Thursday, December 25, 2014

Memoirs of an Elf by Devin Scillian

In Devin Scillian's latest book, Memoirs of an Elf, readers get to travel with Santa and three of his elves as they deliver all the gifts around the world in just 24 hours.  It is Sparky the Elf who has to keep Santa on schedule and his job is a tough one.  Santa loves cookies and this year there are more cookies than ever.  In Mexico, Santa loves to eat the tamales the children leave out for him.  Since it takes him longer to eat the tamales than the cookies, he gets even more behind schedule.  Time must be made up as he travels around South America.  Sparky the Elf also gives out some fun facts about Santa in this book.  For instance, did you know that tinsel makes reindeer hyper?  Did you know that Santa loves dogs and dogs love him?  One such dog, without Santa and his elves knowing, becomes a stow away who is found when Santa returns to the North Pole. What will they do with this dog?  You will have to read this great story to find out.

I think that readers of all ages will enjoy this story.  I'm sure you will enjoy the fun Santa and his elves have as they travel around the world in just 24 hours.

Enjoy your Christmas!

Happy Daily Reading

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by: James Dean and Eric Litwin

Christmas is a fun time of year and I especially enjoy finding new Christmas read-aloud books.  In the book Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, written and illustrated by Eric Litwin and James Dean, the reader is reminded of the importance of giving at this time of the year.  It was so refreshing to read something that talked about giving and doing your best.  This is a great message all year 'round. Children love Pete the Cat books, and I am glad that Pete the Cat can teach children about the true meaning of Christmas.  I highly recommend this book for all ages.

It is Chistmas Eve and Santa is sick.  Will Christmas be cancelled?  Pete is willing to help Santa.  Pete knows he is small and he has never done Santa's job before, but he knows if he gives it his all he can be successful.  He sings as he delivers the gifts, sharing the message of giving at this time of the year. You can listen to the song by visiting

After reading this story think about what you will be giving this year, not about what you want to receive.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bayou Magic by: Jewell Parker Rhodes

Bayou Magic is another wonderful story written by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  The story is about Maddy, who is the youngest in her family.  All of her siblings have had a turn spending the summer on the Bayou with her Grandmere (Grandmother).  Now it is Maddy's turn.  She has always lived in the city and at first she is very nervous in her new surroundings.  However it doesn't take Maddy long to feel right at home on the bayou.

Maddy learns from her Grandmere that she has the "family magic" in her and she can call fireflies.  She soon has a special firefly of her own.  Grandmere tells Maddy about the history of their family and how they came to live in Louisiana.  During the story, Gradmere tells Maddy about Mami Wata, the mermaid who swam along the slave trading ships offering hope to those trapped inside the ships.

Bear is a boy who lives in the bayou and becomes Maddy's friend.  While they play in the waters of the bayou, they look for mermaids.  Bear is not able to see Mami Wata but he believes Maddy when she tells him about seeing her.  Bear's father works on an oil rig and is only home for short periods of time.  It is when Bear's father is home and Bear isn't with Maddy that Maddy has underwater adventures with Mami Wata.

Maddy has such love for the world around her that she will say "thank you" to the hen who lays her eggs for their breakfast.  While on a shrimping boat she thanks the shrimp for the goodness they will bring to her and her friends on the bayou.  Maddy begins to sense the world around her, sensing when things are not right and what to do to set things right.  When she sees three mermaids, she senses that trouble comes in threes.  Soon thereafter, Maddy hears a big explosion.  The rig where Bear's father works has exploded and word comes that Bear's father has died.  Oil is in the Gulf and it is soon entering the bayou and hurting many animals.  Maddy believes that she can save the people and animals she has come to love on the bayou but she is not sure what to do.  She begins to call to Mami Wata.  Can she and the other mermaids help?

Jewell Parker Rhodes and Me
I loved this book.  Jewell Parker Rhodes is one of my new favorite authors.  I had the pleasure of meeting her and she has such passion about the stories she writes.  She writes in such a way that you feel like you've made a new friend in the characters of her books.  I would highly recommend you find all the books she has written and read them.  Watch for this book in bookstores and online booksellers starting in May 2015.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Iron Trial by: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have written a wonderful new series book -- The Iron Trial.  I loved this book from the first page until the last!  If you like the Harry Potter series, you will like this series as well.

Callum (Call) Hunt is a young man that has been raised by his father.  His mother died when he was just a baby.  His father is a magi, a man that can do magic, but his father does not want his son, Call to have anything to do with magic.  Throughout Call's young life, his father has told him that magic is bad and should be avoided.  One day Call is invited to the Iron Trial and if he passes the trial he will get to enter the Magisterium, a place his father has warned him never to enter.  Call tries to fail the trial and even though he scores the lowest score of all the young people selected, he is accepted into the Magisterium.  His father was angry, but he understood that if you were selected to the Magisterium, you had to go.  It is here that Call begins to learn about magic.  He learns about magic that comes from fire, water, air, earth and chaos.  Call is able to make and keep friends at this school, unlike the schools he attended while living with his father.  Call likes magic and cannot understand why his father does not like magic.  As the year continues, he begins to learn more about his past.  Is knowing his past a good thing?  The reader is left wondering if Call is really doing the right thing by attending the Magisterium.

I really loved this story.  There are so many twists and turns you will be up all night reading about Call and his first year at the Magisterium.   I am anxious to read the next book in the series.

After reading this book, spend sometime with your family learning about your past.

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sugar by: Jewell Parker Rhodes

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes in her book Sugar lets her readers know that friends can be found in the most unlikely places.  Embracing differences in each other is what makes the world such a beautiful place.

Sugar is a young orphan that is still living on the plantation.  Although slavery has been abolished, she and the other former slaves feel that there is no other place for them.  Working on a sugar plantation is hard work for everyone but Sugar is able to find fun in all she does.  She becomes friends with the plantation owner's son and they enjoy many adventures along the Mississippi River.  When she hears that people from China will be coming to work on the plantation, she is very excited.  The older folks in her neighborhood are very nervous and are sure they will be homeless after this sugar season.  Sugar befriends the Chinese (the book uses the colloquial term Chinamen) and soon she has built a bridge between the Chinese workers and the former slaves which helps them all work together to finish the sugar harvest.

Sugar is a girl you will not soon forget. She is a spunky young girl who isn't afraid of change.  In fact, she embraces change, looking for the good in all that is around her.  This is a wonderful book!

Happy Daily Reading

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Colors of the Wind by J.L Powers

Author J.L. Powers introduces young readers to the painter George Mendoza in her book Colors of the Wind.

The life of George Mendoza takes a major turn when at age 15 he becomes blind.  He always wanted to be a basketball player, but when he can no longer see the basketball hoop, he knew his dreams would have to change.  He began running and he loved running so much that he participated in two Olympics.  It was when he was running that he forgot about his blindness.

He felt that he could not do things like other people.  While talking to a priest, George is told that he sees the world differently that most other people and he should paint what he sees.  George's blindness made the world look like a kaleidoscope.  He began painting what he saw, and people responded favorably to his artwork.  His paintings are now displayed in museums.  He also visits schools teaching children about art and how we all have talents that enable us to do what we were meant to do.  For George Mendoza, he was meant to be an artist not a basketball player.

This is another great book about discovering who we are and how we can make the world a better place.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fairy Tale Christmas by Michael McLean and Scott McLean

Michael and Scott McLean have written my new favorite Christmas book Fairy Tale Christmas.  This is a book you will want to read every single Christmas season.  When I sat down to read this book I couldn't put it down.  It is a funfilled adventure with a wonderful message, applicable not only at the Christmas season but all year long as well.

The Evil queen, wicked stepmother, a sorceress, a giant and Rumplestiltskin are tired of never receiving a happy ending to their stories.  It is always the heroes that receive a "happily ever after" and these villains want their own happy endings.  These evil villains plan to kidnap Santa Claus in order to demand a happy ending in order to release Santa and give the children of the world Christmas.  The villains are sure that the heroes of their stories will do whatever it takes to give Christmas to the world.  Rumplestiltskin is their inside man.  Disguised as an elf, he is able to learn Santa's routine and is instrumental in getting their plan started.

However, since it takes so long to actually trap Santa and get their demands known, Santa isn't going to have enough time to deliver Christmas to the world.  Santa tells the villains that they must help him deliver Christmas before they can have their demands met.  It is during this time, when the villains are out giving gifts to the world, that they have a change of heart.  They find another source of happinessm but you have to read the story to learn what exactly enables them to find this happiness.  But I can tell you that it is something that we can all have for ourselves.

After reading this story, go and do something nice for someone else.  When you return home, check out to hear songs the McLean's have written that go along with this wonderful story.

Happy Daily Reading