Tag Archives: love

Book Review: The Painting

9 Aug

33674139The Painting by Charis Cotter is a story of mystery and intrigue, but at its heart its the story of loss and relationships among family. Annie loves painting, drawing and art and is nothing at all like her parents who just can’t seem to understand their daughter. But, when Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, can Annie help save her?

Annie finds a painting of a lighthouse in the attic and with her artistic eye, is drawn to it right away, but when she falls through the painting and meets young Claire she gets more than she bargained for. Soon she is looking for other paintings by the mysterious Maisie King in order to help Claire understand her own mother, while at the same time trying to understand how Claire’s story is part of her own family’s history and what she can do to help her mother emerge from her coma.

I had a little difficulty following the storyline as each girl had a similar middle grade voice that made it difficult to differeniate, but I loved the mysterious travel through the paintings and really enjoyed how the story came together at the end as Annie learned more about her own family and the how the power of forgiveness saved her mother’s life. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you have a child in your life that likes a little suspense, mystery and is a little bit of an introvert and/or artist – this is the book for them!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Annie’s mother never talks about her childhood & when she falls into a coma, it’s up to Annie’s mysterious travel into paintings to save her

Title: The Painting
Author: Charis Cotter
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Page Number: 288 pgs.

Book Review: The Exact Location of Home

7 Jun

33590854.jpgKate Messner is a prolific writer of children’s books – picture books, early chapter books and middle grade novels and she fits into each of these areas with ease. Today, I want to focus on her newest middle grade novel, The Exact Location of Home a companion story to The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. I am amazed by authors who are so adept at middle grade fiction that they can take a very difficult, real topic and address it at an appropriate level for this age group while still showing empathy and hope at the end.  And that is exactly what Kate Messner does in this story. Zig’s mom is picking up extra shifts at the diner while going to school to become a nurse, but it’s just not enough – they are evicted from their apartment and find themselves homeless and living at the local shelter until they can save a little bit up to put a deposit down for a new apartment.

Zig’s at a loss – from his black and white world of simple circuits, electricity and science he is thrown into a world where little makes sense and he’s not sure he wants to share this new world with his friends making him feel even more alone. That is, until he starts geocaching with a GPS unit he found at a yard sale. Zig’s convinced his father is a geocacher leaving clues around town for Zig to find – he hasn’t seen him in over a year and truly believes that he’ll get to see him soon.

Zig’s family story is one that isn’t as uncommon as people assume it to be. A hard-working mom, trying to make ends meet and earn an education just doesn’t make enough to pay the rent and the bills. My heart absolutely broke for Zig as he traverses life without a constant – not a pencil sharpener to get his homework done, a quiet place to think, a private place to put his things or even enough to eat some days. If you enjoyed Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, you’ll surely fall in love with Zig and be rooting for him the whole time. I think this would make a great book discussion with middle grade students about understanding that you really have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life even if everything looks okay from the outside.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): In The Exact Location of Home, Zig’s searching hard to find his own meaning of home in a quest for hope in a hopeless place @KateMessner

Title: The Exact Location of Home
Author: Kate Messner
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Page Number: 256 pgs.

“I Wish You More”

13 Mar

22484277I was shocked just a week ago after reading “You May Want to Marry My Husband” that Amy Krouse Rosenthal was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer and again today,  although not surprised, saddened to find that she passed away.

It was interesting to see her article go viral as it swept through the kidlit community – that was no shock. But, to see so many of my friends have it posted on their Facebook feeds was really interesting because I know, they have never read any of her children’s literature. I feel as though I know her just a little bit through her work, she seemed a king and gentle spirit who valued the everyday moments as much as the important ones.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a writer who could take big problems and bring them down to a child’s level and find a way to make everything seem right. She had a quick sense of humor that could be seen in much of her work and I have loved everything she’s ever written. If you don’t read any of her other books, read just one – I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, a beautiful and touching story about appreciating the little things in life with the ones you loved. A touching tribute about the fragility of life by someone who understood the sentiment only too well.

If you don’t mind balling your eyes out and ugly crying at your desk, check out the Twitter hashtag –  as wishes are shared.

To Amy’s family – I wish you more comfort and peace.

25 Titles to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

11 Feb

picture-book-valentines-day

A great list of picture books about love, family, kindness and friendship to share for Valentine’s Day (or any day of the year)!

  1. Won’t You Be My Kissaroo? by Joanne Ryder and Melissa Sweet
  2. Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
  3. Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Mélanie Watt
  4. Snuggle Puppy! (a love song) by Sandra Boynton
  5. Hugs From Pearl by Paul Schmid
  6. Froggy’s First Kiss by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz
  7. The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat
  8. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and Erin E. Stead
  9. My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
  10. Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
  11. Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith
  12.  Love, Splat by Rob Scotton
  13. Shy by Deborah Freedmam
  14. One Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez
  15. Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia
  16. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt and Cyd Moore
  17. How Do I Love You? by Marion Dane Bauer and Caroline Jayne Church
  18. The Story of Fish & Snail by Deborah Freedman
  19. The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot
  20. All the Things I Love About You by LeUyen Pham
  21. Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds
  22. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
  23. Dear Bunny: A Bunny Love Story by Michaela Morgan and Caroline Jayne Church
  24. Always by Emma Dodd
  25. Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda

Picture Book Theme: Peace

11 Nov

peace.png

You’ll be seeing a lot of picture books on my blog throughout the month of November as we celebrate Picture Book Month.  You’ll definitely want to check out the website as picture book authors and illustrators will be posting an essay each day about the importance of picture books!  Check back daily for some great pictures surrounding a specific theme!

  1. Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin
  2. Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox
  3. Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz
  4. What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky
  5. Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter
  6. Let There Be Peace On Earth And Let It Begin With Me by Jill Jacksono & Sy Miller
  7. Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos
  8. Because of You by B.G. Hennessy
  9. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
  10. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
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