Monday, August 21, 2017

A Night Divided by: Jennifer A. Nielsen

I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for families living in Berlin after WWII.  However author Jennifer A. Nielsen in her book A Night Divided, has given me some understanding of the plight of many families during this time period.

I could not put this book down!  You are immediately drawn into the drama of Gerta and her family being divided by the Berlin Wall.  Her father and brother, Dominic, were on the West side of Berlin for a few days and when the wall went up on August 13, 1961 Gerta, her mom, and her brother Fritz were home on the East side.  Their family and many others were now unable to be together.  Gerta's father had been very vocal about his feelings about the government in the East so their family was being closely watched.  They learn that their home is bugged by the government so they are very creative in how they communicate while at home.

When Gerta spots her father on a lookout on the wall she sees him acting out a moves to a song he would sing for her at night.  She believes that her father wants her to dig to the other side of the wall.  It's been four long years since the family was separated and she convinces Fritz to help her dig the tunnel where their father was able to communicate to them through a mysterious delivery of a map.  They are running out of time because Fritz is almost old enough to be placed in the military and he doesn't want to be in the military.  They also learn that even their close friends can be now spies and enemies while an enemy might really be a friend.  Who can they really trust?  Soon their mother is helping with the digging which makes the work go much faster.  Will they make it out alive?  Will they see their father and Dominic?  You will need to read this ASAP to find out!

I have a favorite quote from this book as well.  Fritz tells his sister Gerta "Courage isn't knowing you can do something; it is only being willing to try".  Gerta was willing to try whatever she could to get her family reunited even if she didn't make it she would try.

I really loved this book and appreciate my new found knowledge about Berlin during this time in our world's history.

After reading this book spend sometime with your family.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, August 17, 2017

7 ate 9 by: Tara Lazar

I am looking forward to sharing this book with my students, I'm sure they will love it as much as I do.  7 ate 9 written by Tara Lazar is a delightful book with an interesting mystery to solve and lots of fun plays on words.

Private "I" has been hired by 6 who is afraid that she will be the next victim of 7 who 6 is convinced ate 9!  Private I begins his investigation interviewing all the numbers he can find.  He also finds a small bit of help from a letter friend of his.  I'm not going to give away the ending, but I know you and your children will love this book.

I laughed at the text as well as the delightful illustrations done by Ross MacDonald.

After reading this book it will probably be time for some math homework.

Happy Daily Reading!
Deanna

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Distance to Home by: Jenn Bishop

Jenn Bishop's book The Distance to Home is one I won't soon forget.  In fact, I'm sure I will always remember the Donnelly family.

Quinnen loves baseball both playing and watching the local minor league team the Tri-City Bandits.  However, this baseball season is not like previous seasons.  Quinnen isn't playing and her family will be hosting a player from the Bandits.  Quinnen and her parents are dealing with the sudden death of Haley, Quinnen's older sister.  Without Haley cheering for Quinnen she doesn't feel that she can ever play the game again.  As Quinnen gets to know the player staying with her and other players on the team she begins to talk about her sister.  She hopes to talk about her more at home as well.  Everyone at the Bandits' ballpark is happy to see Quinnen and as the season continues the entire Donnelly family begins to heal.  Hopefully Quinnen will enjoy a future as a baseball player.

The chapters go back and forth between the current summer and the summer before, when Haley was still living.  I liked exploring the differences of the two summers and found that it made the family's story easier to understand.

I think anyone who enjoys baseball will enjoy this book.  We all have family and friends who love and care about us just as the Donnelly family does...getting to know the Donnellys through this book will be good for anyone as we can all relate to family life.

After reading this book go out a play a game of baseball!

Happy Daily Reading!
Deanna

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by: Rita Williams-Garcia

Rita Williams-Garcia is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction.  Her new book Clayton Byrd Goes Underground does not disappoint especially if you enjoy music, specifically the blues.

Clayton loves to play his Harp with his grandfather (Cool Papa Byrd) and the Bluesmen.  They meet at a local park and play the blues to the delight of all those in the area.  When Cool Papa
Byrd suddenly passes away Clayton feels lost.  His mother didn't approve of what her father did and she doesn't want Clayton to follow in his footsteps.  She sells all of Cool Papa's belongings which angers the mourning Clayton.  When he gets in trouble at school and mom continues to not understand he decides to find the Bluesmen and travel with them.  He runs away finding himself on a subway and playing his harp with other young men who are dancing for money.  Clayton's talent gets these boys more money than they get on their own and they try to get him to stay with them.  More trouble follows before he finds his way back home and finally can mourn his grandfather and hopefully move forward with his family.

I enjoyed the story of Clayton and what I will remember from this book is that we need to listen to one another.  Families go through changes adding members, losing members, etc... be there for each other, really listen and help one another.

After reading this book listen to some blues music.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 31, 2017

If Your Monster Won't Go To Bed by: Denise Vega

As parents it can sometimes be hard to get your child to go to bed but imagine if you needed to get a monster to go to bed??  In Denise Vega's book If Your Monster Won't Go To Bed a young girl gives instructions on how you can get your monster to bed.  Illustrator Zachariah Ohora's drawings are perfect in showing us what will happen as we follow the instructions.

"Time for bed!" are three words that monsters hate to hear.  Our mothers and fathers cannot help us put our monsters to bed because they don't know how to do it properly.  We all know that if monsters don't get their sleep there will be no playing slime ball the following day.  Our young hero lists out exactly what to do in order for your monster to sleep tight so that the next day all is well with us and our monsters.

This is the perfect book to read at bedtime.  Having such great advice on just what to do and what not to do to get your monster to bed might get you to bed a little faster than usual.

After reading this book it's time to lay your head on your pillow.  Sweet Dreams!

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Happy Dreamer by: Peter H. Reynolds

Author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds has created another great feel good story in his book Happy Dreamer.  Peter's books share the message that we can all create and make the world a better place.  If you know a child who seems to dream all the time or has trouble focusing because of their daydreams this book is one you need to share with them.

The young boy in this story has dreams during the day, at night and in many other circumstances.  He has so many dreams sometimes he has creative chaos and it's hard to clean up the chaos.  This is when he feels alone until he begins to dream once again.  He even finds dreams in the clouds.

I enjoyed this book I now feel motivated to dream bigger dreams and to share the dreams with my family and friends.

After reading this story go outside, lay on your back and watch the clouds go by.  Can you see and share what you find in the sky?

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 24, 2017

This Would Make A Good Story Someday by: Dana Alison Levy

A family summer vacation unlike any other is what author Dana Alison Levy takes readers on in her book This Would Make A Good Story Someday.  This was another perfect summertime story that I couldn't put down.  I was laughing at one moment and crying another.  I know readers of all ages will enjoy this book.  You will never forget the Johnston-Fischer family.

Sara has her summer all planned with her two best friends, Em and Vi, they want to reinvent themselves before beginning Jr. High.  Each of them has a list and they plan on helping each other achieve their goals  However, Sara's summer plans change when she learns she will be leaving home and traveling across the country by train with her family.  One of her moms has been given the chance to write a book about their family adventures as they travel.  Sara is NOT happy about being in such tight quarters with her older sister and her boyfriend (he prefers to be called "partner" because "boyfriend" perpetuates societal stereotypes), younger sister,  and two mothers.  She is afraid that all of her embarrassing moments will be in the book and she doesn't want that.  There is also another family that is also traveling for the same reasons.  The other family consists of a boy (Sara's age), dad and two 90 year old "aunties".

There are four different trains they will ride as well as stops along the way.  Some are short stays others for a few days.  Sara begins writing in a journal to fulfill a summer project of writing what you are doing during the summer.  Sara spends most of her time writing.  She tries working on her reinvention project but doesn't get very far with her goals.  She does change her hair and that story is very interesting.   Ladybug, Sara's younger sister travels with a small Roman Centurion (Bruce) she poses this little action figure with anyone who will let her and at various landmarks across the U.S.  There are family arguments along the way too, Laurel, Sara's older sister, decides she doesn't want to go to college any longer she wants to get out in the world and change it for the better.  Laurel and her boyfriend (Root) are all about saving the world.  Root really has a unique way of seeing the world.  There are also family bonding moments, such as when the sisters come together to comfort Ladybug when Bruce goes missing.

When Sara finally decides to join the adventure instead of just writing she becomes good friends with Travis the boy from the other family.  She also begins to enjoy the experiences with family and with her new friend. Ladybug and the two aunties become close friends, especially when a cardboard Elvis joins the trip because now Bruce and Elvis can be buddies.  Stops in Memphis and New Orleans are especially fun family events.  The two families become great friends and are grateful for one another when sadness comes there way.  Their stay at the Grand Canyon is very memorable.

I just cannot give this book the justice it deserves.  I truly loved this story and could relate some of their experiences with my own family vacation experiences.  What resonates from this story is that they truly love one another even with all of their differences.  The book is mostly Sara's words, some from other family members, I hope Sara will continue writing and perhaps a second book will come of her future writing experiences.

After reading this book go and do something with your family.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Gruffalo by: Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have created a wonderful story in their book The Gruffalo.  In fact, this book was voted England's favorite bedtime story.

Mouse is taking a walk through the woods.  He meets fox, snake and owl each one of them believes that mouse looks tasty.  However, when mouse tells them he is dining with a gruffalo and that gruffalos enjoy eating roasted fox, scrambled snake and owl ice cream the animals leave mouse alone.  Mouse continues his walk through the woods and when he sees a gruffalo (a creature he was sure didn't really exist) what happens next will have you and your child amazed.  Mouse is one smart animal!

After reading this book I'd love to read your comments describing to me a monster or animal you create just as mouse did.

Happy Daily Reading  Deanna

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Lost Tribes by: C. Taylor-Butler

WOW!  I had to stay up last night to finish this book.  I am so glad that I stopped and talked with author C. Taylor-Butler at the LATimes Book Festival this past April.  Her book The Lost Tribes is the first in a series and it is a must read!

Ben and his sister April live in Paradise Circle in Sunnyslope California.  They have good friends and neighbors here all the parents are friends as well as the children.  When Ben's uncle challenges Ben to find lost treasure all over the world by playing a computer game with challenges and unique graphics Ben is excited for adventure.  April is also given a copy of the game and they decide to make it a competition.  Ben's best friend Grace is soon helping Ben figure out riddles and ciphers.  Within just a day all the children in the neighborhood are playing this game.  They discover it is best to be working together since they all have different abilities that enable them to solve mysteries and gain access to items needed for the challenge.

The graphics seem to be so very real at every destination.  Ben doesn't believe it is just a hologram and that he is still in his room, he is sure he and his friends are actually transported to locations.  At one location Ben is sure he sees his dad with the dad of his friend Carlos.  The children end up back in their rooms each time they are stuck on a clue or have found what is needed at a location.  Ben starts to think the game is more real than fake and wonders if he really does want adventure in his life.  He also is more aware that all of their parents travel quite often and each has secret work spaces at their homes.  The parents are also concerned about storm clouds that are approaching and they are all angry at someone named Kurosh.

When their neighborhood is hit by more than just weather...it really seems like tanks are approaching.  The children are amazed that there is a shield around the homes and they start to learn just a bit about their parents as they are packing backpacks and urging their children to go into one room.  When all the children are told to enter a dark passageway and told to meet at Safe Harbor while their parents stay behind the true adventure begins.  Ben and his friends learn that the things that they experienced in the game will now help them find Safe Harbor.  They travel in dark passage ways, narrow cliff pathways, and end up in a desert.  When they are once again being attacked and on the run Ben's uncle comes to their rescue. What they now learn about their parents is quite unbelievable!  Are they descendants of the lost tribes?  Is earth really in trouble??  Time to read book 2 in the series.

It took me a bit to get into this book but once the game began I couldn't put it down.  I loved the
Me with C. Taylor-Butler
riddles and ciphers (even though I never figured them out) the twists and turns that takes place are exciting and I love how these five friends pull together and create an unstoppable team.  Friends need each other.  I also liked that each chapter had a quote from a variety of people and books.  I plan on writing down a few of these quotes before giving this book to my students.

After reading this book you will want to get started on reading book 2.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bug Bear by: Patricia Hegarty

A wonderful picture book that the youngest of readers will ask to read over and over again.  Author Patricia Hegarty and Illustrator Carmen Saldana have created a wonderful story with their book Bug Bear.

Bear is just trying to relax but Bug wants to make his home in the fuzzy, so soft, and so snug fur of Bear.  Bug tries and tries to convince Bear that this would be a good thing but Bear isn't having any of Bug's nonsense.  Finally, Bear seeks help from his friend Owl and Owl has a great solution for both Bug and Bear.  What is Owl's solution?  I wonder if it will really work?  Leave a comment letting me know if you agree with Owl's solution.

After reading this book create your own Bug adventure.  What animal would be a good home/friend for Bug?

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Unbreakable Code by: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

I could not put this book down!  Jennifer Chambles Bertman has written a page-turner fantastic sequel to Book Scavenger in her newest book The Unbreakable Code.  I suggest you read both of these books if you love puzzles, games, adventure...etc....

Emily and James continue to enjoy solving puzzles at the Book Scavenger website and they look forward to working with Mr. Griswold as advisers for Book Scavengers.  Emily sees her teacher taking a piece of paper from someones purse at a book signing party.  With James' help they are able to obtain this paper and see that it is a cipher for a book hidden in their town.  They figure out the clue and find the book (Tom Sawyer) and learn that there is an unbreakable code that dates back to the time of the gold rush.  It has to do with a sunken ship that is buried underneath the city of San Francisco.  As they try to figure out the unbreakable code they begin to suspect that their teacher is being framed for arson.  Emily and James find out that fires have been set at places their teacher has gone to find hidden books through the Book Scavenger game.  Emily is inside one of the buildings that was set on fire and is anxious to figure out what is going on with the fires and their teacher.  The same book is being found each time by their teacher, what does the book Tom Sawyer have to do with the gold rush?

Emily is loving living in San Francisco and gets worried that her family will be moving again soon.  She really wants to solve the unbreakable code in order to find the gold and help her family financially.  She is more involved at school and learns that she has more friends that she thought.  I enjoyed reading about Emily's experiences planning the school dance and adding a fun game to the beginning of the dance.  Seeing characters grow and overcome fears makes them very real to me.  I'd love to have Emily as my friend.

As more clues and facts are discovered by James and Emily they get closer and closer to solving the code that has been unbreakable for hundreds of years.  They also learn quite a bit about their hometown during this quest which I think all readers will also enjoy learning.

I loved this book.  I have a hard time figuring out the different ciphers but did manage to get one of them!  The premise of this book with games and puzzles all about books is great!  I hope you will comment once you have read this book.  Check out my review of Book Scavenger too.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by: Gabrielle Kent

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle written by Gabrielle Kent is a fantasy, mystery, adventure story that you won't soon forget.  I am sure you will enjoy the story as much as I did.

Alfie Bloom is beginning his summer vacation which he is sure will be dull spent at home with his father.  However, when he receives an invitation to meet a partner at 11:59pm from Muninn and Bone Solicitors (Est. 1086) his summer begins to be the best in his life!  Munninn and Bone Solicitors sends a coach to pick him and his father up from their flat and soon they find themselves in a building like none they have ever seen.  Alfie quickly learns that he has inherited a castle from Orin Hopcraft, who Alfie does not know, and he must begin living in the castle.  Alfie is quite excited about his new home.

Luckily the castle is near the home of his cousins and their summer is filled with adventures together.  Alfie is also excited that he will be able to attend school with his cousins,
Robin and Madeleine.  They discover a bear rug that talks and flies.  It will take them wherever they wish to go.  On their very first flight they meet what they think is a dragon!?  They find hidden rooms in the castle and try to figure out clues to the castle from books and letters left by Orin Hopcraft.  Alife learns that he can timeslip and that in fact his birth was a timeslip.  Alife truly has remarkable powers and he has to use them to save the castle from being invaded by the mean headmistresses at his new school.  Animals from nearby farms go missing during full moons and Alife with the help of Robin and Madeleine want to solve the mystery of the missing animals.  Could the dragon they encountered have anything to do with the missing animals?  And why do the headmistresses seem so interested in the castle?

I enjoyed this book with all of the twists and turns that take place.  Timeslipping sounds like a fun thing to do but I'm not sure I want to meet any dragons anytime soon.

After reading this story go and create your own adventure with your cousins.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 3, 2017

Real Friends by: Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham

Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham have created a wonderful graphic novel that should be read by everyone.  Real Friends is about the struggles we all face in trying to find friends, fitting in and growing up.  Based on the elementary school experiences of Shannon Hale but it really is the experiences of us all.  I definitely saw myself in this story and I'm sure you will too.

Shannon, in the story, meets Adrienne and they quickly become friends.  Adrienne moves away in second grade and Shannon  tries to find new friends.  She finds this difficult but is so happy when Adrienne moves back in third grade.  However things have changed at school since Jen has created "the group" Shannon doesn't belong but Adrienne does.  Even at home Shannon finds situations with her sister that are difficult.  There are ups and downs throughout this book as Shannon tries to find her true friends.  Let's face it, growing up can be hard and confusing at times.

You will see yourself and or your child.  I hope parents read this book with their children and discuss ways to be a real friend to everyone at school, church and everywhere.

After reading this book I suggest you call and get together with your friends.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Framed! by: James Ponti

I finished this book last night and I'm excited to share it with you today.  James Ponti has written a wonderful mystery in his book Framed!.

Florian Bates has lived all over the world and has recently moved to Washington DC.  Right away he makes a new friend, Margaret and he teaches her his technique for solving life's little mysteries, TOAST.  TOAST is Theory of All Small Things, Florian is able to put together all the small things and figure out the big things.  He is able to figure out people like where they are going, where they have been, hobbies and even relationship statuses.  As he and Margaret practice their TOAST skills they are pulled into a FBI case of finding who stole art from the National Gallery of Art.  Florian becomes a secret asset for the FBI because of his TOAST skills.  The FBI cannot believe how quickly Florian can figure out things about people and they are sure he will be able to help them with this case.  Soon Florian is being kidnapped by who he believes is the Romania Mafia.  Too bad he didn't pay close attention while learning about escaping from being kidnapped during his FBI training.  Good thing he has other ways of getting help when needed.  Will he escape and be able to finally put all the small pieces together and figure out the mastermind behind this heist?

Florian is living quite the exciting life as a seventh grader.  I think any middle grade student will love this book and will look forward to reading other Florian and Margaret adventures.  You might find yourself trying out the TOAST technique too.

One of the reasons I loved this book is because Florian reminds me of Shawn Spencer from the USA series Psych.  If you were a fan of Psych you will enjoy this book.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Orphan Island by: Laurel Snyder

Laurel Snyder's book Orphan Island is one you will never forget.  It is a story of nine orphans on an island their life is happy and perfect can it stay that way?

There are nine Orphans living on this Island.  Life is very routine and completely safe for all nine.  Change comes once a year when a young child arrives in a small green boat.  When this new child (care) is taken by their Elder (the oldest child on the island) the previous Elder leaves the island on the green boat.  This book follows the year with Jinny as the Elder and Ess as her care.  Jinny can teach Ess some things quite easily and others she needs help.  Such as swimming, an important lesson for anyone living on a island.  Ess doesn't want to swim and Jinny just cannot seem to change Ess's mind about learning to swim.  When Joon steps in to help Jinny is relieved that the lessons go well.  Jinny comes to love Ess and doesn't want to leave the island when the boat returns.  Jinny decides to stay on the island nobody has ever stayed before what will happen to the island with 10 orphans living there?  Things begin to change on the island and Jinny no longer feels safe.  Will she decide to leave?  And if she leaves where will the boat take her?

This is a very unique story but one I think older readers will enjoy.  The daily adventures and beauty on the island will have some readers wanting to visit the island.  Readers will see the ups and downs of taking care of someone.  Learning your own strengths and seeing the strengths in others.  Seeing that working together is usually the best...a few life lessons will be taught to the reader.   A treasure that the children have on the island is a shed of books.  I love that they all read together and alone throughout the story.

After reading this story I would spend sometime re-reading one of your old favorites.

Happy Daily Reading!
Deanna

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dash by: Kirby Larson

Historical Fiction at is best is what School Library Journal said about Kirby Larson's book Dash and I agree 100%.

Mitsi Kashino has lived with her family in the United States her entire life along with her brother and parents.  Her grandparents had moved to the United States many years before her birth and her grandmother continues to live with her and her family.  As Mitsi returns to school, after Christmas break, in January 1942 not quite a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor she finds everything has changed.  Her friends ignore her and while her teacher treats her the same Mitsi can sense her worry about Mitsi and her family.  Mitsi is unable to make sense of all the changes

Mitsi and her family are forced to leave their home in Washington State and are taken to a Japanese incarceration camp.  Dash, is Mitsi's dog and is unable to go to the camp.  Fortunately, her neighbor, Mrs. Bowker agrees to take care of Dash while Mitsi and her family is gone.  They hope they will not be gone for long because they are American citizens but at this moment in time life is uncertain for anyone of Japanese descent.

Mitsi and her family try their best to adjust to life in camp.  Slowly Mitsi makes a friend and sees some good in their small home and she is happy that her family is together.  Many families were not so lucky.  Mitsi writes to the general that is in charge of the camps asking to have her dog there with her.  She isn't allowed to have Dash with her but Mrs. Bowker writes letters for Dash and collecting the mail is now one of Mitsi's camp highlights.  Mitsi and her family go through changes at the camp.  She worries that her brother is in the wrong crowd and she learns how to be more independent.

I loved reading this book and learning more about the experience of Japanese Americans during WWII.  I think that knowing more about this time in American history is important for us all and learning through historical fiction stories is my favorite way of learning about history.  I am sure many young readers will enjoy this story of Dash, Mitsi, and the rest of her friends and family.

After reading this book spend time with your pet.

Happy Daily Reading!
Deanna

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hooray For Hat! by: Brian Won

This is a fabulous story for your youngest of readers.  Author and Illustrator Brian Won's Hooray For Hat! will be a treasure for your home library!

Elephant wakes up grumpy he isn't happy about being woken from his sleep.  When he finds a present and opens it to find a wonderful hat he is no longer grumpy.  Elephant goes about his day cheering up all of his friends.  What will happen if he has more friends than hats?

I loved this book and look forward to giving it out at baby showers and reading it to my Kindergarten classes next school year.  A book about spreading good cheer is something we all need every day.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beach Party Surf Monkey by: Chris Grabenstein

The second book in the Welcome to Wonderland series is a great book to begin your summer reading adventure!  Beach Party Surf Monkey by:  Chris Grabenstein is humor, family, friends and loads of fun!

P.T. and his friend, Gloria, need a plan to help save their motel, Wonderland, (which is also their home), from being bought by a rich guy who owns the neighboring hotel (who wants to tear down  Wonderland in order to expand his own hotel).  P.T. and Gloria hatch their plan to save Wonderland when they hear about a movie being made in their town.  The movie people want to use a throw-back motel as the setting for their throw-back movie, "Beach Party Surf Monkey".  According to P.T.,  there is no better throw-back motel than Wonderland.  The kids find a way to make their pitch to the movie producers.  When Wonderland is chosen as the location, they are sure they have saved their home from the clutches of the greedy owner next door.

Things for P.T. don't always work out as planned.  The good news is that P.T. and a few friends get to be extras in the movie.  The bad news is that the neighboring hotel owner (and daughter) are big schemers and dreamers just like P.T. and Gloria.  The owner next door finds ways to make life difficult for P.T., Gloria, the movie people, and the co-stars of the movie.  One of the co-stars of the movie is a monkey.  When filming a movie with a monkey, anything can happen.  In fact, when the monkey goes missing from his trailer, the movie might not ever get made.  Can P.T. and Gloria's plan of making Wonderland famous from this movie really work??

This was a fast paced, fun book.  I know children will love this book, either as a read aloud or one they can read on their own.  Make sure to check out my review of book one in this series.  Search my blog for Welcome to Wonderland Motel Sweet Motel.

I suggest after reading this book, you go and spend some time at the beach.

Happy Daily Reading!
Deanna


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Books and Authors and Fun!

April 22 was a super Saturday for me, it was day one of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!  This was my third year attending this annual event and I strongly encourage you to mark your calendar now for the April 2018 event.

I spent my time shopping a variety of vendors and loved that so many had authors visiting to sign their books.  Meeting a couple of new authors that had their own booths was also a highlight.  I visited the Children's Stage in order to hear from a few of my favorite children's authors.   This is really one of my favorite weekends of the year.  It's taken me a few weeks to try to put into words how much I enjoyed this event.  I hope you will enjoy my review.

David Shannon read his newest book Bizzy MizzLizzie which comes out this fall.  This is an adorable story about a bee that is just a bit too busy and just might miss out on something big she really wants to do.

David Shannon also talked about the sequel to his book Duck on a Bike which is Duck on a Tractor.  This book is available now and I was able to get my copy signed by him.  Duck was successful when he rode a bike so he confident that he could also drive a tractor.  He
David Shannon Signing My Book
drives around the farm and soon all the animals are on the tractor enjoying the ride.  When they drive down the main road people cannot believe what they are seeing.   The animals see an "E" on one of the tractor controls they are sure it means "end of the ride".  The "end" of the book is coming quickly....you and your children will enjoy this story and a few giggles as well.





Dragons Love Tacos 2 The Sequel was available for sale in early May.  I was hoping to get an early
copy and have it signed at the festival, but no such luck.  However the book's author, Adam Rubin, did read the sequel to all in attendance at the Reading By 9 Children's Stage.  It was fun hearing him read the story and to see Dragon join him on the stage.  I had the opportunity to share this book with my second and third graders before summer vacation and they loved it as much as I do.  Dragons and their young friend find that the world's supply of tacos is completely gone!?  Imagine a world without tacos?!!  Can the Dragons and their friend restore the world's taco supply?  Share this book and Dragons Love Tacos with your child as soon as possible.  After reading enjoy a few tacos together!

At a vender's booth I was able to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.  They have done a few books together, Sam and Dave Dig A Hole is probably the one you have heard of the most.  They signed Extra Yarn for me and shared their newest book Triangle at the Children's Stage. You will also enjoy books that they have written on their own.  Be sure to look them up at your local library.

Extra Yarn is the story of Annabelle who lives in a little cold town that is covered in black in white.  White snow and black soot from chimneys.  She finds a box of yarn of every color and quickly knits herself and her dog sweaters.  Soon she is creating sweaters for everyone in town.  Except for Mr. Crabtree who doesn't wear sweaters or even pants!  She never runs out of yarn no matter how many sweaters she knits.  An archduke who is very fond of clothes wants Annabelle's yarn.  Will she give it to him?  I enjoyed this story, it seems the more she gave the more she received.  A good reminder that we should be giving to others acts of service each day.

I attended a panel of authors/illustrators that shared the art of children's books.  The authors/illustrators were Barbara Bottner, Karen Winnick, and Brian Won with Denise Doyen as moderator.  I was surprised to learn that most of the time the author and illustrator do not pick each other or even work together on a book.  An editor is the go between the two and sometimes the author and illustrator never even meet each other!  One might think that working on the words and the pictures of a book would be easier, but that isn't always the case.  They also discussed that animals are used a lot in children's books because it lets children see themselves in the story.  Sometimes if they see another child that doesn't look like them they might not be able to relate to the
story.  The trend that these authors are seeing right now is kindness, humor and science books.

Advice was also given to encourage life long readers in our own families.  Find subjects that your child enjoys and read fiction and non-fiction books about that subject.  You can encourage creativity by sharing wordless books with children.  With a wordless book the story will change each time you "read" it, encourage your child to tell "read" the story to you.  Continue to read together even when your child can read on their own.

 I love all things Disney.  When I saw this booth I had to stop.  I have not had a chance to read the books yet so keep a lookout for my upcoming review.  If you love searching for Hidden Mickeys around Disney Parks you will love the two Games Quests Challenges books by author Nancy Temple Rodrigue.  Her books are about people who take place in the quests at the various Disney Parks.

Another author I met was C. Taylor-Butler and I'm anxious to read her book The Lost Tribes.  Five friends come together when their parents go missing.  There are puzzles to solve as you read the story so it should be a fun book.  Look for my upcoming review.








This was such a fun day for me....I cannot put into words how fun this was for me.  I will plan on seeing you at the April 2018 LA Times Festival of Books.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Compass South FOUR POINTS by: Hope Larson

 Another wonderful graphic novel!  I never thought I would enjoy this type of book as much as I do.  Hope Larson's first book in the Compass South series Four Points is one great adventure.  The illustrations by Rebecca Mock are great as well.

Twins, Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge, have an amazing adventure when their father goes missing.  They try to make it on the streets but are soon in trouble with the sheriff.  When they rat out a local gang leader in order to save themselves they need to leave quickly.  Cleopatra disguises herself as "Patrick" so that they can travel to San Francisco and claim to be the lost twins of a very wealthy man.   They encounter another set of twins also claiming to be the sons of the wealthy man, and they get mixed up.  Alex is now with one of the other twins and so is "Patrick".  As they both try to make it to San Francisco they  face dangers on the sea and on the land.

I couldn't put this book down because of the exciting experiences these two encounter.  I just had to know if they would ever find each other and if they can find their father.  This is a very exciting adventure that you won't forget.  I cannot wait to see book 2 in this series.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Friday, April 14, 2017

Grandpa's Great Escape by: David Walliams

Here is another laugh-out-loud story that you and your children will love.  In fact I'm sure that David Walliams' book Grandpa's Great Escape will be enjoyed by many family generations!

Jack loves being with his grandpa even though his grandpa doesn't know his name.  Jack is called "Squadron Leader" and grandpa is "Wing Commander".  You see Grandpa thinks believes he is still a fighter pilot fighting for England in WWII.  Jack goes along with it and the two have many flying adventures together.

Grandpa goes missing from his apartment and when he moves into Jack's home he is missing once again.  Jack knows to look up when looking for grandpa because he is always going up flying his Spitfire on missions for the war.  When he is found sleeping inside a museum inside a Spitfire which is hanging from the ceiling the decision is made to send Grandpa to Twilight Towers.  Twilight Towers is the newest "old people" home in the city.  Jack isn't happy that grandpa has to go to the Towers and he really isn't happy when he learns that visiting time is only allowed on Sundays for just 15 short minutes.  Jack decides to sneak into the Towers one night and soon he is helping his "Wing Commander" escape the enemy's prison where he is being held.  The problem with the escape is that grandpa won't leave anyone behind so all the old residents "prisoner's of war" are soon escaping.  It is a grand leaving from Twilight Towers and in the middle of the escape it is discovered that the owner of Twilight Towers is stealing wills from the residents and taking all their money upon their death.

Will "Wing Commander" and "Squadron Leader" really get everyone to safety?  Have they just stumbled upon a big crime ring?  You will have to read this outstanding book to find out.  I promise that you won't be able to put this book down and Jack and Grandpa's adventure just might lead to some adventures of your own.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, April 10, 2017

Welcome to Wonderland Home Sweet Motel by: Chris Grabenstein

Author Chris Grabenstein has written another funny middle grade novel in his book Welcome To Wonderland Home Sweet Motel.  This is the first in a new series that I'm sure even the most reluctant reader will enjoy.  Chris Grabenstein is one of my favorite authors, after you read this book he will become one of your favorites as well.

P.T. Wilkie lives at a hotel with his mother and grandfather in Florida.  He loves living in a place with all you can eat ice cream machine near the pool, a frog slide and so much history  The Hotel is losing money so P.T. thinks of ways to help bring customers to the Hotel.  To bring the Hotel back to its former glory he enlists the help of Gloria, a new resident to the Hotel.  Gloria knows business and between he two of them they create some fun events to bring in the Spring Break crowd.  The activities that they plan will have you wanting to book a visit to the Hotel.

Two older men come to the Hotel and they are acting a bit strange.  Soon, P.T. and Gloria are on a search for missing jewels from a very old robbery.  Using clues and trying to go back to the time of the robbery the kids just may solve this crime and save the Hotel.

This is a great story.  So many laughs, adventure and some crazy characters.  You will love P.T. and his family.  The second book in this series comes out in May 2017 so read this book soon so that you will be ready for book 2.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Proud Penny by: Randy Siegel

As an elementary school librarian I'm always searching for non-fiction read aloud picture books.  I've discovered a great one written by Randy Siegel and illustrated by Serge Bloch in the book One Proud Penny.

This penny was born in 1983 beginning his life just like all the other pennies in Philadelphia.  He gives the reader facts on how he was made and fills us in on his United States travels and troubles.  He spent one winter on the floor in Wisconsin, I cannot even imagine how cold he must have been!  We learn that you can buy things with him as well as spin and flip him.  When he gets placed in a jar filled with other pennies he doesn't get depressed he thinks of his favorite President.  I will let you read the book to find out who his favorite President is and if he ever gets out of that jar!

I enjoyed sharing this with my students and it now has a long list of students wanting their own turn reading it.  I am sure you and your children will enjoy this wonderful picture book.

After reading this book search your pennies for one that was born in 1983.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Squirrel Meets World by: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

The world needs Squirrel Girl as its newest super hero!  Authors Shannon Hale and Dean Hale have written a fun book that anyone who loves super heroes will enjoy The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Squirrel Meets World.

Doreen Green is the new girl at her school in New Jersey.  It is always hard being the new kid at school but when you have to hide your big bushy squirrel tale in your pants all day it can be very difficult.  She also has all the super skills of squirrels which she tries to hide from the world.  Doreen tries to make friends at school but her first friend is a squirrel named Tippy-Toe.  Ana Sofia becomes her first friend at school and together they have an amazing first adventure.

The city is experiencing a crime spree along with traps being set all over town to catch squirrels.  Strange microphones emit a sound that drives all the dogs crazy.  Just what is going on in this new town?

Doreen has always kept her "squirrel" side a secret but when she sees that someone needs saving she just cannot help herself.  Soon she is getting a super hero reputation as Squirrel Girl.  Her parents don't think she is ready to be a hero and they try to stop her but that doesn't work.  She is soon facing Micro-Manager a new villain.  Will she be able to stop him and his evil plan?  Nobody, not even super heroes, can always do hard things alone.  Squirrel Girl is lucky she has the Squirrels and Ana Sofia to help her.

I loved this book and I will now be looking for the Squirrel Girl Comic Books to read more about this amazing girl.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pax by: Sara Pennypacker

This book has been talked about and reviewed by many.  It sat on my "to be read" pile for awhile.  I just wasn't convinced that everyone loved it.  I was afraid I would be the one who just wouldn't get into a book about a boy and his pet.  Especially a pet fox?  Who has a pet fox??

Well, I finished this book last week and I enjoyed it.  Author Sara Pennypacker's PAX is a book you won't forget and you will want to share it with your friends.

Pax is found as a fox pup by a young boy named Peter.  They are together all the time.  After the death of Peter's mother his dad decides to sign up to go to war.  Peter is to live with his grandfather and Pax will be set free into the wild.  Peter is very upset when his dad makes him trick Pax just outside a forest on their way to Peter's grandfather's home.

Pax was never a fox who lived in the wild.  He anxiously waits for Peter to return but when Peter doesn't return Pax tries to find his way in the wild.  He needs to learn how to hunt, eat, etc...  He befriends other foxes that have a hard time trusting him since he likes humans.  Wild foxes do not trust humans.  Through Pax's eyes we learn what he is learning on how to be on his own as a fox.  When the war comes close to the foxes will they survive?

Peter runs away from his grandfather's home to try to find Pax.  When he injures his foot he finds a farm in the middle of nowhere with a quirky farm woman (Vola) living there.  Vola befriends Peter making him stay with her until his foot heals.  Peter is also learning how to live on his own.  He finds new interests and skills living with Vola.  As we watch Peter grow we also see changes in Vola and how she adapts to her new housemate.  When Peter finally leaves the farm and looks for Pax he is sad to see the war so close to the forest where Pax now lives.  Will they find each other?

Each chapter is told from either Peter's or Pax's viewpoint.  I found this such a great way to get to know both of these characters as well as Vola.  I feel as though I've made three new friends and as they each go their own way I know they are forever changed because they know each other.  This is how we all go through life.  Influencing and helping those we meet along the way.

After reading this book go and try something you've never tried before.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by: Michelle Edwards


Michelle Edwards has written a great story about kindness in her book A Hat for Mrs. Goldman.

Sophia has been friends with her neighbor Mrs. Goldman since birth.  As a baby Sophia wore a hat knitted by Mrs Goldman so her head could stay warm.  Mrs. Goldman makes hats for everyone.  Sophia helps by making poms for the hats.  When they go for a walk one cold day Sophia realizes that Mrs. Goldman needs a hat too.  She tries to knit her a hat but knitting is hard for Sophia.  Sophia gets creative to create a one-of-a-kind hat for her special friend, Mrs. Goldman.  Sophia teaches us all to do our best and to think of ways to make the world better by being kind.

After reading this book write a letter to thanks to someone who has done something kind for you.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Life On Mars by: Jon Agee

Once again, Jon Agee has written a great picture book that adults and children will enjoy.  Life on Mars will be a treasured book for many years to come.

A small astronaut decides he will explore Mars looking for life on the planet.  He sees most of the planet and even has a gift to give to anyone he might meet.  When he finds that he cannot find his rocket he begins to panic.  He gets help, that he doesn't realize, and when he returns to Earth he still wonders if there is life on Mars.

Surprise ending that your children and you will love.  Be ready to read this story many times.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Unwanteds Quests DRAGON CAPTIVES by: Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann continues the adventures of the land of Artime in her new series The Unwanteds Quests Dragon Captives.  Thisbe and Fifer, twin younger sisters of Alex, are now 12 and are looking for adventures of their own.  They have grown up in Artime hearing about their brother's adventures that have shaped the world in which they now live.  Alex has tried to keep them from learning too much magic because he sees such natural magical abilities in his sisters he is worried they have more power than they know what to do with.

When one young dragon returns to Artime stating that the other dragons are being held prisoners and used as slaves the girls want to help.  Alex, who has had life changing injuries, isn't sure that help is available.  Alex decides that the dragons need new bigger wings and he is able to make some but how to get to Dragon Island is the problem.  The twins, along with their friend Seth, set out one night to help the captured dragons.  They are able to fly to Dragon Island by riding on the back of the dragon and once they arrive at the island they are also captured.  They believe they have found friends but that isn't the case.  Now that they are captured can they ever help the dragons or even return back home.  Of course, Alex has discovered that the twins are gone and a rescue party is sent.  However, when the rescue party is also captured the situation really becomes serious.  Will anyone make it back to Artime?

I loved this story and I'm excited for the next book.  These characters feel like family to me and I look forward to more exciting adventures as the girls continue to grow and learn how to control and use their magic appropriately.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna