BLUE SPOT, by Griselda Sastrawinata

"Well, Mama, then it started raining blueberries! Luckily, I had an umbrella. The blueberry rain created lots of puddles that turned into blueberry jam.  I had to walk ove it on stilts."

In BLUE SPOT, sparkling illustrations combine with imaginative text to create a fantastical journey totally relatable to any child.  I love how Daisy tells a story that is creative and fun, but in the end tells the true story so her Mama understands why she has a blue spot on her dress.  This is the kind of book that will delight young readers!

Three NEW Read Alouds

I just read three hilarious and heartwarming newly released picture books.  

1. CAN U SAVE THE DAY?

"The letter B stuck out his tongue and bragged, 'Our group is #1'!"


Offended, A said, 'You'll regret when all the vowels are done, I bet."

CAN U SAVE THE DAY? by Shannon Stocker and Tom Disbury, is a clever alphabet book where the vowels get disgruntled and leave, causing chaos with all of the animal sounds.

"So E took off. Things went awry, and all the horse could say was 'Nigh!" the birs sang 'twt' instead of tweet, and the sheep just 'blt' instead of bleat."

Super fun read aloud and great teaching tool for consonants and vowels and letters in general!


2. BRUCE'S BIG STORM

"Bruce was a bear who did not neighbors.  Neighbors were loud.  They were always interrupting... and pestering.  Worse still, neighbors lived all over Bruce's neighborhood."


BRUCE'S BIG STORM, by Ryan T. Higgins is another hilarious and heartwarming installment of the Mother Bruce series.  I love curmudgeonly Bruce! And I love how he hates things but always helps the other animals in the end.  Filled with comical and expressive illustrations, this book is the kind of read aloud that kids will want to read over and over again.

3. I LOVE GLAM- MA!

"But what is it that really makes a Glam-MA so glamorous? 
YOU.
Because you're the one who made her a Glam-MA in the first place...and nothing is more glamorous than that."


I LOVE GLAM- MA!, by Samantha Berger and Sujean Rim is a lovely celebration of energetic and fun Grandmas.  I LOVE the title, the clever text and stunning and creative and the illustrations.   The pages of this book show all types of activities a grandma can do from building forts or making capes.  Super fun text for a grandmother to read with their grandchildren!


What new picture books have you smiling?

Happy Book Birthday to Three Compelling Middle Grade Novels!


"I think about my baby sister, how I want to bring her to Harlem one day, how I won't be impatient with her as she takes it all in. How I want to show her where we come from, how I'll whisper in her ear, "You come from greatness, you come from strength."

Just. Wow.  SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS, by Renee Watson,  is powerfully moving, well written, and compelling.  It's a coming of age story about a girl who wants to understand her Dad's background, and help him reconcile with her grandfather.  Themes of family, forgiveness, culture, history will evoke thought and discussion.  The story is so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.  I laughed and teared up--this MG is the perfect blend of heart and hope.  Beautiful, beautiful story!


"I think about my baby sister, how I want to bring her to Harlem one day, how I won't be impatient with her as she takes it all in. How I want to show her where we come from, how I'll whisper in her ear, "You come from greatness, you come from strength."

Just. Wow.  SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS, by Renee Watson,  is powerfully moving, well written, and compelling.  It's a coming of age story about a girl who wants to understand her Dad's background, and help him reconcile with her grandfather.  Themes of family, forgiveness, culture, history will evoke thought and discussion.  The story is so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.  I laughed and teared up--this MG is the perfect blend of heart and hope.  Beautiful, beautiful story!

"Suddenly, with a wave of nerves, Evangeline realized that the way the spider-girl looked right now was the way Evangeline herself must look every time there was an empty seat next to her.  Every time she sat there with her puffy coat pulled tight around her, waiting, hoping, that just one person would sit down and ask her name.

Evangeline knew what she had to do."

This Frozen-like fantasy, HEARTS OF ICE, by Adi Rule drew me in and had me hooked from page one. Evangeline is a lonely 12 year old who lives with her mother and moves before she ever has a chance to connect with her peers.  Her character is relatable and authentic, making the story so much fun to read!  Filled with adventure, surprises, and magic, HEARTS OF ICE is the kind of book I could read again.  Just because.




"Heat travels from my feet and into my hands, forms in my mind as a ball of red haze. I send it to the lock and untwist it. As soon as it's done my skin cools down and I lean against the door, waiting, half holding my breath. The pain comes in a wave, hammers on the bones of my arms and legs, and I wait it out, gritting my teeth."

CASTER, by Elsie Chapman is compelling, fast paced and well written. I found myself immersed in the dystopian magical world.  Aza is a complex character with flaws that make her an authentic and relatable character.  Aza has impossible choices to make and since the stakes are so high, the reader cares about the outcome. Chapman artfully interweaves themes of loss, grief, family, loyalty, revenge, love, work, identity, and being true to yourself throughout the story.  I hope there's another installment in this story--the world building is all immersive and I can't wait to find out what happens to Aza as she navigates the challenges of her life as a caster.

The Very Very Far North Blog Tour Plus GIVEAWAY!


"Sometimes a day has a change of heart and decides to take you where you want to go."

The Very Very FAR North, written by Dan Bar-El,  illustrated by Kelly Pousette is a charming and witty story reminiscent of Winnie The Pooh. Duane is a curious bear who loves eating, napping, friends and adventures.  Compelling writing draws us in and introduces us to unique and relatable characters whose personality quirks remind us of  home. The illustrations only add to the allure of this fun middle grade read.
Book Synopsis
An inquisitive polar bear named Duane befriends an array of animals as he discovers where he belongs in this charming classic-in-the making that’s reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh.

In the Very, Very Far North, past the Cold, Cold Ocean and just below the hill that looks like a baby whale, you’ll find Duane and his friends.

Duane is a sweet and curious young bear who makes friends with everyone he meets—whether they’re bossy, like Major Puff the puffin, or a bit vain, like Handsome the musk ox, or very, very shy, like Boo the caribou. For these arctic friends, every day is a new adventure!

To win a copy of this book, comment on this post. If you share on facebook or 
twitter, you get another entry. Giveaway closes in one week.

Tour Schedule
September 2 – The Story Sanctuary
September 3 – Kirsti Call
September 4 – Randomly Reading
September 5 – Alexa Loves Books
September 6 – Jean Little Library
September 7 – Tale Out Loud
September 9 – Insane About Books

Author Bio
Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children’s author, educator, and storyteller whose books include Audrey (cow), Not Your Typical Dragon, and The Very, Very Far North. Dan has worked with children ages three to thirteen as a school-age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher, and a creative writing teacher. He also teaches with the Creative Writing for Children Society. Dan lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with artist and goldsmith Dominique Bréchault, and Sasha, the most adorable cat in the known universe. Visit him at DanBarel.com.
Illustrator Bio
Kelly Pousette is an illustrator and storyteller, originally from the west coast of British Columbia. She loves to create things, especially pictures. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post ParisThe Brown Paper Bag blog, and Brightness Magazine. She currently resides in northern British Columbia with her husband and very large dog Clovis. The Very, Very Far North is her first book.