Thursday, October 6, 2022

Fabulous Dinosaur Atlas from National Geographic Kids [Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

Welcome to the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas on September 20th, come along on a blog tour that spans the continents as we showcase not only the most awesome dinosaurs, but also highlight the geography, environment, and climate that supported these ferocious, fascinating, and fabulous creatures. This is a blog tour to really sink your teeth into!


More dinosaur fossils have been found in Asia over the past few decades than on any other continent. During the Mesozoic era, the Asian deserts, plains, and mountains of today were covered in plants and swamps. As the land shifted, lakes and mountain ranges formed across East Asia. Dinosaurs roamed the region. Today, dry deserts and rocky mountains keep their fossils safe. More and more people are looking for fossils in Asia—and finding them!

click to enlarge

Dinosaur Nesting Ground
In 1976 in South Africa’s Golden Gate Highlands National Park, eggs were found with baby Massospondylus fossils inside. In 2006, paleontologists found 10 more groups of eggs. One group had at least 34 eggs! Massospondylus mothers raised babies here about 200 million years ago. That makes it the oldest known site where dinosaurs nested in groups. Back then, this area was near a lake. When it flooded, the eggs were covered with sediment and became fossils.



In 1976, Thailand’s first dinosaur fossil was found—by accident! Geologists were searching the area for a metal called uranium when they came across a fossilized dinosaur knee bone. The place where it was found, Phu Wiang National Park, is now known as one of the world’s biggest dinosaur graveyards. Paleontologists have found fossils of many animals—from theropods to small crocodiles to mussels—in the Phu Wiang mountains. During the time of the dinosaurs, this northeastern part of Thailand was full of giant trees. A big group of rivers split the area into islands. Then, later in the Cretaceous period, it became a desert.

Dino Discoverer: Xu Xing
Microraptor was announced in 2003 by paleontologist Xu Xing. He has found more than 60 fossils in China. He has named more dinosaurs than any other paleontologist alive. That’s how he’s earned the nickname “China’s dinosaur king.” He spends his summers looking for fossils in western China.


MEANING: “Phu Wiang lizard” 
PERIOD: Early Cretaceous 
Only a small part of this 50-foot (15.2-m) sauropod skeleton was found in 1982. But when paleontologists came back to the site in 1993 they found two more pieces of neck bones. These helped them figure out that this fossil was a very early titanosaur. In 1994, it was named Phuwiangosaurus. Later, in 2009, a much more complete Phuwiangosaurus was found nearby. It included parts of the skull. Now Phuwiangosaurus is Thailand's most complete fossil. 

click to enlarge

How Do Dinosaurs Get Their Names?
When paleontologists find a fossil that doesn’t look like anything that’s been found before, they get to come up with a new name. Sometimes they use the name of the place where the fossil was found. Or they name the dinosaur after one of its unique body parts. Other times, they name it after a person. That’s how a name like Sirindhorna khoratensis came to be. The genus name uses Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s last name. The species name comes from the place the fossil was found: Khorat, in northeastern Thailand.


About the Book


With more than 75 prehistoric creatures featured, the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas takes readers on a tour of every dinosaur-inhabited continent, from Pangea to the modern day, revealing which creatures lived there, what their habitats were like and where dinosaur bones are being found today. Special sections introducing the dinosaur family tree, a prehistoric era timeline, the geography of the prehistoric globe, what happened to the dinosaurs, and a dinosaur dictionary  (with phonetic pronunciations) are also included . Readers will find inspiration from profiles of diverse paleontologists from around the world. 

The oversized hardcover format showcases stunning, full color dinosaur illustrations on every page and the custom-made, kid-friendly maps were created by National Geographic's legendary cartography and exploration experts. Vetted and curated by Dr. Steve Brusatte -- a paleontologist on faculty at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburg, a PhD recipient from Columbia University, and the science consultant for the Jurassic World franchise -- this atlas contains the most detailed and accurate information not only about dino "fan favorites" but also about the most recent dinosaur discoveries from less explored dig sites around the world. 

For more fun information about dinosaurs, visit

About the Creators

Website | Twitter

About the Expert Reviewer, Professor Steve Brusatte:
STEVE BRUSATTE, a paleontologist on the faculty of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, served as the expert reviewer for this atlas. He grew up in the midwestern United States and has a B.S. in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago, M.Sc. in Paleobiology from the University of Bristol, and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University in New York. He has written more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers during his 15 years of research in the field, named and described over a dozen new species of dinosaurs and mammals, and led groundbreaking studies on how dinosaurs rose to dominance and eventually went extinct, and were then replaced by mammals. Among his particular research interests are the evolutionary transition between dinosaurs and birds and the rise of placental mammals. He is also a noted specialist on the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. His 2018 book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, was a New York Times best seller, and he is the science consultant for the Jurassic World film franchise.


Website | Instagram

About the illustrator, Franco Tempesta: 
Born in Milan, Italy, FRANCO TEMPESTA has loved drawing animals, dinosaurs and dragons since he was a child.  Franco specializes in naturalistic illustration, and in the last twenty years has focused his attention on the realization of realistic images of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.  In April 2014 the Museum of Paleontology of Naples hosted a permanent exhibition dedicated to his illustrations of dinosaurs and in 2016 the Science Museum of Camerino hosted an exhibition of his paleo art.


  • Five (5) winners will receive a copy of National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas (ARV $25)
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 10/16 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Schedule:

October 3rd Whirlwind of Surprises
October 4th Nerdophiles
October 5th Pragmatic Mom
October 6th From the Mixed-Up Files... of Middle-Grade Authors
October 7th Chat with Vera

Disclosure: Post information, links, and giveaway are provided by MMPublicity and National Geographic. This is a courtesy post.

Millstone of Doubt (Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries #2) by Erica Vetsch from Kregel Publications

My thoughts:
This story is set during an explosive time in mankind's progressive history. The poor and working class are furious and given to festering outrage, destruction, and protest over the encroaching industrial revolution that will rob them of their ability to earn a living. Machines replacing people. Hence the poor get poorer while the wealthy get richer.

It is a time when gentlemen and gentle ladies, the dukes and earls, set the social mores and rules of social engagement. It is also the story of a poor boy, now grown, who has been the recipient of an unknown benefactor providing him with a life of ease, education, acceptance, good clothes, a good life.

The story also is about solving the mystery of a suspected mill's destruction and coincidental murders that take place in the environs.

The source of all this mystery, mayhem, and murder was hidden until it was reveal near the end of the book. Good job of keeping this reader wondering. The Thorndike and Swann Regency Mysteries are quite enjoyable reading and Erica Vetsch always has a way with Regency stories that capture our hearts.

About the book: Regency London's detective duo is back on a new case--and this one is going to be a killer Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street Runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill's owner dead of an apparent gunshot.

Even though the owner's daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, it seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can't take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can, because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage--and his job as a runner--comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him to the fates.

Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha's bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. Still, her instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation. But circumstances intervene, dropping her into the middle of the deadly pursuit.

When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case--and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel Publications on behalf of the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Celebrating families in a variety of children's picture books from Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway]

A sweet focus on family is told in a variety of stories in these delightful children's picture books for youngsters age 2 to 8 years. Babies, mommies, grannies bring joy and smiles to one's heart.

I Am A Baby by Bob Shea (Ages 2 to 5)

My thoughts: 
I'm not sure just whom this cute book is intended as the "appropriate" audience, but it is very cute. Obviously, a wee little baby is the source of all the issues covered as being affected because "I am a baby." And obviously such a wee one can't understand the nuances of the text. But little ones do enjoy parents who giggle when reading a story to them. And parents will giggle when they read this little book.

A fun gift addition to tuck into a baby shower gift. Or just a fun book to have to read that tells the tale as it is true in households where there is a baby on board.

About the book: From the creator of the mega-popular Dinosaur vs. series comes a hilariously deadpan look at new parenthood—from a baby’s point of view.

I am not sleepy.
I am not sleepy because I am a baby.
Mommy is sleepy.
Mommy is sleepy because I am a baby.

With humor and sympathy, Bob Shea looks at the chaos of life with a baby as amiably narrated by the new arrival. Repeating the mantra (and blithe explanation) “because I am a baby,” the tiny narrator leads us through scenes of exhaustion, grumpiness, squishy diapers, spilled milk, cowering kittens, and chubby overfed pups (oopsie!). Playing against the simple, matter-of-fact text are freewheeling illustrations of mess and mayhem, in which the grown-ups’ exaggerated body language is sure to send older children into fits of giggles. With its endearing, unabashedly self-pleased star, I Am a Baby will find a place at showers, in nurseries, on parents’ shelves, and in the hands of appreciative big siblings, as it celebrates the changes a little one brings, at once challenging and full of love.

Mum, Me and the Mulberry Tree by Tanya Rosie (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts:  A sweet story of a child and her  mother on their annual outing to pick mulberries. Told in a sort of rhyme that doesn't really fit a pattern that I could discover, but that does have a pleasant cadence.

The bond between mother and child is obviously strong and sweet and will perhaps help those whose family aren't as connected to seek to emulate the experience for themselves. Hopefully that is so.

At the end of the story, they bake a pie using their freshly picked mulberries. You can almost taste the pie as they enjoy it together. 

About the book: A tender story follows a mother-and-daughter pair enjoying a ritual to remember: a bus ride to the countryside, baskets full of berries, and a fragrant pie.

As the sun starts to rise, a young girl and her mother set out on the bus, riding knee to knee to visit their mulberry tree in the English countryside. With buckets and tubs in hand for collecting berries, the two spend a day picnicking, waiting out a summer shower under their tree, and climbing as high as they can to pick the best mulberries, the ones that are tucked away from the world. When the sun starts to set, they head home to bake a delicious pie, all the while knowing they’ll be back next year to do it all again. Author Tanya Rosie makes her picture book debut with a heartfelt story honoring family traditions and time spent together with someone you love.

Mommy’s Hometown by Hope Lim (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts: 
A sweet story of a Korean child and his mother who live in America. The mother shares her experiences of growing up in a small village in Korea and the sweet life she enjoyed. They soon leave the United States and travel to Korea for a visit to the village in which mother grew up.

When they arrive, the dirt road and small houses have disappeared and been replaced by a bustling city with tall buildings crowded together. The babbling, rushing river is confined within cement walkways and not pebbled shores.

One thing has remained unchanged..... Grandma. She greets them with love.

While visiting the "village," they go on an excursion through the area, wade and play in the river, and experience the beautiful red sunset.

The story is beautiful and yet sad as it tells the global story of change in our environment, loss of the small and natural world, and loss of the quiet and gentle way of life.

About the book: When a young boy and his mother travel overseas to her childhood home in Korea, the town is not as he imagined. Will he be able to see it the way Mommy does?

This gentle, contemplative picture book about family origins invites us to ponder the meaning of home. A young boy loves listening to his mother describe the place where she grew up, a world of tall mountains and friends splashing together in the river. Mommy’s stories have let the boy visit her homeland in his thoughts and dreams, and now he’s old enough to travel with her to see it for himself. But when mother and son arrive, the town is not as he imagined. Skyscrapers block the mountains, and crowds hurry past. The boy feels like an outsider—until they visit the river where his mother used to play, and he sees that the spirit and happiness of those days remain. Sensitively pitched to a child’s-eye view, this vivid story honors the immigrant experience and the timeless bond between parent and child, past and present.

Well Done, Mommy Penguin by Chris Haughton (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts: 
Children have a fascination with penguins. They love penguin movies, books about penguins, and stuffed penguins. They will surely love this story of mommy penguin's determination and skill at getting dinner for her baby.

Daddy stays with baby penguin while mommy dives into the big sea seeking fish. The trip to return with her catch is fraught with obstacles and danger.  She is skilled and determined.

Illustrated with stark simplicity using strong blues, white, and orange the visual appeal is an acquired taste. Not a style I particularly like, but I don't dislike it. It is just a bit different.

About the book: With his vibrant, stylish art and spot-on visual storytelling, Chris Haughton turns to Antarctica for an irresistible ode to family bonds and awesome moms.

The sky may be dark over icy waters, but Mommy Penguin is off to catch some fish for dinner. As Daddy and Little Penguin watch in suspense, Mommy swims, jumps, and climbs up a slippery slope, barely avoiding a plunge back into the sea. Well done! There's just one more hurdle to overcome, past some grumpy, just-awakened seals, before she returns to her anxiously waiting family. With a nod to the fascinating nature of penguin parenting, this boldly illustrated adventure from the creator of Little Owl Lost and Oh No, George! will have little ones happily on the edge of their seats as they root for Mommy Penguin.

4 Books for 1 Winner
Begins October 5
Ends October 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
NO P.O.Boxes
Canadians must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I was provided complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are  provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Early Readers: Book Buddies - "Ivy Lost and Found" & "Marco Polo Brave Explorer" [Review & Giveaway]

Ivy Lost and Found (Book Buddies #1) by Cynthia Lord & illustrated by  Stephanie Graegin

My thoughts: 
Absolutely adorable. Chapter books of appropriate story line, language, and comprehension that are entertainingly engageable are treasures to be sought. I believe the Book Buddies stories fit this and that they will bring joy to young readers.

Written with the grade 1 to 4 child in mind, they are illustrated with pencil drawings which are soft, cute, and interesting. I think children will totally enjoy holding and reading these sweet books.

In Ivy Lost and Found we find that Anne, the little girl in the story, has a beloved doll named Ivy. Anne grows up and Ivy is placed in a box in the attic. Later we find that Anne has grown to be an adult librarian and brings Ivy to the library to be placed on the shelf of "Book Buddies." This particular library has a toy lending area where children can borrow books and toys.

Toy lending libraries are a wonderful way to provide toys to children whose families don't have the financial means to give them toys with which to play. It is also a way gently used toys can find new homes. I highly approve this idea.

The sweet story reads with a gentle flow of words that will be familiar and yet a challenge to readers. I really look forward to seeing more from this author and illustrator in the series of "Book Buddies" and perhaps other young reader chapter books. Read a sample chapter  View/download activity kit 

About the book: A lonely doll helps a child adjust to a blended family in the first of a charming series about library toys and the children who borrow them, written by Newbery Honoree Cynthia Lord.

Ivy was Anne the librarian's doll when she was a young girl. But now she has moved to Anne's library to be its newest Book Buddy--a toy that can be checked out just like a book. Ivy isn't sure she wants to be borrowed, though. She'd rather go back to just being Anne's favorite toy. Fern, a child who visits the library with her stepfamily, also wishes things could go back to the way they were, when Fern had her dad all to herself. When Fern takes Ivy home, an unexpected outdoor adventure helps both of them find confidence and belonging in their changing worlds. This heartwarming story by Cynthia Lord, with a classic feel and gentle illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, is the first in a chapter-book series that pairs friendly toys with child characters who need them. 

Marco Polo Brave Explorer (Book Buddies #2) by Cynthia Lord & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin 

My thoughts:   
In Marco Polo Brave Explorer we have a very small felt mouse designed to be a Christmas tree ornament and is just the right size to keep tucked away in a pocket or little purse. He was Anne the Librarian's when she was a child and had been tucked away in a box in the attic when Anne had outgrown her toys.

Now as an adult and a librarian, Anne has brought Marco Polo the felt mouse Christmas ornament to the library to sit up on the "Book Buddies" shelf. He has a special role he plays in helping a little boy go to a sleepover and overcome his fear of being away from home.

Anne the librarian seems to know just which "Book Buddie" to match the children with and Marco Polo is a fine match for Seth. 

This is a simply delightful story and involves a family cat that has mischievously hidden a trove of items in his stash. Will Seth find Marco Polo without revealing to his friends that he needed to bring his "comfort toy" to the sleepover?

About the book: Can an intrepid toy mouse help a child venture out of his comfort zone? Book Two of an endearing illustrated series about friendly library toys and the children who borrow them.

Marco Polo is a retired Christmas ornament, but in his mind he is a great mouse explorer. Because he’s tiny and likely to be lost, he is the least-borrowed of the Book Buddies—toys that children can check out of the library just like a book—and he almost never leaves the library. But the little mouse finally meets the right match in Seth, a boy who is about to attend his first sleepover. If Seth were to bring the stuffed bunny he usually sleeps with, he’d risk being teased, but Marco Polo is the perfect size to hide away in his sleeping bag. Are both boy and mouse in for an unexpected adventure? Charmingly illustrated and offering a window into the secret life of toys (including a suspenseful glimpse at where all the household’s lost toys go), Marco Polo Brave Explorer explores common fears and quiet bravery and will leave readers eager for the next episode in the Book Buddies series. 

Begins September 29
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 prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum by Raman Prinja & illustrated by Chris Wormell

 Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum 

ISBN 9781536206234
US $37.99 CAN $49.99

My thoughts: 
The Welcome to the Museum series has again produced a fascinating book to introduce youngsters to the unfathomable universe. Inquisitive minds will delve into the gorgeous illustrations and read the no-nonsense text to learn how man's concept and knowledge of the Universe has grown through the centuries.

A very large, oversized book whose very dimensions help one see more clearly the relational largeness of items in the Universe. The illustrations are really good.  

I have reviewed several of the "Welcome to the Museum" series books and recommend them highly.

About the book:  Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore. Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition in the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the sun and our solar system to the lives of stars, the Milky Way, and the universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Dinosaurium illustrator Chris Wormell and informative text by Raman Prinja, a professor of astrophysics at University College, London, Planetarium is the perfect gift for budding astronomers and armchair stargazers alike.
Begins September 27
Ends October 18 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only
NO P.O. Boxes & Canadians must provide phone number
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 publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mama, Sing My Song: A Sweet Melody of God’s Love for Me by Amana Seibert & illustrated by Sally Garland [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: This adorable little book is a joy to read and will be comforting to little one's when read aloud especially during snuggle time just before bed.

The affirmation of a mother's love for her little one is truly sweet. The spiritually affirming declaration that the little one is love even more by God than he or she is loved by a loving mother. What an opportunity to plant the seed of God's love, present time and everlasting, for His children.

This is a delightful book to get for your own child or for a gift.

About the book: When we look at our children, we see those one-in-a-million grins, their crinkled noses, and sweet eyes looking back at us, which soften our hearts. God designed those babies uniquely, and Mama, Sing My Song is a celebration of all that is lovely and true about your child. Let your little ones know they are safe, loved, and cherished in your family.

This affirming picture book for 4- to 8-year-olds

  • celebrates the love between parent and child;
  • encourages kids to embrace God's love for them;
  • provides kids the security and love they're seeking; and
  • highlights all that is good in our little ones.

With snuggly illustrations of animal families, Mama, Sing My Song

  • features unique presentation pages to write your little one's name, plus space to journal special messages and a prayer for your child;
  • includes a free downloadable song;
  • is a great gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, Christmas, and birthdays; and
  • has a beautifully designed cover, perfect for displaying in a nursery or in a gift basket.

Hold your little ones a little closer as you share this timeless, heartfelt love note with them.



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. This is a sponsored post in association with Tommy Nelson and/or HarperCollings Christian Publishing. Giveaway is hosted by publicist. Prize is provided and sent directly to winner/s by author, publisher, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Fun children's books: "Books Aren't For Eating" & "Monsters Play... Counting!" [Review & Giveaway]

Books Aren't for Eating by Carlie Sorosiak & illustrated by Manu Montoya  

My thoughts: 
I just love this book. The elderly goat is the librarian and he doesn't eat the books. Instead, he delights in finding the perfect book for each of the library patrons.

And then one day a fellow goat comes into the library looking for a book. He finds one to his liking and immediately commences to eating it. He goes on to eat more and more much to the dismay of the elder goat librarian.

Mr. Goat Librarian is dismayed and goes home his thoughts consumed with how to help his fellow goat learn to love to READ books as he does and NOT to EAT books. 

His solution is one from his own personal experiences. 

I highly recommend this delightful read.

About the book: How can Leopold, goat and bookstore owner, find the perfect book for a fellow goat—one the visitor will enjoy reading, not munching?

Leopold the goat owns a delightful bookstore, and he has a talent for matching his customers with the ideal book—an adventure story for the girl in the rain boots, a novel about gnomes for the man who loves to laugh, and a book of birds for the woman in the feathered hat. But one day, another goat arrives and proceeds to eat every book Leopold offers. Can Leopold find just the right one to tempt this reluctant reader? This funny, charming tale of the transformative power of books is a celebration of that first special story that sparks a child’s love of reading.

Monsters Play... Counting! by Flavia Z. Drago 

My thoughts: 
Ten different monsters each have an activity and a physical trait that makes them specific to the number they hold in the count down.

A cute counting book that shows relationship between activity and physical trait and the aid that a specific number might hold for that activity.

A fun book.

About the book: The creator of Gustavo, the Shy Ghost presents a stylish, delightfully ghoulish board book that little ones can count on—with the help of monsters of all shapes and sizes.

Run like a monster!
Run like Pete.
Pete has SEVEN feet
for racing down the street.

Count from one to ten with these funny, flamboyant monsters! As children peruse one tongue, two ears, three eyes, and more, they may be inspired to swing, build, flutter, drum, and learn the names for different body parts, too. With monstrously bright illustrations and a rhyming text, this sturdy board book makes the perfect gift for a new arrival or a must-have addition to a toddler’s first library. 

Begins Sept. 18
Ends October 11 @ 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 is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Hero for the Hungry: The Life and Work of Norman Borlaug by Peggy Thomas & illustrated by Sam Kalda [Spotlight & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Hero for the Hungry: The Life and Work of Norman Borlaug by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Sam Kalda (Feeding Minds Press; ISBN: 978-1948898096; Paperback $15.99; Ages 10-15; 160 pages). 

About the book: A moving and informative biography of the 20th-century American agriculture scientist whose innovations in crop varieties founded the Green Revolution and fed hundreds of millions of people around the world - with full-color chapter illustrations and STEM- and history-themed text features throughout.

Can a quiet Iowa farm boy grow up to change the world? Norman Ernest Borlaug did.

How? Science, true American grit, and a passion for helping those in need.

Born in 1914, raised on a small farm, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Norman Borlaug learned to work hard and excelled in sports. Against odds and adversity, Norm studied forestry and eventually became a plant scientist, dedicating his life’s work to ending world hunger. Working in obscurity in the wheat fields of Mexico, Norm and his team developed disease-resistant plants, and when widespread famine threatened India and Pakistan, Norm worked alongside poor farmers and battled bureaucracy to save millions from mass starvation. Often called the “Father of the Green Revolution,” Norm helped lay the groundwork for agricultural technological advances that alleviated world hunger. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970. He was a true hero for the hungry.

Sidebars include topics such as a deeper dive into the science Norm was using to produce new and better wheat varieties, agronomy, wheat genes, stem rust, nutrients and more. Back matter includes a timeline of events and discoveries and a call to action for readers to use science to solve problems and do small things to help with hunger and food waste.

Hero for the Hungry is excellent for a science class learning about genetics, an agriculture class studying agronomy, or a history or English class looking for a well-written biography on a hero scientist. Free lessons available this summer.

About the Author: Peggy Thomas has always loved true stories, and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t thrilled to find animal bones, musty encyclopaedias, or a history plaque by the side of the road. It's that same curiosity that has fueled the research and writing of more than twenty nonfiction books for children.

With a master’s degree in anthropology, Peggy explores a wide range of subjects, blending history and science to create award-winning titles. Her most recent books include Lincoln Clears a Path (Calkins Creek, 2021) and Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car (Calkins Creek, 2019), which earned NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2020 Best Book from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, and Book of the Year from the Henry Ford Heritage Association.

Peggy is a member of SCBWI, a blogger for Nonfiction Ninjas, and on the creative team behind Nonfiction Fest, a month-long celebration of writing nonfiction for children. Visit her at

About the Illustrator: Sam Kalda is an illustrator and artist based in Saint Paul. His commissioned works include editorial, book, advertising and pattern illustration. In 2017, he received a gold medal in book illustration from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He also won a medal from the Cheese Club in college for being able to identify the most amount of, well, cheeses. His first book, Of Cats and Men: History's Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers and Statesmen, was published by Ten Speed Press in 2017. He recently illustrated his first picture book, When We Walked on the Moon, written by David Long and published by Wide Eyed Press in 2019, as well as the follow-up, When Darwin Sailed the Sea.

He lives in an old house with his husband and two cats, Arthur and Frances. In their role as studio assistants, the cats specialize in houseplant demolition and pencil relocation. He enjoys futzing around in his garden, going to estate sales, and taking long walks. So basically, when he's not working, he's retired. He's taught at CUNY Queens College and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Visit him at

About the Publisher: Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, whose mission is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. We focus on helping young readers understand where their food comes from, who grows it, and how it gets to them and believe in cultivating curiosity about food and farming and how agriculture plays a role in our daily lives. All books from Feeding Minds Press have accompanying lessons, activities, and videos to further learning available on their website,

Begins September 16
Ends October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open USA/CANADA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy. Giveaway prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher, author, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Three new National Geographic Kids Books releases that kids will LOVE -- space, dinosaurs, & animals of all kinds [Review & Giveaway]

All three of these middle grade titles are ideal for kicking off the school year, celebrating STEM/STEAM Day on November 8th, and holiday gift giving. 


National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas: When they roamed, How they lived, & Where we find their fossils (ages 7-10)

My thoughts:
The continuing growth of information about dinosaurs is both interesting and captivating and this is especially true for those young folks who find the strange beasts fascinating.

I found it interesting that the artist has rendered the vast variety of these ancient reptiles (and birds) based on assumptions formulated from geological finds across the globe.

I found the well presented information showing the various areas on Earth and the specific dinosaur finds that have been made in each area of particular interest. Of course, these are fossils found through excavations that are retrieved by specialists in their field.

The chart at the end of the book with the names of the dinosaurs is certain to be a valuable tool in study.

This is another good book for all types of libraries and for the youngster that is particularly interested in these ancient beasts.

About the book: As one of National Geographic Kids' lead titles this Fall, the one-of-a-kind Dinosaur Atlas is a standout in every way.  The oversized hardcover format showcases stunning, full color dinosaur illustrations on every page and the custom-made, kid-friendly maps were created by National Geographic's legendary cartography and exploration experts. Vetted and curated by Dr. Steve Brusatte -- a paleontologist on faculty at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburg, a PhD recipient from Columbia University, and the science consultant for the Jurassic World franchise -- this atlas contains the most detailed and accurate information not only about dino "fan favorites" but also about the most recent dinosaur discoveries from less explored dig sites around the world. 

With more than 75 prehistoric creatures featured, the Dinosaur Atlas takes readers on a tour of every dinosaur-inhabited continent, from Pangea to the modern day, revealing which creatures lived there, what their habitats were like and where dinosaur bones are being found today. Special sections introducing the dinosaur family tree, a prehistoric era timeline, the geography of the prehistoric globe, what happened to the dinosaurs, and a dinosaur dictionary  (with phonetic pronunciations) are also included . Lastly, readers will find inspiration from profiles of diverse paleontologists from around the world. Perfect for gift giving, school, library and family bookshelves and to satisfy even the most dino-obsessed. 

Can't Get Enough Space Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More! by Julie Beer, Stephanie Warren Drimmer  (ages 7-10) 

My thoughts: 
National Geo Kids has produced another enticing book that is fun, educational, and entertaining. Kids will enjoy learning these factoids that are grouped interestingly together. 

The jokes and riddles are nice breaks in learning to share a laugh or two with parents and other kids.

Another great book to add to your library for your STEM minded kids. 

About the book: Featuring more than 200 extraordinary illustrations and photographs, detailed diagrams and infographics and a winning combination of comprehensive articles that do a deep dive into outer space research, fast facts and first-hand accounts from experts, Can't Get Enough Space Stuff is the ultimate book for space enthusiasts.  This book covers it all -- get the scoop on space food, space junk, space volcanoes and NASA's future plans for reaching Mars and Europa.  Learn about how scientists are looking for life on other planets, cutting edge space technology, mind-blowing black holes and the International Space Station.  Hands-on activities you can try at home are a terrific resource for STEM studies and science fair projects and a fun way to celebrate World Space Week (October 4-10, 2022)!

5,000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) (ages 8-12) 

My thoughts: 
I am totally in awe at the "awesome facts" about animals this huge book contains. Pages are packed with a plethora of information ingeniously crafted into categories that permit engaged educational impact.

In fact, the facts are so numerous that one can simply drown in their abundance. So careful dieting of reading time might be called for in this case. But none-the-less, the book is shelf-worthy for any thinker's library and would make a much appreciated gift.

Highly recommended by this reviewer.

About the book: Ever wonder how smart a chicken is? Why a tiny island is home to thousands of venomous snakes? What sound a rhino makes when it’s happy? 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) -- a big, beautiful and gift worthy book for animal lovers and the fact-obsessed -- leaves no habitat unexplored or unusual animal ability unmentioned.  
A clever note to readers at the end of the book "pulls back the curtain" and shares the process of how a book like this is created, the breadth and depth of the expertly researched and extensive menagerie of animals included and the design genius behind this captivating and colorful collection:
"Just how did we get 5,000 awesome facts about animals into this book? First, we came up with a list of all kinds of critters and their cool and crazy habits, habitats, and traits: from hovering hummingbirds and precious pets to burying beetles and gigantic gorillas, from creatures that swim in the sea to those that fly high. Then we figured out how to fit all these facts about Earth’s amazing animals on the pages. It was kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle! Some topics have 15 facts. Some have 25. Some even have 100! We carefully researched each and every fact to make sure it’s absolutely true. And we illustrated and designed the pages so well that you’ll never want to stop looking at them. Then we added up all the facts to get to 5,000. It didn’t take 5,000 people to make this awesome book—but it did take a colossal crew of writers, editors, photo editors, and designers—the most awesome book team around!"
All 3 Titles to 1 Winner
Begins September 14
Ends October 8 @ 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. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or MMPublicity. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You by Wallace J. Nicols & Wallace Grayce Nichols, illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer [Giveaway]

"The art echoes the text’s emphasis on beauty rather than loss. . .In the event’s aftermath, the affecting story’s tone remains openhearted, concluding with sentiments that encourage resilience and reflect on the nature of home." Publishers Weekly

"It’s a touching sentiment that reminds readers of all ages that our lives are defined not by our material possessions but by the memories we make... Intricate and emotional." --Kirkus Reviews

In the shade of ancient redwood trees, by a creek, not far from the ocean, a father builds a house for his newborn daughter, where she grows up wild and strong in their coastal canyon home. When a wildfire takes back their beloved house, a father writes his now-grown daughter a letter telling her it’s gone. Inspired by the real letter the author wrote his daughter, this poignant story—written together by father and daughter—joyfully declares that a home is more than just wood and stone; it is made of love and can never be taken away. You carry home with you wherever you go.

About the Author & Illustrator: Wallace Grayce Nichols is a student of sustainable design, problem solver, and water lover. Her father, 
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, is a marine biologist and the author of the bestselling book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. Home is the slow cast of California. Website | Twitter | FacebookInstagram

Drew Beckmeyer is a fine artist, illustrator, and elementary school teacher. He lives in Northern California. Website | Instagram

Additional Links:
Buy the Book
Add on Goodreads

Rafflecopter (The rafflecopter will be live from 12:01am ET 9/12 to 11:59pm ET 9/25. 10 winners will receive a hardcover of Dear Wild Child. USA/CANADA only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy. This post and giveaway sponsored by MMPublicity and/or author/publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane (Blackfriars Lane #2) by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing

ISBN13: 9781636092683
Barbour Publishing

My thoughts:  
I found The Bride of Blackfriars Lane, much like Blackfriars Lane #1, a little on the absurd side as far as the female character is concerned. She, Kit, simply has a penchant for being a "before her time" individual and constantly going out-on-a-limb in her traipsing through London's most unsavory areas.

This trait of hers is especially inappropriate (for the historical period in which the story is set) as she is quickly approaching her wedding day to Jackson. The special dress is acquired, the date and time set, she just needs to get herself to the wedding venue on time and appropriately attired. But first..... she has some stuff she needs to investigate. And that is the problem.

The story took some turns I wasn't expecting and the culprit in the demise of the skeleton found in an abandoned building, took some master sleuthing on the part of Kit and Jackson. As to my final opinion of Kit and Jackson at the lend of the book. they do have a flair for the dramatic. I'll let you read the book to see if she makes it to the "wedding" on time.

About the Book: The Continuing Adventure of Jackson and Kit!
Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson.

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Forgotten Memories (Wyoming Sunrise #1) by Penny Zeller [Review & Giveaway]

Buy @ Barnes & Noble
Buy @ Amazon

My thoughts:
  This is a gentle read that explores with resolution some heavy emotional battles. The duty to forgive when wronged. The duty to embrace the forgiveness of others. The weight of guilt upon the mind and soul of a person.

While the story opens with a wagon train robbery and the near-death experiences of some of the travelers, it quickly moves forward in time some years hence and the melding of two hearts that are destined to travel an experience that covers a broad spectrum of emotional travail. 

Budding romance. Beautiful family relationships. Caring community. The author gently takes the reader through the experiences of the characters as their lives blend and memories begin to surface that threaten to rip them apart.

I highly recommend this gentle read with its rich spiritual heritage.

About the book:  Some memories are best forgotten…

The Wyoming Territory is rife with lawlessness and disorder, something Annie Ledbetter and her parents discover when their wagon train is robbed. Seven years later, Annie settles into her lifelong dream as a teacher in the small town of Willow Falls. When she meets handsome rancher Caleb Eliason through a humorous misunderstanding, she is quickly drawn to his kind heart and charming smile.

Former outlaw Caleb Eliason embraces his chance at a fresh start. Gone are the days of robbing stagecoaches and wagon trains. When he falls in love with the new Willow Falls teacher, he doesn’t realize they’ve met before—under much different circumstances. When his past comes to light, will it put the growing love between them at risk?

Can forgiveness and redemption heal two broken hearts or will the past keep them from sharing a future? 
Begins September 8
Ends October 1 @ 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 prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the author, publisher, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Candlewick's special "grandparent & family" picture books are perfect to celebrate "Grandparent's Day" September 11 [Giveaway]

Something About Grandma, Author & Illustrator: Tania de Regil (Ages 4 to 8 - Also available in Spanish)

About the book:
On a first solo visit to her grandmother’s home outside Mexico City, a young girl discovers what makes Grandma so special in this enchanting and personal picture book.

At Grandma’s house, where Julia is staying without her parents for the first time, the breeze is sweet like jasmine. Mornings begin with sugared bread, and the most magnificent hot chocolate cures all homesickness. There’s something about this place . . . and about Grandma. Like how she can tell when Julia has been quietly picking limes from the garden. Or that she can see the future—and knows when Julia is about to fall off her bike. Or how she can journey back in time through the stories she tells. With Tania de Regil’s heartfelt illustrations, incorporating poems by her great-grandfather that were handwritten by her grandmother, Something About Grandma offers a tender and playful exploration of the magic of intergenerational love and wisdom.

I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca & illustrated by Sara Palacios - Ages 3 to 7

About the book: 
A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.

When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?

Granny and Bean by Karen Hesse & illustrated by Charlote Voake - Ages 4 to 8

About the book: 
From a stellar creative team, the lyrical story of a grandmother and grandchild as they share an intimate adventure by the windy sea—and make a stop for teatime.

Gray skies, foamy waves, and brisk wind await Granny and Bean when they head out for their day by the sea. But they are full of only wonder and delight at all the shore has to offer. They listen for the shrieks of the seabirds as they discover treasures hidden in the sand, greet dogs as they pass, leap over logs, and settle out of the wind for a cozy treat before tramping homeward again. Rendered in simple, lilting text by Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and expressive, windswept art from acclaimed illustrator Charlotte Voake, Granny and Bean have an adventure to cherish until their next magical day at the shore.

Poppy’s House by Karla Courtney & illustrated by Madeline Kloepper - Ages 4 to 8

About the book: 
A warm story of the bond between young and old that evokes the wild, windswept banks of Newfoundland—and the joys of a traditional way of life.

In a picture book as cozy as wool socks and as sweeping as a lighthouse beam, a little girl takes a ferry to an island to spend time with her Poppy. After fresh-baked bread for breakfast, the two tidy up, garden, and set out to explore together. They pass docks and green hills specked with puffins, counting their favorite things along the way: masts, animal tracks, silvery waves. At the end of each day, they snuggle on Poppy’s worn velvet armchair to read by lantern light. When it’s time to travel home, the little girl begins counting the days until she and Poppy will be together again. A patchwork of exquisitely patterned and textured art evokes a traditional quilt in this ode to coastal Canada and to the days spent with an attentive, caring older person.
2 Winners, Each 3 Books 
Begins September 1
Ends September 23 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
No P.O. Boxes
Canadian winners must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate review/post. Opinions expressed are mine alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.