Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Five) by Kate DiCamillo

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Pages: 96

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: June 9, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I love reading any Kate DiCamillo book but if it features Mercy I am the happiest. Mercy the pig has won my adult heart over many times over.

I cannot wait to read this book to my littles when school comes back in session. I think they will get a kick out of it. I was so impressed by how it taught all about metaphors in a fun and easy way. This is the type of book that makes reading and learning fun for students.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Candlewick Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Metaphor alert! An ode to a certain pig kicks off one wild school day in Kate DiCamillo’s latest stop on Deckawoo Drive.

Stella Endicott loves her teacher, Miss Liliana, and she is thrilled when the class is assigned to write a poem. Stella crafts a beautiful poem about Mercy Watson, the pig who lives next door — a poem complete with a metaphor and full of curiosity and courage. But Horace Broom, Stella’s irritating classmate, insists that Stella’s poem is full of lies and that pigs do not live in houses. And when Stella and Horace get into a shouting match in the classroom, Miss Liliana banishes them to the principal’s office. Will the two of them find a way to turn this opposite-of-a-poem day around? In the newest spirited outing in the Deckawoo Drive series by Kate DiCamillo, anything is possible — even a friendship with a boy deemed to be (metaphorically speaking) an overblown balloon.

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

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Pages: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A very interesting read regarding Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima told from a child’s perspective. I liked how Lowry focused on some of the soldiers’ lives before Pearl Harbor. It gives children something to connect to on an event that they might find hard to relate to as it occurred so long in the past.

It was also very moving to read how American and Japanese children felt in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima. Kids just want to play with each other and be friends. Unfortunately, as adults, we prevent that from happening by teaching them discrimination from an early age.

The eeriest part of the book is reading about the hospital ships, Mercy and Comfort being used after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. These are two ships the United States is currently using during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. They are ships of pain and heartache once again helping our nation in our time of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend, Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.

In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas

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Pages: 176

Publisher: Myrick Marketing and Media LLC

Published: March 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I solely picked this book based on the title and was greatly surprised by how deep the theme of the story. We met Olive who along with her family is working through the grief after the death of her mother.

While this may be considered a middle grade/children’s fiction book I think adults could get a lot of info from this. One is how children are more perceptive to what we as adults are experiencing and feeling. We try to keep on a happy face in front of them but they know when we are upset or are bothered. A lot of children will try their hardest to fix us but do not understand why their fix is not working.

Another review mentioned she was a little worried that this book would convince children that with a little hard work they could fix the adult troubles and that is not always the case. My personal opinion is that it shows children that with hard work they can overcome their own grief and depression when the time is right.

I am intrigued to look into the author’s other works.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Myrick Marketing and Media LLC, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A jewel of a middle-grade novel about a resilient little girl who longs for her dad to break free from the elephant of his depression.

When Olive’s dad drags himself to work in the morning, the elephant goes with him. When he comes home again, so does the elephant. It’s always there, heavy and silent, casting a shadow of sadness over him. Olive knows it has been like this since her mother passed away when she was a year old, and she can’t stand to see her father burdened anymore. With help from her grandfather and her best friend Arthur, she hatches a plan to rid her family of the elephant once and for all.

Before long, she’ll learn that while happiness isn’t that simple, small things can move mountains—or elephants.

Award-winning author-illustrator Peter Carnavas portrays a child’s response to her father’s depression with naïve wisdom. In defiance of the looming grey presence, The Elephant is an intergenerational story of resilience, family, and hope.

Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much by Megan McDonald

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Pages: 64

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: March 10, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A good book for young elementary school readers. It would be a good read-aloud for first graders.

Illustrations have great detail and will draw the littlest reader’s attention.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Candlewick Press, through Netgalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Judy can’t wait for her mischief to bear fruit when Stink discovers that his backyard science project is an overnight success. Hardy-har-har!

Prankenstein strikes again! The Summer Science Showdown is just around the corner, and Stink is positive that he has the recipe for a winning entry. Soon he’s acting like a mad scientist, with strong-smelling potions in hand and visions of super tomatoes dancing in his head. Judy takes one look at her busy brainiac brother and sees a situation ripe for a little mischief! Everyone knows that Judy has never met a practical joke she doesn’t like, and soon the Princess of Pranks is cooking up a recipe of her own. From Megan McDonald comes an epic match of wits in a Judy Moody story perfect for newly independent readers.

Help Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson

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Pages: 32

Publisher: Capstone

Published: March 2, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A great children’s book to show young children how great nightly bedtime stories can be. I also think it is a great book to remind parents how important nightly read-aloud time is for our children.

Shailey’s imagination from the stories read previously to her was beautifully illustrated as well as the love between a parent and child.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, Capstone, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Shailey loves bedtime, especially reading with her dad. But her dad starts a new job, and it gets in the way of their bedtime routine. So Shailey takes action! She fires her dad, posts a Help Wanted sign, and starts interviews immediately. She is thrilled when her favorite characters from fairytales line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings along her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

Finding Home (The Baxter Children #2) by Karen Kingsbury

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I’m a fan of Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series even though I have not nearly read enough of them. It is definitely a series I like to savor and take my time to read. I was very excited last year to read about the creation of a new series centering around the Baxter children. I am happy to say that book two was just as good as the first.

I find it refreshing to read a children’s book that highlights kids using their imagination during playtime. Being a teacher, I am saddened how many children cannot free-write stories using their imagination because they do not know how to imagine. I constantly hear stories from my littles telling me that they go home and watch hours of endless TV, Youtube or play video games that are far too adult for them. So many rarely go outside and pretend they are on an island made of lava and find ways to escape.

I love how Finding Home teaches right from wrong and being humble. No matter the age of the reader (child or adult) I think we all could learn from it. Even a gentle reminder. Being humble is a wonderful trait but one of the hardest in today’s society.

Finding Home is a great read-aloud for families.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Summer is over and Dad begins his important position at an Indiana hospital. Like it or not, Bloomington is the Baxter Family’s new home. As school starts, everyone finds reasons to be excited about the move. Everyone that is except Ashley. Ashley desperately misses the home and friends she left behind. As she realizes her siblings have their struggles, too, she can’t help but wonder if unlikely friends can be the best friends of all? And could time and love from her family be enough to make a house feel like home?

In the second book in the Baxter Family Children series, #1 New York Times bestselling Karen Kingsbury and Tyler Russell tell the funny and poignant tale of the Baxter children finding home!

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

aggie

Pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A delightful read for Agatha Christie fans of all ages. Murder, mayhem, and intrigue lurk around corner of the debut novel in a new series.

Being a huge fan of cozy mysteries I jumped at the chance to read this new novel. I am so glad I did. Although it is a fictionalized version of a young Ms. Christie I was able to imagine this was how she started her career as the Queen of Mystery.

In this novel, Aggie is twelve years old and homeschooled and has plenty of time to use her imagination (a gift so many today do not get to explore). She fancies herself a mystery writer but when she finds a dead body she uses that imagination to try and solve the case. She gets herself into plenty of scraps but her friend Hector is always in the shadows to get her out of them.

This is the perfect novel to introduce the Mystery Queen to your young readers and open their world to a future of cozy mysteries.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot. For fans of Lemony Snicket and The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.

Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn’t got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal — including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends — to solve the case before Aggie’s beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn’t commit.

Filled with mystery, adventure, an unforgettable heroine and several helpings of tea and sweets, The Body Under the Piano is the clever debut of a new series for middle-grade readers and Christie and Poirot fans everywhere, from a Governor General’s Award–nominated author of historical fiction for children.

Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper

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Pages: 272

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Published: October 8, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I can see this book becoming a popular book club read among the middle-grade readers. When reading you feel like you are Jade and feel her emotions so deeply. What she is going through is so common among our children. A sick parent and the life they know is turned upside down.

The magical realism that is part of the plot is used nicely. It didn’t make me cringe as some do. Middle graders will love it. I think my fourth-grade cousin will love this book.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Charlesbridge, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: One creative middle-schooler discovers that the best friend a girl can have is the one she makes herself in this charming magical realism read.

Jade’s life hasn’t exactly been normal lately, especially since her dad’s cancer diagnosis. Jade wishes her family could leave their no-name town in Colorado already–everybody else does sooner rather than later, including every best friend Jade’s ever had. So she makes one up. In the pages of her notebook, she writes all about Zoe–the most amazing best friend anyone could dream of.

But when pretend Zoe appears in real life thanks to a magical experiment gone right, Jade isn’t so sure if she likes sharing her imaginary friend with the real world. To keep her best friend (and even make some new ones), Jade learns how to cope with jealousy, that friends should let friends be true to themselves, and that may be the perfect best friend doesn’t exist after all.

The Snow Bear by Holly Webb

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Pages: 160

Publisher: Myrick Marketing and Media, LLC

Published: October 1, 2019 (November 26, 2012 (UK Edition)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Sara loves to listen to Grandpa’s stories of his adventures in the Canadian Arctic when he was a boy. As the snow begins to fall, she builds a snow bear just like the one in Grandpa’s story. In the middle of the night, Sara wakes up and sets out on an enchanted journey through a world of ice and meets a special polar bear cub who befriends her. But will she ever find her way back home?

My Review: An endearing read for children of all ages. The love between a grandpa and granddaughter is highlighted beautifully within the backdrop of the Canadian Arctic and a polar bear looking for his mama.

A bonus is a piece of educational information on polar bears and other arctic animals at the end of the book. A perfect book for an elementary classroom.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Roll with It by Jamie Sumner

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Pages: 256

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Published: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind, this big-hearted middle-grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.

But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid—she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!

My Review: A beautiful read. If you like Wonder than you will love Roll with It.

Ellie is an inspiration that will stick with you. I couldn’t put this book down and I was hooked from page one. Yes, at times Ellie could be a tad whiny and smart-mouthed but what pre-teen isn’t and sometimes she had a right to be whiny. It made her character seem believable.

I definitely will be buying a copy or five for some local elementary schools in my area. I want to share Ellie’s story with as many as I can.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.