Winter picks... these are by far the best covers that I was honored to discover this year! Some are sweet stories, others are inspiring, and then some are a pure joy-filled journey. Every title will provide a delightful "family" storytime. Whether you are checking them out from your local library or you've ordered them from your "go-to" bookstore... don't miss these titles in 2022!
A family gathered for a storytime...
Winter nipping against the window panes...
Hot cups of goodness...
Memories that will last a life time!
Family Read Aloud
The Snowman's Song is an enchanting tale of longing and fulfillment. A little snowman yearns to sing Christmas carols, but is desolate because he hasn't a voice. From the kindness of others, he dares to believe in the impossible and experiences a Christmas miracle. Beautifully told in melodic verse, this inspirational story shows that impossible dreams do come true and reminds us of the true reason for the season.
MrsK's Review: Fantasy/Faith
"Why can't I sing like you?"
A little snowson wants his voice to be heard as a proud hymn about "our Savior's birth." The message is woven with soothing word choice, a melodious voice. As the little snowson continues to question what he must do to be heard, he learns about hope... friendship... and a belief in possibilities.
Illustrations are perfected with just the right "wintry" sprinkling of colors and swooshes. Most delightful and inspiring read-aloud.
Meet the Author:
Marilee Joy Mayfield is a published author of children's books. Published credits of Marilee Joy Mayfield include The Snowman's Song: A Christmas Story, The Tiny Adventures of Big Sister and Little Sister, and The Golden Cricket: A Story of Luck and Prosperity. https://shop.puppydogsandicecream.com/collections/christmas
Flashlight Night is narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose?
The boy shares the wall with a friend, who records her own prayers. Later, they visit the chalkboard wall at dusk with a flashlight. The boy's mom shines the light on some prayers and turns it off at other times, pointing out that their prayers (and the children's faith) are still there, even in the dark, and that God hears every request.
MrsK's Review: Realistic Fiction/Faith
During the world's lockdown, this adventure in trusting God was given a chalk "wall" to heal the changes that none of us could control. A place to to write what was so "fearful." An avenue to see our prayers answered or prayer answers still unknown.
This is such a beautiful gift to every parent and child. Our hopes in providing the best to the next generation can begin with a simple piece of chalk and this book. Plant the seeds that we are never alone, that God does answer prayer, and that we can use our flashlight in the dark moments to see His handiwork.
Flashlight Night: interview video
Meet the Author:
Hasselbeck was formerly known to television audiences as a participant on the wildly popular second edition of Survivor: The Australian Outback. Since taking her coveted seat on The View in 2003 she has been the focus of major magazine covers and articles including USA Weekend, Curious Parents, People, TV Guide, Fitness, Glamour, Us Weekly, Life, Pregnancy and ePregnancy. She has filled in on the FOX News Channel's Fox and Friends, and has been a guest on Hannity and Colmes, Larry King Live, The Martha Stewart Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America.
Publisher's Synopsis:Meet Bibli, a brave little library bookshelf in search of a story about someone like him . . . Once upon a time, in a library like any other, there lived a little bookshelf named Bibli who carried a BIG question on his shelves: “Could there be a story somewhere about a bookshelf like me?” Bibli is told that bookshelves are supposed to hold stories, not have ones of their own. But everything changes when he meets Cassie, a girl longing for a friend just as much as Bibli longs for a story to relate to. Bibli learns that with kindness, confidence, empathy, and friendship, even your biggest dreams can come true—and that everyone has an important story worth sharing.
"Everyone has a story... Be your-shelf!"
MrsK's Review: Fantasy/Feelings
Bibli is a very brave little bookshelf. When its library was first opened, Bibli was the only bookshelf. Unfortunately, as the library's collection grew, Bibli was pushed further into a back corner.
Now before you feel a sadness for Bibli, I must tell you that Ms. Grammar would come and choose the perfect story time book for the daily sharing. Oh, how Bibli enjoyed hearing all of the children's responses.
Then one day... a reader by the name of Cassie came to story time. Looking for a place to sit, Cassie soon found a place beside Bibli. With a whispered wonder, Bibli discovers a friendship with Cassie. A friendship that might help him discover if there has ever been a story written about a bookshelf.
Simply adorable! Delightful illustrations portrays the emotions of Bibli, of a young story-teller, and the reactions of the children (those listening to you the reader as you read aloud). Just a quick caution... this book will be one of those books that your littles will shout.. Again!
Meet the Author:
Caroline and Katherine Brickley are twin sisters and the award-winning authors of The Blossom Shoppe and The Friendly Bookshelf. Inspired by their mother, who made up stories for them each night, the sisters spent their childhood coming up with stories of their own and bringing them to life. As they grew, so did their passion for storytelling, and in 2017 the sisters made it their full-time job by founding Blossom Children’s Media Group (Blossom) from their shared college dorm room. Now a multi-award-winning company known for excellence in children’s literature and family content, Blossom continues to bring children, families, and educators from around the world together through wholesome stories and inclusive community experiences. In their free time, Caroline and Katherine love to swim, travel, and spend time with friends and family, including their goldendoodle, Sugar, who served as the inspiration for the library dog featured in The Friendly Bookshelf.
Publisher's Synopsis:When Leo's mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword--and a pile of his favorite books. But can a story be as mighty as a sword?
This delightful rhyming story about books and the joy of reading is also perfect for kids who love dragon books, adventures, brave knights, and books about castles!
MrsK's Review: Fantasy
Leo is not a knight who is inspired to fight foes. In fact, Leo, is a knight who is a wise reader. One night, his parents discover an ad about a dragon that needed taming. With the concern for his safety, of course his parents provide a suit of armor and a sword before they send him on his way.
With food for his travels, as well as a sack of books, Leo finds himself on a quest to tame this dragon. Along the way, Leo meets a Griffin, a troll, and an enormous dragon. A fiery red dragon that he had disturbed!
How will Leo fight these foes? Well that is his story to tell. A story that is weaving a tale that all of us know. A story in which we must face our fears with courage, grit, and the wisdom discovered within the pages of a book.
Darling tale, just awaiting your reader voice...
Meet the Author:
Helen lives in Swansea, Wales, and is an internationally published picture book author. Her work, which includes the award-winning picture books The Snatchabook and The Storybook Knight ( The Knight Who Wouldn't Fight), has been translated into 25 languages. Her stories have been staged as plays and as an children’s opera, by a school in Canada. Helen worked for many years as a language teacher in Mexico City and the UK before becoming an author. She also has an MA in Film and Television Production (Bristol University), which helped to develop her skills in crafting narrative. Helen often collaborates with her husband, the illustrator and author Thomas Docherty. Their latest book, Pirate Nell's Tale to Tell, will be published in September 2020.
Publisher's Synopsis:When an inventive mouse misses the biggest cheese festival the world has ever seen, he’s determined to turn back the clock. But what is time, and can it be influenced? With the help of a mouse clockmaker, a lot of inventiveness, and the notes of a certain famous Swiss physicist he succeeds in traveling back in time. But when he misses his goal by eighty years, the only one who can help is an employee of the Swiss Patent Office, who turned our concept of space and time upside down.
"Time is Relative"
MrsK's Review: Fantasy/Science
This is a fantastic journey. One in which you will journey with an inventor, of course this inventor is a mouse that is very curious and oh-so intelligent.
Seeking to discover the answer to his question "What is time?," little mouse embarks on a journey. When he encounters a white mouse, who is a clockmaker, little mouse learns the history of time (ancient astronomers, earth's rotation, passing of time, and the physicist Albert Einstein). During little mouse's quest, he learned how to create a time machine. A time machine in which he could travel back to 1905 to locate Einstein.
This book is a journey that is wonderfully crafted. History is portrayed in a curious outline that will inspire further learning. The illustrations are intriguing and overflowing with historical accuracy. This is a journey for every learner... young and old! In today's world, such a journey is necessary to ignite the desire for a life-long learner,
Don't miss out on further adventures:
Meet the Author:Torben Kuhlmann (right click on website and scroll then click: translate) is a German communications designer, illustrator and picture book author. He studied Illustration and Communication Design at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences . In 2014 he published his first book, Lindbergh - The adventurous story of a flying mouse, the product of his graduation thesis at the college.
Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative game maker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.
Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
MrsK's Review: Fantasy
Kyle's one "shining" talent is outsmarting players (board-games, cards, and following clues). When he learns that there will be an "invitation-only" student lock-in at the new library, he knows that he must enter the drawing. Yet, writing an essay is not his favorite skill. He only has a few moments to draft a winning essay to the "world's most famous game-maker."
Alexandriaville's newest library is about to open. Due to security purposes, the construction of the library has been kept secretive. No construction crew ever stayed long enough to see how their expertise "fit-in" with other contractors. Only Dr. Zinchenko knew the plans of her employer (three-story rotunda, stunning tech effects, Dewey decimal depictions, author-sculpture learning sessions, holograms, mirages, and so many opportunities to "uncover" a new learning adventure).
Mr. Lemoncello, a man of marvels. A gaming genius. The financier, chief engineer/designer, and judge of the essay winners. An extraordinary riddle master! His designs will be the most amazing and wonderous library! "Every patron will gain the knowledge needed to do anything and everything they want or need to do!"
So many clues... so many great titles... extra-imaginative technology... and an adventure learning the Dewey decimal system! A perfect family read-aloud... Absolutely the most enjoyable trip to a library that I've ever encountered,
"If two witches were watching two watches,
which witch would watch which watch?"
Mr. Lemoncello's: Extras Link
Meet the Author:
CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His books include the LEMONCELLO, WONDERLAND, HAUNTED MYSTERY, DOG SQUAD, and SMARTEST KID IN THE UNIVERSE series, and many fun and funny page-turners co-authored with James Patterson.
Publisher's Synopsis:One day in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, on the Mississippi River side of Cairo, Illinois, eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie's life is changed forever. The Crash of 1929 has rippled across the country, and Oscar's dad must sell their home--with all their cherished model trains--and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his humorless aunt, Carmen and his teasing cousin, Willa Sue, Oscar is lonely and miserable--until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a crime so stunning it catapults Oscar on an incredible train journey from coast to coast, from one decade to another. Filled with suspense and peppered with witty encounters with Hollywood stars and other bigwigs of history, this captivating novel by Rosemary Wells, gorgeously illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, resonates with warmth, humor, and the true magic of a timeless adventure.
"....me and my dad...working the central switches...
the throttle... that caused the trains to roar past...
the signal lights... blink red and green...
made all things possible."
MrsK's Review: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
In Cairo, Illinois, Oscar's heart quickened every time he saw his father carrying a red cardboard box. He knew that it would contain a cherished memory... a new Lionel train! Since the time in which Oscar was three, after his mother's death, his father and him had began collecting, designing, and crafting a train extravaganza in their basement. By 1929, they owned ten complete Lionel train sets. Although, Oscar's favorite train was the Blue Comet (I must say that if you had a train set back in the day... you can already relate to the awesomeness of this story).
In 1929, the stock market crashed. As with so many families, by 1931, Oscar's father looses his job in Illinois and is transferred to the John Deere company in California. Oscar's life is turned upside down. He must move from the house that his mother had lovingly maintained. He would not be able to keep his Lionel trains, for the house and the trains have been sold to the new owner. He would be left behind, just until his Dad could send for him, with his Aunt. How would Oscar cope?
Then one day... Henry Applegate introduces himself to Oscar. A most needed "miracle" especially at the precise time in which Oscar could no longer concentrate with his school work. Math story problems made no sense, and Oscar was in need of his dad's short cuts. As a mathematician, Mr. Applegate is the perfect tutor for Oscar. Mr. Applegate has a secret code for remembering things.
Then one night, during a storm, at the bank... all Oscar can remember is a moment in time when he heard a gun shot! The only thing he can see is the underside of a tin bench... that is stamped with the words Lionel Company.
What begins with a robbery, a murder, and a "missing boy," unfolds into a journey travel... back and forth into time. From Illinois to California and back again to the east coast. All Oscar understands is "some how" he is traveling on his Blue Comet train with a Golden State Limited round trip ticket.
Historical fiction, the journeys in which you meet historical figures... learn how people lived and survived... an avenue for insights that a history book often fails to emphasize. All aboard...
If you can keep you head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you...
Rudyard Kipling Poem
Meet the Author:
Rosemary Wells is the author of a number of popular children's books, most notably the Max and Ruby series which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies - curious three year old Max and bossy seven year old Ruby. She gets the inspiration for Max and Ruby from her two daughters and the experiences they have with friends and school. Her West Highland Terriers Lucy and Snowy have also worked their way into her books, as McDuff and insight for other characters. She has also written Noisy Nora, Yoko, Voyage to the Bunny Planet series, a Christmas Book called Morris's Disappearing Bag and a collected book of illustrations of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. In April 2007, her children's book The Gulps featuring illustrations by Marc Brown was released. Also that year she published Red Moon at Sharpsburg, a historical novel featuring a young girl in the American Civil War.
Eli Frieden has never left Serenity, New Mexico...why would he ever want to? Then one day, he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything.
Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.
"... some of the kids in Serenity...including you... are special..."
MrsK's Review: Mystery/Sci-Fi
In the town of Serenity there is very little concern about society and/or troubles. Serenity, New Mexico, is a small town in which life is perfect. Education is rich and fulfilling. The community is cheerful and supportive. All of the families are close-knitted. Serenity is voted as the "#1 Best Town in the USA." There is no troubles economically, no crime, and no homelessness. With a population of only 185, most of the families have a connection to the Serenity Plastics Works. Everyone in Serenity knows that they are lucky to be living in Serenity, especially since the towns around them have such burdens.
Or so Eli believed, until that afternoon that he followed Randy to the city limits in search of a 1961 Alfa Romero. In fact Eli was surprised to see the "Now Leaving Serenity--America's Ideal Community" sign. Eli learned that it was "78 miles to the next gas station" once you left Serenity. All he remembers is that he started feeling ill and then his chin hit the pavement. Oh, he remembered the "Purple People Eaters," who are those with helicopters. They are the Surety, like a stormtrooper, they work at the plastic works. Without a mother, his dad is the voice he recognizes. That's moment that Eli will remember as his life-changer.
Randy the one that causes everyone to laugh. The one who pushes the boundaries of Serenity's expectations. The one who does the "unthinkable" and leads Eli to the city limits. The one who questions by observations. The one who is "extreme." The one friend who cares enough to leave Eli a letter of warning. A letter in which he states what he has discovered about Serenity.
Amber can hardly believe it, Randy has to go and help his Grandparents in Colorado. He's leaving Serenity! Living in any other place is the saddest thing Amber could imagine. Malik considers this is a grand adventure, one that he would like to be given. The whole world is out there, just waiting to be explored. He is excited about moving to NYC as soon as he is old enough. Tori, well, she is the one that usually helps balance Eli. Tori is that friend that usually listens, and then helps you short things through. She is the one who sees "common sense" when Randy sees adventure.
With Serenity Day festivities soon to start, all students are preparing projects. Eli chooses to do an American, New Mexico, and Serenity timeline. What he discovers is that the Boston Tea Party history he's been taught doesn't match with the computer's history. Why? What else have they been taught that might not be the truth? What really happens at the Plastic Works? and Why do some of the kids get really sick when they get close to city limits?
Korman is an author that you can trust as one of the "go-to" authors. Never a quick read, always filled with page-turning twists and surprises,
Meet the Author:
Korman wrote his first book, "This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall", when he was 12 years old, for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English. He later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in "The Sixth Grade Nickname Game", wherein Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.
Korman moved to New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While in New York, he met his future wife; they now live in Long Island with their three children. He has published more than 50 books.
Publisher's Synopsis:The story of Irena Sendler the female Oskar Schindler who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II now adapted for a younger audience.
Irena Sendler was a young Polish woman living in Warsaw during World War II. Irena smuggled thousands of children out of the walled Jewish ghetto in toolboxes and coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through the dank sewers and into secret passages that led to abandoned buildings, where she convinced her friends and underground resistance network to hide them.
MrsK's Review: Biography
What was life like for a Polish woman living in Warsaw? How much do you know about the Holocaust? Have you heard/read about Anne Frank?
Meet Irena, a young woman who was determined to smuggle over 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto. This book is written for young readers (grades 4+). Most of Irena's story is written with a narrator voice unless their is a documented insert where you read Irena's descriptions and thoughts.
- Air raid sirens... what did they do?
- Siege of their city... what would save them?
- Occupation... what did that mean... who was unaffected... who was gathered?
- What was banned... for who... how were they identified?
- Life inside the Warsaw Ghetto... why were some gathered and removed?
- Parents desperate to send their children... somewhere safe... where could they go?
- What would it take for the children who were being sent away?
- Getting through checkpoints... how did they smuggle out the children?
- Why were so many sent to Labor camps... what happened there?
- 1943 Night visits... who was taken... why?
- 1944 In hiding... what happens next?
Primary sources are the most important resources for any historical fiction author. The facts must be real for the time line. Famous names must have been alive and documented within the area that the book is written about (only character's and feelings are fictional). Biographies must have primary sources (letters, journals, pictures, or film footage).
Never could I have imagined that today's society has turned so drastically away from the truth as we knew it. For every grandparent, parent, teacher, and homeschooler... biographies and credited historical fiction must be introduced to our children. Read-Alouds must be shared... Inquiries must lead to discussions... truths must be discovered... hatred must not lead to silence!
Meet the Author:
Tilar J. Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and passionate student of wine and food culture. She divides her time among the California wine country, New York City, and Maine, where she is a professor of English at Colby College.