Blog Archives

Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head

Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head is a delightful and informative picture book that introduces young readers to the vital role that the hippocampus plays in our ability to recall information. Following the young protagonist, Oliver, and his friends, Bella and Beau, on a magical adventure through an enchanted forest, the author, Beverley Reichman, skillfully weaves in important lessons about how the hippocampus helps us remember things. The captivating illustrations are not only amusing but also serve to fully immerse the reader in Oliver’s world.

One of the strengths of the book is the clever way in which the author demonstrates the function of the hippocampus through the characters in the story. The book also showcases Hugh the Hippo as a superhero who saves the day, which makes for a fun and engaging read. Additionally, the author highlights that dogs also have a hippocampus, which we learn through Toby’s Treasures.

At the end of the book, readers are offered a fun and educational activity to test their knowledge of what they’ve just read. Overall, this interactive and enjoyable read is highly recommended for young readers and perfect for teachers to share in their classrooms. Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In My Head is a must-read children’s book that teaches important concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Pages: 54 | ASIN: B0BQNPWFN4

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Living Green and the Smoke

A handy and helpful small tree and a smart and intelligent little flower meet up for their daily chat, but there’s something weird in the sky today. There is smoke covering the forest and making plants sick. The duo set out to find the smoke’s source and find it coming out of a mountain. They gather their friends, and together they work to close the hole and fix a problem that was affecting all of them.

This educational picture book takes the serious and complicated subject of climate change and distills it down into a creative adventure that children will be able to understand. This is the perfect book for young readers as the problem is easy to grasp, there’s smoke coming out of the mountain. How do they stop it? They have to work together to solve the problem, and their teamwork is also illustrated in an easy to understand manner. All of this makes this a perfect book for preschool or kindergarten children. This educational children’s book does a fantastic job of establishing this basic understanding in young readers. In many children’s books these ideas are often abstract, but author Florian Bushy is able to mix a serious issue with whimsical characters and create a fun and educational kid’s book.

The artwork throughout the book is colorful. The trees and plants come to life, and I loved seeing Mr. Florian’s cute character in different situations throughout the story.

Living Green and the Smoke is an educational children’s book that conveys an important lesson about air pollution, global warming, and how working as a team is critical to solving a problem that affects us all. I highly recommend this informative picture book to educators and parents who want to introduce their young children to the idea of climate change and teamwork.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B09R7TNMZ5

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The Adventures of Lefty and Righty: The Windy City

The Adventures of Lefty and Righty by Lori Orlinsky is a charming and educational read. Readers follow Lefty and Righty as they make a mad dash from the dryer and head out on an adventure with the intention to be back home before mom finds out. After finding a White Sox ticket in dad’s jean pocket, Lefty and Righty have a destination in mind. Readers follow this pair’s educational adventure as they explore historical places and landmarks throughout Chicago, Illinois but one must ask, will they make it back in time before Mom realizes they are gone?

Author Lori Orlinsky has provided young readers with a creative tale of two socks all while educating children on the city of Chicago. We have all wondered what happens to our socks when they disappear from the dryer and this engaging read will have your young one’s imagination running wild.

I thought it was cute when Lefty got himself covered in mustard while eating a hot dog and my initial thought was, “oh no, mom will definitely find out now,” which made me laugh. Another amusing part in the story is when I realized that the socks thought the White Sox were actual white socks, and not the sports team, which plays into the innocence of young readers.

The rhyming scheme in the story is a fun treat that pairs well with the comic-style artwork. At the end of the story the author includes background information on the places in Chicago, which I thought to be helpful because I was not aware that the Bean is actually named the Cloud Gate.

I enjoyed following Lefty and Righty throughout their fun-filled exploration of Chicago. This is a perfect children’s book for parents to read to their young ones as an educational experience or to prepare them to travel to Chicago. 

Pages: 38 | ISBN: 1637554273

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The Little Regenerative Farmer and The Dairy Farm

Lina is happily gardening and playing outside when her father tells her some sad news. They’re moving. At their new home, Lina makes a new friend in the old farmer across the road. They share their love of farm animals, educate one another, and help implement a regenerative agricultural practice.

Lina is a hardworking and inquisitive child whose passion for life is evident from the first page of this vibrant children’s book. There is a variety of lessons young readers will pick up throughout the story, but the one that stood out to me the most was Lina’s determination. When Lina hears some disheartening information from her friends at school, she works for months to prove them wrong. There are many children’s books where a lesson is learned quickly, but I appreciated how the lesson learned in this book is achieved over a long period of time, and through the child’s own hard work. This is a fantastic message to send to kids. Young readers will also learn about farming, sharing information with others, and being adaptable.

The artwork by illustrator Yana Gorbatiyk is rich and brilliant and makes each character look adorable. Lina’s chicken was very cute and I loved seeing it on the page every time. Young kids will be drawn to all of the bright imagery in the book.

The Little Regenerative Farmer and The Dairy Farm is an educational picture book that shares several valuable life lessons, some of which are rarely seen in other children’s books. This is a heartwarming story that spreads a positive message that has the potential to improve the world.

Pages: 43 | ASIN: B0BNWHTGTR

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Dear Child of Mine

Dear Child of Mine shares an inspiring message with young readers and lets them know that they can be whatever they want to be in life. This is a love letter to all the children in the world, letting them know that anything is possible.

This inspiring children’s book shares a heartfelt message of love and empowerment to help children understand that there are many different professions, and they can choose any of them. And not just one either. This remarkable kids book shares an overwhelming message that will empower children and motivate them to think about what they want to be and shoot for the stars.

I enjoyed the exploration of different professions at the beginning of the book because I think this will inspire conversation with kids about different jobs that are out there, and what those jobs entail. After readers are shown a variety of different jobs, the story then asks what they will be, which offers another fantastic opportunity for parents and educators to stop and ask their child what their aspirations are.

The vibrant graphic art throughout the book is charming. There are several scenes throughout the book that also show a diverse cast of characters, ensuring that every reader will feel represented. Dear Child of Mine is a short but very encouraging picture book that shares a message of love and gets them thinking about what it is they want to be in life.

Pages: 31 | ASIN: B09T5RQYXC

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Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is a highly engaging children’s book that educates as well as it entertains. I’ve come across many alphabet books that use generic words, but Anna Finch adds yet another layer of education to her book with the focus on animals specifically from Australia. Some of the names of the animals were hard to pronounce but children will love seeing the exotic animals, especially in the beautiful artwork that illustrator A.P. Gil has created.

There are multiple levels of engagement to this wonderful children’s book. The book goes through the alphabet one letter at a time. With each letter we learn about an animal whose name starts with the letter, we learn a fact about that animal, and we learn sounds that it makes. Children will mostly love how the book invites them to find the animal on the page, and they’ll also enjoy making the different noises that accompany each animal. All of this together makes for an engaging lesson that any parent or teacher can use to ensure their kids are focused on the subject.

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is an entertaining and educational children’s book. This is a perfect fit for any kindergarten or preparatory class. I highly recommend this book to any parent who is struggling to keep their child focused as there is plenty of fun activities built into this book.

Pages: 58 | ASIN: B0BHLH35BM

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I Loved Them For That

Author Interview
Darlene Pscheidell Kwarta Author Interview

Once There Was a Child is a fun and touching account of your time as a special education teacher. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wanted readers to realize how difficult my kids’ lives were and that they worked hard to do things that most people take for granted. They blossomed in the school environment because the staff, and especially the principal, stressed a “go for it” attitude. Sometimes my kids succeeded, and sometimes they didn’t, but they never stopped trying. They attempted things that no one had ever given them the opportunity to try—joining clubs, going on Outdoor Education, climbing a tree, rolling down a steep grassy hill, joining a lunch table with “regular kids” or going to a school dance when they couldn’t hear the music. I want my readers to give people who are “different”, disabled, handicapped, or whatever you want to call them, a chance, to accept them and respect them. They will be thankful for what THEY have learned.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to work with special needs children?

Have a great sense of humor. It will get you through the times when you wonder if McDonald’s hires burned out teachers. (They do). But then one of my kids would look at me and ask, “Teacher OK? Teacher sad?” and would give me a hug. I realized that they had shown concern, and an awareness of someone’s feelings. Maybe they couldn’t multiply or divide or understand a story they were reading, but they had shown that they understood and demonstrated kindness and compassion, and I loved them for that.

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

It is important to first think of handicapped and disabled people as PEOPLE who need to feel friendship, acceptance, and tolerance. Regular education teachers, family members, community organizations, etc. are grateful to learn how to interact with special needs people. My kids wanted to feel that it was THEIR school too, and were grateful and happy when they were given that chance.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

What special kids and adults have to offer a “regular” person. Give them a chance to do so. You might just make yourself a good friend.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

“Hey, it’s Darlene. I got the job!”
“Great! How many other teachers applied for that position?”
“Just me! I guess no one else was up for the challenge of a multi-handicapped class of junior high kids, but I am.”
“Uh, Congratulations, I think.”
“Thanks, I’m going to love it!”
And she did.

As a child, Darlene always felt like an outsider and was drawn to others like herself. She learned sign language from her deaf neighbor, Joe, and was the only person in the neighborhood who could communicate with him. The Helen Keller story inspired Darlene. So did the movie Teacher Teacher, which is about a teacher with many demons who works with a severely autistic, lonely young boy. Those teachers brought both of these children into a world they might never have known or become a part of. That’s what Darlene wanted to do. In her first book, ONCE THERE WAS A CHILD, Darlene Kwarta chronicles her journey with children who were often forgotten.

The New Addition To Our Family

Tricia DellAnno Author Interview

No Dog in my Yard follows a young boy who wants a dog more than anything and does what he has to in order to prove to his parents he is ready for a pet. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for No Dog in my Yard was my son, Jonathan. He begged and begged for a dog for ten years. He reminded us daily of dogs in every yard but his own. Though my husband and I love animals, with both of us working, our son in school, we enjoy traveling, etc., there never seemed to be an ideal time to get a pet and give it the time and attention it deserves. We hoped Jonathan would get his “dog fix” by playing with all the neighborhood dogs. It only made his desire to have one of his own even greater. We also repeatedly said no to a dog because Jonathan needed to take his responsibilities at home and school more seriously and prove he was ready to care for a pet. When the pandemic hit, I started to work from home, Jonathan was learning from home and doing well with his chores. Every excuse I had for not getting a dog went out the window. So, Millie is the new addition to our family. The transition from no dog to dog led me to write a second book – A Dog in my Yard.

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

I couldn’t agree more that the art is fantastic! Jim is an absolute pro with an impressive background. He worked at Pixar Studios on the movies Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, and The Ant Bully and went on to work at the Cartoon Network. Though No Dog in my Yard is Jim’s first children’s book, his experiences and talent truly brought the story to life. I gave Jim the story, pictures of all ten dogs, Jonathan, and a handful of adults, and the sketching began. His creativity, level of detail, and humor are apparent on every page of the book. Throughout the project, we found a really nice balance. Jim did what he does best, but he always asked my opinion and was open to suggestions. I knew it was important to him that I be completely happy with every illustration. With No Dog in my Yard my first book too, we learned a tremendous amount from each other and ultimately formed a great partnership and friendship.

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

What’s most important for me to share in No Dog in my Yard are important life lessons told in a comical way that any child, parent, or educator can relate to and enjoy.  I want readers to substitute a dog for anything children are asking for like video games, phones, toys, etc. The lessons for children include working hard for what they want, persevering, being responsible, making good decisions, and saving money they’ve earned. I want to share adorable characters and playful illustrations, so children laugh, learn, and want to read more.

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

My next book is A Dog in my Yard and will be available on November 6, 2022. The adventures of Jonathan, Millie, and more neighborhood dogs continue. Who knew having a puppy would turn our house upside down? So, the many discussions to re-home Millie and Jonathan’s plea to save her were real. I applied the same principles of laughter and learning and hope all readers will enjoy the next book in the series. And I’m happy to say that Jim was back for book #2 with more stunning illustrations!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Join Jonathan on a heartwarming and hilarious journey as he learns the importance of decision-making and working hard for what you want.

This playfully illustrated and comical story follows Jonathan and his nine furry friends around the neighborhood as they plan and scheme to get Jonathan a dog of his own. But it is more than a story about a boy wanting a dog. Told from Jonathan’s perspective, children, parents, and teachers alike will laugh aloud as Jonathan’s plans shift from relentless begging to taking initiative, setting goals, persevering through challenges, and proving he is responsible.
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