Review: Read Island

I am so thrilled to be sharing Read Island by Nicole Magistro and Alice Feagan with you all today! This delightful picture book is the perfect selection for young readers who are just discovering the way reading can take you on a journey.

Title: Read Island
Author: Nicole Magistro
Illustrator: Alice Feagan
Published: October 5, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Read Island follows a young girl, a mouse, and a fox as they travel to an island made of books using the power of imagination. This rhyming picture book celebrates the magical power books have to transport us anywhere, and it instantly took me back to my early years, when I truly fell in love with reading.

While I love the lyrical text, I have to say that the illustrations might be my favorite part. Alice Feagan perfectly captures the broad range of worlds we escape to in books, as well as all the friends we meet along the way on every single page.

I highly recommend Read Island for any book lovers out there. You can pick up your very own copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Books Forward for providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book. I can’t wait to share this with my little one to foster a love of reading!

About The Author:

Nicole Magistro is a professional reader and amateur mother who lives in the mountains of Colorado. She owned a bookstore for 15 years, wrote thousands of book reviews and memorized a few too many bedtime stories. Her favorite place in the world is the real Read Island, which inspired this story.

About The Illustrator:

Alice Feagan grew up in a small town but has traveled the world many times over through the pages of her favorite books. This love of stories (and a mild obsession with art) inspired a career in illustration. Today, she is a children’s book creator known for her distinct cut-paper collage style. When she is not writing or illustrating picture books Alice can be found hiking, creating, or reading with her two young sons. The Collectors was her authorial debut, and Read Island is the third book she has illustrated.

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Flashback Friday: Monsters Like Us

If you’re looking for a not-so-spooky book for Halloween weekend, I’ve got the perfect pick for you! Monsters Like Us by Amy Huntington is an adorable picture book about monsters with a fun twist.

Title: Monsters Like Us
Author/Illustrator: Amy Huntington
Publisher: Beaming Books
Published: April 13, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Originally published in April, Monsters Like Us teaches young readers that monsters aren’t so different from us humans, and that they aren’t always scary after all. Young readers will learn about all the things they might have in common with monsters, from reading books and cleaning their rooms to snoozing in the sun. The whimsical illustrations paired with the simple text are absolutely delightful. I especially love the anticipation in the page turns, which make Monsters Like Us a fantastic read aloud.

Be sure to grab your copy of Monsters Like Us this Halloween weekend. You can find it wherever wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for providing me with a review copy of this precious book! I can’t wait to share it with my own little monster on Halloween.

About The Author/Illustrator:

Amy Huntington began painting in kindergarten, using the ends of her pigtails for brushes. She drew castles, bicycles, sleds, cats, and her siblings with the chicken pox. In summer she wrote poems while tucked in the branches of her favorite tree.

After college she settled in Vermont, exhibiting her paintings in various New England galleries. As a new mother, she fell in love with picture books and has never looked back. She fills lots of sketchbooks and writes lots of words. Some turn into books.

Her first picture book, One Monday, had both Huntington’s words and her art. She has since illustrated numerous books, including Grandma Drove the Garbage TruckFresh-Picked Poetry: Poems from the Farmer’s Market; and NINE: A Book of Nonet Poems. Huntington lives with her husband, two wild cats, some hens, and two sheep in an old Vermont farmhouse that needs lots of care.

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Book Tour Stop: A Home Again

I’m thrilled to be participating in the book tour for A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski and Valeria Docampo today. This sweet picture book is all about how a house becomes a home, and it hit close to home for me (pun not intended) since our family is just settling into our new home in St. Louis.

Title: A Home Again
Author: Colleen Rowan Kosinski
Illustrator: Valeria Docampo
Publisher: Two Lions
Published: November 1, 2021
Format: Picture Book

A Home Again follows the journey of one house, from the last brick being laid and the joy of being a home to a family, to the unexpected day that family moves away. The house doesn’t quite understand why its family has left, but we continue to follow along as two men help the house find a way to become a home again.

I absolutely loved A Home Again, especially for families who are experiencing moves with little ones. I really appreciate how it highlights the ways a family makes a home, helping young children embrace their new surroundings and understand the joy and comfort their old home will bring to its new family. I also really enjoyed Valeria Docampo’s illustrations and how they captured the warmth found in a loving home.

A Home Again will be released next week (November 1, 2021), but I would highly recommend you preorder your copy today. You can find preorders wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Amazon and Two Lions for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book. I can’t wait to share this with my little one as we continue to settle into our new home.

About The Author:

Colleen Rowan Kosinski is the author-illustrator of Lilla’s Sunflowers and A Promise Stitched in Time. She received her BA from Rutgers University in visual art, is an alumna of Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art, and spent many years as a successful freelance fine artist. Colleen calls New Jersey her home and resides there with her family. Learn more at www.colleenrowankosinski.com.

About The Illustrator:

Valeria Docampo has a background in fine arts and has also been a teacher. She is the illustrator of many books for publishers around the world, including La Grande Fabrique de Mots, which has been translated into thirty languages. Originally from Argentina, she now makes her home in France with her family. Learn more at www.valeriadocampo.com.

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Flashback Friday: The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families

If you’re looking for a book to help with “the talk”, I have an amazing resource for you today. The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families is a fantastic example of an inclusive book to answer children’s questions about topics parents often find difficult, like sex, gender, puberty, and pregnancy.

Title: The Every Body Book
Author: Rachel E. Simon
Illustrator: Noah Grigni
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: June 18, 2020
Format: Middle Grade

Recommended for ages 8-12, The Every Body Book provides a wealth of information on a wide range of topics with inclusive language throughout. Young readers will learn the difference between sex and gender, what our bodies look like and how puberty impacts them, what sexual attraction is and how this defines sexual orientations, what consensual sexual intercourse is, how pregnancy works, and the different ways families are created. This comprehensive, medically accurate resource is a wonderful tool to read with your child, or allow them to read on their own.

I personally appreciate the straightforward language used in The Every Body Book as well. There isn’t a ton of emotion behind the educational way the information is presented, creating the perfect tone for teaching. I feel like “the talk” is commonly discussed by parents in either a romanticized flowery way or a shameful way, and neither is very productive for children to learn the medical facts behind their changing bodies. The Every Body Book cuts straight through and presents the facts, providing young readers with the information they need.

The illustrations by Noah Grigni are fabulous, too. There are all sorts of bodies represented throughout the book with visuals that are equally as inclusive as the language used. All the way down to the smallest detail, there is representation for everyone. For example, I was especially pleased to see an illustration of a C-section scar, as this is a scar I possess, and it is often overlooked in imagery surrounding pregnancy and birth education.

Of course, because this is a book about bodies, there are illustrations of genitals and depictions of erections, menstruation, and even condoms and birth control. If these topics make you uncomfortable, I would encourage you to read the book by yourself before introducing it to your child. But please remember, these are accurate representations of body parts and bodily functions, and our children will learn about them one way or another. Personally I would rather create an open dialog with my son to teach him about these things than have him googling whatever questions he might have.

The Every Body Book was released in June of 2020, and it is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for bringing such an educational and inclusive resource into the world, and for providing me with a review copy.

About The Author:

Rachel E. Simon, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and educator who specialises in gender and sexuality and runs her private practice in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, Mazzoni Center, and Walnut Psychotherapy Center.

About The Illustrator:

Noah Grigni is a Boston-based illustrator and comic artist, whose work bridges themes of gender, sexuality, body positivity, and trans history. Through art, Noah hopes to uplift their community, make space for reflection, and create a source of comfort in and uncomftable world. You can see more of their work at noahgrigni.com.

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Review: My City Speaks

As many of you know, I recently moved from my quiet house in a sleepy city on the Gulf Coast to an apartment in the busy city of St. Louis. I’ve always loved a city, and since moving, I’ve been on the lookout for books to share that love with my toddler who has only ever known the quiet home we’ve had for the last two years. My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf and Ashley Barron is the perfect book to help him learn to love his new city, and I wanted to share it with you all today.

Title: My City Speaks
Author: Darren Lebeuf
Illustrator: Ashley Barron
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

The follow up to My Forest is Green and My Ocean is Blue, My City Speaks follows a young vision impaired girl as she and her father travel to through her city on the way to her violin recital. Our young narrator describes her experience in her city in poetic prose, detailing the sounds, smells, and tastes she finds along the way.

Much like the previous books by this duo, the text is perfectly sparse and pairs beautifully with Ashley Barron’s illustrations. Her cut-paper collage technique always brings me right back to my childhood and makes me feel like the characters will walk right out of the pages.

My City Speaks is a celebration of urban communities, but it is also a great introduction to conversations about disability, accessibility, and assistive devices such as white canes. You can pick up your own copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Kids Can Press for providing me with a review copy of My City Speaks! I know I will be reading this one many times to my little one as he learns all about his new city.

About The Author:

Darren Lebeuf is an award-winning photographer with a background in design and visual communication. He is the author of My Forest Is Green and My Ocean is Blue. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

About The Illustrator:

Ashley Barron is an award-winning illustrator who specializes in cut-paper collage. Her creations can be found in children’s books, newspapers, set designs and shop windows. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Review: Bright Star

Today I want to share a book that I’ve been looking forward to for months. I was first introduced to Yuyi Morales’ work by way of her 2019 release Dreamers, and I’m delighted to be sharing her latest release Bright Star with you all today.

Title: Bright Star
Author/Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Publisher: Neal Porter
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young fawn who explores the border landscape, Bright Star is a gorgeous picture book that speaks directly to victims of the immigration crisis. Yuyi Morales creates a beautiful metaphor for the immigrant experience, comparing it to the uncertainty the newborn fawn feels as she learns to navigate the new world she finds herself in.

The illustrations are fascinating, from the beautiful color palette to the texture on every page. But I have to say my favorite part was the hand embroidered lettering found throughout the pages. As someone who works with fiber arts occasionally, the hand stitched words really speak to the time and attention put into every detail of this book. Bright Star was created with so much love and care, and it shows on every page.

Complete with a powerful author’s note in the back, Bright Star is a fantastic addition to bookshelves and libraries everywhere. You can pick up your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Neal Porter and Holiday House for providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book.

About the Author/Illustrator:

Born in Xalapa, Mexico, where she currently resides, Yuyi Morales lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she still maintains close relations with booksellers and librarians. She has won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award for Illustration six times, for Dreamers (2019), Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (2003), Los Gatos Black on Halloween (2006), Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book (2008), Niño Wrestles the World (2013), and Viva Frida (2014), also a Caldecott Honor Book.

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Review: Every Little Kindness

Even in the divisive time we live in, I believe the one thing we can all agree on is that the world could use a little more kindness. If you agree, I think you will like the picture book I’m sharing today. Every Little Kindness by Marta Bartolj captures the the way one small act of kindness can impact and entire community.

Title: Every Little Kindness
Author/Illustrator: Marta Bartolj
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Published: October 12, 2021
Format: Picture Book

This wordless picture book opens with a young woman searching for her lost dog. As she begins her day of searching, she generously gives an apple to a man, creating a wave of kindness that ripples throughout the entire town. We follow along as each person who witnesses an act of kindness in turn performs their own act of kindness.

The illustrations are lovely and I really appreciated the way the colors are muted so the reds stand out, highlighting the acts of kindness themselves.

Every Little Kindness is officially released tomorrow (October 12, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon.

Thank you so much to Chronicle Books for sending me a review copy of this wonderful book. I can’t wait to share it with my little one to show him how we can spread kindness throughout our new city.

About the Author/Illustrator:

Marta Bartolj is an artist and illustrator from Novo Mesto, Slovenia. She holds a master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana, where she immersed herself in the study of illustration. Every Little Kindness, the first book she authored, was recognized as an outstanding wordless picture book at the Kristina Brenkova Awards. Marta lives in Trebnje, Slovenia.

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Review: Not Little

Today I want to share a small book with a BIG heart with you all. Not Little by Maya Myers and Hyewon Yum is a delightful picture book, perfect for any young readers who have ever felt underestimated.

Title: Not Little
Author: Maya Myers
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Published: July 6, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Not Little follows a young girl named Dot, who is smaller than everyone she knows, as she tries to explain to everyone that she is not little anymore. Dot is frustrated by the way everyone treats her like a baby, even though she is growing to be a smart and independent young girl. She even knows the square root of sixty-four and the capital of Indonesia! How could she be little? Dot finally gets her chance to prove how big she is when a new smaller kid joins her class and begins to be bullied by another classmate.

The illustrations by Hyewon Yum, as always, are fantastic. Fans of Grandpa Across The Ocean and I Am a Bird will be pleased to find Yum’s familiar style on every page.

You can pick up your copy of Not Little wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Neal Porter Books and Holiday House for sending me a review copy of this precious book. I can’t wait to share it with my little guy (who is still actually little for a while).

About The Author:

Maya Myers is a debut picture book author as well as a freelance book editor and a former elementary school teacher. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, author/illustrator Matt Myers, and three daughters.

About The Illustrator:

Hyewon Yum is the author and illustrator of several acclaimed books for children, including This Is Our HouseThe Twins’ BlanketThere Are No Scary Wolves, and Last Night. Her book Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.

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Flashback Friday: The Good Song

Today I want to share a beautiful picture book all about a song that perfectly captures the bittersweet moment of summer ending. The Good Song by Alexandria Giardino and Penelope Dullaghan is a fictional story inspired by the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful world” recorded by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole.

Title: The Good Song
Author: Alexandria Giardino
Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
Publisher: Cameron Kids
Published: October 6, 2020
Format: Picture Book

Originally published in October 2020, this stunning picture book tells the story of a young Hawaiian boy named Iz, beginning with the day he was born, when the world sang him a lullaby. Iz’s grandfather lovingly teaches him to hear the beautiful music of love and life all around him. This essential life lesson helps Iz navigate the feelings of grief and darkness that he finds upon losing his grandfather. Much like the song that inspired it, The Good Song is filled with beauty, grief, sadness, and joy, creating a touching story for young readers.

The illustrations by Penelope Dullaghan are absolutely phenomenal! The lush colors create the perfect backdrop for Iz’s story. I particularly loved the way the rainbow is used to create a visual representation of the music in Iz’s life.

Complete with back matter that shares the history of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “What a Wonderful World”, and Iz’s original version, The Good Song is a wonderful lesson in musical history, as well as a beautiful story.

You can pick up your own copy of The Good Song wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Cameron Kids for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book. I am thrilled to share it with you all today!

About The Author:

Alexandria Giardino’s debut picture book, Ode to an Onion, published by Cameron Kids, was inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda and his muse, Matilde. It was a Junior Library Guild selection. She lives in Northern California. You can find Alexandria online at alexgiardino.com and on Twitter @Alex_Giardino.

About The Illustrator:

Penelope Dullaghan is an illustrator based in Indianapolis. This is her first picture book for Cameron Kids. You can find Penelope online at penelopedullaghan.com and on Instagram @penelope_dullaghan.

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Book Tour Stop: Magic Candies

Today I’m so excited to be taking part in Blue Slip Media’s book tour for Magic Candies by the award-winning Heena Baek today!

Title: Magic Candies
Author/Illustrator: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
Published: September 1, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Magic Candies is a funny, touching, and delightfully odd picture book that follows a lonely young boy named Tong Tong who accidentally purchases magic candies when he’s shopping for marbles. These magic candies allow him to hear the voices of things and people he couldn’t speak to before, including his sofa, his dog, and even his dead grandmother. Through these interactions, Tong Tong learns valuable lessons like what it means to be loved and how to find his voice. With the perfect balance of humor and heart, Heena Baek and Sophie Bowman tell an unforgettable story.

Magic Candies reminded me of why I love picture books so much, because they can constantly surprise you. The illustrations are absolutely fascinating! Heena Baek uses an incredibly unique method of photographing small models, creating something I’ve never seen before.

Magic Candies officially released yesterday, so you can pick up your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon(Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

I am also hosting a giveaway over on Instagram, so don’t miss your chance to win a free copy, courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids. Thank you to both Amazon Crossing Kids and Blue Slip Media for allowing me to review Magic Candies and making a giveaway possible!

About the Author:

Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory.

About The Translator:

Sophie Bowman studied social anthropology and Korean studies at SOAS University of London before going on to complete an MA in Korean literature at Ewha Womans University. She is now a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. Sophie was a recipient of the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship during her studies at Ewha. She won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry in 2015 with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.

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