MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, July 23, 2022

MrsK's Summer Time picks for family adventures!


Summertime is the perfect time...
For grand escapes... adventures... and memories!

Everybody Read Aloud:
Crinkleroot... Beyond the Backyard Discoveries
MrsK's Review:
Crinkleroot is an amazing Educator whose specialty is nature. He was born in a tree and raised by bees, or so the legend goes. He's an authority on tracking critters, he knows how to plant and harvest the seasons, and he can help anyone plant popcorn!

Talking a walk with Crinkleroot through the woods, you learn the ways of our feathered friends, of the critters by the rivers and ponds. As seasons change, there are so many changes for our leaf bearing friends, the needs of winter food for the littles of nature, as well as delightful nature walks in which you can learn the signs of life as they gather and make homes for the winter.

Any Crinkleroot book is worth owning, it was with a such sadness that Crinkleroot's writer is no longer writing his wisdom. Now it's up to us... to seek his knowledge by checking the internet for his books, browsing all used book stores, and gathering these treasures for the generations of tomorrow.

Christopher Denise
ISBN: 9780316310628
Publisher's Synopsis:
Since the day he hatched, Owl dreamed of becoming a real knight. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but his sharp nocturnal instincts can help protect the castle, especially since many knights have recently gone missing. While holding guard during Knight Night Watch, Owl is faced with the ultimate trial—a frightening intruder. It’s a daunting duel by any measure. But what Owl lacks in size, he makes up for in good ideas.

Full of wordplay and optimism, this surprising display of bravery proves that cleverness (and friendship) can rule over brawn.

MrsK's Review:
When did you knew what you wanted to be? For Owl is one wish was to be a Knight. Every night while Owl was falling asleep he knew his gift of bravery would lead him into his Knighthood. As knights began to disappear, Owl applied to Knight school. He proved his cleverness, he diligently studied, yet, he had a few challenges... who doesn't! Will Owl overcome his challenges and become a knight?

Meet the Author:


Christopher Denise spent much of his childhood in Shannon, Ireland, exploring castles and dreaming of great adventures. He is the illustrator of many critically acclaimed books for young readers, including Anika Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, and Rosemary Wells’s Following Grandfather, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. His books have appeared on the Indie Next List and the New York Times bestseller list. Knight Owl (march 2022) marks his author-illustrator debut. Christopher’s current adventures include exploring coastal Rhode Island, where he lives with his family.

ISBN: 9780062427588
Publisher's Synopsis:
Remarkably You is a manifesto about all of the things—little or small, loud or quiet—that make us who we are: 
You might go unnoticed, or shine like a star,
but wherever you go and whoever you are…
don’t change how you act to be just like the rest.
Believe in yourself and the things you do best.
MrsK's Review:
If you are bold and loud... leading a parade could be your goal. If you are timid or shy, imagine what you could learn when you're out and about. Learning the "know-how" and power of being surprised might just lead you into changing the world around you. Seek to repair what's before... don't give up when there are challenges! Use your talents... be funny, bookish, or fast!

Learn to be delightfully you...

Meet the Author:
Pat Zietlow Miller knew she wanted to be a writer ever since her seventh-grade English teacher read her paper about square-dancing skirts out loud in class and said: “This is the first time anything a student has written has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!)
Pat started out as a newspaper reporter and wrote about everything from dartball and deer-hunting to diets and decoupage. Then, she joined an insurance company and edited its newsletter and magazine.

Now, she writes insurance information by day and children’s books by night. She has 11 picture books available and 12 more that will be coming out in the next few years.

ISBN: 9781536219173
Publisher's Synopsis:
Patrick has been desperate for a dog of his own for as long as he can remember, and this summer, with his father away, he longs for a canine friend more than ever. Meanwhile, in his short doggy life, Oz has suffered at the hands of bad people. Somewhere out there, he believes, is an awesome boy -- his boy. And maybe, when they find each other, Oz will learn to bark again. Illustrated in light charcoal by two-time Kate Greenaway Medalist P.J. Lynch, this heartwarming story by Eoin Colfer, internationally best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, is certain to enchant.

MrsK's Review:
Patrick is a young boy who is longing for his own dog. Oz is a puppy longing for a home. With odds against Oz, he has been abandoned... abused... and left to die. Who will he trust?

When Oz is found, the shelter knows that Oz needs a loving owner or he probably won't survive. Given that Oz has lost his ability to bark, well he just can't be adopted by just anyone. Will he find his true owner, his time is running out.

Wonderfully woven and beautifully illustrated, this beginning chapter book will be a treasure for your home library.

Meet the Author:

Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father and mother, who were both educators.

He received his degree from Dublin University and began teaching primary school in Wexford. He has lived and worked all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. After the publication of the Artemis Fowl novels, Eoin retired from teaching and now writes full time. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

Grades 3-6
Katherine Applegate
ISBN: 9780062991324
Publisher's Synopsis:
Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

MrsK's Review:
Bob has attitude! He rolls in all sorts of yuck. He harasses innocent squirrels. When his motive meets opportunity... yep, he has no control. When Bob meets Ivan, that's right the one and only Ivan, he becomes a friend to Ivan and Ditto their little elephant friend. Unlike Ivan and Ditto, Bob lives in a home with Julia. Yet, having home never means that Bob doesn't have hours to discover, meet, and experience life beyond his own backyard.

Trouble begins brewing when a storm is heading towards his home town. A Hurricane is whirling its way towards Bob's home... towards Ivan and Ditto... in fact Bob learns the power of the wind and its destruction. Will everyone survive? Will he find his way home to Julia? Does anyone care about a little Chihuahua?

Turning the page to discover what will be the ending for Bob is a "must" experience,

Meet the Author:


Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Her novel Crenshaw spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times children's bestseller list, and her first middle-grade stand-alone novel, the award-winning Home of the Brave, continues to be included on state reading lists, summer reading lists, and class reading lists.

Katherine has written three picture books: The Buffalo Storm; The Remarkable True Story of Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla (often used as a companion book to The One and Only Ivan for younger readers); and Sometimes You Fly (publishing in spring, 2018). For beginning readers, Katherine wrote Roscoe Riley Rules, a seven-book series.

With her husband, Michael Grant, Katherine co-wrote Animorphs, a long-running series that has sold over 35 million books worldwide.

Publisher's Synopsis:
Ben and the Greenblooms must protect a mythical new creature rising from the ocean that can bring light or darkness to whoever it first meets - a vast, mythical Aurelia.

It's a race against time to protect it, for if the Aurelia is hurt, all fabulous creatures will vanish from Earth. In the end though, it may take the arrival of the original silver dragon, Firedrake, to help save them all.

MrsK's Review:
Have you experienced the quick "sighting" of an elf? Have you wandered into a cave, holding your breath that maybe you've discovered a dragon's den? Have you been at the sea and hoped to see a Mermaid?

The Greenblooms know many of the truths about these mythical creatures. There is a legend that says if the Aurelia appears and is hurt or her eggs are taken... all "fabulous creatures will vanish from the earth."

Mr. Greenbloom must get to California before Aurelia appears. Yet, he knows that a boy from his childhood, Eelstrom, will be heading to the same location. Eelstrom has a hunger for all things magical, powerful, and everlasting. Will the Greenblooms stop Eelstrom from hurting Aurelia and the destruction of all the wonderous mythical creatures?
Meet the Author:
 Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning German illustrator and storyteller, who writes fantasy for all ages of readers. Amongst her best known books is the Inkheart trilogy. Many of Cornelia's titles are published all over the world and translated into more than 30 languages. She has two children, two birds and a very old dog and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Publisher's Synopsis:
Beatrice Fletcher is obsessed with unsolved murders in her small town of Cabot Cove, Maine like her great-aunt Jessica, the famous mystery writer. But when her best friend Jackson goes missing, this time the mystery is personal.

Then Jackson fails to show up for a late night meet-up, and instead, Bea stumbles upon three students from the elite Broadmoor Academy: overly-friendly and slightly vicious Leisl, her aloof twin brother, Leif, and Carlos, who knows more about, well, everything than he’s letting on. They’re worldly, secretive, and big on playing games like tenace, the hush-hush Broadmoor tradition where anything or anyone can be a clue to future fame and fortune, and players will stop at nothing -- including murder -- to get ahead.

If Bea wants to find Jackson, she too must join the game and play to win. Everyone in Cabot Cove has secrets, and it’s up to Bea to ferret them out before it’s too late in this thrilling modern update of the classic television show.
"This is bad, something inside me whispers."
MrsK's Review:
Dear Reader...and so the story is woven with Bea's Aunt Jessica, yep... Cabot Cove and  a murder known as the Lambert Murder.

Beatrice Fletcher is a cold case column writer for True Maine. What could ruin your evening with a friend? Jackson has been her steadfast friend, who is absolutely committed to doing everything he agrees to do. Yet, where is he? A darker fear begins to rise!

On the ridge... Bea began chasing a scream... but quickly discovers that she is the one being chased. When she hears a voice shouting... "Over here!" Thankfully she meets three Broadmoor students. Leisel and her twin Leif, as well as Carlos the one who claims that no-one was chasing her. Could this night get any worse? Just as Bea decides to leave, they ask her to help them decode a riddle.

By the morning, she is filled with anxiety... There still is no response to her text message to Jackson. This can't be good. What if he was in trouble at home. What if his parents caught him leaving the house? What if they've done something to him?

With plenty of twists and turns, red herrings, enough clues to get Bea in danger... this mystery engages you to the point of desperation trying to help Bea and Jackson!

Meet the Author:
 Stephanie Kuehn is a clinical psychologist and an award-winning author. She has written six novels for teens, including Charm & Strange, which won the ALA’s 2014 William C. Morris Award for best debut young adult novel. Her second novel, Complicit, was named to YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults list, and her third, Delicate Monsters, won the 2016 Northern California Book Award. In 2015, Stephanie was awarded the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for The Smaller Evil and in 2017, her fifth novel, When I Am Through With You, received a starred review from Kirkus and was also named an Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Publisher's Synopsis:
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
MrsK's Review:
"Never let anyone lower your goals..."
The dribbling of the ball... crossing it from hand to hand... a basketball move... or a change of attitude?
Josh and Jordan are twins, yet like most twins they are uniquely their own. 

Are you a basketball fan? Have you played H-O-R-S-E? Did the beautiful pumpkin-red ball call to you, asking you to just try to play? Somewhere inside... most of us have shot hoops (or least aimed for the hoop). Most of us have cheered, yelled, and held our breath as we watched the ball dance through the air before the buzz of the bell! This novel is for everyone... you don't have to be a fan, it doesn't require you to even care about the game, it only needs you to read with the eyes of these twins and connect to the message with in your past-present-future.

This poetic verse novel is woven with the heart of youth, yet the exquisite language of honesty touches the reader's humanity... which is why this title does not stay on the shelf in school libraries and bookstores!

Reading for the nuggets of change... is a wonderful adventure,
"Others' expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life."
Meet the Author:
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Passaic Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages. His other works include Surf's Up, a picture book; Booked, a middle grade novel; and He Said She Said, a YA novel.

Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his PAGE TO STAGE Writing and Publishing Program released by Scholastic. A regular speaker at colleges and conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love (Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, Shanghai, etc.). Recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Booked to Dine: Jan-March Book Picks 2022

 Each of these titles have been woven with strands of life, hope, and determination.
With every turn of the page, you will discover moments of "new" mornings dawning,
as well as a display of daily strength.

ISBN: 9781590522691
Publisher's Synopsis:
Follow a horse where no one else can tread, through the minefield of pain that surrounds a broken child's soul. From a mistreated horse to an emotionally starved child and back again, a torrent of love revives their barren places.

In the presence of unconditional love, a mute girl speaks for the first time. A defiant teenager teaches a horse to trust again...and opens his own heart to love. A rescued horse gives a dying man his last wish. A battered girl finds love and protection in the friendship of a battered horse...

Come visit a place where the impossible flourishes, where dreams survive the inferno of reality--a place where hope rises.

MrsK's Review:
Have you been called to make a leap of faith and move to place that was not on your radar and beyond your imagination? What if the whispering within your heart was calling you to bring hope to the hopeless? What if the hopeless were abused or abandoned horses? What if that leap of faith opened up a ranch for those horses? Finally, what if there is still more to be done?

Meet Kim Meeder! Her story unfolds through-out this collection of life-changing moments. These moments of redemption, renewal, and  hope provides an inside look "into" the heart of one who answered, "Yes" to the calling of a mighty God. Whether it is the purchase of a horse in need or it's the open-arm invitation to those broken by life. These chapters are more than stories from a ranch, they are moments in which you, the reader, will recognize the touch of His handiwork.

With an eloquent weaving of words, each chapter witnesses the healing of a soul, a spirit, and a future. Once you've entered the first chapter, Angels in Horsehair, your connection becomes more than a page-turning adventure. Your heart begins to grow a desire to see "healing" in action. 

When this book finds it's way into your hands, you will face the grip of "anger and compassion," you will drink in the inner peace of the "broken now restored." Your search for a perfect match will be restored when your heart is shattered by a destructive "stony prison" tenderly transformed into a "captive soul" unchained. 

If wishes could come true... your spirit would soar like an eagle on the wings of our Lord's hope for all of his creation. Are you ready to be inspired? Are their areas within the recesses of your heart that is longing for hope? When was the last time you read a book that is filled with "real-life" hope?

Meet the Author:

Kim Meeder has seen horses go where no one else can tread - stepping through the minefield of a broken child's soul in a dance of trust that only God can understand. From a mistreated horse to an emotionally starved child and back again, a torrent of love washes away their barren places. Kim's ranch is a place where this miracle happens over and over again. It is a place where the impossible flourishes, where dreams survive the inferno of reality - a place where hope rises.  Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch  

Christina Alger
ISBN: 9780143122753
Publisher's Synopsis:
A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences. Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.

But Paul's luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie-will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?
"The weather is optimal...This has to be done now."
MrsK's Review:
9:30pm Paul slips into the ballroom for the live auction. Even though he wasn't feeling up to the after-party, Paul knew that Merrill needed him to make an appearance. The Darling family expected loyalty, honesty, and above all a social etiquette that was becoming of their New York status. Including the Thanksgiving weekend in East Hammond.

Since the Wall Street collapse, Paul had begun his job with Delphic. Merrill's father, Carter, was a powerful investor.  He was just beginning to find a new rhythm. Then came the phone call on Wednesday at 6:23am... Morty was dead!

Steeped in "deep" deception, you the reader are invited into the world of the financial elite. The Darling family has enjoyed generations of east coast living. Careers have been profitable, daily lives are free from the worry of what daily living costs, and high-stake relationships are formed. Given the fall of Wall Street, many find themselves without their jobs... without connections once relied upon... without the assurance of someone having your back. What will be revealed about Morty... endangers the Darling family and all who have invested, trusted, and knew to be secure. What will be learned... that depends on who can hold on to their "truth and moral" foundations.

It has been many years since I've opened the cover of a social drama, the promise of a thriller delivered this novel into my hands. Although this book took some time for me to reacquaint myself with this genre, it was so well written... I had to continue my journey with the Darling family! It was worth renewing my interest in books about the "echelons of New York,"

Meet the Author:


Christina Alger is a native New Yorker and former attorney, Alger’s intimate knowledge of the financial world and legal system gives her novels and screenplays additional depth, intrigue, and expertise. As said by The Wall Street Journal, “Cristina Alger knows her way around 21st Century wealth and power, and she tells a twisty, suspenseful story.” Prior to her writing career, Alger was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and a corporate attorney at Wilmer Hale. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied English and American Literature and Language, and NYU School of Law.

ISBN: 9780785219958
Publisher's Synopsis:
In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.

MrsK's Review:
Indifference between Life and Death
Berlin, May 1943. Helene is a mother of five children, she works double shifts to keep her family afloat. Her husband Johann is a violin virtuoso in the Berlin Philharmonic. Given that Helene is of Aryan decent, at first, her marriage to a Gypsy was given permission to remain in their home. As occupation continued, the horrific conditions brought that dreaded "knock" of despair. Helene had choices to make. First, she had to explain to her children that it was their turn to go to a type of a "summer camp," and finally she would not need to accompany her family, for her nursing skills were needed.

Filled with trepidation, Helene stood firm. On the rails to Auschwitz, would prove to be a foreshadowing of what the camp experience would become. Separated from Johann, Helene would discover that the "life" at camp would forever leave its mark upon her heart, a lasting imprint upon her children, and unwavering hope that soon the world would discover the value in humanity.

"Mothers capable of generating life could never become accomplices to so much death."
Helene begins helping at the camp with her nursing skills, yet her heart went out to the children who had nothing to do. How could she bring joy to them and necessary nourishment? Her legacy will be found in the establishment of a nursery and school.

This story is crafted with the truth of an oppressive regime. The horror of man's egotistical hunger for control. Yet, the hearts of the mothers, will usher in the strength of hope for their children. The value of life in the midst of death. United in an incomprehensible reality... 

May we be blessed with the value of life...
"Human beings are momentary breaths in the midst
of the hurricane of our circumstances."
Meet the Author:

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Margaret M Lothrop
The Wayside: Home of Authors
Concord, Massachusetts

MrsK's Review:
Did you know that eleven authors have published at least one book while living at The Wayside? Often times a book will choose you... to be it's reader. That is exactly how this delightful journey began. With such a heavy heart during the world's lock down, this book became my own evening retreat.

I learned about the farming abilities of Mr. Alcott, including the aromatic beauty of his flower garden. I learned that the family gave protection to escaped slaves in 1847 and that each of the girls enjoyed their adventures at Hillside. The old house, it's big attic, the barn, and the hillside became their "special playground."

At the age of 48, Mr. Hawthorne was financially ready to own a home, a place to "discover the psychological processing in which man determines his actions." Social engagements (dances), visiting writers, games, political discussion gatherings, and writing impromptu opportunities became a weekly life style.

In 1883, The Wayside became the home of Margaret Sidney (pen name),The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew had already been published as the Lothrop family was moving into The Wayside. Mr. Daniel Lothrop established his publishing firm, D. Lothrop & Co., in 1868. A publishing company that has remains in business (1905=Lothrop, Lee & Shepard; William Morrow & Co. (Harper Collins in 1999).

Mr. Lothrop was convicted that they would "never publish a book purely sensational, no matter what the chances of money it had in it. Their published books will make for true, steadfast growth in right living. They published the first reading/literacy magazines for young readers of all ages (Babyland; Our Pansy; Little Men and Women; Wide Awake=oldest readers).

Mrs. Lothrop continued her writing at The Wayside. Even after the death of Daniel, she continued to bring together those whose values and traditions were organized for future generations (Daughters of the American Revolution; Sons of the American Revolution; National Society for Children of the American Revolution). Her continued gathering of that which needed to be "taken care of" for the generations were many homes, meeting places, and sights of the Concord Revolution history. For me, it was the stories of the Five Little Peppers! May these authors never be forgotten. History is not perfect... but those that have walked before us lived and died for us to learn how to be the leaders of true freedom.

Meet the Author:

"Margaret Sidney," as hostess reigns well, and exhibits one secret of her success in the writing of books…she puts aside her own personality and throws her whole heart into whatever interests those around her. It is impossible to forget this when talking to her, and the delightful atmosphere…was due largely to this influence. - Boston Evening Transcript, 1887

Harriett M. Stone was born on June 22, 1844 in New Haven, Connecticut. Although her life spanned more than half of the 19th century, we know little about her until the 1880s when her "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" appeared in Wide Awake, a children's magazine, and she met and married its publisher, Daniel Lothrop.

Together they bought Hawthorne's home, The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts in 1883.From that time on, her boundless energy and sunny disposition was seen in all that she undertook –raising her daughter Margaret who was born at The Wayside in 1884, writing for children under the pen name Margaret Sidney, founding the National Society Children of the American Revolution in 1895, saving historic houses, and celebrating with grand fetes the rich heritage of The Wayside and the people who lived there.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

2022: New Year Young Reader's Reviews

 Starting the New Year with great adventures... exciting discoveries... and hours of enjoyment!

Everybody Read Aloud:
Miry Whitehill & Jennifer Jackson
Illustrator: Nomar Perez
ISBN: 9781728231839
Publisher's Synopsis:
When we see someone new in our neighborhood, 
how can we help them feel safe and loved and important?

How can we tell them, you're not alone? There are so many ways!

From the creators of Miry's List, the nonprofit that has helped thousands of refugees, Our World is a Family is an all-ages picture book exploring the complicated topic of human migration in a gentle, loving, and affirming way. It lightly touches on the reason people might leave their homes, like climate change or lack of safety, and inspires children to welcome their new neighbors into their communities with love.

MrsK's Review:
"When we see someone new..."

Our world, our planet... all "living and growing and making a home." This picture book is a perfect addition to every bookshelf... whether it is in a home library, a school library, a public library, and in every Little Free library. With the media portraying racial differences, it is wonderful to have a refreshing and endearing "world" voice to share with all littles. As an educator, there would be so many opportunities for discussions, individualized drafting opportunities (biographies), and world explorations.

United... we can make a difference... with our differences... please get this book shared with our littles!

Meet the Authors:
 Miry Whitehill is founder and executive director of the award-winning nonprofit organization Miry's List, which supports families resettling in the United States as refugees, from countries including Syria and Afghanistan. She is mom to Reuben and Sabo, whose curiosity and unending questions led to the writing of this book. To learn more about the needs of new arrival families and how your family can help, visit

  Jennifer Jackson has always been a storyteller. She began her career in live theater as a writer, director, and choreographer before transitioning to the page with her first picture book, The Punkydoos Take the Stage. Now, she is thrilled to be sharing Our World Is a Family, a story that’s so close to her heart. You can visit her at
My name is Nomar Perez. I was born on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, in the city of Ponce, a unique city with new and old Spanish colonial architecture and an amazing array of colors, sounds, and flavors. I'm a kids designer, illustrator and author that loves to create and explore all things creative! My Puerto Rican culture has influenced me throughout my artistic life. I moved from my homeland to Ohio at the age of 10 with my parents and my 5 siblings. All types of media influence my work, most especially animation, puppetry, and computer art.

2nd Grade:
V.T. Bidania
ISBN: 9781515861317
Publisher's Synopsis:
Astrid is afraid of the dark and doesn't want to go on her family camping trip. But her twin brother, Apollo, is excited. When they encounter scary things such as crawly bugs and the creepy dark, Apollo helps his twin through them. And when they encounter the scariest thing of all, Astrid might just be the one to save the starry campout.

MrsK's Review:
Astrid's family is all set to go on their family campout. Astrid's one challenge... she is afraid of the dark. Since this is her first campout, what will she do if her special glow-in-the-dark wand doesn't have enough light for camping?

With the help of her twin brother, Apollo, Astrid will discover that camping out has many new adventures, sausages under the stars, and night-time "scratching" noises.

Step into reading stories can be the most delightful chapter books. Astrid and Apollo are characters that every young reader will relate with. Their sibling relationship emphasizes compassion, humor, support, and acceptance. This is a great series for second grade pass-arounds!

Meet the Author:

V.T. Bidania was born in Laos and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and received a Mirrors & Windows Fellowship from the Loft Literary Center. In 2021, she won the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers. She is the author of ASTRID AND APOLLO, a chapter book series starring Hmong American twins Astrid and Apollo Lee (Capstone).

3-4 Grades
Ken Lamug
ISBN: 9780062970756
Publisher's Synopsis:
Mischief, and her side-cat, Mayhem, are your respectably heinous villains. They’ll spoil new movies, steal cake from parties they weren’t invited to, and hit the good citizens where it’ll dirty them most—their toilet paper. But before Mischief and Mayhem were ever supervillains, they were just Missy and Gizmo, fresh recruits at superhero camp.

Only, Missy lied on her hero application and has exactly zero superpowers, just her brainpower. Missy is humiliated when caught and kicked out, and only fellow camp recruit Melvira stands by her. Unbeknownst to others, Melvira has a villainous agenda, and it involves helping Missy cross the line into villainy as her new alter ego, Mischief. But something about Melvira doesn’t sit right with Missy, and soon she’ll be called upon to battle her former best friend.

MrsK's Review:
Feeling like you can do nothing right? Thinking that the one thing you enjoy doing... always turns out to be trouble? Wondering what strength you might have that would get noticed? So is Missy.

The people of Idleness do not like all the noise Missy creates. Which is exactly what Missy does well. Thinking that she would benefit from a Superhero camp, she discovers that even at that camp she doesn't fit in. What she misses is how meeting others can "play-out" in your future. Thinking that she has finally met a "good" friend, Missy begins to follow the lead of Melvira. Will Missy realize that sometimes going along with behaviors that are not kind isn't worth the price of a misleading friendship?

Crazy and zany graphics. Graphic novels are fun to read. Visual art blocks are inviting with skillful layouts (organization). Emotions and thoughts clearly define characters and their purpose in the storyline. Artistic word choice is emphasized with sounds in design. Is there anything more enjoyable for readers than engagement with a graphic novel (comic humanity)? Enjoy this mischievous super-hero who will need to decide if causing mayhem is better than doing what is right!

Meet the Author:

Ken is an award-winning professional dabbler. He was born in the Philippines and moved to the US with his entire family during his teenage years. Currently, he enjoys his life as an author/illustrator of picture books and graphic novels for middle-graders to middle-agers.
In his past life he was a beekeeper, race car driver, filmmaker and chicken herder. He currently lives in Las Vegas (although he doesn’t gamble) where he spends time with his family and two dogs.
Ken was the former Illustrator Coordinator for Nevada Chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). He also teaches graphic novels for Storyteller’s Academy.

Kelly Yang
Publisher's Synopsis:
After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family -- to China! A total dream come true! Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China's going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . .

1. Lupe's taking classes at the high school! And Mia's own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck.
2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it.
3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing.

Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

MrsK's Review:
This is a true treasure. Mia is an amazing young blogger. Her ability to reach her audience is a blogger's dream come true. Yet, she will need to learn what should be written without causing pain to those who were not notified that she was sharing their story.

Then... when she returns from her family trip to China, Mia sees the changes around her family's motel. For Mia this will become an opportunity to find a way to save her family's motel, as well as neighboring small businesses. Or at least that is her hope!

This story is an excellent reality fiction story that should be shared by all Librarians, as well as classroom teachers (3rd-6th). Don't miss out on Mia.... 
Meet the Author:

Kelly Yang is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of the FRONT DESK series, winner of the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Children's Literature. Her books include FRONT DESK, THREE KEYS, ROOM TO DREAM, PARACHUTES, NEW FROM HERE, and other middle grade and young adult novels. She was born in China and grew up in Los Angeles. She went to college at the age of 13 and graduated from UC Berkeley at the age of 17 and Harvard Law School at the age of 20. After law school, she founded The Kelly Yang Project, a writing and debating program for children in Asia. Prior to becoming a novelist, she wrote for many years for the South China Morning Post, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Atlantic. She lives in Los Angeles.

Kathryn Lasky
ISBN: 9780063031012
Publisher's Synopsis:
Deep in the wilds of Scotland, land of ancient warrior kings and myths, there is a deep secret. The secret is a colony of beavers, a species that is craved for their fur pelts, but vilified for what humans consider to be the destruction of their land. No beaver has been spotted in Scotland or England for over five hundred years, until the young beaver, Dunwattle, is sighted!

Dunwattle's flight is driven by the presence of a ghostly figure, a figure of a mysterious young girl who is almost one thousand years old. And now Dunwattle is destined to be destroyed for revealing the hidden colony, but his best friend Locksley is determined to save him. Will their ancient beaver colony survive?

"Dunwattle's eyes flew open. This is not a dream."
MrsK's Review:
Dunwattle is a bit skittish when it comes to the unknown. By far, he is a quick learner, and very inquisitive. His motives are for the good of his colony, and his actions are still in need of training. In his training, he is learning more and more about the "two-legs," and with the help of the little two-legs he will gain an understanding about relationships with those who are not like you. Yet, it is a banning offense to be seen by a two-leg! Will Dunwattle be banned?

Locksley is determined to look after Dunwattle. As friends, they have played, learned, and worked at the assigned dams together.

Elsinore is the reporting swan for Glendunny. Many come to her for guidance, weather reports, and strangers. It is her daily job to fly over Glendunny and oversee the activity below. When she sees Dunwattle hastily swimming where he should not be heading, she alarmed. What could Dunwattle be up to?

Yrynn is a Canuck, beavers from Canada. She is one of the best beaver "guides" of the logs down river. Once upon a time, before the beavers were made into hats, coats, and perfumes, her ancestors enjoyed "wild rivers and enormous forests."

Lorna and Fergus are little "two-legs," their bones have been brought to the surface of Dunwattle's home. Before the massacre in 1296, her family lived in the local village of Scotland.

Grinfyll is the leader of a vicious Lynx gang. He has learned that Dunwattle was seen by a two-legs. This could be a profitable bit of information.

With the weaving of a master storyteller, Glendunny becomes a wonderous wilderness adventure. Characters are expertly crafted, the settings are vividly described, and as Lasky does best... the quest is mingled with page-turning conflicts.

Meet the Author:


Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.

She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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