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REVIEW OF LITTLE MISS HISTORY TRAVELS TO LA BREA TAR PITS & MUSEUM

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.

SPECIAL GUEST POST BY AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, JUDY MARTIALAY!

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!

YOUR CHILD AND THE LANGUAGE ADVANTAGE

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:

http://www.polyglotkidz.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJudyMartialay/

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.

MEET AUTHORS, SUZEE RAMIREZ AND LYNNE RASPET!

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 (twopoppies.com).  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: http://eugeniachu.com/2017/12/06/review-of-beautiful-rainbow-world/.

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 (multiculturalkids.com), 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:

MEET AUTHOR, LENITA SHERIDAN!

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:

Website: https://lenitasheridan.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lenitasheridan

Instagram: lenita_sheridan
        

REVIEW OF TESS THE PRINCESS DRESS (THE CHRONICLES OF THE CLOTHES MIND BOOK 1)

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.

REVIEW OF GIANNA THE TREASURE HUNTER

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.

MEET ILLUSTRATOR, HELENA CHU HO!

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!

              

MEET AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, CAROLE P. ROMAN!

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children’s books, including the Captain No Beard series and the If You Were Me and Lived in… series that explores customs and cultures around the world. She is also the author of the Oh Susannah series, her first Early Reader Chapter book series.  She has written too many books and won too many awards to list in this short post, but you can see them at https://caroleproman.blogspot.com/2016/12/awards-click-my-tab-at-top-to-see.html.  She also hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of the magazine, Indie Author’s Monthly. She has even been interviewed by Forbes Magazine, not once, but TWICE!

There are literally hundreds of blog posts, articles and interviews featuring, or at least mentioning, Carol P. Roman.  She is a well-regarded and well-respected author with more fans than I can count.  I am fortunate enough to have gotten to know Carole a little on a more personal level, so I thought I would write a more personal post – less about Carole’s books and accomplishments (which a gazillion other people have already addressed) and more about how we met and how she has helped me.  So, this post will be very different from all my others and probably different from all the other posts and articles out there about her as well.  In fact, the rest of this post may be as much about me as about her!

I first met Carole* through Goodreads.**  We happened to be in one of the same groups and were discussing a common issue when she directed a comment to me.  At this point, I wasn’t sure who she was, but her name sounded familiar.  Then I realized that I had some of her books!  One of Carol’s series mentioned above is the If You Were Me and Lived In . . . (fill in the name of a country).  We travel a lot and before trips to new cities and countries, I usually try to get a children’s book about that place to read with my son, Brandon.  I find that it gets him more interested in where we are going and I like to have him learn a little about a destination before we get there.  Sometimes we plan what to do based on things we read about in those books.  So, long story short – we have some of Carole’s books.

Anyway, once I realized who she was, I got a little starstruck but tried to stay cool, like, yeah, no big deal, I meet authors of books I actually have in my home every day!  I think I did, however, send her a message saying something like, “OMG!  I have your books!”  I know, I know . . . I’m such a book geek!  I’m not sure if she noticed my dorkiness or not, but she played it off like she didn’t.  Very classy.

Since that day, we have emailed, messaged, spoken on the phone and radio (oh yeah, Carole interviewed me on her radio show!), and Carole has given me a ton of advice on writing and promoting, as she has for so many other new authors!  In fact, she was the one who suggested I write a blog introducing other authors to my friends!  So, if you discover a new author or book you and your kids love through my blog posts, you can thank Carole!  I could go on and on. But I’ll stop before I really embarrass myself and before this post gets too long and I lose your attention!

Well, I had fun writing this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new about Carole P. Roman.  I haven’t spent much time discussing her books, but they’re great and have won tons of awards!  So, I recommend that you check them out!  I’ll go back to my normal, more professional posts, next week (probably)!

For more information about Carole or to follow her:

https://caroleproman.com

https://www.facebook.com/CarolePRomanAwardWinningAuthorAndBooks

https://twitter.com/caroleproman

https://www.amazon.com/Carole-P.-Roman/e/B008ZOXI0W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1362824486&sr=8-1

 

*Here’s an interesting fact not that many people know: Carole’s name is actually Phyllis!  Carole was her mom’s name and Roman was her dad’s name.  Her books were written to honor their memory.

**Goodreads.com is a social cataloging network for book lovers and the world’s largest social network for readers and book recommendations.  If you are not on Goodreads, you should join!  It’s free and it’s a fun way to share what you are reading, see what your friends are reading, learn about new books, get recommendations on what to read next and get to know some of your favorite authors!

Below are a couple of Carole’s award winning books – the first of each series.  There are direct links to Amazon in the menu column on the left to these books if you would like to check them out.  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.

   

    

REVIEW OF VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE

This simple, yet important, story about overcoming racism is written in both English and Spanish. The story, written by Maritza Martinez Mejia*, is about two young friends, one white (Vanilla) and the other black (Chocolate). Vanilla’s parents do not want him to associate with children of other races. The astute teacher notices this and organizes a family day event for her students and their parents. At the event, Vanilla’s parents see the bond between the boys and realize they were wrong to prohibit Vanilla from playing with Chocolate. They apologize to Chocolate’s parents and allow the boys to remain friends and to play together every day after school.

This book is great for kids not only because it is bilingual and tells a story in both English and Spanish, but also because it teaches, in a non-preachy manner, that you shouldn’t judge a person based solely on race. This is an important message for both children and adults alike. In addition, there are certain words highlighted in the story which are defined at the end of the book and questions for children to think about and answer. There are also circle time activities that teachers and/or parents/caretakers can do with the little ones. This is a great way to ensure that kids truly understand the moral of the story and think about the importance of tolerance. There are a couple of very minor grammatical errors, but they do not take away from the story at all. Great book!

*For more information about Maritza, please see my previous post, MEET AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, MARITZA MARTINEZ MEJIA, dated November 27, 2017.

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.

REVIEW OF NOT SO SCARY JERRY

 

This book, by Shelley Kinder, is a super cute story about a boy and his monster.  Jerry the Monster feels that he should be scary because he is a monster.  Unfortunately for Jerry, try as he might, he just isn’t scary.  Jerry’s subject, the little boy in the story, tries to give Jerry suggestions on how to be scary, like showing his fangs and hiding under the bed, but the results are more funny than scary! The boy then helps Jerry realize that he just doesn’t like being scary and that he can still be a great monster without being scary.  The boy helps Jerry figure out what he is good at doing and what he was born to do – like giving hugs and cooking, along with a whole list of other fun things!

This story is wonderfully written and illustrated.  It’s a great book to read at bedtime (or really, anytime), and it teaches kids not only that it’s okay to be different, but that they should embrace those differences.  This book sends the message that you must be true to yourself and do what you love to be happy.  This is such an important message for both kids and adults alike!  I highly recommend this book!

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.