Monday, September 14, 2020

Welcome to Kiss the Book Jr.!

Welcome! Kiss the Book Jr. is for board books, picture books, early readers, and chapter books.  Also, any novels and non-fiction that we agree are specifically Pre-K - 6 related.

Go to the original blog at  Kiss the Book for your middle school and high school review needs.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson - OPTIONAL

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson, 288 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Random House Graphic (Random House Children’s Books), 2020. $13.

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Kerry has the medicine for his parents, now he just has to get home before it’s too late. When a girl tells Kerry that there is a shortcut through the forest, he races in and gets lost. Finding a guide to help him, Kerry should be home in no time -- if he doesn’t stop for every distraction.

While Kerry is a little exasperating with his inability to focus, he is also a genuinely nice person. I love how Watson illustrates -- through both words and pictures -- the message of good triumphing over evil. Distractions got in the way, but this simple story contains truth that will resonate with readers as we, too, understand getting distracted from important tasks.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats by Kimberlie Hamilton - ESSENTIAL

Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats by Kimberlie Hamilton. NONFICTION. Scholastic Press, 2019. $10. 978133835583

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

This is a fun collection of bios and stories about different cats. Each cat bio is one page and is paired with a full page illustration. Interspersed between these stories are pages with bullet points full of facts and trivia about cats. 

We had so much fun reading these stories. They are short and engaging and perfect to read over multiple sessions - tackling one or two in a sitting. These short bursts are great for new readers who are building endurance but ready for harder texts.   

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe - ESSENTIAL

Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe. PICTURE BOOK. Doubleday (Random), 2020. $17. 9781984895578

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K – ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Roe continues her exuberant look at Black hair complete with affirmations of awesome-ness. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Allah Made Everything: The Song Book by Zain Bhika and Azra Momin - OPTIONAL

Allah Made Everything: The Song Book by Zain Bhika, illustrated by Azra MominPICTURE BOOK. The Islamic Foundation, 2019. $12. 9780860377702

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: ADVISABLE

Zain Bhika is a very popular Islamic entertainer for young and old.  His praise song for the goodness and greatness of Allah is beautifully, exuberantly illustrated.  While this would be most enjoyed in an Islamic family, it could also be a good addition for a school with any Muslim population.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Doodleville by Chad Sell - ADVISABLE

Doodleville by Chad Sell, 288 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2020. $13.

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

When Drew and her friends in art club go to the Art Institute, they take away inspiration to make something new. But Drew’s project quickly takes on a mind of its own, wreaking havoc on the other creations. With her doodles creating so many problems, can Drew recover from losing both her art and her friends?

Drew’s doodles are magical, and I love that everyone in the book takes it in stride as if it’s totally normal -- which makes me wonder what the rest of the world looks like as imagined by Sell. I also love that Drew has a great support system around her. The conflict in this book stems from Drew’s internal battles, and the depiction of depression, or at least a depressive episode, was beautifully done. A message to take away from all of this is when we reach out for help from those who love us, our inner demons can be overcome.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Under Pressure: The Science of Stress by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Marie-Eve Tremblay - ESSENTIAL

Under Pressure: The Science of Stress by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Marie-Eve Tremblay. NONFICTION. Kids Can Press, 2019. $17. 978152530073

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: ADVISABLE

With lots of examples and specific anecdotes about stress, this is a great book for getting a big picture understanding of the science behind stress. There are multiple chapters about different kinds of stress and the effects of stress. At the end of each chapter there is a blurb about ways to combat stress. 

I was interested in almost every single example and explanation in this book. I will say that some of the anecdotes were stress inducing, but always made a good point. One of the first stories in the book is about a plane crash in which everyone died all due to the pilot’s response to stress. This book is probably not intended specifically for the anxiously inclined, but rather an interesting read for the population at large. 

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

Grace Goes to Washington by Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham - OPTIONAL

Grace Goes to Washington by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. PICTURE BOOK. Disney, 2019.  $18. 9781368024334

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Grace is on the school leadership team, but she is upset when the group can’t agree on what  they should spend their bake sale money on.  After a trip to Washington DC and an encounter with a new student, Grace has a new idea for the money.

If you want to introduce your students to how democracy can look in their classroom, this could be a useful book.  It is not as user friendly as McNamara’s Vote For Our Future book, but it does help students apply the ideas in their own lives.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Vote For Our Future by Margaret McNamara and Micah Player - OPTIONAL

Vote For Our Future by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Micah Player.  PICTURE BOOK. Schwartz & Wade (Random House), 2020. 9781984892805

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

As Stanton Elementary School changes from a school to a polling station, the kids educate themselves about why it is important to vote. Then they go out and work hard to educate actual voters.

McNamara has written a nice look at elections and shows how even children can make a difference.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander - ESSENTIAL

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson PICTURE BOOK Versify Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. $18. 9781328780966

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Kwame Alexander's beautiful poem is an ode to Black America. Stunningly illustrated by Kadir Nelson it shows strength, determination, talent, dignity, fortitude and history. In so few words, I found myself in tears several times.

Alexander and Nelson's book should be displayed open and brought out often. No wonder it won a Newbery Honor, the Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award. Includes an author's note as well as a description of the historical figures and events. Knowing who these faces belong to, as well as their contribution to this rich heritage adds so much to the reading experience. I am so impressed with this amazing picture book.

Lisa Librarian

Night Night Devotions by Amy Parker - OPTIONAL

Night Night Devotions by Amy Parker, illustrated by Virginia Allyn. PICTURE BOOK. Tommy Nelson (Thomas Nelson Publishers), 2019. $17. 9781400208906

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

This christian devotional book includes a scripture, a devotional about that scripture’s message, an illustration, a prayer, and a question. Each two page spread has these five elements. The devotionals are usually related to being loved, being kind, trusting God, and enjoying life. 

This may be a good experience for parents and young children, but many of the devotionals are overly simple and reductive.  The ritual of reading one passage a day appeals to me in that it builds regular reading for parents and kids to share, but the christian message may be better provided by a public library rather than a school library.  

Jen Wecker, HS English Teacher

The Old Truck by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey - ADVISABLE

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey. PICTURE BOOK. Norton Young Readers, 2020. $18. 9781324014898

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The Old truck works hard for its farm family, until the day it is retired.  As the weeds around it grow higher it dreams of a different life, until the day it is restored so that it can work again.

I love that the farm family is black – I’m so ignorant sometimes to assume that all farm families are white. But what really rocks is the combination of stylized, dreamy art with a sweet, nostalgic story.  If grownups read it, it may inspire them to restore an old car.  Who knows! It will for sure inspire younger readers in a round of playing with trucks.

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher

Welcome to Kiss the Book Jr.!

Welcome! Kiss the Book Jr. is for board books, picture books, early readers, and chapter books.  Also, any novels and non-fiction that we ag...