Traveling light: The Red Suitcase by Giles Baum

From the book jacket:

Sometimes you have to be brave

Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to go somewhere safe.

This is the story of one small dragon’s journey to find a new home.”

I include the above because, once know, it makes sense that this story of a journey is about a refugee.  I did not fully realize that when reading the book.  As a story about a refugee, it is straight forwardly told and for the youngest children.  Through beautiful, simple illustrations young readers/listeners watch asa  young dragon with a suitcase goes on a journey and finds a new group and a sense of safety.

The book could also, in my opinion, be a metaphor for journeys that each of us takes.  We all have our imaginary suitcases full of what we learned and need and, with them, move on to take greater risks.

Either way, both?  Let me know what you think if you read this one.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto for this book in exchange for an honest review.

#TheRedSuitcase #NetGalley

Now out: Portrait of an Artist-Frida Kahlo by Lucy Brownridge

This book is part of a new series from Wide Eyed editions. Each will feature the biography and work of a well known artist and is geared for elementary school students. If this book is anything to go by, this will be an informative and beautifully illustrated series.

The book includes many of the important aspects of the artist’s life from her polio and devastating accident to her meeting Diego Rivera and her travels to places including the U.S. and France, where she was the first Mexican artist to find her work in the Louvre. There is also information about how Kahlo painted, what she painted and her love of Mexico. The illustrations are much in the style of the artist and many of her paintings are featured in the background of the text. At the end of the book, the reader can learn more about Kahlo and her works of art.

Some quotes:

Frida liked to paint lots of outfits or versions of herself in the same picture. She did this to show what it was like to feel like lots of different people, all rolled into one body.

Sometimes Frida felt on top of the world! When she felt like this, her paintings would be filled with sunny colors and Mexican plants from her garden. Sometimes Frida felt low and frustrated that one of her legs was always more tired than the other. When she felt like this, her paintings were filled with gloomy colors.

This book deserves its place in school and home libraries. It is a wonderful way for children to learn about art history.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review.

From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


Stem Superstars: Temple Grandin by Rachel Castro

This book is part of a series on STEM scientists.  Temple Grandin’s unique gifts and talents as well as her autism are touched on in this short, easy to read biography.  It is a good introduction but those who are truly interested in Ms. Grandin may want a bit more. Fortunately at the end of the book, there are suggestions for additional reads and a couple of website suggestions.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

#TempleGrandin #NetGalley

Making Math fun: Little Learning Labs Math Games for Kids by Rebecca Rapoport; J.A. Yoder

When my children were in school, a wise teacher said to always encourage girls to do math and to let them know that they can do every bit as well in math as in English.  While this book is for all children, I was reminded of how important it is to introduce math as a fun subject and one that can lead to experimentation and knowledge.  Math is not just supposed to be learning the basic four functions as this book so ably proves.

Geared toward children ages six to ten (though I think older children too), the book is divided into sections on topics like geometry and fractals.  The experiments and activities are very hands on and photos help to show kids what to do.  Wise adults will encourage children to explore and not focus on perfection, but rather on the learning process as they do the activities that they find appealing.

Filled with things that can be done at home or school, this book is an excellent resource.  Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto for this book in exchange for an honest review.

#LittleLearningLabsMathGamesForKidsAbridgedPaperbackEdition #NetGalley

From the Publisher

Be inspired: Maya Angelou-Little Guides to Great Lives by Danielle Jawando, illustrations by Noa Snir

This book is part of a series of biographies; this time elementary school aged readers will learn about Maya Angelou.  Maya’s story is clearly and inspiringly told.  The ups and downs of her life, the struggles, losses and victories all receive attention, although the full details of some of the more difficult aspects of her life are not fully explicated.  This makes sense given the book’s audience.

Maya’s early life, her move to her grandmother, her return to her mother and subsequent elective mutism are all here.  Her love of reading and her eventual finding of her voice are described.

The many accomplishments and first that this remarkable woman achieved are described beginning with her becoming the first black woman train conductor, work in television and of course, her commitment to civil rights and teaching.  Maya knew and grieved the loss of other well known African Americans including Malcolm X and Martin Luther king.  Ms. Angelou’s writings are also cited, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and going through her inaugural poem for Barack Obama.  Her many awards are also listed.

The back of the book details a timeline and there is also a glossary.

This is an excellent and inspiring biography.  As an adult, I finished the book knowing more about this remarkable woman than I had previously.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.


#MayaAngelou #NetGalley

Now out: Gilmore Girls (Stache and Davidson)

I remember watching Gilmore Girls with my daughters. Every week we looked forward to seeing what was happening in Starrs Hollow. The cast of characters, the wit, the charm, the patter, the place; the show was just perfectly pitched. There was Emily, aloof but somehow vulnerable; Loreli, fast talking and rebellious and Rory, the funny teen who was intense and driven to succeed. Around them were so many others from Luke to Richard to Max and to Rory’s loves, Dean, Jess and Logan. Then there were all the friends and frenemies from Lane to Paris, Sookie to Michel and more. There was angst, college and love of child, friend, family, place. All these came together in a perfect mix. (For those of you who missed the Gilmore Girls phenomenon, the shows are available on Netflix).

So, as you can imagine, I was very excited about this book. It did not disappoint. Following an excellent introduction there are chapters that focus on relationships including mothers and daughters, fathers, romances and friendships. Throughout the reader learns about or is reminded of the depth of the characters. The second half of the book is about the role of the show in popular culture. There are sections on feminism, popular culture, class and small town life.

If you enjoyed Gilmore Girls, give this book a look. It will let you relive many good times in Stars Hollow with so many friends. If you missed the series, here is a chance to enjoy it and learn more.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review.

Now Out: Portrait of an Artist-Vincent Van Gogh (Brownridge)

This book is part of a series on artists. I have read the one on Frida Kahlo, which was well done, and now there is an entry of Van Gogh. This short book does an excellent job of telling the story of Van Gogh’s life and work. Young readers will learn about Vincent’s struggle to find what he wanted to do; for example, they will read that Van Gogh was a minister for a time before becoming an artist. Van Gogh’s mental health issues are included in an honest, but not too detailed, way. Readers will also learn about Van Gogh’s brother Theo and his relationship with Paul Gauguin. And of course, there is the art! The illustrations are vibrant and many of the artist’s works are found on these pages. This book should be a welcome entry for a school collection on artists for young readers.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

From the Publisher

An old song in book form: Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed (Cotter)

In this board book, toddlers will delight in that old song about jumping on the bed.  The illustrations are quirky and fun.  As each monster falls, toddlers are invited to help by kissing the monster or putting on a band aid, etc. Young listeners will enjoy the repetition and soon may be singing themselves!

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this read in exchange for an honest review.