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SOS Champion Captain

There isn’t much Nora can’t do–and do well. She’s her school’s captain, and if there is a prize offered or medal to be won, she has claimed it for her own. So when she and her classmates find out about the newest competition to build a model pirate ship, she just knows this will be another easy win for her. However, Nora soon learns this is to be a group project, something she is not comfortable with, as she is not the one in control of everything. So will this be the one competition Nora actually can’t win? Or will she be able to pull it together for the sake of her group members?

SOS Champion Captain, by children’s author Cameron Stelzer, is one in a series of the School of Scallywags books. Nora, champion of virtually everything, is the main character and is in for a difficult lesson on how to treat others. She is used to being recognized as the best in all she does, and when things don’t go her way, and she loses her temper, the group project suffers. Nora must learn about acceptance, tolerance, and unity in order for her group to be able to finish building the pirate ship. This is a common issue for many children, they feel their worth is tied to their achievements. Learning teamwork is hard and this entertaining book teaches kids the value of working together.

My third graders are going to love this book–our class theme is pirates, and Nora and her crew fit right in! I love that Nora and the other characters struggle with some of the same issues as my students–the strong love of hot chips and the stress of group projects. Stelzer’s characters are undoubtedly relatable for young readers, and the fantasy setting of the School of Scallywags is sure to draw readers in from the first pages.

SOS Champion Captain is a captivating children’s book for those kids in the second to fifth-grade reading levels. Nora and the other members of the School of Scallywags will delight readers with their relatable feelings and life lessons. This book will make a great addition to both school and classroom libraries.

Pages: 98 | ISBN : 0645133132

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The Intra-Earth Chronicles: Book I: The Two Sisters

The Two Sisters, by author Kara Jacobson, is the first book in the Intra-Earth Chronicles series. The story follows the path of two sisters, Adrianne and Sasha, who endure a nuclear fallout in the distant future and are forced apart when the ground splits open and seemingly swallows Adrianne into an abyss.

Although Sasha does not know if Adrianne is dead or alive, we know Adrianne is somewhere deep within Earth and is on the run. The Two Sisters is action-packed and very fast-paced as it takes the reader on a journey into a deep and unknown part of the Earth. Little do we know that this story also takes us on a ride into exploring the unique bond that is sisterhood.

This fantastic book was a very quick read and each chapter ended with an invisible lure pulling you to the next page. I found it difficult to put the book down and thoroughly enjoyed following both sisters as they embark on their own unique missions. It was also easy to imagine each character’s personality even without much description, which is something I find difficult for authors to do.

This heartwarming story focuses on the bond between two sisters. Even separated and not knowing if the other is alive they fight to find them. Sasha refuses to give up on her sister and is willing to take any journey necessary to find her in the ravine.

The only thing I felt that was missing in this entertaining book is more character development. This could be due to the fact this is going to be a series of books and the author was just introducing characters to readers with plans to develop them further in other books.

The Two Sisters, book one of The Intra-Earth Chronicles, is an exciting and fast-paced sword and sorcery novel for middle-grade children. The action and adventure that the characters experience will keep children engaged and waiting to see what happens next.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B09R6ZZHRM

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What is a Gnome?

Jeff Dinardo Author Interview

The One Great Gnome follows an 11-year-old girl that discovers a magical garden gnome that shows her a world she never knew existed. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I was 11 I moved from the Bronx to Connecticut so I experienced the same feelings that Sarah had when the story opens. The story was my idea of what I would have wanted to find the first day I woke up in a strange new state without my friends around.

What was your favorite character to write for and why?

I loved writing about Vesper. I wanted to change people’s thoughts on what a Gnome could be. He is kind and brave and loves to cook! What a fun character to write for!

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel?

Yes, I felt very satisfied. After several rewrites, I felt the story ended exactly where it should have and all the characters had a nice way to end their stories and their relationship to Sarah.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have an idea for a sequel to this book! We will see what happens!

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

In the spirit of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, this story introduces readers to the hidden magical―and mysterious―world of gnomes, elves, and trolls.
Eleven-year-old Sarah moves with her family from New York City to rural Hadley, Connecticut. She’s eager to explore her new home and meet new friends, but she never expected to befriend an old garden gnome.
Readers join Sarah as she is drawn into a secret world under our feet. Sarah uses her instincts to calm old rivalries and help the underworld elves, gnomes, and more join her in the upperworld.

The One Great Gnome

The One Great Gnome follows eleven-year-old Sarah who has recently moved from the busy city of Manhattan, 100 miles away in a contrastingly calm, mundane rural Hadley, Connecticut. Sarah lives with her parents and her cat Smokey. She is a bookworm that loves escaping into the world of her books. Her dream is to work in a book store and read all the books she could get her hands on, understandably so, as her mother works in the library. This gives Sarah a beautifully open mind and vivid imagination. 

Author Jeff Dinardo starts the story as Sarah’s family has just moved to their new home in the country. This gives Sarah a chance to explore things she could not when living in the city. Every little detail is explored from the perspective of an eleven-year-old, which makes the book interesting for children. It is during one of these adventures that Sarah comes across the garden gnome, Vesper of Oglinoth. Vesper introduces Sarah to a world she never knew existed outside of her books. She joins Vesper on his quest to save all the gnomes.

Very similar to the magical world of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, in Sarah’s world, nothing is impossible. Sarah is friendly, curious, and empathetic. Sarah is creative and uses that imagination to help out her new friend, and provides a fresh and broad perspective on various issues.

Scattered throughout this imaginative novel are black and white drawings illustrated by Jhon Ortiz. He has given readers a striking visual of some of the characters and the creatures that come alive in this creative book. They really give readers an idea of the creatures Sarah meets and their personalities.

Dinardo has created an engaging and relatable character in Sarah. Her curious personality will appeal to readers that are getting started with chapter books but are not quite ready for books like Harry Potter or the Percy Jackson & the Olympians.

The One Great Gnome is a captivating children’s fantasy adventure book that is filled with action. This is a fantastic beginning chapter book that will inspire the imagination of older elementary kids.

Pages: 128 | ASIN : B08C9NRTWG

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ITz Little BeWitchMents

ITz Little BeWitchMents : The Bag of Worries and The Magic of Faith by [Eva Heather Kerr]

Eva Heather Kerr’s “ITz Little Bewitchments” is a children’s book, classic story about great friendships, loyalty, magic, love of nature, discovering and faith.

It follows the life of two friends, Eve and Suzie as they navigate life in a witch training academy. While they are two of the most loved students in the school, the book also explores the little mischievous and curious side of their personalities.

Like all children, they never turn down any opportunity for adventure, discovering and making new friends. At the beginning of the book, they even follow something into the courtyard of the academy, a venture that will literally, land them in the academy’s laboratory and a spot of bother. Ultimately, their characters depict what it means to be curious and wise.

Like all good children books, ITz Little Bewitchments has a strong antagonist – Miss Dingbat. She is the academy’s inspector, very determined to get the girls expelled. She follows them around and keeps constant tabs on them, by using her dedicated magpie, Mr Mag to spy and follow the girls everywhere. She keeps reporting the girls to the headmistress, Miss Butterscotch.

Fortunately, the headmistress knows only too well why Miss Dingbat is so determined to see both girls expelled from the academy. Knowing the truth behind the wicked lies of the Inspector, Miss Butterscotch always supports the girls, encouraging them to excel. Ultimately, the support of the Grand Wizard Bruadarach, Miss Butterscotch and many others and the powerful friendships, keep Eve and Suzie winning over many adversities. Time and time again, we see them gracefully face many difficult situations and come out safe with lessons learned.

As we turn the pages of this wonderful book, it is clear that the author’s intent is on communicating and educating about the great importance of friendship and in having strong faith. Believing in oneself, in magic and always following your dreams. As such, the book becomes a great friend and a guide through adversities allowing one to fully grasp the power and importance of friendship, trust, loyalty and truth.

Another thing this book does well is illustrating its scenes. The illustrations are colourful, engaging, and awe-inspiring – things that make them attractive to children. Moreover, it uses colourful descriptive language that inspires imagination.

ITz Little BeWitchMents is a fun, light, magical and educative book that will inspire children to explore, learn and discover.

*Screenplay of the book’s adaptation is currently in the preproduction stage, film featuring over 20 songs.

Pages: 156 | ASIN: B09DJFKTJ8

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The One Eyed Pug

The One Eyed Pug

It’s important to share messages of acceptance with children, but it can be difficult if you don’t take into consideration their level of understanding. What a child can understand is vastly different than an adult. The One Eyed Pug by Deborah Hunt is a cute little story about a pug puppy that has a slightly difficult life waiting for her. She has to go through the anxiety of being separated from her birth parents and then living with a stranger. While she does her best to adapt to her new life, change is right around the corner as her ‘mother’ ends up being unable to care for her and gives her to another family. Our little pug now has to deal with the uncertainty of a new home with new people without understanding why she was given up in the first place. Things seem to start going better for our pug until the introduction of a new friend and the terrible accident that follows close behind.

Using animals as a way to deliver important messages and teach important lessons to children is something that is not easily done, but delivered well in this story. Children seem to be able to listen carefully and understand difficult lessons when taught through an animal that can speak. Hunt uses the story of the pug to show children that change is not always bad. She also teaches them that while bad things may happen, there are good outcomes as well. Our pug has only lived for a short time yet she’s met with various changes and has to face the anxiety of the unknown each time. This story can also teach children compassion. Compassion for those who are different than us and compassion for those who are struggling.

There are several drawings throughout the book which can give the readers a nice interruption to the waves of text. It is important to keep children engaged as well as entertained. The drawings give more information on what the characters look like which helps the readers connect more to the story. The language in the story is very easy for new readers to understand. While this isn’t a first step book, it is definitely suitable for a child who has experience reading books with little pictures. The language might be too young for older readers, even though the message it sends is positive.

Deborah Hunt takes us on a trip to learn compassion and acceptance with The One Eyed Pug. This tale allows children to connect their own feelings of anxiety and uncertainty with things like change to the life of the protagonist, the little pug. It also allows children to see that dogs and other pets have feelings as well, even if we can’t always understand what they’re trying to tell us. Even when our little pug goes through a life changing situation, she comes out strong because she has the support of those who love her around her. This is an important thing for children to understand as well: we are all stronger thanks to the people who support us. This would be a great book for any avid young reader.

Pages: 80 | ISBN: 1945175788

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