The Reviews Are In: How Many Book Reviews Did I Post in 2021?

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and looks forward to a new year with new hopes, fresh possibilities, and maybe a book contract? If the contract seems a bit too far away, there is still hope that whatever books we have out in the world will find new audiences.

With that in mind, I am sharing my third New Year Book Review Post letting you know the books I wrote reviews for on Amazon and Goodreads in 2021. The best way to spread the word about great books and unknown authors is to WRITE A REVIEWIt only takes a few minutes to write a couple sentences telling the reading world what you like about a book. As a children’s book author, I can tell you how much it means to see some kind words about a book and sharing it on your solcial media.

Here are the books I enjoyed and posted reviews for in 2021:

  1. A HORN IS BORN (PB) by Bill Borders
  2. CODE BREAKER, SPY CATCHER (PB) by Laurie Wallmark
  3. WORDS COMPOSED OF SEA AND SKY (YA) by Erica George
  4. FROM HERE TO THERE (PB) by Vivian Kirkfield
  5. RISSY NO KISSIES (PB) by Katey Howes
  6. LITTLE EWE (PB) by Laura Sassi
  7. DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT (PB) by Robin Newman
  8. STEPSISTER (YA) by Jennifer Donnelly
  9. STARFISH (MG) by Lisa Fipps
  10. BOARDWALK BABIES (PB) by Marissa Moss
  11. WE BELIEVE IN YOU (PB) by Beth Ferry
  12. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (MG) Holly Goldberg Sloan
  13. SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (PB) by Cathy Ballou Mealy
  14. STOMP, WIGGLE, CLAP, and TAP (PB) by Rachelle Burk
  15. ORANGE FOR THE SUNSETS (MG) by Tina Athaide
  16. WISHES (PB)  by Moun Thai Van
  17. ISABEL AND HER COLORS GO TO SCHOOL (PB) by Alexandra Alessandro
  18. WALKING WITH MISS MILLIE (MG) Tamara Bundy
  19. PIXIE PUSHES ON (MG) by Tamara Bundy
  20. WOOF: THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  21. BEACH TOYS vs SCHOOL SUPPLIES (PB) by Mike Ciccotello
  22. DINO PAJAMA PARTY (PB) by Laurie Wallmark
  23. SCURRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  24. A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS (PB) by Christine Van Zandt
  25. LILLIAN LOVECRAFT AND THE HARMLESS HORRORS (MG) by David Neilsen
  26. A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE (PB) by Nancy Churnin
  27. DEAR MR. DICKENS (PB) by Nancy Churnin
  28. SWEET BLISS/GOOD CATCH (an adult series about Harper Landing) by Jennifer Bardsley
  29. 101 PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES (MG) by Theresa Julian
  30. A HOME AGAIN (PB) by Colleen Kosinski

Were there some books you enjoyed in 2021? I’ll bet there will be some more amazing stories in 2022. Why not make a resolution to post reviews for some of your favorites. I guarantee you will make an author’s day!

Happy Reading!

Holiday Shopping For Kids Books? Check Out These Titles.

If you are looking for some great picture books for kids this holiday season, check out some of these titles:

first snow

 

 

 

 

FIRST SNOW by Nancy Viau

 

DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT by Robin Newmanfuzzybutt

 

 

 

 

 

DINO PAJAMA PARTY by  Laurie  Wallmark                                  

dino cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE STORY OF ZIPPY CHIPPY: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULDN’T  by Artie Bennett

Zippy Chippy hi-res cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scurry cover

SCURRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS by Annette Whipple

For more great picture books check out The KidLIt Authors Club where you’ll find award-winning books for kids of all ages. Check back here next week for some titles for middle grade and young adult.

 

 

 

https://kidlitauthorsclub.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Q0HRVSmT6YPa3-tnU2pLLuHkKZenQ4GCnJNBLQ7QRR0HQZElm3sC64SM

 

Laurie Wallmark Presents: Dino Pajama Party – A New Picture Book Review.

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of a new picture book by author Laurie Wallmark. Here’s my review:

Dino Pajama Party by Laurie Wallmark,  Illustrated by Michael Robertson is a delightful new bedtime picture book for the little ones. Though Laurie is known for her award-winning STEM biography  picture books, this first foray into fiction is sure to be a winner.

As dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes rock and roll their way to bedtime, kids will enjoy the action and lively illustrations as they get ready for their own bedtime pajama party. A fun, rhyming, read-aloud that is sure to be a favorite with kid dinosaurs and their parents.”

Dino Pajama Party: A Bedtime Book

Here’s the link to the activity kit:

Laurie Wallmark

www.lauriewallmark.com 

Dino Pajama Party (Running Press Kids, October 2021)

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter (Abrams Kids, 2021)

Numbers in Motion (Creston Books, 2020)

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling Kids, 2019)

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Kids, 2017)

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015)

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTION, CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and her debut fiction picture book, DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor. You can find Laurie on the Web at http://www.lauriewallmark.com and @lauriewallmark. 

Laurie Wallmark

www.lauriewallmark.com 

International Day of the Girl Child Focuses on Potential Successes by Marilyn Ostermiller

Of the 7.8 billion people who populate this world, 1.1 billion are girls. That’s equivalent to the population of the United States and every country in Europe.

Those girls have the potential to grow up to change the world.

The International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated annually on October 11, was established by the United Nations eight years ago to call attention to girl’s rights and the unique challenges they face around the world.

Three factors that will boost their chances for success:

  • Getting a secondary education
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Learning about family planning

Helping girls overcome those challenges could change the world. According to the Malala Fund, if all girls attended school for 12 years, low and middle income countries could add $92 billion to their economies annually. Malala Fund is an international, non-profit organization that fights for girls’ education. It was co-founded by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and her father, Ziauddin.

The difficulties surrounding the mission to fight for the rights of girls around the world has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Among the international organizations seeking help through donations and volunteer efforts to provide opportunities for girls to be educated and healthy are:

 

  • Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. plan-international.org
  • UNICEF, sponsored by the United Nations, org

There are ways to participate in locally as well. Often, schools and after school organizations are open to volunteers willing to mentor a girl or to participate in school activities focused on women leaders.

AdoptAClassroom.org advances equity in education by giving teachers and schools access to the resources they need. adoptaclassroom.org.

Several recently published children’s books about women leaders can inspire girls. Among them:

STEADFAST: Frances Perkins, Champion of WorkersRights, by Author/illustrator Jennifer J. Merz. When Frances witnessed New York City’s terrifying Triangle Factory fire in 1911, her desire to assist the American worker transformed into a lifelong mission.

STEADFAST: Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers' Rights

Numbers in Motion: Sophie Kowalevski, Queen of Mathematics, by Laurie Wallmark and Yevgenia Nayberg. The story of Sophie’s journey to become the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics.

Numbers in Motion: Sophie Kowalevski, Queen of Mathematics

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game,by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Bolger, features 13 women athletes who overcame obstacles and inspired.

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game

 

 

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World, by Vashti Harrison. The true stories of 35 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World (Vashti Harrison)

 International Day of the Girl Child

Celebrated October 11 Sponsored by UNICEF

How to participate:

  • Become a mentor
  • Donate school supplies
  • Educate girls about past and present women leaders through schools and other public forums.

 Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist, who now writes about children’s issues, family activities and food.  

PB Author Laurie Wallmark Presents Her New Non-fiction Book: NUMBERS IN MOTION.

Today it is my pleasure to feature Award-winning PB author LAURIE WALLMARK with her new non-fiction STEM picture book titled NUMBERS IN MOTION: SOPHIE KOWALEVSKI, QUEEN OF MATHEMATICS (Creston).

sophie cover - 3x4 - 100dpi I asked Laurie to tell us 3 THINGS readers should know about Sophie, and 3 THINGS she was amazed to discover while conducting research for the book.

1. Sophie solved a problem known as the mathematical mermaid. Just when people were  close to figuring out the solution, it seemed to slip away from them like the mythical mermaid.

2. Sophie was the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics that required doing original research.

3. Sophie was the first woman to hold a university chair in mathematics.

1. I was amazed that in the late 1800s, a woman couldn’t leave Russia except in the company of her husband or father.

2. I was amazed that until Sophie, there hadn’t been any woman professional mathematicians since Hypatia in fifth century Egypt.

3. I was amazed to find that the mathematical methods that Sophie discovered have increasing application to physics today.

I’ve had an opportunity to read this fascinating book and here’s my review:

“NUMBERS IN MOTION: SOPHIE KOWALEVSKI, QUEEN OF MATHEMATICS  by Laurie Wallmark (CRESTON)  is an inspiring look at a pioneering woman who never took “no” as the final answer.  Written in a clear and engaging manner, the positive messages of never giving up and having faith in your own abilities are great lessons for the classroom and beyond.” 5 stars.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Laurie Wallmark

www.lauriewallmark.com

Numbers in Motion (Creston, March 2020)
Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling, 2019)
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston, 2015)

 

PB Author Laurie Wallmark Presents:Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life.

Best-selling Non-fiction PB Author of ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston books), and GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE (Sterling) has a new book about one of the most glamorous women from WWII era Hollywood, Hedy Lamarr. LAURIE WALLMARK’S  new book explores the brains behind the beauty of one of Hollywood’s most popular leading ladies.

hedy lamarr 100 dpi 3x3.8

  • Horn Book:  “Lamarr … devised a new and improved system, the workings of which are explained in simple terms in Wallmark’s peppy text”
  • Kirkus: “The process of invention and inspiration are explained in a succinct and inspiring way”
  • Publishers Weekly: “Part picture book biography and part tech primer”

Darlene here with my review of the book:

HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE is an engaging and entertaining tale of the brains behind a Hollywood legend. I love how playing the piano inspired Hedy to invent a secure torpedo guidance system. This book gives clear and easily understood descriptions of frequency hopping and how her pioneering work helps us keep cell phone calls and texts private. My favorite quote: “Do good anyway…think big anyway…build anyway.”An inspiring message from an inspiring woman. 5 Stars

Laurie Wallmark
Laurie-72dpi-3x4.5-web
Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling, 2019)
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston, 2015)

Laurie Wallmark Presents: STEM books with Curriculum Guides for Teachers.

Looking for great STEM books to use in the classroom?  Check out these gems from Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine are picture book biographies of computer science pioneers. These book and the associated teacher guide activities are appropriate for grades K-5.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, 2017) by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

 

 

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Grace%20Hopper%20guide.pdf

 

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu

http://www.lauriewallmark.com/resources/Ada%20Lovelace%20guide.pdf

 

www.lauriewallmark.com

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and many national awards including Outstanding Science Trade Book and Cook Prize Honor Book. Her latest picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star and is on several public library’s best of lists. Laurie has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. When not writing, she teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College.  

 

Laurie Wallmark Presents: A new PB about Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code.

WHAT 3 WORDS BEST DESCRIBE GRACE HOPPER?

Curious. Persistent. Unique                       

HOW WAS SHE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TERM “COMPUTER BUG”?
The term “bug” to represent a problem in machinery pre-dated Grace by quite a bit. Thomas Edison coined the term in the 1870s to refer to a problem in a telegraph system he was designing. Grace was the first one to use it in reference to computers, though. Her team found an actual bug, a moth, stuck in a computer relay. This “computer bug” caused a program to malfunction.

HOW DID GRACE SERVE HER COUNTRY?

Grace was proud to serve her country in the United States Navy. From the beginning, her service always involved work with computers. She retired at age 79 as a Rear Admiral. Her feelings about the Navy are summed up with the following quotation: “I’ve received many honors and I’m grateful for them; but I’ve already received the highest award I’ll ever receive, and that has been the privilege and honor of serving very proudly in the United States Navy.”

GRACE SEEMED TO HAVE A FEW SAYING’S OR BELIEFS ON HOW TO GET THROUGH LIFE.  WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

I love the self-confidence she exhibited at age nine when she wrote, “The world will be a better place / When all agree with me.” Don’t we all feel that way now and then?

Click here to join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.

Laurie Wallmark
www.lauriewallmark.com    

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling, May 2017)

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston, 2015)

 

April Chu: On Illustration, Art, and Picture Book Success.

I had the pleasure of meeting picture book illustrator APRIL CHU at the 2015 American Library Association Convention in San Fransisco (ALA).  We shared a table and signed books for our publisher CRESTON BOOKS. Since then, April’s books have been earning recognition for the beauty and distinct quality of her illustrations.  Here she is to talk about her process and how the books came to be.

  1. Tell us a bit about your background and art training.

I studied architecture at UC Berkeley and worked as an architect for over ten years before I decided I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. I never had any formal art training, but I don’t think I went a day in my life without doing some sort of doodling.

2. What brought you to illustration?

I’ve always loved drawing but I didn’t know how to channel that into something I can do professionally. Then in 2009 I took a children’s book illustration course at the UC Berkeley Extension and I fell in love with the whole book making process. A few years later, I decided to pursue illustration seriously.

3. Two recent books you’ve illustrated – A VILLAGE BY THE SEA, and ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE –  are with CRESTON BOOKS, which happens to be my publisher as well.  How did you end up working for Creston?

I met Marissa Moss at a book party that she was hosting. She had just started up her press, Creston Books. I brought along my portfolio and she thought I’d be a good fit for a manuscript she had just acquired called IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA (Muon Van, author).   Village Cover (1)

I read the story and knew instantly that that was the project for me! After completing the artwork, Marissa offered me another book. This time it was an intriguing biography about the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Byron Lovelace. Working with Marissa and Creston Books has been such an amazing collaborative effort. I hope there are many more collaborations to come!

 

  1. The books mentioned have been earning a lot of praise and well-deserved starred reviews. How has that changed things for your career?

It has been great! I am usually working on my artwork alone and I only really get feedback from my editor and my husband. So once the book is released into the world, it’s such a relief and wonderful feeling when it’s welcomed with such warmth and positive attention. As an illustrator, the reviews and feedback definitely help me stay in the business.

5. I adore your illustration. They are so richly textured and three dimensional.  I feel like I can touch the drawings and everything will come to life.   Tell us a bit about your process.

Thank you! Before I begin sketching, I will read a manuscript many times so that I can do some initial brainstorming. For nonfiction stories like ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Laurie Wallmark, author) there is usually some extensive research involved.    Ada Cover

After brainstorming and researching, I begin working on the thumbnail sketches, then the book dummy, and then the final sketch. This process can be quite lengthy with lots of revisions along the way. To create the final art, I scan the final pencil sketch into the computer and color the image digitally.

 

  1. What’s a typical work day? 

I usually wake up whenever my 6 month old wakes up, which is usually pretty early. I take care of her and then have a cup of coffee and something healthy for breakfast. I try to sneak work in while she naps which can be half an hour at a time or a few hours at time.

12717661_1009706785742341_2311830562856379838_n

My husband helps out when he’s home so I can get some extra work done, but usually I am pretty exhausted by then. Basically my work day currently revolves around my daughter! I am still getting used to the new mommy routine and I don’t really have a typical work day anymore.

 

  1. Any words of advice for would-be illustrators?

My advice would be to have a good website with a solid portfolio. And try to get your work out there and don’t be afraid to network! You never know who you are going to meet. It could lead to your next job.

8. What’s next?

I am working on my next picture book about America’s first female detective, Kate Warne. The story is written by Marissa Moss and the book will be published by Creston Books and released Spring 2017. Then afterwards I am illustrating a sweet story about a boy going on a fly fishing trip with his grandfather. This book will be published by Abrams and released Spring 2018. When I am not illustrating, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.

April Chu Headshot (2)Website: www.aprilchu.com

Twitter: @AprilChuART

Hooray For the Winners!

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce the winners of last month’s give-aways.  Drum roll please>>>

The winner of the lovely illustration done by Karen Romagna is KIM PFENNIGWERTH.

Spot #8 Goose Girl  And the winner of a signed copy Laurie Wallmark’s wonderful picture book ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books 2015) is KAREN FORTUNATI.    Ada cover 72dpi

Please send me you information so I can let Karen and Laurie know where to send their masterpieces.

CONGRATULATIONS and thanks to all who commented and entered the contests.