When Veronica was only 8 years old, her father kidnapped her and her four siblings taking them from the Philippines to the United States. Moving from state to state to avoid getting caught, they lived a life of fear and abuse with their father. Her memoir of this horrible experience is a moving, emotional story that is hard to put down.
This book is so filled with emotion, as a reader, I was pulled into the story, but as a human being, a mom, a sister, a daughter…I was INVESTED in the story. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering of a mother finding that all of her children have been kidnapped in one fell swoop. For children to have to go through an experience like this is awful. I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know what was going to happen!
PINTO! is the only horse to complete a 1912 – 1915 horseback journey to visit all forty-eight state capitols with the “Overland Westerners”. This book takes that real-life event and tells it through the eyes of Pinto. I really enjoyed M.J. Evan’s choice to make the horse the narrator of this story. It did create a fictionalized feel to the story, however, it was obvious that she had worked hard to research and provide real information surrounding this historic event.
I loved the amazing connection between Hunter and his horse. I felt deeply connected to their bond, and I think it’s something horse-lovers are going to absolutely love as well!
How I Felt:
In the Heart of a Mustang introduces us to a young boy, Hunter, who has just found out that everything he knew about his father was a lie. Instead of his father being a soldier who died for his country, he is a convicted felon. Hunter is devastated by the lies, and at the shattering of a figure he deeply respected and looked up to. Heading to the Promise Ranch to find peace, Hunter encounters a horse that can help him mend what has been so deeply broken.
Wow! Winter of the Wolf was such an emotional read. I get so invested in a story that has a mystery element but also draws me in emotionally. It was beautiful to read!
Sam Hanes has died from suicide by hanging in his bedroom. His sister, Bean, is absolutely distraught over losing him. Everyone around her is saying that Sam committed suicide. As Bean relives the event through her memories, she just can’t believe that he would do that. She knows her brother in a way that others do not and is determined to uncover what really happened to him.
While Bean is working to figure out what has actually happened to her brother, she is also learning to manage her own grief as well as the grief of her family. Winter of the Wolf blends mystery, grief management, forgiveness, and spirituality, to create a beautiful, touching story.
How I Felt:
I just need to give a quick shout out to this fabulous cover! It caught my attention immediately and I knew I wanted to read it!
I’m a mom, and I have two kids that struggle to clean up after themselves…I think all moms live this life! I loved that this story offered a fun way for children to see what responsibility is, and how wonderful it is to feel proud of yourself after having accomplished something!
Fred is a normal young boy who chooses not to pick up after himself. He brushes off his chores to do things that he wants to do instead. His actions have not caused him any issues until the day he wants something and his parents say
Whoops, Knucklehead Fred, it might be time to start taking the time to do the chores.
Knucklehead Fred follows a boy as he learns the value of following directions and helping out at home.
How I Felt:
I liked this story. It’s a simple, easy to follow picture book that had my children’s full attention. They connected with Fred. They had both been there themselves. It was nice to see their reactions to the positive behavior that Fred shows as the story progresses. Overall, the both enjoyed this book, and would absolutely ask for a second reading!
Following the story of Helen from Lithuania to America was just wonderful. Helen is the kind of character you just need to see succeed. I loved reading about her story and her determination.
This historical fiction is based on the author’s grandmother’s experiences,but is a work of fiction. Helen (Hinde), just sixteen-years-old, lives in war-torn Lithuania where Jewish people are persecuted daily. At her brother’s 12th birthday, the army comes to take him away to force him into their ranks. After hiding him during the army’s visit, the family knows that they must leave to keep their children safe.
Helen’s father is first to go to America, working to save enough money to bring Helen over next so that she can assist in working and saving money to bring the next family member over until everyone is safely in America.
Helen travels by ship from Lithuania to America in search of a better, safer life for her and her family. She begins work in the garment section of New York and works hard to bring her siblings to America.
How I Felt:
Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story follows Helen on her journey to America and her life there. It was a beautiful story featuring a determined, hardworking main character, and her love for her family.
Freeda the Frog and the Two Mommas Next Door is a beautifully written children’s book that features the different ways a family can be built. I loved that this book was focused on love being the important thing to build a family, not the gender of the parents.
How I Felt:
Freeda the Frog and the Two Mommas Next Door is an easy-to-understand children’s picture book. I liked that the parents are frogs with tadpole children. My daughter loved that! The story is not complicated, which I greatly appreciate because I feel this is an important message. The easier it is for a child to understand, the better!
I really enjoy seeing children’s books that help them to understand and manage their emotions. Adults struggle to handle their emotions sometimes, so helping a child to understand something can be extremely difficult. The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony is a wonderful book that introduces grief for a child in a way that is uplifting, and I loved that.
Gunner, a very special dog, is heading to work at the Hospice center. He enjoys helping people feel better when they are sick or sad. He meets Stella at the center, a young girl who is visiting her sick grandmother.
Stella and Gunner become fast friends, and Gunner helps Stella to understand her emotions and help her to feel a bit better. He promises to tell her more stories when they see each other again, which makes me think there might be more Poodle Pony books coming!
How I Felt:
I thought this story was written so that it is easy for a child to understand. It is told through Gunner’s perspective, which makes it fun for a child, but Stella’s emotions are easy to relate to.
This story reinforces the importance of responsibility and consequences for a child in a way that made it easy to understand and an enjoyable story. I loved the way it was written and my daughter did too!
Mary Andrews is spending the summer on her grandparent’s ranch. Her grandmother discusses with her the chores she will be responsible for while at the ranch. There are eggs to collect and in an exciting turn of events, a horse that she can care for!
Bandit, the retired cow dog on the ranch, still keeps on eye on everything happening. One night, he sees Mary sneak out to give her new horse some carrots. The next day, when the horses are missing because the gate was left open, grandpa is very upset. Thinking it was a forgetful cowhand, grandpa is close to firing him, but Bandit knows the truth and so does Mary.
How I Felt:
I found this book to be a delightful story that captured a child’s actions perfectly. Children are often forgetful and accidents happen. I liked that Bandit was there with Mary, acting as a conscience for her as she considered her options. The story shows Mary’s guilt over what happened and her struggle with deciding to make the right choice or not.
The Forgotten Home Child was about a historical event that I didn’t know much about. I really enjoy reading about people and situations that are new to me. The children brought from England to Canada have such heartbreaking stories, but I am so glad that I was able to read this beautifully written book.
How I Felt:
The story introduces us to Winnifred Ellis, our 98 year old main character in 2018. Her story is told through present day, 2018, as well as the historical view starting in 1936. Winnifred is moving in with her granddaughter and great-grandson and her granddaughter accidentally knocks a suitcase open, spilling some of its contents. This leads to questions about the suitcase and its contents, and Winny decides it is time to share her secrets with her family.
Little Secrets was such an amazingly well-written story. I was completely entranced by it! I loved how I kept thinking I knew where the plot was headed, and then a twist, and I’d be completely off-guard again!
How I Felt:
How have I never read a book by Jennifer Hillier?!?! Her writing is amazing! I have NEVER cried while reading a mystery/thriller before. This is a first for me. Her ability to draw every possible emotion from the reader was impressive. I fully enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading another one by her!
The writing was excellent! I mean, I cried. And it’s a thriller! Who cries reading a thriller? Well, I did, and I can’t really tell you why because that would be a spoiler, and I don’t do that. BUT I will say that Jennifer Hillier connected me to the characters in such a wonderful way. They were people my heart went out to…and a little bit because I’m a mom and the book got to me. Regardless though, I was feeling this book deep down thanks to the writing. I loved it.
Going Through the Change had these great character changes that I was so interested in! I loved reading about the new struggles that each character went through with the introduction of a superhero skill for each person.
How I Felt:
The writing was well-done. The story had a nice flow and was easy to dive into. It was pretty fast-paced and really never slowed down. I liked the way each chapter focused on a different character. It gave different me different angles of the story and the opportunity to view a scene from a different perspective.