Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Multicultural Children's Book Day - TODAY!

Sprout's Bookshelf is honored to be part of Multicultural Children's Book Day this year. Here's the full list of 2015 co-hosts:

2015 Sponsors for Multicultural Children's Book Day:

MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global BookshopGold Sponsors:  Satya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic PoofSilver SponsorsJunior Library Guild,  Capstone PublishingLee and Low Books,  The Omnibus PublishingBronze Sponsors:Double Dutch DollsBliss Group BooksSnuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Today we are Celebrating:

A giant blog tour and Link-up

Our Big MCCBD Linky is LIVE today so that bloggers can link up their multicultural children's book reviews so that readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and caregivers can explore lots of books with diversity content via book reviews, book lists, and links. ADD YOUR LINK BELOW!

A giant networking event
Our goal is to also connect organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of, and promotion of multicultural children’s books.

A virtual book drive
We have partnered with First Book for a Virtual Book Drive to help in our efforts to place multicultural books in locations where they are needed.

ALSO-We're hosting a Twitter party tonight at 9pm to 10pm EST using hashtag #ReadYourWorld. We will be talking about diversity in children's books and  giving away 10 packages of wonderful diversity and inclusive books for kids!!! Please join us!

Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party
Use Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Today, January 27th

9pm to 10pm EST

Here's your chance to win 10 packages of Diversity Books for Kids and chat about multicultural children's books with MCCBD founders Valarie Budayr (Jump Into a Book) and Mia Wenjen (PragmaticMom)!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review - Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper {Multicultural Children's Book Day}

I'm so excited to be one of the co-hosts for this year's Multicultural Children's Book Day! This event, begun in 2014 by bloggers Valerie Budayr of Jump into a Book and Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom, aims to promote diversity in children's books by shining a spotlight on multicultural titles and all they add to the world of kidlit. It's a very necessary and also super fun way to emphasize that diverse titles help you #ReadYourWorld in your homes, schools and libraries.

As part of the event, I'm sharing our thoughts about the graphic novel Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper (note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes, but all opinions are my own). I have really been looking forward to reading this one thanks to a lot of prepub buzz on social media. And I'm thrilled to say that Lowriders in Space not only lived up to all that buzz, but even exceeded it in my estimation!

Lowriders in Space blends lots of threads, making it a perfect choice to hand to all sorts of kids, whether they are interested in cars, Mexican-American culture, or outer space. The story revolves around three characters: Lupe Impala (wolf/dog-human hybrid?), El Chavo Flapjack (octopus) and Elirio Malaria (mosquito). What, you don't think this is the most logical choice for characters? I didn't either, but Camper makes it work beautifully, as she demonstrates how this crazy crew blends their mad skills to restore an old car into a lowrider and win a car competition.

The car has to be something really special to win the contest -- no ordinary lowrider's going to get the top prize, which the friends desperately want so they can open their own garage. Fortunately, the gang hits on just the thing when they add rocket boosters. Unfortunately, the three artists and their car wind up in outer space, where they'll need all their wits and ingenuity not only to trick out their ride, but also to make it back home to earth in time to make it to the contest.

Camper's creativity is what sets Lowriders in Space apart from ho-hum graphic novels that crowd the shelves. I love the way she makes all these disparate elements merge into one cohesive story that kids will fly right through. There's plenty of Mexican-American slang as well as car culture and astronomy terms woven throughout, and Camper includes a glossary at the end to define any terms young readers might not know. It's especially great to have not only a diverse cast but also a female mechanic as the main character - big points for turning stereotypes on their heads, Ms. Camper. And the illustrations by Raul the Third make Lowriders in Space sing. This is art that's vibrant yet accessible, deliberate yet casual, and most of all the kind of thing kids will want to emulate themselves. Kudos to a talented team -- Lowriders in Space is graphic novel GOLD. Can't wait to read more of the Lowriders adventures!

Activity: Try out our Lowriders in Space Word Search!

Sprout's Bookshelf is honored to be part of Multicultural Children's Book Day this year. Here's the full list of 2015 co-hosts:

Many thanks to Chronicle Books for providing a copy of Lowriders in Space for us to review!

2015 Sponsors for Multicultural Children's Book Day:

MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Picture Book Review - Where's Lenny? by Ken Wilson-Max

A little tip for all those folks who have emergent readers in your house -- don't box up the board books just yet. You may have felt like you could move on from these super-simple titles once your little one entered grade school, but the truth is that board books are perfect for kids just learning to read. The pictures are simple, giving lots of clues to support the interpretation of text. And the words tend to be manageable as well, with plenty of repetition and catchy phrases that inspire emergent readers. Plus your kids will be proud as punch to read some of their "baby" books on their own!

I was reminded of this as I sat down to blog about tonight's pick, Where's Lenny? by Ken Wilson-Max. Sprout wandered in, delaying his trip to the bath, and began immediately to puzzle through this cheery picture book. Though not a board book per se, the paper style and trim size definitely lend themselves to the youngest set. But Sprout was lured to it by the bright colors and that cover photo of Lenny, which made him want to read the book for himself. And really, who wouldn't want to read about this adorable chap?

Where's Lenny? features a game of hide-and-seek between the title character and his dad. The game takes the pair all over the house, encountering the dog, the goldfish and even Mummy. Lenny is clearly delighted to be leading his father on a wild goose chase, and the more Daddy guesses wrong, the more fun the sturdy toddler is having. At long last, Daddy and Mummy join forces and find their boy hiding under a blanket. And the escapade ends with a good bunch of cuddles, and some tickling for good measure. So fun!

Where's Lenny? is just one of several Lenny adventures by Wilson-Max. I love these titles because they include a multiracial family - it's always great to find books with parents of two different races, especially when the titles are as fun and upbeat as the Lenny books. Colorful and happy, these titles are a pure joy to read. Once you've read one, you'll be on the lookout for the rest!

Where's Lenny? by Ken Wilson-Max, published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Ages 2-5
Source: Library

Look for Lenny Has Lunch, Lenny in the Garden, and Lenny Goes to Nursery School too!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Picture Book Review - Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood

Oh my word, such a stack of books to blog about! I've been reading and loving so many books lately - it seems like a great season for multicultural and diverse titles, at long last. Lots of these titles are by authors or illustrators whose work I've previously enjoyed, but every once in a while a new artist sneaks in and captures my heart. I *love* when that happens!

Today's pick is just such a title - one that I saw the cover for and instantly knew I had to read it. Take a look at this image and tell me Imani's Moon isn't going on your TBR list for that picture alone:

I'm quite happy to say that the book delivers nicely on the promise of that cover. Author JaNay Brown-Wood based Imani's Moon on the legends and culture of the Maasai people, who can be found in Kenya and Tanzania. Sprinkling in a bit of Maasai tribal dancing and a good dose of traditional Maasai storytelling, Brown-Wood created the story of Imani, a tiny girl who is mocked by others for her small stature. Imani is captivated by her mother's stories of Olapa, the moon goddess, and longs to touch the moon in honor of her heroine. But the task seems impossible, and Imani's initial efforts fail, garnering more jeers from the children in her village. Should Imani give up her unachievable dream?

Brown-Wood does an excellent job of blending mystical and realistic in Imani's Moon. Talking animals and feats of the fantastic are key components of her story. While kids aren't likely to believe that (spoiler alert) Imani really touches the moon, they will internalize the message that Imani's mama tells her: "(a) challenge is only impossible until someone accomplishes it." Those are powerful words, just the kind of thing I want Sprout to have implanted firmly in his head as he goes forth in the world.

I can't close out this review without mentioning the illustrations by Hazel Mitchell, because they really tremendous. Brown-Wood's text pays honor to the Maasai, as do Mitchell's illustrations, showing them as a joyous and soulful people who live close to the land and revere their traditions. Sprout especially enjoyed the spread showing the Maasai warriors dancing - it's an arresting image that evokes the spirit of this gathering, a celebration and a ritual that is deeply embedded in Maasai culture. Mitchell uses color to evoke emotions as well, keeping the moon a focal point as it is for Imani herself.

Don't miss Imani's Moon, a great addition to collections for its focus on bravery, honoring oneself and never giving up. Let the magic sweep you up, as it does Imani, to touch the moon.

Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood, published by Mackinac Island Press
Ages 4-6
Source: Library

Bonus: read more about author JaNay Brown-Wood in the Multicultural Children's Book Day Spotlight

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review and GIVEAWAY! - Hissy Fitz by Patrick Jennings

Hello my lovelies, and welcome to 2015! We've had a wonderful winter break (until today that is, when Hubs succumbed to one of the bugs that's been floating around - luckily Sprout & I are as yet in the clear!). I hope you were able to enjoy some relaxation time around the holidays, whether or not you celebrate. It's really nice to just take a breath and recharge before the new year.

We're starting 2015 off with a bang here at the Bookshelf, with a review and GIVEAWAY of the new book Hissy Fitz by Patrick Jennings. This is a signed copy friends - you won't want to miss adding this hilarious chapter book to your collection!

Hissy Fitz couldn't have come along at a better time for us. Sprout's been in full learning-to-read mode, so we are gobbling up the easy readers, and our chapter book read-aloud time has been seriously extended. It's so exciting to see him really loving books in a whole new way, and nearly every night he tells me how he can't wait to read chapter books on his own. Because of that, I've been making it a point to choose books that he'll really love, which usually means funny books with vivid characters. Check and double check for Hissy Fitz.

This is the story of Hissy, a cat who just wants a decent days' sleep. Not so much to ask, right? Well it is in a household that includes one chatty grade-schooler, twin three-year-olds (one of whom just does not understand cats *at all*), and a carpenter dad. Add in barking dogs, a neighbor who fixes cars and all the noise that comes when the family is together, and you have one cranky, sleep-deprived Hissy. And he's going to do whatever it takes to get some peace and quiet - no matter what that might be. 'Cause this cat is ex-haus-ted!

We received an advance copy of Hissy Fitz to review, but even if we hadn't gotten a complimentary book, this still would have been a big hit in our household. Hissy's high jinks are seriously hilarious, as is his cranky demeanor. Jenkins clearly knows his audience -- he keeps the story moving at a perfect pace, and ratchets up the humor at just the right points throughout the plot. Sprout seriously cannot stop laughing every time we read a chapter, and in fact he was just begging me to finish the book before bedtime tonight. "I can't wait, Mom! I have to find out what happens!" were his exact words. Coming from a kid, you know that's high praise.

Hissy Fitz is perfect for kiddos just beginning to enjoy chapter books on their own. The language is simple but the action keeps them turning pages - definitely not a boring early chapter title! Hissy is the first book we've read by Patrick Jennings but I'm sure it won't be the last - Sprout's already begging me to get a copy of Guinea Dog, Jennings' award-winning title for middle graders, to read aloud soon. Can't wait!

Hissy Fitz by Patrick Jennings, published by Egmont Publishing
Ages 7-9
Source: review copy received from publisher
Sample: "I hiss at dogs. Swat at cats. Scream at children. Growl at old people. They call me crazy. Mad. Insane. Wild. And they're right. I'm everybody's worst nightmare, and I will continue to be until everybody gets quiet and lets me sleep."

If you'd like to have Hissy Fitz on your kiddo's reading list this year, maybe you'd like your very own copy?? You can win a signed copy!

(Prize provided by Egmont Publishing. Review is our honest opinion, 'cause we can't be bought, haha!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these other great blogs, for more chances to win!

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015


Thursday, January 30, 2014
To Be Announced