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Kraken Crew

The Kraken motley crew of pirates have big plans to sail to Mount Doom and steal the gold treasure from the fierce dragons. This dangerous mission has never been accomplished before but Captain Kraken knows his crew is up to the job and with teamwork they can reach the island and get the gold. Banshee, Storm Boy, Elf Witch, and parrot sail the ship with Captain Kraken. Together they encounter several dangerous obstacles and each time, a member of the ship uses their special skill to help the crew escape. When they reach Mount Doom, it looks hopeless as the swarm of dragons comes out and attacks. Can the crew use teamwork and defeat the dragons or will they too end up at the bottom of the sea?

Kraken Crew is written and illustrated by Dan Malster. This picture book is written in a fun rhyme scheme that will draw in children and keep their attention. There is a good balance of scary situations with fun and laughter with the crew. The illustrations that go with the text are fantastic. The artwork is bright and colorful, the images have a lot of details that you can pick out from each scene. Each page has something hidden, a mouse, a worm, or a fun detail to highlight the power each crewmate has. My favorite little detail was the list of ship rules when the crew is eating, number six is “Captain’s hat is not a toilet!”

The moral messages presented in this creative story make this fun book spectacular. Malster shows that everyone has special talents that can be helpful and every person is valuable. He also shows that teamwork is needed to accomplish big goals, that no one person can do everything themselves.

Kraken Crew is a magical children’s fantasy picture book for kindergarteners and young elementary students. This enchanting story will enthrall children with musical rhymes and dramatic artwork.

Pages: 36 | ISBN : 1739824601

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I Played With Food For a Living

Ali Manning Author Interview

Can I Play With My Food? follows two sisters as they learn where Food comes from and how Food is used in science. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The book began as a passion project and a way to reconnect to some of the artistic things I’ve loved to do since childhood. I also used to tell people I “played with food for a living,” so I thought the title was perfect because what better way to learn than through play. I was inspired to create a character loosely based on my sister Alexis, who has Down’s Syndrome because I wanted to create an inclusive book where children who aren’t typically represented in literature can see themselves.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Taylor Bou?

Taylor was able to bring my vision to life by creating relatable characters who represent individuals in all of our lives. The collaboration was effortless because he confidently believed in the messaging and what this book means for BIPOC children and those with special needs.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It’s essential for BIPOC children, especially those with special needs, to see themselves and see what’s possible. The book also provides information about food sources and exposes children to the concept of food science as a career path.

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

Yes! I have a few other books in mind that feature more BIPOC children with Downs and share other elements of my life and career.

Date: TBD (I’m just basking in the moment of my first publication.)

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Bellerophon and Pegasus

Bellerophon and Pegasus follow the Greek mythological story of Bellerophon, who had the rare gift of connecting with and healing horses, seeks help from Pegasus in a time of need. As the word of her talents spread across the land, she is asked to join the battle against the mythical beast plaguing the people, bringing destruction and death in his path. As a talented healer, she finds herself conflicted about how to help defeat it, and meeting what she perceives as a homeless man, she confides in him her struggles. The man, a light sorcerer, instructs her to sleep outside of Athenas to ask for help to bridle Pegasus to help defeat the beast “Chimera.”

Author Kim Slamka’s writing stands out amongst many other Greek Mythology stories I have read. The author has clearly done her research, and it shines through her flawless storytelling. The character development is one to commend as Bellerophon is a person that many can look up to as she is strong but also noble. I also enjoyed reading a story that contains a strong yet kind female protagonist. This is the significant difference in the retelling from the Greek tale of Bellerophon.

The book contains beautiful illustrations of the scenes taking place, and I was immediately captivated as they tell a story all on their own. The artwork looks like a painting and really gives readers an immersive experience when reading this awe-inspiring work. Even though this is a short read, this is one book you can read over and over while enjoying the marvelous art.

Bellerophon and Pegasus is a captivating read with a twist on Greek mythology. I highly recommend this beautifully written story to those who are looking to escape a few hours of their day to a mythical world. This would make a great introduction to Greek mythology for teachers as well.

Pages: 60 | ASIN : B09KYDQDQV

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Can I Play with my Food?

Can I Play with my Food? is a fantastic picture book about two sisters, Nema and Lexi. Together, they learn about where their food comes from, how you can use food in science, and how cooking and baking are also science. The girls are amazed to learn that food does not start out at the grocery store. They discuss growing food on farms and in gardens and what animals can also be food. At school, they learn that food can be used for more than just eating as they work on a science experiment.

Author Ali Manning has written a creative children’s book that explores where food comes from while encouraging imaginative thoughts. The character Lexi is based on the author’s own sister, that has Down Syndrome. Lexi shows some traits of Down Syndrome, and the author uses this to promote compassion and acceptance for those with a disability.

While the girls are making a lava lamp in science, they realize all the ingredients to do the experiment are things that they can find at home in the kitchen. Even when the experiment doesn’t go as planned, the girls are not discouraged. This experiment gets Lexi imagining that she too could become a scientist one day.

Taylor Bou illustrates this light-hearted children’s book with colorful and charismatic images. Nema and Lexi’s inquisitive personalities show through as they go about their day asking questions and trying new things. Their bubbly nature is fun and relatable to children.

Can I Play with my Food? is a touching picture book that young elementary and kindergarten children will be captivated by. The expressive illustrations will keep them engaged, while the superb narrative will give them lots to talk about. This is a great inclusive children’s book that teaches morals and science that teachers will love to use this in the classroom.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B09NTX3JQD

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Know Your Hairitage: Zara’s Wash Day

Zara is frustrated by her weekly ritual of having her hair styled in traditional afro puffs, twists, and braids. She wants to have silky smooth hair instead. Zara’s mom then tells Zara the history of all the different hairstyles she puts her hair in, explaining the significance of each one and why Zara should be proud to have kinky curvy hair.

Author Zenda M. Walker is a licensed cosmetologist who turns her own memories of growing up and having wash day every Saturday with her own mom into this magnificent book. She recalls her father explaining how their hair is their connection to the Maroons of Jamaica that are descendants of their ancestors from West Africa. This history is brought to life in Know Your Hairitage: Zara’s Wash Day.

Walker gives readers a fascinating look at the different hairstyles and the meaning behind each of them. The historical relevance is a great topic of discussion for cultural diversity and teaching children of African descent to appreciate their unique hair. The stunning illustrations provided by Princess Karibo give this awe-inspiring picture book an edge to become an extraordinary experience for children. It is one thing to learn about hairstyles, but to learn the value and importance of your past and see it represented in literature is paramount for children of color.

Know Your Hairitage: Zara’s Wash Day is a must-read picture book for all children. The representation of culture, heritage, and diversity make this phenomenal book an excellent choice for teachers, parents, and anyone that has or works with young elementary-age children. This cultural journey will entertain and educate children of all diversities and show that just because someone’s hair is different, it does not make it strange or weird, rather it is rich in history and tells a story of its own. It will also help children struggling with their own kinky curvy hair understand that their hair has value and is part of who they are and where they came from.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B0984H77V4

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