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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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Cool Kids

Michael is excited to start the year at his new school. He is going into 4th grade with two of his best friends. Together they all dream of playing football at this new school like they did last year. Michael makes several new friends in the first few weeks of school, and they all get along great. One day, Michael sees some boys playing football, and they will not let him join in. He is not one of the ‘cool kids.’ Disappointed, Michael decides to find a way to get into the cool kid’s group. Unfortunately, he learns that he must be mean and become a bully to be part of this group. Michael starts seeing himself as a monster and questions if being cool is worth it.

Cool Kids by Arlene Freeman takes a serious topic of bullying and presents it in a way that older elementary grade kids can understand and relate to. As a parent, I have witnessed bullying from this age group multiple times, and I think addressing it at this age level is vital for teaching just how harmful it can be to others. Kids will be able to relate to Michael and his desire to fit in and join others that are doing the activities he wants to do. I am impressed with how the author shows readers the ugly side of bullying. Being a bully makes you feel ugly inside, even when you look like the cool kid on the outside.

The artwork by Amelina Jones brings the story to life with detailed emotions for the characters and a style that fits between whimsy watercolors and graphic novel imagery. Children will enjoy the bright colors and realistic representations of a day in school. For younger kids who can’t read all the words yet, the images do a fantastic job of telling the story independently.

The theme of friendship and acceptance is just as strong as bullying in this children’s book. Michael is not the only kid to learn the real meaning of ‘cool kids,’ and seeing that people can change is helpful for this age group. It is a good reminder that sometimes we all make bad choices and that we can fix things by apologizing and making good choices after.

Cool Kids is a feel-good children’s book for elementary-level kids. Dealing with topics that kids struggle with at this age and presented in an approachable and relevant manner, this makes an excellent book for classrooms and caregivers to discuss the issues of bullying, kindness, and friendship.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B09L5LKSST

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I Move A Lot and That’s Okay: Axel’s Story

Axel’s mom is in the Army. He is seven years old, and his family is getting ready to move to Italy. Of course, this is scary for a little kid, but he takes it in stride and with a positive attitude.

This beautifully illustrated picture book walks children through the process of going through a permanent change of station (PCS). There is a lot that happens and a lot of shuffling from one place to another, temporary housing and living out of suitcases. For military families, this becomes normal, but small kids do not always understand why this happens and can be angry and afraid of the changes. Axel walks through each step, sharing his feelings, concerns, and things he is excited about. The reoccurring line through this story is Axel saying, “I am okay with that” when faced with situations, only a few times is he not okay with things.

Author Shermaine Perry-Knights explains the moving process in a way that makes things less scary. She validates the concerns that children have when going through this process. It is really great that the author acknowledges the challenging things like stuff going missing or breaking in a move. These situations are not limited to military moves, so the story is relevant to all children faced with moving.

This heartwarming story shows how moving can become an adventure. It talks about how challenging life as a military kid can be and shows how amazing the experiences are. The artwork in this picture book has vivid colors, and the detail work really adds to the story.

I Move A Lot and That’s okay: Axel’s Story is a phenomenal picture book for children dealing with a move. While centered on military families, it can apply to many situations, the concerns, fears, and joys.

Pages: 39 | ASIN : B08VNYKMXH

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