Category Archives: Picture books

Come on a joyful adventure with Joy’s Journey by Jacinta Farragher – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to review a beautiful new picture book Joy’s Journey, written by Jacinta Farragher, illustrated by Manka Kasha and published by Little Steps Publishing. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About author Jacinta Farragher

While living in Thailand, Jacinta Farragher found that snippets of quirky verse popped into her brain every time she had a massage. Naturally, she wanted to explore this further and started having massages twice a week. Now she’s a children’s picture book author! Jacinta is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Creative Kids Tales, and the Australian Society of Authors. She dedicates her time to writing and having massages. Jacinta’s passion is writing fun picture books with messages that uplift and empower. She plans to spend the next few decades writing books that will inspire children and adults alike for generations to come. Jacinta’s debut picture book, Joy’s Journey, is an adventurous quest story about realising the joy is in the journey. This will soon be followed by a second book, Joy’s Way – a fun story about doing things your own way.

About Joy’s Journey

She travels over land and sea, to see what she can see. She becomes a bold adventurer, to be what she can be… Join Joy as she travels through four seasons, meets friends, and ultimately discovers that the joy is in the journey, and the most precious thing you can find is yourself!

What I like about Joy’s Journey

Joy’s Journey is a delightful tale from start to finish. For me with my own red-haired family, a redheaded freckle-faced protagonist has extra appeal, 😉 but of course there’s far more in the book to delight than that.

The story begins with Joy setting off to find a paradise where lives a teacher ‘strong and kind and wise’ and where, she’s heard, all her wishes will come true. She travels across the seas to different lands, exploring every terrain including a desert island, a cave, mountains and valleys. She meets many new friends and even finds a chest full of treasure.

Continue reading: Come on a joyful adventure with Joy’s Journey by Jacinta Farragher – readilearn

The Precious Plum ― an original fairytale by Jennifer Horn – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Jennifer Horn, author and illustrator of a delightfully nostalgic but contemporary fairytale The Precious Plum.

About Author-Illustrator Jennifer Horn

Jennifer Horn is a Brisbane-based freelance illustrator and budding children’s writer. Her debut picture book “The Precious Plum” was released in October 2021 amongst some very musical live book launches. She illustrated the cover of Anthology Angels’ children’s fundraising anthology, Once Upon a Whoops!: Fractured Fairytales and Ridiculous Rhymes (2021). Her short stories have appeared in each of Anthology Angels’ annual publications since 2018: It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (2018), Spooktacular Stories (2019) and Tell ‘Em They’re Dreaming (2020). Her first Young Adult short story, Faulty Connection, was published in Rhiza Edge’s dystopian and sci-fi anthology, Crossed Spaces earlier this year. She was awarded a Highly Commended for her submission of middle grade illustrations at the 2020 CYA Conference.

With a background in Architecture, Jen draws on her love of stories and adventure to create whimsical illustrations in a Quentin-Blake-inspired squiggle style. She enjoys reading books over local community station Reading Radio, and playing keys, including the piano accordion.  She has also been part of Art Department teams on several Brisbane-based films, including Romance on the Menu on Netflix and The Umbrella on Amazon Prime.

About The Precious Plum

When a baker of magical goods for her village attempts to help her good friend the Gentleman, she finds an important ingredient goes missing in the process.

A tale for all who have unwittingly left a piece of themselves behind, The Precious Plum is a whimsical fairytale about finding that sometimes the things we are looking for are right where we left them.

What I like about The Precious Plum

The Precious Plum is a beautiful fable about love and kindness that will appeal to adults as well as to children, or to children as well as to adults.

I have read this book a number of times, and each time, I have been left with a sense of peace and contentment. It makes me want to pause and breathe in all of nature’s beauty, all the joys of the world. It is like a brief interlude stopping to smell the roses but through the words of a book.

Continue reading: The Precious Plum ― an original fairytale by Jennifer Horn – readilearn

Let’s Get Ready, Mama! with Sharon Giltrow and Arielle Li – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to review a beautiful new picture book Get Ready, Mama! written by Sharon Giltrow, illustrated by Arielle Li and published by EK Books. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About author Sharon Giltrow

Sharon Giltrow is an Authorcator, an Author Educator, based in Western Australia. She writes humorous picture books and middle grade speculative fiction. Her humorous debut picture book Bedtime Daddy, released in May 2020, is a companion book to this new release Get Ready, Mama!

Sharon has worked with children for all of her career, formerly as a teacher of children who are hearing impaired and Deaf-Blind, and now as an Early Childhood Educator and Teacher Education Support working with Young Children with Developmental Language Disorder.

Sharon is an enthusiastic and inspirational speaker with a passion for developing children’s oral, visual, and written literacy. She has experience presenting to children from zero- to ten-year-olds. Through Sharon’s author talks students, inspired by a real-life author, will discover the joy of literacy and unlock their hidden creativity.

Find out more about Sharon Giltrow on her website.

About Get Ready, Mama!

Even the most reluctant risers will find the fun in the morning routine with this lively role-reversal story about a mama who just doesn’t want to get ready!

Getting ready in the morning is a mission for many families with young children, but this inventive, tongue-in-cheek story provides a fun way of speeding things along. Full of heart and humour, Get Ready, Mama! is for anyone who has heard enough of “5 more minutes”.

What I like about Get Ready, Mama!

Get Ready, Mama! is a fun role-reversal picture book in which an enthusiastic child attempts to motive a reluctant mother to get up and going in the morning. What a hilariously non-threatening way to discuss those very same avoidance tactics used by many children, and even more, a fun way for parents to play-act reluctance in order to motivate their own children to take responsibility for getting up and getting ready in the mornings.

Any parent who has ever had to coax a child to get ready in the morning, and I think that’s probably most of us, will identify with Mum’s

Continue reading: Let’s Get Ready, Mama! with Sharon Giltrow and Arielle Li – readilearn

Interview with Author Rory H. Mather: Monster School Rules – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Rory H Mather, author of Monster School Rules —a perfect book for initiating those ever-so important discussions about class and school rules that occur at the beginning of every school year and are probably revisited with frequency throughout the year. Children will laugh at the antics of the monsters and the rules that must be enforced while developing an understanding of the importance of those rules. I am certain you and your children will enjoy this book as much as I do.

About the author Rory H. Mather

Rory is a 31-year-old who is completely and utterly addicted to reading and writing picture books…but it’s an addiction he is fully leaning into. He lives in a street that is lined with trees, in a house that is filled with picture books and in his head which is filled with ideas.

About Monster School Rules

Welcome to Monster School! Yes, it’s quite a sight. Listen up, cause there are rules: the first one is … don’t bite!

The Interview

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Continue reading: Interview with Author Rory H. Mather: Monster School Rules – readilearn

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 #ReadYourWorld – #readilearn

Today, Friday 28 January 2022, the last Friday in January, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD), a day for celebrating diversity in children’s books. I am pleased to be a MCBD reviewer for the fourth time this year; and was delighted to receive a copy of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs from author Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrator Courtenay Fletcher to review.

About Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs

From the website:

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is an award-winning picture book with a simple but powerful message: love lasts forever.

Lyrical writing and delightful illustrations provide perfect bedtime reading for any child. Kids love finding the Xs, Os and hearts hidden in the illustrations.

The book is also ideal for supporting children through grief, separation anxiety, parent deployment, foster care, divorce, illness or other traumatic situations, by wrapping them in a warm and comforting emotional security blanket and opening a dialogue on the nature of love.

Even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence through our deep connections to the natural world.

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs has received glowing testimonials from parents, pre-schools, Child Life specialists, librarians, social workers, teachers, hospice caregivers…and most importantly, kids.

Gold medal winner of the International Publishers Association Awards and a featured title in the LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary app.

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs was selected as a Child’s Grief Awareness Day book-of-the-month, and also featured two years in a row for Children’s Multicultural Book Day.

Hugs by moon, kisses by sun, I’ll always love you, Little One.

From author Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrator Courtenay Fletcher:

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is a lyrical picture book created to reassure children they are always connected to the ones they love. We’re so grateful that the book is fulfilling its purpose and being used by families, schools, and organizations around the country as a soothing bedtime story and also a powerful resource to help children coping with challenges such as divorce, grief, foster care, immigration separation, deployed parents, incarcerated parents, and more.

Teachers and parents can find free downloadable activities to go with our books on our website at https://www.innerflowerchild.com/collections/activities.

What I like about Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs

I was immediately captivated by the book’s delightful title which gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling and I knew this book was going to be special. I wasn’t disappointed. The combination of Bernardo’s lyrical rhyming text with the warmth of Fletcher’s colourful yet soothing illustrations makes Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs a very satisfying book to read aloud to and with young children.

From cover to cover, and on all the pages between, there are soothing messages in both words and images to reassure a young one that they are always loved.

The text opens with the words ‘No matter how far apart we are, I’ll always find ways to tell you I love you.’

Continue reading: Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 #ReadYourWorld – readilearn

Ten More Picture Books to Finish the Year – #readilearn

Last week I provided you with a list of picture books I had reviewed or whose authors and illustrators I had interviewed throughout the year. Of course, I read many more than that. It would be impossible to review all the books I read. However, in this post, I share just ten other picture books I have read and enjoyed this year, not all of which were published this year.  I hope you find at least one that appeals to you or your young people. (Note: where I was able to source a video, I have included one.)

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

by Sandhya Parappukkaran and Michelle Pereira (a Bright Light book published by Hardie Grant, 2021)

The blurb states that ‘No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.’ I think we would all agree with that.

However, when Zimdalamashkermishkada starts school, he knows he will have to do something about his name. He is asked to spell it and repeat it before a friend shortens it to Zim. When he asks his mother if he can shorten Zimdalamashkermishkada to Zim, she explains the reasons for giving him his name and suggests he gives people a chance to learn it. Which is just what he does. He stretches his name out bit by bit to teach his new friend Ella who shares pride in his name and teaches others to use it correctly too.

I love the theme of this book and its message about recognising and accepting others. How many times do we have children in our classes with names that we at first find difficult to pronounce? How tempting is it to simply shorten them because it is easy? How much more important is it for us to acknowledge and learn their given names showing respect for them and their culture and modelling that respect for the children in our class as well as our colleagues. Shortening names may be easy, but it can be hurtful too. This book is a great reminder of that and of appreciating our differences and what it means to be unique.

(Note; while there is a reading of this book on YouTube, I haven’t shared it here as I was disappointed that the reader didn’t even pronounce the author’s name correctly. Sorry, Sandhya.)

Usha and the Big Digger

by Amitha Jagannath Knight and Sandhya Prabhat (a story telling Math book published by Charlesbridge, 2021)

This is another wonderful book that I received as a gift from the author, simply for leaving a comment on an interview with Kaitlyn Sanchez on her blog Math is Everywhere.

In my comment, before reading the book, I simply said, ‘This book sounds amazing. I love that the constellation is viewed from different perspectives. What a great introduction to perspective for children – both the maths, and the ideas/points of view. The cover is appealing with the gorgeous night-sky colours. Yes, I’d love to read this one and have added it to my Good Reads Want to Read list. Here in Australia, we have different ways of looking at the constellations too. While we see the images drawn by connecting the dots (stars), our Indigenous Peoples see the shapes in the dark. It’s quite fascinating.’

And for that I received a free book from Amitha. That’s amazing. And the book doesn’t disappoint either. The deep colours that Sandhya Prabhat has used to illustrate the dark of the night and the sky with its stars are just beautiful and add so much depth of the discussions and the themes.

In the story, three girls observe the constellation that I know as the Big Dipper or the saucepan. The older sister also refers to it as the Big Dipper or a big spoon. The younger sister Usha, who loves trucks, sees it as a big digger. Unable to agree, they call on their cousin. But Gloria sees neither a dipper nor a digger. She sees a kite. When they try to see the stars from the others’ perspective, they come to a whole new understanding.

I love the way this book deals with looking at things from different perspectives and coming to an understanding. I also like that it includes information about the constellation, including that it isn’t really a constellation, it’s an asterism, and how it is seen by different cultures around the world. In addition, it includes suggestions for exploring maths related to the story. I wasn’t previously aware that there was a publisher of STEM related books such as Storytelling Math. I’ll be looking for more of their titles as I think picture books are a great way to encourage a love of maths as well as reading. That’s definitely a win-win.

You can listen to Amitha talk about her book here.

Continue reading: Ten More Picture Books to Finish the Year – readilearn

2021 — a Year of Books and Reading – #readilearn

Books and reading are two of my favourite things. Or should they be combined into just one favourite thing? If so, it’s a mammoth favourite thing.

I have loved books and reading for as long as I can remember and turning others on to a love of books and reading gives me great joy. Finding that joy is one of the reasons I interview authors and illustrators and review their books. I hope my interviews and reviews have encouraged you to read some of the beautiful books I’ve brought to you this year.

Just in case you may have forgotten some of them and are thinking of last minute gifts for those young children in your lives, look no further. Books make great presents for persons of any age, and any of these books will give long-lasting pleasure.

I this post, I remind you of the books I’ve reviewed and authors and illustrators I’ve interviewed throughout the year. It’s been a bumper year. Just follow the link to find out more about a book you are interested in.

January

We’re All in This Together by Skye Hughes and Alice Coates

School friends – Kiana, Amin, Roshan, Casey, Ming, and Tyler all have one thing in common — they can’t go to school. The world changed very quickly and now they have to stay home to keep themselves and their families and friends safe. They discover that even apart, they can find new and fun ways to be together.

Go Away, Worry Monster by Brooke Graham and Robin Tatlow-Lord

Worry Monster loves ‘helping’ Archie worry, especially on the night before he starts at a new school. Archie feels so anxious that his head hurts, his tummy flutters and his heart pounds. He soon realizes that the only way to feel better is to make Worry Monster go away. He does his belly breaths and challenges his inner fears by facing facts, and Worry Monster is forced to leave Archie alone! Go Away, Worry Monster! gives children useful strategies to cope with their anxieties and stress, showing them how to make their own Worry Monsters leave, even in highly stressful times.

Continue reading: 2021 — a Year of Books and Reading – readilearn

Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski — a review – #readilearn

Quoll’s Great Idea is about a Spotted Quoll who has very cold feet in the snow and finds a novel way to overcome this.

Today it is my pleasure to share my review of Quoll’s Great Idea written by Joanna Tait and illustrated by Muza Ulasowski. Muza sent me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

I have always admired Muza’s beautiful artwork and have previously introduced her to you when interviewing her about the beautiful picture book Forest Wonder written by Caroline Tuohey. You can read that interview here.

About author Joanna Tait

Joanna Tait is a medical practitioner, mother of five and grandmother of five with more grandchildren on the way. She has been writing all her life. Quoll’s Great Idea is her first published children’s picture book, with several more currently being illustrated.

About illustrator Muza Ulasowski

Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski is a great read allow introducing

Muza Ulasowski established her art studio, Muza Designs, in 2007, set in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The studio is surrounded by a vast array of wildlife who tend to regularly make an appearance in her illustrations.

In 2010, she was invited to illustrate her first children’s picture book and enjoyed it so much, she has been collaborating ever since with Australian and international authors and publishers. To date she has illustrated over 10 published children’s picture books and is currently illustrating several more.

Whilst primarily concentrating on creating digital images for children’s picture books, Muza also specializes in graphic design, designing book covers and book layouts to print ready stage.

She also enjoys creating pencil and charcoal illustrations, acrylic painting, photographing wildlife and creating colourful merchandise from her artwork on her trusty sewing machine.

About Quoll’s Great Idea  — the blurb

Continue reading: Quoll’s Great Idea by Joanna Tait and Muza Ulasowski — a review – readilearn

The Glint of Gold  by Kate McGann and Patricia Ward — Review – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to review a beautiful new picture book The Glint of Gold, written by Kate McGann, illustrated by Patricia Ward and published by Little Pink Dog Books. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About author Kate McGann

Kate McGann is a writer living in Central Victoria with her partner and two children. She loves to write stories that explore relationships and wellbeing. She is a life-long fossicker of nature’s treasures and is endlessly inspired by the world around her. The Glint of Gold is her first picture book. Visit Kate at her website.

About illustrator Patricia Ward

Being an only child, Patricia spent much of her time living in her imagination, bringing it to life through drawing and illustration. She loves exploring colour and playing with positive and negative spaces. Her work is vibrant and whimsical, with an underlying sense of a narrative. Patricia believes every illustration should tell a story whether it is accompanied by text or not.

You can follow Patricia on instagram and facebook or check out her website.

About The Glint of Gold

A picture book for ages 4 – 7 years

It’s there every day if you look for it. The glint of gold. It’s in the white blossom of our plum tree against a blue sky. Or the sparkles Jack Frost leaves on the drive to school…..A heart-warming story to inspire awareness, gratitude and positive thinking.

What I like about The Glint of Gold

I was immediately captivated by the title and the cover image with the sense of wonder so evident on the young girl’s face. The opening page sets the tone for the book, reminding us of the ‘gold’ that exists in the everyday.

Continue reading: The Glint of Gold  by Kate McGann and Patricia Ward — Review – readilearn

Grandmas are Greater than Great by James Solheim – #readilearn

How could I resist a picture book titled Grandmas are Greater than Great? I was captivated by Kaitlyn Sanchez’s interview with author James Solheim on her blog Math is Everywhere and knew immediately that I would have to buy this book for my granddaughter’s tenth birthday later in the year.

When I was turning ten, my grandfather impressed on me how grown up I was becoming now that I had reached double figures. I’d never forgotten how important it had made me feel. When my grandson turned ten, I wrote him a letter telling him about the significant milestone and what my grandfather said to me. With his little sister’s tenth birthday fast approaching, I knew I had to do something similar for her, but not the same. Solheim’s book seemed just the thing, so I ordered it immediately. I wasn’t disappointed. (I wasn’t disappointed either when I received a free copy from the author, simply because I’d commented on Kaitlyn’s blog. How awesome is that!)

About James Solheim

James Solheim’s books circle the globe and travel through centuries.  They explore the wackiest foods on earth and tell the stories of history through our grandmas.

Born in rural North Dakota in the U.S., he grew up mostly in Missouri.  As a child he wrote and illustrated his own books and looked for lost civilizations and dinosaur bones in his backyard.

He met his eventual wife when he was assigned to sit by her at a spelling bee in eighth grade, with the result that he misspelled “paisley.”  She is now a scientist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Their two children are imaginative, talented grownups—grown up compared to their dad, that is.

Invite James to your school or organization to give one of his “Think Big!” presentations. These programs help kids set big goals and see the importance of books in reaching them.

He’ll even do an online visit with your school or book group!

About Grandmas are Greater than Great

Grandmas Are Greater Than Great is a humorous, animated, and informative look at the lasting power of ancestors. Explore families, generations, and kid power in this heartfelt collaboration between James Solheim and bestselling illustrator Derek Desierto.

Everyone has two grandmas, and every grandma has her own two grandmas. This cycle continues back through time and history.

Traveling from generation to generation, this dynamic picture book offers young readers a bird’s-eye view of how daily life has changed over time. But despite all the differences, one thing has remained the same: a grandma’s love.

James Solheim’s lively text and Derek Desierto’s exuberant illustrations capture the delights and challenges each daughter, mother, and grandma encountered through the centuries. This rich multigenerational story explores the idea that we are all the product of those who came before us, and it will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Grandmas Are Greater Than Great includes basic information on exponential growth and a family tree.  It’s a gift of a book for all ages to read with their families, friends, or on their own.

My Review

Continue reading: Grandmas are Greater than Great by James Solheim – Readilearn