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!

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!

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

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!

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 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