If Polar Bears Disappeared…

If Polar Bears Disappeared…

Author Lily Williams has struck again with the next book in her series about what would happen if an animal became extinct, this one titled, If Polar Bears Disappeared. In this book, we learn what would happen if polar bears became extinct animals. Not only do we learn what will happen to the polar bears if sea ice continues to melt, but how their disappearance will affect so many other aspects of the artic environment. With beautifully clear illustrations to accompany the text, this is definitely one to add to your library as you are #RaisingReaders.

There are many things I do enjoy about this book, both as a educator and as a mother. Here are a few of my faves:

–I love how Lily Williams explains it all. She doesn’t just start with the disappearance, she explains what would cause their disappearance. Also, she doesn’t just tell you they’ll be gone, she also suggests how you (even as a child) may prevent that from happening.

–She explains complex ideas, like global warming, in a way that a young child who picked up her book will understand.

20180915_1950055881999629537194631.jpg

–Like I mentioned in my review of If Sharks Disappeared, I love that the main character is a young girl of color, and now she has a female companion with her in this one. As the mother of a curly haired brown girl, I love the Girl Power!

My kids loved the first book in the series, so they were super excited for me to read this one.  They definitely enjoyed this one, and are even more knowledgeable about the how the environment works as a result. This book would be great for a child who is an animal and/or environment lover and/or in a classroom where you are learning about global warming, Earth Day, endangered or extinct animals or animals in general. I could continue with other times this would be a great book to read, but really it doesn’t have to fit into a certain time, its just a great book to share with children.

*I was provided with an ARC of this book as a member of #bookexcursion.

Boo-Boos for the Win!

Boo-Boos for the Win!

Our bedtime read a couple of evenings ago was an informational picture book and it was a hit! The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really!), written by Barry Wittgenstein and illustrated by Chris Hsu is all about the invention of the Band-Aid. I know, I know, you’ve never thought about who invented band-aids, and neither had I. However, Wittgenstein does a wonderful job telling the story, and it kept both kids and I thoroughly entertained.

First, this book has some humor to it. Even on the first page, the author leads you to believe its going to be a short story.

20180908_1908027271836061716573133.jpg
This is the first page…jokes on us.

 

Secondly, like I mentioned earlier, band-aids are one of those things that you just think have always been around. So to learn that the little individually packaged bandages did not start out that way was quite eye-opening, for both me and my kids. I did think that I was going to have to divide the book over two nights because it seemed a little long, but we breezed right through. Also, they were so into it I don’t even know where I could’ve stopped and not gotten death stares from my kids.

Sometimes there’s a risk when you choose to read an informational book as a bedtime read, not knowing whether or not your child will be into it. However, who hasn’t had a boo-boo?

If your child is at all curious about things, this may be a hit for you to help you continue #RaisingReaders!

*I received an ARC of this book thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media who let it go on a #BookExcursion.

 

 

 

 

Doris the Bookasaurus— A Review

Doris the Bookasaurus— A Review

One of our recent bedtime reads was Doris the Bookasaurus, written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Yuyi Chen. Although I don’t think they made the connection, this book almost perfectly describes my two children’s relationship with each other and with books.

Doris, AKA my daughter, absolutely loves to read. She gets a wagon full of books from the library and gets right to reading when she gets home. She is love with all the different adventures she gets to go on through the stories. This summer, my daughter could not stop reading the Harry Potter series, taking the book with her whenever and wherever she could.

However, Doris has two brothers, AKA my son, who are itching to have their sister come and have real adventures with them.

9781250116765258422503594574316.jpg

Doris just cannot put down the book…but she does tell her pouting brothers all about the books she’s reading. Once the Bookasaurus does that enough times, you can imagine how she eventually convinces her brothers that maybe there is something worth finding in those books. Similarly, my son will read, but often times he has to be convinced to do so, much like Doris’ brothers. A couple of times my daughter has been able to use the lure of Hogwarts to convince her brother to crack open a book.

In addition to the great story with a happy ending, the bright illustrations are enticing as well and make for a great bedtime read for #RaisingReaders. So whether your young kids are avid readers or reluctant ones, they will be able to identify with one of these cute dinosaurs!

How I Am Reminded Representation Counts, even during Shark Week

How I Am Reminded Representation Counts, even during Shark Week

Every time my daughter points to a character and says, “She looks like me!”, I remember how important it is for my children (and all children) to see themselves in books. She gets excited and instantly feels a bond, whether its the curly hair or the brown skin that she’s connecting to.  Luckily, my child has been able to see herself in quite a few book (definitely more than I did as a child), and If Sharks Disappeared is one our recent favorites. I love that not only is the storyteller brown skinned, but I love the fact that the book has nothing to do with the fact that she is of color. She’s an expert on sharks…who just happens to have brown skin and curly hair. What a simple way to open up my daughter’s eyes to a different career option! Here’s our review of this intriguing title:

imgres

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams is a great book about what could happen if those pesky, scary, downright terrifying animals were to go away.

Of course, initially during our bedtime read, all 3 of us are down with sharks disappearing. However, with the help of the main character, we were eventually able to see that if sharks did disappear, there would be serious consequences that would even reach us in the Midwest! This informational picture book takes us step by step and tells us why changing that one thing could result in a disaster. The illustrations do their part in teaching and the text is short and sweet. And as with most good informational books, there’s additional sources and information at the end.

This book would be awesome for anyone, but if you have a #sharkweek lover, this would be the perfect time to introduce them to this book.

*Also, I recently learned from the author that there are going to be two more books in this series, If Polar Bears Disappeared and If Elephants Disappeared coming in the next year!

If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

Usually, when I check out books from the library, I’m returning them at the last possible, even a day or two later. (Shhh, don’t tell!) However, occasionally I check out a book from the library and I want to return it immediately because I need other readers to experience the book right away.  Dear Girl, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, and illustrated by Holly Hatam is one of those books.

This book is the perfect gift for those of us who may not be able to adequately articulate what we want our daughters, granddaughters, or nieces to know. It’s nice and concise, yet, still an inspirational letter to a young girl explaining how to deal with life. Here’s a few of the phrases/pages that got me excited:

 

20180703_1649538638445859585143840.jpg20180703_1650013365778372463238167.jpg

I’ll be honest, I’m kinda mad my daughter went through my library stash and read this book before me and without me. Nonetheless, I’ll be buying my own copy to give to her. Even though its a picture book, I have a feeling that we may need this book to refresh ourselves during puberty/teenage years.

If you know a girl that you want to embrace their individuality, learn to be empathetic, or just a girl that may need a little extra inspiration navigating this crazy thing called life, this book should be added to their library.

#RaisingReaders

Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Every once in a while before bed, you need to be able to just grab a book that you know is going to be entertaining, but also is not going to be a long bedtime read for your child. Either you’re ready for bed yourself, your favorite show is about to come on TV, or maybe your child has had a long day and sleep is a welcome change. At any rate, Dude!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat is one to add to your reading rotation.

Here’s the good news–there’s only one word you have to be able to read to read this book (I’m sure you can figure out what that is).

Here’s the bad news–because there’s only one word, in order for you (and your children) to truly enjoy this book, you’ve got to read with some expression. Now, the author and illustrator have helped you with this with the way they write the words (i.e. duuuude vs. DUDE!), but I would still suggest glancing through the book first before reading it to your child the first time.

imgres.jpg

This book is naturally great for a young pre-reader or a beginning reader, but it even works for a child who is reading independently. This is because even though the language may be simple, the illustrations add a lot to the story, so there’s much to see/analyze to make the story complete. My kids, both independent readers, loved this book and were way into the illustrations.

So when you need that funny quick read while #RaisingReaders, this would be one I would suggest.  You can check this book out from your local library or find it wherever children’s books are sold.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of #bookexcursion.

One Hundred Posts + Danual Berkley Author Interview = Giveaway!

One Hundred Posts + Danual Berkley Author Interview = Giveaway!

OMG! I can’t believe it, but this is my 100th blog post! To celebrate, below is my first (of hopefully more) author interviews and my first (again, of hopefully more) book giveaway! Enjoy!

As I shared in this previous post, I recently got to review a book written by a local author, Danual Berkley. And as an added bonus, he agreed to let me interview him for my blog. During our conversation, we covered some of everything–from his childhood to his writing process to his own trials #RaisingReaders. Here’s what I learned:

I think the story of how he became an author is pretty original:

“I actually became a writer by accident. When I was in the 11th grade, my teacher, who was Mrs. Homer at the time, made it mandatory that everyone had to do the Young Author’s competition. She said we would either do a short story or a poem and being the 11th grade teenager I was, I was gonna do the poem. I decided to write a poem about a bully, who had bullied me in elementary school. I didn’t want to do the whole, sad feel bad for me, so I wrote it from the bully’s perspective.” Danual ended up winning 3rd place in the whole state with that poem!

He started writing again while he was deployed to Iraq. “My job was to escort convoys from one place to another. So I had an extremely dangerous job, so to escape my reality and to kind of enjoy life, I would start writing again. I would start writing adventurous stories…about these made up characters in made up places.” After a while, his buddies began requesting to hear his adventure poetry and after their tour in Iraq, one of them even suggested that he consider writing as a career, and that started him on this journey.

He has a lot of ideas when it comes to what he wants kids to get from his books:

“The first thing is, there’s a lack of representation for children of color. That’s the main thing I want to do, I want to close that gap…The second thing is the educational value for non-blacks. I want to educate non-African-American children on what Black culture is. A larger topic is the negative stereotypes about black men in general. They say that black men don’t raise their kids or we don’t get married or settle down. In my book, you clearly see a father who is devoted to his family, to his children.” Mr. Berkley wants to make sure that men like himself, and life experiences like his become more commonplace in children’s books than they are now, and he’s doing his part through his books to help that.

I had to know what his favorite childhood books were:

“My favorite children’s book would have to be Green Eggs and Ham, because believe it or not, my nickname is Sam. I don’t know how they got Sam out of Danual, but my nickname is Sam. My mom she would read Green Eggs and Ham to me, so it was my favorite.” Also, when he was in high school, Danual really got into Shel Silverstein’s poetry, which of course has influenced his current writing.

Here’s what we can expect from him in the near future:

20180626_1656352489984862404360971.jpg

This is the cover of a book of poetry that Danual is working on, but he also has more books with tales of adventure coming with the characters of his first book, Davy’s Pirate Adventure.

And of course, he has his own stories and trials when it comes to raising his own kids to be readers (his sons are 7 & 2):

“Well for the youngest one its real easy…my wife has this package that comes every month that has a book in it that we read. My oldest, when he’s in school, he has a reading assignment every day. Usually how we try to do it is 15-30 minutes of reading a day, but its getting increasingly difficult because the older one doesn’t want to read, he’d rather be on his tablet.” So Danual and his wife have tried to make a concerted effort to do a couple of things: 1) they have been trying to make reading fun, starting with helping their 7 year old use expression when reading and 2) making sure they are reading themselves in front of their children. As his wife told him, “You can’t be an author and have kids who don’t read!”

I really enjoyed my time talking with Danual, he is very easy to talk to and I appreciated hearing his story as well as his drive to share his story and his books with as many people as possible. You can find out more about him at https://www.danualberkley.com/.

Another super cool thing about Danual: He gave me some books to GIVEAWAY!! So, you have some options. I’m giving away 2 copies of Davy’s Pirate Adventures on Twitter, so you can head on over to my twitter page @DMetzke so you can enter to win! But, he also gave me a book pack, which includes a copy of Davy’s Pirate Adventures AND his first book of poetry, Wonderful Magical Place AND two hardback Princess Truly books, written by Kelly Greenawalt, and illustrated by Amariah Rauscher, who illustrates Danual’s work. You can enter to win that pack below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2efacd490/?

20180629_0850015783725311213807942.jpg

Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Recently we had a bedtime read first. After reading our book, my daughter said, “Everyone who touched this book needs to go wash their hands!”…and we did. The book we had just finished was Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and illustrated by Julian Frost.

When I received this book, I was expecting it to be a cute, Elephant & Piggie type book. Don’t get me wrong, it was still cute, but this is actually an Informational book. The book follows Min, who is a microbe from one item to the next, with some cool, super up-close pictures of those items. The interesting thing is that the reader is the one who “carries” Min from object to object, picking Min up with your finger.

1ABBF6ED-B4A8-4E26-A9D4-E3F2CC8A3300.jpeg

So, as the reader, I started Min on her journey. The whole idea freaked my daughter out (in a good way, she was giggling the whole time) so she moved away, while my son stayed put. He even participated in carrying Min later on, which of course meant that he ended up chasing his sister, trying to place Min on her. I found this amusing, her, not so much.  Even though he never did touch her with Min, my daughter was still the one who proclaimed that we all needed to wash our hands. And so, for the first time ever, off to the bathrooms to clean our hands we went.

From the title to the “about the author” at the end, this book grabbed and held our attention, and we learned some things in process. Although you may feel a little gross after reading, I would recommend this book for young budding scientists.

*I was able to read an ARC of this book thanks to the publisher and #bookexcursion, the release date for the US is June 2018.

Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure–A Book Review

Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure–A Book Review

Here’s what’s cool: this is my first time doing a book review for a book whose author lives in the same town as I do!

Here’s what’s cooler: Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure by Danual Berkley. This book brings you into a young boy’s imagination of his family’s journey on a pirate ship. As with most pirate adventures, there are some hiccups that you run into, but luckily Davy has some creative ways of dealing with those issues.

One of the first things that struck me about this book is that the whole family is on this imaginative pirate ship journey.  Usually in stories like this you see the kid by themselves, or maybe the kid and one parent, but in Davy’s adventure, mom, dad, and little brother are there. The fact that they are an African-American family is definitely an added bonus. While reading, my daughter pointed out that the mom’s hair looked like hers (curly)–I’m telling you #representationmatters.

When I read Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure with my kids as our bedtime read, they enjoyed twists and turns in the book, and we all thought the illustrations were pretty cool too! We especially liked the last two pages of the book, because they give the reader background information on all the characters in the book.

This book has a great rhythm to it when you read it aloud and would be cute for your next bedtime read for any young child, especially those with active imaginations.

20180522_222009
My son loved the fact that even the little brother has skull & crossbones on his diaper!

Here’s what’s coolest: Since Danual Berkley lives in the same town I do, he has agreed to participate in my first #RaisingReaders author interview!! Check back soon to learn more about this author, including any adventures he may have #RaisingReaders!

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck, Moose by Joy Heyer is a cute picture book that answers the question—what happens to duck when goose flies South for the winter?

In this rhyming book, duck runs across different animal friends who all want to play with him. However, none of them are like his friend goose, so he stays pretty frustrated, constantly saying that he can’t wait until “goose gets back”.  In the end, duck found a nice alternative game for his friends, because really, does anything sound better than duck, duck, goose?

This would be an entertaining book for any child up to about 8 years old, especially those that are familiar with the game duck, duck, goose.

#RaisingReaders37811837