Category: Books

Maya’s Big Scene | Book Review

Maya’s Big Scene sets the stage for the biggest production that Clark Alley has ever seen. A must read story for young readers!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Maya is a playwright with lots of ideas and BIG ambition, and the kids in her Mile End neighborhood are excited to bring her newest drama to life. It’s a play about freedom, equality and respect for all. But as her friends try to express ideas of their own, Maya demands complete obedience and loyalty. This is HER queendom after all! When Maya makes a scene, will her subjects revolt?

#MelAndNikkiReview

Maya’s Big Scene sets the stage for the biggest production that Clark Alley has ever seen. Maya is a drama queen and wants the best production for the neighbourhood. However, when she makes a big scene on getting things done her way she realizes the importance of having others contribute to the production.

This children’s story is fantastic as it opens up conversations with kids on freedom, equality, respect and working together. Nikki and I spoke about how it is important for us to respect other people and the importance of working together.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! We have loved this story so much that Nikki has said, “Encore” a few times and we had to read it again. This story has a comic style to it which made it fun to read and Nikki enjoyed trying to read this story too!

“My favorite part is when Maya realizes that she isn’t being very nice to her friends and that they should work together. It isn’t nice to be bossy!” – Nikki, Age 6

This book is great for children between the ages of four and eight. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

About the Author

Isabelle Arsenault is a Quebec illustrator whose passion for illustrated books has earned her an impressive number of awards and distinctions. She has achieved international recognition and has won Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literacy Award for Children’s Literature three times. She received a BolognaRagazzi Award in 2017 and was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2018 and 2020. Three of her picture books have been named New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year. Isabelle lives with her family in Montreal.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review and we do not make commission off of book sales. All opinions expressed are our own.

The Aquanaut | Book Review

“When I was young the world seemed too dangerous. Everything was too hard. Places were too far away. I was too young. But that was okay because I had a big imagination…”

Synopsis

Jill Heinerth is an underwater explorer, a cave diver, and someone who has faced fear and felt the excitement of discovering new worlds. Inspired by her childhood memories. Jill tells a story about a girl who feels too young, too little and too far away from her dreams. In spite of this, the little girl finds creative ways to explore, meet new friends and have big adventures.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Aquanaut is an inspiring story of how you can be anything that you want to be. It is about building your self-esteem and know your own possibilities. You can’t help but feel empower and the illustrations transport you between childhood and then the reality of this child. It was so beautiful to see the comparison of her words and then showing it applied to her adult reality. It shows that dreams can come true.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview we give this book 10 starfishes out of 5! Absolutely love the back and forth between childhood and adulthood. The illustrations are breathtaking and really helps transition the back and forth beautifully. We also loved the bonus at the end with the Author’s note and photos from her grand adventures under the sea.

After the story, you can discuss with your children what dream they have and explore their imagination. We did that and it was amazing to hear all the dreams that Nikki has for herself.

“I love how the character thought she was too young to do anything. But she did so much. Now she does what she loves by exploring the world in the sea. My favorite part was when she said she wanted to fly and she does. Swimming in the water is liking flying.” – Nikki, Age 6

Let your imagination expand and let it lead you to your possibilities!

This book is great for children ages three to seven. If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

About the Author

Jill Heinerth is a cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker. More people have walked on the moon than have been to some of the places Jill has explored on Earth. She has written a memoir entitled Into the Planet; made TV series for the CBC, the National Geographic channel and the BBC; consulted on movies for directors like James Cameron; and produced documentaries, including We Are Water and Ben’s Vortex. Jill was inducted into The Explorers Club and the inaugural class of the Women Drivers Hall of Fame. She is also the inaugural Explorer-in-Residence for The Royal Canadian Geographic Society and the recipient of Canada’s prestigious Polar Medal and the NOGI award, the diving world’s highest honor from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. When not traveling, she lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

About the Illustrator

Jaime Kim was born and raised in South Korea and now lives in North Carolina. Although she was a timid child who was afraid of just about everything, she discovered a sense of serenity in drawing. As a grown-up, Jaime finally stopped being afraid of everything but kept on drawing and painting. She works with gouache, watercolors and acrylics to create nostalgic and dreamlike illustrations inspired by childhood memories of her family, as well as movies, art and the outside world. Her favorite things are the sun, the moon, the sky and stars – which is why they always creep into her artwork. Her debut picture book, Take Heart, My Child, was a #1 New York Times bestseller.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for a honest review and we do not make commission off of book sales. All opinions expressed are our own.

A Story of Immigration and Inspiration | Watch Me

“Watch Me is an inspiring children’s story about how immigration has made a country great. The diverse skills and cultures that we are surrounded by is what makes us all great!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Joe came to America from Africa when he was young. He worked hard in school, made friends, and embraced his new home. Like so many immigrants before and after him, Joe succeeded when many thought he would fail.

In telling the story of how his father came to America, Doyin Richards tells the story of many immigrants, and opens the experience up to readers of all backgrounds. Here is a moving and empowering story of how many different people, from different places, make us great. Acclaimed artist Joe Cepeda brings the story to life with beautiful paintings, full of heart.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Watch Me truly encompasses what many people of all backgrounds faced when immigrating to another country. As a daughter of immigrants, I saw the struggle to create new roots in a new country and to work twice as hard to succeed for your family.

My parents came to Canada with nothing and built a life here. I am incredibly proud that they did it and they never lost faith that they could. This is why this story really grasped at my heart strings as to see Joe succeed when everyone thought he couldn’t is a great message.

The author, Doyin, describes his own father’s journey in this captivating story with simple text and breathtaking illustrations. Joe came to America and worked really hard even when people doubted him. He became a doctor and creating roots that you can see his family is very proud of.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! 

“This land is your land. This land is our land. There is enough for everyone.”

If you would like to purchase this great book, click here.

About the Author

Doyin Richards is the author of the pictures books I Wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work, and What’s the Difference? Being Different Is Amazing as well as a book for adults, Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering Mothers to Evolve Fatherhood. He’s been interviewed by Today (and is a charter member of Today’s parenting team), NPR, USA Today, The New York Times, and CNN, among others. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two daughters.

About the Illustrator

Joe Cepeda is the award-winning illustrator of more than thirty books for children. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, he lives in LA, where he is also the president of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review and we do not make commission off of book sales. All opinions expressed are our own.

The Last Straw | Book Review

The Last Straw is a creative and thoughtful story on the impact our actions can have on our environment. A must read for children between four and eight years of age.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Sippy, a plastic straw who was used once and then discarded, is concerned about his own existence when he realizes he can’t be recycled. As he flies, floats, and flutters around the planet, he meets animals who are struggling with the plastic problem. He chats with a raccoon with a six-pack ring around his neck, a cardinal whose nest is made entirely of junk, turtles who confuse grocery bags with food, a hermit crab forced to live in a plastic cup, and a startled duck who runs around with a chip bag on her head. Finally, Sippy is swallowed by a hungry whale who is dining on ocean trash! Just when all hope seems lost, he skyrockets to freedom and calls out “Join me – let’s clean our world! Let’s try!”

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Last Straw is a creative and thoughtful story on the impact our actions can have on our environment. Follow along with Sippy on his journey as he discovers other single-use plastics and the danger that these plastics can have on our environment and the animals that live in it too. Sippy becomes very determined that we can work together to clean our world.

“Parents and teachers of children 4 to 8 years old can use Sippy’s colorful adventure – based on real instances of plastics and animals in our environment – to raise awareness about the impacts of plastics on nature and to teach children about alternatives to single-use plastics.”

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this 5 stars out of 5! An amazing children’s book to help see what the single-use plastics can do and how we can do better together for our environment. We loved the end where it shows what we can do to help and alternatives to using single-use plastics.

If you would like to add this book to your reading line up, click here. You can pre-order before it goes on sale on January 5, 2021.

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. Please note that we do not make book commissions off of book sales.

Nico Bravo And The Cella Dwellers

Nico Bravo And The Cella Dwellers is the second book in a series and brings back all the favorite ancient myths and legends with an epic makeover.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Got a problem? The seasoned staff at Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop—a kid named Nico Bravo, a sphinx named Lula, and a unicorn named Buck—have got just the thing for you in their inventory of magical merchandise.

Nico’s enemy is finally revealed: Ahriman, God of Evil! Ahriman is fed up with Nico thwarting all his heinous plans and sends a shapeshifter named Orcus to Vulcan’s Celestial Supply Shop on a covert mission to take Nico and his crew down.

Orcus mistakenly unleashes a dangerous ‘Misery’ from the God of Misfortune’s pouch, threatening everyone in the Supply Shop, but also discovers the missing link between Nico, the Unicorn Wars, and Reality itself! What will happen to Nico and his friends when all their troubles converge in a desperate battle for the fate of the Universe?

#MelAndNikkiReview

Nico Bravo and the Cella Dwellers is the second book in a series and brings back all the favorite ancient myths and legends with an epic makeover.

This middle-grade novel series brings adventure and hilarious comedy throughout. We just loved it and you can never go wrong with a novel series with a comic feel. It makes reading that much fun! 😉 It is a great fantasy graphic novel and it is great for kids eight to 12.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Nico Bravo and the Cella Dwellers 5 stars out of 5! The Nico Bravo series is a great graphic novel with action, adventure and comedy. This series is great for kids who love mythology. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

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

About the Author

Mike Cavallaro is from New Jersey and has worked in comics and animation since the early 1990s. His comics include Eisner Award – nominated Parade (with Fireworks), The Life and Times of Savior 28 and Impossible Incorporated (written by J. M. DeMatteis), Foiled and Curses! Foiled Again (written by Jane Yolen), Decelerate Blue (written by Adam Rapp), and Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission off of book sales.

The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person

The Black Friend on Being A Better White Person will provide an in-depth look into racism and white supremacy. It offers tools to better understand and see it. You won’t be able to put it down once you start reading it.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

“We don’t see color.” “I didn’t know Black people liked Star Wars.” “What hood do you live in?”

For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simple let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having.

Speaking directly to the reader, Frederick Joseph calls up race-related anecdotes from his past, explaining why they were hurtful and how he might handle things now. Each chapter features the voice of at least one artist or activist, from Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give,to April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, to Jemele Hill, sports journalist and podcast host, and eleven others. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to “reverse racism” to white privilege, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now offers himself as the friend many readers need.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Black Friend on Being A Better White Person is a powerful novel full of rawness, emotion and in-depth knowledge. If there is one book to pick up to gain insight on racism, this would be the one!

“I couldn’t see any of that at the time, but I see it now, and I’ve made it the mission of this book to help others to see it, too, by choosing to create the Black Friend. In this context, the Black Friend is the person who is willing to speak the truth to the white people in their lives, to call them out when they do or say something hurtful, ignorant, or offensive. After reading this book, my hope is that white people won’t need to tokenize or ask Black people and people of color to do all of the work.” – Frederick Joseph

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 stars out of 5! It offers so much that I highly recommend this to all parents so that we can raise our children to be better for future generations.

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

About the Author

Frederick Joseph is a writer and an award-winning activist, philanthropist, and marketing professional. He was named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, is a recipient of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, given by Comic-Con International: San Diego, and was selected for the 2018 Root 100, an annual list of the most influential African Americans. He was written articles on race, marketing, and politics for outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence, the Huffington Post, and the Root. He lives in New York City.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission off of book sales.

 

 

The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp

The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp is a magical world that offers so much imagination and one-of-a-kind creatures that will have your young readers wanting more adventure.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Auggie Pound is eight years old and has the greatest job of all time: he cares for all the animals in the Fabled Stables. The Fabled Stables house the rarest creatures in existence — all of them one-of-a-kind. Auggie’s job is to care for these creatures, as well as track down and safely capture endangered magical beasts in the wild. Some mornings, he arrives to find an empty stall with the name of a new creature to rescue. One day, the Stables rearrange themselves out of the blue, creating a new stall. The sign over the gate says, “Wisp.” But what is a wisp and where is it? All Auggie can see is a moonlight swamp stretching out before him. Then a hungry HOWLLLLLLL rings out in the darkness. It’s up to Auggie to go into the swamp to find the wisp before it’s too late.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Fabled Stables: Willa the Wisp is an amazing novel for young readers and it is just the beginning of what we are calling a magical series.

A great and whimsical adventure awaits your young reader as the immerse in the story of Auggie. There are unique and amazing creatures and of course we can not forget the Wisp. However, you will need to read the story to find out what exactly a Wisp is. 😉

Nikki truly enjoyed the story as it reminded her how much she loves animals and going on magical missions. Therefore, it is no surprise that we give this review 5 stars out of 5! 

A magical mission awaits for you…Are you ready?! 🙂

For your unique young reader, this would be the perfect chapter book. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here.

About the Author

Jonathan Auxier teaches creative writing and children’s literature. He is the author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. His second book, The Night Gardener, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, the Silver Birch Award and the CLA Book of the Year for Children Award. His third book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, received four starred reviews and was shortlisted for the Sunburst Fantasy Award in Canada. Most recently, Sweep was the winner of several awards, including the 2018 Governor General’s Award. Auxier grew up near Vancouver and now lives in Pittsburgh with his family.

About the Illustrator

Olga Demidova was born and raised in Russia. She studied at the Moscow Art Institute of Applied Arts. Olga started work as an animator, but her tremendous passion for illustration changed the direction she works in. Now she works with publishers from all over the world and has published books and apps in Russia, Belarus and the USA, mostly for children.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange of an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission on book sales.

The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem

“With a noisy giant crashing around the kingdom, the Princess in Black uses the Sparkle Signal to call ALL her heroic friends together – for the biggest adventure yet.”

Synopsis

The Princess in Black is ready for her snowy playdate with the Goat Avenger and the Princess in Blankets. It’s a perfect day to build snow monsters and battle them for practice. But just when they’re about to wage battle, a huge foot smashes their snow monster, “SQUASHY!”

It’s a giant, and it’s smashing everything in its path! The giant is too strong for the three friends, so the Princess in Blankets has an idea: it’s time to light the Sparkle Signal and summon help. With a rising crescendo of a plot and delightfully surprising ending, the latest adventure in the New York Times best-selling series features all the Princess in Black’s friends as heroes for the first time.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem is the perfect adventure that will have you wanting more! We just loved it from beginning to end! The authors combined our love for princesses and superheroes into one – so awesome! We loved the idea that anyone can be a superhero especially working as a team. Fantastic message for young readers.

This book is recommended for children ages five to eight and is great for the young readers to truly embrace in the reading world. It is a great introduction to chapter books for young readers. We will be using this book to help Nikki really hone in on her reading skills and this is a great way to use all the bookmarkers that we have. 🙂

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 stars out of 5! The storyline is great and the illustrations help bring the story to life. A must read for all young readers.

If you would like to purchase this book for a young reader, click here.

About the Authors

Shannon Hale and Dean Hale are the award-winning husband-and-wife team behind the Princess in Black series, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Shannon Hale is also the author of Newbery Honor Book Princess Academy as well as the New York Times best-selling graphic novels Real Friends and Best Friends, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Shannon Hale and Dean Hale live in Salt Lake City, Utah.

About the Illustrator

LeUyen Pham is the illustrator of the Princess in Black series as well as many other books for children, including Pat-a-Cake by Mary Brigid Barrett, God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, Aunt Mary’s Rose by Douglas Wood, and Real Friends and Best Friends by Shannon Hale. LeUyen Pham lives in California.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission off of book sales.

The Tooth Fairy VS Santa

“The Tooth Fairy VS Santa is the perfect combination of fun, joy and an epic battle of legends! We just Blue and his creative ways to make special events even more special.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Santa and the Tooth Fairy go head-to-head in this funny, festive picture book perfect for the holidays!

Blue can’t wait to complete his first mission to become a Tooth Fairy. So when he arrives at a child’s house to collect her tooth and leave a coin, he’s surprised to see Santa there. Turns out it’s Christmas Eve, and jolly old Saint Nick is not ready to share the holiday! A competition to claim the night begins, but who will win the battle–Santa or the Tooth Fairy?

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Tooth Fairy VS Santa is full of fun, joy and an epic battle for the ages! You can not help but giggle along the way and cheer for the friendship built between Blue and Santa.

This book is the first in the series and you may recall our The Tooth Fairy VS The Easter Bunny review which is the next one in this series. Both books are just amazing and adorable children books.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give 10 candy canes out of 5! It makes a perfect story leading up to the big Christmas Day and it offers so much fun for little ones to read. The storyline is exciting and the illustrations are engaging with bright vibrant colors.

“I loved how Santa and The Tooth Fairy worked together to get the tooth and leave the presents. Teamwork is important and I am glad that Blue and Santa learned it.” – Nikki, Age 6

If you would like to purchase this amazing book this holiday season, 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. Please note that we do not make commission off of book sales.

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol

“The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol is a beautiful story with breathtaking illustrations. A must read for all.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Nate Gadol is a great big spirit with eyes as shiny as golden coins and a smile that is lantern-bright. He can make anything last as long as it is needed, like a tiny bit of oil that must stretch for eight nights, a flower that needs to stay fresh to cheer up someone ailing, or a small lump of chocolate that grows to allow the Glasers to treat their children over the holiday and, during a harsh winter when medicine is needed more than sweets, spurs them to share what little they have with the O’Malleys.

In this charming holiday hybrid story, well-known children’s author and editor Artur A. Levine pairs with award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes to offer a mystical, magical take on the way Jewish families came to give and receive gifts over Hanukkah, just as their Christian neighbors do at Christmas, thanks to a loving spirit named Nate Gadol working behind the scenes – together with a certain jolly old soul.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol is a beautiful children’s story about the magic of Hanukkah. We loved reading this tale which was full of kindness and magic. It touched upon the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah which I was able to explain to my six-year old who enjoyed learning about the different religious holidays. So important to enrich our children with the knowledge of other holidays and cultures.

We also loved seeing Santa and Nate Gadol join together to help one another. The real magic of any holiday is the love, kindness and support we can give each other. That was our favorite!

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 8 candles out of 8! We love this story and the illustrations are breathtaking. The gold texture details on each page truly adds that magical touch. We recommend this story to all.

If you would like to purchase this beautiful book, click here. This book is perfect for children between five to eight years old.

About the Author

Arthur A. Levine has been a children’s book editor for more than thirty years. He is also the author of many acclaimed picture books for children, including What a Beautiful Morning, illustrated by Katie Kath, and The Very Beary Tooth Fairy, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. He had his own eponymous imprint at Scholastic Press and has published many of the most exceptional children’s titles of all time, including J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, and Peggy Rathmann’s Officer Buckle and Gloria.

About the Illustrator

Kevin Hawkes is the illustrator of many books for children, including the best-selling Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. Kevin Hawkes lives with his family in southern Maine.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own. Please note that we do not make commission on book sales.