Three best friends
Author: Robbin Miller
Editor: Jennifer Niles
Publisher: Self-published, 2017
Robbin Miller has published her second picture book entitled, Three Best Friends. Meet Max Thomas, a wheel chair bound boy who is excited about the opening of a new playground and the opportunity to play with his able bodied, best friends, Sophia and Xavier. To his disappointment, the park is not accessible for wheel chairs and leaves him feeling humiliated and stigmatized. In a very child appropriate tone, the story introduces children to the topic of ability, diversity, and bullying. The moral of the story is that all children should be able to play together, however inclusive playgrounds are costly to build. The illustrations were brightly colored and had diverse main characters (White, Black; male, female; abled, disabled). I give this book 5 stars for its creativity, important social content, and representation. You can get your copy here.
While reading this book, things the reader may consider: Is handicapped or special, acceptable terms to use for a child in wheel chair? Why aren’t more parks made accessible to all children? How important do parents think it is for children to play with a variety of children? According to the Landscape Structures Inclusive Play Survey (2014), 74% of parents who responded think it is important. Inclusive environments foster increased social interactions, meaningful friendships, appreciation and acceptance of individual differences, understanding of diversity, respect, empathy, and emotional growth.
It's back to school season and vacations have come to an end. But we can still reminisce! Vacations can be awesome things- sight-seeing, learning a new language or social norms, trying new foods, staying on an activity filled resort, laying by the beach or pool and getting tanned for example.
But sometimes horrible things happen unexpectedly. It can be from anywhere like forgetting your passport, missing your flight, being delayed at the airport for hours, being a target of discrimination, losing your luggage, staying at a place that looks nothing like it was described or getting ill during the trip. My family loves to travel. We tend to have pretty smooth, relaxing and fun vacations. So, when we were offered Vacation Mix Up, written by Jazmeen E., we were excited to read about their vacation and learn where they went. We couldn’t wait to learn what was the mix up?
In Vacation Mix Up, we meet 4 high school friends who are sophomores and seem well off financially. They are traveling unsupervised to NY, when they discover they took the wrong flight and end up somewhere else. Lucky for them they have the means to book a resort and make the best of their trip. Each day brings new and exciting adventures. In each chapter, we learn more about the characters: Jazmeen, Martha, Elizabeth, and Abby. Jazmeen is the main character, who is really smart, kind, responsible, and mature for her age. Martha is the fun, free, and wild spirit, who is also feisty and argumentative. Abby is the creative one who is into fashion shows and modeling. Elizabeth is shy and has a fraternal twin sister, Harriet. Later, we meet more of their friends, but I won’t ruin the story for you.
This book has 29 chapters, 30 pages, and took Olivia and I about 1 hr and a half to read. We recommend this book for 5th- 7th grade or 9 to 12 year old girls as it is a chapter book and has no pictures. It is well written, very interesting, and keeps the reader engaged. It is very imaginative and has a lot of action. You can find this book on Amazon.com. We give this book 5 stars. The best reason to read it is because it was written by a very talented, 9 year old.
Fiction stories are not easy to write. Believe me, I have tried! We say Congratulations to Jazmeen for a tremendous job. We know you will go very far and cant wait to read your next book.
In the comments below please share what was the worst or weirdest thing that happened to you on a vacation!!!
Title: When I grow up, I want to be myself
Author: A. Cole
Publisher: Self-published, 2016
Pages: 24 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Author A. Cole urges children to be themselves! When I first opened the book, I immediately loved it looking at the beautiful illustrations of a happy, little, African-American, confident, girly girl. I loved what I saw. But as I read, I wondered, would this be another self-esteem, love your hair, Black books? Not that it isnt an important message, but don’t we have enough of those?
But I was pleasantly surprised. As I read I really enjoy the story and I think children too (girls, especially) will enjoy the story because of the way it is written. It flows and shows a character with lots of personality. Children can relate to her pondering and self-reflection. I think what I like most about this book, is the author's ability to accomplish so much in so few pages. First, it covers the topic of IDENTITY. She lets children know that they should find out who they are and what they like. They should be proud of who they are and own their choices.
Second, it covers the topic of occupations. It teaches that there are lots of different jobs and no matter what you look like, you can be whatever you want to be. Don’t allow gender, race, ability or socioeconomic status to deter you from your dream. You have as many options as you believe are open to you.
Third, it covers the topic of the SUCCESS. Very early society tells children to pursue jobs that offer stability, status, and wealth. Success is often considered to be something external such as material gain, rather than an internal sense of satisfaction.
However, the author challenges the third notion with three main principles:
The last principle really stuck with me. We are so busy offering our children every opportunity to be successful such as a good education, a safe home, a million extracurricular activities, and teaching them about financial literacy. In an age of rampant bullying, harassment, and professional misconduct, it is very important that we as parents and educators try to foster and raise decent human beings for generations to come.
How often do modern day parents take the time to teach the children the importance of being kind, giving, respectful, dressing with pride, and listening to your heart above the noise of the world with its naysayers and comparison makers?
The author concludes “Think about what type of person you want to be when you grow up” instead of what you will do to earn a living. “Being the best you” would really ease some of the anxiety and depression that I see amongst the college population that I teach. Thank you so much A. Cole for sharing your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement with our young people. They really need to hear it. We really need to hear it. I also loved the diversity of the classroom scene. I give this book 5 stars.
Title: My little ol grassy waters
Author: Rickeria Lendale
Publisher: Smashwords, 2017
Pages: 14 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Have you ever been to the South? More specifically, have you experienced grassy waters? Perhaps you have taken a swamp tour or swam in a lake? What images come to mind?
My little ol grassy waters is a children’s book where the main character reflects on life living near grassy waters. She recalls sugar cane, rabbits, alligators, dogs, children playing, and Southern charm. It is a sweet memoir of “home sweet home” and I love the melanin richness of the many characters in the story. If you are looking for books with African American characters, this one has plenty!
Although the author never states where this grassy water was located, it took me back to New Orleans. The language as seen in “little ol grass waters,” “my mind going back” and “Yes ma’am” reminds me of southern dialect. The main character yearns to be home. If you watch and enjoy Queen Sugar, I think you would enjoy reading this book to your children. It is short and to the point. She misses her grassy waters.
As a teacher I would have liked to see a lesson at the end of the book. Maybe the author could have describe locations where grassy waters are found. Or have a discussion about types of habitats with one being the wetlands. Or maybe a lesson on Southern charm. The story and the illustrations were beautiful but something felt missing. I give this book 4 stars.
Lauren Simone Publishing House has had a very exciting first year. They announced on their instagram page, @laurensimonepubs, with a display of photos highlighting their achievements that they had garnered:
1 Spanish translator, Tanesha Bramwell-McKen
2 interviews by @kaesani and @fashionista_milan of @kiddustry
3 published book series called He and She, More2Learn, and Olivia Lauren
4 kids authors: Brazil Dowe, Princeton Dowe, Alyssa Simone, and Olivia Lauren
5 youth illustrators: Niquey, Leo, Simonne-Anais, Zachary-Michael, and Simona
6 published books: Days of the week, Siblings fight, Occupations A to Z, Guide to becoming an actor, Olivia travels, and their latest, Olivia Connects (described below)
7 book events (Book readings, story time, and book signings in NY, NJ, and CT)
Over a dozen book reviews on Amazon
Published essays and art in The Evolution Project
Online presence on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Createspace
Found in local book stores in Florida and Connecticut
Over 200 website visitors
Over 500 social media followers
The past year has been hard work, dedication, and determination. They anticipate increase in the coming year.
On the anniversary of its inception, they proudly release Olivia Lauren book series' fourth volume entitled “Olivia Connects”. Written by Olivia Lauren’s older sister, Alyssa Simone and mother, Dr. John, the book is about modes of communication. In a fun and engaging way using bright colors, interesting locations, and diverse characters, children learn about different communication styles and devices used for communication. The characters also explore communication devices used before the age of technology and those used by those with physical challenges (blind or nonverbal). They had a great time collaborating with youth author, Lionel Emabat, who they will continue to work with in the future.
This book is recommended for children aged 6 to 9. Available in print and kindle online at Amazon.com, bn.com, and Createspace. Enjoy! Share pictures with @laurensimonepubs on Instagram and please write a review.
The book can be purchased immediately at https://www.createspace.com/7376669
Get the insider scoop and see sneak peek photos in the gallery.
Rakeem learns about African-American Science Inventors
By Olivia Lauren
Book: Rakeem and the amulet: Science fair, Steven and Charesa Gayle-Bristow, First Printing, 2017, 32 pages
Rakeem and the amulet: The Science fair is a fun story written by Steven and Charesa Gayle-Bristow. Steven and Charesa are a couple living in the United Kingdom who enjoy telling stories.
In my opinion, the book is recommended for children ages 7 to 10. Older children would enjoy the details and length of the story. Girls and especially, boys who love Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) would enjoy this book.
The story is about the main character Rakeem, who is an African American boy with cornrows, who wears a red tee, blue jeans, and a large necklace with an African pendant. He loves Science. But most would not guess by looking at him. The first theme is do not judge a book by its cover. How we dress has nothing to do with our passion.
The story takes place at school where two unlikely boys become friends. They decide to team up for a science fair. They soon discover that Rakeem's pendant, known as an amulet, has the power to travel through time. On their journey, they meet some very interesting characters. As they work on their science project, they learn about the struggle of creating a new invention, as all inventors do, and learn about some great African American inventors. Find out if they are successful at completing their project in time for the Science fair.
The authors do a great job keeping the reader engaged and flipping the page. I liked the illustrations because they were very detailed, bright, and colorful. I liked that I was learning while reading a fiction story.
The book is sold on Amazon and is available in paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Rakeem-Amulet-Science-Steven-Gayle-Bristow/dp/1545508739/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499700620&sr=1-1&keywords=rakeem+and+the+amulet