September 2, 2015

Picture Book Round Up

Because I'm getting my school media specialist license I'm reading more picture books than normal.  
Although middle school is where my heart is - I still love picture books! Besides any good teacher knows the power of a good picture book at any age!

I decided that once a month I would do a 
Picture Book Round-Up 
of some great picture books I've read lately.

I've got three today.

Title: Wild Child
Author/Illustrator: Steven Salerno
The jungle can be a scary place, but there is one creature who is the fiercest of all: it grabs, it pulls, it cries, it poops—it’s the WILD CHILD! All the animals live in fear of this nasty baby who cannot be tamed or soothed. No matter what the animals try, the wild child just gets wilder! Can the animals join together to bring peace back to the jungle and make the wild child a mild child?

Thoughts:  Very cute book that everyone can relate to because we've all been around that "wild child". Bright bold illustrations add to the fun.  

Title: I Love You More Than Moldy Ham

Author/Illustrator:  Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
When a young monster sets out to create a gourmet dinner for someone special, he squelches through marsh and muck to find just the right ingredients, from beetle knees to plump slugs to chicken teeth! But who is the dinner for? A surprise awaits his special loved one and readers alike!

Thoughts:  One of those "awwww" but yet "ewwww" books that kids will love.  Great cute book about doing something special for the ones we love.  

Title: Peanut Butter & Jelly Brains
Author: Joe McGee
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Reginald isn’t like the other zombies who shuffle through Quirkville, scaring the townspeople and moaning for BRAINSSSSS! The only thing Reginald’s stomach rumbles for is sticky peanut butter and sweet jelly. He tries to tell his zombie pals that there’s more to life than eating brains, but they’re just not interested. Will Reginald find a way to bring peace to Quirkville and convince the other zombies that there’s nothing better than PB&J?

Thoughts: I LOVE zombies and this picture book is perfect!!! Cute and funny and appropriate.  How could you not love a zombie that just wants a PB&J??? Well done!!

September 1, 2015

Queen of Shadows Release Day Blitz! +GIVEAWAY

I am so excited to help promote 
QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas 
It releases today and I get to help share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

I will be honest - I haven't read this series....yet!!! I have the first book, and I'm all set to dive in.  It sounds fantastic, and I've heard such great things about it!!!!!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Sarah J. Maas, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the first 3 books in the series (in paperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The book:

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 656

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Read Chapters 1-5 of QUEEN OF SHADOWS HERE!

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series–Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade–as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will release worldwide on September 1st, 2015.
A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies. 

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram| Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.
Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

August 31, 2015

Review: Dream Mandalas Adult Coloring Book

I don't know if you've seen the explosion of adult coloring books, but it has gotten crazy! 
I'd say it's a silly craze, but honestly I've always found coloring to be very calming, so I get why people are into them!

So I was approached Ulysses Press to review a coloring book they published I was very interested.  

They sent me:

Dream Mandalas
30 Hand-drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation
by Artist Wendy Piersall

A bit about the book:

Relax and de-stress from your busy life by coloring this collection of whimsical mandalas that incorporate mystical imagery into the patterns.

Coloring a mandala is an ancient way to attain focus, clarity, and peace. Now, Coloring Dream Mandalas adds the beauty of the dream world—including dreamcatchers, sacred geometry, angels and fantastical creatures—to these intricate designs for page after page of coloring book bliss.

With roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas are spiritual symbols that represent the universe. Coloring these hypnotically beautiful, mystical shapes is a meditative and enjoyable way to relax. A fun way to achieve a state of mindfulness, this book fosters creativity, reduces stress, and allows readers to embrace their inner child by focusing on the simple but engaging task of coloring in the detailed designs.

What a very cool coloring book!! Even just looking at the pictures without color they are amazing.  I do have to admit that at first some of the intimidated me for coloring - so many little areas.  But actually that wasn't an issue! Coloring in the smaller areas actually made me focus on that and nothing else so anything I might have been stressing over went away for a bit!

One other thought - I can't believe these are hand-drawn.  I stink at drawing so the thought of someone drawing these pictures to color just amazes me!!!

If you haven't checked any adult coloring books out I suggest you!!

August 29, 2015

Uppercase Book Subscription August Box

I've gotten caught up in the fun of subscription boxes and signed up for a few (ok 4).  

Doing I want to share what I got in my Uppercase box for the month of August!

Here's how it was packaged before opening it:

And all the goodies! 

I've seen the book Rebel Mechanics around, but hadn't bought it.  It's not my typical read - so I'm glad it was put into my hand because I might not have gotten it otherwise.  It looks fantastic!!

I also LOVED the bookmark because it matches the cover 100%.  How cute is that?!?!

And the necklace - it is the cutest thing! My daughter saw it and nabbed it right away.  I have a feeling I'll never see it again.

Here are some close-ups.  

It was a fun box to get!  I'll stay with Uppercase for awhile :)

August 28, 2015

FYI Friday: Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes

On Fridays I like to share with you a book or two that I feel you need to know about (aka be informed about).

Today it's:

Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes
Author: Rick Riordan
Illustrator: John Rocco

This is the second book like this from Rick Riordan.  I also reviewed PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

The two books are very similar.  This difference is that this time Percy is looking at the heroes.  And once again it is written with Percy telling the stories.  Because of that you'll find humorous thoughts inserted and a more casual style to the stories.  But again - the stories aren't shortened or anything.  The whole Greek stories are there!

Each story is enhanced by the amazing artwork of John Rocco.
The artwork is amazing!!!

If you are a Percy Jackson fan this is a must-have!

About the Book

Who cut off Medusa's head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I've had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I'm going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan's legions of devoted fans--and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you've got arrows in your quiver. We're going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we'll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let's do this.

August 27, 2015

Book Review: Hidden by Loic Dauvillier

Title: Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust
Author: Loic Dauvillier
Illustrator: Marc Lizano
Color by: Greg Salsedo
Translator: Alexis Siegel

In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.

Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.

There are many books about the Holocaust during World War 2.  Because of that I wondered what this book - let alone a graphic novel - could tell that other books hadn't already done.  What I found was a book that told a story I hadn't heard before in a format that captured all the emotion and affects in a way that stuck with me after closing the book. If you don't think a graphic novel can be powerful I ask you to look at this book.  The illustrations of Dounia and her mother convey in very simple lines the sadness, hurt and fear they felt.  One drawing in particular of Dounia's mother after returning from the concentration camp speaks a million words.  You know she suffered greatly without having to have it written out in sentences and paragraphs.  

As a teacher I could see using this book as a way to introduce the topic of the Holocaust to my students.  Many times what is out there is too graphic for a younger audience.  This book (although it's a graphic novel!) isn't graphic in it's account of what happened.  It doesn't hide it - but it doesn't feel the need to show it in full detail. Instead it focuses on the love of this family and how it held hope.  Sharing this book would allow for a discussion to start without having to dive right away into the specifics of what happened.  I will be sharing the book with the English and history teachers I work with.  

Final Thought: This is a moving, simple account of a Jewish family during World War 2 that manages to convey emotions in just a few words written beside perfectly drawn pictures.