Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MIDNIGHT TEACHER, LILLY ANN GRANDERSON AND HER SECRET SCHOOL REVIEW


Midnight Teacher
Lilly Ann Granderson and her Secret School
by Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by London Ladd
Midnight Teacher, Lilly Ann Granderson and her Secret School, by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by London Ladd, is an important true story of a slave who dedicated her life to educating fellow slaves. Lilly Ann Granderson secretly taught many slaves to read and write before and after the Civil war. It was a daring and risky undertaking, so it was done at night. Even though they risked severe punishment by being beaten, Lilly Ann Granderson and her students felt it was worth the risk to become educated and have a chance for a better life and even the ability to escape to freedom in the North.

Ms. Halfmann put a lot of careful research into bringing this story to students, teachers, and librarians. At the back of the book is an Afterword about accomplishments directly attributable to Lilly Ann Granderson’s teaching and efforts to establish schools; plus, there’s information on the lives and contributions of her descendants. Ms. Halfmann has included several excellent Selected References for further reading and study.

This is a great historical addition to classrooms and school libraries to show how important literacy and education are to people’s lives, especially to people like Blacks and other minorities who have constantly been denied equal educational opportunities throughout their history in America. Midnight Teacher is highly recommended for students, teachers, and librarians. Lee and Low Books list this book for reading level grade 2 to 6. The detailed illustrations by artist London Ladd clearly show and clarify what is happening in Lilly Granderson’s story, which helps lower grade students to visualize and better understand the seriousness of that period in history.

Information on talented children's author, Janet Halfmann is at http://www.janethalfmann.com/

Information on artist London Ladd is at https://www.londonladd.com/

Reviewed by:

Penelope Anne Cole
Children’s Author, Writer, Poet, and Reviewer
SLO Night Writers Golden Quill Non-Fiction Finalist 2017
Tri-Valley Writers Conference 2017 Prose Award
San Mateo County Fair Short Story Award 2017
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
My Grandma and Me Coloring Book

Monday, April 9, 2018

JAMIE'S DREAM REVIEW


Jamie's Dream
by Susan Berger and Christopher Corbin
Jamie’s Dream, by Susan Berger and her son Christopher Corbin, is illustrated by Kim Sponaugle. It’s a perfectly delightful children’s picture book. The message is uplifting, the prose is fun and repetitive, which kids enjoy as much as rhyming books. The artwork is whimsical and conveys the fun, happy, magical mood of this book.

The story begins with Jamie waking up from a great dream and smelling French toast. He wants to find a way to share his dream with his mother. He puts on his lucky purple socks and knows he’s going to have a good day. His day continues to be good through school with a gold star. While walking home after school, he meets a talking unicorn who takes him on his quest to buy a dream for his mother. Can Jamie really buy a dream? You’ll have to get the book and then you’ll find out, like Jamie, “Seeing is believing and believing is seeing.”

I highly recommend this sweet book to children ages 5 to 8. It’s a feel good story that children will enjoy reading with their mothers. It shows a child’s love for his mother and a mother’s love for her child. It’s a good way for parents and teachers to show children that having a positive attitude, sharing special moments, and caring for others returns as much to the giver as to the receiver. 

Reviewed by:
Penelope Anne Cole
SLO Night Writers Golden Quill Non-Fiction Finalist 2017
Tri-Valley Writers Conference 2017 Prose Award
San Mateo County Fair Short Story Award 2017
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
My Grandma and Me Coloring Book
New:  My Grandma’s Pink House
Web/Blogs:  http://www.penelopeannecole.com/


Sunday, February 25, 2018

GROWING UP DREAMS REVIEW


Growing Up Dreams
By Susan J. Berger
 
“Growing Up Dreams,” by Susan J. Berger, illustrated by Samantha Bell, is a delightful, rhyming picture book about a little girl’s big, wonderful, and wild daydreams about what she’ll do when she grows up. She shares her growing up dreams with her two cats, Quentin and Quigley. Her dreams are little girl dreams of living in a tree house, eating ice cream for breakfast, staying up late, having her own store, and her own zoo.

She tells her cats she’ll wear what she wants when she wants, and she’ll do what she wants. She’ll live in a magical world, with flying and dancing, no rules, and no homework. My favorite part is the end where she says she’ll use all her power to make people happy, give them good things, and she’ll share all of her dreams with her Mommy and Daddy.

Artist Samantha Bell has captured the magic of this little girl’s dreams in her colorful and playful artwork. Ms. Bell brings this sweet story to life with images that will entertain and touch both children and parents. The values of caring, helping, and sharing are beautifully presented in word and image. This is a great book for bedtime stories and read alouds. I highly recommend it for children ages 4 through 7.

Information on author and actress Susan J. Berger is at http://susanbjames.blogspot.com/p/childrens-books.html

Information on artist and author Samantha Bell is at https://www.samanthasbell.com/

Reviewed by:
Penelope Anne Cole
SLO Night Writers Golden Quill Non-Fiction Finalist 2017
Tri-Valley Writers Conference 2017 Prose Award
San Mateo County Fair Short Story Award 2017
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
My Grandma and Me Coloring Book
New:  My Grandma’s Pink House
Web/Blogs: 
http://www.penelopeannecole.com/

Sunday, January 28, 2018

MAMA GRACIELA’S SECRET REVIEW


MAMA GRACIELA’S SECRET
by Mayra Calvani
 
I enjoyed Mayra Calvani’s latest picture book, “Mama Graciela’s Secret,” illustrated colorfully by Sheila Fein It’s a pleasing book on many levels. At first I thought the secret in the book was Mama Graciela’s special recipe for bacalaitos fritos. But soon realized the book was about another passion of Mama’s; her love for the many cats attracted to her restaurant for her famous bacalaitos fritos. Then the book became more important and personal to me. 

As a cat and dog lover, I was quite concerned about Mama’s many, many cats. Children will enjoy the story moving from everyday, normal life to super, exaggerated storytelling. How will Mama Graciela handle the problem of oh so many—too many—cats? The solution given in the end of the book is perfect, satisfying, and inspirational. Highly recommended for ages 5 to 7.

Information on author Mayra Calvani is at 
www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com. 

Reviewed by:


Penelope Anne Cole
SLO Night Writers Golden Quill Non-Fiction Finalist 2017
Tri-Valley Writers Conference 2017 Prose Award
San Mateo County Fair Short Story Award 2017
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
My Grandma and Me Coloring Book
New:  My Grandma’s Pink House
Web/Blogs:  http://www.penelopeannecole.com/

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lost Jade of the Maya by Marjorie Bicknell Johnson - Review





Lost Jade of the Maya
by Marjorie Bicknell Johnson

Lost Jade of the Mayais the second young adult novel in Marjorie Bicknell Johnson’s series. The first is “Jaguar Princess: The Last Maya Princess.” This second book continues the story of Chanlajun Pesh:  Archaelogist, Professor, Shaman, young wife, and new mother of Yash. In this sequel, Pesh, as she calls herself, is in search of the source of her green jade jaguar talisman, B’lam. Pesh fears she is a fallen Shaman and needs to find where her jade jaguar talisman came from for redemption. Where are the ancient, secret, hidden jade mines of the Maya?

Along with her Geologist-Pilot husband Kedar, Pesh’s search for lost Jade mines takes her from the Yucatan Mayan ruins that she studies each season into the jungles of Guatamala. Pesh and Dr. Burt, plus her daughter Yash, meet the Andersons who live in Guatemala and process jade into fine pieces. Pesh and Yash also assist a Maya shaman healing children in a Guatamalan jungle village. They have to deal with drug lords, blackmail, mysticism, curses, kidnapping, and more. There is so much non-stop excitement and adventure in Ms. Johnson’s novels that it would be too much to describe in this review. Suffice it to say, there’s never a dull moment.

Ms. Johnson knows how to build suspense and carries you along on Pesh’s wide-ranging adventures. The author also provides detailed descriptions of the setting and the characters to totally bring you into Pesh’s world. As an experienced pilot, Ms. Johnson’s aviation scenes are realistic as are her jungle scenes, since she thoroughly researched the area and the Maya culture and history in writing her books. This series has adventure, romance, intrigue/mystery, mysticism, history, edge-of-your-seat excitement, and satisfying endings. Ms. Johnson’s books are the type of books that you hurry to finish but then want more and ask when is the next book in the series coming out?

Highly recommended for young adult and up readers.

Information on Marjorie Bicknell Johnson is at:  http://mbicknelljohnson.com/Marjorie_Bicknell_Johnson/Home.html

If you got the books out of order, please quickly read 
“Jaguar Princess: The Last Maya Shaman.”

Reviewed by:

Penelope Anne Cole


Tri-Valley Writers Conference 2017 Prose Award
San Mateo County Fair Short Story Award 2017
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?:
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
New:  My Grandma and Me Coloring Book
Coming Soon:  My Grandma’s Pink House
Web/Blogs:  http://www.penelopeannecole.com/
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