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Lilbeebye Stings Bully

Lilbeebye is a young girl with a secret. She appears normal on the outside, but in reality, she has secret powers. She can change into a superhero bee that stings honey love into the hearts of those who are bullies. Lilbeebye believes that everyone can be good and kind they just sometimes need some encouragement. When her friend Sally becomes the victim of a bully Lilbeebye rushes into action to sting the bullies and restore peace to the school playground. Later that day her older sister gets into a fight with her friends and Lilbeebye must spring into action again and sting them all to restore the love and goodness inside them.

Lilbeebye Stings Bully by author Theresa Shields is written on a level for older elementary-level students. The first half of the book is a fun story about Lilbeebye’s superpowers and how she helps people learn to be kind and good. There are colorful and engaging illustrations that introduce the topic of bullying to children. This half of this imaginative story would be great for early elementary students to help open discussions of bullying as well.

The second half of this book is much more serious and better suited for older children, eight to twelve-year-olds. The second half of the informative book is not illustrated and brings up topics such as cyberbullying, emotional abuse, and even suicide. There is good information on social media bullying, posting pictures and texts that are embarrassing or hurtful. Shields explains how these things are not harmless teasing and how hurtful they can be to people.

While this complex children’s book uses the church as a way to present ideas of community and sharing of information it is not overly religious and could be used by secular groups to start conversations on bullying.

Lilbeebye Stings Bully is a thought-provoking children’s book. Educators and parents will find this to be a useful book for opening up discussions on bullying to children in elementary school and provide a chance to discuss deeper topics of bullying with older elementary students especially those getting ready to enter middle school.

Pages: 29 | ASIN : B085PW2YX5

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Boone and Jacque: The Brothers’ Odyssey

In The Brothers’ Odyssey, written by A.G. Flitcher, Boone and Jacque have been sent to another realm with their friend Shammy. Boone, Jacque, and Shammy know they must not stay still for too long in any place as danger follows them. The children search for Flint, who was separated from them earlier. Not knowing what treacherous paths are ahead, they go out into the darkness. Surviving an ocean, trees, sokas, and King Reeve, the trio manages to make their way back to Saddleton, or what is now known as New Saddalia.

The Brothers’ Odyssey is a phenomenal novel. This second installment in the series is even more exciting and thrilling than the first novel. This second book answered many questions that readers were left with at the first novel’s end. This epic fantasy novel is creative and has many unexpected twists and turns. It will keep readers guessing even more than the first novel. Flitchers great imagination takes readers into a world that is original and full of surprises. The action-packed story flows smoothly with little time for readers to catch their breath before another surprise or twist is revealed.

The wasteland realm A. G. Flitcher created where Boone, Jacque, and Shammy were transported will really come alive in readers’ minds. The detail written into the story made it very easy to make the words turn into images. For example, there is a scene where the ocean is turned into oil that is incredibly vivid.

In the last novel, readers were looking for Boone to explore his feelings more in-depth, especially those for Shammy. He was able to do that in this book. Shammy was also able to figure out her feelings for Boone as well. Jacque really seemed to be wise beyond his years in this book. He explored his own emotions and dealt with them while finding out about his family. This book tied up all the loose ends from the previous book. It will also leave readers wanting more.

The Brothers’ Odyssey is a riveting epic fantasy novel filled with adventure and action. Middle school, teenagers, and young adult readers will enjoy this fantasy adventure with some mystery mixed in.

Pages: 263 | ASIN : B08KRMFVRJ

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Chesapeake Nursery Rhyme

It’s a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay. Emmett the Rockfish is ready to play and hang out with all his friends that live around the bay. A blue heron, otters, a turtle, seahorses, a bald eagle, beavers, a snowy egret, blue crabs, and an osprey are all on their way to join Emmett for a day at the beach. Each animal in this whimsical nursery rhyme has a personality, and author Kay Swann-Gregor gives simple facts that fit into the story for each one.

Readers will learn about life in the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay from this beautifully written picture book. Elissa DiRenzo’s charismatic illustrations will draw children in and give those reading lots of creatures to point out and find on each page. All the animals look inviting and friendly, encouraging young readers to know more about them. Kay Swann-Gregor’s writing style flows flawlessly, making this an enjoyable story to read aloud.

Readers young and old will find excitement as the animals one by one gather together for their day of fun and play. The adventure builds with each new animal that joins the party. This imaginative nursery rhyme shows the diversity of the Chesapeake Bay environment. Readers will see how the expansive environment ranging from birds in the sky to animals that live in and around the water, all work together.

Chesapeake Nursery Rhyme will give readers from the bay area fond memories of nostalgia. Readers who have never been to this beautiful location will learn all about all the wonders that live in and around the bay. Teachers will find this a helpful picture book for preschool and kindergarten students to introduce different animals in the area. This is a great teaching tool for children in the second and third grades to introduce ecosystems around the Chesapeake Bay.

Pages: 24 | ASIN : B08N61XZV3

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Lullaby of the Valley

Kaina is a grandmother from the valley, she has lived in the village of the valley all her life. Upon the mountain is another small village, and the people all use to be friends. Over time small disagreements broke out, and eventually, all the men decided to go to war with the other village. Families were separated as the men went off, and women and children could no longer shop in the markets or see friends they had from the other village. Everyone was sad or angry in these two villages.

Kaina is saddened at the direction her world has taken. One night she wanders down to the spring that rests between the two villages alone, where her dear friend Siran also arrives. Together they sing a lullaby each in their own language, but the melody and meaning are the same. Their voices reach out across the valley and mountain, and reach all the angry men and change starts to set in.

Lullaby of the Valley is an emotional and heartwarming picture book. The message of hate and distrust is presented in a gentle manner that children will be able to understand. Author Tuula Pere has written about this difficult topic eloquently and illustrator Andrea Alemanno has provided the haunting images to coincide with the topic. The lullaby is a beautiful message of peace and comfort. The two old women use the only tool they have, their voice, to calm the hate and anger in their world. Though from opposing villages, they work together to heal the wounds. The message of helping, loving, and friendship will teach children how even being small they can make a difference in their world.

Lullaby of the Valley will give children a chance to see how small things in life can make a big difference. I would recommend this picture book for all kids and their families, and as a useful story for teachers to show children that kindness can win over anger.

Pages: 30 | ASIN : B07HXGL58C

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The Only Blue Crow

A lone blue crow wants nothing more than to have friends. He tries to make friends with a flock of black crows and they do nothing but make fun of him. Discouraged, the blue crow sets off to find things that make him happy. When bluebells fail to lighten his mood, a wise owl calls him over. The owl tells him he should set out on a journey, that the world is large and perhaps he will find another blue crow on his search. So off the crow flies, hoping to find a reason to be happy and even some new friends.

The Only Blue Crow by Tuula Pere is a picture book that tackles the topics of loneliness, depression, and self-worth through the life of a blue crow. This crow is different from all the other birds he encounters and struggles with the reality that it seems no one will accept him for who he is. In the world today, this message is important as depression and fear of being different are impacting children at younger ages than ever. This thought-provoking story will guide young readers in realizing that different is not wrong or bad. The message of going out and finding those that appreciate you and not staying where you are unwanted is a powerful one.

Illustrator Catty Flores does an amazing job showing the emotions of the blue crow in her artwork. Children will be engaged with the whimsical watercolor style. The illustrations add depth to the story as young readers will be able to see the emotions on the blue crow even if they do not understand the words being used to describe his loneliness.

The Only Blue Crow is an inspirational read for young children. Teachers and parents will find this picture book is a great resource for introducing the tough topics of loneliness and inclusion.

Pages: 48 | ISBN : 9523573101

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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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Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights

This stunning picture book captures the spirit of Christmas even if told from a perspective most have never heard of. Based off of the biblical story of Saint Nicholaos, the author intertwines how other cultures have added their twist to the story to lead it to the familiar story of a red suit and hat with reindeer.

Young Nikolaos was raised in Patara, a shipping town where he was taught to pray and about the life of Jesus and God. Inspired by the stories of Jesus, Nikolaos traveled to Jerusalem to visit all the places he learned of. He embodied the spirit of Jesus by giving all he could to those less fortunate than himself. When he was returning home his ship ran into a bad storm and he prayed that they would return to land safely. His faith and kindness are examples of where the spirit of the modern Saint Nick comes from. Saint Nikolaos was known for leaving gifts outside children’s windows, or just handing out things that they needed as he could. The tradition of gift-giving was started as a means to show kindness and help each other.

This picture book will entertain young readers and give them a historical perspective without dampening the excitement of the holiday season. This thought-provoking children’s book allows children to see that different cultures believe different versions of the same story. Captivating illustrations accompany the narrative and make for an engaging experience.

Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights: The Origins of Saint Nicholas is a delightful picture book that religious educators and families can all enjoy around the holiday season. It focuses on the meaning of Christmas and not the commercialization of the day. The historical fiction in this children’s book is a great conversation starter as well for what life was like in the fourth century.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09M3QXBLB

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You Belong Too

Annie is a new student at Meadowbrook Public School. She is very nervous about starting at a new school and having to make new friends. Her mom tells her “You can do hard things,” but Annie is not so sure. Throughout the day Annie is afraid to talk to other kids and sits alone. That night she decides she is going to start a friendship club at her new school. The next day she puts her plan into action, looking for all the kids that are alone and bringing them together. Working with her new friends Annie creates an environment of kindness that spreads through her class.

You Belong Too by author Tara Anderson and illustrated by Carissa Harris is a feel-good picture book for early elementary kids. The meaningful message of kindness is presented in a secular format that all families can appreciate. Anderson highlights that despite people being new or different they can be included as well. Harris’s expressive illustrations will help young children understand the emotions such as uncertainty, sadness, and acceptance when a new friend is brought into the circle. Children will be engaged with the stunning colors and playful character drawings.

Included with this picture book is the Friendship Flower, this playful illustration could easily be turned into a classroom activity for students to create. The symbolic flower will help children realize all the different things that go into showing kindness and being a good friend and classmate.

You Belong Too is perfect for teachers and classroom libraries. This beautifully written and illustrated story book conceptualizes the idea of kindness in a way that young elementary and kindergarten students will be able to understand. This is a must read for school children especially in a time when bullying is on the rise to instill the message of inclusion and kindness from the start.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09LR9LSTK

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