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Dread in the Dark

It is incredibly difficult to go from being an only child to having a new baby sister. With a new sibling, sometimes the older one has to move into a new room; this can be an exciting and scary time, especially when there is a dark monster hiding under the bed. In Dread in the Dark by Tuula Pere, Elliot finds himself in his brand-new room, which he absolutely adores playing in while it’s daytime, but when night falls, and it’s time to head to bed, the growls coming from under his bed causes the allure of a new room to be frightened right out of him.

The author takes us on an emotional journey of going through the jealousy of having to share the limelight with a new baby in the family to growing older and having a new bedroom further away from the safety of your parents’ room. With the baby needing lots of attention and care, Elliot worries that now being so far from his parent’s room, his pleas for help at night will go ignored. When his dad comes in to put an end to the mystery of this dark monster under Elliot’s bed, Elliot expresses his fears and concerns, and his dad solves the puzzle leaving Elliot feeling heard and cared for.

It is critical for children to know their worries and fears are heeded and understood, and even more imperative when a new baby is taking away any extra attention the child would have had before the baby. I love how the author was able to display the significance of that fact by using a very relatable situation of being a small child afraid of a new room with new sensory things happening.

Dread in the Dark is a wonderful picture book that helps children identify their feelings and shows them that their feelings are valid. It also teaches children how to work through the emotions they have in a productive and safe way that will help them build social skills and self-confidence.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523254464

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Faith’s Freckles: A Book to Build Self-Esteem

Faith is a young girl that has freckles, fifty-five to be exact; she has counted them all. Faith hates having freckles, no one else in her school has freckles like her, and she is constantly being teased by the other girls. They tell her that she has dirt on her face and laugh. One girl, McKenzie, however, thinks Faith’s freckles are beautiful. Through McKenzie’s kindness, Faith learns to accept that her freckles are part of who she is and learns to love that part of herself.

Faith’s Freckles by authors Shermaine Perry-Knights and Baylei Hinds-Perry is an empowering picture book for children that are self-conscious about their unique looks. In this story, Faith has freckles that no one else in her school seams to have, but the message applies to all physical differences that children are often picked on about. This story shows how much it hurts children when they are teased, emphasizing that comments about others’ looks are not funny or a game.

McKenzie stands out as an example of true friendship and how children can be friends with those they see struggling. She offers positive support and listens to what her friend says rather than brushing off her feelings or invalidating them. Teaching children how to be good friends to those that are hurting is a life skill they can carry with them.

This children’s book teaches the messages of self-love and self-acceptance. Aimed at young elementary students, this is a critical time in their lives to learn self-esteem. That makes this book ideal for classrooms and libraries. It would be a wonderful gift for a child with freckles who is afraid of being teased and made fun of. It is a heartwarming picture book that teaches children social and emotional awareness and acceptance for those that look different from themselves.

Pages: 15 | ASIN : B0B9FQP4LB

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The Owl and the Shepherd Boy

The Owl and the Shepherd Boy by Tuula Pere follows young Nicky, a shepherd boy who is tasked with managing the cottage and goats for one week while his father goes back down the mountain to the valley where the family lives. Unfortunately, a large storm comes thundering through, destroying the cottage and scaring his goats away. Now Nicky is left with nothing but a torn blanket and must find his way down the mountains back home.

This story teaches children the importance of responsibility and ownership of one’s life. Nicky is now of age to where he must help the family with shepherding duties, and with that comes the responsibility for the goats’ overall well-being and being able to live on one’s own even when fear is present. The author shows this with Nicky’s problem-solving and survival skills. Of course, accepting a little help from a friendly owl would aid in the journey down the mountain but allowing to be helped is also another life lesson that is taught in this story.

I enjoyed the illustrations by Catty Flores immensely. I felt the artwork was vivid and colorful, even in the parts that were dark and stormy. Nicky was venturing down the mountain, the wind was blowing his hair, and the tattered blanket came to life through the well-crafted art. The author and the illustrator had great vision when bringing this story to life.

The Owl and the Shepherd Boy is a heartwarming picture book that teaches children the value of accepting help when offered and learning to trust. It also teaches kids that it is okay to be afraid of things like the dark and that you can overcome your fears. This inspirational story is a great starting point for families and teachers when discussing concerns and what to do in a natural disaster.

Pages: 16 | ASIN : B07HYLRWN2

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Dancing Deepa

Deepa is a fourth grader who loves to dance. One day the school announces there will be a talent show for anyone that wants to participate. Deepa is afraid that her style of dancing will not be received well and is afraid to show it because it is not like ballet or tap dancing. Deepa’s dance style is from India and is called Bharatanatyam. She is afraid that because she is different, people will not understand or make fun of her. So out of fear, she does not try out. On the day of the talent show, she is amazed by all the different things her classmates can do, and she regrets not sharing her style of dance with them. Her teacher realizes something is wrong, and together, they come up with a plan to share the beautiful dancing style of Bharatanatyam with the class.

Dancing Deepa, by author Suchi Sairam and illustrated by Vidya Vasudevan, is an educational and captivating picture book that is perfect for young children. Parents and teachers will love how different vocabulary words are explained and highlighted in the text. It is a motivational story about overcoming your fears of being different and sharing your culture.

This wonderful children’s book would be perfect for multicultural lessons in school and for lessons on different kinds of dance. The children in this well-written book all show acceptance and excitement when learning about Deepa’s dance style and culture. Dancing Deepa is a charming kids book that shows young readers how important it is to share their passion and culture with others.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B0B2VC1GVP

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My Mom has Superpowers

Lillian is a young girl that has a big secret; her Mom is a superhero. Or at least that is what she thinks. Her Mom seems to help her ace her test and help a neighbor find his lost dog without even leaving the house, and a patient at the hospital where she works gets well enough to go home! Lillian thinks this is some supernatural ability, but her Mom confides in her about her superpower. Lillian’s Mom prays. The power of prayer is what brings about the amazing things that happen around her.

My Mom has Superpowers by author Vera Harris is an inspirational picture book for kids and families to recognize the fantastic power prayer can have when people believe. This children’s book explains in simple terms that kids will be able to understand that prayer plays a vital role in self-confidence and helping those in need. It also highlights the need to serve others; Lillian’s Mom does not pray for things for herself; instead, she prays to help the people around her, which, in turn, brings her joy. Lillian’s Mom shows a true servant’s heart that Christian readers will recognize and appreciate.

This heartwarming story is illustrated by Ishika Sharma, the artwork is bright and engaging, and children will love following along page by page. Each illustration has depth and details that bring them to life, especially the praying hands; you can just envision the angels in the clouds receiving the prayers from below.

An additional resource at the end of this book is the included pages to write your own prayers on. This is the only thing I did not love about the book. Not all children that read this will have a mom, dad, or siblings, and having pages dedicated to those titles may be off-putting to some kids. Nevertheless, I love the idea of having a place to write your prayers; I just wish it had been generic.

My Mom has Superpowers is a beautifully written story about learning to pray and passing that superpower on to the next generation. This would make an excellent book for families and religious education classrooms to have to show the power of prayer in a way that kids can understand and appreciate.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B0B5BD1WCJ

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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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Brayden the Great Warrior

While playing on the beach one day, young Brayden declares himself to be a great warrior, indeed. Always the thinker, Brayden begins to ponder how he will become this great warrior. With some help from his father, Brayden soon learns exactly what he will need to do to shape himself into the brave and fierce warrior he has always wanted to become. The advice his father gives him is not what he expected to hear from his father, but is exactly what he needed and could not have come at a better time.

Brayden the Great Warrior, written by John Livingston, is a beautifully crafted story illustrating how a father teaches his child to have faith, pray to God, and listen for his guidance. With an emphasis on the metaphor of becoming a warrior in this world, the author does a wonderful job of teaching young readers to become prayerful and devout. Patience is also emphasized in Livingston’s work as Brayden’s father gently instructs him on how to listen for God’s word. 

Brayden the Great Warrior, written by John Livingston and illustrated by Lynn Livingston, is a heartwarming Christian book for children. This sweet book is a quick read and serves as a wonderful devotional book for parents, Sunday school teachers, and vacation bible school curricula. I recommend the Livingstons’ book to any parent struggling to find the words when helping their children find their faith and become prayerful.

Pages: 24 | ASIN : B092LCRX7L

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The Scary Snakes

Shelly is terrified of snakes, so much so she is unable to enjoy outings with her family for fear there is a snake everywhere. When out on a picnic with her family, she is afraid to even walk on the ground, and her dad has to carry her all over. She is worried that when she gets bigger and her dad can no longer carry her that she will not be able to go out with her family on these adventures. When she gets home, she calls her Grandma to tell her how upset she is, but Grandma has a plan to help her. The next day Grandma shows up with her yarn and knitting needles and together work out a plan to get past her fear of snakes.

The Scary Snakes by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Catty Flores is a creative picture book about one girl overcoming her fear of snakes. With her help of her, Grandma Shelly knits all sizes and colors of snakes to put all over her house. Seeing the harmless, fun snakes all over helps her overcome her fear.

What I love about this story is that no one makes fun of Shelly’s fear; it is taken seriously, and instead of making her feel bad, her family does things to help her overcome them. In addition, there is a strong bond between Shelly and her Grandma; it is heartwarming to see them connect over making snakes.

I loved how Catty Flores gave the characters so much energy. You can feel the excitement as Shelly gets over her fears and has fun with her Grandmother. The illustrations are colorful and have great details bringing the knitted snakes to life.

The Scary Snakes is a beautiful children’s book about overcoming fears and building confidence. This is an excellent story for kindergarten and young elementary students to learn how being afraid of things is normal.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 9523572989

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