Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Book Review} About Birds: A Guide for Children / Sobre los Pájaros: Una Guía Para Niños by Cathryn Sill

About Birds
Sobre los Pájaros
A Guide for Children | Una guía para niños
Author: Cathryn Sill
Illustrator: John Sill
Translator: Cristina de la Torre
Pub. Date: March 1st 2014 (English/Spanish Bilingual Edition)
Age Level: 3 - 7
ISBN: 978-1-56145-783-0
Page Count: 40pp


About Birds: A Guide for Children / Sobre los pájaros: Una guía para niños offers a thoughtful first glimpse into the world of birds from eggs to nests, from song to flight in this English/Spanish bilingual edition

In this delightful book, teacher and birder Cathryn Sill explains to children what birds are, what they do, and how they live. Accompanied by beautifully detailed illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, About Birds is a first thoughtful glimpse into the world of birds, from eggs to nest, from songs to flight. Simple and enlightening, About Birds tells children what is essential for understanding and appreciating birds. An afterword provides further detail for youthful ornithologists and their parents regarding bird identification.

About Birds will faithfully answer the first questions of young ornithologists and charm adults with the wonder and diversity of this important species.

About Birds is the perfect book to have on hand if at home you have a dual language child. This book works great if they have to read every night in English and Spanish, you can get both languages taken care of in just one book. My 7 year old enjoyed reading the book and finding out about all the different birds mentioned in this story. He also liked learning the birds species in English and Spanish. About Birds will introduce the child to not just reading in English and Spanish but they will learn all about this birds with beautiful water color illustrations. They won't realize they are practicing reading both languages because they will be engrossed in the birds themselves. For the younger readers this book will inspire them to look outside to find these birds or inquire where they can be found. The older readers once they finish the story they will enjoy also the more detailed information in the back of the book about each bird. 

My son has come back to reading the book over and over again, that just proves how much he loved the book. As a parent I highly recommend. I will be sharing this book with the dual language class, so  as a whole they can all enjoy About Birds too.  I will be checking out all the other About animal series books that Sill has written too. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{Book Review and Giveaway} My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy

My Friend Suhana by Shaila & Aanyah Abdullah

By Shaila Abdullah & Aanyah Abdullah 
Publication Date: December 16, 2013 
 Publisher: Loving Healing Press  
 Recommended Ages: 3+ 

Summary: A simple tale of love and friendship to warm your heart. Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heartwarming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy.   

I simply love it when I read a picture book and it tells a story that I can truly connect with.  As a special educator this story really touched my heart.  My Friend Sahana  is about a little girl named Sahana. Sahana has cerebral palsy.  Written in first person, Suhana's friend does a beautiful job of telling the reader about Sahana and how she lives with cerebral palsy.  The author offers a very authentic job of describing cerebral palsy.  

What I love most about this picture book, is that the descriptions and tone is so student friendly, that it truly gives the since that Sahana, is not different.  She just expresses herself differently than her peers.  The illustrations in this book are extremely colorful and vibrant.  The illustrations allow the reader to paint a true picture of the friendship of these two girls.  This picture book is just right for the young or old to help explain the characteristics of someone living with cerebral palsy.

About the Authors

Shaila & Aanyah Abdullah Shaila Abdullah is an author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of two award-winning books: Saffron Dreams and Beyond the Cayenne Wall. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, Patras Bukhari Award for English Language, Reader Views Award, Written Art Award, and a grant from Hobson Foundation. My Friend Suhana is Shaila’s first children’s book. In her free time, Shaila loves to run around with her children–Aanyah and Aaliyana. Aanyah Abdullah is a creative and compassionate 10-year-old, who is drawn to children born with physical and mental disabilities. When she was in second grade, Aanyah along with her mother Shaila, started volunteering out at a local community center where they helped assist special needs children. Later Aanyah wrote an essay about her friendship with a girl in the class who had cerebral palsy. That essay is the inspiration behind My Friend Suhana. Aanyah dreams of establishing a special school for children with disabilities one day. She is known to always stand up for what is right and is-–in her parents’ and teachers’ eyes––a perfect role model for her baby sister.

Book Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon


* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest runs: February 12 to March 12, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Shaila Abdullah & Loving Healing Press and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

Be sure to check out the My Friend Suhana Blog Tour

(coming Mar 4 to 11, 2014)

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Monday, February 10, 2014

{Book Review} The One and Only Ivan By: Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan
Illustrator: Patricia Castelao
Pub. Date: January 17, 2012
Age Level: 8 - 12 • Grade Level: 3 - 7
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-0619-9225-4
Page Count: 320pp

2013 Newberry Medal Winner | ALA-ALSC Childrens Notale Book | A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year | Kirkus Reviews - Best Children or Starred Review

Ivan is an easy going gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

One of my favorite childrens' books to date. The best part is that The One and Only Ivan can be read by all ages and enjoyed equally. The book is written for ages 8 to 12 but older middle graders and adults will love it just the same. I guarantee that. The story is heartwarming with such honesty even when told from a gorilla's point of view. When you begin to read you are immediately drawn in by Ivan's voice. Yes the story is told from Ivan the gorilla's point of view. So the kids will love that as much as I did. The plus side for parents is that each page has a few sentences that are short and simple and in journal type style writing. As far as the story itself there are moments of sadness when a character dies and gets mistreated. With all that you will see that the story is not depressing and does end with a happy ending. Think Disney movie and that's is how the book flows. Back to the sad parts, even though they are sad, I don't feel that they are too sad for children to read. It's like when you read Charlotte's Web or watched Finding Nemo style of sadness. This book is definitely a great choice for a young reader, it will be easy for them to get through the pages and story without having difficulty. And if your a teacher, I would recommend this book to be read out loud in class. 

Ivan has been in a cage for over 27 years in a mall, he lives alone inside that cage. Ivan is a Silverback Gorilla that did come from the jungles of Africa when he was young but now Ivan has accepted his life. Ivan loves to paint and create artwork which sometimes he might eat. He does have animal friends that also live in the mall and recently a new baby elephant joins them called Ruby. And this is about the time that Ivan realizes that something must be changed while retelling some of the horrible things that has happen to him. You will cheer Ivan and Ruby the whole time as he is set on getting Ruby back home. 

Overall, this book will teach whoever reads this heartwarming story about love, loss and hope. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

{Book Review} Proxy By: Alex London

Author: Alex London
Reading Level: Young Adult
Science Fiction/Dystopian
Publication Information
 June 18th 2013

goodreads summary Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

​In the age of Hunger Games we find many dystopian-based novels trying to glean a lot of the fame from the HG success. Like with Twilight and Harry Potter we also find many books with the same basis like supernatural love and magical coming of age. But it’s when you find a novel that can use one of those bases to its advantage as a means to create an amazing story then you truly have a fantastic book. Alex London, a new author on the rise, takes on the dystopian genre and gives his own fresh twist. With a blazingly fast writing style, dramatic suspense, and of course gripping action, Proxy has the foundation to be an immense series.

​Starting us off in Proxy we find a daunting world that could be a premise for ours in the future. On future earth we find a world built around debt. With a high upper class using the poor to deal with their crime and follies you have a system bound to fail. Which brings us to the main character Syd who sadly is a poverty and debt stricken guy. Known as a proxy, Syd has a debt in which he pays of by receiving physical punishments for crimes committed by his patron. One day however, his Patron goes to far and someone dies starting an unimaginable journey filled with lies and danger. In Proxy, London creates a dark and gritty world but fills it with characters that bring somewhat of a light to the darkness. With diverse people and unique settings it’s easy to loose yourself in the pages of this book. In fact, my only qualm is that London almost goes to fast through the novel and I wish there was more description and detail. That though remains a very trivial setback to an otherwise stunning book. This book shall be the vision of what’s to come from the sensational author that is Alex London.

Friday, February 7, 2014

{Book Review} Forever By: Karen Ann Hopkins

Young Adult

Publication Information 

January 28, 2014 

Harlequin TEEN

 goodreads summary I want is my happily-ever-after. That's all I've wanted since meeting Noah Miller. From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I'm carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there's a storm on the horizon, and it's sure to cause serious devastation. If we can get through this, we'll finally be Rose and Noah; a family, forever. But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

I waited patiently for the story of Rose and Noah to come full circle. I waited to read what life would throw at them. The wait is over and my feelings are torn in two directions. When a series ends it's hard on the reader. When an awesome series ends, it's devastating to the reader. This is one of those series where I've followed the author from the beginning to the end. First direction, I had to come to the realization that the love story is over for Rose and Noah. It will forever be in my heart that their love story has ended. Karen Ann Hopkins, author of the Temptation series has created a novel with twists and story lines that I never saw coming. All wrapped up in a page turning novel, where I silently hoped that the last page would never come. Second direction, is the notion or glimpse of hope that something else may come out of this love story of determination and coming of age into to the world of adulthood. Some doors have been left open.  Doors  that I believe Ms. Hopkins can walk right through with more stories to tell and with new character focuses. I hope she will. I hope she'll be an author that won't stop, but will keep giving her readers novels that leave a lasting expression on the soul.

Rose and Noah have come to a part of their life where change is coming. Change has arrived. It's here and there is no turning back. There is very little I can say without ruining all of the great moments in Forever. If you know their story well, you know that they are meant for one another. The only thing that holds them back is that they live in two different worlds, but not for long. Will Rose become the humble Amish girl that she longs to be? Will their love be such a strong link that it will carry them through what the world throws at them? Karen Ann Hopkins captures her readers with endless descriptions of life, tragedy, healing and love. All components that makes for a series that is unforgettable.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

{Book Review} Belonging By: Karen Ann Hopkins

Young Adult
Publication Information 
April 30, 2013

Harlequin Teen

Tempted by a love from a girl he couldn't have. Tempted by a love from a boy that was so different. Belonging to one another with a love so strong that neither one could deny, priceless.  Noah and Rose are inseparable. Faced with many challenges and extreme roadblocks ahead, they are each  headed down a path with a common destination, however the path must be traveled alone.  Belonging is the next chapter in this story of love and determination.  Rose has found herself in a situation where she is excepted by many, however not all.  The Amish community have given her the chance to prove herself.  She has to prove that living the simple life is enough for her.  She is willing to do this, because deep down inside she knows that the end of the path, means reaching Noah, her one and only love.  Rose is up for the challenge.  She strives to go above and beyond to prove herself worthy of the Amish way.  The novel begins with a sense of comfort that the challenge may be an easy one however she learns quickly with the introduction of new characters and old, that the path to travel may be rocky.
An observation that I made very early regarding Belonging, was the cover.  I understand that many authors do not have 100% final say on book cover picks.  However,  in the first book of the series, Temptation, it was left up to my imagination what Rose and Noah looked liked.  The cover projected a shadow of true hidden passion.  With Belonging, my visualization of what they look like has changed.  This cover portrays a very older Noah and Rose.  Her attire also threw me off a bit as well.  Was the cover a deal breaker for me, NEVER!

Belonging was filled with many unexpected story lines, twist and turns that I didn't see coming.  Karen Ann Hopkins has truly captured her audience by providing a novel that is filled with well thought out character development and a descriptive plots that is sprinkled throughout the novel with just enough hope to push the reader on.  I'm invested in Rose and Noah's story.  Belonging is a novel that you won't put down until the last page.  Thank you Karen Ann Hopkins for putting their world down on paper for all readers to enjoy.  I shall wait patiently for 3rd book in this wonderful series.

Stop by tomorrow for Book 3 in the Temptation Series.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

{Book Review} Temptation By: Karen Ann Hopkins

Young Adult
Contemporary Romance
Publication Information
 June 26th 2012
Harlequin Teen

Temptation By Karen Ann Hopkins has stolen my heart, with her calm and smooth love story of two teenagers who fall in love within the first sight of each other. I truly do not know where to begin with this review. When the words don't come easily for me, it's because I want to make sure that every line is crafted just right. 

Noah is a young man from the Amish faith, and Rose as he states, is English. In our words, just a normal American girl. Rose knows from the moment that she lays eyes on Noah, that he is the one. When the butterflies flutter forcefully in your stomach and a soft ache creeps up when days go by of not seeing the other, you know their the one. So it only seems natural, that two people who have found a sweet attraction, would give love a try. Unfortunately, this trial wouldn't come without heartache and true pain along the way, ultimately tearing them apart.

I read the pages of Rose and Noah's love story through their eyes only. The author switches back and forth through each chapter, with a new voice, quit effortlessly. I could feel the pain, sorrow, desperation and love, as I read. I could hear their conversations clearly through each page. The author's description of the setting of the story was so vivid that I could truly visualize every single scene. For twenty-four hours, I lived on endless acres of land, where one, somewhat modern home was just moments away to a home that was built and maintained on order, traditions, expectations, faith and the way of life that could not be deviated from. It was Noah's way.

It's been a long time since I've read a novel that earned the coveted 4 or 5 tree status that OUaT issues with our reviews. I give this novel 4 trees, for its passion, love, realistic characters and the overall feeling that I got when I read Karen Ann Hopkins words. This isn't the first novel that I've read centered around a deeper look into the Amish faith, and certainly will not be my last. Hopkins is no longer an unknown author for me. As I for see her realistic approach to fiction in this novel, is just a beginning. 

Stop by tomorrow for Book 2 in the Temptation Series.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

{Book Review} Slide By: Jill Hathaway

Author: Jill Hathaway
Young Adult Fiction 
Publication Information
March 27th 2012

Balzer + Bray

goodreads summary Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body. Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane. Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Suspenseful, page turner, “who did it” feel is what you get when you read the pages of Slide by Jill Hathaway. This type of genre in the young adult literature world is currently very small in number, but quickly on the rise, with Slide as a very nice addition.

The main character Vee is faced with a unique ability, or disability, whichever way the reader views it. It is an action that Vee is very reluctant to share, with anybody. When surrounded by just the right amount of emotions, feelings, or the constant simple contact of an object, once exposed, Vee can slide into the body, soul and mind of that person. Many times her body alerts her quickly, but within seconds, to those surrounding her, she passes out into an unconscious state. However, to Vee she has entered another person, looking at the world through their eyes. Looking at what is happening at that exact moment in time. 

Unfortunately, for Vee, that moment in time is death. She looks at her sister Mattie’s best friend Sophie and realizes that this is a murder. The entire community feels that Sophie’s death was by suicide, however Vee knows better and makes it her mission to prove it. This story is filled with many supporting characters, her sister, her father, her best friend Rollins, and the new kid in town, Zane. Don’t expect a lot of love interest in this novel, as this is truly suspenseful through and through.

Jill’s writing flows very smoothly from the beginning to the end. Her strengths in her writing is truly attributed to the descriptions that she offers the readers when describing her characters. Just like the title, the reader can slide into each character and see the plot thicken with each page turn. The climax is a shocker, so be prepared, I never saw that one coming. Just when I thought it was going to be a predictable ending I was proven wrong very quickly. The events of this novel were truly planned out and presented in such a way that when reading this, I could not wait to get to the end to find out the answer to the question that you are faced with right from the start. Need a brief getaway to a genre less traveled, slide into Jill Hathaway’s novel. You won’t come out until you are finished!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

{Book Review} Never Too Little to Love By Jeanne Willis Illustrated By Jan Fearnley

Books Provided by Candlewick Press.

Candlewick Press
First U.S. Small format edition 2013
Ages 3-7

goodreads summary Whimsical watercolors illustrate a comical, cumulative tale of an amorous mouse who aims impossibly high -- and learns that you're never too little (or too big) to love. Tiny Too-Little loves someone who's very, very tall, and Tiny wants a kiss. What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a thimble? What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a matchbox on top of a thimble? Clever cut-away pages show Tiny's precarious pile growing higher and higher, while the object of his affection stays just out of reach. When the teetering stack finally falls with a crash, will his hopes be dashed? How can a tiny mouse get the kiss he needs?

Never Too Little to Love was one of the cutest and sweetest books that I've read in a really long time. It begins with the determination of a sweet little mouse, bound and determined to give his love a tiny little kiss. But there is just one dilemma, getting there would be hard. She is a little out of reach. So Tiny Too-Little puts his thinking cap on and decides that he will make it happen. One of the strengths that stands out the most in this little book is it's shape. It is just the right size for any young and budding reader. It is presented in stages with card stock type pages that actually keep the reader engaged in the story line until the very end. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant. Lastly, I could hear the silent cheers for Tiny Too-Little as he makes his way to his love!