DECEMBER 2019 highlights

check back frequently for additional Reviews 

The Best Kind of Bear, by Greg Gormley, illustrated by David Barrow, Nosy Crow, Nov. 12, 2019, $16.99, Ages 2-5, Grades K and Under

BISAC: Juvenile Fiction, Social Themes, Diversity, Encouragement, Acceptance, Kindness, Tolerance, Love, Uniqueness, Self-Realization

Storey Publishing
Storey Publishing

the reason for the season

the reason for the season

Storey Publishing

teen & YA 

Be Kind: You Can Make the World a Happier Place! 125 Kind Things to Say and Do, by Naomi Shulman, illustrated by Hsinping Pan, Storey Publishing, $12.99, Ages 5+, preschool-3, All Ages, ISBN-13: 978-1635861549
Genre: Picture Book Nonfiction, Inspirational, Activities, Gift Book, Values

middle grade

2019 reviews & recommendations  

Klutz Sew Your Own Unicorn Cake Pillow, by editors of Klutz, an imprint of Scholastic, Ages 10+, $15, ASIN:1338355228 Related: Sew Your Own Furry Llama Pillow
Genre: Novelty Book, Activity, Toys and Kits, Crafts,  Sewing, Unicorn

picture books

Bible Gems to Remember Devotions for Kids:52 Devotions with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less, by Robin Schmitt, Zonderkidz, Aug. 2019, $14.99, ISBN-13: 9780310746256, Ages 8+, YA and Adult Interest crossover
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile Nonfiction, Christian Devotions & Prayer, Religions, Christian, Inspirational, Home Schooling, Youth Groups, Gift Book, Holiday

Whether for yourself or a gift, the cool crafts, activities, and ways to be kind will keep “giving” long after you finish reading the book. With 125 kind things to do and say, like learning to say hello in several languages, being the first to say “good morning,” or helping someone without being asked. Bright, uplifting illustrations wrap around unique activities and clever ways to better the world Talk about a gift that keeps on giving, this book is a must-read for everyone, any age, who loves “paying it forward,” sibs, teachers, babysitters, and more. I highly recommend all books published by Storey Publishing, as excellent activity books for the entire family, ways to get outside and do things, with books that will appeal to adults as well, like gardening, woodworking, crafts of all kinds, and inspirational, like this book Be Kind, which will help people just think of ideas and easy ways to simply, well, be nice to other people, for no reason at all.  Learn more and follow on Twitter @NaomiShulman, and @StoreyPublishing.

The Trouble With Shooting Stars, by Meg Cannistra
Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2019, $17.99
Ages: 12+, ISBN-13: 9780525581673
Genre/BISAC: Middle Grade Fiction, Conemporary Realistic with touch of Paranormal, Fantasy, Magic, Stars & Constellations, Car Accidents, Family, Recovery, Art, Drawing, Mental Health, Disabilities, High Interest

For lovers of heroines overcoming obstacles and all things stars, so many great lines fill this book that quote lovers may find themselves flagging nearly every page. Twelve-year-old Luna is never so busy looking ahead that she forgets to look up, which is how she sees things most people miss—like the new kids next door are a magical family that takes care of the moon, stars and constellations. When Chiara and Alessandro invite Luna on their night-sky rounds, with their help, a touch of magic, and a bit of stardust, Luna is able to heal scars seen and unseen.

The Guinevere Deception, by Kiersten White
Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House LLC, New York), Nov. 5, 2019, $18.99
Ages: 12+, ISBN-13: 9780525581673
Genre/BISAC: YA fiction, fantasy, Fairy-Tale Retellings, Arthurian Legend, Merlin, Magic, Medieval Literature, Intrigue, Suspense, Romance, Fierce Heroines

Camelot is no longer what it once was. All magic has been banished, even Merlin, the main protector of King Arthur. Isolated and manipulated, King Arthur’s enemies attack and eliminate his allies and protections, including magic. Though thankfully still practiced outside Camelot's borders, Merlin concocts a way for protect King Arthur with a 16-year-old changeling who impersonates and becomes Guinevere, set to marry the king. But pulling off her impersonation becomes ever-more challenging in a place where magic is greatly feared. Yet Guinevere realizes it will take more than swords and Arthur’s knights to keep Camelot free. A highly imaginative look at the Arthurian legend by a witty and talented author, a fierce heroine, some well-done romance, humor, magic, in a well-developed fantastical world with a setting that adds to the story. Learn more @kierstenwhite on Twitter and @authorkierstenwhite on Instagram. Also learn more about the publisher and reading initiatives @GetUnderlined and GetUnderlined.com and @DelacortePress.


Bible Gems To Remember Illustrated Bible: 52 Stories with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less, by Robin Schmitt, illustrated by Kris Aro McLeod, Zonderkidz, $18.99, ISBN-13: 9780310746881. 

The related Bible Storybook Devotional also by Robin Schmitt is perfect for younger readers ages 2-7, gorgeously illustrated, reasonably priced at $18.99, Bible Gems To Remember Illustrated Bible: 52 Stories with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less, illustrated by Kris Aro McLeod, Zonderkidz, ISBN-13: 9780310746881. Both available now… the Reason for the Season. . Truly makes a perfect gift for anyone, ages eight and up, and I mean adults too. Both available now… the Reason for the Season.
Genre/BISAC: Picture Book, Bible, Storybook Bible, Nonfiction, Christian Devotions & Prayer, Religions, Christian, Inspirational, Home Schooling, Youth Groups, Gift Book, Holiday

I have been a fan of Klutz books from childhood, and now as a mom of 4, I can attest there is a Klutz book out there for every boy or girl ages 5-15--and adult crafty people like myself. This unicorn pillow is one of my favorite new Klutz books of the year. It involves sewing, and it's really simple for those who like to sew, otherwise aim for ages 12+. (Publisher suggests ages 10-14.) However, I bought this for one of my best crafty-knit-sewer-and unicorn-loving adult friends, and after seeing all it included and a sample of the final product, I really really wanted to keep it! It’s really FLUFFY! Love this! But again a reminder, this one is best for older crafters/kids, in case of frustration it putting it together. Has plush faux fur, metallic gold lamé, iridescent pom-poms, and pre-cut felt pieces. Decorating options include a rainbow mane, a flower crown, rock star fringe, wings, meringue dollops, plus a “cake stand” for display. 

Every great story begins in the library, where Bear meets a girl named Nelly. She asked him what kind of bear he was, and he had already been there (looking through books) to figure that out. He sets off to find some other bears, and promises to return and let Nelly know. He discovers other bears but returns discouraged, until Nelly helps Bear realize he is already the best kind of bear. I absolutely love this book, as Bear travels the world we meet other species and can’t help learning tidbits about each animal.

I had the honor of working with author Robin Schmitt during my time at Zondervan (Adventure Bible Handbook for one), and not only is he a Man of God and wonderful person, Robin Schmitt knows how to write wisdom for kids, and he does it VERY well. In his latest book of devotions, Robin delivers positive, uplifting, powerful Scriptures to meditate and reflect on—in five words or less! At a time of media-driven, 10-second attention spans that must be fed or lost to the next item, this book offers nuggets of relatable stories and ways for busy families to engage. Short, sweet, memorable Scriptures and 52 devotions designed to be done once a week offer powerful “gemstones,” Scripture of  five words or less. Gorgeous, four-color photographs throughout reiterate a sense of beauty while reminding us of our rock-solid God. This book is perfect for anyone suffering from too-busy syndrome and desires to get back into God’s Word, great gift for holidays, teachers, youth group leaders, new Christians, homeschoolers, Christian educators and libraries, oh, and middle grade boys and girls!