Wobbly Willie Bakes a Cake shows children how important friends are. I loved that Willie wanted to make his friend’s birthday so special. It created a nice story for a child.
How I Felt:
The main character, Willie, has such a big heart. I like how he can be a role model for a child. He is caring, kind, and determined. When he realizes he can’t do something all by himself, he isn’t afraid to ask for help. I think children will connect with him and enjoy his personality.
The diversity throughout the other characters is wonderful to see in a children’s book. I find this happening more and more with new releases of children’s books, and I love that kids are finally getting a real view of what their social circles, and families, look like in books.
Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday had so many elements to the story that are great for children! There was family, doing the right thing, trying to help, and being honest. I loved how all of these topics were woven into the story!
How I Felt:
The characters center around a brother and sister, Bugsy and Aly. Bugsy believes that he is only able to play golf well with his special golf ball. He doesn’t have the confidence in himself to be able to play well without it. Aly has a good heart with well-intended actions. I liked that her emotions showed a real love for her brother. She wanted him to do well but also wanted him to see that he could believe in himself.
I loved the concept and execution of Notes to My Son. Written in the form of 25 letters to his son, Eric Lynn shares advice on life, being a dad, and so much more. I loved the way he put his feelings down as a tribute to his son.
How I Felt:
The letters, or notes, that Lynn has compiled for his son are broken up into 25 unique pieces. I have found that these really stayed with me after I finished. There is a lot of wonderful advice for people of all ages in this book.
The illustrations in Child of the Universe were absolutely beautiful. My daughter was captivated and requested multiple times that we go back a page so she could look a little more. The illustrator, Raúl Colón, did an excellent job of matching the story to his artwork. It was lovely!
I am unable to say the right words to express to you just how much I loved this book. The author’s ability to utterly hypnotize me with her words was wonderful. I was 100% invested in Wildland and could not put it down. What an excellent job Rebecca Hodge has done with this book!
Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue is a true story of the loss and rescue of Just Bunny. Jeanne LaSala Taylor wrote this as a thank you to the New York Fire Department, and firefighters everywhere. It’s a beautiful way to share their story and gratitude.
How I Felt:
The Story was written in a way that allowed a young reader to understand the problem and resolution. The fire was not scary for my child as the family is evacuated quickly and I appreciated that. She was worried about Just Bunny and so happy that he was rescued in the end.
The Illustration was really great. It had a hand-drawn feel to it and was just beautiful! There’s a version of Just Bunny (pictured to the left). He is hiding on each page in the book for the reader to find. My daughter had SO much fun with this!
Overall, this was a wonderful story that we enjoyed greatly. The daughter and Just Bunny are easy for a young child to connect with. The entire story and the interaction of the hidden Just Bunny on each page made the book perfect!
To Read or Not To Read:
This is a great book for a preschool to middle elementary school. It is a great “thank you” to firemen and women everywhere.
Francesca’s favorite stuffed animal friend is Just Bunny. Just Bunny goes everywhere and does everything with Francesca. When Francesca and her family are out to eat one day, a kitchen fire starts in the restaurant and they must evacuate. Once outside, they realize Just Bunny has been left behind!
Francesca’s mom finds a NYFD fireman and asks him for help. He goes into the building and saves Just Bunny, returning him to Francesca.
Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue by Jeanne LaSala Taylor publishes February 4, 2020 and is currently available for pre-sale.
I was provided a free advanced reader’s copy of this book by the publisher, Mascot Books. I am leaving this honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
What I Loved: The artwork in Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff was so well done. It fit the story so well. My daughter mentioned things about the artwork multiple times. “Mom her pouch is REALLY stuffed with toys.” “Mom, that’s a REALLY messy room.” I found that my daughter absolutely loved how the story mixed with the illustration so well.
How I Felt: The story in this book is great. I loved that the missing teddy bear was added because that is such a real issue for children. The mess doesn’t bother them like it does for adults. Children seem to get upset when they can’t find something that they want in all the mess. I liked how the father gave Cami a chance to do it herself and then helped her find a way to clean without being frustrated or overwhelmed when she needed help.
To Read or Not To Read: This is a great book for a preschool to early elementary school. It has a great lesson about cleaning up and offers an easy-to-remember tool to help a child clean.
Cami Kangaroo is going to her cousin’s birthday party today! Before she can leave the house, her dad asks that she clean her room. This turns out to be a big task! Her room is a mess. Cami likes to keep everything. She places items in her pouch and everywhere in her room.
She tries to clean, but she gets distracted over and over. She realizes she has lost her cousin’s teddy bear and begins to look for it. Her dad comes in and helps her focus on one clean up task at a time and she discovers that it is much better to have her room clean. She is able to find the missing teddy bear and make it to the party.
Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff by Stacy C. Bauer
This book is focused on helping a young child learn tools for handling their emotions. I loved that these actions related to animals. I think that a tool that connects to something they already know will make it much easier to remember!
How I Felt:
My Sister’s Super Skills is written to help children learn coping mechanisms for emotions. I liked that this is written as an actual story. My daughter was very engaged in the story, following along and learning with David as his sister teaches him these tools. Each tool is connected to an animal so they are easier for kids to remember. My daughter particularly loved the horse one and practiced it several times before I was allowed to move on to the next one.
Overall, there are so many great techniques for children and I think that my only “complaint” is that I would like to see these broken out into more books, but maybe that will be coming someday!
To Read or Not To Read:
My Sister’s Super Skills is the perfect story to be read to children from preschool through middle elementary. With easy to understand tools, this is excellent for a classroom or library and at home!
Check out this video of my daughter opening this book mail!
Lily notices that David, her younger brother has had a rough day. She helps him find ways to feel better, taking him through a variety of exercises to help him feel better. Many of these are connected to an animal to help him remember them the next time he needs them.
Will David’s big sister’s super skills help him to feel better after a frustrating day?
“There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart.”
Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little
Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little
Sub-Title: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood
Page Count: 265 pages
Publisher: Illumify Media Global
Pub Date: April 22, 2019
What I Loved: What a beautifully written memoir! I was so drawn in as Nina told her story of her struggles with infertility and miscarriage. Written with such emotion, it was beautiful to read.
How I Felt:Spirit Baby is a memoir about Nina Neilson Little’s path to motherhood, but it is also a travel memoir of her times in China. I was absolutely drawn in to the descriptions and stories of China. Having visited China twice, reading her book made me want to go back and visit all the places I didn’t get to! Her descriptions of China are amazing. She discusses ancient traditions, the history of locations she visits, eating habits and rituals, and so much more! I loved how the story was written in a way that connected her travel experiences with herself and fertility.
She writes about her name, which I must admit, I was mispronouncing for months until I read this book (sorry about that Nina)! She tells the reader how she never enjoyed her name until, in China, she found all these traditions and beliefs that connected her to her name in a way she never had before. I love how she did this over and over in the book, giving life to these places and experiences.
Nina’s journey through this story is one with sadness and loss, however, she writes with such positivity that the overall feel of this book is uplifting and wonderful. She discusses her sadness and loss, her depression, and her healing. This is truly a lovely book with a wonderful, heartwarming story.
Content Warnings: This is a book about struggles with infertility and miscarriage. This could be a trigger for some people.
To Read or Not To Read: I would recommend Spirit Baby to any reader that enjoys memoirs or stories of travel. The descriptions of China are wonderful and the story of her path to motherhood is so beautiful.
Nina and her husband Chris have struggle with infertility for years. They have decided to head to China for a chance to heal and adopt. Nina takes us with her on her visits through Chinese streets and historical places. She tells us about ancient traditions, sharing the ones that she chose to partake in. Her journey through this story speaks of loss and healing. It is a beautiful journey that readers will be so happy to have gone on.
I received a copy of this book for free from a giveaway hosted by the author. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
The intertwining story of the twin’s lives with their birth mother’s story was beautiful. I loved the way the tale was woven together, jumping from one piece of the story to the next. It kept me so interested!
How I Felt:
The Birth Mother is a beautifully written story with excellent research and information about the locations making the book come alive for the reader! I was so invested in the stories! The birth mother’s story had me gripped from the moment I found out her parents were selling her to save their son. I appreciated the statements the book is making on the roles of a female within each country’s culture (and religion). It is not overstated, but you see it within the Chinese portion of the story with the treatment of the birth mother and the orphanage’s lack of boy babies. In America, it is so obvious just from the relationship of the adoptive parents. The religious beliefs are fleshed out thoroughly as you complete the book, giving explanation to why God is a She. I found this to be a great overarching theme through the book and I appreciated the Ah-Ha moment as things were explained towards the end.
The writing style in this book felt so unique. Daryl is having a biography completed for his family so at times, the biographer is telling the story, but then Daryl just can’t contain his excitement and he takes over for portions of their family history. I found it endearing, and their relationship was another trait from this book that had me captivated.
A rape scene that is not graphic but could be a trigger for some people. Discussion of birth and babies.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to any reader that enjoys a book surrounding family. The book is well-written, and the story moved quickly. I highly recommend The Birth Mother to anyone that loves a dramatic story with endearing characters.
On a business trip, a high-powered fifty-six-year-old American entrepreneur visits his partners in China. After their meeting, his Asian mentor invites him to an orphanage, a trip that will change the course of his family’s life forever. Without hesitation, he and his wife fall in love with Anglo/Asian twin girls and become their adoptive parents.
The children grow up in a world of twists and turns with multiple coincidences and synchronicity. Their journey takes them from China to Europe to America and back to China where their unusual birth mother enters their lives. This powerful story is filled with drama at every turn as the daughters face internal and external challenges. The Birth Mother is a story filled with love, pathos, tragedy, and triumph. Read, laugh, cry, and learn. It’s a tale you will never forget.
Seymour Ubell is not a professional author. In fact he never went to college. His father died when Seymour was seventeen years old and suddenly had to get a job and help support the family. Seymour was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has lived in Manhattan for the last 40 + years. He is the chairman of an American packaging company with offices in New York, China and Europe.
At eighty-eight, the author’s daily routine includes working out every other day at 7:AM in a local NYC gym, breakfasts with friends and arrives at his office each day around 10am. By 3pm he heads home to his wife and continues his research and writing. His weekends are spent enjoying the cultural arts of Manhattan, including the theater the Philharmonic, movies and his family. He is currently writing two more novels. The first, almost complete historical novel about his family business which goes back to early 1880 with his great grandfather in the original family shop in Poland. And continues into 2019 in the USA and the rest of the world. His other novel is entitled, Second Love. About people who divorce, lose their partners from a health problem, an accident or even suicide…and find a second act in love and togetherness.
Seymour Ubell has spent most of his career in the print and advertising business. His clients are, and have been, the largest apparel, footwear, pharmaceutical, retail and consumer products companies in the world. He is a published author (A Life of Risks Taken, 2014 and The Birth Mother, 2019), lecturer, and raises funds for Parkinson’s research when he’s not at the theater with his wife, Marsha.
I had a chance to interview Seymour Ubell on his writing and inspirations!
SJLB Question: How did you do research for your book? SU Answer: Google, thesaurus and dictionary…some interviews.
SJLB Question: Which was the hardest character to write? SU Answer: Shan Di’s biological father. It was difficult for me to imagine the feelings of a father selling his daughter. The easiest? The feeling of the adoptive father was the easiest.
SJLB Question: In your book you make a reference to “God Is A woman”….how did you come up with this idea? SU Answer: When writing the book, my life with my wife, my mother and my daughters fed me with enormous kindness. I began to learn that all beautiful things on this earth have a feminine title. In my marriage to my second wife, Marsha made my life, our home and all that surrounded us into a heaven. Therefore to my sixth sense, God must be a woman. My niece Lori Ubell allowed to include a wonderful brief story that she wrote many years ago, which I never forgot.
SJLB Question: What made you write a book about adoption SU Answer: It came from an original experience of almost adopting Anglo Asian twins.
SJLB Question: Where do you get inspiration for your stories? SU Answer: My inspiration comes from actual experiences. I am now working on two books. One is entitled, The Family Business. It goes back 125 years to my great grandfather’s original tailor shop in Poland. My other book entitled “Second Love or Act ll, I am not sure of the title. The story is about at least ten couples who lose partners by divorce, death or sex complications and find a second love.
SJLB Question: There are many books out there about adoption….What makes yours different? SU Answer: I Have not read any other BOOKS ON adoption.
SJLB Question: What advice would you give budding writers? SU Answer: A good writer is always writing…even as he or she thinks. All thoughts should be written down…otherwise you will forget the ideas that come to you on a daily and even hourly basis.
SJLB Question: Your book is set in China, the USA, and Europe. Have you ever been to these locations? SU Answer: I have spent 25 years of my life going to China on a monthly basis. And Europe as well.
SJLB Question: If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be? SU Answer: I am all the characters.
SJLB Question: Do you have another profession besides writing? SU Answer: Business man in here in the USA, with offices in China and Europe.
SJLB Question: How long have you been writing? SU Answer: Seven years, however I’ve been telling stories my entire life.
SJLB Question: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it? SU Answer: I do get writers block. I just stop writing until the flush of ideas comes back. Reading helps and the theater definitely helps
SJLB Question: What genres do you write and why? SU Answer: I fictionalize actual experiences. Except for my memoir. All 100% truth.
SJLB Question: What is the last great book you’ve read? SU Answer: Portnoy’s Complaint, The Mueller Report, The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger. The Brothers Karamazov, Red Notice, The Good Earth.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
What I Loved: Paper Wife was a story filled with so much determination and pure resolve to make things work and I loved that! Mei Ling continues, time after time, to make choices that will take care of her, and her family. It was so amazing to watch her journey.
How I Felt: I was intrigued by a story of early immigrants to the United States and I loved that it was an arranged marriage. I had never heard of a paper family before this book, so I definitely learned something new! Mei Ling becomes a paper wife, leaving China and traveling to the US with her husband and step-son. I was fascinated by her journey, the customs she left behind, and the new laws and rules surround immigration to America. Once she was on US soil, she still had mountains of problems to overcome and her journey had me completely spell-bound.
To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy Historical Fiction, this is a great book for you! Reminding me a bit of Memoirs of a Geisha, while this is absolutely a different story, the history and culture of Paper Wife reminded me of this previous book I had read.
Mei Ling is the second daughter in the family. Days before her sister is to be married to a widower, she falls ill and Mei Ling is placed into the arranged marriage in her sister’s place. Mei Ling is a dutiful daughter and intends to honor her family and make this marriage work. She packs her things and heads to the church to meet her new husband.
Married life starts out completely different than she expected. She is immediately a mother to a young son from her husband’s previous marriage and living in different conditions than she imagined. She must pretend to be her husband’s previous wife to gain entrance to the United States.
As they board the ship to embark on their journey, she is separated from her new husband and left with the two year old boy she barely knows. She rarely sees her husband the entire journey, but makes new friends and learns a lot about what to expect as she sets foot on American soil.
Can she remember all the details necessary to fake who she really is? Once in the United States, circumstances will continue to change for her, giving us a wonderful story with a quick pace.
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