Where Wishes Grow by Chris Sarracini

If Where Wishes Grow by Chris Sarracini doesn’t melt your heart and make your eyes glisten, you might be the Grinch.

It has been hard for Maggie to watch her beloved Nana becomes ill and bedridden. She believes wishing on stars is too risky, so, with her mother’s help, she writes down her wishes for Nana and plants them where they can grow.

It’s not often that a children’s picture book can make you pause, appreciate life and your loved ones, and truly make you think. Where Wishes Grow is able to do that and more. It is a profoundly touching story, clearly born out of someone’s heart, that shows how caring for and loving each other can turn one child’s dismay into happiness. Artist Pauline Aksay is able to capture all this emotion so beautifully with the artwork for Where Wishes Grow. Her unique style is soft and warm.

My children are too old for this book now, but I might have to keep it because it is too beautiful to give away.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 56 pages
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing (August 31, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1988856000
ISBN-13: 978-1988856001

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

 

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Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses by Michelle Nott

Freddy and Hoppie go to school, but numbers are smooshed together, words blur, and the wrong answers make classmates snicker. After a week, Freddy knows it’s time to tell his mom what’s going on, but admitting you need help can be hard.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses by Michelle Nott is an adorable story about a young boy opening up to his mother about an ongoing problem with his eyes. His imaginary friend helps him, but at some point Freddy must work up the courage to share what he is dealing with so he can get better. This story will touch the heart and make it easier for young people who might be struggling with vision problems to open up and to have some idea of what to expect. The ending is so sweet. The story is made better by the colorful and fun artwork of Robert Lee Beers. From facial expressions, to background details, to that silly and cute little Hoppie frog, the illustrations are the perfect complement to a wonderful story. I look forward to more books from Michelle Nott soon.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; Large type / large print edition edition (February 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616337338
ISBN-13: 978-1616337339

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

Interview and Giveaway with Christine Grabowski, Author of Dickensen Academy

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Website: www.christinegrabowski.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/christinegrabowskiauthor

Twitter @christinegrabo

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

My name is Christine Grabowski. I live outside of Seattle with my family which consists of my husband, a teen and tween reader, and two wheaten terrier puppies. When I’m not reading, writing or ubering my kids around, I can often be found in the gym or hiking the trails behind my neighborhood.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Four years ago after finishing a YA book with a very interesting premise, I decided I wanted to attempt my own book. This wasn’t the first time I had been inspired to write after finishing a novel, but I happened to be out of town and had some kid-free time to actually do something about it. And my husband said, “If anyone can write a book, it’s you, you read enough,” which motivated me to continue. When I returned, my library was having an introductory writing class in preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I learned a few basics. Once I began to write, I couldn’t stop.

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

Watching my children learn to read inspired me to want to write books that created a love of reading in a child or teen. Young adult books are some of my favorite to read because the characters are made to be relatable to the reader, and their plots are often based on a unique premise.

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

I believe a higher percentage of teen readers read with an open mind compared to adult readers and entertainment is often their number one goal. For example, in my experience tween and teen readers are more willing to suspend their disbelief if an author can create a world that comes alive and is of interest to them. Some adults (definitely not all) are always looking for reasons why a plot point can’t happen in real life and fail to just simply enjoy the story.

On the flip side, if a book doesn’t hold a teen’s interest, they will trade it for a video. Therefore, writing needs to be concise and move at a fast pace. In general, it is not the audience who wants an info dump of all your research or a sunset described poetically over the course of three pages.

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

Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

What inspired you to write it?

While I was brainstorming ideas for a story, I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a fantastic idea like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Currently the book is only available to purchase online. The paperback is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The eBook is also on iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and The Wild Rose Press. However, the book is being added to more and more libraries every day.

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dickensen-academy-map-success/dp/B07G71747S

Barnes & Noble  

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dickensen-academy-christine-grabowski/1129315140?ean=9781509221233

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dickensen-academy/id1419915501?mt=11

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christine_Grabowski_Dickensen_Academy?id=3LpsDwAAQBAJ

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dickensen-academy

The Wild Rose Press

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6044-dickensen-academy.html

What is up next for you?

I set aside a Sleep Beauty fairy tale reimagining to write the sequel for Dickensen Academy. Although I wrote it as a standalone, the reviewers really want to see Autumn’s adventures continue as she moves through high school.

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve had several parents, teachers, and librarians suggest Dickensen Academy as an ideal book for tweens and young teens because it has the appeal of a YA coming of age story, but it doesn’t have the mature content that is in some YA novels.

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

Curious to know more, check out this excerpt!

Clues to the secret existed from day one, yet they appeared to belong to separate puzzles. Most students either missed these signs or chose to ignore them. We were busy acclimating—as the faculty called it—to a new environment. Some outsiders might call what they did to us those initial weeks a form of brainwashing or fostering a cult-like mentality.

But not me.

I agreed with Principal Locke. We weren’t ready. We needed time to separate from our families and become a cohesive group. And some of us, myself included, even needed a little nudge to accept the invitation. If someone had told us the truth on Day One why they’d brought us to Dickensen Academy, we would have never believed it. We’d think they were crazy. Or worse, we’d turn around and run back home. But if we left, we would have missed out on something extraordinary. Something worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY

Christine Grabowski will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bring These Titles Home for the Holidays

mac-cheese-for-thanksgiving

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

Purchase at:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Indibound.org

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior’s birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Purchase at:

GAP website
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound.org

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Purchase softcover at:

4RV Publishing
Amazon softcover
Barnes and Noble softcover
Indiebound.org

Purchase digital at:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
KOBO

 

Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God’s protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully, too.

Purchase at:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound.org

New Releases from Guardian Angel Publishing

 

Ulysses is a basset hound who thinks he can sing, but sounds like a fog horn in the bay. That’s how he got into trouble in the backyard. Wise Owl tells Ulysses to be what he is and find his own special sound. That’s how he learned to make the most joyful noise in all the land.

Sparky travels the globe looking for children in need of help. His adventure to Uganda leads him to a young boy named Jimmy who is sick and alone in the middle of the jungle. Their colorful friendship changes Jimmy’s world.

Coloring Book shares the adventure of Sparky’s Uganda Adventure from Spark Worldwide who serves,  protects and raises kids… “It’s what we do.” Also see the picture book of Sparky & Jimmy- Sparky’s Uganda Adventure. And help support  Spark Worldwide around the globe.

Book 3 contains another sampling of ancient symbols presented by Professor Hoot who guides the reader through distant times for further exploration. Join Professor Hoot as he displays more ancient art and unusual artifacts. These items represent various cultures from ancient countries and eras.

Have you ever wondered where groundhogs live or what they eat? With rhyming fun, explore their world with facts from A to Z! Read about their Predators and how they Hibernate, Their Voracious appetites and the way they eXcavate! Intriguing information from beginning to end. Building understanding of our furry groundhog friends!

Long before Santa had a sleigh, he walked from house to house delivering toys with his faithful dog Yukon. With more good girls and boys and more and more toys, only a big sleigh will do. But who will save Christmas day by pulling Santa’s sleigh?

A fictional short story poem revealing the often-times forgotten, yet age-old secret of life: the importance and attraction of kindness. A light hearted tale of a peace loving old man, and how he became loved by the whole village by being kind.

For these and other books by Guardian Angel Publishing, visit the publisher online at www.guardianangelpublishing.com

 

New Release: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Lexile Measure: 0500
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 4, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524719803
ISBN-13: 978-1524719807

Purchase from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Mrs. Wordsmith The Social Journey

Mrs. Wordsmith–a UK-based education company–has launched The Social Journey in the United States. This monthly subscription program for children ages 3 thru 6 is said to focus on “developing social and emotional intelligence…Young children develop deeper social, emotional and academic skills with the right vocabulary.”

So many kids I know love getting packages in the mail. Isn’t it great to know that this package will help them learn important skills to better prepare them for school, foster creativity and a love of reading, and teach them how to manage their feelings.

My package arrived in a colorful blue box with an animated character on the front that would encourage a youngster to tear it right open and get started. Inside, I discovered a storybook, an activity book, word cards, a sturdy stand and instructions.

As you can see, the storybook, activity book and word card include matching artwork that allows your child to recognize all the month’s words and concepts through repetition. The artwork and storylines are so funny, parents and kids can enjoy a chuckle or two to make learning easier for everyone. These pictures can’t do the artwork justice. Vibrant colors and zany character antics and facial expressions ensure your child will be picking up the books numerous days out of the month.

The storybook gets you started, but then you have days and days worth of activities to increase word use and comprehension. Coloring, drawing, writing practice and more can be found within these sheets that are easy to tear out. It is suggested you place the activity book on the included stand so your child can try out the activities whenever they feel like it.

The word cards help when you are on the go or if you’re looking to spend some extra time playing word games. The first card gives you some ideas, but you can probably think up some of your own too.

The Social Journey is available online for $22.49 a month (cancel anytime) or you can save $30 by making one payment of $239.40. Shipping within the United States is free.

I wish The Social Journey was available when my girls were this age. A program that makes learning fun, fosters creativity and a love of reading, and helps children manage their feelings is destined to have a great impact on generations of children.

I received a free Mrs. Wordsmith The Social Journey package thanks to Allison+Partners. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.