New Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that were added to my shelves in the last month. I also share an update with you on other things going on in my life.

Family and Life Update

My dad turned 89 in August and my parents celebrated 65 years of marriage.
I know how blessed I am to have both my parents.
Pat and I visited the sunflower farm near our home. It was so beautiful to look out at all that yellow against the blue sky!
We went to the Iowa State Fair (for the 1st time) with Pat’s sister and husband.
We had a blast and got our free hard-boiled egg on a stick! I also want to share that Julie started a podcast this month called Encouragement for Life. Check it out, HERE.
Reagan started her Junior year.
She is going to have a busy fall with school work, musical, marching band, dance, show choir, and her job.

September came roaring in with a busy schedule. I subbed 4 days last week and I have 3 days scheduled this week. Our school district is so short on substitute teachers, bus drivers, and associates. It’s a great job and if you have free time or are looking for flexible, part-time work, I would bet money that your school district also needs subs. Give them a call. Also note that each district and/or state has different requirements for working there.

The other day I shared a slew of books that were sent to me from Chronicle Kids. You can see the post of all the really amazing children’s, middle-grade, and YA books, HERE.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, HERE to see snippets of what I’m reading or what’s going on in my daily life.

If you have missed any of my recent book reviews, you can see all of them by clicking, HERE.  Or you can stay up to date with my monthly Quick Lit Roundup.

If you choose to make a purchase through any of the links I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.


FORGIVING PARIS

By: Karen Kingsbury

Published: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Atria Books

Christian Fiction

Format: Paperback

It’s been years since I’ve read an adult Karen Kingsbury. But I read one of her children’s books last year, HERE. I’m anxious to read this story of second chances and forgiveness.

In Indiana, Ashley Baxter Blake and her husband are about to take an anniversary trip to Paris, where a French gallery will show her paintings. But Ashley is hesitant. More than two decades ago, she made her most grievous mistake in Paris. She has never forgiven herself for what happened there, and she still harbors secrets that she’s afraid will come to light. Just before the trip, Ashley gets a call from her niece. Jessie explains that her boyfriend’s mother remembers working at a bakery with an American named Ashley. “Could that be you?”

When Alice and Ashley meet, a flood of memories comes for both women, taking Ashley back to a reckless affair and an unexpected pregnancy and Alice to the night she nearly ended it all. Can this reunion bring healing and closure? Maybe it is finally time for Ashley to forgive herself…and Paris.

HEARD IT IN A LOVE SONG

A Novel

By: Tracey Garvis Graves

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Fiction

Format: Paperback

This romance between two lonely divorcees in their 30s reminds us of second chances and we are never too old for dating and love.

Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.

Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?

THE WOMEN IN BLACK

By: Madeleine St. John

Published: February 20, 2020

Publisher: Scribner

Fiction

Format: Paperback

I’ve had this on my to-read list for a while and saw it on a deep discount, so snagged it.

Sydney in the late 1950s. On the second floor of the famous F.G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary). Across the floor and beyond the arch, she is about to meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.

MISS CECILY’S RECIPES FOR EXCEPTIONAL LADIES

By: Vicky Zimmerman

Published: July 9, 2020

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Fiction

Format: Paperback

This has also been on my to-read list for a while and grabbed it at a deep discount.

When her life falls apart on the eve of her 40th birthday, Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily’s tongue is as sharp as her mind, but she’s fed up with pretty much everything.

Having no patience for Kate’s choices in life or love, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book…of sorts. She asks her to read Thought for Food: an unintentionally funny 1950s cookbook high on enthusiasm, featuring menus for anything life can throw at the “easily dismayed,” such as:

Breakfast with a Hangover
Tea for a Crotchety Aunt
Dinner for a Charming Stranger

As she and Cecily break out of their ruts, Kate will learn far more than recipes.

THE DEARLY BELOVED

By: Cara Wall

Published: August 13, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I found this at Barnes and Noble for less than $5. I’ve heard so many great things about this story and have been wanting to read it.

Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart.

Charles is destined to succeed his father as an esteemed professor of history at Harvard, until an unorthodox lecture about faith leads him to ministry. How then, can he fall in love with Lily—fiercely intellectual, elegantly stern—after she tells him with certainty that she will never believe in God? And yet, how can he not?

James, the youngest son in a hardscrabble Chicago family, spent much of his youth angry at his alcoholic father and avoiding his anxious mother. Nan grew up in Mississippi, the devout and beloved daughter of a minister and a debutante. James’s escape from his desperate circumstances leads him to Nan and, despite his skepticism of hope in all its forms, her gentle, constant faith changes the course of his life.

The Dearly Beloved follows these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. It’s a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives. 

THE WOMEN THEY COULD NOT SILENCE

One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear

By: Kate Moore

Published: June 22, 2021

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Non-Fiction/Biography

Format: Audiobook

I’m currently listening to this one and I’m devastated by the way Elizabeth Packard was treated and thrown to the asylum. I’m just in shock that this was a regular occurrence for women who were outspoken.

1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened – by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they’ve been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line – conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose.

THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC 2022

Published: August 17, 2021

Publisher: Old Farmer’s Almanac

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

I remember reading and loving these books when I was a kid. I loved the stats and checking for the accuracy of the predictions. So, I decided to purchase one for this next year.

Happy New Almanac Year! It’s time to celebrate the 230th edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac! Long recognized as North America’s most-beloved and best-selling annual, this handy yellow book fulfills every need and expectation as a calendar of the heavens, a time capsule of the year, an essential reference that reads like a magazine. Always timely, topical, and distinctively “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor,” the Almanac is consulted daily throughout the year by users from all walks of life.
 
The 2022 edition contains the fun facts, predictions, and feature items that have made it a cultural icon: traditionally 80 percent–accurate weather forecasts; notable astronomical events and time-honored astrological dates; horticultural, culinary, fashion, and other trends; historical hallmarks; best fishing days; time- and money-saving garden advice; recipes for delicious dishes; facts on folklore, farmers, home remedies, and husbandry; amusements and contests; plus too much more to mention—all in the inimitable Almanac style that has charmed and educated readers since 1792.

THE SPACE IN BETWEEN

An Empath’s Field Guide

By: Signe Myers Hovem

Published: October 12, 2021

Publisher: She Writes Press

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

I haven’t ever heard of the word “empath”. This book is written specifically for those who are highly sensitive, empathic, or identify as empaths. I’m interested to learn more.

Are you highly sensitive? Empathetic? Empathic? An empath? The Space in Between captures the essence of what it means to live as an empath—and demonstrates how an ordinary person can open up to living an extraordinary life. Longtime spiritual counselor and seasoned guide Signe Myers Hovem takes readers on a journey through her life, demystifying empathic receptivity and revealing that it is not a “gift” or “power” but a feature of one’s sensory perception and intuition, an ability that allows us to live in extended communication with nature and humanity. She elucidates the difference between having empathic traits and sensitivities and actually having the skills and abilities of an empath. And she explores the five different landscapes and fields of consciousness that provided her with insight and movement as she traveled her own path of discovery—Field of Reflection, Field of Definition, Field of Sensing, Field of Awareness and Experience, and Field of Mystery—helping readers to dismantle long-held beliefs, illuminating the intentional path towards balance and belonging, and encouraging us all to rediscover what it means to live a truly authentic life.

Written for persons who identify as highly sensitive, as empathic, or as empaths, The Space in Between is a road map to cultivating both self-awareness and connectivity with the greater world.

BE YOUR OWN MEDICAL INTUITIVE

Healing Your Body and Soul

By: Tina M. Zion

Published: October 1, 2021

Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

Your thoughts, emotions, and energy can make a big difference in your health. This will can help guide you in healing your mind or your body.

This book is your companion to first exponentially increase your intuition to the highest level. Then it guides you through exact healing methods that have improved people’s lives for decades.

Medical intuition is not a gift that only a few people in the world have. You are already wired to be intuitive and so is everyone else. It is a learned skill and this book brings that skill into your life to learn, heal, and master your life in profound new levels.

If you are wondering if this book will change your life. . . Yes! You will understand yourself and everyone around you in new ways. You will be different. You will be more powerfully aware, and this will become your new normal.

48 WHISPERS

From Pine Ridge and the Northern Plains

By: Kevin Hancock

Published: June 8, 2021

Publisher: Post Hill Press

Format: Hardcover – Coffee Table Book

Short meditations combine with amazing photography by Hancock taken over ten years at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

48 Whispers is a unique photojournalism collection of short meditations, accompanied by full-page color photographs spanning ten years of visits to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the northern plains.


EVERYTHING WE DIDN’T SAY

By: Nicole Baart

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Atria Books

Fiction/Mystery

Format: eBook

Baart is an Iowa author that I have been wanting to read for several years, so I’m excited to have her upcoming novel on my Kindle.

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.

As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda. 

EVIDENCE OF THE AFFAIR

By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: September 20, 2018

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Fiction

Format: eBook

This is an Amazon original short story. I was able to get it free with Prime Reading on Kindle. Anything by TJR is an automatic read. At just 86 pages, you could read this in an evening.

Dear stranger…

A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives.

My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you…

The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here.

Told entirely through the letters of two comforting strangers and those of two illicit lovers, Evidence of the Affair explores the complex nature of the heart. And ultimately, for one woman, how liberating it can be when it’s broken.

A TOWN CALLED SOLACE

By: Mary Lawson

Published: February 16, 2021

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Fiction

Format: eBook

Several years ago, I read CROW LAKE with our book club and really loved it. I was excited to see she had a new book out and was able to get it on a Kindle Deal.

A Town Called Solace–the brilliant and emotionally radiant new novel from Mary Lawson, her first in nearly a decade–opens on a family in crisis: rebellious teenager Rose been missing for weeks with no word, and Rose’s younger sister, the feisty and fierce Clara, keeps a daily vigil at the living-room window, hoping for her sibling’s return.

Enter thirtyish Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, where he promptly moves into the house next door–watched suspiciously by astonished and dismayed Clara, whose elderly friend, Mrs. Orchard, owns that home. Around the time of Rose’s disappearance, Mrs. Orchard was sent for a short stay in hospital, and Clara promised to keep an eye on the house and its remaining occupant, Mrs. Orchard’s cat, Moses. As the novel unfolds, so does the mystery of what has transpired between Mrs Orchard and the newly arrived stranger.

Told through three distinct, compelling points of view–Clara’s, Mrs. Orchard’s, and Liam Kane’s–the novel cuts back and forth among these unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we’re born into and the ones we choose. A Town Called Solace is a masterful, suspenseful and deeply humane novel by one of our great storytellers. 

THE NAZIS KNEW MY NAME

By: Magda Hellinger and Maya Lee

Published: November 9, 2021

Publisher: Atria Books

Memoir

Format: eBook

This one grabbed my attention immediately, a daughter’s research into her mother’s personal account of working for the Nazis during WWII.

In March 1942, twenty-five-year-old kindergarten teacher Magda Hellinger and nearly a thousand other young women were deported as some of the first Jews to be sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The SS soon discovered that by putting prisoners in day-to-day charge of the accommodation blocks, they could deflect attention away from themselves. Magda was one such prisoner selected for leadership and put in charge of hundreds of women in the notorious Experimental Block 10. She found herself constantly walking a dangerously fine line: saving lives while avoiding suspicion by the SS and risking execution. Through her inner strength and shrewd survival instincts, she was able to rise above the horror and cruelty of the camps and build pivotal relationships with the women under her watch, and even some of Auschwitz’s most notorious Nazi senior officers.

Based on Magda’s personal account and completed by her daughter’s extensive research, this awe-inspiring tale offers us incredible insight into human nature, the power of resilience, and the goodness that can shine through even in the most horrific of conditions.

SISTERS OF NIGHT AND FOG

By: Erika Robuck

Published: March 1, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook

I am an absolute fan of Robuck’s historical fiction books. See all the ones I’ve read, HERE.

Two women, two countries. Nothing in common but a call to resist.

1940. In a world newly burning with war, and in spite of her American family’s wishes, Virginia decides to stay in occupied France with her French husband. She’s sure that if they keep their heads down they’ll make it through. But as the call to resist the enemy grows around her, Virginia must decide if she’s willing to risk everything to help those in need.

Nineteen-year-old Violette is a crack shot with an unquenchable spirit of adventure, and she’s desperate to fight the Nazis however she can. When her mother sends her to find an exiled soldier, Violette meets the man who will change her life. Then tragedy strikes, and Britain’s clandestine war organization—the Special Operations Executive—learns of Violette’s dual citizenship and adept firearm handling and starts to recruit her. But Violette is no stranger to loss and must decide whether the cost of defiance is too great a price to pay.

Set across the European theater of WWII, Sisters of Night and Fog tells the story of two women whose clandestine deeds come to a staggering halt when they are brought together at Ravensbrück concentration camp. A striking reminder of how deeply we are all connected, which forces us to ask, “Could I have done what they did?”


MADE WITH LOVE: DONUTS!

By: Lea Redmond

Illustrated by: Flora Waycott

Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Non-Fiction

Format: Board Book

A donut-sized board book sharing all the delicious flavors that we love about donuts.

These donuts are hot and fresh. Warm, golden brown and pillow-y soft, can you guess the delicious topping on each one? Turn over each donut to find out!

Artfully drizzled with Lea Redmond’s fun-loving guessing game and topped with mouthwatering illustrations from Flora Waycott, this beautifully designed board book is stacked with treats for hungry young readers. It’s even shaped like a donut! With every turn of these satisfyingly thick pages, a new, delicious topping is revealed, leaving readers with a picturesque plate to start their day. Celebrate a classic family tradition with this appetizing board book infused with Lea Redmond’s signature sweetness.

DO YOU KNOW? SPACE AND SKY

By: Virginie Loubier

Illustrated by: Robert Barborini, Audrey Brien, Héléne Convert, Christian Guibbaud, Cristian Turdera

Published: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Twirl

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

These two DO YOU KNOW? books share information in bite-sized fact snippets for young kids as well as illustrations to keep them interested. The outside is like a board book but the inside pages are a heavy paper for easy turning and durability.

Why is the sky blue? How do astronauts breathe in space? What is a lunar eclipse? The Do You Know?™ books provide an in-depth look at a wide range of popular subjects. 

DO YOU KNOW? VEHICLES AND TRANSPORTATION

By: Camille Babeiu

Illustrated by: Benjamin Bécue, Mattia Cerato, Julie Mercier, Cristian Turdera

Published: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Twirl

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

What forms of transportation are used on land? How do ships stay afloat? Which aircraft don’t use wings to fly? The Do You Know?™ books provide an in-depth look at a wide range of popular subjects.

THE BOOK OF LABYRINTHS AND MAZES

By: Silke Vry

Illustrated by: Finn Dean

Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I know very little about labyrinths and mazes in our history, but I do love puzzles. I bet kids who love ancient history will love this one.

This brilliant book on mazes and labyrinths in history and the modern world encourages young readers to really think about why these puzzles are so appealing. Filled with photographs, drawings, artwork, illustrations, and puzzles, it takes a thematic approach to these enigmatic works. Why are we sometimes afraid to get lost–and why does the idea excite us? How do mazes and labyrinths figure in history and mythology? What can nature tell us about humankind’s obsession with lines, spirals, and patterns? Along the way children will learn about the labyrinth designed by Daedalus for King Minos in the ancient city of Crete; the mystery of the Hemet Maze Stone in southern California; and the magnificent labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres. They are encouraged to trace their fingers along a labyrinth to experience its soothing effect, to solve maze-related number puzzles, and to create their own mazes and labyrinths. Packed with fun facts and engaging ideas, this book will help children understand why mazes and labyrinths are so popular, while inspiring them to identify and create these fascinating puzzles in their own world.

THE WEATHER POP-UP BOOK

By: Maike Biederstaedt

Published: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover/Pop-Up Book

These pop-ups are amazing. I can’t wait to share this one with you.

In her hugely successful books Creatures of the Deep and What’s in the Egg, as well as her enormously popular series of greeting cards for the Museum of Modern Art, Maike Biederstaedt has established herself as one of the preeminent paper artists working today. Now Biederstaedt takes book engineering to new heights as she immerses readers in five electrifying weather scenarios. As each spread unfolds, a meticulously designed landscape emerges–a freighter balances like a nutshell between high waves in the sea; a tornado takes terrifying aim at a truck trying to outrun it; a rain-spewing storm cloud towers like a skyscraper over a farm house. Nature’s delicate beauty emerges in the intricate shapes of a snowflake and in the luminous arc of a rainbow. Each page features an informative description of its weather event and the book closes with sobering commentary on the effects of climate change. A wondrous introduction to weather for budding climatologists, this is also an artistic tour de force that collectors will treasure. 

THE UNIVERSE AND YOU

By: Suzanne Slade

Illustrated by: Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Published: August 15, 2021

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I enjoyed another book by Suzanne Slade all about the woman who discovered the first Coronavirus. See it, HERE.

During the night, as we sleep, a beautiful celestial dance is taking place. While Earth seems solid and still, it’s actually spinning on its axis and circling the sun. Joining Earth in this orbit around the sun are the other seven planets in our solar system, along with dozens of moons and millions of comets and asteroids. Containing our solar system is the wondrous Milky Way galaxy, with its billions of stars, just like our own sun, swirling and whirling around. And on from there are the billions of galaxies with their own stars swirling and whirling into the ever-expanding space called our universe. When the sun rises on a brand new day, the dance continues. Through lyrical text, award-winning science writer Suzanne Slade (June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus) takes young readers on an exploration of our solar system, galaxies beyond, and finally the universe as a whole. Back matter includes science facts.

THIS BOOK IS NOT A BEDTIME STORY!

By: Eoin McLaughlin

Illustrated by: Robert Starling

Published: October 1, 2021

Publisher: Pavillion

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love silly bedtime stories!

This book is NOT a bedtime story.
It’s scary, strange and rather gory.
Bedtime stories make you sleepy.
This book won’t.
It’s much too CREEPY.

Except it isn’t…
This book is told by a group of monsters who think they’re very scary, but in fact they’re not – they’re cute and cuddly. They try their hardest to frighten – in a haunted house, creepy wood, ghostly ship and darkest dark, but each time they fail! The problem is, these monsters aren’t at all scary, they’re a bit silly and a bit cuddly. They share the insecurities and worries of us humans and all they want is a good night’s sleep.

BETWEEN THE LINES

By: Lindsay Ward

Published: October 1, 2021

Publisher: Two Lions

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I have loved every Lindsay Ward book that has come my way. Check out the ones I’ve read, HERE. I love how Ward ties colors to emotions and behavior. I know I will love this one.

With vibrant art that shifts to a colorless world and back again, this is a story of a community lost and rediscovered—and how one child’s actions can cascade into something that makes all the difference.

A young boy who loves his community notices that as neighbors stop interacting, the colors around them slowly fade. Then a thunderstorm sweeps away the last hints of bluebird skies and lemon-Popsicle days and leaves a rift in the road that doesn’t get fixed. As the adults around him move on, the boy dreams of the way life once was. He decides that he doesn’t want to live in a world without color, so he sets out to change things.

BORN TO SPARKLE

A Story About Achieving Your Dreams

By: Megan Bomgaars

Illustrated by: Pete Olczyk

Published: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Megan Bomgaars is a leader in the Down syndrome community and has written this book to encourage kids to sparkle and follow their dreams.

Lions are the kings and queens of the jungle but how did they come to be as fabulous as they are? They SPARKLE! The best way to sparkle is to live your dreams and share them with the world. The inspiring message behind this adorable book comes from author Megan Bomgaars’s viral video Don’t Limit Me, and encourages readers to follow whatever dreams they may have in order to find the sparkle inside of them.

THE BOOK OF HUGS

By: Tim Harris

Illustrated by: Charlie Astrella

Published: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love the message of this book! I’m a hugger too!

Share some love and give a hug with Teddy Bear Tim. Teddy Bear Tim LOVES hugs! He loves hugs so much that he wants to share all of his favorite kinds of hugs with you. Whether it’s a happy hug, a sad hug, a fast hug, or a bear hug, Tim has three simple steps to follow to make sure you’re giving the very best hug you can give. Inspired by Tim Harris’s love for giving big bear hugs and his restaurant that offered up hugs on the menu, this charming how-to guide gives readers so many reasons to give someone a big hug! 

PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS

By: Sue Lowell Gallion

Illustrated by: Joyce Wan

Published: August 17, 2021

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I’ve already reviewed this one, HERE.

IS THERE LIFE ON YOUR NOSE?

Meet the Microbes

By: Christian Borstlap

Published: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

In our germ-obsessed world, this is a great book for kids to remind them that not all germs are bad.

Germs, microbes, bacteria–these days those words are fraught with fear and uncertainty. But they’re not all bad. In fact, most of them make life and nature possible. Christian Borstlap’s playful, boldly colored illustrations and cheerful text will help kids understand that microbes are everywhere–in our noses and tummies, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. From the world’s largest organism in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, to the bacteria that started life on earth; from microbes that help recycle plastic, to yeast that makes bread taste good–this book shows the incredible diversity of these tiny beings and how they affect every aspect of our lives. Borstlap uses both science and humor to demystify a potentially scary subject, and closes with double-page spreads that are packed with information to satisfy the most curious readers.

WHEN I SEE RED

By: Britta Teckentrup

Published: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love Britta Tetckentrup’s books. Her artistic illustrations are amazing and her stories are unique. See some of her other books, HERE.

The heroine of this beautifully illustrated story feels her anger like a storm in a dark forest. It sweeps her away, and she thunders and howls. She pours down her emotions like sheets of rain; rage surges like a wind whipping angry waves. Her anger takes her on a wild ride.


Appropriate for a wide variety of ages, this book illustrates many aspects of anger that are often hard to articulate–how overwhelming it is, how isolating, even scary. But it also shows anger to be a source of power and an agent for change.

WHERE IS BRIAN’S BOTTOM

A Veeeerrrrry Long Fold-out Book

By: Rob Jones

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Pavillion Books

Fiction

Format: Board Book

A totally silly book for fans of wiener dogs!

Brian is a very long sausage dog. So long he’s lost his bottom! Where could it be? Maybe it’s in the living room, with Alan the hamster? Or could it be in the bathroom with Derrick the duck? Oh, where has it got to? Help Brian find his bottom with this unique board book that just keeps growing and growing! As well as being entertaining, it teaches young children all about the different rooms in a house, about different animals and the sounds they make, and encourages a sense of curiosity.

HALLOWEEN TREAT HIDE-AND-SEEK

Illustrated by: Olivia Aserr

Published: September 21, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Fiction

Format: Board Book

A fun interactive board book for Halloween.

A popular kids’ guessing game meets Halloween! In this novelty board book, an interactive wheel hides sweet and spooky treats amid a variety of spirited scenes, from pumpkin patches to costume parties. After you hide a treat, it’s time to guess where it is! Did you find it? Lift the flap for the reveal in this game-in-a-book, then play again for hours of spooktacular fun!

WHERE IS EVERYONE?

By: Tom Schamp

Published: September 21, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Fiction

Format: Board Book

A lift-the-flap book that will make kids giggle and maybe help them see things in a new way! Check out another of his books that I reviewed, HERE.

A toaster, a refrigerator, a sink, a bed, a car. Most kids can recognize these and other things that are part of their everyday lives. Leave it to Tom Schamp to imagine a different way of seeing them. As kids pore over these brightly colored and highly detailed pictures they’ll be delighted to discover a monkey on a surfboard and an elephant in a bowler hat— all inhabiting the same shapes they recognize in their homes. Each whimsical illustration offers a chance to explore, discuss, and giggle at the unexpected. Every page will encourage kids to think creatively and differently about the world around them and the possibilities that lie hidden in the things we see every day.

THE DAY TIME STOPPED

1 Minute – 26 Countries

By: Flavia Ruotolo

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love this look across the world at the same time in the day.

In different time zones but at the same single moment on Earth this brightly colored board book hops across the globe to deliver a simple but profound message about diversity.

One afternoon in Italy, a little girl is about to take a bite of her delicious popsicle when time . . . stops. At that very moment, across the planet, people and animals are frozen in action–captured by this book’s warm, quirky illustrations and clever, time-stamped captions. A penguin hatches in South Georgia; a little girl gets a haircut in Brazil; a family sits down to breakfast in California; a tiger falls asleep in Bangladesh; a boy’s football ball gets stuck in a tree in Cape Verde. The sheer enormity of planet Earth can be impossible for young kids to grasp. Here, in this playful introduction to time zones, hemispheres, and life in different climates, kids will identify with all the ordinary things going on at the same time in our extraordinary world. 

SOCCER TROPHY MYSTERY

By: Fred Bowen

Published: September 1, 2021

Publisher: Peach Tree Publishing

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Paperback Chapter Book

Fred Bowen is the KING of sports stories for middle-grade readers. Here is the newest in his Sports Story series.

Thirteen-year-old twins Aiden and Ava and their good friend Daniel, all avid soccer players, have just learned their county league soccer trophy mysteriously disappeared forty years ago from the town library. It was never recovered. So between games and practices for the town’s soccer championships, the three friends try to solve the case.

But will these amateur detectives be able to unravel the mystery and find someone who had both motive and opportunity to commit the crime? Will their teams make it all the way to the championships?

I SAW A BEAUTIFUL WOODPECKER

The Diary of a Young Boy at the Outbreak of World War II

By: Michal Skibinski

Illustrated by: Ala Bankroft

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Prestel Junior

Historical Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I can’t believe that a young boy’s journal during WWII was saved and now written in an illustrated memoir. I was moved just by skimming it.

It is the summer of 1939 in Warsaw, Poland and Michal is an eight-year-old boy just finishing his school year. In order to improve his handwriting, Michal’s teacher gives him a simple assignment: keep a journal, writing one sentence a day. Eighty years later, Michal’s diary has been gorgeously illustrated with beautifully atmospheric paintings. Eloquent in its simplicity, the journal is a remarkable artifact that captures the innocence of childhood and the trauma of war. The journal starts out with a typical boy’s observations: July 15: I went to a stream with my brother and teacher. July 23: I found a caterpillar. However over the course of weeks, menacing details emerge. July 27: A plane was circling over Anin. September 1: The war has begun. September 3: I hid from planes. September 14: Warsaw is bravely defending itself. These haunting entries are interspersed with visits from relatives, a soccer game, a trip to a park, an ice cream cone. Photographs of pages from Michal’s diary enhance the poignancy of this simple record–an ordinary holiday interrupted by war; a life changed forever by an extraordinary moment in history. 

GHOST BOYS

By: Jewell Parker Rhodes

Published: April 17, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Paperback

I heard about this book on the Currently Reading Podcast and knew I had to get it. I already love Jewell Parker Rhodes. Check out two of her books that I loved,

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

GROUND ZERO

A Novel of 9/11

By: Alan Gratz

Published: February 2, 2021

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I loved Gratz’s book, REFUGEE, and when I heard he wrote a book about 9/11, I knew I had to read it. I had been wanting a 9/11 story to read right now anyway. See my post about REFUGEE, HERE.

It’s September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape — and what will the world be like when they do?
In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.

Which one (or two or three) of these books will you be adding to your list?

To see all the posts featuring new books on my shelves, click HERE.

So many books, so little time!

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