The Deakin Review of Children's Literature 2019-08-19T16:31:26-06:00 Robert Desmarais Open Journal Systems <p>The <em>Deakin Review of Children’s Literature</em> is an electronic quarterly review of contemporary English-language materials of interest to children and young adults.&nbsp; Of particular use to librarians, parents, teachers and anyone working with young people, we also publish news relevant to children’s literacy.</p> The Deakin Review Is Grateful to Lynne Wiltse for Her Guest Editorial 2019-08-19T16:31:12-06:00 Lynne Wiltse <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>***Access the interview with author Shelly Becker by&nbsp;<a href="">clicking here</a>.***</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dear Readers,</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is my pleasure to be contributing the editorial for this special issue of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My name is Lynne Wiltse and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. I teach courses in language and literacy and children’s literature. This is the third time that the graduate students in my Children's Literature in the Elementary School (EDEL 510) course have participated in writing book reviews for a Special Issue of the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">; however, this is the first time that they have been joined by undergraduate students from my Teaching Literature in Elementary Schools (EDEL 409) course. This term, I taught a combined undergraduate/graduate course, and the editorial team of the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;generously agreed to a special issue featuring book reviews by my 10 graduate and 20 undergraduate students.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We began our course by reading Kathy Short’s (2108) article, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">What’s Trending in Children’s Literature and Why It Matters. </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">In her articles, Short identifies the increasing influence of visual culture in children’s books and continuing concerns about the lack of diversity in children’s literature as two recent trends. Regarding the first trend, the opportunity to evaluate picture books was linked to course content about visual storytelling and the design of picture books. In her article, Short</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">makes the point that, because children are immersed in a visual culture, they find books with powerful visual images particularly appealing. This was certainly reflected in the selection of picture books, published in 2018, chosen by the 30 students in the course for review. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">An example can be found in </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ocean Meets Sky</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature (illustrated books category), by brothers Eric and Terry Fan. You can read about the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">stunning visual images in this picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find the spot where the ocean meets the sky in Melinda Cooke’s review. Kathy Short notes that </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">the influence of visual culture is evident in the increasing publication of wordless books in which the story is told completely (or almost completely) through visual images. In this regard, our collection includes </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">I Walk With Vanessa: </span></em><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness, </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">a wordless book by Kerascoet (the joint pen name of married illustrators, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset). </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Terri Beach reviewed this book, told without words, about a girl who is bullied and then supported by school mates. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">That the students in this book comprise different ethnicities and races relates to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">the second trend in children’s books that Short highlights in her article. The author argues that the limited availability of books that reflect the diversity within society can be damaging for children who rarely see their lives represented within books. On this count, the books reviewed by my students were encouraging as they displayed diverse ways of being diverse, so to speak</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Immigrant students may recognize themselves in</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Island Born, </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">written by Junot Diaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa, while </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">young non-binary readers may identify with </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Julian is a Mermaid </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">by Jessica Love. Girls, long underrepresented in children’s literature, may in particular be inspired by </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Roda Ahmedk’s and Stasia Burrington’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mae Among the Stars,</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> based on the first African American woman to travel in space, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race,</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> written by </span>Margot Lee Shetterly<span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">illustrated by </span>Laura Freeman<strong>, </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">and Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger’s, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">She Persisted Around the World:13 Women who Changed History. </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">I am hopeful that t</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">hese and other books reviewed by my students indicate a positive shift in the second trend regarding the lack of diversity in children’s literature. Short’s view is that, as educators, we are often followers, rather than creators of trends. I am confident that the teachers, librarians and prospective teachers from my course will contribute to this shift by thoughtfully selecting children’s literature for our diverse society.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Writing reviews for this issue was a valuable learning experience for my students and we are eager to see the published reviews. I am grateful to the editorial team of the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for their support, and a special thanks is extended to Kim Frail for assisting me with the process and my students with their reviews. </span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reference</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Short, K. (2018). What’s Trending in Children’s Literature and Why It Matters. </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Language Arts, 95</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">(5), 287-298.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2019-06-05T10:45:03-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Allie All Along by L. S. Reul 2019-08-19T16:31:17-06:00 Chantelle Blair <p>Reul, L. Sarah. <em>Allie All Along</em>. Sterling Publishing Co, 2018.</p> <p>This engaging and colourful picture book depicts the unpleasant feelings of anger in an accurate and child friendly way. The font, letter sizes, and colours of the text match the bright and exciting illustrations, bringing life to the words as they are read. The illustrations are appropriate reflections of how we might feel (a spiky, screaming little red monster) when going through the stages of difficult emotions like anger. The tone of this story is bright and exciting, and the language and storyline are simple, yet effective at getting the message across to young readers.</p> <p>Reul provides insight into the life of Allie, a young girl who gets ignited with anger due to a frustration she faces. Allie’s rage and subsequent phases of coping are described and depicted in a relatable and humorous way that children would find appealing and entertaining. Allie’s older brother helps her work through her robust and difficult feelings by providing her with various outlets for her anger, thus allowing her to shed layers of anger one at a time. Each new depiction of the monster shows the rage declining, eventually turning into sadness. This teaches readers that often hiding beneath one extreme emotion is another emotion that can be reached through coping and support.</p> <p>The concept of facing and working through difficult emotions is a challenging process that many people learn over time<span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span>or never at all. Coping with difficult emotions is a large part of caring for mental health and preventing the expression of emotions in unhealthy or violent ways. This makes this topic tremendously important for young readers today. This story explores this concept in a way that young readers can relate to and begin to understand. By the end of the story Allie has shed layers of anger by coping in various healthy ways with the support of her older brother. She finally becomes herself again and asks her brother for a hug.</p> <p>This book offers a lesson on anger and how to cope when emotions become too overwhelming. <em>Allie All Along</em> would be a great addition to any elementary school classroom as well as school and public libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Chantelle Blair</p> <p>Chantelle Blair is an undergraduate student in the University of Alberta’s Education program. She loves spending time with children of all ages and hopes to one day publish children’s books of her own.</p> 2019-05-16T15:53:36-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Alma and How She Got Her Name by J. Martinez-Neal 2019-08-19T16:31:14-06:00 Jill Brown <p>Martinez-Neal, Juana. <em>Alma and How She Got Her Name. </em>Candlewick Press, 2018.</p> <p><em>Alma and How She Got Her Name</em> is the perfect book for any child who questions the meaning behind his or her name. In Juana Martinez-Neal’s first picture book, she tells the beautiful story of a young girl who wonders why her name is so long. Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela slowly hears the special meaning behind each one of her names from her Dad and begins to see how well her name fits her. Alma learns about her ancestors and how they can be role models in her life and how their personalities are reflected in her. &nbsp;</p> <p>Martinez-Neal has created stunning illustrations using graphite and coloured pencils that evoke a calming mood and complement the theme of family connection and intimacy. The author makes excellent use of descriptive, expressive language to tell this story. The words and pictures work together to emphasize the importance of family and finding a sense of belonging.</p> <p>This story is a perfect way for parents to start a conversation with their children about their name and their ancestors. This book would also make a great resource in the classroom as it celebrates cultural diversity and it will send a powerful message to students with names that are often mispronounced or made fun of. Children will learn to feel proud about who they are and what their name means. Juana Martinez-Neal shares the story of the meaning behind her own name at the end of the book and invites the reader to do the same.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Jill Brown</p> <p>Jill Brown is currently in her fourth year of the B.Ed. Elementary program at the University of Alberta. She has had a passion for reading since an early age and she looks forward to sharing that passion with her future elementary students.</p> 2019-05-16T15:56:12-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by M. Motum 2019-08-19T16:31:17-06:00 Thomas Pasterfield <p>Motum, Markus. <em>Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover</em>. Candlewick Press, 2018.</p> <p><em>Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover</em>, written and illustrated by Markus Motum, would be a welcome addition to any classroom’s library. With exceptional pacing and flow, Motum takes us through the true story of one of science’s great achievements: successfully landing a rover on Mars.</p> <p>Many young readers have an inherent interest in outer space and science fiction. In this book, Motum expounds the science of science fiction in detailing the story of how Curiosity ended up on Mars (where it still roves today) in a somewhat narrative form. It would be appropriate for all grade levels, though younger grade students would likely need experienced help in order to read it. The font size and colour vary making them readable to most audiences, and they serve the story well.</p> <p>The story is told from the point of view of the rover itself, named Curiosity. It begins by introducing itself as if it were a sentient creature before it goes back to the beginning, in a very cosmic sense, to plant its story within the wider view of space exploration in general. Motum’s choice in this case allows the reader to gain greater perspective for Curiosity’s story. Curiosity itself is as developed as it needs to be for the purposes of the narrative; that is to say, Motum does not imbue the rover with emotion or opinions within the story. However, the emotions and opinions of the astronauts, scientists and engineers who are namelessly featured throughout the story are indeed explored, which gives a sense of urgency and peril as we travel alongside Curiosity on its adventure.</p> <p>In addition to authoring this picture book, Motum also illustrates it in a mixed media style that is both alien and historic. The solid colours and painted portions evoke the artistic style of old postcards from days gone by, while simultaneously making the Martian landscape seem exotic and alien, as if Mars were a travel destination, welcoming travellers like Curiosity. Though beautiful, the illustrations do not add much information to the story of Curiosity; in some instances, they provide some spatial context like when Curiosity tries to land on Mars. The illustrations lend a hand to create atmosphere, both in the context of the story and for the reader. Some of the text is also placed in unconventional locations on the page, so the text and the illustrations work together to create meaning and story. One finds that the eye is drawn to specific parts of the image on each page, and it is masterfully done.</p> <p>For these and many other reasons, <em>Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover</em> is a great example of modern children’s literature. It is suitable for a variety of ages, and it is worthwhile reading in many ways.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Thomas Pasterfield</p> <p>Thomas Pasterfield is a fourth year undergraduate student in Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. His reading interests include fantasy novels, vegetable gardening manuals, and religious books.</p> 2019-05-16T15:53:19-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Day You Begin by J. Woodson 2019-08-19T16:31:23-06:00 Danielle Ford <p>Woodson, Jacqueline. <em>The Day You Begin</em>. Illustrated by Rafael López, Penguin Random House, 2018.</p> <p>Inspired by a poem in her award-winning memoir <em>Brown Girl Dreaming</em>, the Brooklyn based author Jacqueline Woodson wrote <em>The Day You Begin</em> about the moments in a child’s life when s/he feels like an outsider.&nbsp; Throughout the pages, the reader goes on a journey through the eyes of various children and their experiences feeling like outsiders. The children discover that the moment you bravely reach out you will find that “every new friend has something a little like you<span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span>and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.” Written in beautifully poetic text that is perfectly portrayed through the illustrations, this picture book speaks of hope and human connection in the face of fear, a concept easily connected to by all.&nbsp;</p> <p>Rafael Lopez creates beautiful illustrations to inspire imagination and conjure up the precious richness of our differences. Pages filled with vibrant images of flowers and nature are used to represent the child’s unique qualities spoken of in the text. In contrast, dull colours and minimal images express feelings of difference.&nbsp; The highly relatable experience of trying to measure up is illustrated on some of the pages through the presence of a ruler. Adults and children of all ages will be able to connect in some way with the characters on the page.</p> <p>Overall, this is a beautifully written book that can be used to discuss the vibrancy we can find in our communities when we cherish our differences and share of ourselves, if only we would begin.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Danielle Ford</p> <p>Danielle is an avid reader of all kinds of books. Currently in her last semester of her Bachelor of Education as an Elementary Generalist, she is looking forward to bringing rich children’s literature into her classroom.</p> 2019-05-16T13:50:41-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Drawn Together by M. Le 2019-08-19T16:31:18-06:00 Darcy Courtland <p>Le, Minh. <em>Drawn Together</em>. Illustrated by Dan Santat, Disney Hyperion, 2018. <br> <br> <em>Drawn Together</em> is a work of art created by Minh Le, author of award winning, <em>Let Me Finish!</em>, and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist, Dan Santat.<br> <br> This beautiful story depicts the cultural and linguistic divide between a young boy and his grandfather. The book invites the reader to walk alongside these two characters as they struggle with their differences only to stumble upon their similarities. <br> <br> Bringing together two generations of artists, the story revels in the characters’ imaginations as they create a vivid world of artistic adventures and compassion. Inhibited by the linguistic barriers that once isolated the characters, Minh Le’s limited, yet well crafted, text serves to support Dan Santat’s captivating illustrations that “draw” the grandfather and young boy closer. Detailed facial expressions and rich illustrations heighten the reading experience and weave together a story that both literally and metaphorically bridges the space between a grandfather and his grandson. <br> <br> Whether you are curling up with young ones at home or searching for a beautiful book for your classroom library, look no further. This one is guaranteed to draw you in! <br> <br> Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 Stars<br>Reviewer: Darcy Courtland<br> <br> Darcy Courtland loves a good picture book! After seven years in the classroom, Darcy has returned to the University of Alberta to pursue a PhD in Elementary Education. Always up for a new adventure, Darcy is excited to be furthering her education in language and literacy and Indigenous education.</p> 2019-05-16T15:52:57-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Elmore by H. Hobbie 2019-08-19T16:31:18-06:00 Valerie Mayzel <p>Hobbie, Holly. <em>Elmore. </em>Random House Children’s Books, New York, 2018.</p> <p>Holly Hobbie’s <em>Elmore</em> is a heartwarming story about a lonely porcupine determined to make friends. His prickly exterior makes the other animals scared of him at first, but through his creativity and inventiveness, he finds a way to help others embrace what makes him unique, all while staying true to himself.</p> <p>The invaluable lessons that this picture book teaches are remarkable. Readers learn that what makes us different, makes us special; once we accept and appreciate our differences and share what we have to offer, others will get to know, accept, and appreciate us for who we are. This book also teaches its readers to not ‘judge a book by its cover’. Elmore was judged by the other animals because of his prickly quills, but once he celebrated his differences and the other animals learned what made him special, they felt lucky to be his friend.</p> <p>Hobbie’s use of language is powerful and provides young readers with the opportunity to learn and have discussions about new vocabulary, such as solitude, emphatically, and tuckered out. Hobbie’s whimsical illustrations are adorable and charming, and her realistic portrayal of Elmore’s facial expressions are endearing; readers empathize and grow to love Elmore.</p> <p>This book is highly recommended as a real-aloud for elementary school educators and parents alike, because it creates opportunities to discuss the hidden messages within the story. Children will be able to make their own connections with Elmore and feel comforted by the fact that making friends isn’t always easy, but others will learn to accept them for who they are, once they accept themselves.</p> <p>Editor’s note: It is worth reading more about the author and the history of her namesake character. <a href=""></a></p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Valerie Mayzel</p> <p>Valerie Mayzel is a fourth-year student in the Elementary Education program at the University of Alberta. She is very excited to begin her career as a teacher and is looking forward to incorporating a variety of literature in her lessons to support student learning.</p> 2019-05-16T15:52:28-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Florette by A. Walker 2019-08-19T16:31:26-06:00 Sara Petrunia <p>Walker, Anna. <em>Florette. </em>Illustrated by Anna Walker, Clarion Books, 2018.</p> <p>Written and illustrated by Anna Walker, this picture book’s fresh, beautiful watercolour images match the joyful feeling this story will leave you with. Follow Florette on her quest through a sterile city to find a garden in place of the one she left behind in her family’s move. Not only did she leave behind a garden filled with apple trees and butterflies but also all her friends and fun adventures. Find out how Florette navigates this new world and finds joy in her own way not only for herself, but for everyone around her.</p> <p>This book compels readers to consider the world surrounding them and what it might be missing. Its illustrations emphasize the stark difference in feeling between the man-made and natural worlds while suggesting a beautiful way to combine the two. The text is simple and expanded upon using emotive pictures, making this book an easy, satisfying read for young and old readers alike.</p> <p>Although Florette does not openly talk about her feelings, we can observe the loneliness that follows the character in this new city surrounded by packing boxes and concrete. This book would resonate with any child who has felt that loneliness in any sense of the word and offers an easy solution of seeking out those things that bring us joy.</p> <p>A beautiful fusion of friendship and nature, open this book and watch something meaningful grow.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Sara Petrunia</p> <p>Sara Petrunia is a University of Alberta undergraduate student excited to use literature in her future elementary classrooms. When she is not preoccupied with her studies, Sara is busy working as a hairdresser or enjoying a trip somewhere far away!</p> 2019-05-16T00:00:00-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Funeral by M. James 2019-08-19T16:31:16-06:00 Yina Liu <p>James, Matt. <em>The Funeral</em>. Groundwood Books-House of Anansi Press, 2018.</p> <p><em>The Funeral</em>, written by Matt James, focuses on a day that Norma goes to her Uncle Frank’s funeral. While this book will appeal to children, it is also good for adults to look at something heavy in life, such as a funeral, through a child’s eye.</p> <p>In a relaxed tone and cozy painting style, the story starts with Norma finding out that she won’t have to go to school on the day of her uncle’s funeral. She is excited about the day off and the “plan” of the day, playing with her cousin. Throughout the funeral, the story is developed through Norma’s eyes, showing how she experiences the time with her cousin. Before Norma leaves the funeral, she thinks Uncle Frank would have loved his funeral, since she noticed he was smiling right at her in his photo.</p> <p>Instead of a heavy, didactic teaching of the meaning of death, Matt explores a delicate way to describe a funeral from a child’s perspective. For example:&nbsp;</p> <p><em>There was a little flag </em>[which said FUNERAL]<em> on the car that drove them to the church. Norma tried to sound out the word printed on it.<br></em><em>“F-U-N,” she said.<br></em><em>And then she said it again.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Matt James, a Canadian artist, is an illustrator of many picture books. With this picture book, James debuts as a writer and illustrator. The illustrations of the book are mostly acrylic and ink on masonite. Also, this book is the first time he combined a few digital pieces on the background illustrations<strong>. </strong>This book would tie in perfectly to a classroom talk about funerals and similar occasions and illustrates what a funeral is like from a child’s perspective.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Yina Liu</p> <p>Yina Liu is a first year PhD student in Language and Literacy, in the department of Elementary Education. Her research interests are digital literacies and children's literature, especially digital picture books. She finished her Master's degree at the University of Saskatchewan and worked in a preschool classroom as an early childhood educator for a year in Saskatchewan.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-16T15:54:18-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by M.L. Shetterly and W. Conkling 2019-08-19T16:31:19-06:00 Melanie Kim <p>Shetterly, Margot L and Winifred Conkling. <em>Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race</em><em>.</em> Illustrated by Laura Freeman, Harper, 2018.</p> <p>Based on <em>The</em> <em>New York Times</em> bestselling book and Academy Award-nominated movie, this historical picture book was inspired from the true story of the first four black women who worked at NASA. Author Margot Lee Shetterly follows the careers of these women who were really good at math, and their achievements as black women. <em>Hidden Figures</em> is illustrated by Laura Freeman, who has illustrated over twenty children’s books. To illustrate this book, she read the original book, watched the movie, and did research on NASA’s website to view archival photos. Freeman’s in-depth research has resulted in powerful images that enable the reader to feel the racial discrimination of the time. In addition, through the illustrations, the reader is able to see what the machine computers looked like at the time. An illustrated timeline and glossary page are provided at the end of the book; these pages will help readers to visualize the story. These illustrations will provide interest for all ages.</p> <p>The text is written in simple English. However, there are some scientific terms. Therefore, for younger children, reading this book with adults or reading buddies is recommended. Moreover, going over the glossary pages with children before they read the book will help children to understand the story better. Overall,&nbsp;this book will help children to be aware of sexism and racism and the achievements of black women in the past.</p> <p><em>Hidden figures</em> is highly recommended for school libraries. Teachers can use this book as a cross-curricular resource for social studies, language arts, and health classes. The message from this book is for readers not to give up on achieving their goals. When children read this book, they can substitute their own difficult situation and get the courage to overcome obstacles.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Melanie Kim</p> <p>Melanie Kim is a University of Alberta Bachelor of Education undergraduate student, who encourages children&nbsp;to learn about children’s literature. Melanie thinks the best way to learn requires reading.&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-16T15:51:29-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## A House That Once Was by J. Fogliano 2019-08-19T16:31:13-06:00 Lisa Olson <p>Fogliano, Julie.&nbsp; <em>A House That Once Was.</em> Illustrated by Lane Smith, Roaring Brook Press, 2018.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is a picture book that remarks upon the curiosity and imagination of childhood exploration. The setting is an abandoned house in a forest that is found by two adventuring children. Although there is no dialogue between the characters, the narrator guides the reader through the possibilities of a house that was once a home. Who once lived in this lost and lonely house?</p> <p>The writing is done in free verse and could easily be read as a poem independent of the images. However, the illustrations extend the meaning of the text and give further imaginative options of the people who may have lived in the house. The stealthy reader will find many clues into the lives of the past homeowners.&nbsp;</p> <p>Lane Smith’s illustrations have been done in two different media as a way to differentiate between current day and imagined past moments in time. The current day images are created with India ink drawings on colourful blotted backgrounds giving the scenes a washed, muted feeling. In contrast, the artwork in the imagined scenes are done in a mixed media with oil painting and paper collage elements.</p> <p>The reader may experience a mixture of feelings while experiencing this book. One may feel despondent for the old house lost in the forest with a story to tell, a house that has been abandoned and forgotten. However, the reader may become encouraged to grow their own imagination and bloom a narration of what could have been. This book would be a lovely addition to any home, school, or public library and would be a joy to share with elementary aged children in order to encourage conversation and imagination.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Lisa Olson</p> <p>Lisa is a University of Alberta undergraduate student completing her Elementary Education program and a graduate of the Athabasca University Bachelor of Arts program. She loves to dive into a good book and binge read until it is complete.&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-16T15:58:11-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## How to Code a Sandcastle by J. Funk 2019-08-19T16:31:19-06:00 Dannielle Sehgal <p>Funk, Josh. <em>How to Code a Sandcastle</em>. Illustrated by Sara Palacios, Viking, 2018.</p> <p><em>How to Code a Sandcastle</em>, written by Josh Funk, is endorsed as a “Girls Who Code” book. Founded in 2013, the mission of Girls Who Code is to close the gender gap in technology. One of the tools they use to help them reach their young female target audience is children’s literature. The story begins with the protagonist, Pearl, comically explaining a variety of challenges she encountered when building a sandcastle at the beach. Now, on the last day of her summer vacation, Pearl has decided to recruit the help of her robot, Pascal, to build her sandcastle. Pearl gives instructions to Pascal, using code, and explains the coding concepts of sequence, loop, and if-then-else to the reader as they relate to the task of building her sandcastle. These concepts are introduced and explained to the young readers in a fun and engaging manner.</p> <p>The text features of this book are eye catching and educational. Josh Funk strategically changes the text color to highlight coding vocabulary and he draws the reader’s attention to coding commands by changing the text font when Pearl is giving instructions to Pascal. Speech bubbles are used throughout the book in an appealing, non-linear manner. The illustrations are interesting, colourful, and visually captivating to all readers, young and old. The images are crafted with purpose as they enhance the reader’s ability to make meaning of the coding concepts by providing them with visual information to complement and reinforce the descriptions given in the text. The last two pages of the book, Pearl and Pascal’s Guide to Coding, give a more in-depth explanation of the coding concepts, providing extra support for children and adults who may be new to coding. This book is an entertaining and educational must read!</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4<br>Reviewer: Dannielle Sehgal</p> <p>Dannielle Sehgal is a kindergarten teacher and graduate student at the University of Alberta. Dannielle is passionate about her career and loves discovering new picture books that she can bring to her classroom and read to her students.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-16T15:51:06-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## I Am Enough by G. Byers 2019-08-19T16:31:19-06:00 Bethany Semotiuk <p>Byers, Grace. <em>I Am Enough</em>. Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, Balzer + Bray-Harper Collins, 2018</p> <p><em>I Am Enough</em> by Grace Byers is an uplifting and motivating book about female empowerment and respect for diversity. The consistent message through this book is one of self-worth and embracing differences. Byers emphasizes that regardless of one’s looks, abilities, or beliefs, every child is unique, able, and worthy of respect. Her message encourages children to recognize diversity and show respect and kindness to others. She poetically portrays messages of empowerment through the use of simple simile and rhyme. For example, she writes “Like the sun, I’m here to shine” and later: “...that does not dictate our <em>worth</em>, we both have places here on <em>Earth.</em>” Her use of rhyme allows the book to read smoothly and rhythmically, and simile encourages the reader to think carefully about the message on each page. Many of the messages are simple and clear, while others may require more careful thought and discussion to build meaning from the message. The front cover of her book shows the face of a young girl of colour, which paired with the bold title "<em>I Am Enough"</em>&nbsp;sets the tone of diversity, acceptance, and strength, seen throughout the book.</p> <p>Byers’ messages of empowerment are complemented and supported by Keturah Bobo’s illustrations. Bobo’s illustrations artistically and realistically depict children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and abilities. Great thought and detail has been put into the characters in the illustrations, authentically depicting girls from a variety of different races and cultures. This book could be a mirror for children from a variety of backgrounds, allowing them to see themselves in this book. Bobo’s illustrations add a great deal of meaning to this story, as the theme of diversity is not explicitly stated in the text until the end of the book, but is clearly portrayed in the images throughout the pages. The children featured in this story are elementary aged, matching the intended audience. The characters in the foreground are complemented by background images of simple crayon sketches. The use of crayon further appeals to the intended audience of young children.</p> <p>This is Grace Byers’ first children's book. She grew up in a diverse background of a multiracial family, as well as the child of deaf parents. She wrote this book to empower young girls against bullying and promote an understanding of diversity and the importance of showing kindness to others. Her intended audience is elementary aged children (particularly girls, as females are the focus in the illustrations), however this book is a great read for everyone. The mantra “I am enough” has the potential to resonate with individuals of any age or background, so the message portrayed can appeal to a variety of readers. This book would be an excellent addition to school and classroom libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Bethany Semotiuk</p> <p>Bethany Semotiuk is an elementary teacher and open studies student at the University of Alberta. She has a special interest in early literacy development and plans to pursue graduate studies focused in children’s language and literacy. She enjoys reading children’s literature in her classroom as well as for personal pleasure.</p> 2019-05-16T15:50:47-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## I Believe in Myself! by L. Wright 2019-08-19T16:31:15-06:00 Jessica Oscar <p>Wright, Laurie. <em>I Believe in Myself!</em> <em>Illustrated by</em> Ana Santos, Laurie Wright, 2018.</p> <p>Laurie Wright is a childhood mental health specialist and this book is one of seven books within her Mindful Mantras collection. All the books are centered around BIG feelings and examples for creating positive self talk. These books are clearly designed to help both parents and teachers open the discussions regarding mental health with young children. The vocabulary and scenarios in this book are suitable for younger readers and listeners, and the book is quite accurately rated for ages 4 – 8. The theme is very well developed, in that after every scenario, there is a positive solution, and repeated phrase, “I believe in myself!”</p> <p>This book invites the readers and listeners to think about times they have been in similar scenarios and how they reacted when faced with them. A vast array of emotions are covered, from anxiety, to shyness, to nervousness, to panic, to frustration, and many more. This provides the children with a diversity of feelings to relate to. The illustrations in the book are a strong and accurate representation of what specific feelings could look like, which can help younger students learn social skills and the virtue of empathy. The book's format, font size, and images are big enough to be used for a group/class discussion, as well as one on one. The book also comes with free additional resources at the author’s website in regard to mental health, and how to talk to children about it. Overall, the book is a quick read aloud that is perfect for opening the door to start the conversations about BIG feelings, mental health, positive self talk and empathy.</p> <p>Highly Recommend: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Jessica Oscar</p> 2019-05-16T15:55:48-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët 2019-08-19T16:31:25-06:00 Terri Beach <p>Kerascoët. <em>I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness. </em>Random House Children’s Books, 2018.</p> <p>This is a wordless picture book from French illustrators, Kerascoët. This husband and wife duo, Marie and Sébastien solely illustrate, without the use of text, the ability to combat bullying in modern society. They accomplish this difficult task by placing emphasis on the characters’ emotions through the use of distinct colour throughout the images, clearly depicting the story’s message. Because there are no words, this amazing resource provides students with the ability to interpret the book individually, creating unique perspectives such as an idea, "who else needs help other than Vanessa?"</p> <p>This book provides fresh insight into how society can unite together by creating a positive chain reaction when faced with bullying. Throughout the illustrations, this team accomplished this task extremely well, by providing the audience with diverse characters, creating a sense of belonging. This allows the reader to view the characters as if they were looking at their own reflection, seeing into their lives, therefore enabling them to relate to the book. With this, I truly believe that it is essential for children's books to act either as a window or a mirror for children.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, I feel that this book is ideal for a target audience of pre-kindergarten to grade two. The drawings are simplistic, with few details, allowing children to predict the storyline easily, leaving a thorough investigation of the book. I cannot wait for students to "read" this book to me.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Terri Beach</p> 2019-05-16T13:47:53-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## I'm Fun, Too! by J. Fenske 2019-08-19T16:31:13-06:00 Jack Strouk <p>Fenske, Jonathan.&nbsp;&nbsp;<em>I’m Fun, Too!</em><em>. </em>Scholastic Inc., 2018.</p> <p>The children’s book, <em>I’m Fun, Too!</em>, by Jonathan Fenske, is a feel-good book for younger children, teaching life lessons about how each person is special in their own way.</p> <p>The illustrations are done with Lego® characters, which can encourage students to connect with the book if they like using Lego®. This picture book’s target audience is primary students and early learners as there is vocabulary that emphasizes learning about feelings and teaches lessons about sharing and self-worth. It is written in the form of a large comic and has comical aspects to it that will engage students through the colours and funny illustrations. The speech bubbles give the feel of a Lego® comic, making the book more dynamic.</p> <p>This book would be effective at introducing to children how to express their feelings. The Lego® theme creates a setting, where having fun is explored. Younger readers would enjoy the colourful illustrations and the funny aspects of the book, while consequently learning about positive communication. I would recommend this book to students who are in Kindergarten and the first grade. The diction is simplistic, yet also educational, teaching productive ways for kindergarten students to express their emotions and feelings.</p> <p>Recommended:&nbsp; 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Jack Strouk</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2019-05-16T15:57:49-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Island Born by J. Díaz 2019-08-19T16:31:20-06:00 Kristin Robb <p>Díaz, Junot. <em>Island Born.</em> Illustrated by Leo Espinosa, Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018.</p> <p><em>Island Born</em> by Junot Díaz tells the story of a young girl named Lola, who learns about her heritage from her friends and family. <em>Island Born</em> is the first children's book by Dominican-American author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz, with illustrations by Leo Espinosa. Díaz has said that the story was inspired by his own experience of growing up as a Dominican child in America. Díaz effectively captures both the joys and adversities of life in a diverse urban community.</p> <p>The book begins with a refreshing bout of diversity, “Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else ... hers was the school of faraway places.” When Lola’s teacher, Miss Obi, asks her students to draw a picture of the place they are from, Lola realizes she does not have any memories of the island where she was born. Miss Obi reassures Lola that there are other ways she can remember. She suggests Lola ask her friends and family to share their memories of the island. In doing so, Lola quickly learns about her family’s past, and the joys and struggles that are familiar to immigrant families.</p> <p>The images in this book harmonize with the text in a playful way that fully engages the reader in the story about the island. Colombian-born illustrator Leo Espinosa’s images celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the immigrant community through the depictions of Lola’s classmates, and neighbourhood friends on her journey through self-discovery. Espinosa colourfully, and vibrantly mirrors the island Lola comes from in a lively manner. The story, however, takes a somber twist when Lola learns about the dark history of her nation. Nonetheless, the serious messages continue to be presented in a cheerful kid friendly manner due to Diaz’s choice to depict a serious political leader as a legitimate monster who terrorized the people on the island.</p> <p>Multicultural representation in children’s literature is vital; however, it is something that is lacking in the majority of classrooms. Classrooms are rapidly becoming more diverse, and <em>Island Born</em> reaches to this. Children learn powerful lessons about who is valued or devalued in society through the literature they are exposed to. When children are unable to find reflections of themselves in classroom literature, they internalize that they are not a valued member of society. However, <em>Island Born</em> offers a glimpse, whether it be through a mirror or a window, into the life as an immigrant student. When students are able to see something of themselves represented in classroom literature, they are able to connect back to and value their identity, culture, and experiences.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Kristin Robb</p> <p>Kristin is an After-Degree student in the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Alberta. Kristin has a passion for reading, and when she is not preoccupied with her studies you can find her volunteering in elementary school classrooms.</p> 2019-05-16T15:50:25-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Julian is a Mermaid by J. Love 2019-08-19T16:31:20-06:00 Emily Marriott <p>Love, Jessica. <em>Julian is a Mermaid</em>. Candlewick Press, 2018.</p> <p>Jessica Love’s first book, <em>Julian is a Mermaid</em>, lives up to her last name: it is a book about love. Julian, a young boy, dreams of being a mermaid. He and his abuela (Spanish for grandmother) go swimming every weekend and on the way home, Julian watches women in their mermaid dresses on the subway. He dreams of becoming a mermaid too, and in the end (spoiler), although he worries about his abuela’s reaction to him dressing up as a mermaid, she embraces it and takes him out to what looks like a mermaid parade.</p> <p>Love does not give the reader a lot of text, but the book is very easy to follow, and the images draw us in to what Julian is thinking and feeling. The muted colours used by Love for background images allows the focus to be drawn to the story itself and what Julian is both experiencing and imagining. The illustrations show us the feelings of the characters. Love manages to capture subtle body language to portray Julian’s emotions, such as him grabbing his arm in embarrassment when he is caught dressing up like a mermaid. The images remind one of the ocean, drawing us in to look deeper.</p> <p>The book reminds us that gender norms can be broken, and that anyone can be a mermaid. It is a hopeful story about love transcending normative ways of being.</p> <p>Children will benefit from reading this book as it will remind them that imaginations do not need to be constrained by strictly defined identity roles. Imagining possibilities of identities allows children to feel comfortable exploring identity.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Emily Marriott</p> 2019-05-16T13:52:48-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Love by M. de la Peña 2019-08-19T16:31:21-06:00 Bretton Bowd <p>de la Peña, Matt.&nbsp; <em>Love</em>. Illustrated by Loren Long, G.P. Penguin Random House, 2018.</p> <p>Newbery Medal-winning author of <em>Last Stop on Market Street</em> Matt de la Peña and <em>New York Times</em> bestselling illustrator Loren Long have teamed up to paint a touching picture of where love lives in each of our lives. Perfect for the child in your life or the child in you, this book ignites a warm feeling deep down inside. Love shines through in all our senses. Through poetic verses we are reminded of what love looks like, what love sounds like, what love tastes like, what love smells like, and what love feels like, physically and emotionally. Who cannot relate to the simple innocence of laughing as you run through the sprinkler on a hot summer's day?</p> <p>One much-needed two-page spread even highlights the importance of self-love. The gorgeous illustrations are comprised of a compilation of monotype prints, acrylic paint, and pencil. They perfectly complement the words that they accompany, even telling their own hidden stories along the way. It is clear to understand how the pictures connect to the words, the two parts work together to invoke emotions in the reader. The vocabulary and structure, like how the word love is used in a variety of manners and how each page offers a glimpse into different individuals’ lives, may be challenging for younger children to read on their own but with the right facilitation any child can find connections to this beautiful picture book.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Bretton Bowd</p> 2019-05-16T13:52:20-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mae Among the Stars by R. Ahmed 2019-08-19T16:31:16-06:00 Bridget Harty <p>Ahmed, Roda. <em>Mae Among the Stars</em>. Illustrated by Stasia Burrington, Harper Collins, 2018.</p> <p><em>Mae Among the Stars</em> is the perfect picture book for any young child (3-8) interested in space. It tells the real-life story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space. This story urges children to explore even the most impossible dreams, or as Mae’s parents repeatedly encourage throughout: “If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.” The story revolves around the age-old question most of us are asked as children: What would you like to be when you grow up? Mae Jemison dreams about being an astronaut. Although her teacher tries to deter her from pursuing this dream, Mae refuses to give up. Thanks to her determination and parents’ reinforcement, she continues to work towards achieving her “impossible” dream of seeing Earth from space. Kids will find the last page of this book particularly interesting because it contains the bio of Mae Jemison and her accomplishments.</p> <p>The illustrations in this book elevate the story to an exceptional level. The rich colours and imaginative drawings bring each page to life. The illustrations are so vivid that one page in particular stands out from the rest because it is depicted in a muted blue, representing Mae’s gloomy response to her teacher’s disapproval of her dream of becoming an astronaut. Although the story tackles the deep-rooted issues of racial and gender stereotypes, the writing is simple enough for young readers to connect with Mae’s story while still inspiring them to reach for the stars.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Bridget Harty</p> <p>Bridget Harty is a University of Alberta undergraduate student in the Elementary Education program. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and rereading the Harry Potter series any chance she gets.</p> 2019-05-16T15:54:41-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Ocean Meets Sky by T. Fan 2019-08-19T16:31:21-06:00 Melinda Cooke <p>Fan, Terry. <em>Ocean Meets Sky</em>. Illustrated by Eric &amp; Terry Fan, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.</p> <p>In this poetic and beautifully illustrated book by the Fan Brothers, readers are invited into a young child’s world of imagination. Finn lives by the ocean and on the morning of what would have been his Grandfather’s 90th birthday, he gazes out to the sea and remembers the words of his Grandfather, “It’s a good day for sailing.” As six year olds are apt to do, he begins to build a boat. Finn’s boat is “hard work,” but takes him on a magical and mystical journey.</p> <p>Finn’s world becomes more fantastical and the illustrations more surreal with each turning page. When he “finally reaches the place of his grandfather’s stories,” there are no longer any words. Instead one enters into a silence and stillness found not only in the depths of the ocean but in space above. The authors reinforce this silence by imposing pictures of noiseless conveyances, such as hot air balloons, zeppelins and ancient ships over the picture of a great blue whale. This wordless portion of the book not only allows the reader to bring their own stories to the pictures, but celebrates the orality of the Grandfather’s stories by not limiting them to a predetermined text.</p> <p>What <em>Ocean Meets Sky</em> so poignantly depicts is the sadness and loneliness Finn feels at missing his Grandfather. When he states, “I didn’t think the open sea would be so lonely,” one cannot help but be reminded of Max’s similar look of despondency in <em>Where the Wild Things Are</em>, when he sends the wild things to bed, “without any supper.” And like Max, once Finn resolves his inner turmoil, he is able to return home to “a voice calling to him from far away.” He says goodbye to his Grandfather, whose face is superimposed onto the moon. It is a bittersweet illustration, showing Finn’s love in the smallest gesture of a waving hand.</p> <p>The book is suitable for readers between four and eight years of age. However the story and illustrations have such depth that I would not hesitate to read it with older children or encourage them to explore it on their own. The Fan Brothers are both alumni of the Ontario college of Art and Design and their detailed and enchanting illustrations make the book worthwhile for readers of all ages.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Melinda Cooke</p> <p>Melinda Cooke has been an elementary school teacher for many years. She loves sharing books with her students and delights in the stories as much as her students.</p> 2019-05-16T13:52:02-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Penguinaut by M. Colleen 2019-08-19T16:31:22-06:00 Erika Metcalfe <p>Colleen, Marcie. <em>Penguinaut</em>. Scholastic, 2018.</p> <p>In the book <em>Penguinaut</em>, Marcie Colleen uses the story of a hopeful penguin to convey a message about adversity to young children. It is a story about a small penguin named Orville who overcomes challenges in order to achieve his big dream of going to space.</p> <p>Emma Yarlett’s illustrations are creative, entertaining, and fun. They help the reader understand just how small little Orville is in comparison to all of his other animal friends, reinforcing the idea that one should not be afraid of failure when achieving their dreams, despite any challenges they may face.</p> <p>It is evident that Marcie Colleen decided to use the style of text, paired with the illustrations, to help add enthusiasm, detail, and voice. The words “big” and “bigger” are in large capital letters, and sound effects are bolded. Speech bubbles are used for dialogue instead of quotation marks. The sentence “He was all alone” is accompanied by an illustration of stars in the dark outer space. And a picture of a note given to Orville by his friends to show their support is written in handwriting, including a hand-drawn picture.</p> <p><em>Penguinaut</em> is a heart-warming book that offers lessons about adversity, resiliency, and friendship. Considering the length of the book, I believe there is room to explore these topics by including some additional detail to the story of Orville, the penguin. The messages this book conveys makes <em>Penguinaut</em> a good addition to an elementary school or public library.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Erika Metcalfe</p> <p>Erika is a grade one/two teacher in Edmonton and is currently completing her Master of Education at the University of Alberta. When she is not teaching or studying, Erika is on the hunt for new books to read to her students!</p> 2019-05-16T13:51:39-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Rabbit Listened by C. Doerrfeld 2019-08-19T16:31:14-06:00 Rachel Radmanovich <p>Doerrfeld, Cori. <em>The Rabbit Listened</em>. Dial-Penguin Random House, 2018.</p> <p>This picture book, both written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, is a lovely book for encouraging listening skills and overall calm in children aged 1-5. As the implicit meaning can run very deep, adults would also benefit from the messaging. It is about a young girl, a toddler named Taylor, who is grieving. At the beginning of the story, Taylor is in her comfy pyjamas and has just finished building a substantial wooden block tower. It then comes crashing down, providing a strong, simple, and non-threatening metaphor to the adversities of everyday life.</p> <p>As a result, Taylor is very sad and would like to express her feelings in a certain way, yet she is unsure of what way that is or is unable to articulate her emotion. Several different types of animals come by to try to cheer her up. A chicken tries to get her to talk (and will not be quiet), a bear tries to get her to shout (displaying anger), etc. The variety of animals chosen is wonderful symbolism that kids can relate to and are a great visual metaphor for feelings. At the end of the story, Taylor realizes she just wants to be alone and be quiet. The rabbit was the only animal to recognize this. The rabbit just listened.</p> <p>The story includes soft, calm, and simple crayon-type illustrations that are so cute, they are almost tactile. The background of each page is stark white, placing the focus of the story solely on the characters. This book would appeal to just about anyone reflecting on their feelings during a time of loss, difficulty, or even trauma. As some of the less obvious metaphors would be lost on a younger audience, this book is a great stepping stone to begin and facilitate conversations between children and adults about feelings and how to cope with challenging life circumstances.</p> <p>Highly recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 5 stars<br>Reviewer: Rachel Radmanovich</p> 2019-05-16T15:57:01-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Remember Balloons by J. Oliveros 2019-08-19T16:31:16-06:00 Deanna Townsend <p>Oliveros, Jessie. <em>The Remember Balloons</em>. Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte, Simon &amp; Schuster Books for Young Children – Simon and Schuster, 2018</p> <p>This beautifully written story tells of a young boy and his dear relationship with his aging Grandfather. Connected through balloons that hold memories and stories, the young boy notices his Grandfather begins to lose his balloons and eventually his memory, even of knowing his beloved grandson. Confused and upset, the young boy cannot understand why this is happening and tries in vain to save his Grandfather’s balloons. Saddened, the boy seeks his parent’s help whereby they show him that he now has a whole new set of balloons<span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span>his Grandfather’s. In acquiring these treasured memories, the young boy discovers a new way to be with his Grandfather through retelling him all his old stories.</p> <p>Illustrated in pencil sketch with minimal colour other than the varied and vibrant balloons, Oliveros speaks to children in a beautifully relatable manner about memories and stories and the connections to the people we cherish. It gently acknowledges the difficult changes in relationships as a loved one experiences the changes of aging and memory loss and guides the reader to find new ways to experience their stories and build new connections.</p> <p>The subtle acknowledgement of mixed-race families and friend groups also lends itself to a realistic and contemporary view of family and culture, further strengthening the relatability of this story to a wider readership.</p> <p>Recommended and appropriately written for ages 5-9 years, the book’s themes of keeping our memories close in our varied balloons and maintaining our connections with family even as relationships change, lends itself to a far greater age demographic.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br> Reviewer: Deanna Townsend</p> <p>Deanna Townsend is currently an Open Studies student and prospective graduate student with the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta. She is currently working in the Learning Commons/Library of an Elementary-Junior High School with Edmonton Public School Board. Her keen area of interest is in the transformation of school libraries/learning commons to modern, usable education spaces that inspire children to explore and learn beyond the classroom.</p> 2019-05-16T15:53:56-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## She Persisted Around the World by C. Clinton 2019-08-19T16:31:22-06:00 Leone Socha <p>Clinton, Chelsea. <em>She Persisted Around the World</em>. Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, Philomel Books, 2018.</p> <p>Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger give us a walk through historic and present day women showing us each woman<strong>’</strong>s great submission to the world we live in. Whether it be through overcoming their own disability, overcoming others<strong>’</strong> views on placement of women, or overcoming another’s thoughts on what women are allowed to do, the main focus is on the fact that they persisted. Using these circumstances that could have gobbled them up, they chose to take the road less travelled and fight for what they believed in<span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span>these are stories of women who did not give up but persisted through whatever was trying to hold them back. This book gives us short stories about strong women from the past, like Marie Curie, all the way to amazing women that we are lucky enough to have with us today, like Malala Yousafzai and J.K. Rowling. This shows us that we can look to the past for heroes, but sometimes there are heroes who can be found in our own generation. Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger did a beautiful job displaying beautiful, imagination igniting pictures and thought<strong>-</strong>inducing stories that describe the women, what they persisted through, and what they accomplished. Some women even received the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions.</p> <p>The beautiful drawings showcase each woman’s struggle to persist through her personal issue. Some are simple drawings and others are intricate interpretations that bring their story to life. The illustrations show people from different areas of the world and it even includes a Canadian connection. As Canadians<strong>, </strong>we can see our faces in this book as a mirror and can see it does not matter what colour our skin is, what area of the world we come from, or what our family circumstances are, we just need to be true to our beliefs and true to our voice in our world. This book empowers young girls to become powerful women.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As the author, Chelsea Clinton, says eloquently at the end of the book for our girls to “speak up, rise up, dream big. These women did that and more. They persisted and so should you.” &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Leone Socha</p> <p>Leone Socha is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who has loved reading her whole life. When she is not busy studying she is running after her husband and three children!</p> 2019-05-16T13:51:20-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by M. Wild 2019-08-19T16:31:23-06:00 Darilyn Randall <p>Wild, Margaret. <em>The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down. </em>Illustrated by Vivienne To, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018.</p> <p>You’ll want to make a speedy trip to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of Margaret Wild’s <em>The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down.</em> Together with Vivienne To’s illustrations, this simple story about how a little sloth can be a big example could make anyone want to stop and smell the roses. Life seems to speed up every day, work needs to get done faster so we have time to quickly make dinner, quickly exercise, and then quickly move on to the next thing we feel like we need to speed through. In her newest children’s book, Wild’s descriptive prose directly mirrors Sloth as he teaches Amy’s family the importance of taking our time and enjoying living in the moment. Realistically, we are all very busy, moving from one task to the next without indulging in the little things, the happy moments and the details. Everyone from busy families to teachers to even grown-ups with grown-up jobs and responsibilities could benefit from giving this adoring story a read.</p> <p>The colourful but soft illustrations created by To provide new detail and add more expression to Wild’s story each time it’s read. Illustrations of Sloth make you want to snuggle him while you read this story and feel like a child again. Through her descriptive writing, Wild portrays Sloth’s actions quite clearly. She includes phrases, such as “Sloth had a long, leisurely bath. . .” that roll off the tongue in a way that makes you feel like you’re taking your time, but in the best sort of way.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Darilyn Randall</p> <p>Darilyn Randall is a fourth-year student at the University of Alberta completing her Bachelor of Elementary Education. She is interested in teaching in a Division 1 classroom where she can incorporate children’s literacy into cross-curricular activities.</p> 2019-05-16T13:50:17-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Wall in the Middle of the Book by J. Agee 2019-08-19T16:31:24-06:00 Spencer Baird <p>Agee, Jon. <em>The Wall In The Middle Of The Book.</em> Penguin-Random House Canada, 2018.</p> <p>Jon Agee is a beloved author and illustrator who, through his many books, has accumulated praise and awards alike. <em>The Wall in the Middle of the Book, </em>is his 23<sup>rd</sup> book and it’s a beautiful and simplistic story that incorporates his brand of humour and valuable lessons. Agee, however, takes a unique direction with this book in his use of a literary device by breaking the fourth wall to make the story meta. The story follows a knight who explains the situation of there being a wall in the middle of the book that you, the reader, is reading. The knight is content with the situation, as he knows of all the perceived dangers on the other side of the wall including an ogre, who he believes would eat him if he gets caught. The knight is then put into a situation where he has to face his preconceived notions to survive. The fourth wall break was an interesting and engaging metafictive device to use in the story.</p> <p>The book had simple writing that would juxtapose what illustrations were showing, like when the knight would say how great things were on his side while the water began to rise and danger loomed, adding to the humour. <em>The Wall in the Middle of the Book’</em>s lesson is very useful in today’s world, and the idea of what or who lies on the other side of “walls” in the world, and not assuming what those things or people are like. This book easily could work for a number of audiences based on the simplicity and depth of moral lesson it touches on. This would also be effective in showcasing a dialogue-driven book. This book is an elementary level book that can be universally enjoyed in all classrooms.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars&nbsp;<br>Reviewer: Spencer Baird</p> 2019-05-16T13:48:59-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by R.T. Higgins 2019-08-19T16:31:24-06:00 Haley Oliver <p>Higgins, Ryan T. <em>We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.</em> Disney-Hyperion, 2018.</p> <p>Ryan T. Higgins writes highly rated children’s books dealing with common elementary school conflicts. The picture book, <em>We Don’t Eat Our Classmates</em>, will capture all readers, no matter the age. The main character, Penelope, is an adorable T-rex who wears pink coveralls. She was designed by the illustrator and a group of children so it has features that will appeal to all and capture your heart immediately. Penelope is a having a rough first day of school because she keeps eating all her classmates; she struggles with fitting in but learns that it is not fun when you get bit. The story uses humorous hyperboles and the element of surprise that will keep the reader engaged until the end of the story. The humour is exemplified through the beautifully illustrated representations of the story. The illustrations capture the situations through simple images that show the character’s expressions and intentionally incorporate colours to emphasize the characters or the problem at hand.</p> <p>This picture book would make a fantastic addition to any early elementary classroom and would make a great read aloud because it uses humour to address the themes of new students, making friends, and learning to treat others the way you want to be treated. Its huge font will allow younger readers to follow along. The humour and overemphasis in the story is what makes it a truly engaging and fun read while hitting on the feelings of being different and excluded that many students face.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Haley Oliver</p> <p>Haley Oliver is a fourth year Bachelor of Elementary Education student at the University of Alberta. She is interested in encouraging young child to love reading through entertaining and meaningful literature.</p> 2019-05-16T13:48:38-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon and Garfunkel by G. Neri 2019-08-19T16:31:25-06:00 Emma Ferguson <p>Neri, Gregory. <em>When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon and Garfunkel.</em> Illustrated by David Litchfield, Candlewick Press, 2018.</p> <p>The legacy of folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel lives on in <em>When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon and Garfunkel, </em>a non-fiction illustrated story/biography. It details the friendship and success shared by two boys from a Jewish neighbourhood in Queens through their passion for music. Opposites in height, confidence, and interests, Paul and Artie are drawn together by each other’s humour, talent, and shared dream of hearing their songs on the radio. This beautiful story celebrates the ups and downs the boys experience through the decades as they draw inspiration from rock legends like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, rockabilly pioneers like Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis, and folk activists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.</p> <p>Written in free-form prose, each spread of this book features one large illustration, each titled with a Simon and Garfunkel song name. David Litchfield’s illustrations are almost animated in nature<span style="font-weight: 400;">—</span>they are imaginative, complex, and emotionally evocative in their use of perspective, shadow, and colour to convey a mood. Neri’s words are just as artistic, using adjectives such as “cascading,” “rapturous,” “blistering,” and “crooning” to describe the music experienced and created by Paul and Artie. The prose is rich and descriptive, though perhaps better suited to grade five and older due to the advanced vocabulary and the occasionally mature content.</p> <p>This story is one that can be shared between adults who grew up alongside Paul and Artie and children who have yet to hear this timeless story about two Jewish boys rising to stardom.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Emma Ferguson</p> <p>Emma Ferguson is a second-year Master of Library and Information Studies student at the University of Alberta. She is an avid reader when she is not working on school work, and her greatest joys in life include colourful yarn for knitting and weaving, kitschy mugs (preferably full of coffee), and melancholy folk songs.</p> 2019-05-16T13:48:20-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Word Collector by P.H. Reynolds 2019-08-19T16:31:15-06:00 Komel Ahmed <p>Reynolds, Peter H. <em>The Word Collector.</em> Scholastic, 2018.</p> <p>The story, written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, is about a boy named Jerome and his discovery of words. While other children collect stamps, coins, rocks, and art, Jerome collects words. Words "catch his attention" and "jump at him." He collects "short and sweet words" and "two-syllable treats." He fills his scrapbook with all the "marvelous" words he hears, reads, and sees. But once while he’s transporting his collection, he slips and his words all get mixed up. In this jumbled up state, he starts noticing how they can be strung together to make poems and songs, and how he can use them in simple and powerful phrases. In the end, he shares his collection with children in the valley and he’s left with no words to describe how happy that makes him.</p> <p>The accompanying illustrations are bright, colourful, and detailed in terms of visualizing the text. With illustrations showing diversity in characters, dialogues are written in speech bubbles while Jerome’s "words" are shown on the pieces of rectangular paper he writes them down on. The jacket illustrations show Jerome standing with a bright blue background behind him and his numerous words flying around him. The inside hardcover is yellow with only the word slips jumbled around. The last page in the book is Peter Reynold’s own words strung together to give an inspiring message: “<em>Reach for your own words. Tell the world who you are. And how you will make it better</em>.”</p> <p>Inspiring and easy to read, this is a delightful book to help children discover the magic and power of words. Teachers and parents can help children in activities inspired by the book to play around with words and build their vocabulary.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Komel Ahmed</p> <p>Komel Ahmed is currently working towards her B.Ed. in Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. She loves reading with her two amazing children.</p> 2019-05-16T15:55:25-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Happy Spring Deakin Readers! 2019-08-19T16:31:13-06:00 Hanne Pearce <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hello!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As this issue quickly follows our last there are only a few news items to share with you.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Forest of Reading / Festival of Trees 2019</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> which is a national festival, held its largest event in Toronto from May 14 to 16. Students read a variety of Canadian children’s books throughout the year and then vote on their favourite book. Awards are then granted for books in a variety of different categories. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has a lovely </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">summary article</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> about the festival that includes a lengthy list of all the winners. You can also see all the nominees for the various awards on the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ontario Library Association website.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR) has announced it’s </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Information Book Award Shortlist</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. It includes eight juvenile non-fiction titles. Voting for winners continues into the fall and the winner will be announced in November. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Annual General Meeting</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will be taking place on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm. CCBC members and the general public are welcome to attend: Room 224, Northern District Library / 40 Orchard View Blvd. / Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B9</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On a final note, the Children’s book author Judith Kerr passed away earlier this month. Kerr was known for her book </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Tiger that Came to Tea. The</span></em> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York Times</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> recently published an </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">obituary tribute</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to Kerr.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Best wishes for a wonderful summer!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hanne</span></p> 2019-06-05T10:27:46-06:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##