#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to Albert Whitman Picture Books!


Wishing a Happy Book Birthday to the following authors and illustrators!  Special thanks to Albert Whitman Publishing for sharing ARCs of their Spring 2021 picture books with my #bookexcursion group.  



Way Past Sad by Hallee Adelmann Illustrated by Karen Hall  (April 1, 2021)

James is sad when he finds out his best friend Sanj is moving and is leaving only a few days before his birthday.  When Sanj hands James an early present, James feels the sad take over his body and runs home.  Supportive mom gives James a hug which feels good but does not take away his sadness. Once James looks out his windows and sees Sanji looking unhappy , he realizes that spending time together will make them both feel better. They build a fort, play and most importantly, acknowledge that they will both miss each other. After Sanji moves away, the sadness remains but James agrees to bike ride with other friends and shows he is coping with the separation. On the last page, the illustration shows James’ birthday party and while Sanji could not attend in person, he is able to join via the computer. 

Way Past Jealous by Hallee Adelmann Illustrated by Karen Hall (April 1, 2021)

Yaz is very proud of a drawing of her and her friend Debby, but when everyone in her class makes over Debby’s dog artwork, jealousy begins to set in.  And when the teacher hangs Debby’s picture on the bulletin board, jealousy becomes more than just a feeling.  Yaz distances herself from her friends especially Debby and when no one is looking, tears Debby’s drawing from the display.  These actions though do not make Yaz feel any better about herself.  After seeing Debby’s sadness, Yaz admits what she has done and says she is sorry. Debby is no longer sad; she is mad.  The next day, Yaz apologizes to Debby again handing her the picture of the two of them.  Will Debby be able to forgive and be friends again?

Like Way Past Mad and Way Past Worried in the Great Big Feelings series, Way Past Sad and Way Past Jealous are stories that can help children process their feelings.   I love that Adelman writes her story in first person because children get to hear the inner conversation that both James and Yaz are having.  Embedded in the stories are actions, both good and bad, that each character uses to cope with their emotions.  It is important for kids to see the steps that both James and Yaz take to manage their feelings.  Hall’s bold illustrations fill up the page and complement the text well showing both children’s journey to overcome their sadness and jealousy.  I highly recommend the Great Big Feelings series as a teaching tool to support social emotional learning for young children. Check out the website, Way Past Books, for more information about the books in the series, videos, and fun and games!




Zoo-Mate Wanted by Korrie Lear (April 1, 2021)

Sisters Leah and Lilly share a room and a love for the zoo, but Lilly keeps her side neat and Leah’s side is untidy.  Tired of the mess, Lilly and her toy monkey move out and Leah decides to advertise for a roommate or in fact, a zoo-mate.  Lots of animals respond to the ad, but they all are not kind to her own dear stuffed monkey.  As a result, Leah was willing to make some changes to her poster which persuaded Lilly to return and made both monkeys (and sisters) happy.  

Zoo-Mate Wanted is an engaging and entertaining story about sibling relationships.  I love that Leer chose to draw Leah and Lilly as identical sisters in features, but very different in dress, hairstyle, and personalities.  When Lilly left, Leah seized the opportunity to find a roommate that was fine with noise, mess, snacking, painting, climbing, and best of all-no cleaning!  After her applicants did not work out, Leah demonstrates she can compromise revising her ad to include words such as neatly and cleaning.  And once the sisters are reunited, Leer shows that Leah and Lilly still have their struggles, but now their love for each other helps them work through any difficulties.  



Goldilocks and The Three Engineers by Sue Fliess Illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis (April 1, 2021)

It’s a role reversal for Goldilocks and the Three Bears in this STEM retelling of the classic fairy tale.  Creator Goldilocks is suffering from inventor’s block and takes a walk from her home to clear her head. Three bears are preparing for winter and on their travels to find honey, they see Goldilocks’ home and wonder if anyone lives there.  Upon entering the unlocked house, they are amazed at all of Goldilocks’ inventions but after trying them out, discovers ways to improve them.  For example, the chair would be better with wheels, the porridge tastier with honey, and the bed more stable with gears. When Goldilocks returns, she observes all the enhancements with delight. After formally meeting the bears who introduce themselves as engineers, Goldilocks realizes that four brains are better than one inviting them to join her team. 

Goldilocks and the Three Engineers is a fun take on the the original and is a welcome addition to Fleiss and Bouloubasis’ other collaborations such as The Princess and the Petri Dish, Mary Had a Little Lab, and Little Red Rhyming Hood.  Written in playful rhyme with detailed and quirky illustrations, the retelling shares a message of creativity, imagination, resourcefulness, and teamwork.  



The Star Festival by Moni Ritchie Hadley Illustrated by Mizuho Fujisawa (April 1, 2021)

This narrative story teaches young readers about Tanabata Matsuri, also known as Japan’s Star Festival   Young Keiko is excited to celebrate with her family dressing in her summer kimono,  putting on her geta (shoes), and making a wish.  As she prepares and they make their way to the festival, Oba (grandmother) tells the origin of the celebration, how two stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi, fell in love, but once married, neglected their work.  As punishment, Orihime’s father only allowed his daughter to see Hikoboshi once a year after their work was done.  As the family walks through town, Keiko’s enthusiasm is evident in both the text and the art as she admires the decorations and enjoys the games and food.  In the crowds, she and her mother are separated from Oba.  Sitting on top of her mother’s shoulders, Keiko spies Oba but a parade is between them similar to the river that Orihime and Hikoboshi had to cross on their first meeting.  Like the stars, Keiko is determined to be reunited with Oba and when they are, the family celebrates with one of their wishes, shaved ice.

I love how Hadley wove the folktale and Keiko’s family’s story together and along with Fujisawa’s warm, expressive illustrations, The Star Festival celebrates not only a Japanese tradition but also the importance of sharing customs as a family.  Back matter includes more information about the festival as well as food, decorations, and directions to make a tanzaku to share your own wish. 



Shaped by Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez by Anna Harber Freeman & Barbara Gonzales Illustrated by Aphelandra (April 1, 2021)

Maria Martinez was the most famous American Indian potter of her time.  This biography shares her life story of learning the art of pottery under the guidance of her Aunt Nicolasa.  Besides teaching her techniques, her aunt instilled in Maria the importance of thanking Mother Earth for the materials and sharing her clay knowledge with others.  After attending boarding school, Maria returned to her pueblo, married, started a family and continued perfecting her craft.  Because of her immense skills, an archeologist, Edgar Lee Hewitt, approached Maria asking her to replicate a pot based on an ancient sherd he found on a dig.  Never having seen black pottery, Maria was determined to create it and after experimenting, she was successful.  Her pottery intrigued Hewitt because it was a blend of both the old and new.  Not long after, Maria’s pottery was being sold in Santa Fe and demand was high.  Recalling her aunt’s words, Maria taught family and friends and even demonstrated pottery making across the country sharing her knowledge with others. 

The backmatter includes more information about Maria Martinez, The Tewa People and the San Ildefonso Pueblo.  I greatly appreciate the authors’ note, for I learned Gonzales is the great grandchild of Maria.  Freeman, an art teacher, who learned about Maria Martinez from her grandmother, wished to teach her students about her work, but was unable to find books about her.  Through their collaboration, Shaped by Her Hands was written.  Aphelandra’s rich and earthy artwork brings the story to another level.  


Listening to the Stars: Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovers Pulsars by Jodie Parachini Illustrated by Alexandra Badiu

“If you open your mind, you can hear the universe.” 

Irish born Jocelyn Bell always had a love for astronomy and while girls typically did not study science in the 1950’s, Jocelyn was determined to fulfill her dream of becoming an astronomer.  Rather than stay up late to study the stars, Jocelyn had heard about a radio telescope which she could listen to during the day.  It took two years to construct her own radio telescope, and in 1967, Jocelyn heard a scruffy sound as regular as a heartbeat.  And unlike the professors who joked the sounds were from aliens, Jocelyn knew she discovered something important.  And she was right, for Jocelyn’s sound waves were actually from a neutron star.  She had discovered a pulsar star!  

After her extraordinary discovery, Jocelyn continued her work even after marrying and having children, which was rare in the late 1960’s.  In 1974, when the Nobel Prize was awarded to men who worked with her on the pulsar project, Jocelyn remained gracious, for she was happy that astronomy had been recognized for the first time ever.  What I love about Listening to the Stars is how Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a pioneer in astronomy and this picture book biography will support and encourage young girls with an interest in science pave their own way.  



Dylan’s Dragon by Annie Silvestro Illustrated by Ben Whitehouse (April 1, 2021)

Dylan is a doodler and daydreamer about dragons but as he gets older, his days are filled with lots of activities from karate, baseball, and swimming to homework, piano, and science club.  So when Dragon unexpectedly appears at Dylan’s house wanting to play, Dylan is surprised but asks if he can play later.  Dragon continues to return but Dylan’s schedule is so tight it seems he will never have time to play with Dragon.  Finally, on Sunday morning, Dylan has nothing to do, but Dragon is draGONE.  Dylan expresses his sadness to his mom who admits his schedule needs to be cut back.  Will Dylan be able to find Dragon?   With time to doodle and daydream, it doesn’t take long before Dragon pops back into Dylan’s life. 

Dylan’s Dragon is a story that reminds us the importance of slowing down and enjoying the carefree, unscheduled moments in our lives.  Silvestro’s text and Whitehouse’s illustrations work well together communicating Dylan’s hectic lifestyle and his frustration with never getting to play.  I love that drawing and imagination is celebrated as a way to play and relax.  

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.




I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog by Michal Babay  Illustrated by Ela Smietanka (April 1, 2021)

Chewie is training to be a service dog for a young girl named Alice who is living with celiac disease. His job is to detect gluten, for even a small amount of this protein can make Alice sick.  When Chewie smells gluten, he alerts by running in a circle and sits down if it is gluten-free.  Training is hard work for Chewie because it’s not easy to stay focused and ignore things like bugs, birds, and left over pizza on the ground.  Knowing that Alice is depending on him is just the encouragement Chewie needs to buckle down and after a week of training working directly with Alice, Chewie graduates as an official service dog. 

I have read stories about service dogs, but I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog is the first picture book I have read which shares how dogs can be trained to smell gluten. In the author’s note, Babay explains that the book is based on the true story of her daughter and her service dog.  I love how Babay chose to tell the story from Chewie’s point of view because readers see his struggles and his triumphs and Smietanka’s playful illustrations show his love for his job and Alice. 


Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday & Blog Tour to Lady Pancake and French Toast: Short & Sweet by Josh Funk Illustrated by Brendan Kearney


About the Book:
Title: SHORT & SWEET (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast Volume 4)
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Brendan Kearney
Pub. Date:  September 1, 2020

Happy Book Birthday to SHORT & SWEET!  Bella and I are so excited to be a part of the SHORT & SWEET Long & Savory virtual tour sharing our review of the latest Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast adventure!

Continue reading “Happy Book Birthday & Blog Tour to Lady Pancake and French Toast: Short & Sweet by Josh Funk Illustrated by Brendan Kearney”

#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to Gurple and Preen by Linda Sue Park and Debbie Ridpath Ohi!

Bella and I wish a very Happy Book Birthday to Gurple and Preen written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi!  Below is my review I originally shared on It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? on 6/8/20.  Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.

Robots Gurple and Preen crash-land on a planet which results in a damaged ship with crayons scattered everywhere.  Without the right resources, a distressed Gurple thinks the ship is unrepairable while an enterprising Preen has a different outlook.  When Gurple breaks a crayon which results in a tablecloth, Preen uses it as a tool to wrap the scattered crayons into groups. Each time Gurple is discouraged by what emerges out of a broken crayon, Preen shows its utility which ultimately fixes the ship. An astonished Gurple’s eyes and mind are open to a different way of thinking.

Gurple and Preen answers the question-What can you do with a broken crayon? You can not only create imaginative artwork but you also can also tell a captivating story.  What I love about the story is it teaches kids valuable skills such as resourcefulness, creativity, and problem solving.

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Book Birthday, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/13/20


Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

For the past few weeks, I have been leaning on picture books partly due to their length but I am happy to report that I finished reading 3 novels this week.  Getting into a reading rut is tough so I am glad that there are so many types of books to help during the ebbs and flows of life.  And all these novels are #mustreadsin2020.  Two celebrate their book birthday this week and one will publish in less than a month!

Recent Reads:


What Lane? by Torry Maldanado

Stephen is an eleven year old biracial boy who lives in Brooklyn with his librarian mom and teacher dad.  Believing in a saying coined by his favorite basketball player, Stephen wears a bracelet with the words WHAT LANE? This phrase reminds him that he is not confined to one path or as his father says “the world is yours.” Stephen shows his many lanes in his friendships, for his best friend, Dan is white, but he also has friends who are African American, Latino or mixed like him.  But Stephen’s thinking is challenged when he experiences microaggressions solely because of his color.  And while two years ago, Stephen made a New Year’s resolution to say what’s on his mind, it is not always easy to follow through especially when Dan’s cousin Chad is involved.  Stephen learns that he must open his eyes and speak his mind and not worry about so much about the lanes but rather stick with his friends who are true allies and have his back.

Lately, it has been hard to stay focus to read a novel and I know other adults and kids are struggling too. What Lane? is a gamechanger on so many levels.  Written in 126 pages with short chapters, Stephen’s authentic story hooked me from the very first page.  Kids will easily relate to Stephen who loves superheroes and the television show, Stranger Things.  What I love the most is author and teacher Torrey Maldonado tackles tough issues candidly in language that kids will not only enjoy but understand.   One of my #mustreadsin2020, it is a novel that adults should read as well  Thanks to the author and publisher Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  What Lane? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.


Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Paul, Shanks and Peephole are the One and Onlys, budding detectives who all happen to be only children.  Well, Peephole is actually losing this title, for his mom is expecting a baby soon.  The trio is used to solving mundane cases like the missing remotes or the class hamster’s lost tail so they jump at the chance to find out who covered their neighbor Mr. Babbages’s lawn with rubber ducks. Why is Mr. Babbage the target?  It turns out that he is the five time winner of the annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza known to the town as the “Triple B.”  Could somebody be attempting to rattle Babbage so he is not on top of his bratwurst game?  The One and Onlys are on the case even though sluggish Officer Portnoy has told them to cease sleuthing. Paul, Shanks, and Peephole must get their ducks, I mean, clues in a row so they can solve the case!

Finally, Something Mysterious is another middle grade novel on my #mustreadin2020 and debut author Doug Cornett kept me laughing and guessing as I worked to put the clues together.  I loved how each character brought strengths to the group, for Paul tracked down the cases, Shanks was the muscle showing no fear, and Peephole’s photographic memory cataloged every detail.  Minor characters like the town’s cruelest teacher and chief bratwurst tester Mr. Pocus were also intriguing and well developed.  Equally important as a character is the quirky town of Bellwood itself, which is small and actually shaped like a bell (which you can see from the handy map included at the beginning of the novel).    Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Finally, Something Mysterious celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 14, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.


The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

In a letter to readers that precedes Chapter 1, author Katherine Applegate asks if you are Team Canine.  My blog pretty much speaks to my allegiance; therefore, I was so utterly excited to have the opportunity to read another one of my #mustreadsin2020, The One and Only Bob before it officially releases on May 5, 2020. Thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for sharing an e-book with Beagles and Books.

Eight years after The One and Only Ivan published, Applegate takes us back to check in with Bob, Ivan, and Ruby with tiny and tough Bob telling the tale. Bob’s narration is perfect. Readers get to know his backstory before meeting Ivan and his current comfortable life with Julia and her family.  I have always been a fan of Applegate’s writing using concise words, lots of white space, and short chapters.  But she really blew me away writing from a dog perspective using terms as bed boogie, drool flag and UFO (which are defined along with other words in a canine glossary following the story) and how vet, bath, fireworks, and vacuum cleaner are canine swear words.   Based on his life experiences, it is no surprise why Bob has his guard up, but it is clear that he will do anything for those he loves especially when a tornado hits the animal sanctuary where Ivan and Ruby now live.  In a time where we all need to remain positive, Bob reminds us to never lose hope because “sometimes humans don’t let you down. Sometimes they even come to your rescue.”  Here’s to us all rescuing each other.



Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

#MustReadsin2020, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Middle Grade Literature

Happy Book Birthday to From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Happy Book Birthday to Janae Marks and her debut novel, From the Desk of Zoe Washington, which is my first read on my #mustreadin2020 middle grade novel list! Special thanks to the publisher Katherine Tegan/Harper Collins for sharing an ARC at the NCTE convention.

image0.pngOn aspiring baker Zoe’s twelfth birthday, her life is forever changed when she checks the mailbox and finds a letter from her biological father Marcus who has been in prison her whole life.  While this letter is the first one Zoe has read, she learns that Marcus has been writing her letters for a long time. Curious about a man she has never met who calls her his Little Tomato and loves music, Zoe secretly begins writing to him unbeknownst to her mother and stepfather.  With each letter, Zoe gets to know Marcus better and finds it hard to believe that he is in jail for committing murder.  When Zoe finally gets the courage to ask him about the crime, he not only explains he is innocent but also shares his alibi.

As if the weight of clearing her father’s conviction isn’t heavy enough, Zoe is also juggling an internship at a local bakery, a possible audition with Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge, and a disagreement with her best friend Trevor.  Fortunately, being honest with both her grandmother and Trevor provides Zoe with support as she searches for the truth. ‪

Written from Zoe’s point of view, debut author Marks expertly captures the voice of passionate and determined Zoe who is an advocate for her father. Readers see Zoe struggle with lying to her parents along with her boldness and urgency as she seeks to uncover the truth about her father. Marks tackles tough issues such as institutionalized racism in a way that is accessible for middle grade readers. From the Desk of Zoe Washington is Zoe teaches us that one person can indeed make a difference and how family can forgive each other for making mistakes.

I highly recommend From the Desk of Zoe Washington! Just waiting for my hardcover copy to arrive so I can share with students and teachers!

Book Birthday, Bookexcursion, Middle Grade Literature

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

Beagles & Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to I, Cosmos!

When golden retriever Cosmo becomes a big brother to Max, he promised to not only love Max but also protect him and his family doggedly for the rest of his life. Years later, Cosmo senses something is wrong in the house. Mom and Dad are fighting a lot and Max confides in Cosmo that he overheard his mom say the word divorce. With the encouragement of his uncle who is visiting, Max and Cosmo join a canine freestyle club at the community center. Max believes if he and Cosmo can win the dance competition, it will convince his parents to never separate them or even better, ensure that his parents never break up. Training isn’t easy due to Cosmo’s stiff joints but he is determined to dance with his boy.

Written from Cosmo’s point of view, author Carlie Sorosiak has created a character who I doggedly love! While Cosmo definitely lives to eat good food (especially bacon), he lives most to be a loyal and loving companion to Max. And while the story tugged at my heart and made me tear quite than a few times, I also laughed and chuckled at Cosmo’s observations which were so on point. My blog is testament to how much I love my beagle girls, but I think reading I, Cosmo has made me love them even more reminding me of their utter goodness and unconditional love. Thanks to the publisher Walker Books/Candlewick Press for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.

Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Review & Giveaway for Cogheart by Peter Benzl

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review for Cogheart by Peter Benzl. Special thanks to Jolly Fish Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary:

Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat.

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her? With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart …


Cogheart tells the story of Lily, a student at Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies.  Posture class and French conversation lessons are not Lily’s cup of tea and while she may have frustrated a number of her governesses, she still can’t understand why her inventor father, John Hartman send her to boarding school under a false surname.
As the story quickly unfolds, Lily discovers that her father is missing after his airship crashed.  Since he is presumed dead, Lily is plucked out of school by her father’s housekeeper who Lily knows cannot be trusted.  Determined to find her father, Lily puts her trust in Robert, the son of a town clockmaker who with his father’s help repairs Malkin, Lily’s mechanical fox after he was injured.  Created by her father, Malkin shares his account of what happened on the airship the night John Hartman disappeared. As she, Robert, and Malkin navigate Victorian London thwarting off dastardly villains and attempt to uncover the truth, Lily discovers family secrets that could endanger Robert’s and her lives.
Cogheart is a book I wished I had read when I was a kid.  With dynamic characters, a fast paced intriguing plot, and an enchanting steampunk setting, I was quickly immersed in Lily and Robert’s world.  While Lily’s quest to find out the truth was riveting, I was equally drawn to Robert who initially lacked confidence in himself and a dreadful fear of heights.  Due to his kindness and loyalty to Lily, Robert realizes that his father Thaddeus was right, for while is true that ”no one conquers fear easily, it takes a brave heart to win great battles.” Cogheart is a story about family, friendship, and finding out who you really are.
First published in the UK in 2016, Cogheart is the first novel in the trilogy.  Thankful to Jolly Fish Press for purchasing the American rights to this thrilling series.  I am anxiously anticipating more adventures with Lily and Robert in Book 2 Moonlocket, which will be released in Fall 2019 and Book 3 Sky Circus in Spring 2020.

Praise for COGHEART!

With great style and panache, the novel deftly winds through the intricacies of friendship and moral choice while maintaining a fun edge.” —Publishers Weekly
“An exciting, fast-paced adventure.”  —Booklist
“Introduces dastardly villains, friendly mechanicals, and thrilling airship action. . . . with hair-raising and cinematic charm.” —Kirkus Reviews
View the book trailer below and click here to download activities, discussion guides and much more!

Peter Bunzl.jpg

About the Author:
Peter Bunzl grew up in London and lives there with his partner Michael. He is a BAFTA-award-winning animator, as well as a writer and filmmaker. To learn more, visit his website, peterbunzl.com or follow him on Twitter @peterbunzl or Instagram @peter_bunzl

One lucky winner will receive COGHEART courtesy of Jolly Fish Press (U.S. addresses).

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison


Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author and illustrator Vashti Harrison and her latest picture book Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World. I am excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

Little Dreamers.png

About the Book:
Author: Vashti Harrison
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 96

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudible,  B&NiBooksTBD

From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History comes the highly anticipated follow-up, a beautifully illustrated collectible detailing the lives of women creators around the world.

Featuring the true stories of 40 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Visionary Women Around the World inspires as it educates. Readers will meet trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, actor/inventor Hedy Lamar, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, architect Zaha Hadid, filmmaker Maya Deren, and physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Some names are known, some are not, but all of the women had a lasting effect on the fields they worked in.

The charming, information-filled full-color spreads show the leaders as both accessible and aspirational so reader knows they, too, can grow up to do something amazing.

Little Dreamers is a companion to Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of concise biographies is a celebration of 40 curious, creative, and persistence women who are role models for us all.  Each woman challenged the norm, saw things differently and wasn’t afraid to ask questions and share their thinking. Because of their determination and willingness to make mistakes, the world is a better place.

Harrison’s extensive time researching is evident, for she includes women from as far back as the ninth century as well as women who are still alive today. She highlights women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the arts and science.  While some names were familiar to me such as Marie Curie, Toni Morrison and Maya Lin, I must shamefully admit that the majority of women were new to me, which is why Little Dreamers is such an important book to be read and shared with children.

Little Dreamers is an utterly gorgeous book in its content, design, and message. The format makes the text highly accessible to elementary age students. One page mini biographies are accompanied by a strikingly beautifully yet simple portrait. 









The learning doesn’t end, for the backmatter includes an introduction to 18 additional women and resources for readers to conduct their own research. A glossary of terms is also included. Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World is an affirming and uplifting text that should be in every home, classroom and library to educate and inspire future little dreamers.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Vashti Harrison Photo.jpg

About Vashti:
Part author – illustrator – filmmaker, Vashti Harrison is an artist originally from Onley, Virginia. She has a background in filmmaking and a love for storytelling. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia as a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art with concentrations in Film and Cinematography. She then went on to receive her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skillsets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories for children and young adults in the film and kidlit worlds.

Website | Twitter | Instagram |Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LITTLE DREAMERS: VISIONARY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.


Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Vashti Harrison and her new picture book LITTLE DREAMERS.

Week One:
11/5/2018- Such a Novel Idea– Review
11/6/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/7/2018- Mama Reads Blog– Review
11/8/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
11/9/2018- The Layaway Dragon– Review

Week Two:
11/12/2018- YA Books Central– Excerpt
11/13/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review
11/14/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/15/2018- Novel Novice– Review
11/16/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review


Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Love Like Sky by Leslie Youngblood


Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author Leslie Youngblood and her debut middle grade novel Love Like Sky! I am excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Author: Leslie C. Youngblood
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD


“Brims with charm and compassion.”
–Vashti Harrison, New York Times best-selling author of Little Leaders 

“Love ain’t like that.”
“How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.
“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”
“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”
“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”
“No, when we look up, there it is.”
“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches–love like sky.”
“It never ends?”

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

Told from the point of view of 11-year-old Georgie, Love Like Sky is an honest and heartwarming story about family and friendship.  Georgie is experiencing a lot of change in her life with both of her parents remarrying, gaining a reluctant stepsister, and moving away from her best friend Nikki.  When her little sister Peaches gets sick, Georgie initially blames herself.  Peaches’ illness actually brings Georgie and her stepsister Tangie closer, for Tangie can empathize with Georgie’s grief.  Tangie’s own sister died as a result of injuries sustained from a car accident.   While Georgie welcomes Tangie’s attention, Nikki feels threatened and becomes more friendly with Lucinda, a mean girl, which causes a rift between the best friends.

What I love about Love Like Sky is Georgie’s voice is so authentic.  Young readers will  easily be able to relate to Georgie’s struggles but they will also see her strength.  While still a child, she is getting older and wants to be treated more like a grown up.  Like other kids her age, Georgie’s choices can be selfish at times but she is self-reflective and learns from her mistakes.  Georgie also shows maturity when Nikki is unable to stand up to Lucinda and seeks to help rather than abandon her best friend.

While her family dynamics has definitely changed with her parents’ divorce and remarriages, it is clear that Georgie is blessed with both parents and stepparents who love and support her.  One of my favorite quotes is when Georgie says “Grown-ups are human too.  It takes time to figure stuff out.”  That is true Georgie but never-ending love of family will help you get through those tough times.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


About Leslie:
Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LOVE LIKE SKY, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.


Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Leslie Youngblood and her debut novel LOVE LIKE SKY.

Week One:
11/5/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt
11/6/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/7/2018- YA Books CentralExcerpt
11/8/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review
11/9/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Two:
11/12/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/13/2018- Texan Holly Reads– Review
11/14/2018- Utopia State of Mind– Review
11/15/2018- Novel Novice– Excerpt
11/16/2018- Such a Novel Idea– Review


Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Del Toro Moon by Darcy Karchut

Happy Book Birthday to Darby Karchut’s Del Toro Moon! Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the Del Toro Moon Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Author: Darby Karchut
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 224
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

“Ride hard, swing hard, and take out as many of those creepy critters as you can.”

Twelve year old Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in his family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying wolf-like monsters, known as skinners. Now, with those creatures multiplying, both in number and ferocity, Matt must saddle up and match his father’s skills at monster whacking. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a trillion to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.

Del Toro Moon is a fast paced adventure told from the point of view of youngest son, Matt who is just joining his father and brother in the family trade. For centuries, his family has held the dangerous occupation of guarding the town against these wolf-like monsters known as skinners. Contained in sealed coffers for years, these creepy skinners have been getting out and multiplying.  Fortunately, the Del Toro family does not have to fight this battle alone, for their Andalusian war horses are right by their side fighting with them. And their horses can talk!  El Cid is definitely my favorite horse because he watches over Matt closely ever since his mother died. Having El Cid as a confidant is important because Matt’s dad, Javier and older brother, Ben do not always see eye to eye and given the family’s line of work, making friends is not easy for Matt.

While the Del Toro family business of combating skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.  Matt and Ben may not always agree with Javier, but they truly respect him and their family history.  Javier also has instilled a sense of duty and strength in his sons.  Matt is reminded by his father’s words that “courage is as much about battling our fears as it battling our foes.” Courage is crucial as Matt navigates not only fighting skinners but also opening himself up to new friendships and coping with the loss of loved ones.   Amid the horror of the Del Toro family battling skinners, Del Toro Moon is a story that also has a lot of heart.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway Details:
One winner will receive a signed finished copy of Del Toro Moon, US Only. Click on link below to enter.


About Darby:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.

When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words.

Her books include the best selling middle grade series, THE ADVENTURE OF FINN MacCULLEN. Coolest thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Del Toro Moon.

Week One:
9/24/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview
9/25/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt
9/26/2018- Random Bookish Banter– Review
9/27/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review
9/28/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review

Week Two:
10/1/2018- Eli to the nth– Review
10/2/2018- Beagles and Books– Review
10/3/2018- Daily Waffle Excerpt
10/4/2018- LA Bookworm– Review
10/5/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt