Category Archives: Children’s Books

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Santa and the Christmas Dragon’ by Amanda Roberts

With Christmas round the bend, it is a good time to review this children’s book.

santaTitle:          Santa and the Christmas Dragon
Author:          Amanda Roberts
Illustrator:   Cherith Vaughan
Translator:   Yaqian Gong
Publishers:     Two Americans in China Press (2016)
Format:          Hardcover
Website:         www.twoamericansinchina.com
Pages:             32
Genre:            Fiction – Children, Picture-book

What’s it about?

This children picture book tells the story of how Santa got to China. It is bilingual – presented in English, Chinese characters and Mandarin pinyin.

I had expected an education on Chinese culture, and how both cultures perceive Christmas. Instead, this book seeks to cross cultural boundaries, to connect our humanity through common themes – in this instance, good boys and girls deserving of gifts, and how gifts are welcomed. It encourages cultural sensitivity and understanding. I so want to know what the Dragon and Santa learned of each other’s culture.

I wish the fonts were larger and less ‘curly’; legibility is worth noting given the age of children to which it seems to target. The Chinese translation is appropriately lengthier to fit the rhythm of the Chinese language, its tone familiar to Chinese readers.

There are a few discrepancies, perhaps only to adult readers like myself. I will not list them, as this is a book for the young and their imagination. I see no need to taint it.

Would I recommend it?

Overall, an entertaining read. This beautifully illustrated bilingual children’s book will delight young readers.

Ratings:
Overall Rating:                  3/5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2016 LitWorldInterviews

#BookReview STREET SOLDIER by Andy McNab (@The_Real_McNab) Action packed, with an engaging protagonist and a hopeful and inspiring message

Street Soldier by Andy McNab
Street Soldier by Andy McNab

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Title:   Street Soldier
Author:   Andy McNab

ISBN13:  978-0857534705
ASIN:  B019CGXV08
Published:  August 11th 2016
Pages:  348
Genre:  YA, Survival, Action & Adventure

Description:

Sean Harker is good at two things: stealing cars and fighting. One earns him money, the other earns him respect from the gang that he calls family.

A police chase through the city streets is just another rite of passage for Sean . . . as is getting nicked. But a brutal event behind bars convinces him to take charge, and turn his life around.

Now he must put his street skills to the ultimate test: as a soldier in the British Army. And the battlefield is London, where innocent people are being targeted by a new and terrifying enemy.

Undercover, under threat – only Sean Harker can save the streets from all-out war. 

Body of review:

Thanks to Net Galley and to Penguin Random House UK Children’s for providing with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Andy McNab and I was intrigued by his foray into young adult writing and particularly by the main character. Sean Harker is a young boy (sixteen at the beginning of the novel) who loves cars and speed, whose life has been quite difficult, with no male role figure, a mother who has struggled through difficult and often violent relationships and he find his identity and his sense of self through his belonging to a gang. He ends up in prison and is given the opportunity to join the army and make good. Although at first it sounds to him as if he’d be betraying his friends, when one of those comes to a bad end, he rethinks his priorities. But not everything is plain sailing and old acquaintances and new temptations come his way.

The story is set in the UK (and it uses its location, and particularly London at the end, in a very effective and spectacular way), told in the third person, from the point of view of the young protagonist, Sean, who is street wise but not always good at fully appraising his circumstances or seeing the whole picture. He has his heart in the right place (he feels for his friends, is loyal and wants to protect his mother, and dislikes the racist and sexist comments of some of the other members of his unit) but he can be manipulated and influenced by those more experienced than him. Although the story does not go into psychological depths regarding Sean’s personality and thoughts, and it does not dwell in detail on his past, there is enough to make him sympathetic, and his reactions, doubts, mistakes and fears are all too recognisable and real. He is the small guy everybody tries to take advantage of, who doesn’t know whom he can trust, but he eventually finds his way.

There is plenty of action, including violence (and traumatic and sad events) and use of swearwords (although this is not extreme considering the genre), and the novel deals with difficult subjects throughout, including: suicide, extreme maiming and death of a teammate by bombing, terrorism, ultra-right politics, gang warfare, domestic violence, imprisonment… The pace is fast, fluid, and there’s not let down of tension and intrigue. It is a true page-turner, and although at times it seems about to go on a dangerous direction, it pulls it all together beautifully at the end. The protagonist is put to the test emotionally, physically and psychologically and although his reasons might be good (or so he thinks) he makes many mistakes. Thankfully he is given a second chance and he proves himself worthy of it.

At the end of the book the author identifies himself with the main character and explains that his life circumstances were quite similar to those of Sean Harker and how he was also given a chance and now he spends part of his time going to schools to spread the word.  The character and McNab’s own story made me think of many young men I’d met in prison (when I worked as a forensic psychiatrist) whose lives and circumstances were not that different to those of the character depicted in this novel. I just hope they all have the chance, the opportunity and the will to make good too.

Street Soldier is a great read for young adults (and adults) who like action, a well-plotted book, full of tension and emotions. It also delivers a positive and wholesome message and I can see it turned into a successful TV series or an action film. I’m sure this won’t be the last of Andy McNab’s books I’ll read.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $7.78
Kindle: $ 14.09

Hardback: $ 7.93

Audiobook: $25.06

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

An Unlikely Friendship by Jasmine Fogwell – #BookReview

An Unlikely Friendship by Jasmine Fogwell
An Unlikely Friendship by Jasmine Fogwell

An Unlikely Friendship by Jasmine Fogwell is an imaginative, wholesome story with a surprise ending.

James, the main character, meets a 150 year old lady with a mystery-filled reputation.  To add to the suspense, James discovers the two of them have something in common—something found in the woods.

They’re wonderful, and if only you could tell your human loved ones of the bond you can share with one of those strange creatures, perhaps humans could learn from them, the 150 year old lady said to James.

The story moves along at a good pace and keeps you guessing, what happens next? An interesting, unique story filled with enough suspense to hold your attention. I enjoyed it. Our ten-year old daughter really enjoyed it. She can’t wait to get the next two books in the trilogy to see what happens next.

A  charming story for young readers. A great find.

5 stars.

#Book #Review by @RobertHughes05 of “Davey & Derek – Junior Detectives: The Case Of The Missing Cell Phone” by @janice_spina

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Title: Davey & Derek – Junior Detectives: The Case Of The Missing Cell Phone

Author: Janice Spina

Published: 5 May 2015 by Janice Spina

Genre: Children’s Books

Language: English

Pages: 158 (paperback)

ISBN-10: 0692433279

ISBN-13: 978-0692433270

Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.9 x 20.3cm

Price: £6.78 (Paperback)

Sold By: Amazon UK Amazon USA

Twin brothers, Davey & Derek, are up for an adventure. They want to become junior detectives and solve their first case. With the help of their friend Mickey, they soon have their first case to solve after overhearing a conversation their mother has on the phone.

It’s not long before the three boys are on the case to find a missing cell phone. However, the case is not going to be that easy to solve for the Fifth graders, given that the suspects are all in the Sixth grade at their school. When the police get involved, the whole school can talk about nothing else and the three junior detectives become even more determined to solve the case of the missing cell phone.

It’s been a long time since I read a book that has been written for children, but from the opening chapter I was engrossed in this story and could not put it down. Okay, it only took me two hours to read, but for the entire time I was willing on the main characters to quickly find the culprit(s) so they could be brought to justice.

The main characters are very likable and you can’t but want them to succeed in their first case as junior detectives. For me, the Author’s characters remind me of the works of the great Children’s Author, Enid Blyton. Even the villains are written in a way that you can’t not feel for them and, when you read the book, you’ll get exactly what I mean.

The story moves along at a fast pace and there’s nothing in it that will make the reader wonder if they’ve missed anything. Sure, there is a red-herring, but what’s an excellent detective mystery without the odd red herring thrown in? Given who the Author has written the book for, I firmly believe she’s done an excellent job. It’s a no wonder, then, that the book has already won an award.

I was delighted to hear that there is a second book in the series. Janice Spina is on to a real winner here and I can only see that Davey & Derek are going to become characters that children of all ages are going to love. Now, if only she could introduce a pet dog into the stories like Enid Blyton did with The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, then I think the character selection would be complete.

If you’re looking for a book that has the very real prospects of becoming a great series of stories for Junior School children, then look no further than this book.

Ratings

Realistic Characterisation: 5/5

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

Readability: 5/5

Recommended: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5/5

Review by:

Hugh Roberts

Hugh Roberts

@RobertHughes05 (https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05)

hughsviewsandnews.com (http://hughsviewsandnews.com/about/)

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Dancing on Dewdrops – A Review

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The summary on Amazon.com reads:

Dancing on Dewdrops is an entrancing collection of poems, prayers, and short stories that capture the utter joy of youth, wrestle with the inherent elements of change, offering strength and solace—all while celebrating life across several generations. The rustic poetry, prayers, humor and short stories for children will appeal to all ages. Dancing on Dewdrops provides inspiration, delivering the lasting imagery that leaves an indelible imprint on the heart and human spirit.

I honestly wish that I could agree with this summary, or with the one other review that loved the book and gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, this books is (as far as I know) my very first 1 star review.

This book of “rustic poems, prayers, and elegant short stories…” was not at all what I expected, and not at all up to my standards for any of the sections.

In the first section the author has provided us with several poems of varying lengths that mostly either deal with boyhood or death/loss. However, the poems read as though he couldn’t decide between traditional rhyming schemes and ‘free form’ poetry and so got caught in a bad in-between. On top of that, many of these poems do not portray what the descriptions say they are about. Poetry is very subjective, but in my opinion these could have used more work.

In the second section we are given a few prayers, mostly short and mostly not rhyming (though a few fall back into the couplet trap here and there). However, they all sound very bland and typical of prayers I’ve been hearing weekly for my entire life. I was really hoping for more elegant writing and more eloquent prayers.

The third section is labeled as ‘short stories’ but they are really a few short tales of the author’s childhood. While these are mildly interesting, the writing is, again, not as well refined as I believe that it should be and each tale needed a bit more editing and polishing.

Finally, they fourth section contains a duology of children’s stories, labeled as having ‘morals’ these tales are long winded, written in language too advanced for most still reading ‘children’s’ stories, and needed much more polishing before being put out for show. I believe with another revise and edit session (or two) this book could really pop, but right now everything is metered, rhymed, and written in a way that makes it feel off and grating to my nerves in a very bad way.

The cover, however, is GORGEOUS!

Book Launch – Tales from the Garden – Fairy Stories by Sally Cronin

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

Lit World Interviews is delighted to announce that Tales from the Garden, by Sally Cronin, is now available in Ebook versions with the print copies available shortly.

Sally and husband, David, will be leaving their house and garden at some point in the future and when they put the house on the market, Sally realised that it was not only the sunshine that she would miss. She already had many photographs taken over the last sixteen years and she decided to capture as many aspects of the garden as she could to take with them digitally at least.

As Sally photographed the statues, most far too heavy to take with them, it came to her that some of them had been there at least for 60 years and had seen many changes over that time. Also there was the mystery surrounding the missing dwarves? Just exactly where did they disappear to some nights; when the garden seems to be alive with excitement and you can hear the fluttering of many wings in the air?

Sally wrote the stories weekly on her blog but was so delighted by the response from those who read them, that this became her surprise book of the year. Those that were planned will be released in the New Year.

The Ebook is available now, and the print version will be available in the next week. Both are discounted on her publisher’s website, as there are no additional charges as on other online bookstores.

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About the book.

Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five, that will change the way you look at your garden, forever….

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin, reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.

You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

Meet Queen Filigree of the Kingdom of Magia, The Last Emperor and The Lost Boy who live in the sanctuary on the Spanish mountain. Ten stories of adventure, magic and love.

 Book Trailer.

Find out more about Tales from the Garden and buy the Ebook in Mobi for Kindle Format and Epub at a special 50% discount via the website – £2.48. Print copies are discounted by 23% at £8.42. The photographs in the print copy are in black and white and will be available in the next week to ten days.

Secure payment through the Moyhill Publisher sitehttp://moyhill.com/tales

Or through Amazon at the recommended retail prices.

Amazon UKhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180Q6CKM

About Sally Cronin

DSC_0869 a

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

For the last two years Smorgasbord Invitation has offered a legitimate excuse to write daily, meet amazing people from around the world and provide a platform to assist any artist, musician or writer to showcase their work.

Connect to Sally on social media.

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Book launch

Any help that you can provide in promoting the book would be most welcome and you can contact Sally on sally.cronin@moyhill.com. She will be doing a series of guest posts on various aspects of the book. Behind the scene stories of the statues, parts of the garden etc. and will of course share any posts on your blog across by social media.

 

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Twitter: @RobertHughes05

Hugh Roberts Google+

Hugh Roberts LinkedIn

hughsviewsandnews.com

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Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee by Brian Wu. #BookReview by @JERoyle

Brian Wu’s approach to teaching children about the immune system in his book, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Knee, was informative and effective. As Wu states in his opening “tips” section, Fort Applegate & The Battle of Wounded Kneeone of the primary goals in the writing of this book is for it to be used as a means of getting children interested in their immune system, and as a teaching tool. I found this to be true.
            Wu is certainly well qualified for the field in which he is writing about. He holds a PhD in integrative biology and disease and is an MD Candidate.  But don’t let all of that education intimidate you. Brian’s storytelling is very child friendly. 
            My eight year old daughter read the book. Afterward she asked me, “Dad, do I have T-Cells and B-Cells like that boy in the story?” A great example of the author’s intent; get children more interested in talking about their health, and get parents more involved in educating their children about their bodies.    
 
            Though the book is not very long, Brian does a fine job in touching upon the highlights of the immune system. And he does it by introducing you to Nolan, a young explorer who cuts his knee on a rock. With a little imagination, Nolan takes us to the front lines of the battle going-on inside his body. As the white blood cells attempt to rescue him, it is just the beginning of the attack of the Bacteria Gang
Editor’s Note: After reading Jason’s review, I wish I had taken this one instead of offering it to him and his family.-RH


ABOUT BRIAN WU

Brian Wu, AuthorBrian Wu graduated with a Bachelor’s Science Degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD Candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for a large number of prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics, and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own health conditions and daily circumstances.

Contact Brian Wu at hello @ healthstoriesforkids.com (Don’t forget to remove the spaces. All in blue is the email address.)
More info on Brian can be found at http://www.brianwwu.com.



Writing, for Jason Royle, is a way to express the ongoing story of theology. With every book or article, he hopes readers get a sense of the complexity of God and the necessity of faith. Captivated by the spiritual component of life, Jason loves to read everything from the Greek classics to the Sunday comics.  Amazon Author Page.

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© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

A @ColleenChesebro Interview with Children’s Author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne @hollyssis

 

I have the best news! I would like to introduce you all to Deanie Humphrys Dunne, author of five children’s books: “Tails of Sweetbrier,” “Charlie the Horse,” “Charlene the Star,” “Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes,” and “Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog.”

The Tails of Sweetbrier has won several awards.
It was the winner of the Silver Medal in the Feathered Quill Book Awards (2014) and was selected as a finalist for the CLIPPA book awards.

The other books written by Deanie are entertaining children’s tales told from the animals’ points of view. All of these books are filled with valuable life lessons. They are beautifully illustrated by her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj.

When Deanie isn’t writing, she loves spending time with her family and their dog, Elliott. She enjoys watching equestrian competitions and figure skating shows.

Author, Deanie Humphrys Dunne, photograph – courtesy of Bob Moseder

Colleen: So Deanie, tell me something about yourself. Where do you live? Are you a full-time writer?

Yes, I am a full-time writer, along with being a Mom and wife. We live in Connecticut.

Colleen: What inspired you to write children’s books?  Have you written other books?

My career as an author began rather unexpectedly. I had been anticipating employment as a medical coding specialist, but no one was interested in hiring me without experience. Silly, isn’t it?

One day I had a strong intuition to write a story about growing up on our family farm called Sweetbrier. Remembering my Dad’s advice to consider the worst thing that could happen when I was worried about a new venture, I figured if the story wasn’t published, I wouldn’t likely pass away.

Consequently, I wrote my first book, the award-winning “Tails of
Sweetbrier.” This story involves overcoming obstacles to realize your dreams, against the odds. It’s an autobiography of the journey I took with my Dad after he made a decision that changed my life. This book proves all things are possible if you persevere.

My other books, “Charlie the Horse,” “Charlene the Star,” “Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes,” and “Charlene the
Star and Bentley Bulldog,” are fictional tales told by the animal characters. They’re all beautifully illustrated by my sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj. She is an incredible talent. She creates adorable illustrations, as well as book covers for our books. Nothing would be the same without her talents! All of my books are available on Kindle.

Find on Amazon

You can find a free chapter here. After you read it, make sure and tell Deanie what you think on her blog!

Find on Amazon

Find on Amazon

Find on Amazon

Find on Amazon

Colleen: What messages do you want your young readers to get from your writing?

My books are all filled with subtle life lessons that I hope will inspire and entertain children. For example, Charlie the Horse learns he must work hard and set goals if he wants to become a famous racehorse. Charlene the Star is a beautiful red horse who has different skills than anyone in her family. She proves it is okay to be an individual. She also shows it’s important to work hard to develop your natural talents.

Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes is a humorous story about a group of animals who look for an exciting new career. They start their own business to help their friends overcome training problems. It highlights friendship and teamwork. Finally, my new book, Charlene the Star and Bentley
Bulldog, addresses bullying. It also shows you can change if you realize the need to do so. Readers learn about the animals’ comical thoughts and actions in these stories.

Colleen: Who is your favorite author and explain what really inspires you about their work.

If I’m reading romance novels, I like Danielle Steel because she is not predictable, and her books are always engaging, in my view. I have many children’s authors, whom I admire.

Janice Spina, Sarah Mazor, Yael Rosenberg, and Kathleen Andrews Davis are a few of my favorites. Their books are always entertaining and educational. They also highlight good character.

Colleen: Where do you get the ideas for your books from? What inspires you the most in your life?

Sometimes I get them from life experiences, as in Tails of Sweetbrier. But I would say most often, I decide what kind of theme I want and then craft a story around that.

Deanie Humphrys Dunne ancestral home – “Sweetbrier.” Photographer Unknown.

I would say my family is responsible for encouraging me. My parents used to tell me I should write books. Of course, I thought the idea was ridiculous. But once I started, it was fun. My sister, Holly, and my husband, Francis, always encourage me and give me new ideas when I need them, as do our sons.

***

I would like to thank Deanie for letting us get to know more about her and for sharing the information about these delightful books she writes for children. If you have young children or grandchildren you will enjoy reading these books together. The artwork is fabulous and the colors are inviting to kids.

Did you enjoy meeting Deanie? If so, here are some other places you can find her:

The Authors Show.com (contains an audio and video of another interview with Deanie)

deanieblog

Children’s Books with Life Lessons.com

Dhdunneblogspot.com

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

@ColleenChesebro

SilverThreading.com