Non-Fiction Review: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn
20 Recipes Kids Should Know 
by Esme WashburnCalista Washburn (Photographs)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This colorful book of recipes for children has clear instructions for simple food made from scratch. Each recipe includes a little blurb from the authors about why they love the food and how their parents or grandparents taught them to cook.

The photographs are beautiful, with bright colors and mouth-watering food on every page.
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Graphic Novel Review: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln by Mark Shulman
Abraham Lincoln: Defender of the Union! 
by Mark Shulman ,Tom Martin (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel tells the history of Abraham Lincoln, from his childhood to his death, how he became president, his tragic family grief, and how he guided the American nation through the Civil War, and was ultimately assassinated.

I loved this overview of Lincoln’s life! The cartoony artwork is colorful and bright, with lots of funny details in the background that bring the story to life.

I think the writers did a wonderful job of condensing such a rich life story into so few pages, but still highlighting the most important and memorable aspects of Lincoln’s presidency and personal life. There were many details that I found interesting and engaging, as well as some cute jokes and anecdotes that were entertaining to read. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton by Mark Shulman
Alexander Hamilton: The Fighting Founding Father! (Show Me History!) 
by Mark Shulman ,Kelly Tindall (Illustrator)John Roshell (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel follows an overview of Hamilton’s life, his service in the Revolutionary War, and his involvement in constructing the financial laws of the new American government.

It’s difficult to squeeze an entire life into 96 pages, and I thought the balance of story-telling could have been better. Interesting parts of Hamilton’s military career were skimmed over, and a lot more time was dedicated to his political battles to establish a federal government with a national currency, etc… I thought the book would have been more engaging if they had spent slightly less time on the politics, since it doesn’t have as much action.

The art style is cartoony and bright, with a lot of funny details in the background. The art is unpolished, and I think it could have been a little more refined. But still, it’s cute, and the panels have lots of energy. Continue reading

Book Review: From an Idea to Nike

From an Idea to Nike by Lowey Bundy Sichol
From an Idea to Nike: How Marketing Made Nike a Global Success 
by Lowey Bundy Sichol (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book tells how Phil Knight began his business with a simple idea for a better running shoe and how it developed into the massive global company it is today. Focusing on the marketing and the innovative concepts that built the Nike empire, this story explains how a business can use good branding, endorsements, and an understanding of the needs of their customers in order to succeed.

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is written for young children, so many business concepts that a child wouldn’t know like “Revenue,” Investments,” or “Board of Directors” are explained with definitions for the bigger words. There are also “Fun Fact” boxes within the text that give extra tidbits of information about how the Nike company was built.

There are funny anecdotes about how the company received its name, designed the classic Swoosh logo, and developed its rapport with athletes, then began reaching out to pros for endorsement deals. Continue reading

Book Review: From an Idea to Disney

From an Idea to Disney by Lowey Bundy Sichol
From an Idea to Disney: How Branding Made Disney a Household Name 
by Lowey Bundy Sichol 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book is a wonderful overview of how Walt Disney began his business with a simple cartoon mouse and how it developed into the massive global company it is today. Focusing on the business savvy and the innovative concepts that built the Disney empire, this story explains how a business needs investors, branding, and loyal customers to succeed, but that it is the magic in the details that builds a heritage of excellence.

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is written for young children, so many business concepts that a child wouldn’t know like “Revenue,” Mortgage,” or “Board of Directors” are explained with definitions for the bigger words. There are also “Fun Fact” boxes within the text that give extra tidbits of information about Walt Disney and his company.
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Picture Book Review: William Sheepspeare

William Sheepspeare by Courtney Acampora
William Sheepspeare 
by Courtney AcamporaMaggie FischerZoe Perisco (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

“To baa or not to baa… That is the question.”

The cuteness factor in this board book is through the roof! Reimagining the life of William Shakespeare as a sheep, everything is transformed into animalistic phrases, words, and illustrations. William Sheepspeare writes “ram-ances” instead of “romances”, and “shearious” tragedies like “Lamblet, MacBleat, and Julius Fleecer”.

Introducing young children to the beautiful Globe Theater and Sheepspeare’s home in Stratford with his family (his “ewe, Anne Hoofaway” and three “lambs”), the simple story-telling is the perfect style for little readers to learn about this historical figure. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Frida Catlo

Frida Catlo by Courtney Acampora
Frida Catlo 
by Courtney AcamporaMaggie Fischer,  Lindsay Dale-Scott (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This adorable board book tells the story of Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican artist reimagined as a cat with nine lives. The simple story-telling is perfect for young little readers, and a wonderful way to introduce them to this well-known artist. The book includes Diego Rivera as a dog, making him “Doggo” Rivera, and animalistic versions of some of Frida’s most famous paintings.

The cartoon illustrations are full of vibrant colors and cute animals. The writing hilariously uses animal made-up words, like “purr-fect”, “furgotten”,”Meowxico”,”mewseum”, and “paw-traits” instead of portraits. Continue reading

Book Review: Make This!

Make This! by Ella Schwartz
Make This!: Building Thinking, and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You 
by Ella Schwartz

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book is perfect for any curious child who loves to take apart their toys, build a bridge out of books, or create their own system of pulleys and levers to open the bedroom door.

With special sections for materials, energy, optics, connecting systems, acoustics, and forces in motion, this book provides all the steps to create a rocket ship powered by your breath, make an entire rainforest ecosystem in a jar, and make a periscope out of cardboard, along with dozens of other projects. Each chapter also has questions to be solved and scenarios that require an imaginative solution.
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Book Review: Fire and Forgiveness

Fire and Forgiveness by Martha Dunsky
Fire and Forgiveness: A Nun’s Truce with General Sherman 
by Martha Dunsky

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


In the midst of the American Civil War, two schoolgirls at the Ursuline Convent School for Girls are at war. Jane and Clara play pranks on each other and call one another names. Mother Superior Baptista Lynch urges the girls to reconcile, reminding them that everyone has good in them, but the girls find it difficult to forgive each other.
General Sherman’s army is marching into Columbia, South Carolina, and Mother Baptista writes to him to beg for protection for her school and convent. The cannons are firing on the city, and the Confederate Army retreats, leaving the city defenseless.
In the middle of so much violence, how can Jane and Clara learn to make the peace, when the adults are constantly at war?
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Book Review: Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures

Don't Mess With Me by Paul Erickson
Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures 
by Paul EricksonAndrew Martinez (Photographs)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book tells all about the venomous creatures of the sea, with beautiful photographs of each type of fish, coral, and worm. Each page has wonderful explanations of how the creatures feed on their prey, how they deliver their venom to their victims, and how they protect themselves from other predators.

The information is interesting and memorable, but uses many big words and technical terms that children might find too heavy for enjoyable reading.
I loved the colorful photographs, and curious facts about each animal, and I found it very informative and impressive.  Continue reading