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Mattie Boombalatty

Mattie Boombalatty by Wayne Gerard Trotman is a children’s illustrated short story that follows Mattie Boombalatty as she moves to a new town and falls victim to bullying by her new schoolmates. Trotman’s simple yet profound lesson about morality, combined with the book’s vivid and lively illustrations makes this a fantastic book for children.

Nhat Hao Nguyen, the illustrator of the book, is a skilled artist who makes each scene and character come to life. He uses vivid colors that pop, and his life-like yet cherub-like character illustrations add just the right amount of magic and realism to this children’s picture book. His attention to detail on each page is fantastic.

Trotman’s message about treating others who treat us lesser than we deserve is, as aforementioned, simple yet poignant. Mattie faces many anxieties that are understandable and normal for a school-aged girl. Some of her schoolmates decide for no reason that they do not like her and, as mean schoolchildren do, they make their feelings known. As distraught as she is over being taunted by her peers, she displays strength in refusing to wish them ill will, even when she comes across a glowing opportunity to get revenge. Mattie is ultimately rewarded for choosing the high road, and she reaches her happy ending in the story. While we as humans are not always rewarded for rising above our circumstances, Trotman makes it clear that the reward is not what matters – rather, the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right path is what ultimately matters.

Pages: 50 | ISBN-10: 1916184839

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The Garden and the Glen – Trailer

“You are all different and all perfect, just as you are. Lately, you have become more than that. Now, you reach beyond yourselves, using your differences to help your friends. That is the magic of belonging.”

A tiny blue butterfly is chased out of a yellow garden because she does not blend in.

She flees to the nearby forest glen, where she encounters a colorful band of woodland creatures-all of them expelled from the garden for the same reason-being different. The glen provides safety, friendship, and acceptance. However, it’s the garden that holds the blue butterfly’s true destiny.

A Queen, a mystical potion, and the fate of their natural world hang in the balance. The blue butterfly, and what makes her different, holds the key.

The Garden and the Glen is about the magic that finds us when we’re brave enough to be our unique selves.

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The Ultimate Love

Nadeem was just 25 years old when he passed away after a short, but painful illness, however he lives on in the tireless efforts of his mother, Sherine Anniruth, to memorialize his life. The Ultimate Love is as much about Nadeem, the central figure that binds together the chapters of the book, as it is about his mother’s grief over his loss, in all its unimaginable dimensions. Anniruth’s grief comes in waves, some that reduce her to tears, others that almost obliterate her ability to continue with daily life. And her work serves as an open letter to anyone experiencing the same pain, wondering how they could possibly live on after their child has gone. 

The Ultimate Love is a work of deep and startling honesty, but not one likely to fly off the shelves. Anniruth struggles to keep her emotions down long enough in order to analyze and discuss her grief, rather than to be caught up in the depths of it. Perhaps it’s not possible to capture such a deep sense of grief in words, let alone review a work that details a mother’s unending love for a lost child. As Anniruth herself says, “each person’s struggle is different”, and her experience of grief is hers alone. The Ultimate Love is less a novel and more of a guide to living through loss, authored by a loving, abundantly caring mother who asks how the world could dare to move on, when she’ll never be able to do the same. She tries to find positive affirmations and an overarching meaning for what happened to her son – a young man we sadly, barely come to know in the book, falling back on her faith for support. 

What Anniruth has written is more a testament to the fragility of life, to its cruelties, and to our natural, built-in resilience to continuing on in the face of loss. As she carries the ghost of her son with her, she is herself transformed by the act of keeping him close to her heart. It’s not an easy read, for more reasons than one, but a book that’s bound to touch those who find themselves in the same position as Anniruth, and trying to cope with what feels like an insurmountable loss. Her parting gift to us as an author is to try and face it all, her grief, her hopes, her fears, and the small ways in which life does go on, while memory never fades.

Pages: 125 | ASIN: B0871MW1M9

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Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings

When there’s a new baby in your home, it’s easy for a child to feel jealous or forgotten because the baby will need lots of attention and care. But having the right people there for you can change everything. You can learn to be thankful for all the things in your life instead of focusing on the bad things.

Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings, by Medea Kalantar is a touching story about a little girl named Nala that has to deal with all the attention being placed on her newborn brother. She begins to wonder why her brother is getting gifts and why he’s, seemingly, more important than her. Lucky for her, Nala has a wonderful family member to talk her through it and teach her to count her blessings. She learns all about the Green-Eyed Monster and its negative effects on her. She learns to be thankful for everything in her life and to accept this new change as the blessing that it is.

The way the author is able to send a message to young readers about the importance of being thankful is amazing. She is able to write in a way that would capture any child’s attention. I enjoyed the cute and emotive drawings that do a great job of showing how Nala is feeling. This makes it easy for any reader to relate to Nala. Not only do children get an eye-catching story but they learn an important life lesson.

Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings is definitely one of the most educational books for a child to read. It teaches thing not often taught in school. Young readers will learn about gratitude and thankfulness towards things in their lives.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B08FPK3Q53

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Captain Fantastic

Tommy Balaam
Tommy Balaam Author Interview

I’ve Got You is a fun space adventure that explores fear and helping friends overcome it. Why was this an important theme for this book?

For me, it was super important to get this book out during Covid-19 as I wanted to help any children feeling lonely and to make sure they never felt alone! It times of trouble we must stay together and look after those in need the most.

This is book one in your Captain Fantastic series. What can readers expect in book two?

The next book is ‘Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet’ and will be ready for Christmas 2020:
“Good grief,” cried the captain “we’re space monster stew!
Or perhaps it’s an ogre, a witch or some new
Strange kind of monster, a space ghoul or mummy.”
“Captain,” said Winston, “I think it’s my tummy!”

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

First book in the amazing intergalactic Captain Fantastic series

Winston is one of the bravest dogs in the universe. He’s travelled through space and battled monsters with his best friend, Captain Fantastic, but there’s one thing that still scares him.

Come along on this adventure to find out what makes Winston tremble, and discover how Captain Fantastic comforts his loyal space dog so he’s once again a happy, waggy-tailed space hero.

First in the exciting new series of intergalactic adventures, based on the awesome and educational Captain Fantastic parties.

“In this lovely story about friendship and fears is an important message about being there for each other and being able to face our fears when we have someone to face them with. Now more than ever, this is an important message for children – I’ve Got You is like having a hug delivered in the form of a storybook.” Dr Gummer, Good Play Guide

The Magical Mistake

The Magical Mistake is an adorable children’s book about a farmer who participates in his towns Annual Harvest Tasting only to find a magical cursed berry, supposedly ridded from the land, in his harvest cart. Before he’s able to remove the berry from the cart the Mayor has already begun tasting it. With the towns Mayor cursed by a magical berry farmer John must rush to find a cure.

Kaavya Shah provides young readers with a delightful story that helps build their vocabulary by introducing new words, in an easy to understand context. The glossary provided at the end of the book helps provide everything readers will need to get a full understanding of new vocabulary words and how to use them. With only two characters in this story, there is still quite a fantastical world created here. The supposedly cursed berry is not what it turns out to be, leaving readers with a bit of a mystery, but this opens the story to a continuation in a series that could explore further what this berry is. I would have liked to have seen farmer John come up with a solution to the curse, or at least provide a little backstory to the berry. As it is, it seems that the problem at the heart of the story seems to just resolve it self. Every page of the book is brightly colored and accompanied by cute vector art that suited the story well. The Magical Mistake is an entertaining story that will also build young readers vocabularies.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B08BW511YD

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What I Tell Myself About Talent

What I Tell Myself About Talent is a fun children’s book that places exploration and self actualization center stage. What are you good at? What’s your talent? How can you ever know until you try. This book helps kids make the connection between their current talents and their future jobs, whether it’s an innate talent or something they have to work at. Rather than telling children to be one thing or another, What I Tell Myself About Talent let’s readers know that it’s okay to not know, and exploring the possibilities is part of the fun.

Michael Brown has once again created a book on a topic that I have rarely, if ever, read about in a children’s book. Talent, and how to find it in everyday places with a little exploration, is accomplished in this book with simple rhymes and vibrant illustrations of diverse children doing different activities. This picture book will encourage readers to get out into the world and try things out. It will open their eyes to the idea that they can continue to do the things they like even into adulthood. From doctors to construction workers Michael Brown makes it clear that going out and finding what your good at is part of the fun. The ending of the book has Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is a great opportunity for further discussion beyond the book. What I Tell Myself About Talent is a great way to start a conversation about finding talent in everyday activities.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B08CBQR6XJ

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The Not-So-Haunted House

The Not-So-Haunted House by [Colonel Carney, Anne Hurst]

The Not-So-Haunted House is a charming children’s book that tells the story of a farmer who thinks his house is haunted. He sleeps in the barn to avoid all the spookiness going on in his house until one day his friend comes over and shows him that the scary things in his home were really just normal sounds a house makes.

Colonel Carney does a fantastic job of simplifying the fear that children have of the unknown and presenting it to them in a way that is easy to understand. The story is told through simple lyrical rhymes that are effective in capturing the attention of young readers. I loved the bright illustrations on every page which always had something on the page for children to point at and engage with the story. This book will help parents and teachers have a conversation about fear. It shows how many of the things we are scared of have explanations as long as we are brave enough to look for them. I found many of the farmers expressions to be laugh-out-loud funny and, although it’s a ‘haunted’ house, there’s really nothing to fear here except a fantastic book.

Pages: 29 | ASIN: B08BXTSBCC

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