Category: Books

You Matter | Book Review

“For anyone who isn’t sure if they matter. You do.”

Synopsis

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspective around the world are deftly and empathetically explored – from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

#MelAndNikkiReview

You Matter is exactly the children’s story that we should all be reading. The concept of the story is to engage the audience with the world in a new way and to see how everyone is connected. Most importantly it reflects that fact that everyone matters.

We felt this story was stunning and impactful. It provided us with gentle humor and warmth. It is a story that will have a child feel important as everyone in the world matters. Our feelings are so important, especially those of children who are discovering the array of them. After reading this story, check out the great activities you can do with your child(ren). You can check them out by clicking here. We absolutely loved all of them and it is a great added bonus.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give You Matter 5 stars out of 5! Young readers will be drawn and engaged in an important message that all of us should we remember; You Matter. No matter what or who you are, you do matter and that is something we should all reflect on.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here. Recommended ages are four to eight.

About the Author/Illustrator

Christian Robinson was born in Hollywood, California. He grew up in a small one-bedroom apartment with his brother, two cousins, aunt and grandmother. Drawing became a way to make space for himself and to create the kind of world he wanted to see. He studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts and would later work with the Sesame Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios before becoming an illustrator of books for children. His books include Gaston and Antoniette, written by Kelly DrPucchio, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Pena, which was awarded a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and the Newbery Medal. He presently lives in northern California with his rescue greyhoud Baldwin and several houseplants. He looks forward to one day seeing the aurora borealis. Visit him online at http://www.TheArtofFun.com.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*A virtual copy of the book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

**Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

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Buckle Up: A Children’s Imaginary Journey About Self-Control

“Buckle Up is a great tool and resource for parents and teachers to have. Teaching children self-control can be difficult but this book will make it much more fun, interactive and it’s a creative way to do it.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Life can be challenging at times, and unpredictable, with ups and downs and all sorts of things we can’t control. It’s like driving a car on a bumpy road. We can’t wish the bumps away. We can’t control who travels those roads with us, or make the sun shine on our journey if it’s a rainy day. But we can control how we feel about it. We can let it make us angry or sad or scared, or we can stay calm, accept the challenges, and make good decisions.

That’s what this story is all about. With Nini the bird as your special guide, you will take a driving journey in your imagination, a road trip in your mind, with you in the driver’s seat. You’ll learn how to face life’s obstacles and disappointments with healthy, positive “green thoughts” and wait patiently for the rainbow that will surely follow the rain.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Buckle Up is a children’s story that can be used as a tool to help navigate a child’s emotions. We all know how difficult it can be to express how we are feeling and at times how to express it. This book is perfect to help children navigate their own feelings so they can better understand and cope with them. It is done in the most creative way as we take a trip to imagination land where we drive through situations and find the best solution to overcome them.  This book is also a great reminder that sometimes we are all faced with situations that are out of our control. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to take a deep breath and remember that we are in control of our own feelings. The message is perfect as we are all facing the pandemic together, but far apart.

We loved the analogy used of “driving” a car as the road we drive on can have bumps, signs and different paths to follow. At each stop we need to check-in with our feelings and pick the best option to safely arrive at our destination. It really helps the child visualize the concepts and then adapt what was learned into their own life. Of course during our imaginary journey we have the most adorable navigation system which is Nini the bird. You will be tweeting with delight with her presence.

Resource

Since this is an interactive tool, we do highly recommend for parents and teachers to review the reading prompts and resources available here. This will help readers maximize the interactive experience.

“This book serves as an educative tool, encouraging readers to acknowledge their emotions, use coping strategies, tap into their imaginations, become more self-aware and aware of situations, problem solve and make good decisions.” – Stephanie Scott

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! Buckle Up is a great tool and resource for parents and teachers to have. Teaching children self-control can be difficult but this book will make it much more fun, interactive and it’s a creative way to do it.

“I liked this book as it helps me control my emotions.” – Nikki, Age 5 (Going on 15!)

If you would like to purchase this book, click here. We personally would recommend this book for children ages 7 to 10.

About the Author

A graduate of Ryerson University’s Child and Youth Care Program, Stephanie Scott has been involved with the care and education of vulnerable children, many of whom struggle with various emotional and intellectual challenges, for years, and has found inspiration in their various journeys. With this book,  and others in the works, she hopes to provide an outlet for them to communicate their needs, gain coping tools, and learn skills and approaches that will benefit their growth and development.

When she is not working, she enjoys meditating, the outdoors, writing, and listening to music. She also loves spending time with family and friends, who bring light, love, and humor into her life, motivating her to be the best that she can be.

She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario, where she continues to pursue her goals in the child and youth care field.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*Please note that a signed copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

**Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The Authenticity Project | Book Review

“The Authenticity Project is perfect for your “me time” when you just want to sit back and indulge in a story full of friendship, love and makes you think.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes –in a plain, green journal– the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the other who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends-is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Authenticity Project is superb! It combined it all; friendship, real, love and the ability to make us think. I loved the set-up of the story with the green notebook. It lead to the creation of a group of friends that would otherwise have not gotten together. But the best part of this book, is showing how our best selves is being our honest selves.

Many times I often wonder if many of the photos I see can even be real especially from influencers online. Are they truly be honest or just posing for that one sponsor that they feel they can’t live without? During that process of being glamourous for the likes and follows, do they lose themselves? This novel allows us to see one mommy Instagrammer, Alice, and what she goes through (*this is a fiction character). This is what I found to be relatable and in this modern era, many will be able to relate to the story. Trying to differentiate between reality and fiction has always peaked my interest! 😉

From beginning to end, it truly touched my heart and it was so enjoyable that I read it twice! Huge compliment as I usually only have time to read a novel one time and that is the honest truth! If you are looking for a good-feel book to emerge yourself in when you do have some time for yourself then I do recommend this one. I know how hard it is to find that time but if you love reading then this will be great for you.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, I give it 5 stars out of 5! This story inspired me so much that for the first time I shared unfiltered and no make-up photo of myself on Instagram (featured below). It is ME and I love the me that I am. I am not perfect and am full of flaws but that is what makes me Momma Braga. I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

 

If you would like to purchase this novel, click here.

About the Author

Clare Pooley spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mother. Pooley writes from her kitchen table in Fullham, London where she lives with her long-suffering husband, three children, dog, and an African pygmy hedgehog.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat

“Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat is a fun story to read and one that can inspire us all to take better care of our planet.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Teach your kids the importance of environmentalism and sustainability in this fun, exciting adventure!

It’s the near future, and Earth is on the brink of an environmental apocalypse. Michael Recycle is desperate to reverse the situation when suddenly a visitor from another galaxy enters Earth’s atmosphere – Borat The Space Cate! Borat not only has ideas to help Michael stop Earth spiraling into the disaster zone, but he wants to show Michael just how sustainability can really be done. The intergalactic cat takes Michael back to his own planet – Splearth – a planet very similar to our own, but in a parallel universe where only cats have survived and reversed the fate of their planet. Oh, and let’s not forget the Vegan Vikings that helped out, too.

It might not be too late to help Earth reverse its fate, and if anyone can, Borat can!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat combines imagination, fun and learning into one great children’s book. An important lesson learned in the most magical way and that is through storytelling. The characters in the story make it so much more fun and they truly offer that dash of humor to keep everyone engaged. How can you not smile or giggle with Borat the Cat?! His name screams giggles and his illustration completes it!

We just loved reading this story over and over again. The rhyming style is our favorite type and really helped me get into character (our story time is always entertaining!). The story flowed beautifully and the illustrations were just amazing! We have now become Michael Recycle’s biggest fans! His mission to help protect our Earth is inspiring and it makes us want to do so much more to help. Included in the story is tips on how you can help your planet and we just loved this bonus feature in the story.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 stars out of 5 for being out of this world amazing! A story that encompasses it all and most importantly a message that should be heard loud and clear. We can all do more to protect our one and only, Earth.

If you would like to purchase a copy for your reading line-up, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*A virtual copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

**Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

Ocean! Waves For All | Book Review


“Ocean is the largest body of water on Earth and one important dude. He provides a home to millions of plants and animals, plays a vital role in oxygen production, and is essential for global climate regulation. Ocean enjoyed working on this book with Stacy McAnulty and David Litchfield, and would like to work with all humans to create a healthy planet.”

Synopsis

Dude, I am Ocean.

You know my many names: Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian, Southern. It’s all excellent me. My salt water flows across the planet as one. I have no flag. No nationality. My waves are for all. Life on Earth began in my epic waters. I keep the global just right. And I have rad secrets. But I’m facing a major wipeout! Only by working together can we get back in the zone. It’s you and me, dudes.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Ocean! Waves For All let’s us dive into the amazing world of Ocean and all it’s amazing wonder. We even have Ocean himself giving us the load down of his amazing features. Ocean has a very cool personality and it shines throughout the story, dude! 😉

We loved learning all about Ocean in this great children’s story. It is no surprise that we loved this book since it is the same duo who provided us with Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Year.

The illustrations are beautiful and the story flowed easily to make it fun for children to learn. We also loved how the author included facts, a game with Ocean and sources. However, our favorite part was the 8 ways you can be a friend to Ocean. This is the most important message of this book and how we should protect our Ocean.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Ocean! Waves for All, 5 waves out of 5! Great book to learn about Ocean and how we can protect this precious source for us all.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this amazing book, click here.

About the Autor

Stacy McAnulty is terrified of jellyfish and sharks, but that doesn’t stop her from visiting Ocean. She’s the award-winning author of more than twenty books for children, including Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Sun! One in a Billion and Moon! Earth’s Best Friend, both illustrated by Stevie Lewis; the Max Explains Everything picture book series, illustrated by Deborah Hocking; and Beautiful, Brave, and Love, all illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. She lives within driving distance of the Atlantic with her husband, three children, and three dogs. http://www.stacymcanulty.com

About the Illustrator

David Litchfield is the creator of the award-winning The Bear and the Piano, as well as the illustrator of numerous picture books, including Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty and Miss Muffet, or What Came After by Marilyn Singer. He lives on the other side of the Atlantic, in Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. http://www.davidlitchfieldillustration.com

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

You Be Mommy

You Be Mommy is absolutely adorable and one that many moms will resonate with. I know I certainly did and I have been reading it every single night to my daughter.”
– Momma Braga

Synopsis

Mommy’s too tired to be Mommy tonight. Can you be Mommy and hold me tight?

In this clever, rhyming picture book, a mother tells her child that she’s simply too tired to be Mommy tonight and asks her daughter to take over for her.

#MelAndNikkiReview

You Be Mommy is the story that I have been waiting for! Being a mother is the hardest job that I have ever done and I do get exhausted with my many responsibilities. Therefore, it is nice to have a break and ask someone else to be mommy. This story is relatable and full of heart with a dash of humor that will have your child giggling.

This has been one of our favorite stories to read this week as we gear up for Mother’s Day. I even asked Nikki if she would like to trade places with me for a night and she was quick with her response and said “NO!” I guess she sees how exhausted I am and is smart enough to say no thanks to my request. Just like the mommy in the book, I will be mommy again. 😉

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give You Be Mommy 10 stars out of 5! We give our highest rating as illustrates motherhood perfectly and it shows the amazing work that we do day in and day out. I also love the concept of getting the children to be mommy for a night. 😉 I am currently working on an arrangement with my five-year-old but so far she isn’t budging. This book will make a perfect gift for mom and for reading time with your little ones.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this adorable book, click here.

About the Author

Karla Clark writes fiction for adults and children. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Chicago Writers Association. Karla lives in Rockford, Illinois, with her husband and adult autistic son. When she’s not writing, Karla creates decoupage paper collages that she sells at art shows. To learn more about Karla, click here.

About the Illustrator

Zoe Persico is an author and illustrator for picture books and a freelance designer for animation. From adventurous road trips to a night playing games or watching storms roll by, she finds inspiration in everyday joys. You can find her work at zoepersico.com.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Go to Sleep (I Miss You)

Go to Sleep (I Miss You) will resonate with any mom who knows the highs and lows of motherhood. The best part of this book is the comic style and comedy throughout. A must read for moms!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Lucy Knisley is one of the great memoirists of the graphic novel format. Following the completion of her pregnancy memoir Kid Gloves  (and the birth of her baby), Lucy embarked on a new project: documenting new motherhood in short, spontaneous little cartoons, which she posted on her Instagram, and which quickly gained her a huge cult following among other moms.

The best of those wildly popular little cartoons are collected in this adorable gift book, Go to Sleep (I Miss You), a perfect read for expecting parents, new parents, and anyone who loves funny, relatable comics storytelling.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Go to Sleep (I Miss You) had me laughing out loud and relating to many of the comics inside. It is a perfect representation of the realities of motherhood for many and I just adored it!

I would imagine my journal would look similar to this one. Too bad I didn’t think of writing down my thoughts during that time. It would be interesting to see what exactly my sleep deprived mind would write. This is why I appreciate this book even more as this mom expressed her thoughts and feelings through comics. Bravo! I would definitely recommend for moms to give this a read if you want to have a good chuckle along the way. 😉

There were many that I enjoyed within the book but I think my ultimate favorite is this one below as I still wonder the exact same thought to this day! I am a mom of one and wonder how moms of many others manage to keep it all together.

Amazing what moms can do! So if you are looking for a great book to give mom this Mother’s Day and if she loves humor then this is the book for her! We give it 5 stars out of 5 for it’s creativity, humor and reality of motherhood.

If you would like to purchase this super cool book for mom, click here.

About the Author

Lucy Knisley is a bestselling author and artist of graphic novels and children’s books. She lives in Chicago, where she spends a lot of time drawing and writing her stories from the enormous toy pile that used to be her office. She previously published the New York Times bestseller Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride, and Kid Gloves with First Second. To learn more about Lucy, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

You Belong is the Perfect Book For New Parents

You Belong is a heartwarming story that captures all the feels of what a new baby brings to a family. A must read especially for new parents.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

I’m patiently waiting for you to arrive. I want to meet you so much I could cry. I wonder whose hands and whose eyes you will have? I wonder if you’re going to smile like your dad? Nothing you ever do will be so wrong. 

You belong, you belong.

Singer and songwriter Rachel Platten has written soft and sweet words of welcome to new babies. It explores the myriad of emotions expectant parents experience. The dreamy illustrations capture the magic and wonder a parent has for their precious one before they arrive, and the person they envision as they grow up in the world.

#MelAndNikkiReview

You Belong truly warmed my heart and took me back to my pregnancy as we awaited the arrival of our baby girl. It reminded me of the power of love at no sight as we love our baby before we even meet them. It truly is a magically experience and one that is coveyed so beautifully in this story.

From the heartfelt words to the breathtaking illustrations, it has surpassed our expectations. Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 stars out of 5! Hands down one of the best stories that we have read on the experience of being a new mom. Believe me when I say that we have read our fair share in the last five years on our blog. I can not recommend this book enough and if you know someone expecting then this is the perfect gift!

This book can also make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day as many moms will be able to relate to the feelings expressed. This book is recommended for children ages zero to four. My five-year-old enjoyed this book and it was a great book for her to practice her reading skills. Overall a beautiful story for all. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Born in New York City and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Platten is an Emmy Award-winning, multiplatinum selling recording artist. Few artists in the past decade have struck a chord of hope and resilience like she did with her empowering hit “Fight Song.” Rachel topped countless charts worldwide with her major label debut album Wildfire, which also included the platinum Billboard Hot 100 hit “Stand By You.” In 2017, Rachel released her second full-length album for Columbia Records called Waves. Pregnant with her first child, Rachel released, “You Belong,” a song dedicated to her daughter, at the end of 2018, which was inspired expectant and new mothers everywhere.

About the Illustrator

Marcin Piwowarski was born in 1972 and pursued both international and domestic careers in painting and children’s illustration. He is self-taught in traditional as well as digital illustration and has managed to make over one thousand books during his twenty-year artistic journey. His artwork is mostly inspired by nature, daily life, and music. He likes to mix magical and mysterious ambience with down-to-earth elements of everyday reality, which results in thrilling but comprehensible pieces that are loved by children and adults equally.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

 

Peter & Ernesto Sloths in the Night

“Peter & Ernesto Sloths in the Night is a charming and fantastic graphic novel about friendship between two sloths.”

Synopsis

Peter and Ernesto love the jungle, but they know how dangerous it can be at night. From clumsy bats to crazed owls to rumors of a dragon, there are countless things that make the darkness perilous for sloths.

That’s why, one day, when their friend Bernard goes missing just as the sun is setting, Peter and Ernesto quickly gather their tribe to form a search party. However, while these sloths have some sense of the dangers that they’ll face while looking for Bernard, there are surprises lurking in the shadows that will surpass their wildest imaginings!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Peter & Ernesto Sloths in the Night had me at sloths! I have a soft spot for sloths and was very excited to read this comic style story. A story about the depths we go for our friends and the discoveries we make about ourselves in the process.

As the sloths search for their beloved friend Bernard, they learn how brave they truly are and they help some new friends along the way. A story about adventure, friendships and knowing that you don’t always have to be right. Lessons that we can all learn from.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this book 10 stars out of 5! It was a well thought out story that had a dash of humor along the way. The illustrations are perfect for the comic style feel and it truly made the story come together. Loved it when they characters felt that a bit scared, they coped with a little song. Music is a great way to conquer fears in my opinion and I actually do that often. 😉

This book is recommended for kids ages six to ten. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Graham Annable is an Oscar-nominated cartoonist and animator living in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two sons. When he’s not huddled inside of his house creating graphic novels for early readers, he spends his time working on feature films, animated shorts, video games, and indie comic books. He’s rather fond of hockey and sloths. But never the two combined.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own.

Gold Rush Girl | Book Review

“Newbery Medalist Avi brings us mud-caked, tent-filled San Francisco in 1848 with a willful heroine who goes on an unintended – and perilous – adventure to save her brother.”

Synopsis

Victoria Blaisdell longs for independence and adventure, and she yearns to accompany her father as he sails west in search of real gold! But it is 1848, and Tory isn’t even allowed to go to school, much less travel all the way from Rhode Island to California. Determined to take control of her own destiny, she stows away on the ship. Though San Francisco is frenzied and full of wild and dangerous men, Tory finds freedom and friendship there. Until one day, when Father is in the gold fields, her younger brother, Jacob, is kidnapped. And so Tory is spurred on a treacherous search for him in Rotten Row, a part of San Francisco Bay crowded with hundreds of abandoned ships.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Gold Rush Girl is set during the Gold Rush of 1894 and is filled with adventure to draw a reader in. What captivated me as a reader was the strong female main character, Victoria (Tory). She embraces the unknown and refuses to be underestimated – love that! Tory also portrays great qualities such as being a good friend and being empathetic toward others. Furthermore, she becomes aware of her own shortcomings. Not in a way that belittles her strong character, but rather provides a depth look to who she is. You can’t help but respect it as you see her grow.

It is an interesting era to write about as the author combined real history facts into a functional story which made this book an interesting read. Make sure to read the Autor’s note in the back as there are some really cool facts he shares.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Gold Rush Girl 4 stars out of 5! Adventure awaits for readers between 10 to 14 years of age and an empowering story too.

If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Avi is one of the most celebrated authors writing for children today, having received two Boston Globe – Horn Book Awards, a Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, a Christopher Award, a Newbery Medal, and two Newbery Honors. He is the author of more than eighty books, including The Button War, What Do Fish Have to Do with Anything? And Other Stories, and The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers and Grandfatherd. Avi lives in Colorado.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.