#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/6/20

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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.link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

#MustReadin2020 Update

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On January 1, 2020, I created my #mustreadin2020, a list of middle grade novels all being published in 2020 that I wanted to make a priority to read.  To read an update on my progress, click here.

The Wonder of Wildflowers by Anna Staniszewski

When she stands next to the other girls in her fifth grade class, Mila describes herself as “a chicken surrounded by swans.”  She is the shortest, the least athletic, and sweats with any physical activity.  When she was 5 years old, Mila emigrated to Amberland with her mother and father. Because they are not yet citizens, she and her family are not allowed to sip Amber, a liquid magic that makes people strong and healthy.  Mila is elated when her family is finally granted citizenship and the right to use Amber. She quickly notices changes in her athleticism, her grades, and her confidence especially voicing her opinion to her best friend Krysta.  Unfortunately, her creativity has taken a hit, for she is struggling to write poetry which has always been one of her talents.  And when citizens are told Amber rations are being cut, Mila and her family become a target of hate crimes for they are not seen as citizens but rather outsiders depleting the town’s Amber supply.

Written in under 200 pages with short chapters, dynamic characters, and an intriguing plot, middle grade readers will easily get pulled into Mila’s story.  While The Wonder of Wildflowers is indeed fantasy,  given the current state of our country, the plot seems quite realistic, and Staniszewski tackles relevant themes as friendship, immigration, bullying, and self-acceptance. What I loved most is witnessing Mila’s transformation realizing that it is more important to stand out than blend in.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Wonder of Wildflowers published in February 2020 and is one of my #mustreadin2020 middle grade novels.

The Word for Friend by Aidan Cassie

A pangolin named Kemala loves to talk and is excited about making friends at her new school but on her first day, worry replaced her enthusiasm because all her classmates speak a different language.  How will she ever make friends? During recess, Kemala meets Ana, an anteater, and teaches her how to cut leaves into animal shapes.  Using the animals as puppets, Kemala and Anna communicate telling each other stories. Through her friendship with Anna, Kemala develops the confidence and desire to speak the new language to her classmates and teacher.

Like the main characters in author/illustrator Cassie’s previous two picture books, Sterling, Best Dog Ever and Little Juniper Makes It Big!, Kemala learns the lesson of self-acceptance with the support of a friend.  What I love about this story is besides becoming friends, Kemala and Anna both learn a new skill.  Kemala teaches Anna how to make animal leaf puppets and Kemala learns a new language.  With charming and engaging illustrations, The Word for Friend is a perfect read aloud for the start of the school year to support building a classroom community based on kindness, inclusiveness, collaboration, and friendship.  An added bonus is the back matter which shares information on Esperanto, Kemala’s new language and cool facts about pangolins. Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an e-copy of The Word for Friend.  It recently published on June 16, 2020.

Invent-A-Pet by Vicky Fang  Illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarong

When Katie tells her mother she wants an extraordinary, spectacular pet, her mother surprises her with a marvelous machine to help her create a one of a kind animal.  The machine has 3 slots and after randomly inputting objects, the outputs were not the animals Katie wanted.  She finally makes a plan and discovers each slot has a variable-size, color, and animal.  But before Katie can create her perfect pet, she has to solve a more pressing problem.  What will she do with all the pets she created during her trial and error? Fortunately, Katie’s problem solving skills save the day ensuring all the animals find a home.  So does Katie ever create her extraordinary pet?  Read to find out!  With bright, playful illustrations and a unique plot, Invent-A-Pet is not only fun and engaging but it also teaches children the scientific process, critical thinking, and beginning concepts of coding.   Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursionIt recently published on June 2, 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.

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Bo Bo’s Cave of Gold) by Pam Berkman and Dorothy Hearst Illustrated by Claire Powell

At the Heels of History is a fictional chapter book series that recounts historical events through the eyes of dogs.  The second adventure, Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold, takes place in 1852 in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California.  In the first chapter, a golden mutt, Sage, is thrown out of her pack for being weak.  Alone and hungry, a bird takes pity of Sage and introduces her to Sheng, a young boy who left war torn and famine stricken China with his father and uncle to find gold in California.  With his father’s permission, Sheng adopts Sage renaming her Bo-Bo (meaning little treasure) and the dog vows to be tough and loyal to Sheng even when faced with challenges. Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold is a story full of history and heart. Readers will learn how immigrants were treated during the California gold rush through not only the story but also the backmatter. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here. 

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

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Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade Literature

Review & Giveaway for Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold by Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst

About the Book:
Title:
BO-BO’S CAVE OF GOLD
Author: Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst
Illustrator: Claire Powell
Pub. Date:
April 28, 2020

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Review & Giveaway for Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold by Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst”

Blog Tour, Debut Author, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani

Bella and I are excited to be part of the Kat and Juju blog tour!  Releasing on July 1, 2020, this picture book is written and illustrated by Kataneh Vahdani. Special thanks to Amazon/Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani”

#Bookexcursion, Edelweiss, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/8/20

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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.

The  Vanderbeekers Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser 

It is such a joy to return to The Vanderbeekers’ brownstone on 141st Street in Harlem.  In the fourth book of the series, The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found, it is fall right before the New York Marathon. Mr. Beiderman is running with the school’s cross country team so he can train for the marathon. While tending to the community garden, the siblings discovered that a person of mystery or PM has been staying in the shed.  With their parents’ permission, they have been leaving food.  Slowly, clues lead them to the PM’s identity and in true Vanderbeeker fashion, they want to help but as we all know, some problems are not that easily fixed.

While I love the Vanderbeekers for their genuine concern and kindness, the reason I enjoy them so much is because they encounter real problems. And when problems arise, things don’t always go the right way; mistakes are made and they learn from them.  The Vanderbeekers siblings also don’t just have each other to lean on. Besides their parents, they are a whole community of friends (young and old) to support them.

With the state of the world right now, kids and adults needs books and more importantly, a series like this. Stories that are authentic, relatable, and provide a sense of hope.  And if you haven’t read the first 3 in the series, no worries.  Author Karina Yan Glaser does a marvelous job of providing enough background that each book can be read on its own.

Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Publishing and Edelweiss for sharing an e-ARC.  The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found publishes in September 2020.

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Gurple and Preen by Linda Sue Park Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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.

Thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  Gurple and Preen publishes on August 25, 2020.

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The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet Translated by Daniel Hahn

Teaching theme can be a difficult skill. As a reading specialist, picture books have become a valuable teaching tool to support students’ ability to determine theme. With themes of empathy, bravery, resilience, friendship, family & hope, The Refuge is a great mentor text. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

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.

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A Family for Louie by Alexandra Thompson 

Foodie French bulldog Louie thinks his life is full. He has fine food, a comfortable home, and books to read. But one day he realizes the one thing he is missing is a family. But how you find a family?  Each time Louie sees what he thinks is a potential match, something is not right. Will Louie ever find a family to call his own?

Debut author/illustrator Alexandra Thompson has written and illustrated a charming story about food, friendship, and family.  Louie is simply adorable and Thompson’s use of soft colors in her illustrations evokes a sense of warmth and calm.   What I love about Louie is Thompson’s decision to make him anthropomorphic, for he sits in restaurants, goes to the beach, and sits in parks right alongside humans.  And while he thought he was content, once he saw families spending time together, he realized he desired that sense of connection too.  Thanks to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. A Family for Louie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 9, 2020.

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the The Refuge blog tour.  Written by Sandra le Guen, illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet, and translated by Daniel Hahn. this picture book is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, an imprint for children’s books in translation.  It recently published on June 1, 2020.  Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet”

Blog Tour, Early Chapter Books, Giveaway, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo

OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Our Friend Hedgehog blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG
Author/Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Pub. Date: May 5, 2020
Pubisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 122
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NibooksKoboTBDBookshop.org.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo”

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Play Like An Animal! by Maria Gianferrari

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Play Like An Animal: Why Critters Splash, Race, Twirl and Chase blog tour!  Play Like An Animal is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Mia Powell and celebrated its book birthday last week on April 7, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Lerner Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

And on a personal note, I am so appreciative that Maria personalized my copy to not only me & Bella but also in memory of my sweet Etta.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Play Like An Animal! by Maria Gianferrari”

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Rosie: Stronger Than Steel blog tour!  Rosie is written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward.  It is available now through Amazon and will officially release on April 1, 2020.   Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions/Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward”

#Bookexcursion, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/20

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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 at least the next two weeks, I am home.  Last Thursday, it was announced that all Maryland public schools would be closed from March 16-March 27 in an effort the flatten the curve of COVID-19.   Grateful that we were able to go to school on Friday  and send our students home with lots of books from our school library.  And look how many books were checked out in my district in ONE DAY!

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As hard as it is to wrap my head around the magnitude of this virus, I am taking this time to make a big dent in my neverending TBR stack, get fresh air by walking Bella a couple times a day, declutter, and tackle a few home projects that I never seem to have time for.   Wishing everyone good health as we weather this crisis together.  Glad we can all stay connected through our love for books.

Our Recent Reads:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Sabotage by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker holds a special place in my heart because Shelley Johannes was one of the first authors to send an ARCs(advance reader copy) to our newly formed ARC sharing group, #bookexcursion.  Almost 3 years later, Beatrice is back for her third adventure in Sabotage. 

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In Sabotage, Operation Upside is now a team of three: Beatrice, Lenny, and Sam.  The trio is handing out a new batch of Upside Down awards.  Lenny’s choice is new student Chloe for bravery.  Sam’s choice is private, and Beatrice needs inspiration.   But when Chloe is awarded for being the BEST VET rather than bravery, Beatrice and Lenny are suspicious.  Who would have sabotaged the award?  Lenny thinks Sam is the culprit but Beatrice does not agree and is determined to find out who is responsible.

I just love Beatrice for her curiosity, loyalty, and most especially her resolve.  When faced with the possibility that Operation Upside Down could be lost, Beatrice puts all her energy into not only solving the mystery but also diverting uncomfortable situations between Lenny and Sam.  And with her new break dancing moves, Beatrice can take her upside thinking to a whole new level.  In addition, Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen (with a splash of color) drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read. Sabotage celebrated its book birthday last week on March 10, 2020.  Hoping there are more Beatrice adventures to come!

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Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Jonathan Voss

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl. Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.

Sprouted ear tufts twitch
Pinecones whispering autumn
Soon fledgling owls fly.

Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text.  His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, click here.

 

A Tiger Without Stripes by Jaimie Whitbread

When a tiger is born without stripes, her family is not concerned.  But to the young tiger, it does matter; therefore, she embarks on a journey to find her stripes.  Shadows, scrapes, and streaks of mud gave the tiger only temporary stripes which leave her feeling distraught.  When she demands a reason why she hasn’t earned them yet, an unidentified voice responds saying “A tiger does not earn its stripes. They are a gift.”

Author/illustrator Jaimie Whitbread’s debut picture book gave me all the feels. At first, my heart hurt for the tiger who feels different but then my heart rejoiced because the tiger learns a valuable lesson on self-acceptance.  I also loved how Whitbread kept to a limited palette using only a few colors in her striking illustrations.  A Tiger Without Stripes reminds us that sometimes, the journey we take in life is the true gift.  Thanks to author Asia Citro for sending a copy to my #bookexcursion group.  A Tiger Without Stripes recently published on March 3, 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.

Where’d My Jo Go? by Jill Esbaum  Illustrated by Scott Brundage

Jo and Big Al are constant companions with Jo driving a big, blue rig and Big Al riding shotgun.  Always together, wherever they go.  When pup Big Al gets distracted playing and is accidentally left at a truck rest stop, he sits and stays.  Two kids see Al and attempt to befriend him, but Al knows Jo will come back for him.  And indeed she does and their reunion is epic.  Esbaum’s rhyming text and Brundage’s expressive watercolor and pencil illustrations make Where’s My Jo Go? a heartwarming story.  As a reader, I appreciate that Esbaum shares the inspiration for the story and how she wanted the dog to tell part of the story from his point of view.

As a dog mom, I can emphasize with Jo when she realizes her precious Al is not in her truck with her.  When we first adopted Bella, she attempted to chase a bunny out of our fenced yard.  I immediately bought a GPS tracker to ensure Bella’s safety.  If you look closely, you can see Bella’s Whistle tracker in some of her shelfies.  Thanks to author Jill Esbaum and publisher Sleeping Bear Press for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Look for Where’d My Jo Go? when it’s released soon on April 15, 2020.

 

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Whoo-Ku Haiku by Maria Gianferrari

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Beagles and Books is honored to be part of the Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story blog tour!  Whoo-Ku Haiku is written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss and celebrated its book birthday last week on March 2, 2020. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Review:
Whoo-Ku Haiku is a captivating narrative nonfiction picture book that vividly describes the life cycle of the great horned owl.  The story begins with the owl pair claiming an abandoned squirrel’s nest as their own.  Not long after, Mama lays three eggs and keeps them warm while Papa hunts for food.  Readers get a true glimpse of the dangers that the owl family faces.  One of the eggs falls from the nest as a result of a crow attack. Once the owlets are born, Mama and Papa must be vigilant protecting their young from predators both in the sky and on the ground. As the fledglings get older, they try out their wings, learn to defend themselves, and finally, fly off to find homes of their own.
Gianferari’s decision to write haiku is bold and brilliant. Using the 5-7-5 structure, she chose her words carefully using rich and strong vocabulary to convey the owl family’s story. Here’s one of my favorites.
Sprouted ear tufts twitch
Pinecones whispering autumn
Soon fledgling owls fly.
Voss’ watercolor illustrations complement the lyrical text.  His gorgeous art fills the double page spreads and intensely shows not only the astuteness but also the great agility of these amazing birds. Backmatter follows the story to provide more in-depth facts about the great horned owls, additional books, websites, and even links to videos.  Whoo-Ku Haiku is a great addition to a classroom or school library.  It is both a riveting read aloud and a marvelous mentor text for writing poetry.  Highly recommend!
Praise for Whoo-Ku Haiku
“Vivid and accessible: an illuminating portrait of one of nature’s most iconic birds.”
Kirkus Reviews
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WHOO’s Maria Gianferrari?
She’s a self-proclaimed bird nerd with a special fondness for raptors. Her love affair with birds began in 7th grade science class when her teacher, Mr. Lefebvre, initiated a bird count. While walking in her neighborhood, Maria’s always on the look-out for all kinds of birds, and she loves searching winter tree tops for nests in her northern Virginia neighborhood where she lives with her German-scientist husband and German speaking daughter. This is her first book with GP Putnam’s Sons. She’s also the author of another bird book, Hawk Rising. To learn more about Maria, please visit her website: mariagianferrari.com.
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WHOO’s Jonathan Voss?
He writes and illustrates stories for children. Growing up, he was never far from a pencil or paint brush, and began working as a portrait artist right out of high school.  Jonathan is the author of the Hoot & Love stories Brave Enough for Two and Imagine That. He is also the illustrator of Sally Walker’s Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh.  Jonathan lives in North Carolina with his wife and two kids.  Visit his website at jonathanvoss.com
Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway: 
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One lucky winner will receive a copy of Whoo-Ku Haiku, courtesy of Penguin Random House (U.S. addresses only). There are now multiple ways to enter the giveaway.
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Whoo-Ku Haiku giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

This giveaway is open from March 10-17, 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  Winner will be announced on March 18, 2020.