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Gloppy

Eleven-year-old Dee Lanson has just begun her last year of elementary school. Greeting the new year, Dee looks forward to spending time with her friends and friendly sports competitions between the boys and girls of the fifth grade. But when new girl Samantha seems to be spending more time with Dee’s closest friends, Sue and Ronnie, than she is, Dee begins to feel the deadly stirrings of jealousy deep within her heart. Finding the perfect opportunity to vent her frustrations, Dee takes it upon herself to teach Samantha a lesson she’ll never forget. But when events spiral out of control, Dee finds that there is much more to her rival than she ever thought possible. With the guidance of teacher Ms. Hersh, school counselor Mr. Kent, and Dee’s parents, Dee and Samantha both learn more about each other and themselves as they work towards a solution to solve a problem that can only be described as “gloppy.”

A wonderful slice-of-life story that covers the last year of elementary school, Dee’s coming-of-age adventure is a lighthearted tale that explores the host of new emotions that come with being eleven. Although Dee and Samantha are the indisputable stars of the show, there is also a rich supporting cast of fellow students and teachers. I liked the vibrant personalities of the students, ranging from stalwart Sue to practical joker Pete. I also liked the interactions between Dee’s parents and the fact that there was more to Ms. Hersh than met the eye. Dee is easy to identify with, as she struggles to understand the complex emotions roiling within her. The only detraction I really had was that I wish Dee was a little nicer to her kid brother, but arguments between siblings are normal, and their parents were good mediators.

A tale of friendship and solving problems brought on by overwrought emotions, Gloppy by Janice Laakko is a lighthearted journey through the fifth grade. Gloppy has a joyful tone, excellent storytelling, and a satisfying conclusion, and it’s the perfect choice for readers eight and above who love a solid school-year adventure full of discovery, mischief, and fun.

Pages: 129 | ASIN : B09BW479M9

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Colin the Crab Falls in Love

Colin, the crab, has built his home and life in the bay. He is happy with all but one thing in his life. He wants a spouse to share the life he has built with. So Colin invites his friends over to discuss what he should do to find a wife. After many suggestions, Colin realizes the best way for him to find a wife is to just be himself, and it will happen.

Not long after, there is an accident at the museum, and Colin rushes over to help with the broken displays. There he meets Clara, the museum assistant. She is the most beautiful and friendly crab Colin has ever met, and they connect instantly. Colin enjoys his time with Clara and wants to impress her. This results in him being in an accident and almost getting hurt. Clara reminds him that she loves him just as he is, and he doesn’t need to change to impress her. Could he have found the love he was looking for in Clara?

I love how author Tuula Pere has continued bringing Colin’s story to life. He is an amazing crab with a giving heart, always helping others. Giving him this story where he finds someone that matches his kindness and personality is a great way to teach children to be themselves and be proud of who they are. While this story is about finding love, it could easily apply to all areas of life where you want children to know it is ok to be who they are and they do not have to change to impress people around them. Each person is unique in their own way, and that is enough.

Colin the Crab Falls in Love is a heartwarming children’s book about finding love through being yourself. Colin tried getting advice on how to find a wife, but he realized that the way all his friends found love was unique to who they were and their personalities. He was wise to recognize that changing himself would not get the results he wanted, and when he tried to change himself, he almost got hurt. The message of staying true to yourself is essential for children to learn.

Pages: 50 | ISBN : 9527107547

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The Star Of This Book Uses A Wheelchair

Author Interview Charlene McIver

Medieval Mashup follows a boy who is struggling with accepting himself and wants to fit in with the cool kids. What was the inspiration for your book?

The inspiration behind this and all my stories is my late son, Leigh. He was born with a physical disability and struggled many times to keep up with his peers from a very early age. The difficult situations Leigh, the character, encounters in these stories are loosley based around Leigh’s child-hood.

Leigh struggles with wanting to be cool and still be himself. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s personality?

Of course, the “real” Leigh, my son. He had a beautiful, shy caring nature and a little cheekiness about him which often surfaced when he was feeling confident. Unfortuantely, his lack of confidence with body image and mobility was always a major concern for him.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

It was important to highlight some of the issues that children with limited mobility face which other children and adult, may or may not have considered.

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

Book 3 in Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures is currently in production and will again highlight another issue children with special needs may encounter.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Little Parachutes Gold Star Winner 2022
Leigh’s Wheelie Adventure series continues with Medieval Mashup (Book 2).
A special book focusing on the challenges children with different needs face on a daily basis.
Leigh just wants to look brave and strong…
Leigh, Tara, and Cosmo are making costumes for the school’s Medieval Fair. But Leigh is afraid of looking silly and keeps snapping at his friends. Will Leigh overcome his fear of not looking cool and make up with his friends?
Based on the true story of Leigh who was born with a severe physical disability.
A beautifully illustrated story of courage, friendship, and fun.
QR Code on back cover to watch the full video and read along

Medieval Mashup

Medieval Mashup by Charlene McIver is about a boy named Leigh who wants nothing more than to win the school’s Medieval costume contest. Leigh is in a wheelchair and wants to prove that despite his disability, he can be cool, brave, and strong. His friends Cosmo and Tara try to help Leigh come up with ideas, but he doesn’t like any of them. Leigh gets angry with his friends for suggesting silly or impractical ideas for his wheelchair. Eventually, Leigh gets tired of their ideas and rolls outside for a few minutes to collect himself. After taking a break, Leigh realizes he needs to rethink and lets his friends help him come up with a fun costume that is funny and strong.

I love how Cosmo and Tara accept Leigh the way that he is and encourage him to embrace being himself. He is naturally silly, so he should not try and hide that part of himself or change just to fit in with the “cool” kids.

His friends accept his disability and do not treat him as less of a friend because of it. Instead, they try and include him in all their fun ideas, and when he mentions that he can’t do something because of his wheelchair, they problem-solve to come up with a solution that will work. The message to children that they can be creative and find solutions is excellent in a world where many people look for a quick answer.

This well-written picture book is illustrated by Caroline Keys, and is filled with images of inclusion, realistic situations, and expressive characters. As this children’s book focuses on emotions, seeing the characters’ faces so clearly helps young readers understand the feelings that Leigh and his friends are going through.

Medieval Mashup is a heartwarming picture book about inclusion, friendship, and confidence. The children in the story are relatable to young readers and will help them develop their own confidence and see what real friendship looks like.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 0648417883

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