Wednesday, October 20, 2021

"We Are One: How the World Adds Up" by Susan Hood & "Moose's Book Bus" by Inga Moore [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

Moose’s Book Bus

My thoughts:  This is a wonderful book. The illustrations are an absolute delight. I just love that all the forest critters walk around on two legs. They've been given some very human characteristics as well.

So much truth and absolutes in this sweet story. Literacy. Sharing. Helping. Providing. Kindness. Generosity. Ingenuity. Creativity.

I highly recommend this book. Children will love to have it read and re-read to them. You'll want to make sure your school and public libraries have copies as well.

About the book: In Inga Moore's charming companion to A House in the Woods, Moose's library outing soon has the whole woodland community crowding into his house to read together. Leave it to Moose to find a solution--on wheels!

Distinguished author-illustrator Inga Moore reunites the cast of A House in the Woods for another tale of friendship and ingenuity. When Moose runs out of stories to tell his family after dinner, he ventures to the town library for books. No sooner is he settled in at home to read them aloud than Bear, Badger, Fox, Hare, Mole, the Three Wild Pigs, and even the Beavers crowd in to listen. Soon everyone is packed in like sardines. What's a clever Moose to do? With its warm, whimsical cast and a snug woodland setting evoked by earthy illustrations, this playful nod to the power of books and libraries to create community will reward new and returning fans alike.

We Are One: How the World Adds Up by Susan Hood 

My thoughts: 
This is not a typical count to 10 book for very young children. Though it is designed to appeal to the young child, the thought processes involve more than one apple and add one apple to equal two apples. 

It begins with.... "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." ("credited to Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher.") And then the small print explanatory text gives an example that a pile of sticks built into a campfire is greater as a whole (the fire) than the sum of all the sticks.

So this mind expanding children's book goes on to serve up a variety of informational tidbits along with the math concepts. 
  • A compass always points North and is caused by the Earth's magnetic force draw. A compass has 4 points pointing directions North, East, South, West
  • For the number 5, we learn that ballet has 5 basic positions
  • 7 is a great number. There are 7 colors in visible light. 7 seas on Earth. 
  • Baseball lovers will love the number 9. Example: 9 players, 9 innings, 9 positions
  • And 10 is special as numeric systems are on a base of 10. Think, 10 years = a decade; 10 decades = a century; 10 centuries = a millennium. And we often learn to count on our 10 fingers and 10 toes.
Truly an interesting book to read and ponder.

About the book: One can be one thing all on its own—one star, one stream, one stick, one stone. But those on their toes, those using their smarts, know one can be more than the sum of its parts.

Consider the two slices of bread that make up one sandwich, or the three lines of poetry that form one haiku, or even the ten years that form one decade. From one to ten, from sandwiches to centuries, every part is necessary to the whole. In this fascinating concept book, a simple rhyming narration aimed at younger children is complemented by informational panels about subjects like the four compass points, the five acts in Shakespeare, the seven colors of a rainbow, or the nine innings in baseball. Award-winning author Susan Hood and debut children’s book illustrator Linda Yan offer a mind-expanding look at early math concepts such as part/whole relationships, fractions, and addition—while underlying themes of cooperation, peace, and kindness make this beautiful volume one to be enjoyed by anyone at any age.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts—and unity and connection are most important of all—in a beautifully illustrated counting book with a timely message.
Begins October 20
Ends November 13 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA addresses
No P.O.Boxes, Canada phone required
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and sent directly to the winners by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

My Israel and Me by Alice McGinty + The Rabbi & the Painter by Shoshana Weiss [Review & Giveaway USA]

Kalaniot Books, an imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing, aims to introduce young readers to the rich mosaic of Jewish culture and history with books by Jewish authors and artists from around the world.

My Israel and Me by Alice McGinty and illustrated by Rotem Teplow (ISBN: 978-1-735087535; Hardcover $19.99; Ages 4-11; 32 pages) 

My thoughts:
This sweet book takes the young reader across the tiny land of Israel showing the diversity of peoples and features of the land itself.

I really enjoyed the light poetic story of My Israel and Me as it is told from a child's point of view. Along side the poetic story on facing pages is another storyline. This one is a textual biographic and geographic telling about Israel.

I like the simple story and pictures that this book brings to the young reader. I especially like that there is not a political or specific religious thread or platform espoused. It simply talks about Israel.

I recommend.

About the book: In recent history, Israel’s role in the world’s consciousness has been one of conflict, but over the centuries, millions of people have also traced their history, culture, and religion back to this tiny desert land. The result is a country with an incredible variety of peoples and traditions, and a diaspora that still feels connected to that homeland, thinking of it as “My Israel.”

Told in verse, the book introduces readers to the diversity of Israel’s people from a child’s perspective. Explanatory text sheds light on the varied cultures and traditions that inspire the special connection many feel with “their Israel.” Though coincidental, this book has arrived at a critical time and Kalaniot Books hopes it proves useful to parents and educators in starting thoughtful conversations and sharing their own insights about the complicated feelings surrounding modern day Israel.

The Rabbi and the Painter by Shoshana Weiss, illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham (ISBN: 978-0998852782)

My thoughts: 
 This is an interesting story from the Renaissance time (1500s). Much great art was created during this time period and one of those artists was Tintoretto. 

Commissioned to create a painting for a Venetian Christian church, he began the task of planning, sketching, and painting. 

Some years prior, Tintoretto had met a young Jewish boy and a friendship was formed. During this historic period, the Jews were required by law to live in a ghetto isolated from the rest of the city. However, some were free to come and go. When outside the ghetto they were required to wear a yellow circle on their clothes. And this young boy was outside the ghetto when he made acquaintance with Tintoretto.

Desiring to make his art as authentic as possible, Tintoretto remembered his Jewish friend who was now a Rabbi. He sought him out and they worked together to make the details authentic.

A rare friendship. A rare undertaking to study and work together. 

And a nice story. It might be real and it might just be a story. But it gives children an opportunity to learn of how Jews were made to separate themselves from other peoples. An opportunity to learn of a famous artist who created famous, long lasting works of Christian art. And to gain a vision of diverse people working together toward a common goal.

About the book: Based on stories handed down from the past, this is the tale of a unique relationship between the 16th Century Venetian painter Tintoretto and Rabbi Leon Modena also known as Yahuda Araya.

Both men push at the boundaries of convention. Tintoretto breaks all the artistic rules of the Renaissance with his mannerist painting style while Rabbi Modena's interests extend far beyond the typical confines of the ghetto's synagogue life to the secular world around him.

In The Rabbi and the Painter we are transported to a place where cultures mix to create breathtaking masterpieces.
Begins October 18
Ends November 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's books are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Approaching Anger, Microbes, and Mazes from a child's mindset [3-book review]

When I See Red by Britta Teckentrup (ISBN: 978-3-7913-7494-9; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+; 40 pages)

My thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this book. The first half has a young girl absolutely raging in anger. Storming. Yelling. Red and black with anger. Spewing forth that anger on the World at large.

A lot of pages of anger.

Then the emotional climate begins to calm, settle, and the anger is overcome. All well and good and as it should be. 

But I just wonder if there is too much of the outrageous, raging anger in the story and in the images. Does this heavily implant in the child's mind that it is ok to rant and rage to stomp and screech? So long as you settle down afterwards?

I can see using this with a group of teens or adults to show them the utter wrongness that such outbursts of anger are. And you can't make up after all that anger and be nice and calm.

The use of anger to engage and result in correcting wrongs can be good or it can be bad. The idea behind this book is to use the anger constructively. But I'm afraid there is too much allowance for raging anger. 

We see mobs raging in anger because of ills of society, unjust issues, misuse of power. Mob anger is not a source of good. 

So what I'm essentially saying is that much care needs to be used in using this book with children.  

About the book: The heroine of this beautifully illustrated story feels her anger like a storm in a dark forest. It sweeps her away, and she thunders and howls. She pours down her emotions like sheets of rain; rage surges like a wind whipping angry waves. Her anger takes her on a wild ride.

Appropriate for a wide variety of ages, this book illustrates many aspects of anger that are often hard to articulate— how overwhelming it is, how isolating, even scary. But it also shows anger to be a source of power and an agent for change. Teckentrup’s impactful, boldly colored paintings skillfully evoke the way intense anger can take us on an emotional journey, one that can be both exhausting and affirming. This beautiful tribute to one girl’s experience of anger offers readers the opportunity to make sense of, and talk about their own feelings of rage in a time when that kind of understanding is more important than ever.

Is There Life on Your Nose? by Christian Bortslap (ISBN: 978-3-7913-7497-0; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 6+; 56 pages)

My thoughts:  This nonfiction book is funny and simple in its explanation of the tiny microbe world that lives all around us. There is not a lot of focus on the "germ" aspect as there is focus on the ever present and everywhere existence of all types of microbes. 

The end pages have more detailed information associated with each page previously stated in simplistic terms.

The book is simply and brightly illustrated. 

About the book: Germs, microbes, bacteria—these days those words are fraught with fear and uncertainty. But they’re not all bad. In fact, most of them make life and nature possible. Christian Borstlap’s playful, boldly colored illustrations and cheerful text will help kids understand that microbes are everywhere—in our noses and tummies, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. From the world’s largest organism in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, to the bacteria that started life on earth; from microbes that help recycle plastic, to yeast that makes bread taste good—this book shows the incredible diversity of these tiny beings and how they affect every aspect of our lives. Borstlap uses both science and humor to demystify a potentially scary subject, and closes with double-page spreads that are packed with information to satisfy the most curious readers.

The Book of Labyrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry and illustrated by Finn Dean (ISBN: 978-3-7913-7474-1; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 7+; 96 pages)

My thoughts:  I'm not a "puzzle, labyrinth, or maze" person. So this books doesn't entice me or draw me into its pages.

However, it is informative and I did learn that there is a difference between a labyrinth and a maze.  I also learned that they have been around since man's early history. They have played a role in religions as well as entertainment.

I think the book would be quite interesting to those who already have a liking or love for  the complexities of labyrinths and mazes. I think that the illustrations are nice but would have been better had the images been more defined in nature rather than the soft tonal drawings.

This is a good book for a library so older children and adults can borrow and ponder.

About the book: This brilliant book on mazes and labyrinths in history and the modern world encourages young readers to really think about why these puzzles are so appealing. Filled with photographs, drawings, artwork, illustrations, and puzzles, it takes a thematic approach to these enigmatic works. Why are we sometimes afraid to get lost—and why does the idea excite us? How do mazes and labyrinths figure in history and mythology? What can nature tell us about humankind’s obsession with lines, spirals, and patterns? Along the way children will learn about the labyrinth designed by Daedalus for King Minos in the ancient city of Crete; the mystery of the Hemet Maze Stone in southern California; and the magnificent labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres. They are encouraged to trace their fingers along a labyrinth to experience its soothing effect, to solve maze-related number puzzles, and to create their own mazes and labyrinths. Packed with fun facts and engaging ideas, this book will help children understand why mazes and labyrinths are so popular, while inspiring them to identify and create these fascinating puzzles in their own world.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

You Are Revolutionary by Author Cindy Wang Brandt & Illustrated by Lynnor Bontigao [Review & Giveaway - USA]

My thoughts:  This is really a lovely, joyful, exciting, well written and well illustrated book. I really like it. I like, too, the concept that children should learn early that they can be an instrument to further the betterment for people and society in general. They can exemplify kindness, gentleness, love, caring, and help in the world in which they live.

So why am I conflicted about the book?

I wouldn't hesitate to have it in my home for my children (if they were still children); but then, I would moderate the book's underlying current of promoting elements of today's social mores that I believe are inappropriate. (But that is for discussion at a different time.)

I don't think children should be part of mass gatherings - no matter what the adults are promoting. This is especially true in today's climate when a mass gathering can easily become violent. I also don't think children should be out going door to door or standing on street corners handing out promotional information sheets. 

I think children should be at home playing. I think that "play is the work of children." I think their time should be spent learning and exercising.

Now that doesn't say their very existence is not revolutionary because I agree with the book's author that a child changes things and they are uniquely revolutionary.

I can endorse this book with the understanding that there is good in it but there are also elements* that will take care in handling.

About the book: A wonderful new Children’s Book by Author Cindy Wang Brandt, Kid Activists, and activities to encourage empathy and creativity in kids.  

Parenting expert and Author Cindy Wang Brandt has written a beautiful children’s book - vibrantly illustrated by Artist Lynnor Bontigao. You Are Revolutionary features a diverse group of children taking up a call to action and using their individual gifts to change the world.

“You Are Revolutionary is beautifully written and is accompanied by such thoughtful and engaging illustrations. This book is such a powerful way of igniting the path to self-empowerment for our youngest leaders and change makers.” — Nora Mata, New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Promise by Lebron James

You Are Revolutionary is an inspiring picture book that speaks to every child who sees injustice in the world, revealing they have everything they need inside themselves to make big, transformative change - just as they are. Every kid is a revolutionary! Kids who are loud, kids who are quiet, kids who make art, kids who are good at math, kids with lots of energy, kids who are good listeners - all kids have what it takes to make a difference.

“In the lyrical style of You Are So Wonderful (Beaming Books), Cindy Wang Brandt’s You Are Revolutionary reminds children of their inherent place and that they are not too young to be revolutionaries.”  — The Reverend Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D., Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City

Begins October 14
Ends October 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.
*Near end of book... child's T-shirt says "I take Naps and I'm WOKE." - Group of shouting, fists in air children with signs.... "Housing is a human right," "Homes for All!", "End Evictions," "Homes Not Jails," "Homelessness is not a crime." 

Fall National Geographic treasures for kids 8-12 - African Animals, Zeus the Mighty, & Kid's World Atlas

Ultimate Book of African Animals by Emmy Award-Winning Filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert (ages 8-12, hardcover)

My thoughts: 
This beautiful large (oversized) hardcover book is home to spectacular photographs, drawings, and information about the enormously varied animal life of Africa. 

The book groups the animals. The extinct animals of Africa are shown - even those who became extinct prior to man's impact on animals.

If you want an armchair safari or just want to learn about the varied creatures on Earth and specifically Africa, this is a magnificent book to own.

I recommend.

About the book: Ready for an adventure of a lifetime? With National Geographic photographer-filmmaker duo Beverly and Dereck Joubert as their guides, readers are transported to the plains of the Serengeti, the sands of the Sahara and the shaded nooks of the rainforest. Dereck and Beverly are eight-time Emmy award-winning filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife conservationists who have been filming, researching and exploring Africa for over 35 years.  By sharing their stories of life on safari and Beverly's jaw-dropping photography, this dynamic duo gives the reader unique, behind-the-lens access to Africa's wildlife, how they live, play and hunt and how they have adapted to their wild, one-of-a-kind environments.  A big, beautiful guide to animals that roar, race and "totally rule," this gift-worthy book is overflowing with facts, stats and photos of animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes -- including the tiny bombardier beetle, the sneaky desert viper, mischievous monkeys, elusive Ethiopian wolves, as well as fan favorites like lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more.    

Zeus the Mighty Book 3: The Trials of Hairy-Clees by Crispin Boyer (ages 8-12, hardcover, National Geographic Kids Under the Stars fiction imprint)  

"Readers will appreciate the overlay of this mythological world atop the real-life operations of a pet rescue center and how Boyer manages to fit all the plot pieces together perfectly. Great characters, action, adventure, and lots of humor" -- School Library Connection

"A treat for proto–Percy Jackson fans.” — Kirkus Reviews

My thoughts: 
I think this is a fun book for kids 8 years and up who are reading chapter books. It will give them a glimpse into Greek mythology and even provides some end pages of real information.

The story is a "take" on the Greek myths in today's vernacular and the setting is Athens, Georgia and it's a bunch of animals. The tone of the story from the snippet I read is light and fun to read.

I think it would be a lot of fun for a middle-elementary to young middle-school child to read.

About the book: Get your Greek mythology fix!  Welcome to Mount Olympus, a pet supply and rescue center that sits high on a hill in Athens, Georgia. The overconfident hamster Zeus, wise cat Athena, and other rescued pets live there under the watchful eye of their caretaker, Artie, who's obsessed with Greek mythology. The pets overhear her favorite podcast, Greeking Out, and now believe themselves to be the actual megastars of mythology!  Book 3 begins with a challenge: The Trials of Hairy-Clees are only for the bravest and most awesome gods of all. Who among them will become the ultimate champion? The pets of Mount Olympus Pet Center are a true team: They conquer epic quests as easily as Ares the pug scarfs down Mutt Nuggets and they vanquish enemies who are pricklier than the spines on Poseidon the pufferfish. But when a chicken named Hermes shows up one day, things take a turn, and before the team knows it, the Oracle has spoken and the mysterious Trials of Hairy-Clees begin! Who will become top god? And can Zeus learn to share the limelight to fight alongside Hermes? More info about all the titles in the series and its characters, a book trailer, printables, "Truth Behind the Fiction," Greeking Out podcast  (yes, it's real!), games and the Educators Guide, click HERE.  

NG Kids World Atlas 6th Edition (ages 10+, hardcover and paperback)

"No one does maps or atlases with as much panache and knowledge as National Geographic" - Washington Post

My thoughts:
What's not to love about this beautiful book about our wonderful world. It's an atlas so it tells and shows us places, how to get there, what's there, etc. Lots of grand information.

The pictures are absolutely awesome. The scope of material covered, fantastic. The treasure that is this book is on a grand scale topping wonderful.

As people, we need to know and understand our world on a global scale and as people have not understood or had access to information previously. This book gives young people the opportunity to have at their fingertips information to help them understand and work together for a preserved world.

I highly recommend.

About the book: This Fall, the map experts at National Geographic debuts the sixth edition of their Kids World Atlas -- the perfect reference for kids to learn about lands close to home or oceans away. This title is an authoritative and well-designed with completely updated maps, stats, and facts about the people, places, trends, and developments of our world.  Highlights include the latest geographic and political information, a new map on global migration that introduces kids to the movement of people around the world, new graphics that present facts in an easy-to-read format, a place-name index with more than 3,000 locations, colorful photography that shows the beauty and diversity of our world and more than 120 maps, each one telling a story.   Now more than ever, kids need to understand the world from a global perspective -- this is an invaluable resource for using in the classroom or reading at home.

3 National Geographic Kid's books
Begins October 13
Ends November 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize books are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

"Time For Bed, Old House" & "The Sun Shines On the Sea" [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Time for Bed, Old House by Janet Costa Bates & illustrated by A.G. Ford 

My thoughts: 
This sweet book shows the care that man puts into closing up his home for the night. A home is a living place when caring people live within its walls.

As Grandpop goes about getting ready for bed and getting his grandson into his pajamas, he tells his "I'm not sleepy" grandson that "'s time to put the house to bed."

So they go through the motions of pulling the shades, turning off lights, tip toeing up the stairs.

A sweet and beautifully illustrated book.

About the book: Isaac is excited about having a sleepover at Grandpop’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home for the first time. Luckily, his knowing Grandpop tells him it’s not quite time to go to bed yet—first, he needs Isaac’s help in putting the house to bed. Quietly and slowly, they move from room to room, turning out lights and pulling down shades, as Grandpop gently explains the nighttime sounds that Isaac finds unfamiliar. Now it’s time to read the house a bedtime story (Isaac is good at reading the pictures). By the time the house is settled in for the night, Isaac and Grandpop are ready for bed, too. Janet Costa Bates’s tender story and A. G. Ford’s cozy illustrations will have families—and extended families or friends—eager to take a wise Grandpop’s cue and embrace a new nighttime tradition.

The Sun Shines on the Sea by Michael Slack

My thoughts: 
I'd say this board picture book is multileveled in application for the young child. 

It is simply a fun book to see the layers of life in the sea.

It is a life-cycle of the sea book showing how each life is dependent on another.

It shows the circular food-chain of creatures of the sea.

It shows that all this life is dependent on the Sun.

It is also an ideal book that can show the child that every creature eats - even young children. You can address as you read which of the sea creatures you might have for dinner.

I like that it is not too dumbed-down for young listeners.

About the book: A gentle introduction to the food chain for the preschool set, this eye-catching lift-the-flap book has a fun twist ending.

The sun shines on the sea. Phytoplankton soak up the sun. Hungry krill feast on the plankton. Next, a shoal of fish swirl around the krill. Then along comes some squid . . . And on it goes, up the oceanic food chain, from squid to tuna to shark and, finally, to whale. But what is the whale hungry for? Little ones will delight in lifting the flaps to discover what's in each creature's belly--and will enjoy the unexpected twist of the largest animal feasting on one of the smallest. With enticing flaps, simple language, and brightly stylized illustrations, Michael Slack takes very young children on a sea journey up the food chain and around in a circle for a final surprise.
Begins October 9
Ends November 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA/CANADA addresses. No P.O.Boxes.
Canadian winners must provide phone number.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by Candlewick Press Publishing, publicist, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Pandemics and Survival


Global illness. No known treatment. 

Non-discriminate on who becomes ill or who dies.

Covid-19. Spanish Flu or Flu Pandemic of 1918. Black plague. "The Pox." Polio.

Man's battle against microscopic enemy has waged war in epic proportions and sometimes won and sometimes lost. But man, being an intelligent being and vying for the continuation of humanity, fights on.

My family,  those through history and currently living, have been touched ever so lightly by pandemics. We've been so thankful to have been spared. 

I recall stories my husband's father told of how as a young army man during WWI the Spanish Flu waged rampant. So many young, strong men were sick and dying. My father-in-law, a young man at the time, unmarried, and in the army became ill. 

He was a "strapping" strong young man who had grown up on a southern farm. It was a 2-mule farm and his father worked his sons as hard as he worked the mules. Each son inherited a portion of the farm, but my father-in-law went into the army. 

He didn't get to fight in the traditional sense of a country at war. But he fought. He fought the Spanish Flu. There were so many sick and only the ones expected to survive were cared for. The others were placed in the "dead room."

My father-in-law was placed in the "dead room" where he remained for two weeks.

As he told and re-told this story, his face would become slack and a faraway gaze would come into his eyes. It was undoubtedly a terrible experience. But he lived.

He lived. Married. Fathered six children (one died in infancy). Raised his family during the great depression and fed them by working hard at various jobs. He was a hard working, strong man that lived 97 years.

Pandemics. They come. They go. They destroy. They spare. But man must fight with every tool available to be certain that mankind does survive. That our young don't perish nor our weakened older generation suffer.

I am thankful for the Smallpox vaccination, the Polio vaccination, the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccination. Others that have either eradicated or controlled the pandemics and despicable illnesses that man faces.

Friday, October 1, 2021

"189 Canaries", "I Can Help," & "Black & White" are superb fall releases from Eerdmans Young Readers Books

Eerdmans BYR

189 Canaries by Dieter Böge & illustrated by Elsa Klever

My thoughts:
The tiny Canary has brought joy and comfort to many as they sing their tiny hearts out while captured in their cages and placed in homes of many. 

I wondered when I saw the book title just why such a specific number. As the story unfolded I understood.

Illustrated in dirty, dark colors the spot of brightness comes from the gaiety that is the cheerful bird - the Canary. The author tells the story of the single canary's journey along with that of 188 other canaries across the ocean to find a new home. The end pages give history and details of canaries, their cages, their journey, and also how used in mines to determine safe breathing air.

A good book.

About the book: In a cozy room in northern Germany, a yellow canary sings rolling melodies to the miners and carpenters of the Harz mountains. But today a bird dealer has come, and he will take the canary far, far away from everything he knows. The journey leads onto trains and steamships, across Europe and even the Atlantic. At last the canary arrives in a room in New York where he hears a strangely familiar song…

This beautiful, poignant book introduces readers to the little-known history of a beloved songbird. Lushly illustrated in rich colors, 189 Canaries is an unforgettable story about music, migration, and the search for home.

I Can Help by Reem Faruqi & illustrated by Mikela Prevost

My thoughts:
  This is quite an interesting take on the elementary classroom and student-helping-student activity. It begins with a multi-ethnic/racial classroom and shows good and bad interactions between children.

This interaction doesn't seem to be based on ethnical or racial issues, but just on human behavior. The little girl just simply wants to be a helper. And Kyle, the little white boy who constantly needs help, needs someone. Finally, she is chosen by the teacher to help. Delighted, she and Kyle work well together.

Then on the playground her girl classmates (strangely, they seem caucasian - she is dark skinned) belittle her helpful activities and she feels shame. Then she stops helping Kyle much to her own distress.

A year passes, and then strangely she gets another chance, but not with Kyle.

A good story of getting along together, helping, and the effect of attitudes on one another.

About the book: When Ms. Underwood asks if anyone wants to help Kyle, Zahra always volunteers. She loves spending time with Kyle—he’s creative and generous, and he makes the funniest jokes at lunch. But when Zahra’s other classmates start teasing her for helping him, she starts making choices she regrets.

I Can Help is a gentle, sensitive portrayal of reaching out, facing peer pressure, and learning from past mistakes. With thoughtful storytelling and poignant illustrations, this book will open discussions about choosing kindness in the classroom and beyond.

Black and White by Debora Vogrig & illustrated by Pia Valentinis

My thoughts:
 This book of stark contrasts uses the absolute difference that is black and white to show that in life there are contrasts and differences.

Black is the night or darkness. White is the sunlight, day, or light. But they go on either enveloping each the other or complimenting and creating beauty in design. 

Across the day and the globe, the two persist in discovering their ability to work together to show the compliment design of that which is.
About the book: Black and White are so different—how can they ever get along? White wants to explore the world, but Black would rather stay under the bed. Black is playful and creative; White wants everything neat and tidy. But when Black and White work together, they can go on the most amazing adventures . . .

Perfect for teaching colors and opposites, Black and White is an imaginative exploration of the joys of diversity.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Books provided by Eerdmans Publishing.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Kobee Manatee Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard by Robert Scott Thayer - Published by Thompson Mill Press

Be sure to enter the #giveaway.
Maybe the author will sign winner's copy.
My thoughts:  Did you know that there is a whole series of books about Kobee Manatee? The current four distinct works about Kobee are delightful to read, teach much needed lessons, and are gently lovable. This newest - Climate Change and the Great Blue Hole Hazard - educates and entertains young children about our wonderful oceans and what's happening to them. 

As Kobee and his pals (all dressed in frankly unsuitable clothes) cavort from about the Caribbean, they see dying coral, plastic trash, and sea critter friends entrapped in plastic. 

The story is a beautifully illustrated, gentle, and entertaining read for children to read themselves or have read aloud to them. Kobee is a treasure. 

There are side bars of information that state the dire circumstances that ocean pollution and climate change cause. One fact that I found alarming is that about half the plastics ever manufactured have been manufactured since 2000. That is alarming to me considering that in that period of time there has been a concerted effort to slow and/or eliminate the use of plastics.

I highly recommend this children's book and think the entire series should be in school and public libraries.

About the book: The Kobee Manatee series is an award-winning, recently winning a Mom’s Choice Award, and beloved series about a loveable manatee (the cows of the sea!) and is the fourth book in the series by author Robert Scott Thayer. 

This book has already received praise from Kirkus Reviews. Kobee Manatee: Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard is the newest installment in the award-winning Kobee Manatee® Children’s Educational Picture Book Series. The story follows Kobee and his seafaring friends on a Caribbean adventure to help his cousin Quinn with her underwater café called Quinn's Seagrass Café. Their adventure is filled with interesting facts about climate change, and the danger plastic pollution is having in our oceans and on our coral reefs. Manatees eat seagrass and their food supply is dwindling due to warming seas. Each book in the series comes with an educational component for teachers and parents to use. Find it.... 
"Manatee is a lovable and magnetic host, leading readers into the waters that cover 70% of the earth while opening young minds to the connections between human actions and marine ecosystems. Creating opportunities, which inspire love for our marine animals can cultivate an environmentally responsible conscience that can last a lifetime." — Dr. Tracy Fanara, Host of Inspector Planet and expert contributor for this book in the series. 
Begins September 27
Ends October 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson.

My thoughts:  The yearly Christmas novellas from Melody Carlson are highly anticipated by folks who love a good, short read centered around a Christmas theme or during the holiday season. In A Christmas in the Alps Ms. Carlson takes the reader globally to search for a missing family treasure.

A Christmas in the Alps was a joy to read. Beginning with a youngish "spinster" lady who'd taken care of her grandmother until her death and then embarking on one of those "journey of a lifetime" trips to France pursuing connections to her family's past heritage. Kind of hard to get to France from the USA without flying and this lady is simply scared stiff of flying. But a dear friend encourages, guides, persuades, and entices her to make that trip. She did!

The excitement begins with her seat companion on the flight. He is handsome, kind, and talks her through her fears. When she arrives in Paris she does a bit of sight seeing and enjoys Paris at Christmas with its lit up gorgeousness. Then she goes on to the little town in the French Alps that was her destination.

Characters are beautifully developed by the author and I simply enjoyed meeting each one. I loved the "feel" of being in this sweet, historic, and gorgeous town as Nicole wander through it going about meeting family and making connections.

The story ends on a high note of joyousness and delight - totally appropriate for a Christmas novella. I totally enjoyed this read.

About the book: After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday. 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Picture of Hope (Heroines of WWII) by Liz Tolsma (from Barbour Publishing)

My thoughts: 
I enjoy reading historical fiction and especially Christian historical fiction. World War II is not a favorite period of mine about which to read though my family lived through the era and three of my uncles were in the US Army during the war - one whose life was lost.

Liz Tolsma is an author of significant expertise in writing and in garnering historical facts to frame her stories. In A Picture of Hope she has drawn from actual events, real people, real happenings though she has not used the real people nor locales. The story is a work of fiction but has the feel of authenticity.

War is terrible and this story lightly touches on the cruelty of the enemy. I say lightly because it doesn't go into the gross details of happenings but gives enough insight that you know it was harsh, mean, cruel, and inhumane.

The characters were nicely developed and I have my likes and dislikes amongst them. I liked the hero, Jean-Paul the French resistance fighter. I liked the old nun. I frankly didn't like the heroine, Nellie, and found her to be an inconsiderate, impulsive, dangerous individual though she was also sweet, kind, and smart. She put the others at risk on several occasions with her impulsive actions.

War ends, thankfully. Our story ends on a happy note. We know from our history lessons which side won the war. Our hearts and actions must take lessons from World War II's evils and work daily to overcome new evils. 

An interesting read and a journey of escape during a war torn period. 

About the book: Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII. 

 Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing mothers standing in milk lines—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. There she enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they stumble upon a great tragedy, leaving a girl with special needs being orphaned. 

 Can Nellie and Jean-Paul see the child to a safe haven while being pursued by the Nazis, who are pressed by the advancing Allies and determined to destroy all they can before they flee? 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Great "rebate" site for super deals

I have found a "slew" of super items on this "rebate" site. Some discounted and some 100% rebates.

Give it a try - totally safe! Pictures of my recent #finds

(Note: the coffee is FABULOUS)


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady" by Sharon J. Mondragon from Kregel Publishing [Giveaway-USA]


My thoughts:  I had no idea I would enjoy this book about a group of middle aged and older ladies in a knitting group making prayer shawls. It totally surprised me.

Characters who rub everyone the wrong way. Charmers. Sweet ladies. Young folks in difficulties. The whole gamut of characters was sprinkled through the story and life events that changed lives.

A slowly dying church, a group of ladies, the need of interventional prayer in the lives of folks in the community. The story is about the extent that this group touches the community and how their own personal lives evolve and change for the better.

I totally love this story and it is truly a wonderful piece of women's fiction.

About the book: A knitting group's change of scenery changes lives in unexpected ways

Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation.

Uptight Margaret isn't having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she's ever heard of, and she's heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they're constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret--grumbling the whole way--to the mall with them. She can't wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best.

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community--or will the tangle be too much to unravel?

Read an excerpt - click here

About the author: Sharon J. Mondragon's debut is warm and delightful, full of real laughter, grief, and personality. It beautifully illustrates the power of women across generations to reach people for Christ.

Sharon J. Mondragon is not just a nice lady who knits. She’s the author of award-winning fiction that takes you to the place where courage and kindness meet.
Like some of the characters in The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, she was once content to live well within her comfort zone. At the age of 19, however, she realized that she would not have much to show for such a life. She accepted the challenge and recklessly prayed for adventure.

The ensuing years as an Army spouse and the mother of five wildly individual children were filled with both thrilling and devastating moments, undergirded by the faithful hand of the God who inspired the prayer. The Army years are over, but the adventure continues in Midlothian, Texas where Sharon lives with her husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash. Learn more at
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Read With Audra publicist is responsible for providing and shipping the winner's prize directly to the winner.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Aunt Ida Clare by Michele McCarthy [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: 
I immediately fell in love with Aunt Ida Clare from the first couple of pages. A gem! She is jovial. Sweet. A loquacious, vocabulary expanding lady. 

Aunt Ida Clare is an encourager and a declarer (one who declare truth). She teaches by example how to think and speak in a positive way using words "seasoned" with a sprinkle of salt.

She goes on to share how Jesus is The Word and came as The living Word and the words of the Bible are His Word. 

This is an especially good book and it is a thoughtful and yet sparklingly wonderful joyful read.

And "I do declare" and wonder if anyone thinks this special Aunt's name is "I-da-Clare" as I surely do.

About the book: 2021 Best Fiction Children's Book, 1st Place Golden Scroll Award and 2021 Children's Fiction Book of the Year, 2nd Place Christian Markets Awards

Rosalina is not quite sure what to think of their new babysitter, her Aunt Ida Clare. Aunt Ida is quite the sight. Aunt Ida Clare declares the truth and purpose behind speaking life-giving words to an unsuspecting brother and sister when she whips out her shiny little object. She is positively the best thing to happen to these impressionable children one school day afternoon.

Parents and children alike will fall in love with Aunt Ida Clare.
  • 2021 Best Fiction Children's Book, 
  • 1st Place Golden Scroll Award and 
  • 2021 Children's Fiction Book of the Year, 
  • 2nd Place Christian Markets Awards
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele McCarthy is an award-winning author, teacher, and speaker. She is an Advanced Writers and Speakers Association member as well as a co-founder of Living Write Texas. With a dose of humor and fun, her passion is to help children see themselves the way God sees them.
Begins September 19
Ends October 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the author or publicist.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Birthdays, the Galaxies, and Engineering books to tickle a girl's fancy [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA 2 winners]

How to Have a Birthday by Mary Lyn Ray & illustrated by Cindy Derby 

My thoughts: 
Essentially the story celebrates the ways and joys of celebrating one's birthday. It is uniquely one's own. This is a cheerful story of ways (vaguely presented) one celebrates a birthday.

Key to the whole book is that it is a day, it is your day, it is your birthday. So while some don't celebrate with cake, presents, recording one's height, or blowing out candles, one can look forward to and celebrate the day they are one year older.

Sweet, cheerful book.

About the book: Joyful and utterly unique, this vibrant picture book celebrates the best birthday gift of all: a whole day that is yours to unwrap.

Wise and infinitely cozy, Mary Lyn Ray’s simple text and Cindy Derby’s fluid, playful illustrations invite readers of all ages to view that most extraordinary of ordinary days in a simple but festive new light, as if for the first time. What makes birthdays special? Whether you are turning three or one hundred and three, whether you are feted by others or sing yourself happy, the anticipation and surprise of the day you were born never fail to deliver “that shivery feeling that belongs only to a birthday.” An ideal gift for new and expectant parents, for children marking a birthday or attending their first party—for everyone who was ever born! This exuberant celebration in words and pictures will leave you feeling a warm connection to the cycle of life and growth.

Ada and the Galaxies by authors Alan Lightman & Olga Pastuchiv. Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

My thoughts: 
Ada is certainly a precocious little girl, quite lively, inquisitive, and loveable. I love the interaction between Ada and her grandparents who live on an island in Maine. Ada goes to visit them and wants to see and learn about the stars. She can't see stars in the night sky in New York because of all the lights. Maine is different  and the opportunity will hopefully present itself.

The book is a product of MIT Press and is the first children's book by MIT Professor Alan Lightman who draws from his personal family background for this book. We are told numbers given in the book are accurate as is the assumption that there are "people" on planets in other galaxies. 

I realize this is a story for preschool and early elementary age children, but I truly expected more "star" and "galaxy" in the book. There are pictures taken from the Hubble space telescope camera which brings authenticity to the story. 

All-in-all, the book is charming, a delightful read for little ones, a grand multi-generational story, and a bit of science to whet one's interest. 

About the book: Stargazers rejoice! In his first book for children, renowned physicist Alan Lightman and collaborators, with help from the Hubble telescope, light up the night sky.

New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child's experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she's most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?

The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer by Mara Rockliff & illustrated by Daniel Duncan 

My thoughts: 
I absolutely love this biographic picture book. I knew women's roles during World War II were significant and important in a variety of fields. I had not heard of Beatrice Shilling and her achievements as an engineer.

This well written and enjoyable read coupled with the wonderful illustrations, will definitely encourage young readers to pursue reading about the accomplishments of real people doing really important things. And of course, the achievements of women in fields typically not attributed to women's accomplishments.

I highly endorse this book for public and school libraries as well as private collections. 

About the book: This true story of a woman whose brilliance and mechanical expertise helped Britain win World War II is sure to inspire STEM readers and fans of amazing women in history.

Beatrice Shilling wasn't quite like other children. She could make anything. She could fix anything. And when she took a thing apart, she put it back together better than before.

When Beatrice left home to study engineering, she knew that as a girl she wouldn't be quite like the other engineers--and she wasn't. She was better. Still, it took hard work and perseverance to persuade the Royal Aircraft Establishment to give her a chance.

But when World War II broke out and British fighter pilots took to the skies in a desperate struggle for survival against Hitler's bombers, it was clearly time for new ideas. Could Beatrice solve an engine puzzle and help Britain win the war? American author Mara Rockliff and British illustrator Daniel Duncan team up for a fresh look at a turning point in modern history--and the role of a remarkable woman whose ingenuity, persistence, and way with a wrench (or spanner) made her quite unlike anyone else. An author's note and a list of selective sources provide additional information for curious readers.

Begins September 16
Ends October 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open USA/CANADA. NO P.O. Boxes.
Canadian winner's must provide phone number.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Grumpy Frumpy Croissant by Mona K. & illustrated by Korey Scott

My thoughts: 
This is a bit of a far fetched tale of bready items at the breakfast table that is illustrated with quirky, cartoony characters. The grumpy episode begins when Croissant comes to the table unhappy, and from then on nothing suits.

Typical early morning scene in many homes? Perhaps. But like I said, a bit far fetched. I don't see the symbolism where angry grumpy frumpy croissant loses his butter dwindling down in size. I don't see the symbolism of everyone taking a slurp of milk to help them calm down.

I do like the take a deep breath and count to 10 technique to facilitate calmness and patience. 

All in all, an ok book but not a favorite of mine. 

About the book: Grumpy Frumpy Croissant isn't happy, and he's taking it out on the breakfast plate! Toast, Scone, and Milk think he's being mean, but Croissant thinks they're being mean. A sip of Milk and ten deep breaths help everyone calm down and talk to each other.

Beneath the charming, hand-drawn illustrations in Grumpy Frumpy Croissant is a lesson about misunderstandings that any child can grasp. Croissant learns about about letting anger pass by stopping and breathing, and how he hurts other's feelings when he yells. It's a simple story for parents to introduce ideas of managing feelings to children. Grumpy Frumpy Croissant also features:

  • Croissant recipe that parents can make with their children.
  • Full-page coloring activities featuring the characters in the books 

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Roar Like A Lion - Kids Devotional by Levi Lusko [Review & Giveaway USA--ENDS 9/24]

My thoughts: In today's world of uncertainties and an emotional atmosphere rife with strife and a world where Covid constraints and fears prevent much in the opportunity for families to gain strong fellowship with other Christians and benefit from good, faithful Biblical instruction, we are in sore need of good books that lead and guide us in our walk with God.

Road Like A Lion can be used in family devotionals or by a kid for his own quite-time or personal devotions. The book encourages kids in their walk with God. Encourages them how to be a light in the world. How to overcome the fear of witnessing to others and of showing kindness to others.

Well written in a style that is good for listening when read aloud or for the older child to read to themselves. Very understandable. Very relatable. And a good "did you know" side bar for each day's devotional.

With 90 of these timely devotionals, you'll get 3 months of quality spiritual education. Published by Tommy Nelson an Imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishing, this Christian book of devotions and prayers will have a positive spiritual impact on your family.

About the book: 
Kids are wrestling with tough issues these days—peer pressure, purpose, unexpected change or loss, and wondering where their faith fits in with it all. Roar Like a Lion encourages your kids to "run toward the roar" as they face their fears, knowing that God is with them every step of the way. 

Pastor and bestselling author Levi Lusko is known for making tough topics accessible while drawing his readers toward a richer spiritual life. In his first children's devotional for ages 6 to 10, Levi tackles real issues our kids face with a lighthearted and approachable tone. Kids are equipped to approach both fun moments and tough times with their hearts set on God's faithfulness with the help of fascinating stories and facts, eye-catching art, Bible verses, prayers, and simple action steps. 

This 90-day devotional covers highly relevant topics such as: 
  • Roar Like a Lion covers highly relevant topics such as:
  • Facing fears about school and friendships
  • Dealing with peer pressure and bullying
  • Handling new challenges, disappointments, and grief
  • Having courage to try something new
  • Understanding how we each fit into God's great story
Downloadable Parent Guide: LINK
Additional Downloadable Resource: LINK

With eye-catching art, fascinating stories and facts, Bible verses and prayers, and simple action steps, this 90-day devotional will help your kids approach both fun moments and tough times with their hearts set on God's faithfulness. order ROAR LIKE A LION -
Begins September 14
Ends September 25 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Trendy, cool, fun caps with a bit of joy - Smiley Face Caps [Review & Giveaway - USA]

Isn't she cute as a button!!!???
What's not to like about these cute caps?

A little bit trendy, but not "too out there." We all need a bit of trend in our days especially with the overhanging shadow of the dreaded Covid-19 still on the horizon.

Put a smile on it. Put some joy in it. Put some happiness in your day and the day of others that see this cute cap perched atop your head.

Cute smiley faces are tops! Silver, gold, pink, blue, and classic "yellow smiley." What do you think of this cutie in the pink cap with silver smiley? 

Or "Mr. Cool" in the white cap with smiley? Caps are made of cotton twill and have adjustable strap at back. 

Check out ShopGalNY's Etsy store (click here). Under $20 and lots of fun in that purchase! Kid's size caps, too. Order on her Etsy store on via Instagram. Find her at @ShopGalNY on IG.

1 Smiley Face Cap (no color choice)
Begins September 10
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary cap to facilitate my review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by ShopGalNY. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Born to Sparkle" & "Book of Hugs" [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

BORN TO SPARKLE - A Story About Achieving Your Dreams 

Hardcover $12.99
Flower Pot Press

My thoughts: 
This cover is so cute and sweet and the title's letters are glitzy sparkly. 

Written by a young Down Syndrome lady, she has determined within herself to push herself, and not limiting her dreams and desires to move forward to achieve those dreams.

This little book is simply a line of encouragement to all young people - whether they have perceived limitations such as Down Syndrome - to dream big and work hard at achieving those dreams.

A cute book and very positive encouragement.

About the book: Author Megan Bomgaars, who has Down syndrome, is an activist, TV personality, and entrepreneur. This Fall, she adds “published children’s book author” to her list of accomplishments with her debut title arriving in stores nationwide.

Inspired by Megan’s moving “Don’t Limit Me” speech, Born to Sparkle encourages young readers to dream big and work hard to make those big dreams come true. Whether you dream is to become an astronaut, firefighter, dancer, teacher, chef or anything you can imagine, you can achieve it because, just like Megan, you were born to sparkle!

Never condescending or preachy, Megan’s pitch perfect story reassures, that there are no limits and anything is possible if one follows their dreams and works hard. It’s about doing your very best to make dreams happen. Be brave. Study. Learn. Practice. Ask questions. Educators and parents will revel in this uplifting, inspiring picture book with a cast of stuffed animals leading by example at each turn of the page.

About the author: Megan Bomgaars is an amazing woman who works hard to achieve her dreams every day. She starred on A&Es Emmy Award-winning and Critic’s Choice Real TV Award-winning reality television show Born this Way. Megan currently attends college and has already started her own business, starred on a TV show, and travelled the world as a public speaker. She was even invited to the White house by Michelle Obama to attend the “Beating the Odds Summit.”  This is Megan’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Peter John Olcyzk was born in Manchester. He studied art foundation at Manchester Metropolitan University and then illustration at Stockport College. He uses his own experiences and memories to put himself in the mind and shoes of a child when he illustrates, as well as being greatly influenced by stories, music and nature. He currently lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife and two young children.

BOOK OF HUGS - A Story About Achieving Your Dreams

Hardcover $12.99
Flower Pot Press

My thoughts:
  Who doesn't love a loveable bear book and especially one with lots of hugs?

Book of Hugs takes the reader (or listener) through a foray of types of hugs and this is done in a gently, jovial reading style. 

Especially good to note is the encouragement to "first ask permission" before giving a hug.

A cute book.

About the book: Motivational speaker, disability advocate, and restaurateur Tim Harris’ debut picture book, Book of Hugs, publishes this September. Inspired by Tim’s love of giving big bear hugs and his restaurant that offered up hugs on the menu, this charming how-to guide inspires readers with plenty of reasons to give someone a big hug!

Colorful characters Teddy Bear Tim and his trio of energetic monkey friends share tips on delivering the very best hugs – no matter whether they are happy hugs, sad hugs, fast or slow hugs. Every type of hug is about sharing love. As the book says, “Love is the most important part!”

In our new world of pandemic etiquette and a post #MeToo era, setting and respecting boundaries and gaining consent are among the most important practices we can instill in children. Book of Hugs is an entertaining story that can lead into deeper discussions about permission and new norms.

“Affirms the joy of hugs while highlighting the importance of consent.”  –Kirkus Reviews

About the author: Tim Harris is a motivational speaker, business owner, and disability advocate. He is really good at giving hugs. For a long time, Tim owned his own restaurant and he even had free hugs on the menu. They were so popular that Tim has now hugged over 75,000 people, including the president of the United States! Tim really does love hugs, mostly because he loves LOVE and that is what hugs are all about. This is Tim’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Charlie Astrella graduated from the University of Teesside with a First Class Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Animation. He now works in 3D modeling, animation, and 2D illustration to create works of art he is proud of. He has experience in advertising, product design, video games, and children’s books.

Begins September 7
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
About Flower Pot Press: Since 2005 Flowerpot Press has been planting the seeds that help young minds grow, offering a broad range of books.  The Hayes family has been in the publishing and media business for two generations now. The family members grew up living in the midst of the golden periods of publishing and media distribution.

Watching and participating in the growth of their father’s children’s publishing business, they learned from the ground up and understood the unique character and needs that publishing for young children demanded. Anne and Pat served in every role from warehouse operation to acquisition, design, licensing, printing production, and editing to name a few areas.

As entrepreneurs, they separately and together founded companies still owned, integrating other media such as video and music. This well-rounded creative team uses a hands-on approach in every aspect of the business, first and foremost because they love it. Pat is also a published author in his own right. Anne (our publisher and CEO) lives in the Toronto area with her husband and family operating the Canadian office of Flowerpot Press, while Pat and his family live in Franklin, Tennessee, and operate the US office of the company.