january 31, 2020

#ReadYourWorld

Truman the DogTruman the Dog by Debbi Michiko Florence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: MY FURRY FOSTER FAMILY
TRUMAN THE DOG, Book 1 in the My Furry Foster Family Series, by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer, Age: 5-7; Grade Level: Kindergarten-2, Picture Window Books (Capstone), Aug. 2019, 978-1515844754
Genre: Pet Books, Children’s Orphans & Foster Homes, Bookselling, Bookstores, Veterinarian Career, Animal and Pet Care, Friends and Family, STEM

The Takano’s family’s first rescue pet is a dog Kaita name’s Truman—for tricks and trouble! Any dog owner will lough-out-loud as Truman goes through all the difficulties of being in a scary, new situation, and readers will cheer Kaita on as she win his heart and trust, with the help of her best friend Hanna and Ollie, the family’s dachshund. Filled with great scenes kids will totally relate to as Truman eats various items of importance and Kaita has to clean up the aftermath. But in this book and all of the series, one particularly moving and highly-effective theme comes especially in book one, as Kaita has to say goodbye, and yet she is encouraged because she knows she has helped find each pet their perfect Forever Family. Highly recommend for dog-lovers and any families with young children thinking of getting a dog. Excellent info on how to approach, how to handle mistakes while training and gaining trust.

In honor of Multicultural Book Day 2020, I am honored to review the first four titles in My Furry Foster Family early-reader series, published by Picture Window Books, a Capstone imprint. Individual reviews on each title appear below, but I am genuinely so impressed with this series, and it is so much more than a book that celebrate diversity—both in characters and the brilliant use of animals—extremely effective for readers in its intended age group. I love the book immediately because eight-year-old Kaita Takano’s mother is a bookseller like me, and my husband is a veterinarian and we’ve rescued animals like Joss at Happy Tails Rescue, who helps Kaita and her family become a foster family for rescued animals until they find their forever home. If fact, we have owned every type of animal described in the first four books—dogs, cats, hamsters, and two bearded dragons named Igor and Tony!

In each of these titles, diversity is “shown” simply through the character illustrations, as well as the diverse animals. The concept of diversity is done exceptionally well, in that it is organic to the story. There’s no narrative on race or differences, in the simplicity of the child-like mind, all the of the characters and animals are accepted, no questions or turmoil or comments of differences, they are simply accepted, as is, just because. Even more, the diverseness “shown” through the animals is celebrated, as Kaita and her friends learn more about each animal and its natural habits and habitat. This is a book that can be used in classrooms to let kids see all kinds of different people working together with no questioning or condemnation in any way. And these everyday characters interact in stories and situations that will strongly appeal to boy boys and girls in the age group—animal rescue.

And of additional note, each book contains STEM-related back matter, glossaries, animal fats, questions, activities, and information about the real-life 8-year-old Kaita, a Japanese-American with a real-life dachshund named Ollie like in the stories, who also rescues animals, and serves as the inspiration for this highly-recommended series. Especially appealing to young readers will be Kaita’s personal notes in the back-matter with pictures of her animals. And the back-matter stories and content are unique in each book. And each of these titles can be read in any order! Enjoy!


BUTTONS THE KITTEN, Book 2 in the My Furry Foster Family Series, by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer, Age: 5-7; Grade Level: Kindergarten-2, Picture Window Books (Capstone), Aug. 2019, 978-1515844747
Genre: Pet Books, Children’s Orphans & Foster Homes, Bookselling, Bookstores, Veterinarian Career, Animal and Pet Care, Friends and Family, STEM

Five baby kittens! Kaita’s next foster animal family includes five of the most adorable and hilarious kittens anyone could every know! Except for Buttons. Buttons is really shy and won’t trust Kaita, no matter how hard she tries. One by one all of Buttons littermates are adopted, but now buttons, until Kaita finds an unexpected way to comfort buttons, and when she DOES help Buttons find the perfect person, Kaita makes a huge sacrifice that all children will strongly relate to—(spoiler) she gives up her favorite blanket mader for her by Grandma. I tried not to cry…
Excellent for teaching kids empathy, understanding, and (wow) sacrifice, SHOWN through the story and illustrations, extremely well-written and effective. Highly recommend for classrooms, homeschoolers, parents, grandparents, educators, EVERYONE.

APPLE AND ANNIE, THE HAMSTER DUO, Book 3 in the My Furry Foster Family Series, by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer, Age: 5-7; Grade Level: Kindergarten-2, Picture Window Books (Capstone), Aug. 2019, 978-1515845614
Genre: Pet Books, Children’s Orphans & Foster Homes, Bookselling, Bookstores, Veterinarian Career, Animal and Pet Care, Friends and Family, STEM

Katia can’t wait to learn how to take care of her latest foster animal recsues—a pair of hamsters! Food, toys, bedding, no problem! Except—it turns out Annie and Apple love to play escape and hide-and-seek! It will be hard to adopt them out if Kaita can’t find them!

BETTY THE BEARDED DRAGON, Book 4 in the My Furry Foster Family Series, by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer, Age: 5-7; Grade Level: Kindergarten-2, Picture Window Books (Capstone), Aug. 2019, 978-1515845591
Genre: Pet Books, Children’s Orphans & Foster Homes, Bookseller, Bookstores, Veterinarian Career, Animal and Pet Care, Friends and Family, STEM

Ah how this book made me miss my own, old beardies Igor and Tony. We had them for 10 years (they can live up to 25 years!), before we had to move and find our own animal rescue near us! We were fortunate to find a special veterinarian in our area who also specialized in adopting and finding homes for reptiles. I know Igor and Tony found their perfect Forever Family. Though Kaita has a harder time learning about Betty the bearded dragon. She requires completely different kinds of care, including she needs to eat crickets! Yet before Kaita even has time to bond with Betty, she’s already getting adopted! And Kaita is shocked and excited to discover who is going to be Betty’s Forever Family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR

Debbi Michiko Florence writes books for children in her writing studio, The Word Nest. She is an animal lover with a degree in Zoology, and has worked at a pet store, the Humane Society, a raptor rehabilitation center, and a zoo. She is the author of two chapter-book series: Jasmine Toguchi (FSG) and Dorothy & Toto (Picture Window Books). A third-generation Japanese American and a native Californian, Debbi now lives in Connecticut with her husband, a rescue dog, a bunny, and two ducks.

Melanie is an American artist born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. She has been drawing since she was a little girl. Back then, her favorite canvas was pavement and her go to medium was sidewalk chalk. Nowadays, Melanie likes create artwork digitally but also enjoys using watercolor, markers, colored pencils, and acrylic paint. Oh, and sometimes a pinch of glitter too! Melanie is a 2013 graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan where she earned a BFA in Illustration. The Michigan-native has since relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in illustration and design.


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January 31, 2020, and Multicultural Children’s Book Day is in its 7th year! #ReadYourWorld


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year!This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
#ReadYourWorld2020
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Multicultural Children's Book Day 2020