Children’s Book Week: May 2th – 8th!


“Since 1919, Children’s Book Week has been celebrated countrywide with author & illustrator appearances, parties, storytelling, and other book-related events in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs — anywhere where kids and books connect.”

Visit the Children’s Book Week website at to view events taking place across the country and to learn more about this annual celebration.

How will you celebrate Children’s Book Week?

Bookmark & Share

Rock-a-bye Baby Illustrated by John Kanzler

  John Kanzler lends his artistic talents to bring this classic Mother Goose rhyme and popular lullaby to life in Rock-a-bye Baby. Baby bear grabs his blanket and rocks in his cradle as Mama bear sings him to sleep. The soft watercolors are soothing, and little fingers will enjoy touching the flocked bear on the front cover.

This is a beautiful padded board book that would make the perfect present for a mother-to-be or a new mom. It would be a great focal point for a baby shower gift basket, and at a suggested retail price of only $8.95 you can afford to fill that basket up with a ton of other goodies.

 You’ll be able to get your little one down for nap or bedtime with Rock-a-bye Baby.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10:1589258533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589258532
  • SRP:  $8.95

Bookmark & Share

Panda-Monium by Cynthia Platt

A silly rhyming adventure is what you’ll find in Panda-Monium! by Cynthia Platt.

Beckett’s panda belly rumbles with hunger, so off he stomps in search of some sweet bamboo. As he moves along the line of pandas behind him grows: two, then three more, then five more. Soon it’s a hungry crew of pandas that climbs the tree looking for bamboo. What results is Panda-Monium!

Cynthia Platt, author of A Little Bit of Love–which we reviewed here–is back with a zany animal adventure in rhyme. This book has some great phonetic action words: rumbling, crunchy, stomp, rolled, and more. These words are highlighted to draw the child’s attention to them.  I stumbled over a few verses as I read it aloud to my daughter, but overall the melody worked.

What I found interesting about this book is that Beckett is oblivious to the crowd gathering behind him, and alone by the end, not even aware by then that he was part of this chaos.  I like how he is portrayed as being so focused on his goal. It’s almost like a hidden message.

Veronica Vasylenko provides beautiful artwork for Panda-Monium! Like the text, the artwork involves a lot of action. Two butterflies follow Beckett and his group throughout the book’s pages.

Panda-Monium! is a charming book.  Many kids will enjoy following along Beckett’s journey to satisfy his hunger.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10:9781589250932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589250932
  • SRP:  $15.95

Bookmark & Share

Night Knight Theraputic Bedtime Stories by Emma Piers

 Night Knight Theraputic Bedtime Stories by Emma Piers is a wonderful way to use books to help you child develop good opinions about himself/herself. Geared toward children ages 5 to 11, Night Knight tells the story of Rosador, her friend Orion, and other magical creatures.

Broken down into four chapters, each with two parts, Night Knight allows readers to explore topics such as bereavement, separation, rejection, abandonment, bullying, and anxiety that can plague children when things happen in their lives. Orion must cope with the loss of his brother, while Fumblekins the fulture gets lost in the valley and is all alone. The Fulture King is nothing but a big bully, who might need the healing of the Cloakwood School to help change his ways. And Norrin, the hobgoblin, can’t seem to sleep and is anxious all the time. How can he overcome his lack of confidence?

While not a sustitute for medial care, this book can pave the way for parent/child discussions, and help your child feel better about himself/herself. Included in the beginning are some recommendations on how to use the book, followed by a discussion of the book’s contents. After the last story, there is a note for parents and caregivers from the creatures of Wellness Island, a list for children of Rosador and Orion’s tips for feeling good, and a notes section.

Also included is a two-CD set with a special narrated edition set to beautiful music.

Since the book is geared to kids as young as 5, I think some of the illustrations are a bit scary. Those hobgoblin eyes on Page 17 are creepy and Grizzles the bear on Page 70 is also a spooky looking fellow. There are, however, many wonderful pictures throughout the book: the map of Wellness Island, a scared and alone Fumblekins lost in the valley, the elf’s home on Page 28, just to name a few.

I would definitely recommend Night Knight by Emma Piers to parents and caregivers looking to help their children through difficult situations.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Emma Piers UK Ltd
  • ISBN-10: 1908104058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908104052

  • Bookmark & Share

    I received a free copy of this book from the author and her publicist in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation to share my opinions.

    National Picture Book Writing Week Starts May 1st!

    7 Picture Books in 7 Days!
    May 1-7, 2011

    In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo”) where people across the country try to write a complete novel in one month, the fine folks at have decided to start National Picture Book Writing Week, affectionately nicknamed “NaPiBoWriWee.”

    The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.

    The basic rules? Just write 7 complete and separate picture books in one week. Each picture book must have a clear beginning, middle, and end. There is no required minimum word count because picture book lengths can vary from 50 words to 2000 words, depending on the genre.

    To summarize, the basic rules:

    1. Midnight May 1st to 11:59 p.m. May 7th: Write 7 separate and complete picture books.

    2. You are NOT allowed to write the same picture book in 7 variations. Each book must be complete and separate.

    3. No minimum word count. Instead, each book must have a clear beginning, middle and end.

    4. You are allowed to brainstorm and research book topics before May 1st. Outlines are acceptable. First draft writing is NOT. Do NOT write your books before May 1st – only brainstorming, taking notes, and outlining are allowed.

    5. You are NOT allowed to write a single word of your draft until midnight May 1st.

    6. There is NO minimum word count required. The fine folks of NaPiBoWriWee require nothing but your word of honor. We will embrace the Honor Code. If you say you have written 7 complete picture book drafts in 7 days, we will believe you. Besides, why would you lie to us? You’re writing picture books for little children! Picture Book Authors are nice, honest people who would never lie!

    7. If you plan to blog about your NaPiBoWriWee journey, please include a link to:

    8. Please comment on the soon-to-debut NaPiBoWriWee WordPress blog or email Paula at paula at paulayoo dot com and she will include your name in the prize drawing. Several winners will be chosen from random. Winners will receive an autographed copy of Paula’s books “SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY” (Lee & Low Books 2009)  and “SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY” (Lee & Low ’05), along with items from the NapiBoWriWee Store and a couple of surprise autographed book prizes from special guest authors!

    9. Please do NOT send Paula your manuscripts. This is NOT a writing contest. Think of NaPiBoWriWee as a writing support group where we can cheer each other on!

    10. For those of you attending the national Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators ( conference in August, let Paula know and she’ll arrange for an informal gathering during the conference so you can meet in person and celebrate NaPiBoWriWee!

    Are any of my writing chums participating? If you are, do you know what ideas you’ll be working with yet? NaPiBoWriWee is coming soon! Hope you’re ready.

    Good luck!

    Bookmark & Share

    What Is That Thing? by Kevin McNamee


    A sweet and funny story of becoming a big sister is what you’ll find in What Is That Thing? . Jenna’s not too sure about the newest family member, so she decides to use her imagination to help adjust to being a big sister.

    In this delightful new story from talented poet and writer, Kevin McNamee, we see him doing what he does best–create a story that youngsters will love. Becoming a big sister for the first time can be very scary, but Jenna makes it easier by using her imagination to ask “What is that thing?” Is it an alien from outer space? Is it a strange and smelly creature? Maybe it’s a mysterious roaring animal.

    The artwork by K.C. Snider is absolutely wonderful. From mom the space alien with kitchen utensils sticking out of her head to Jungle Jenna swinging on the vines, her illustrations will capture the hearts of young readers who really want to now how Jenna feels.

     What Is That Thing? would make a perfect gift for the little girl who is going to be a big sister soon.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

    • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
    • ISBN-10:1616331410
    • ISBN-13: 978-1616331412
    • SRP:  $9.95

    Bookmark & Share

    The Crypto-Capers: The Chest of Mystery by Renee Hand

    In the highly-anticipated conclusion of the seach for the Golden Monkey, the Crypto-Capers team is up to their eyeballs in danger and mystery. Book 4 in the series, The Chest of Mystery,  picks up right where Book 3 left off. Having found two of the pieces to open the treasure room in the previous book, they discover they have only solved half the puzzle. With the Panther hot on their trail, time is running out.

    The team travels to Pisa, Italy to meet with the one man who holds all the answers. But when he disappears without a trace, they have to depend on each other and believe in what they know. Will that be enough to lead them to the lost treasure of the Mayans and the Golden Monkey?

    Wow! I’ll tell you that this book was definitely worth the wait. In Book 3, the danger had been cranked up for the Crypto-Capers. In the conclusion to this mystery, they get more than they bargained for. The Panther is closing in, Morris is in danger, and their new friend Emmanuel might be an important piece of the puzzle.

    In addition to Max, Mia and Granny Holmes, the fourth member of the team, Morris, joins them in the field.  This is unusual, and the reader can see this as a bit of growth in this character. Speaking of growth, I’m glad to see the cover artist doesn’t forget that the kids are growing as the series moves along. All the kids seem a bit older on the cover now.

    We are also treated to meeting some new characters in The Chest of Mystery. Their relationships add a new element to the story, and keep the series fresh, just like adding pieces to the unfolding mystery does. The reader will also discover why she needs to hold onto the first three books in this series, as she will refer to them for help in solving the puzzles in Book 4.

    Author Renee Hand has won awards for her writing. It’s truly no surprise to me. She delivers consistently well-written, engaging stories. I am always eagerly awaiting her next book.  The interactive element of The Crypto-Capers series will have even the most reluctant readers solving crimes with the team.  These are books you don’t want to miss!

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

    • Publisher:North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
    • ISBN-10:0878393943
    • ISBN-13: 978-0878393947
    • SRP:  $12.95

    Bookmark & Share

    Earth Day Guest Post and Giveaway: One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart

    Today, I welcome bestselling author Nancy Stewart. Her children’s picture book, One Pelican at a Time, is an Amazon bestseller, and has spent time on their Hot New Releases list and their Most Wished For list in kid’s books. This is the first US children’s book to address the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April 20,2010. “The book features Bella and Britt and their heroic efforts to save their friend, the old crooked beak pelican, whom they’ve known all their lives. “

    Earth Day: A Billion Acts of Green
    by Nancy Stewart

    I’m old enough to remember when Earth Day was a joke. It was. As teachers, many of us said, “Oh, yeah. Earth Day. I’d better do something, I guess.” Not anymore. Earth Day has a global platform and big teeth. And it should. Caring for our planet is no laughing matter. It is a deadly serious concern.

    Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet. It has come a long way from then with one hundred forty countries around the globe participating this year. And counting. Earth Day, very much like Earth Hour, has taken on a life of its own.

    So what in the world can we do to help? The smallest thing adds up to a billion acts of green! I’ve pledge to not use plastic bags, to using cold water in the washing machine and to using earth friendly cleaning products. We’ve changed all light bulbs to save electricity, and they are turned off when leaving a room. I remind students when doing a book signing that turning off a light helps save a polar bear!

    But it’s more than these things, isn’t it? Helping save our planet is really a state of mind. It’s being in the flow of good ecology every day, even every minute. And soon, it’s a way of life. Living this state of mind will help save all our lives and the lives of those to come, our children and our grandchildren. What better ongoing gift can we give to anyone than a sustainable, green and whole planet? Oh, and it’s not, of course, just April 22. It’s every day, every minute for the rest of our lives.

    After having been an elementary school teacher, a management consultant with New Options, Inc. in New York City and a university professor of education, Nancy Stewart now writes children’s books full time. She, her husband and three sons, lived in London for eight years, where she was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge.

    Nancy travels extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is the US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.

    Nancy is the author of One Pelican at a Time and two other Bella books: Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer, soon to be published by Guardian Angel Publishers. Nancy will be a presenter at the Illinois Reading Council Conference on March 17, 2011.

    She and her family live in St. Louis and Clearwater Beach, Florida.

    You can visit Nancy online at or her blog at

    Ready for your chance to win a copy of One Pelican at a Time?


    The author is giving away a paperback copy of One Pelican at a Time to one lucky reader. Here are the details on how you can enter and win:

    1) Leave a comment with your email address (so we can contact you if you win). You are not eligible if you don’t leave an email address.

    2) BONUS ENTRY: Become my friend on Facebook (+1).  

    3) BONUS ENTRY:  Follow me on Twitter (+1).

    4) BONUS ENTRY: Become Nancy’s friend on Facebook (+1).

    5) BONUS ENTRY: Follow Nancy on Twitter (+1).

    6)  Each entry must have its own comment in order to be counted.

    7) Giveaway is limited to people 18 years and older who reside in the United States or Canada.

    Deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, May 8, 2011. Winner will be selected from all eligible entries by Prize will be shipped directly from the author to the winner. The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

    Bookmark & Share

    Interview with Sean McCartney, Author of The Secrets of the Magical Medallions

    Joining us today is Sean McCartney, author of the young adult novel, The Treasure Hunters Club: The Secrets of the Magical Medallions.

    Thank you for joining us today, Sean. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

    I am currently a sixth grade Social Studies teacher at Glenwood Middle School in the Plain Local District of Canton, Ohio. 

    When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

    I have always written stories even as a young kid, so it was something that I have always done it just took me some time to be able to write a novel. 

    Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

    As a middle school teacher I saw a real need for books that would entertain and help the reluctant reader. We have too many kids that view reading as a chore but I was hoping to change that with The Treasure Hunters Club series. 

    What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

    My most favorite part of writing for this group is taking them on an adventure that they could see themselves doing.

    I think the most difficult part is keeping their attention with so many other things going on around them. 

    Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

    The story is about thirteen-year-old Tommy Reed and his treasure hunting club friends who receive a medallion from his famous treasure hunting uncle, “Diamond” Jack Reed, and must find the secret behind it before and ancient evil hunts them down. 

    What inspired you to write it?

    As I said, I thought it important to have a book series that appealed to the reluctant readers as well as the ones who love to read. 

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

     Amazon is probably the best bet. With the trouble Borders has been having I am not sure which stores are left.

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    Yes, the website is and you can go there to see some short stories, videos and much more about the series. 

    What is up next for you?

    We are currently in the final edit stage for the second book in The Treasure Hunters Club series which will be released May 7th of this year. The title is Breaking the Beale Code and it is another fun action adventure for the club. 

    Do you have anything else to add?

    Yes, please go and get yourself a copy of The Treasure Hunters Club: The Secrets of the Magical Medallions. It is well worth it. I hate shameless plugs but I had to give one.

    Thank you for spending time with us today, Sean. We wish you much success.

    Thank you so much for having me.

    Bookmark & Share

    Why Do We Celebrate Easter? by Mark Sutherland

    Looking for a way to explain Easter to your child? Then consider picking up a copy of Why Do We Celebrate Easter? by Mark Sutherland.

    In this beautifully illustrated story, children learn that God had planned Easter a long, long time ago–even before the world was created. The book swiftly moves along from creation and the Fall of Man, to the birth of Jesus, His ministry, the Last Supper, Jesus’ death and his glorious Resurrection.

    Sutherland did an excellent job of providing young readers with a book that explains the Easter story in greater depth than many books do. While it is a large picture book (30 PDF pages/28 printed pages) the explanations provided by the author will be helpful in assisting readers to grasp the full message.

    The book opens by asking the reader, “Do you ever wonder what Easter is all about?” Immediately the author works to engage the reader. This is a nice style, and one I think young readers will enjoy.

    Julie Hammond’s artwork is lovely. The soft, warm colors keep with the peaceful tone of the book.

    My only slight criticism is that I felt the book would end on a more powerful note without the last page. The second to the last page talks about how we become Jesus’ friends by believing He is God and that He died and rose again as payment for our sins. The final page acts like a summary of the entire book, and ends with the words, “And that’s why we celebrate Easter.” I truly felt that last page deflated the strong words of the page before it.

    That aside, Why Do We Celebrate Easter? by Mark Sutherland is a great way to share the Easter story with the child in your life.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

    • Publisher: Dunrobin Publishing
    • ISBN-10: 0983236305
    • ISBN-13: 978-0983236306
    • SRP:  $9.99

    Bookmark & Share