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Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash

When a young boy from California visits his cousins for the first time in Hawaii, he becomes confused about why people keep calling each other trash. What starts as simple misunderstanding blossoms into frustration and anger between the young cousins. It takes a patient Pupu (grandmother) to explain the real meaning of Mahalo and teach the children a valuable lesson about their Hawaiian culture.

Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash is an educational and inspiring story about family, traditions, and culture. Written by AJ Paki Perkins and his three teenage children, they work together to create this fascinating and outstanding children’s book. This is more than just a story about the meaning of Mahalo; it is the blending of cultures and sharing of one’s heritage. It is also a lesson in gratitude and appreciation for each other and the land that we live on.

One of my favorite parts of this magnificent book is the resources at the end. Hawaiian words can be confusing to non-natives, especially the pronunciation. The authors have included a pronunciation guide and a list of Hawaiian language words with their definitions. This children’s book is on the longer side, at over 60 pages, but the colorful illustrations play well with the vibrant setting of Hawaii. The character’s expressions really add to the story and keep children engaged. While some of the dialog can get confusing, it is a beautiful lesson for small children on diversity. The details the authors have included make this story personal and relatable.

Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash is an engaging and beautiful written children’s book that teaches about the culture of Hawaii and the importance of gratitude. Children will love reading about the cousins as they spend time with the Pupu and Papa and experience the wonderful things that the island of Hawaii has to offer.

Pages: 65 | ASIN : B0BMSKP91Z

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Kayla Travels in Her Dreams

Kayla wakes up and is excited for her family to travel and see their friends. She is all packed and ready to head to the airport, full of energy and anticipation. Unforintly, her father has to tell her that they can no longer go on their trip that day because of a big snowstorm. Kayla is devastated and ends up falling asleep while crying on her mom’s lap. In her sleep, Kayla dreams of traveling. She visits places all around the world and sees her friends in her dreams, but her family is not in her dream with her. After many countries and sites, Kayla realizes that even though she has her friends, her family is not with her, and she wants to return home.

Kayla Travels in Her Dreams by author Kyra Zeidan is a magical story about traveling and the importance of family. Children reading this picture book will see images from Dubai, China, Australia, France, Egypt, and even the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Each country she visits gives children a few fun facts about the location, accompanied by bright, colorful images created by illustrator Musa Abdul Aziz Hasan. They will also be shown that even with all the unique places a person can visit, it is not the same if you are not with your family and the ones you love. Therefore, traveling is better with family.

This educational children’s book includes resources for parents and teachers. The included questions and lesson ideas allow this story to be used in various ways by parents and teachers. There is even a page for cutting out the characters to create their own stories.

Kayla Travels in Her Dreams is a whimsical picture book that takes children worldwide to see all the unique sites found in different countries. Parents will love the included message about the importance of family.

Pages: 28 | ASIN : B0BHKQ6X6S

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A Splash of Colour

Great educational tools are immensely fundamental to child development, but I have found they are scarce in young readers’ libraries. A Splash of Colour, written and illustrated by Susannah Nilsen, has given us a supreme perfect example of an educational book aid.

The beginning starts us off with common sight words that help us while we read, and the writing is simple enough to follow, so young readers can pick up these sight words quickly. Although this story does not follow a specific storyline or have an overall theme, it does, in fact, allow for an entertaining way to learn. The rhythmic verses leaped from the page with a steady pulse that kept the reader hanging from every word.

I recommend this book to any family or young reader who is learning to read or needs help gaining more powerful reading skills. This book will allow for quick and entertaining learning. The illustrations and the sight words were effortlessly cohesive and echo a seamless connection to the sight words allowing for an even better teaching aid.

I believe that the gift of reading is magical and can help us do amazing things. The author explains at the end of the book, “Her classroom experience affords a deep understanding of the value of picture books in the classroom, both as a vehicle to teach across the curriculum and to explore all manner of concepts.” this is something I clearly saw through her writing and the illustrations themselves.

A Splash of Colour is a whimsical picture book that will engage preschool and toddler-age children with its vivid images and entertaining text. Parents and teachers will find this to be a valuable children’s book to have for teaching about colours and introducing sight words. This is a wonderful addition to a home or classroom library.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B0BJ6JZJB9

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The Princess, the Knight, and the Lost God

Kassie is a princess of a whimsical world called Chess Mountain. On Chess Mountain, the residents are all chess pieces, and Kassie’s parents rule over them. Princess Kassie is a beloved member of the royal family, and it is her birthday. Kassie is excited to spend the evening with friends and family and celebrate her twelfth birthday. But not everything goes as planned, and Kassie is whisked away to Earth to complete her twelfth-year mission and to protect her from harm.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a unique novel about chess. While on Earth, Kassie must hide from evil Originals and make an impact in the lives of others. What better way to do that than to teach and improve her classmates’ chess game? Kassie must navigate Earth’s strange habits and traditions while watching her back for those who might harm her. She makes friends and helps them better their lives by teaching chess, and Kassie learns to stand up for herself against bullies while taking time to understand their challenges.

Winifred has created a unique world centered around chess, which shows her passion for the game. She weaved a story about lovers of chess and how it affects their lives. While the premise might seem a little silly at times, the story is exciting and entertaining all the way until the end. There are many twists and turns that await the reader throughout this story.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a captivating children’s chapter book. Young chess lovers will enjoy how Winifred weaves chess terms and strategies throughout the story while sticking to the fantasy genre. With memorable characters and an exciting plot older, elementary and middle school-age children will find this book a wonderful addition to their reading collection.

Pages: 226 | ASIN : B0BLT4PGSZ

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Adventures of the Negassi Brothers

Adventures of the Negassi Brothers, written by Ezra Negassi, follows a pair of brothers Isaiah and Azariah. These two brothers desperately want to participate in a traditional coffee ceremony with their friends and family. However, this is not just any normal old coffee no. This coffee is extremely special and transports the brothers through the history of their ancestors and the background of their culture, connecting them to the very essence of their beings.

Encased in this short children’s book is a heap full of gorgeous history and is presented to us, the readers, uniquely. Once allowed to join in on the coffee ceremony, the brothers find they are magically transported with each sip to a different place and time in their family’s history. Allowing them to experience the beauty of their culture firsthand.

I believe learning about our family history and continuing traditions is essential regardless of anyone’s background. This is the main message the author has achieved whilst taking the reader on a thrilling and intriguing ride. The illustrations echo the news, helping the reader connect with the tone, setting, and environment. Such an easy and fast-paced read for any young reader would surely get young minds to ask questions about their backgrounds.

Adventures of the Negassi Brothers is an exciting children’s book that takes readers into the past to view part of African History and ancient civilization. They will learn about the importance of family tradition and the value of honoring the past. This would make a wonderful book for introducing a multicultural learning unit to a classroom.

Pages: 27 | ASIN : B0B44NL74Y

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The Poetry Mouse

A little mouse named Evie lived in a quaint little town near the forest. This little mouse spent her days baking, mending clothes, and keeping her home neat and tidy. However, these things are not what gave her joy in life; instead, she did these things because that is what was expected of her. Evie’s real passion, which she spent hours daydreaming about, was writing poetry.

One day she heads off to the woods with her paper and pen in hand; she spots some rabbits and composes a poem about them there. From there, she writes more until she ends up at a bench talking with Brayden Fox. Now Brayden recognizes that Evie is talented and encourages her to think about what she really wants in life and focus on that, not on what other people think she should be doing with her time.

The Poetry Mouse, written by Derek R. King and Julie L. Kusma, is a beautifully written children’s story and collection of poetry intertwined together to create a whimsical book that children and adults can enjoy. The story of Evie the mouse is cute and adorable, with the watercolor images illustrating the pages. This is a story of self-discovery, breaking out of the mold that society says you must fit into. For children, it teaches them that they do not have to fit into stereotypical molds and that they can follow their passions in life and be happy. It encourages children to dream and take action to make those dreams come true.

The second half of this marvelous book is Evie the mouse’s poetry. Placed on the pages in the illustrations of her journal, it adds to the feeling that the little mouse is composing and sharing a part of her dream with readers. Each poem written about nature is filled with passion and wonder. The poem about the owl gliding through the night sky was my favorite. I can envision the downy feathers as they glide to the earth as the Owl moves across the moon’s silhouette. The poetry is organic, drawing the reader into a moment in time. They will glimpse nature in its pure form for that one breath of time. It is not often such simple poetry that can have the power to make you stop and visualize a single moment that, had it been mentioned any other way, would have been mundane. King and Kusma take the ordinary and transform it into breathtaking.

The Poetry Mouse is an astonishing children’s poetry book that will bring joy and wonder to children reading the story and looking at the beautiful artwork. Adults will find a more profound message in the story, one of following your dreams and stopping to appreciate the simple things in life. This storybook is one that readers will want to own and keep on the shelf for years to come.

Pages: 55 | ASIN : B0B69FGYMR

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Billy’s Wide Crack

What happens when you wake up and look in the mirror while getting ready for school only to realize something is really not right. Unfortunately, that is what happened to Billy. He discovers something alarming that morning, and his solution is to hide in his bed and pretend it doesn’t exist. Then, one by one, his family members come in and observe what he has seen, and all of them are unsure of what to make of the situation.

Billy’s Wide Crack, written by JD Von Lafsalot and illustrator by Pietro Peres, is a humorous picture book with children and adults laughing with each page. The entertaining images and expressions on the characters’ faces will have children guessing right from the start as to what crack Billy has found. I loved that on each page, there was a little bee that seemed to add to the drama of the situation, like sitting on the dad’s tie.

At the end of the book are some quick questions teachers can use to review the story with their class. This helps children recall and identify the context of stories. Some questions require them to have keen observation skills and will allow them to go back and pick out details they may have missed at first.

Billy’s Wide Crack: A Fun Rhyming Story of Assumptions and False Thinking is a light-hearted picture book that will have readers of all ages laughing. With children’s active imaginations, the story will surely bring about many fun, exciting class discussions and laughs.

Pages: 35 | ASIN : B0BFDTGNH7

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