This Book Is Gray & GIVEAWAY

“This book was GRAYT!” Student A, 2nd grader from my Michigan class!

My students got to hear This Book is Gray for their Classroom Book A Day read aloud. It was a huge hit from start to finish. Before reading picture books, we peak under the book jacket (we call it the “undies”) to see if there is any new details to see. Sure enough, Lindsay has drawn readers a fun surprise. After checking out the undies we look at the endpapers, as those sometimes are part of the story. And yet again, Lindsay has used the beginning end papers to give readers some art language to help you understand the story better. All this fun information and we didn’t even start the story yet!

The book is set through gray’s eyes, why doesn’t he get used? He is important? He doesn’t always have to be a depressing color. As he tries to tell a story using only gray, the other colors show up.

“I liked when all the colors show up and interrupt” Student B says excitedly.

Lindsay weaves in some fun puns that had my kids chuckling when they caught her humor. But my students also realized that their were lessons on kindness and including others to take away from the book.

Thank you Blue Slip Media for having us on the blog tour and for providing the book for review. All opinions are our own.

**GIVEAWAY***Win a copy of this book for being one of our readers! For one entry, follow our blog & comment on this blog post. For additional entries head to our other social media pages. US only. Courtesy of Two Lions.

About the author:

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, with her family. Gray is one of her favorite colors. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.Twitter: @lindsaymward

Dog Driven & GIVEAWAY!

Look at that cover! This middle grade novel is just as thrilling as the front cover makes you believe! What a page turner! A book of bravery, determination, grit, perseverance and figuring out that your challenges only make you stronger young readers will be drawn to this story.

Fourteen-year, McKenna is asked by her younger sister, Emma to run her team of sled dogs through a terrifying and dangerous race in order to raise awareness around Stargardt disease. A disease that Emma has had since she was a young child and one that McKenna fears she is developing symptoms for as well. The Great Superior Mail Run is a race complete with terrible ice and wind, freezing temperatures, scary owls and a treacherous trail to deliver mail just like they did way back when. How can McKenna say no now that she is having her own vision challenges as well? However, no one knows McKenna has been having some of the same challenges except her sister because she’s been doing a really good job hiding it from her parents and her friends, which in turn has made her feel more isolated then ever. With a connection to a historical dog sled with a letter at the end of each chapter being sent back and forth in the 1890’s we loved the special story inside the story.

This book was beautifully told and you will inevitably cheer for McKenna and her new musher friends (a term for a person who leads sled dogs in a race) as they struggle to deliver the mail

About the Author:

Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Ice Dogs, Sled Dog School, and the Survivor Diaries series, lives in Whitefish Falls, Ontario where for ten years she owned a team of eighteen Alaskan Huskies. Learn more at terrylynnjohnson.com. Twitter: @TerryLynnJ

Other Reviews:

★ “Like Gary Paulsen’s Winterdance, Johnson shows the deep bonds and trust between musher and dogs . . . .”—Booklist, starred review

★ “A densely plotted, fast-moving, thematically rich tale set at the intersection of ability and disability.”—Kirkus, starred review

ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Dog Driven, courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers (U.S. addresses only please). Please follow and comment on this blog post for one entry and visit our other social media pages for other opportunities to enter. US only. Giveaway ends 12.5.19!

Santa’s Story & GIVEAWAY

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand. Thank you Blue Slip Media for including us. All opinions are our own.

Santa’s Story is about remembering the traditions we have for our families and how forgetting them can change everything. It is the night before Christmas and Santa is trying to find his reindeer to get ready for the next day. Santa is baffled when the reindeer aren’t anywhere to be found. He begins to think what he might have missed. With some thought, Santa comes to realize he forgot all about their night before Christmas tradition. With everything back on track, the reindeer come back to Santa, engage in their tradition and are ready for Christmas.

I don’t want to spoil what Santa and the reindeer do each year to get ready to deliver presents, but let’s just say, if you are reading this blog, it will put a smile on your face.

I adored the illustrations in this book, I love reading winter stories where the pictures transport you to night or snowfall. This book was no exception!

We’d like to continue to spread the holiday cheer and are offering one lucky reader a copy of SANTA’S STORY, courtesy of Two Lions. Please follow and comment on this blog post for one entry and visit our other social media pages for other opportunities to enter. US only. Giveaway ends Tuesday 12/3/19

Flash, The Little Fire Engine

This book is adorable! My boys love the front cover and from the second we got it in the mail they wanted to read it. Now we’ve read it multiple times and they say the onomatopoeias, “Weeoo! Honk! Whoosh! RRRing! Smash!” with me as we read.

It’s a story about a new firetruck, Flash, who is ready to save the day. But every time Flash gets to a new emergency there is some other emergency vehicle that tells him he isn’t big enough or fast enough and he begins to get discouraged. We learned a lot about the different emergency vehicles like an airport crash tender, a turntable ladder fire truck and the airplane firefighter.

Finally, there is the perfect call for him that no other vehicle can get to and he saves the day! After reading we had a great discussion about how sometimes even when we are the best intentioned, we need help from other people because we might be too small or too late. But my boys (6 and 3 years old) brought up that sometimes you are the perfect helper too! We also shared with each other what our special and unique talents are and how we are different from other people. Flash, The Little Fire Engine is the perfect book for all your little ones who are enamored with emergency vehicles. While reading we are sure you will have meaningful conversations about how everyone does unique jobs but we all work together. And with the beautiful and vibrant illustrations your children will want to read again and again!

Author Bio:

Pam Calvert is an award-winning children’s book author. Her books include the Princess Peepers series, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning; more recently, Brianna Bright, Ballerina Knight, illustrated by Liana Hee; and other titles. Formerly a science teacher as well as a writing instructor and coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year. When she’s not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas. Learn more about her online at www.pamcalvert.com or on Twitter: @PammCalvert. 

Illustrator Bio:

Jen Taylor is an illustrator and arts-and-crafts enthusiast born and raised in New Jersey. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in illustration and animation. She is the illustrator of the Brave Little Camper series as well as the picture book Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess. She previously worked in animation on such shows as Sid the Science Kidand MAD. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their corgi, Rocket. Learn more about her online at www.jentaylor.net.


“Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles…sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.” —Kirkus Reviews

Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a copy of Flash, the Little Fire Engine, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only please). Head over to our social media pages to enter!

The Space Walk by Brian Biggs

Happy book birthday to The Space Walk by Brian Biggs. This clever book introduces us to Randolph Witherspoon, an astronaut that gets bored while in space and wants to take a walk. When he ventures out on his own, a comical adventure ensues.  This book is a combination of text and wordless pages, and is a fun read aloud. Thank you to Penguin for sharing a copy with us to review!

What does a six year old have to say about The Space Walk? I loved this book. I thought it was so, so funny when he went outside and saw the alien, and took pictures with the alien. I liked that I could read the words and make up the story on some pages.

What does a three year old have to say? I do imagination. 🙂 

Order your copy of The Space Walk today!

GIVEAWAY & Inside Scoop: Pippa’s Night Parade

Do you know children who have amazing imaginations but are sometimes afraid to go to sleep? I know two boys in particular with wonderful imaginations but who have trouble falling asleep. I read Pippa’s Night Parade to my two boys and we couldn’t stop talking about all the amazing and exciting things that Pippa imagines from her story books and how she tries again and again to overcome her fear. Personally, I love how the illustrations hint that her imagination is coming straight from the books she reads. Especially since as a family of readers we are constantly book talking the books we love and my boys often think about a book long after we’ve read it. My boys have had many conversations about scary parts in a story and sometimes have trouble sleeping, just like Pippa. However, Pippa isn’t one who just hides in her fear, she faces it straight on and becomes a problem solver. Even after her first attempt, and second, and third, and fourth don’t work she perseveres and keeps trying to make a plan to overcome her fear and finally change her worries into an opportunity for some fun! A wonderful story about overcoming a fear, being a problem solver and not giving up when at first you don’t succeed. We loved the beautiful, bright illustrations that added so much to the story!

Author Interview…

Can you give us an inside scoop that we wouldn’t learn from reading your book? 

Yes! Pippa’s Night Parade was always about a girl who was afraid of storybook monsters . . . but early versions of the story started out with a different solution to her problem. In my original drafts, Pippa defangs her monsters by imagining them in silly underwear—boxers, bloomers, pantalettes. This particular idea arose from the advice about calming jitters for speaking in front of an intimidating audience—imagine the audience in their underwear! However, my editor felt that there were too many underwear books on the market. So Pippa’s current solution—using fashion and costumes to make her monsters less scary—became the new end to the story. 

Question from a 5.5 year old…How did you get the creatures to come out of the stories? (Or how did you get the idea to have the creatures coming out of the stories?)

Many kids love scary stories, but sometimes their imaginations run wild after the story ends, especially at bedtime when the lights go out. As I was dreaming up this book, it occurred to me that all those books on the shelf (with monsters inside them) might feel worrisome to an imaginative kid trying to fall asleep. And so this story was born. I love how the illustrator, Lucy Fleming, shows the creatures coming out of the books! 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be and why?

That’s a tough one. I love being a writer and it’s all I ever dreamed of (even though I also like my current job as a therapist). If I could pick anything, I’d be a circus artist—I do aerial silks with my children at a local circus studio and it’s an important part of my life. I wish I’d known about circus arts many years ago! 

What is one book that has stuck with you since you’ve read it?

Where the Wild Things Are remains one of my most favorite books ever! I love those monsters so much that I have two stuffed Wild Things in my therapy office, perching on my bookshelf with my books. 

What is one item in your fridge that tells us about you?

Pickled hot peppers! I love anything that’s pickled and especially things with vinegar and heat. I pickled a jar of Hungarian Wax peppers from our farm share this past weekend and I’m excited to eat them on everything I can . . .

About the author and illustrator…

Author Lisa Robinson was born in Kampala, Uganda, to Peace Corps volunteers who later became world-traveling diplomats. When she was a child, her family moved frequently, so books became her best friends. She now works as a psychiatrist and writer. She holds an MFA in creative writing for young people from Lesley University. She is also the author of Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten!, illustrated by Eda Kaban, and has more books forthcoming. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and three cats. Learn more about the author at www.author-lisa-robinson.com, or on Twitter: @elisaitw.

Illustrator Lucy Fleming, like Pippa, has a wonderfully wild imagination, which she uses to create illustrations for children’s books. She has illustrated more than twenty titles, including River Rose and the Magical Christmas by Kelly Clarkson and For the Beauty of the Earth by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a graduate of the University of Lincoln in England. She lives and works in a small town in England with a cup of ginger tea in hand and her cat close by. Learn more about the illustrator at  www.lucyflemingillustrations.com. Instagram: @illustratelucy

GIVEAWAY!!!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Pippa’s Night Parade, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only please). Head to our Instagram or Facebook to enter to win!

Are You A Frank Or A Bean?

Frank and Bean is a clever early chapter book written by Jamie Michalak and illustrated by Bob Kolar. This book was a huge hit with my 2nd and 3rd grade students. They had a blast getting to know both Frank and Bean. Thank you Candlewick Press for sending us the book for review. All opinions are our own.

My students thought the characters were “super funny” and enjoyed that they were so different. They loved looking at Bob’s pictures and how he captured their personalities so well. Many related to either being a Frank or being a Bean. We discussed some themes or morals we can take away from the story. Then the kids had some questions for Jamie……

And Now…..Questions from the Kids:

How did you come up with this idea? 

It started with the idea of two picnic food friends named Frank and Bean. I first had the idea when my sons were in kindergarten and second grade. My youngest son, who’s chatty and loud, was obsessed with RVs, jelly donut holes, and playing the drums — just like Bean. My oldest, on the other hand, was more like Frank. He preferred walks in the woods, soft jazz, and yoga. So I kind of lived with my characters!

Why did you make Bean so loud?

If you’ve ever been on a long car ride with my youngest son, you’d know why! But I also wanted Bean to show readers how difficult it can be to find your own story or words in a loud and busy (and screen-filled) world. Frank shows Bean how to be quiet to hear the words within him. 

It’s okay to be quiet — and even bored. That’s when your imagination really comes to life.

We discussed that 2 themes in the book were don’t be afraid to share things and don’t be afraid to be quiet or silly if you are, why did you choose to put these themes in the book? 

I think they’re themes kids can relate with. For some, sharing what they wrote can be scary. Especially if you’re a quiet hot dog who’s used to being alone. Bean isn’t afraid to be his silly self — but he is scared of the night’s noises. But the thing about good friends is that they can help each other get over fears — and together make something special. Like a song about jelly donut holes, for example.

Will this become a series? We’d like a book 2! 

Aw, thanks! There is a book 2! It’s called FRANK AND BEAN: THE FOOD TRUCK WAR. Bean decides to get a food truck and compete in the forest’s Food Truck Friday contest. But to win, he must beat the scary reigning champ, Mad Dog. Luckily, Frank is there to lend a hand — and make up a new song.

Teacher Question- Why did you make it an early chapter book reader? Did it ever start in a different format?

Early readers are my favorite format to write and to read. James Marshall’s books are the best! But yes, FRANK AND BEAN began as a picture book, until Bean demanded more room to express himself. 

And finally thank you for giving us a book that reminded us to not be afraid to be ourselves!! 

Thank YOU, smart human beans, for the excellent questions! Here’s to all the stories YOU’ll write this year! 🙂 

Thank you for having us on the Frank and Bean Blog Tour. Check out the other places Frank and Bean have been and will be soon!

Giveaway!! Along the Tapajós

This stunning book gives the reader a peek into life in the Amazon rainforest. Told through the eyes of a child, we hear about a typical day Cauā and his sister Inaê have: eating breakfast, going to school, moving to a new house as soon as the rain starts, which is the beginning of the winter season and finally going back home to get their forgotten pet turtle. There is so much to see and learn on every page about the Amazon and the way of life for children who live there. The illustrations are spectacular and share even more details about life in the Amazon. We were blown away by how beautiful this story and pictures are. My kindergartener was enthralled and wanted to learn more about the different animals and the way the children go to school. This would be a wonderful addition to a classroom library to show how children in the Amazon go to school, the animals that can be found in the Amazon, what a different community looks like and how they deal with drastic weather changes.

Thank you Blue Slip Media for sending us a copy for review. All opinions are our own!

**********************GIVEAWAY************************* Courtesy of Amazon Crossing, we are hosting a giveaway for this incredible book to one lucky reader! Head over to our Instagram or Facebook to enter!

About the Author/Illustrator: Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration. Learn more about him online at www.fernandovilela.com.br.

About the Translator: Daniel Hahn is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His translation of The Book of Chameleonsby José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. His translation of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. He recently served on the board of trustees of the Society of Authors. In 2017, Hahn helped establish the TA First Translation Prize, a new prize for debut literary translation. Learn more about him online at www.danielhahn.co.uk

★“The vibrant colors in Vilela’s illustrations and the expressive faces of Cauã and Inaê bring lightheartedness to their dangerous journey and the cyclical living it prescribes. A riveting journey.” —Kirkus Reviews(starred review)


“This is one of those engaging titles that offers a glimpse of a location new to most American readers. More translations like this one, please!” —Fuse #8 ProductionGiveaway!

Dory Fantasmagory: Tiny Tough

Arrrrgh, mateys! Dory Fantasmagory is back in Abby Hanlon’s latest book, Tiny Tough. We’ve been big fans of this series since the first one came out about five years ago. They are the perfect read aloud for younger kids, or for a first series for a beginning independent reader. Thank you to Penguin for providing us a copy to review.

Dory’s vivid imagination reconnects us with Mrs. Gobblegracker, Mary, and Mr. Nuggy as she once again navigates her feelings and place in the family. This time around, she imagines herself as a pirate, which helps her deal with her imaginary monster getting a new friend, feeling like a baby at home, and friendship issues at school.

My first grader loves the Dory Fantasmagory series and can easily relate to the characters and problems throughout the story. Preorder your copy today!

Looking for a fun family night activity? We do a lot of themed nights based on books (ok, and movies, too). The pirate theme of Tiny Tough lends itself to so many fun activities! Dress like a pirate night! Talk like a pirate night! We’ve done pirate night at our house…tacos for dinner and dress up! Have a little extra cardboard around the house? You can easily make pirate swords for your little swashbucklers.

About the Author

Abby Hanlon has taught creative writing and first grade in the New York City public school system. Inspired by her students’ storytelling and drawings, Abby began to write her own stories for children, and taught herself to draw after not having drawn since childhood. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn.

My Jasper June

I knew I’d like this book before I even read it. There is something about Laurel Snyder’s writing that captivates me, connects me, and pulls me in.

My Jasper June did just that.

After one incident changed her family a year ago, Leah has struggled with the day to day distance growing between her and her parents. When she unexpectedly meets Jasper, her life changes. Together they both hide from their personal demons in a magical world they create and within each other they find the friend that they both needed. This strong bond is challenged when real life creeps back in.

A wonderful book that we think you will love! Thanks to Walden Pond Press for sending us a copy to review.

About the Author…

Laurel Snyder is the author of picture books and novels for children, including National Book Award nominee Orphan Island and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Charlie & Mouse. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.

Check out the teaching guide or enter to win a copy on twitter or instagram!