In addition to being a children’s book author, Yvonne Blackwood is also an award-winning short story writer, columnist, world traveler, and retired banker. Her published adult books include: the very successful Into Africa a Personal Journey which ranked # 2 best-selling book under Ghana on in 2002; the hilarious Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? and Into Africa, the Return. She was inspired several years ago to write children’s books and has now published Nosey Charlie Comes To Town, Nosey Charlie Goes To Court, Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener! And Nosey Charlie Chokes On A Wiener Colouring Book, all part of the Nosey Charlie Adventure series. In addition, Yvonne has written numerous articles for several newspapers including the Toronto Star, and she also written quarterly articles for In Touch Magazine.

Now, about Nosey Charlie!  In her own words, Yvonne states:

Nosey Charlie Comes To Town will entertain and excite young readers from ages 3-8. If they love Curious George, they will adore Nosey Charlie because they have many things in common.  The story is about a spunky little squirrel who grew up in the country. He became an orphan and his Aunt Leticia, Uncle Harold, and his Cousin Pete were happy to have him move to the big city to live with them in a small park. Charlie desperately wants to know everything about the people and strange objects in the city as soon as possible. His aunt warns him to be careful and to stick with Pete at all times, but Charlie doesn’t understand that he can’t always go wherever he likes.

For more information about Yvonne and her books, or to follow her, visit:





Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish is written and illustrated by award winning author, Judy Martialay.  Now, if her names sounds familiar, it could be because you just read her fascinating Guest Post the other week right here on this blog!  You can see it again here at

Now, back to Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish.  This book, about a jumping bean named Panchito, is SO MUCH MORE than just a story!  It’s also an activities workbook for kids to practice speaking and reading Spanish, and includes such fun things like treasure hunt games, a skit for friends to perform, songs (in Spanish and English) and masks to make.  What a fun way to introduce Spanish and a little Mexican culture to children!

The story itself, even without all the amazing extra learning/playing guides, is adorable and educational.  Pete the Pilot flies us to Mexico and introduces some common Spanish words/phrases which will be used in the story.  Upon landing in a bean field, or en un campo de frijoles, we meet Panchito, a cute little Mexican jumping bean!  He is lonely and is looking to make friends, but the other regular beans, or frijoles, do not talk or play.  Panchito goes through a series of events, told in English with some Spanish woven throughout, and ultimately ends up at a child’s birthday party where he makes lots of new friends!  I love happy endings!  And I love the way Judy weaves Spanish and Mexican culture into the story in a way that flows naturally and is understandable, even if you don’t speak any Spanish!  And if you are in doubt, all the Spanish words and phrases, which are bolded throughout the story, are defined in the back of the book.  And if that’s not enough, there’s also an audio version of the book on her website so you can listen to the correct pronunciation of each word.  Judy has thought of everything to make this a fun and interactive way to learn Spanish!  I can’t wait to share it with my son, who is learning Spanish!

If you are interested in this book, there is a direct link to Amazon in the menu column on the left.  Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my site, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you.  Happy reading!


I am thrilled to introduce you all to Barbara Ann Monica!  As you may recall, I just reviewed her latest book, Little Miss History Travels to La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, which you can see here:

I am going to do something a little different this week and am going to let Barbara introduce herself!  In her own words —

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Ridgewood, Queens. As a child, I became fascinated with history so I pursued a Bachelor’s Master’s Degree and advanced graduate studies in the field. I spent more than forty years teaching in NYC and hold New York State certifications in Elementary, Special Education, and Administration. My career included classroom teaching and serving as a Special Education Administrator and principal of a special education preschool for developmentally delayed children. I taught the Wilson Reading Program to dyslexic children and was involved in teaching Applied Behavioral Analysis one to one with young autistic children.

When I retired from teaching, I began writing “Passages,” a historical column for a local news magazine. I wanted to stay involved with children so I married my love of teaching with history by developing The Little Miss HISTORY Travels to…children’s nonfiction picture book series to inspire children to learn about historical people and visit landmarks. I am a firm believer in Little Miss HISTORY’S motto, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I am currently living in the Hudson River Valley, which is rich in history. Everywhere I go I see influences of the past, and I do believe our future is also built on that same foundation. Personally, I find my inspiration by thinking about the places I have visited and the issues that will appeal to children and adults. Then I pay close attention to topics that are currently being featured in the news and media. In addition, I strive to correlate them with information that may be less familiar to adults and children. My objective is to make my book series informative, inspiring and enlightening to children and adults. Finally, I am inspired by the curiosity of mankind and his ability to constantly enrich his knowledge base. Modern technology has done so much to expand our universe. Our children will have a marvelous opportunity to learn about the past and use this knowledge to improve future world conditions.

The Little Miss HISTORY book series focuses on historical sites that explore famous historical characters, issues, and events that have shaped history and continue to pose important questions today. Topics of the books already released include Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, Sequoia National Park, Ford’s Theater, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Ellis Island, Mount Vernon, and La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. While each book portrays the characters and events, little-known tidbits and those characters previously forgotten are remembered. They bring up issues that children need to be aware of and discuss such as immigration, Native American rights, slavery, air pollution, justice, and the strengths and weaknesses of character found in historical personages. These books are richly illustrated. Younger children learn from studying these pictures. elementary and middle school readers can read them independently. Adults discover new ideas. The series is intended to be shared across generations.

For myself, I still love to read children’s books and that is why I enjoy reviewing them online and on my blog, HTTP:.// where I post family friendly reviews for all ages twice weekly on Wednesdays and Sundays. Some genres I favor include historical fiction, history, thrillers, and adventure stories.

If you would like to learn more about Little Miss HISTORY and her adventures, here are some ways to connect.







linked in   







Little Miss HISTORY Travels to LA BREA TAR PITS & MUSEUM, written by Barbara Ann Mojica and illustrated by Victor Ramon Mojica, is the eighth book in The Little Miss HISTORY Travels to… nonfiction children’s series.  This book is both educational and fun with a creative mix of drawings intermingled with beautiful landscape pictures to make every page colorful and eye-catching!  What a great way to introduce a landmark to a child!

The story takes us to Los Angeles where the La Brea Tar Pits are located.  Little Miss History explains what tar pits are and tells the story about the discovery of skeleton fossils and how they were formed.  She even introduces the reader to the scientists involved and their discoveries!  Finally, Miss History takes the reader on a detailed tour through the museum and discusses the history of the area and the museum.  She does this all with great illustrations and in a way that kids can understand and enjoy!

I learned a lot from this book, which is something I love!  It’s wonderful to read a book that takes you somewhere you have never been and shows you not only how a place looks today, but what it was like so many years ago and how things developed over time.  I will definitely be reading this book with my son, and the next time we are in Los Angeles, you know where we will be visiting!

If you are interested in this book, there is a direct link to Amazon in the menu column on the left.  Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my site, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you.


I am honored to have Judy Martialay, award winning author of Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends and Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish: Visit New Places and Make New Friends, guest posting here today to share her knowledge of the language advantage with all of you!  As a parent whose son is learning both Mandarin and Spanish, this post really resonated with me and I love what she has to say!  But, before we get to her post, I wanted to tell you a little about Judy and her background so you can see that she really knows what she’s talking about!

Judy was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and received a BA from Mount Holyoke College and MA from Columbia University. She taught world or foreign languages in elementary school, middle and high school. During and after retirement, she devoted time to public advocacy for foreign language education with the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Her dream is to give all children the opportunity to experience a foreign language, as early as possible.

Now that you know a little about Judy’s background, on to her insightful post!


Moms and Dads, give your child the language advantage! Providing an early start learning a foreign language is a gift that will have life-time benefits.

What are the advantages of being proficient in another language?

Knowing another language will open the door to another culture, another way of seeing life, and will give your child access to millions of people, and the chance to form personal and business relationships around the world. Bilinguals have greater career opportunities; an appreciation for another culture which can lead to a wider acceptance to diversity and tolerance. Bilinguals are more comfortable in the global society. Students of another language develop better problem solving and critical thinking skills, better memory and multitasking. They have a better understanding of their native language. Much later in life, bilinguals have the ability to stave off the onset of dementia by up to five years.

Why start early?

You can learn a language at any age, but children have more time to master the complexities of a language, to acquire a marketable skill, and can benefit more completely from the cognitive advantages of being bilingual.

Children are “wired” to learn language naturally. I often hear that “children absorb languages like sponges”. Their brains are flexible enough to accept other ways of saying and doing things. Also, children have the ability to pronounce the sounds of another language like natives. The best time to begin learning another language is as early as possible.

Which language should my child learn?

Regardless of the choice of language, your child will gain the same benefits. Some families may want their children to learn the language of their ancestors, so they can communicate with relatives in the country of origin. In the U.S., students of Spanish will have many opportunities to hear and use the language. French is at the heart of Western European cultures, and France is the most visited country in the world. Also, it is spoken in many African countries. Mandarin Chinese and Arabic may take longer to learn, but there is a great need for speakers of these languages, and for other uncommonly taught languages, such as Japanese, Urdu and Portuguese for business and national security. The number of students of Mandarin is growing; in my school district, all children begin Manadarin in Kindergarten.  [OK, I bolded this for emphasis because I just think this is so awesome!]

I can’t speak the language. What can I do?

The best way that you can encourage your child to learn a language is to learn it yourself!

Find a book or a program that you both can enjoy, and have fun using the language at home. This way you send the message to your child that language learning is valuable.

If you are fortunate enough to have a foreign language program in your local elementary school, you can encourage your child by learning, or reviewing, some of the language. If there are no programs in your school, be sure to ask the Board of Education to implement these classes. Every child in our country should have the same opportunities that children have around the world.

Talk to your child about the advantages of learning the language. A great way to encourage your child is to find someone, a friend, member of the family, a neighbor, who is a native speaker and is willing to speak the language with your child. It’s even better if you can find a native speaker who is the same age as your child. There are services which provide pen-pals, and don’t forget Skype. YouTube and the Internet have great resources for learning languages.

For more information about Judy and her books, or to follow her, visit:

Judy Martialay@judyruth10


If you are interested in checking out these books, there is a direct link to Amazon in the menu column on the left.  Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my site, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you.


I am excited to introduce the sister team of Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet!  They are ‘culturally curious’ sisters and co-creators of the newly released book, Beautiful Rainbow World ~ a lyrically inspired, soul-filled photography book of global children ~ through their creative/publishing company Two Poppies (  I reviewed this beautiful book on this blog back on December 6, 2017.  Please go back to check it out, if you didn’t get a chance to when it was first published – or simply click here:

Suzee lives in Southern California, is married and has two lovely animal- and nature-loving girls. Creativity, nature, travel and movement (yoga, hiking, mountain biking, stand up paddling and more) are things that inspire her.

Lynne is a mom of four who bounces all over with her Air Force pilot husband and loves discovering new places to travel and adventure everywhere they live. Her family currently lives in South Korea giving them opportunities to travel to Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Bali! Previously she was a bilingual English/Spanish Kindergarten teacher in California. She loves capturing real moments with her camera.

In addition to publishing, Suzee and Lynne co-own Multicultural Kids (, an online supplier of products for children that encourage the discovery and appreciation of our amazing world and its people.

For more information about Suzee and Lynne and their book, or to follow them:


Lenita Sheridan, a middle grade fantasy author, was born in Seattle, but raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. She grew up in six and a half acres of woods in the Goldstream Valley outside of Fairbanks. She loved to play in the woods and that is where she got her imagination. Her inspiration comes from God. She made a decision to become a Christian when she was eleven.  At that same age she decided she wanted to become a writer, so this age was a turning point for her.

Lenita Sheridan went on to fulfill her dream by writing a book entitled Guardian of the Gauntlet. This book was to be her Master’s thesis after she was accepted into graduate school at the University of Washington. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

The author now lives on Whidbey Island in Washington state with her dog, a Japanese Spitz named Haley. She published Guardian of the Gauntlet while living on the island, plus two subsequent books in the trilogy. As well as being a middle grade fantasy with spiritual themes, Lenita Sheridan has written humor in her books. In addition to writing, she substitute teaches on the island. She enjoys walking her dog, crafts, and reading. Lenita Sheridan also sings in the choir at her church and occasionally does solos. Her first published book, Guardian of the Gauntlet, was a finalist in the 2015 Red City Book Awards.

To learn more about Lenita or to follow her:



Instagram: lenita_sheridan


This super cute rhyming story, by Lia Brent, is told from the view point of a princess dress, named Tess!  Tess is a gift to a little girl, named Grace, who wears her every day everywhere!  Tess is happy until one day the weather turns cold and Grace trades Tess for a coat.  Tess is sad but then makes new friends and discovers that she can dance and still have fun without Grace!

This book blends photographs of real people and places with drawings of Tess.  Every page is colorful and eye-catching.  There are only a few words on every other page, in rhyme, so little ones, especially little princesses will adore this book!

I find this book to be special, not only because it is written from a totally unique perspective (at least I have never read a story about how a dress feels!), but it also shows children that they don’t have to depend on one individual to make them happy – that they can make their own happiness.  This is a valuable reminder to us all!

If you are interested in this book, there is a direct link to Amazon in the menu column on the left.  Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my site, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m excited to share this new chapter book, by Becky Villareal, as my first post of the new year!

This chapter book is about a girl named Gianna, who is a member of her school’s Genealogy Club.  In the story, Gianna and her friend, Stephanie, decide to base their class project on Stephanie’s family history.  Gianna helps Stephanie speak with her French grandmother to learn about her family.  Stephanie’s grandmother tells the girls about her childhood in France, the war and how they came to America. She also tells them that all the information they are looking for is in a special book, which contains a surprise (no spoilers here – you have to read the book to find out)!  Gianna and Stephanie search for the special book and also do some on-line research on their own and learn about Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and what it means to be an immigrant, as well as the inspections immigrants had to go through to remain in America.

This book is so well written that I couldn’t put it down, even with all the holiday festivities going on around me!  Not only is this book fun to read with important underlying themes of friendship, family, diversity and history, it is educational without sounding like a textbook.  Words are defined conversationally in kid-speak.  Also, I love how the grandmother describes what she saw, and especially how she felt, when she finally arrived to America by ship from France.  This was probably my favorite part of the book.  Kids learn about history and facts in school, but they rarely read about how a particular person felt while all these events were happening.  It was touching and will leave a more lasting impression on children than just reading a history book or genealogy report. This story shows the importance of spending time with family and of listening and learning from elders.  It’s so important for everyone, especially children, to be aware of their background, lineage and history.

While this book is about genealogy and learning about one’s family, this book also carries the unspoken message of tolerance and acceptance without directly addressing or calling it out.  Gianna is half Mexican and half Choctow and comes from a low/middle class family, while Stephanie is French and comes from a more affluent family.  It doesn’t matter to the girls that they are of different races, backgrounds or wealth.  It doesn’t affect their friendship or the way they treat each other.  They don’t even think about it.  This is the way it should be for all children (and adults for that matter)!   This story is not about diversity and tolerance, which perhaps makes it even more powerful to children because it is not preachy – it’s just about friends from different backgrounds helping each other, and feeling good about helping.

One last thing I have to mention which I love about this book is that it has some French and one or two Spanish and Choctow words naturally weaved into conversations in the story.  It makes the story so much more authentic and the definitions are clear by the context, even if you don’t know those languages.  And if you are in doubt, there is a glossary in the back!

I highly recommend this book!  Great way to learn about genealogy and immigration, and reinforce the values of family and friendship.

If you are interested in this book, there is a direct link to Amazon in the menu column on the left.  Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my site, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you.


If you are familiar with my blog, you know I feature children’s book authors and review children’s books.  However, I would be remiss in not introducing the amazing and talented illustrator of Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子), Helena Chu Ho!  She also just happens to be my awesome little sister (so maybe I am a little biased – nah)!  Whenever I do readings of Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子), the kids always rave about how they love her drawings!

Helena graduated from the University of Maryland and lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and son, Connor.  Besides illustrating for me and spending time with her family, her passion is photography, which she also does professionally.  Helena also runs half marathons in her spare time!  Not sure how she’s my sister – I would pass out after running 1 block (and I’m talking a normal block, not a huge New York City block)!

She and her son draw all the time for fun, too!  Below is a picture Connor drew this Christmas of Rudolph, as well as his favorite food pairing, bacon and eggs!  Connor is getting so good that he may take her place as my illustrator when he gets a bit older!  Ha ha!

Keep an eye out for more of Helena’s work!  Like I said, she’s amazing and talented!