status: available

I am doing this as a double book review because I think you should have both books together. They are both good on their own but better as a pair.

The books are about Katherine johnson and Mae Jeminson both books are about the girls wanting to be with NASA!

These books are unique because people don’t really make books about the girls without adding another character!

I recommend this book to both kids and adults.

Posted in Meet the authors

Liesl Shurtliff

·  Author website/social media: @lieslshurtliff (Twitter, IG, FB)

·Tell me a little about yourself: I live in Chicago with my husband and four beautiful kids. I grew up in Salt Lake City, the 5th of 8 kids. In college I studied musical theatre and dance, but very quickly realized I wanted to tell my own stories, rather than perform someone else’s.

1.     When you were my age (9), did you like to read? I did, so long as I had the right book!

2.     What was your favorite story? At nine I believe my favorite was Wait Till Helen Comes: An Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn.

3.     How do you get your ideas? Like why retell fairy tales? I get my ideas in many ways: life experience, other books and stories, friends, family, nature, dreams…ideas are everywhere. Fairytales in particular were a big part of my childhood. Those stories always sparked my interest and imagination. I wanted to be in those stories. In a way, retelling them makes them more personal to me.

4.     What author do you really like right now? I like so many authors. If I had to name just one that I really like right now I’d say Adam Gidwitz. I think he’s brilliant.

5.     Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest? Her book is not quite out yet, but keep an eye out for Temre Beltz. I had the privilege to read your debut middle grade fantasy The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom and it is fantastic!

6.     What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Repeat. When you feel your writing is as good or better than published books you are reading, then you can start to navigate the publishing and business side of things. Developing your own writing skill, style, and voice is the key. The rest will follow.

7.     As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that? I do! I’ve had many lovely interactions with readers both in person or online. I just love hearing what they enjoyed about my books. It makes my day and inspires me to write more.

8.     If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be? I’d go to the world of Harry Potter. No contest.

Posted in Book Review

Rump The True Tale of Rumpilstiskin     

by Liesl Shurtliff

This book is about a boy named Rump who was born with a sick mom and nobody ever heard his full name. Rump lives in The Village by The Mountain  So first it starts when Rump finds a spinning wheel and learns he can spin straw into gold. That helps because gold means food and there isn’t much gold in The Mountain any more. But when the king comes and thinks somebody stole from The Kingdom the greedy miller Oswald says his daughter, Opal, can spin straw to gold ( instead of  rRmp ) he is faced with a hard decision should he help Opal or not ( hint: greedy miller Oswald becomes lord)

I like this book because  it is a good retelling and it has Red in it.

I recommend this book to kids who like the retellings by Liesl  Shurtliff and The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder. I also recommend this book to kids who like Twice Upon a Time Rapunzul The One with All the Hair by Wendy Mass