Mamá Graciela’s Secret by Mayra Calvani

Mamá Graciela’s Secret by Mayra Calvani is a delightful story about one woman’s determination to save her restaurant and the animals she loves.

Mamá Graciela’s bacalaítos fritos are so famous that people come from miles around to eat at her outdoor restaurant. The local stray cats love them too. When the local health inspector learns about all the stray cats, he threatens to shut the place down. But Mamá Graciela loves her cats and she must come up with a plan to save her restaurant and all her beloved cats too.

This story will tug at your heartstrings. It is a sweet tale of this woman’s creativity and genius in the face of tough odds. Award-winning author Mayra Calvani consistently develops wonderful stories for children and adults that you want to read over and over again. Young readers will connect well with Mamá Graciela’s love for family and cats. They will be inspired by her determination to protect her restaurant and all the cats she helps.

Illustrator Sheila Fein provided the artwork for Mamá Graciela’s Secret. The colors she uses, the tiny details–like the hearts floating around characters’ heads to show their love for the animals and each other, and the emotions she captures complement Calvani’s text perfectly. I hope they will work together again soon.

Mamá Graciela’s Secreis ideal for cat lovers and those who enjoy stories where characters triumph over obstacles.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 6
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing (October 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1365861538
ISBN-13: 978-1365861536

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.


The Christmas Pumpkin by Debbie Reece

  “A Christmas pumpkin? Who ever heard of such a thing?”

When James’s father gives him a green pumpkin left all alone in the pumpkim patch, James decides he is going to decorate it for Christmas. But when he tells people what he plans to do, they all say the same thing, “A Christmas pumpkin? Who ever heard of such a thing?”.

Will James get a chance to turn his green pumpkin into something special for Christmas?

Those of you who know me are certain of one thing–I love Christmas! I enjoy reading almost any book that is centered around this holiday. And yet, Debbie Reece’s book got me to stand up and take notice because it is unique, fun, and inspiring.

How often are children’s ideas discounted simply because they come from a young person? How often are children teased by their peers for suggesting something that isn’t the status quo?

The Christmas Pumpkin shares a valuable lesson with its readers– “if you believe in something, you can make it happen”. The best part about this message, though, is that it is offered so gently readers don’t feel like they’re learning at all; to them, it’s just a great story.

This is destined to become one of my favorite Christmas stories because it goes right to the heart and inspires children to have faith in themselves and their ideas.  The Christmas Pumpkin could become just as much of a holiday tradition in your house as the reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Ron Head provides the illustrations for this touching Christmas tale. He also designed the book. I’m interested in learning more about him, as his artwork in The Christmas Pumpkin is absolutely beautiful.

Buy The Christmas Pumpkin. You won’t be disappointed!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:  BeeBop Books
  • ISBN-10:  0-615-29072-8
  • ISBN-13:  978-0-615-29072-0
  • SRP:  $8.00

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