The Root of Magic by Kathleen Benner Duble

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Pages: 216

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishing

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Willow knows the unknown is scary. Especially when your little brother has been sick for a long time and nobody has been able to figure out why. All Willow wants is for her brother to get better and for her life to go back to normal.

But after a bad stroke of luck, Willow and her family find themselves stranded in an unusual town in the middle of nowhere and their life begins to change in the most unexpected way. Willow soon discovers that the town isn’t just unusual—it’s magical—and the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined.

Will Willow find that this could be the secret to saving her family—or discover that the root of magic could lead them to something greater?

My Review:

Would you want to know what each day would bring before it happened? This is the question Willow must answer when a terrifying accident brings her and her family to Kismet, Maine.

The Root of Magic is a story filled with the wonders of magic, love, and acceptance of yourself and others.

Appropriate for children of ages 8 – 12. There is no foul language and no sex (a first kiss only). It would make a great read-aloud for families. Discussions will abound.

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

The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young

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Pages: 184

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Published: May 21, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults, and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race when his pumpkin crashed into her as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

My Review: A beautifully written book showing young readers how the world around them isn’t always about them. Billie is very self-absorbed but I don’t think any more so than other children her age. This her summer of growing and learning for the next stage of her life.

I was very impressed with how the author weaved science and math into the story without the reader feeling like they just received a lesson.

I would definitely recommend this book to any on my middle-grade readers with confidence.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Children’s through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Crunch and Crack, Oink and Whack! An Onomatopeia Story by Brian P. Cleary

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Pages: 32

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

Published: January 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The rhyming verse from Brian P. Cleary presents the fictional Clip-Clop Elementary School’s celebration of “Onomatopoeia Day.” Enthusiastic young students make their way from band room (Rattle! Boom! Twang!) to the gym (Whiff! Whack! Swish!) to the science lab (Hiss! Spurt! Ding!) and beyond. Brief back matter offers additional examples of onomatopoeias—words that imitate sounds.

My Review:
One of the best educational books in print to introduce young readers to the world of Onomatopoeia. The illustrations are colorful and fit the text perfectly. I adored that the story took place in a classroom setting. I feel it will help young students to learn how fun school can be if they just look around and think about the different ways to learn. Listen to the sounds of the mechanics around you.

The ending of the book is a treasure for teachers. The author has listed to words by categories of animal noises, human noises, and mechanical noises. It would be the perfect reference/anchor chart for the classroom.

I see this as a great Christmas present for my teacher friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lerner Publishing Group through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

My Special Brother Bo by Britt Collins

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Pages: 20

Publisher: Future Horizons

Published: February 14, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Written by a pediatric occupational therapist who has worked for over thirteen years with children with special needs. Through this sweet story of love an acceptance, siblings of children with special needs will hear that they are loved and hold a unique place within their family. Through Lucy’s voice, children will gain a better understanding of how important and loved they are.

Before reading, I read some not so positive reviews and was worried I was not going to like this book. A lot of readers thought it was derogatory to Bo and Lucy was not a very caring big sister. They also mentioned that they felt it was not good at explaining autism to readers.

After reading, I enjoyed it. I looked at it as a great book for siblings of special needs brothers or sisters. A perfect book for a parent or educator to read and let them see it is ok to have the feelings of disappointment of not being able to do everything others do. You can let them know it is ok to be embarrassed at times but they are still your sibling and love and understanding is the best medicine of all.

As a special education substitute teacher, I will use this in my classrooms.

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

On the Internet: Our First Talk About Internet Safety by Dr. Jillian Roberts

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Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Published: February 19, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How do we approach our young children in regards to Internet Safety? Using a conversational approach with real-world examples this book is a great tool for parents.

As a teacher, I appreciated the real-world examples and the format it was written in. The language is simple enough for even the youngest to understand and the examples with pictures will help everyone understand what is being discussed.

I plan on buying this for several friends who have young kids that will be getting on the internet more and more for school. I will feel like a better friend for helping make sure they are as safe as we can make them on the internet.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Orca Book Publishers through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

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Pages: 240 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written. The ending will bring you all the feels from sadness to happiness to love. Twenty four hours after finishing I am still moved to tears thinking about this book.

Louisiana Elefante is awakened in the middle of the night by her Granny and told they are leaving for good right then. As they cross the FL/GA state line Louisiana realizes she will never see her friends again and starts plotting in her head how to get back to Lister, FL. When Granny starts having dental problems and finding a dentist is the number one goal, Louisiana finds more than she bargained for in a new friend and the family she has always dreamed of being apart of.

If the cover with a little blond girl and a cute bunny barrette does not pull you in immediately you will be pulled in by the second page and falling in love with Louisiana. Her spunkiness and pure childlike look into the word will grip your heart and not let it go. You will admire her determination and strength as she navigates the hand that is dealt to her.

Louisiana’s Way Home is a book I will be re-reading for years to come and will be sharing with my students every year. A wonderful example of how you can overcome a rough start in life and with grit and determination you can decide on who you will become.

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

The Cow Said Neigh! A Farm Story by Rory Feek

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Pages: 32 (eBook)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Childrens Division

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A very entertaining book for children up to kindergarten/first grade as they learn to read. The very young ones will love learning the sounds animals make and what sounds they should make. The illustrations are gorgeous. Very colorful.

I would definitely use this in any preschool classroom I am in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson’s Children’s division through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald

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Pages: 160 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Judy Moody has to make a family tree for third grade. While working with her Grandma Lou, Judy finds out she is related to royalty. Judy thinks she finally has a way to top her nemesis, Jessica Finch. Judy’s family visits a local castle and GASP who does Judy see none other than Jessica. Will Jessica overshadow Judy once again?

My school kids love Judy Moody and have gotten me reading her antics. I absolutely love her imagination. I hope with my kids reading her that they learn how to use their imagination. I would love to use this book as a tie-in with a class family tree project and maybe a writing project of someone in their family tree.

Little girls of elementary school age will love reading Judy’s adventures in royalty.

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

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Pages: 448 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: April 17, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As World War II blazes through Europe and Hitler becomes a menace, Augusta “Gusta” Neubronner is sent to live with her grandma she barely knows in Springdale, Maine. Her father was escorting her but in Providence they became separated so she trudges on until she finds her grandmother’s doorstep. She brings very few possessions but her treasured French horn as made the journey with her. As she learns her way in life and the new town will the French horn be able to save her and her family as family secrets start leaking out at the seams?

What a treasured read. The book is loosely based on the author’s own mother’s life as a child during wartime in Maine. You can see the trueness of the story shine through the words on the page. I was enthralled with this different aspect of a children’s book during World War Two. As a reader you learn about Alienation registration and how children treated other children who seemed un-American based on their name or look. At times it reminded me of what is going on the America today with the immigration disputes among people.

This may be a children’s fiction book but anyone who loves a good story, no matter the age, will find themselves cheering gutsy Gusta as she learns her way in life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

The Sound of Freedom by Kathy Kacer

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Pages: 256

Publisher: Annick Press Ltd.

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It is 1936 in Krakow, Poland and Hitler is making his move on the Jewish families. Anna has always led an idyllic and mostly happy childhood going to school and listening to her father play his clarinet in the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. As Hitler starts enforcing his reign outside of Germany her family understands it is time to move. Bronislaw Huberman is taking auditions for his new orchestra in Palestine, a city that is safer for Jewish families. Will Anna’s father get a spot and the family get their travel visas before it is too late?

I am a big reader of World War 2 fiction at it doesn’t matter if it is an adult book or a children book I want to read it. The Sound of Freedom was extremely interesting as it was a story from a different country than Germany. I was also interested as it based loosely on a true story as Bronsilaw Huberman really did start an orchestra in Palestine and go to Poland auditioning people for spots and provided thousands of travel visas for families. I would like to read more about him.

The view point from Anna is very relatable for children in grades 4-7 as she talks about the things that are important to her at that age and those things are important to every child no matter the year or surroundings. She thinks about leaving her friends and how she will feel. She thinks about what to leave and what to take. She thinks about making new friends in a country that she does not know the language. Anna also shows how to gather courage and lets the reader know that each one of us is stronger than we think.

I hope to see this book in school libraries very soon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Annick Press Ltd. through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.