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Monday, February 25, 2019

Apple In The Middle by Dawn Quigley


Apple is a high school student who lives in MInnetonka, Minnesota. Her father is wealthy doctor and they live in a gated community. Her mother, who was Native American, died at childbirth.  Apple has never met her grandparents from the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe reservation. However, her father wants her to spend the summer with them for the first time. It will be a summer that helps Apple come of age and understand her heritage and Native American culture. 

When Apple's mother was dying, she named her baby Apple because she was the "apple of her eye."  It is also the slang name for a native person who lives in the "white world" where they are "red on the outside but white in the middle". Facing racial slurs from classmates and never feeling like she fits in plague Apple. She is quirky, blurts out crazy thoughts, and doesn't feel content in her life.  Her summer in North Dakota is a turning point for her. 

This book is funny and heartwarming. It deals with death, disappointment and mystical situations. I felt like I was discovering Apple's heritage along with her.  It is about a high school student but could also be read by upper elementary and middle school students. I also loved this book because of the connections I have with Minnesota and especially the Turtle Mountain area since I taught for two years in a town near that area. The town in this story appears to be fiction but it is near the town of Belcourt. 

We don't have many books like this and so I hope that it can be promoted and read in Minnesota and North Dakota schools.  NDSU press published this book. I hope they encourage Dawn Quigley to write a sequel or more books!
I rate it a 5 out of 4!  I couldn't put it down. 

Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: North Dakota State University Press; (August 2, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-1946163073

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina


I just finished reading this 2019 Newbery Award winning book on a snow day in Minnesota! I appreciated the talk of heat and sweat and Florida weather. The book reads like it could be situational comedy with lots of heart. I would watch! Merci is a 6th grader navigating life at school and with her Cuban extended family with humor, angst and love. Great for 4th-6th grade readers.

This book is a fun choice for the Newbery award. It will be very accessible for its intended audience and I predict that it will be become a well loved Newbery.  It also checks the box for getting more diversity into books for kids. I will be waiting for the first Newbery sitcom based on this book!  I rate it a 4 out of 4!

Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Grade Level: 4 - 7
Reading Level:  4.6
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Candlewick; (September 11, 2018)
ISBN-10: 076369049X

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech


I timed myself when I read Saving Winslow.  It took me one hour to read this book!  It was truly fun, fast and easy!  Louie, the main character, agrees to take care of a sickly newborn mini donkey and is optimistic in the donkey's survival despite his previous track record with pet survival.  His determination, love and care is admirable. A friend named Nora knows it is risky to love because of her own losses but connects in her friendship with Louie. 

I posted a picture of Winslow Homer's "Weaning a Calf" painting in the above graphic because this picture plays a part in the name of the mini donkey and connections to Louie. This book would be a great read aloud, book club, or just a quick read for busy kids and teachers. It is heartwarming, funny, inspirational and winning animal story.  I rate it a 4 out of 4!

Grade Level: 3-7
Reading Level:  4.2
Pages:  176 pages
Publisher:  HarperCollins (September 11, 2018)

ISBN: 978-0062570703

Friday, January 25, 2019

Books I Voted For! Division 2 Grades 6-8 Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominees 2019-20


The following  books are the ones I had in my list to vote for the Division 2 books for grades 6-8 nominees for next school year. Since I had two Lauren Wolk books, I just voted for one but I liked both equally. Most of these books would be great reads for 5th graders and advanced 4th grade readers.
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
Amina is a Pakistani Muslim middle school girl who struggles to stay true to her culture.


Beyond The Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
12 year old orphan, Crow, tries to find out why she was abandoned as a baby.

Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky

Miranda and her team are stranded in outer space and have to figure out how to save themselves.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale
This is a graphic novel memoir about Shannon's struggles with friendship as a child and teenager.

Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt

13 year Nikki is an orphan who is asked to be another family member in a witness protection situation. 

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh BaskinThe story of four children from different parts of the country and how their lives were affected by September 11th.


Pax by Sara Penny-packer
Peter is forced to give up his pet fox but later decides to leave and go looking for him.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
12 year old Annabelle must stand up for the local hermit against the school bully. 

Books I Voted For! Division 1 Grades 3-5 Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominees 2019-20

This week the readers for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominees get to vote for their favorites. This will become the list that Minnesota Kids from grades 3-5 will be reading from for the next school year.  Earlier, I made a list and then learned this week that we could only vote for 7 books. Yes, painful to trim my list! I am sending you all of the books I would have liked to have voted for this year. If you are looking for good books, check out my reviews which I have linked to the titles. 



Attack of the Alien Horde by Robert Venetti
So much fun! Part novel format and part comic book format.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

This is what  happens when parents start banning library books and the kids start their own secret library with all the banned books

Lemons by Melissa Savage

Lemonade Liberty moves in with her grandfather after her mother's death and gets invited to become part of the Bigfoot Detective agency by her neighbor Tobin Sky. Savage is a Minnesota author.

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

At boarding school, Alice Mayfield meets Millie who is part of a hidden bigfoot clan who lives in the woods. Yes, this is the same author of popular adult books.

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green

Macy's mother is getting married and her life will be changing but an elderly neighbor helps her out when Macy comes over each day to help sort her belongings.  Written in free verse.

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde
A deaf dog, a blind neighbor, and a loud-mouth kid find friendship. 



Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Time travel book combined with World War II historical fiction about friendship and family. 


Refugee by Alan Gratz
Three refugee stories from three time periods and countries. Gripping!


Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Ravi moves to the United States from India and has a hard time fitting in.


The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
A family who lives in Harlem, New York try and convince their landlord not to sell their building.


Wishtree by Katharine Applegate
An Ancient oak tree in the neighborhood has seen much and tells a story important for the people in the community.


The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach
Two kids try and figure out a mystery of disappearing wolves at a zoo and end up in lost in Yosemite National Park chasing the criminals. 





Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng


This is a great book for the Chinese New Year collection of picture books! It is the story of a dragon dancer named Yao who finds his dragon costume, Shen Long, in storage and wakes him up for the Chinese New Year dance at the the shopping mall. Shen Long is an ancient dragon with his own voice that only his dancer can hear. The dance is noisy with drum beats, cymbals, and fire crackers. The note in the back tells us the noise is to remind us how a monstrous creature once ravaged a village for food and only loud noises by the villagers would frighten him away.  Today, the dragon dancer is dramatically dancing to chase bad luck away and invite in the good luck. The dragon dancer,Yao, hopes his grandfather will be proud of his dance.

The illustrations are done in deep tone watercolors with lots of blue, green, red, and golds. There are lots of white spaces on the page to highlight the images which are in irregular shapes throughout the book and across the two page spreads. It feels like you are dealing with an old dragon and old traditions.


Chinese New Year is celebrated for two weeks and ends with the Lantern Festival.  The festival welcomes spring and celebrates family reunions. Children receive red envelopes of money and wear new clothes to welcome the new year. Spring cleaning is also a tradition which removes junk and unused items which are thrown away or given to charity.  Cleaning up brings positive energy and good luck and prosperity.  Lion and dragon dancers will dance at shopping malls, restaurants, and homes to invite more good luck.

If I was reading this book to a class, I would give students some of the background information found in the author's notes at the back of the book to help kids understand the reason for the dragon dancing at the Chinese New Year.  This book will be a good addition to the holiday collection. 


I rate this book 4 out of 4.

Grade Level:  K-3
Reading Level:  3.9
Publisher: 
Lantana Pub (January 1, 2018)
Pages:  32
ISBN: 978-1911373261
 





Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-

*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it,  Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Freddie Ramos Hears It All by Jacqueline Jules


Freddie Ramos has special shoes that he operates from a wristband and it gives him super powers! How fun would that be!  His shoes allow him to get super speedy and have a super bounce. In this book he now has the ability to have super hearing.  It comes in handy when his school goes on a field trip to a science museum where he is able to find a missing boy using his special powers.  He also gets a chance to use his super hearing powers when he hears strange sounds in his apartment building. He figures it out what is making the noise and saves the day!

This is a beginning chapter book for readers from grades 1-4. I can see my 2nd graders loving this series.  Since this is the 7th book in the series, I did not have the background for how Freddie got his powers, so I had to look up some of the earlier books to get some insight.  It appears that Freddie came home from school one day and there was a box for him and inside were ZAPATO POWER shoes that gives him super speed. Mr. Vaslov, who is an inventor and building maintenance person, is the person who created the shoes for Freddie. 


The book has lots of pictures and is a very fun, fast and easy read.  It includes some Spanish phrases and words that you can figure out from the context of the sentences. ZOOM ZOOM ZAPATO is illustrated in a variety of typography for the instances when Freddie is using his super powers. 


I plan on ordering this series for my Junior Fiction section in my elementary library.  I think it should be a hit. I give it a 3 out of 4 rating. You need to read some of the earlier books to understand Freddie's abilities. 


Name of Series:  Zapato Power
Grade Level:  1-4

Reading Level:  3.0  (2R)
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 1, 2018)




Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 


MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-

*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN


Medallion Level Sponsors


Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board


Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.


Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts


A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it,  Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground


TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.


FREE RESOURCES From MCBD


Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta


Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/



Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.