Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Into Cash $250 Giveaway

Spring-Into-Cash-no date
Spring Into Cash $250 Giveaway 
An awesome group of bloggers and authors have joined 
with me to bring you one fabulous prize!

One lucky winner will receive...
$250 Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash
Sponsor List I Am A Reader Lori's Reading Corner Terah Edun, Author Jennifer Peel Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton inspiredbooksguide Simple Wyrdings TMBA Corbett Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Bonnie Blythe Time Travel Romance Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through the Ages Carol Malone - Author Diana's Book Reviews Krysten Lindsay Hager author Laurie Here - Cont Fiction and More Julie Coulter Bellon BookHounds Helen Smith Why Not? Because I Said So! (Sheila Staley) Author D.E. Haggerty Taylor Dean Books Dianne Venetta The Late Bloomer's Book Blog Glistering Bs Blog Erin Richards Heather Gray, Author FLYLÄ“F Book Reviews Jennifer Bardsley Jennifer Faye T_BookChick Worldwind Tours J. Keller Ford   

Giveaway Details 
 $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 eGift Card Ends 4/15/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. 
Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde

by Lynn Plourde
Expected Release Date August 23, 2016
Nancy Paulsen Books
Middle Grade Novel
272 pages
Advanced Review Copy provided by publisher. 

Goodreads Summary
When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person. With its diverse cast, authentic narrator, and perfect blend of spot-on middle-grade humor, drama, and wisdom, this powerful debut is relatable, funny, bittersweet, and full of heart. 
Timminy knows that moving to a new town just in time to start middle school when you are perfect bully bait is less than ideal. But he gets a great consolation prize in Maxi—a gentle giant of a dog who the family quickly discovers is deaf. Timminy is determined to do all he can to help Maxi—after all, his parents didn't return him because he was a runt. But when the going gets rough for Timminy, who spends a little too much time getting shoved into lockers at school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him—along with their neighbor, Abby, who doesn’t let her blindness define her and bristles at Timminy’s “poor-me” attitude. It turns out there’s more to everyone than what’s on the surface, whether it comes to Abby, Maxi, or even Timminy himself.

My Thoughts
Maxi is joining the ranks of classic "dog books" such as Old Yeller, Shiloh and Because of Winn Dixie and will fit right in.  However, it is much more than just a book about an exceptional, loving dog. 
It is about how Maxi draws people together, imperfect, misunderstood people who need each other. Because of Maxi, Timminy meets Abby, his first friend in his new town. Because of Maxi, Timminy has a reason to get through the school day. And it is Maxi who reveals the softer side of the school bully, Rory.

The characters are very well-developed and the author makes the reader care deeply about each of them. Timminy embarrasses himself in cringe-worthy fashion throughout the book making the reader root for him to overcome his awkwardness and to finally get the chip off his tiny shoulder. Middle grade readers will be hooked from the beginning and will not be able to put down this book as they hang on for its many ups and downs including a very emotional ending.
I am not what you would consider a "dog person". I have never owned a dog or any pet for that matter, but one does not need to be a dog person to love Maxi's Secrets
Lynn Plourde is not a new author. She is an award winning author who has published dozens of picture books. This is Plourde's first middle grade novel and it is a gem. I would highly recommend it for middle grade classrooms and libraries. It would also make a great read aloud or independent read. I will certainly be putting it in my classroom library. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Boats for Papa
by Jessixa Bagley
Published 2015
Roaring Brook Press
40 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
Buckley and his Mama live in a cozy cabin by the ocean. He loves to carve boats out of the driftwood he finds on the beach nearby. 
He makes:
big boats
long boats
short boats and
tall boats,
each one more beautiful than the last, and sends them out to sea. If they don't come back, he knows they've found their way to his papa, whom he misses very much. 

In this stunning debut, author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley explores the subtle and deep emotions associated with loss in a heartwarming tale that is sure to stay with the reader long after the book is closed.

My Thoughts
This book made me cry. It is so incredibly sweet and sad and wonderful. Bagley deals with loss gently and never comes out and says where Papa is so the reader must draw his or her own conclusions. I could feel the love between Mama and Buckley radiating off the page. Somehow the author also creates a mood of sadness and I can't quite put my finger on how she does it with such little text. 
This debut picture book has earned several starred reviews and much praise. I am eager to read more from Jessixa Bagley.

See what others have to say about this book.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednedsay-Never Smile and a Monkey by Steve Jenkins

There are still 2 days left to enter to win a copy of Normal Norman by Tara Lazar. Click here

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

by Steve Jenkins
Published 2009
HMH Books for Young Readers
32 Pages
Review copy obtained through public library.

Goodreads Summary
When it comes to wild animals, everyone knows that there are certain things you just don’t do. It's clearly a bad idea to tease a tiger, pull a python's tail, or bother a black widow spider. But do you know how dangerous it can be to pet a platypus, collect a cone shell, or touch a tang fish? Some creatures have developed unusual ways of protecting themselves or catching prey, and this can make them unexpectedly hazardous to your health.
In this dynamic and fascinating picture book by Steve Jenkins, you'll find out what you should never do if you encounter one of these surprisingly dangerous animals.

My Thoughts
I have to admit, I was glad to be safe in my house while reading this book. Some of the animals in this books seem innocent until your read about how they could hurt or even kill you. Of course I knew that people should not try to get near baby bears in the wild, but who knew that those colorful tang fish (think Dory from Finding Nemo) have razor-sharp spines on their tails? 
I love Steve Jenkins' books. His combination of interesting illustrations and facts make these books perfect for young readers to learn about animals. 

Check out this book trailer. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's Monday, What are You Reading? March 7, 2016

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

It was mostly a picture book week for me. Click on the book covers to learn more about them. 

So cute! Love books about books!

I read this to my 4th graders this week. We had fun miming after.

Fun, interactive book for young ones. 

I really enjoyed this adorable book when three toys go outside in the snow for the first time.

What are you reading friends?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Norman Norman by Tara Lazar

Normal Norman
by Tara Lazar
Illustrations by S. Britt
Published March 1, 2016
Sterling Children's Books
40 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
What is "normal?" That's the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly "normal" subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. He speaks English, sleeps in a bed, loves his stuffed toy, goes bananas over pizza, and even deep-sea dives! Oh, no: what's a "normal" scientist to do?

My Thoughts
This book is SO much fun to read aloud! It begs to be shared with children. The poor book narrator is trying to demonstrate what "normal" is, but Norman the "normal" gorilla is not behaving as she hoped. He is afraid of bananas, sleeps in a bunk bed, is friends with a snake and carries a stuffed animal. Finally the narrator gives up and realizes that there is no such thing as normal. 

The illustrations are fun and silly and the animals are adorable. Kids will be begging to hear this one again and again! 
This book offers many opportunities for discussion about what is or is not considered "normal" or typical. I definitely need to own Normal Norman!

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Little Tree by Loren Long

Little Tree 
by Loren Long
Published 2015
Philomel Books
40 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is.
Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree's leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.

My Thoughts
I absolutely love this book! I found the concept of a tree clinging to its leaves to be very interesting. Imagine what this little tree must be feeling. It would be interesting to discuss this with children. What are the reasons they would give? This is the kind of picture book I can see being used in many grade levels for different reasons. I love it when find picture books that can be used K-5. The pictures are wonderful and really show how the other trees continue to develop and grow strong while the little tree stays small as it holds tight to its leaves. I definitely need to own this one! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-Sonia SotoMayor by Barbara Kramer

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

by Barbara Kramer
Published January 2016 
National Geographic Children's Books
48 Pages
Review copy provided by the publisher.

I learned so much about Sonia Sotomayor from this simple biography. In 48 pages this book chronicles Sotomayor's life from childhood when she watched Perry Mason to her appointment to the highest court in the land. Young Sonia noticed that it was the judge who seemed to make the important decisions in the courtroom on Perry Mason so she decided she wanted to become a judge. She was born to parents from Puerto Rico and grew up in the projects in the Bronx. Her parents valued education and she worked very hard in school all while dealing with diabetes. 
Her story shows how determination and hard work can help anyone achieve success. 
The simple text is supported by photographs, captions, graphics, maps and a timeline. I would recommend this biography for grades 2-5. 

Possible Companion Texts