It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman

giftTeaching the concepts of generosity and kindness just got easier with It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman. The animals around Little Duck’s pool of water are all in a tizzy: Beaver hasn’t put on his hat, so the sun is burning his head; Squirrel has lost her nuts and has nothing to eat; Bear’s water jug tipped over and he has nothing to drink; and Mouse doesn’t have a pencil and can’t write down his poem. In a selfless act of friendship, Duck shares what he has with his friends, and they repay the favor when it’s time.

This is a lovely story that teaches children to think of others. Duck shares what he has even when it means his enjoyment is impacted. It’s an interesting concept that he shares to the point where he is left with absolutely nothing. I didn’t get why Duck couldn’t just share some of what he had or let the friend borrow something instead of giving it up entirely.

It’s still a nice story with a sweet message that is made even more meaningful by the delightful illustrations by Nora Hilb.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 3 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784929
ISBN-13: 978-8415784920

 

I received a copy of this book from the publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Gardener’s Surprise by Carla Balzaretti

The Gardener’s Surprise  is a unique, beautiful story about one man’s passion for flowers and staying true to yourself.

Andrew is a msurpriseechanic repairing old freight trains and not making a lot of money. He and his family live in a tiny house where his love of gardening has filled that tiny home with beautiful flowers. One day, Andrew is offered a new job that pays much better and will provide him a new home and enough land to plant a large garden. It sounds wonderful, but this new job is full of surprises.

I love the idea behind this story, but I’m struggling with it too. The author has built a story that finds Andrew working at a place he’s opposed to and doing something about it. In this case, SPOILER AHEAD: instead of loading bombs on to war planes at his new job, he fills them with flower seeds to spread his collection in the countries far away that had declared war on each other. A nice concept, but I think it might lead to some unwanted questions–even from the youngest age group. No one wants war; but neither do we want war planes loaded with flower seeds if someone is in danger. I do believe, however, that the focus of staying true to your beliefs is an important one.

The pastel illustrations by Sonja Wimmer are stunning. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work. Combined with the lovely story, it’s an eye-catching and special book.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784600
ISBN-13: 978-8415784609

From the Family Bookshelf – July

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We’re still on vacation right now, but that means we’ve had a chance to get some reading done. Both girls signed up for the library’s summer reading program. The Lil’ Diva has already surpassed her goal. The Lil’ Princess is making her way to her goal.

Since our arrival, the Lil’ Diva has read Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick. The Lil’ Princess brought Half Upon a Time by James Riley with her from home, but she’s been tied up reading the recently released Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell. We bought it this week at Downtown Books in Manteo.

Dad has actually gotten some reading in too. He’s still slowly reading Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King. He’s also reading The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

As for me, I’ve been trying to catch up on my massive TBR pile. Before we left, I had read Four Corners or A Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple by Cary Smith and Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard. Since we got here, I’ve managed to read A Nation Under Judgment by Richard Capriola and Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff, part of the Torchlighters Series. I’m in the middle of Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Hope you’re enjoying your week.

Happy Fourth of July!

We can now say we’ve been at the Outer Banks during a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur blew through here last night. It was windy, rainy, and loud. Didn’t lose power; just the front porch screen. Actually, I hear the weather at home has been wicked too. Hope you’re enjoying some sunshine and warmth.

Here’s wishing our readers a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!

At the Beach

corrie

We’re taking a two week break to rest and relax on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I brought some books with me, as is my usual practice. Only one of them ended up being for the youth market.

Corrie ten Boom and her family are watchmakers in Haarlem, Holland, where they give what little they have to spread God’s love and help others. But everything changes when World War II erupts and Hitler’s army takes over their country. As the Nazis round up Corrie’s Jewish neighbors and send them to deadly concentration camps, she knows that something must be done to stop them. But what can one small family do in the face of such great evil?

Read the amazing true story of Corrie ten Boom, a Torchlighter® hero of the faith, and discover how her obedience to God saved lives and continues to inspire others today.

Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: Christian History Institute (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563648733
ISBN-13: 978-1563648731

My hope is to blog a few times while we’re away, so don’t go far.

First Chapter Review: The Stolen Herd by K. Madill (Win $25 Amazon GC)

1st Chapter Review TC&TBC

K. Madill is touring with Pump Up Your Book this month with her young adult fantasy novel, The Stolen Herd. Read to the end to see how you can enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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BLURB: Mandamus is only a foal when his herd is captured by the terrible Rakhana Army. Rescued and raised in secrecy, he knows nothing of his heritage until a dreadful incident in the woods brings him to the attention of the Forest council – and everyone else. Sent away for his own protection, he is determined to seek help on behalf of the many animals who have gone missing from the forest, including his own family.

With the help of a troubled man and a stout-hearted bat, can Mandamus save his fellow creatures before it’s too late?

COVER: I’m not usually a fan of dark covers, but this one is stunning. The black of the horse, the white glint of his eyes, and the purples and pinks of the sky make for a fabulous piece of art that attracts readers.

FIRST CHAPTER: As the Rakhana Army closes in on the herd, Gideon takes their foal and dashes him to Daleth and Mareva to raise in secrecy.

KEEP READING: Filled with flowing descriptions and a multitude of characters, this opening chapter sets the scene for what will become of Mandamus after his herd is captured by the Rakhana Army. A butterfly, a bat, a herd of horses, a ruthless human army, and a special foal with white eyes who may be the stuff of legends make for an interesting cast. The strength of the world building is easy to see early on.  The hint of magic and the elegant writing in this first chapter definitely encourage me to follow along with the rest of Mandamus’ story.

 

Title:  The Stolen Herd

Author: K. Madill

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Paperback: 181 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1482640023

ISBN-13: 978-1482640021

Kindle:B00GBQ9V8O

Purchase at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00GBQ9V8O

 

I received a copy of this book from the author. I have been paid a fee to promote this book with a book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

A chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

 

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:

    • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
    • Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
    • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
    • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
    • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
    • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Interview with Anita Banks, author of Tanner Builds a Block Tower

AnitaAnita Banks has lived in Alabama since she was six years old, she raised three children and has  four grandchildren. They are the inspiration for her writing. She likes the adventures and escapes that stories allow you to explore and the myriad of emotions you feel. Anita loves to travel, read and has recently started running.

http://www.anitabanks.com/

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

Thank you for having me here. I am a new author with my first picture book titled, Tanner Builds a Block Tower. I am excited as puppy with a new toy. I am a wife, mother, grandmother. My favorite new activity is running, I started because I needed to get some activity from sitting in a chair for more than nine hours for my day job. I started two years ago, and have found the running community where I live to be a great group of people that are passionate about the sport and are supportive of new runners. I started with a training program to run a 5k and have progressed to three half marathons so far. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

          I have loved reading since my introduction to Dick and Jane and Dr. Seuss. I am constantly reading something all the time. When I was in  junior high school, I had a creative writing class. That was when the writing bug stung me. But when family and life took over, I put the dream aside and just occasionally thought of it.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

          Probably for the simple joy children’s books give to a reader. I enjoy reading to children and seeing their smiles and their happiness in asking you to read to them. I wanted to contribute to  that happiness. And it’s fun.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

         I personally have nothing to compare it to, yet. Maybe I will give another genre a try someday. The other writing I do is journaling for myself.

Anita 2What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

          I like the writing, I like putting the words to paper, or rather the screen. They have to be edited  quite a bit before I’m done. But seeing the story unfold on the screen is probably my favorite part.

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

Tanner Builds a Block Tower is about a little boy who is determined to build a tower with his blocks. But on the way to his destination he get distracted by different animals and insects. He  also loses some of his blocks. So he has to find them to finish what he started. Determination and perseverance is the theme.

What inspired you to write it?

          The inspiration for this book, was my grandson, Tanner. On a visit when he was about three        years old, he loved to play with his building blocks and build towers, over and over. He was fascinated with this repetitive play. We also went on numerous walks, he loved to explore the outdoors, and still does. So it seemed a natural fit to combine the two activities.  

What is up next for you?

I am shopping out two more picture books, and writing a chapter book right now.

Do you have anything else to add?

          Thank you so much for having me. I hope you enjoy my book.

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