Tag: Penguin Random House Canada

Why? | Book Review

“Why? Why? Why? asks Rabbit. Bear answers patiently…except sometimes, Bear just doesn’t know why.”

Synopsis

Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know: why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is: why?

As the two friends spend time together through spring, summer, and into fall, Rabbit persistently and simply asks Bear why, encouraging the readers to figure out for themselves the reason for each question that Bear patiently answers, over and over again…until there’s a question that he has no answer for.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Why? is a beautifully illustrated story that many parents can relate as we all have gone through the Why stage with our child(ren). We currently still are in the “Why” stage as it has made a comeback. Therefore, we couldn’t help but fall in love with this children’s book.

Simply written with such an impactful message at the end. You and your child will love it from beginning to end. We know we sure did and Nikki loved saying “Why” throughout the whole book. 😉 If you are looking for a feel good read, then look no further. Why? is an adorable book that will have your child asking why all the way through and they will quickly learn that sometimes you don’t always have the answer for all the whys. I know I sure don’t and it was nice to see that I wasn’t the only one. 🙂

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Why? 5 stars out of 5! Why do you ask? 😉 The illustrations are breathtaking and the story is simple and engaging with big emotional impact. Plus, who doesn’t like bears and rabbits?! This book is recommended for children ages four to eight.

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

About the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is the author and illustrator of nearly two dozen acclaimed picture books, including the popular Dog and Bear series, the first of which won the Boston Globe Horn Book Medal. She has been awarded a Caldecott Honor twice, for First the Egg and again for Green, and a Geisel Honor twice, for First the Egg and One Boy. Blue, her companion to Green, has received four starred reviews. She lives in Rockville Center, New York with her husband and two sons.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

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My Grandma and Me | Book Review

“In this big universe full of many moons, I have traveled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma.”

Synopsis

When Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart.

This autobiographical story is at once deeply personal and genuinely universal. And it is a gorgeous celebration of the way love can be more powerful than the constraints of time and space.

#MelAndNikkiReview

My Grandma and Me is the perfect ode to a grandmother’s love. This book touched my heart as it reminded me of the special bond that I had with my grandmother growing up and how much I cherished the little time we had with one another since an ocean kept us apart. It was such a great reminder through this beautiful story of one young girl and her grandmother. I also love the diversity in the book and how two different religions are so similar in so many ways. The kindness, heart and love in this children’s book is absolutely beautiful and illustrations are breathtaking.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give this book, 5 hearts out of 5! Want to give a special thank you to the author Mina for sharing such a beautiful personal story and for touching my heart with her grandma’s love. I have mentioned it before on my blog that if you still have grandparents, cherish them as they are such special people.

If you would like to purchase My Grandma and Me, please click here.

About the Author

Mina Javaherbin has written several award-winning picture books, including Soccer Star, illustrated by Renato Alarcao, and Goal!, illustrated by A.G. Ford. She lives in Southern California.

About the Illustrator

Lindsey Yankey studied illustration at the University of Kansas and is the author-illustrator of Bluebird and Sun and Moon. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Our First School Year Takeaways

Hard to believe that our first school year arrived so quickly and just as quick, it is done. It is hard not to get emotional as we reflect on our daughter’s first school year. I remember dropping her off at the first day of school and her politely asking me to leave while I held onto the lump in my throat. Then releasing all the tears as I entered my car alone and wondered the whole day on how she was doing. To the last day of school where everyone excitedly said good-bye as they get to experience their first official summer holidays.

It has been such a journey and we all grew so much in the time that we call “school year.” There are a few takeaways that I want to share that may help other new parents as they embark on school life for the first time.

High and Low Points

A life lesson that we all know is that there are high and low points in life. This same lesson can be applied to Junior Kindergarten. There will be days that your child will be happy and there will be other days that your child is not happy. This is absolutely normal as the child needs to adjust to school life and some days might be better than others. The most important thing to do with your child is to talk about all the points of the day.

Every day after school, I would ask Nikki how her school day went and I would try to prepare myself in advance of what the responses might be. Some days there were some crying and other days there were smiles. At the end of the day, we both learned together on how to cope with the feelings of the day and how to better express them especially on the bad days.

Germs

They do exist and EVERYWHERE in the classroom! We were told by many other parents that kids get sick often at school, we were just hopeful that it wouldn’t happen to us. Well, that dream bubble broke very quickly in the school year as we battled cold after cold the first four months of the school year. At first we thought there must be something wrong with our child for being sick so often. However, our family doctor reassured us that this is common especially in the first couple of years of school. There are even points throughout the school year that it spikes (After Thanksgiving, Christmas Break and March Break were the most common times). A child’s immune system is being exposed to the world around them and it will take some to adjust.

We felt relieved that it wasn’t just us and we all started to take our vitamins to make sure we all stayed strong while fighting any cold that tried to bring us down. *When your child is sick, many times so do the parents. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

Kids Can Be Cruel

We all know that kids are not the nicest of beings and unfortunately we learned that very early on in Nikki’s school life. We had to deal with a child who called our daughter “fat” and it was a shocking experience for us to deal with. We learned a great deal from this experience and we were able to provide tips to help other parents who may encounter themselves in a similar situation.

Kids will be kids is no longer an acceptable term in our home. We feel it is important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging the phrase of “it’s part of being a kid.” Our biggest take away from this experience was to make sure that my child loves herself. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

Label EVERYTHING

The Lost and Found is a popular area in the school and I understand why. Many kids have the same bags, lunch containers, and even clothes. Therefore, many times the items are taken by accident by another student or the items are lost. This is why we highly recommend to label everything that your child brings to school, including their shoes. We use Mabel’s Labels as they are durable and they have the perfect label for each item you need them for! It was a life saver for us as none of our items were lost or misplaced. That saved us a lot of money by the end of the year. Thank you Mabel’s Labels! 🙂

Be Involved

It is very important to be involved with your child’s educational learning. In Nikki’s class they brought home a communication book every night, this is where we can write notes to the teachers and they would also write notes for us if necessary. We loved this as it got us to be more involved in the classroom by having this form of communication between the teachers.

We do encourage to participate in fundraisers at the school and attend events that are open to parents to join. We did the chocolate fundraiser and it was a great learning experience for our daughter to undertake. It brought out her fundraising skills out and she was one of the top fundraisers in the school (special thank you to our family and friends for buying chocolates in support!). We also attended the Fun Fair that they had at the school which was great to see and interact with our students and parents. It really made us feel like part of the school community.

Any form of involvement that you can do with your child at school will benefit everyone. We know that we truly enjoyed being engaged and involved. I took it one step further and volunteered on their first school field trip and boy was that an experience that I will never forget (article coming soon on this!).

Create A Yearbook

I remember having yearbooks when I was older in school and loved having people sign my yearbooks. I never thought of having my teachers sign it and I wonder what they would have written about me.

This is why when I heard about this idea from my sister’s friend, I just had to incorporate it in our lives. We bought the classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss and made it into Nikki’s official yearbook. Every year we will be asking Nikki’s teachers to write in it and this way she can look back and see what her teachers wrote about her. It will be interesting to see what each teacher sees in Nikki and it will be a keepsake for life.

We are truly grateful for the remarkable teachers Nikki had this year as they were very supportive of Nikki and of us as parents. This is why we decided to write a very detailed letter to the principal of the school to show our thanks to each teacher that impacted Nikki’s school year. Written compliments are rare in today’s world as we are all so busy. However, I wanted to make sure that the teachers knew how special they are and how thankful we are that they taught our child this school year. Nikki’s teachers appreciated this gesture by us and one was almost in tears as she was humbly touched by our words.

How Much They Grow

It truly is amazing to see how much your child grows especially in the first year of school. Nikki learned in leaps and we are truly grateful to her teachers who helped her grow as a person and as a student.

On the first day of school, Nikki had the baby face that still made me feel that she was my baby (pictured below).

On the last day of school, she was blooming into a young lady who had a magical first school year (picture below). The change in her appearance, demeanor and knowledge was tremendous that this was the biggest takeaway from the whole year. It is amazing how one school year changes everything.

Now here I am a parent who has fully embarked in school life and it has been a journey. I know there will be other challenges, triumphs and milestones ahead but for now I am going to bask in Junior Kindergarten glory as Nikki passed! There are more smiles, joys and tears to come as I know I have had my fair share of all this first year.

I want to thank my husband, my family and all my friends for all their loving support of Nikki and me as we all go on this crazy journey called parenthood.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Carson Crosses Canada | Book Review

“Pack your bags as we travel alongside Carson through Canada. It is a grand adventure with an even grand surprise for Carson at the end.” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson’s favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky — and grasshoppers! — in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie — and a surprise for Carson!

#MelAndNikkiReview

Carson Crosses Canada is a great children’s book and the perfect book to get into the spirit of Canada Day! We loved this book and going alongside Carson through Canada! Also loved the beginning and the end of the book where it maps out all of Annie’s and Carson’s route stops – great educational piece!

The story is fun and little ones will enjoy it from beginning to end. The illustrations were vibrant and a perfect addition to this grand adventure! We would recommend this book for children ages four to eight.

Carson is a lovable dog who brings a humorous side to many of their stops and we loved that as it made so much more fun to read. Who doesn’t like a funny dog?! Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 5 Chiens (dogs in French) out of 5! 

“I love this book. Canada is so beautiful and I love being Canadian mom!” – Nikki, Age 4

To purchase this great book and just in time to celebrate Canada Day, click here.

About the Author

Linda Bailey is an award-winning, bestselling author who has written more than thirty books for children, including If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, When Santa Was a Baby, Seven Dead Pirates and the Stanley series. She has won the Blue Spruce Award, the California Young Reader Medal and the Georgia Storybook Award, among others. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia. And yes, she has driven across Canada!

About the Illustrator

Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

The Not-So Great Outdoors | Book Review

“What’s so great about the great outdoors? It’s not like there’s anything out there! No buildings, no electricity, no playgrounds. But could there be something…even better?”

Synopsis

A reluctant camper discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers in this playful picture book celebration of the pleasures of unplugging and embracing nature.

What’s so great about the “great outdoors”? A grumpy urban kid begrudgingly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, missing all the sublime sights right under her nose as she longs for lights and stimulation of the city. But as she explores forests, lakes and mountains, and encounters bears, beavers and caribou, she slowly comes to realize that the simpler things are just as sparkly, that the sky is its own majestic light show, and the symphony is all around.

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Not-So Great Outdoors is the perfect summer book to get children motivated to enjoy the outdoors. Absolutely adored the concept of the story and the illustrations are beautifully done throughout. It was a nice journey to see how one person’s view of the outdoors can change if they are directly in it without any “modern” distraction. Such a positive message and one that all the kids should read (and adults too). 😉

We loved this book so much that for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 bears out of 5! The story flowed nicely and we love how it showcased how beautiful the outdoors really can be. We recommend this book for children ages three to seven.

“I hope this summer we do a lot more outdoor things mom! The girl in the book had lots of fun and I want to too.” – Nikki, Age 4

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

About the Author

Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations fill of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Little Senses Series

“The Little Senses series, inspired by creator Samantha Cotterill’s own life, illuminates the experience of children on the autism spectrum as they navigate life’s everyday overwhelming moments with the goal of destigmatizing and normalizing their behaviors.”

Synopsis

This Beach Is Loud!

Going to the beach is exciting. But it can also be busy. And loud. Sand can feel hot or itchy or sticky…and it gets everywhere! In This Beach Is Loud!, a sensitive boy gets overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and sensations at the beach. Luckily, this kiddo’s dad has a trick up his sleeve to help his son face these unexpected obstacles.

Combining accessible storytelling and playful design, This Beach Is Loud! gently offers practical advice for coping with new experiences to sensitive children on and off the autism spectrum.

Nope. Never. Not for Me!

Children are often picky eaters, but for kids on the autism spectrum or with sensory issues, trying new foods can be especially challenging. In Nope! Never! Not for Me! a young child refuses to try a bite of broccoli — that is, until her mom guides her through a careful exploration of the new food. First she looks, then she sniffs, then touches, and finally takes one tiny bite. What do you know? Broccoli isn’t so overwhelming after all!

With simple, reassuring text and bold illustrations in a limited palette, Nope! Never! Not For Me! espouses a patient approach to picky eating and empowers kids to explore new experiences without stress or pressure.

#MelAndNikkiReview

What an amazing series! We loved both books as they both flowed beautifully and the illustrations compliment the story. Nikki really enjoyed both stories and after I finish reading, she tries to read this series herself. That is usually the sign that she really likes the books.

Love how both books took an everyday situation and showed a positive solution. I think we can all learn from it for every child. However, I do appreciate the fact that this series is tailored to children on the autism spectrum and love the goal of the series – destigmatizing and normalizing behaviors.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give the series 10 broccolis out of 5! 😉 We recommend the series to children ages three to seven. Also please note that this book is great for all children and not only for children on the autism spectrum. This series is a great way to have children understand how overwhelming some moments could be for some. No harm in learning to be inclusive and understanding. 🙂

To purchase This Beach Is Loud! click here. To purchase Nope. Never. Not for Me! click here.

About the Author

Samantha Cotterill is an illustrator and textile designer. She works and resides with her family in Upstate New York. This series is very near and dear to Samantha’s heart: She herself is on the autism spectrum, and is very close to others on the spectrum as well.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*These books were provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

The Fog | Book Review

“Warble was a devoted human watcher.”

Synopsis

Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay?

#MelAndNikkiReview

The Fog is a great children’s book that addresses the environment which is so great. It teaches children that we should be asking questions when the environment is changing quickly and to not ignore it. It is evident in this book that once we question it, things can change.

Nikki enjoyed the book too and just wondered if the little girl ever found her way back home. Nikki was relieved that Warble was able to keep asking about the fog and to finally get an answer. We both enjoyed the inside cover and back page as it lists all the different people that Warble watched. The descriptions for each are humorous and we appreciate that.

Above all, The Fog is a great children’s book especially for children ages four to eight. We loved the concept around the environment and the illustrations were beautifully done. Therefore, we give The Fog 4.5 stars out of 5!

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

About the Author

Kyo Maclear is a Blue-Hooded Word Gatherer whose sweet-whistled song has been known to attract and repel her offspring. In spring and summer, this chocolate-loving female can be found flitting about city parks and waterways. In the colder months, she is best spotted in bookshops, libraries and cafes. Common activities include restless foraging and picture-book making. Originally a migratory species, Kyo enjoys her current nesting ground of Toronto.

About the Illustrator

Kenard Pak is a Black-Coiffed Noodler whose magical scratchings consistently beguile human species far and wide. Formerly found pecking away in animation companies, he is now most often observed diving into picture books. Ken can be spotted primarily in foggy San Francisco with his nesting mate and three feline companions.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

Hair Love | Book Review

“Sometimes, love looks like braids, puffs, and twists.”

Synopsis

Zuri’s hair lets her be her. It coils and kinks to perfectly match a princess tiara or a superhero cape. But an extra-special day calls for an extra-special style!

Comb in hand, Daddy steps in to help Zuri find the perfect fit. With heartwarming text and radiant illustrations, Hair Love celebrates the curls that are uniquely yours, the bond between dads and daughters, and the joy that fills you up when you get to express yourself freely.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Perfect book for Father’s Day as Hair Love highlights the relationship between father and daughter. A children’s book full of love as a father gives his daughter the most unique hair style for a very special occasion. This book will have your heart melting as you see their adorable bond.

We just adored it from beginning to end and I have to admit that I wish my hair was that awesome! Books that reflect dads mean so much to us as we don’t see many of them out there and dads are very important people in a family. I think having dad work on his daughter’s hair is so special and sweet. We will be reading this book on Father’s Day to Nikki’s dad so that he has more confidence in his ability to do Nikki’s hair. 😉

This children’s book is a debut from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and the illustrations were done by New York Times bestselling Illustrator Vashti Harrison. They make a great duo in Hair Love. The story flowed beautifully and the illustrations are a perfect addition to this children’s book. We are sure this book will appeal to many children and dads as I know we loved it.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give it 10 kinks out of 5! We recommend this book for children ages four to eight or anyone who loves a good dad and daughter book. 🙂

If you would like to purchase a copy, please 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.

Babymoon | Book Review

“Shhh…we’re on our babymoon.”

Synopsis

Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern. While the term “babymoon” is often used to refer to a parents’ getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Babymoon is the perfect gift for an expecting parent as it pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family’s first quiet days with a newborn. I loved the message in this book and love the concept of a babymoon. The first couple of days are so important to just spend it alone to really get to know each other. All new expecting parents should read this book and have it part of their story time with their little one. Time flies by and the first few days are precious days to enjoy.

Beautifully written and illustrated! It truly touched my heart to read and it is a must read in my books. Therefore, we give this book 10 babymoons out of 5! It is recommended for children ages two to five but we recommend it for everyone who is expecting! 

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

About the Author and Illustrator

Hayley Barret says that fond memories of her own days spent nesting and cocooning with her husband and each of their newborns inspired her to write Babymoon. She lives in eastern Massachusetts.

Juana Martinez-Neal is the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Alma and How She Got Her Name and the Pura Belpre Award-winning illustrator of La Princesa and the Pea and of La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Ninos, both by Susan Middleton Elya. Juana Martinez-Neal was born in Lima, Peru, and now lives in Arizona.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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

 

Count on Me | Book Review

“But there are infinite ways to see the world…”

Synopsis

Some people see the beauty of the world through art.

Some people see the beauty of the world through music.

Our heroine sees the beauty of the world through…math?

Other’s don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And her way is through math.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Count on me is such a special children’s book that gives us a different perspective of how one little girl views the world and that is through math. It was so insightful and fantastic to read. I am sure many other children view the world through math eyes and many of them grow up to do amazing jobs that require a lot of math skills. I personally was not the strongest student in math but I truly admire those who are and this is why I loved this book. It encourages math and it lets children see the world through a different lens.

Beautifully written and illustrated! Loved that we get to take a look at the little girl’s math notebook as it really allows us to see how she sees things. Great added touch!

Therefore, we give Count on me 10 Polygons out of 5! Fantastic children’s book especially for children ages three to seven.

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

About the Author

Award-winning artist Miguel Tanco is a children’s book author and illustrator. He teaches illustration and organizes creative workshops in Spain, where he was born and raised, and in Italy. He has published over forty children’s books, including Great Dog; You and Me, Me and You; and The Story of Cyrano de Bergerac. He lives in Milan with his wife, Federica, and their two sons, Pablo and Javier.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

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