Bookstagram Choice Awards

Bookstagram Choice Awards: Early Chapter Book Series #OwnVoices

If you haven’t been following Here Wee Read‘s Bookstagram Choice Awards, she’s rounded up 20+ bloggers, each of whom has selected a single book to award.

Bookstagram Choice Awards

The books are on the Instagram account, @bookstagramchoiceawards, with one blogger posting per day and two bonus bloggers:

11/27 – @afriendlyaffair
11/28 – @andy.plemmons
11/29 – @biracialbookworms
11/30 – @bookbairn
12/1 – @booksbeyondthebest
12/2 – @dropandgivemenerdy
12/3 – @happily.ever.elephants
12/4 – @helpingkidsrise
12/5 – @hereweeread
12/6 – @ilovebooksandicannotlie
12/7 – @kidartlit
12/8 – @ohcreativeday
12/9 – @picturethisbook
12/10 – @readingisourthing
12/11 – @spiky_penelope
12/12 – @teaching3rdwithmrg
12/13 – @teeandpenguin
12/14 – @thebarefootmommy
12/15 – @the.book.report
12/16 – @theconsciouskid

BONUS BOOKS
12/17 – @pragmaticmom
12/17 – @littleelfman

I am on the last day with my pick for Early Chapter Book #OwnVoices!

I have picked two exceptional Early Chapter Book series to highlight, and my winner is …

 

Bookstagram Choice Awards Winner: Early Chapter Book #OwnVoices

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

There are very few Japanese American characters in children’s books who are not in WWII Internment Camps. And, there are NO Japanese American lead characters in Early Chapter Books. But that’s not why I chose the Jasmine Toguchi series.

Jasmine is a pitch perfect spunky girl who just happens to be Japanese American. Her problems are relatable to any child in first, second, or third grade: siblings and friendship issues, big plans that go awry, and the pain of not being the oldest who gets to do everything first.

I also love how Japanese culture is slipped seamlessly into the stories. Learn about mochi and Japanese New Year traditions in this first book, and try it yourself with recipes and activities included on the author’s website. Make this a full body experience!

Fans of Clementine, Ivy + Bean, Anna Hibiscus, and Amber Brown will love this series too. Kids who like funny early chapter books will also appreciate the humor in Jasmine Toguchi. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]

 

Early Chapter Book #OwnVoices Honorable Mention

Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

Lola Levine’s favorite part of Halloween is being scary but when one of her tricks goes wrong, she must find a way to make it right.

What I love about this book is that it’s not a predictable and typical Halloween story. Instead, Monica Brown enriches typical kid’s costume dilemma with a multicultural introduction to harvest festivals in other countries.

“There are lots of celebrations during the fall, all over the world. For example, Chinese people celebrate the Moon Festival in mid-autumn… “Mexicans and Mexican-Americans like me celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, at the start of November.” [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.


My 2017 Caldecott Predictions

My 2018 Caldecott Predictions

Last year, I speculated on the criteria that I think makes a picture book a Caldecott winner and I did pretty well predicting the winners with four of the five! This is what I wrote last year:

Caldecott Picture Books Should Appeal to a Wide Audience

The Caldecott is determined by adults, first and foremost, so the picture book has to appeal to adult sensibilities who then imagine this book for a young audience. I think this broad audience is also a fundamental characteristic for winning a Caldecott. In fact, the broader the better, both in age and in subject matter.

Caldecott Books Should Have a Timeless Appeal

I think the picture book to win a Caldecott should also be able to transcend the vagaries of time in terms of staying relevant far into the future. There’s nothing sadder than an old Caldecott picture book that no one reads anymore, like an anachronistic relic from the past, dug up in a dusty attic to be ridiculed that someone actually read this book and liked it a long, long time ago. That’s where the story comes into play.

Caldecott Books Seamlessly Combine Story with Illustrations

I think it’s easier said than done. The graphic design of the pages which is often in the hands of neither the author or illustrator can make or break a picture book.

Caldecott Books Should Be a Discovery?

This is the outlier point for me. I think a great Caldecott winner is a discovery for a well read audience. It’s easy to give the award over and over again to the likes of say … David Weisner, Jon Klassen, Marla Frazee and others, but isn’t even more exciting to put a lesser known illustrator front and center?

This year, I’m adding another criteria: Important Messages for Children.  I’m thinking that now, more than ever, picture books that impart an important message to kids is higher on the list than ever.

With these points in mind, this is my list for predicting the 2017 Caldecott. In order to make this list, I researched many mock Caldecott lists and posts which gave me 25 books. After reading all these books, I’ve narrowed it down. I’m also favoring Important Messages for Children as part of my selection process.

p.s. My Caldecott/Newbery predictions are here: 2017201620152014, and 2013.

My 2018 Caldecott Predictions

Most Likely to Win Caldecott

After The Fall by Dan Santat

My front runner is Dan Santat’s latest fractured fairy tale/growth-mindset picture book that is both clever and moving. It’s the ambiguous ending that seals the deal for me though. The genius of this story is taking something that is well known and finding a spin that is both inspiring, provocative, and cleverly original. The growth mindset message is right on target as well. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Rooting Hard For These

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

There has been a lot of buzz about this non-fiction picture book all year and the genius of this book is how Jason Chin packs a lot of information in beautifully designed page spreads, making it easy to read and understand. The Grand Canyon is a big place to explore, but Chin takes the reader through a logical progression following the waterways and then climbing out of the gorge to the top. This is really an exceptional non-fiction book with every detail of earth science meets biology with a side of ecology is edited to perfection. [nonfiction picture book, ages 7 and up]

Mighty Moby by Ed Young and Barbara Lacosta

This picture book is a clever riff off Moby Dick with twists and turns. What is exceptionally clever is that the reader is required to turn the book sideways from page spread to page spread, which gives a sense of movement as if on a rollicking ship. The mixed media artwork is both realistically rendered but also a puzzle to solve. I feel like Ed Young is due for Caldecott recognition and I am hoping it happens for his through this book. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

I grew up with just one Chinese Folk Tale picture book. I had a tattered copy of The Five Chinese Brothers with cartoon-like illustrations. It wasn’t my favorite book and so I didn’t realize how many more great Chinese Folk Tales were out there.

For my own children, I read them more Korean and Japanese Folk Tales than Chinese, and it is heartening to see how many great Chinese Folk Tales have been published since I was a child. We especially enjoyed The Empty Pot and created a book club event around the sequel, The Greatest Power.

What are your favorite Chinese Folk or Fairy Tales? Thanks for sharing!

p.s. More folktales:

Native American Folklore and Creation Stories by Native Americans

21 Wonderful Japanese Folk Tales for Kids

Hawaiian Folk Tales and Children’s Books

Filipino Folk Tales

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

The Rock Maiden by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

Ling Lee lived in a fishing village in Hong Kong and fell in love with a kind, young fisherman. When he was lost at sea, she never gave up hope of her return, climbing to the top of a cliff overlooking the sea to watch for him. Her lonely figure was noticed by a god who turned her and her baby into stone. About a year later, her husband returns and discovers what has happened. Tin Hau, the patron god of fisherman, again intervenes, rewarding true love. Natasha Yim retells this folk tale with a happy ending. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

Han Gan lived 1,200 years ago in China. He grew up impoverished, but because a great painter of horses. Chen Jiang Hong painted the illustrations using the same technique than Han Gan used. In this story, Han Gan’s talent is rumored to bring real horses to life through the images he paints. A warrior asked for such a horse to fight the enemy at the gates. Han Gan’s horse is invincible and the warrior, while on his back, can not be hurt, however, the warrior’s thirst for conquest, and saddens the horse. The horse finally throws the warrior off his back and runs off. When the warrior searches for the horse, returning to find Han Gan, he find that one of the paintings has a new addition … the warrior’s horse. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Read more…

Nevermoor Giveaway

Nevermoor Prize Pack GIVEAWAY!

Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy to check out, and is partnering with me for a giveaway!

I’m giving away a prize pack in celebration of Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. This book reminds me of The Hunger Games meets The Unwanteds.

 

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Nevermoor Prize Pack GIVEAWAY!

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. I can only ship to U.S. addresses due to the high cost of shipping.

  • copy of Nevermoor
  • branded lapel pin
  • branded Hotel Deucalion pen and notebook
  • $50 Amex gift card to have a wondrous holiday season

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jessica Townsend lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, but has lived on and off in London for a few years. She was a copywriter for eight years, and in a previous role, was the editor of a children’s wildlife magazine for Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is her first novel.

To learn more, follow Jessica on Twitter and Instagram.


10 Books to Turn Reluctant Readers into Eager Ones & 3 Book Giveaway!

10 Books to Turn Reluctant Readers into Eager Ones & 3 Book Giveaway!

Please welcome my guest author today, Jarrett Lerner. I met him at the six middle grade event in Boston!

He’s the author of EngiNerds and we are doing a 3 book giveaway! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

EngiNerds by Jarrett Lerner

The battle between boys and bots is on in this funny, fast-paced novel.

They may be brainiacs, but they’re just like everyone else: they fight with one another, watch too much TV, eat Chinese food, and hate walking their dogs. Well, maybe not just like everyone because Ken’s best friend Dan has been building robots. He then secretly sent one to each of the EngiNerds, never letting them know he’s the mastermind.

But be careful what you wish for: Dan’s robot, Greeeg, may look innocent, but his ravenous consumption of food—comestibles—turns him into a butt-blasting bot. And once the other robots ‘come alive’ it’s up to the motley crew of EngiNerds to not only save the day, but save the planet! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

10 Books to Turn Reluctant Readers into Eager Ones

1. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Any list like this would be incomplete if it failed to mention Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants (and now also Dog Man) series. They are, quite simply, some of the best books produced in the past couple decades. They are wonderfully approachable, and always manage to deliver the perfect amount of silliness and adventure while also leaving readers with something positive to think over. Pilkey’s books are a sure-fire way of eroding some of your reluctant reader’s reluctance. [chapter book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit December

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children’s book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

Read more…

Free Books from Multicultural Children's Book Day!

Free Books from Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is a non-profit that I co-founded along with fellow mom, Mia Wenjen, that has a mission of helping kids “see themselves” on the pages of the books they read. This event has evolved into something so incredibly wonderful and positive: far more than all of us could have ever imagined.

Free Books from Multicultural Children's Book Day!

As we approach our fifth MCBD, I am excited to report that we have so many amazing things planned for our 2018 online event (1/27/18). , This holiday is usually just a one day event, but because since the day of this children’s book-related holiday lands on a Saturday, we decided to get creative on how we can make this one-day event a week-long party! Read more…

Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture & GIVEAWAY!

Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome my guest author today, Padma Venkatraman, with an extensive list on books for kids and teens to learn about Indian culture. She has broken out her list into four categories:

  • picture books
  • younger middle grade
  • older middle grade/younger young adult
  • young adult/adult

We are also giving away 4 copies of her books. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.


Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture

I’m honored to contribute a list of titles that help readers ‘learn about India and Indian culture.’  This list is just a starting point – and is limited (as indeed, all lists are). The titles that came to mind today are mostly fiction by Indian American authors and American publishers; obviously there are several excellent authors and publishers whose work isn’t included. In addition, most of the protagonists below appear to come from Hindu families; but in deference to the unfortunate anti-Islamic sentiment that prevails in parts of the world today, within each age category I have added at least one book that features a Muslim protagonist (from the Indian subcontinent).

Picture Books for Kids and Teens to Learn About Indian Culture

Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore, illustrated by Alice Priestly.

Gita, whose family has recently immigrated, discovers the true meaning of Diwali, the festival of light, when her plans to celebrate it go wrong. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Read more…

DIY Organic Rose Shampoo

DIY Organic Rose Shampoo

My hair stylist starting making organic beauty products and my girls and I love her Rose Shampoo and Rinse though she doesn’t sell it on her Etsy store, Joli Savons.

DIY Shampoo easy recipe

I decided to try to make shampoo myself. I found a recipe that was pretty easy and played around with it until it worked for my hair. Instead of two products — shampoo and rinse — I wanted a shampoo that moisterized and volumized with just one product.DIY shampoo recipe Read more…