Photo Challenge #4 / Refreshing

20221228ma_2179“Winter Water” / Theme: Refreshing

A little about this photo…

No matter how many times I see the falls, I find it so refreshing. And in winter, with snow, it adds that extra touch. This time I used this tree to add interest to the foreground.

 


THIS 2023 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is YEAR SIX of doing this photography challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2023picoftheweek

PB Review + Interview / Abuela’s Super Capa

AbuelasSuperCapa-High-ResolutionBook: Abuela’s Super Capa (2023)
Author: Ana Siqueira
Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Saturdays are superheroe days for Abuela and me. Super hugs! Check. Super shakes! Clink. Super capas! Ready. Let’s save the world!

MY THOUGHTS…

This book is such a fun take on superheroes. We have Luis and his sidekick, Abuela. And then there’s the Tiny Intruder (little sister Isabel who is so stinking cute!).

 

The illustrations are so colorful. And I love how active Abuela is, at least until she gets sick. (Yes, there’s an illness in this book. But don’t worry, this is not one of those books where we have to say goodbye forever to Abuela. There are some tears and sadness, but not about that.) The ending is particularly heartwarming, involving the Tiny Intruder.

Highly recommend 🙂

Super Capa

BONUS INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR…

Q: This book has a special background to it. Can you tell me about the inspiration?
A: I had been trying to write a story about a grieving boy from Peru and his stuffed penguin. But the story didn’t work until… my mom died. And that’s when in the midst of my grieving, I got inspired by my real life and the beautiful and fun relationship between my mom and my younger son. As a seventy-year-old grandma, my mom would run the house playing superheroes with my son. She even made costumes for them. And TA-DA, my story got unstuck through heartfelt words, sad tears, and happy memories.  And I learned my lessons. 1. Get inspired by your own story and experiences. 2. Write the story through children’s eyes and be concrete.

Q: This book went to auction, right? Can you tell me about that experience? How did you pick which publisher to go with?
A: It was at the same time fun and flattering to have three big-5 publishers fighting for your book and at the same time overwhelming. I loved all the visions, editors, and publishers. I got market packets that made my heart thump. I couldn’t make up my mind. But, I decided to go with Luana Horry with HarperCollins because her enthusiasm on the phone infected me with happiness and hope. But the other two editors were also sweet and amazing. Any option would be fabulosa. 

Q: What is your favorite line/scene from the book? (without giving away spoilers)
A: I have to say that I love both the line and illustration from when Luis is all by himself, with his big cape and a tear in his eyes thinking: Rest? Until when? When can I have my sidekick back? – I have goosebumps each time I look at this spread. It is so emotional and I can feel Luis’ feelings through art. I can’t thank Elisa enough for this beautiful spread.

Super-Capa

Q: The book is about superheroes. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: I think I would love to clone myself so I can have one Ana teacher, one Ana writer, and one Ana Abuela/ Mami/Esposa. Also, teletransportation, so I can go see my family in Seattle, Pensacola, Cuba, and Brasil at any time. 

Q: This story is also about a grandparent in the hospital. What’s your best advice for kids who are dealing with sadness?
A: When my grandma in Brazil (Vovó) got sick, my daughter, at that time only three years old, would sit and play, very patiently, with her. So, trying to make your grandparents feel special even considering their limitations can add some light to their lives. And if your Abuelo or Abuela was your sidekick, they will always be. But find other family members to help you go through this tough moment. Connect even more with siblings, parents, family, and friends, and when possible include your super abuelos too. 

ana-photo6) Where can people find out more about you and your books?
A: You can find more about me, my family, and my books at https://anafiction.com/
Also, follow me at https://www.instagram.com/asiqueira1307/,
https://twitter.com/SraSiqueira1307

 


12 CHALLENGE

12 months to feature 12 picture books…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. Have a recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. (Published within the past 3 years, please!). I may just feature your pick one of these months!

Review / My Life Begins

20230121ma_0045Book: My Life Begins! (2022)
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Opening lines from the book …
I am nine years old when my life begins. Before then I was the only child. The son of Maeve and Daniel Black.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) The Trips! In the story, Jacob’s family has triplets and Jacob Black calls them “the Trips.” What he really wanted was a litter of puppies, but he got a litter of Trips instead.

2) Jacob has to do a report for school and he chooses to follow the development of the Trips. It’s cute to see his notes during the year.

3) Mimi arrives to give help to Mom and Dad. She’s French (Oui, oui!) and she’s a lovely addition to the family, bringing a great sense of fun to the story and encouragement to her “dear Jacob.”

4) I really liked Jacob’s ruminations on names and nicknames, especially as he tries to figure out what he really should be calling the Trips.

5) There’s a very sweet ending to this story, which I won’t spoil.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book was a quick read for me. It’s definitely meant for the lower grades and even has pictures. This is one of the final books Patricia MacLachlan wrote (or published) before she passed away last year. Interesting the title she chose. She will be missed!

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #3 / How Bizarre

20221110ma_1890“Carrot Hugs” / Theme: How Bizarre

A little about this photo…

These two carrots grew in my garden this past year. To me, it looks like a mother carrot hugging her little one! Or maybe it’s the opposite. The carrot baby clinging to his mama!

 


THIS 2023 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is YEAR SIX of doing this photography challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2023picoftheweek

Review / Feathered

20221026ma_1878Book: Feathered (2016)
Author: Deborah Kerbel
Genre: MG, Historical (1980s)
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Opening lines from the book …
I’m not crazy. I swear I’m not. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I knew I had it in me to fly. I can’t explain it any better than to say it’s a feeling so powerful you shut your mouth and don’t argue with it.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) I was intrigued by the opening lines. I thought it might be a book with magical realism, but the whole feather thing turns out to be more metaphorical. At this point in my reading, I prefer that. (Not that I don’t like magical realism. I think I’m oversaturated in that genre.)

2) I really like Finch. I really felt for her and her brother, especially with how their mother is dealing with the death of their dad. She basically is ignoring them. I was definitely rooting for this family!
 
3) The brother (Harrison) has a friend adds a lot of tension and drama. He’s the yuckiest, meanest bully you just love to hate. That part was really well done. And I like the uncertainty of not knowing if we should like or trust Finch’s brother. 
 
4) There’s a new family that moves in next door. Finch tries to become friends with Pinky, only to find that her dad won’t let Pinky play with Finch. This will lead to some dramatic moments in the story!
 
5) This book takes place in the 80s. I loved the connection it had to Terry Fox who, like Finch’s dad, dies of cancer.
 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed this book. It’s short but packs a lot into the pages with a lot of memorable characters.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #2 / Travel

20221227ma_2093“Old Canal” / Theme: Travel

A little about this photo…

I’m going with the “Travel” prompt for this one, even though this old canal isn’t used to for travel any longer. In fact, I think it’s been out of use for a very long time. But it would have been used for traveling boats once upon a time. (Although, probably not on a cold winter day!)

 


THIS 2023 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is YEAR SIX of doing this photography challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2023picoftheweek

Review / The Star That Always Stays

20220819ma_1634Book: The Star That Always Stays (2022)
Author: Anna Rose Johnson
Genre: MG, Historical (1910s)
Publisher: Holiday House

Opening lines from the book …
“Pa promised he wouldn’t sail in shipwreck season anymore.” The wind swallowed up Norvia Nelson’s words, and she wasn’t even sure if her older brothers had heard her. Only one question had circled the house for days: When would Pa come home?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Norvia is such a sympathetic character. I was rooting for her the whole time. She’s navigating losing a father to divorce and having to settle down with a new stepfamily. (And I like that the stepfamily members don’t turn out to be evil!)

2) The book takes a look at what it was like for families living through divorce at the turn of the previous century. It was not considered something “nice families” did. And yet, our protagonist has to live with it. I love how her stepfather (particularly) keeps his head high and shows her the high road.

3) I particularly felt for our poor girl at the party she organizes. Oh, the meanness of the other girls at her school! (I was surprised they actually came. But that’s as much as I will spoil.)

4) Love the little sister, Dicta. She’s such a chatterbox.

5) As someone who loves the writings of L.M. Montgomery and Maud Hart Lovelace, I really enjoyed reading a book written in their style. I’ve always loved the Edwardian era, so that was right up my alley as well. It’s definitely slower-paced but worth the read.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Definitely, this book is for fans of Anne of Green Gables and the Betsy-Tacy books. Oh, and Little Women. Highly recommended.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #1 / It’s Time For …

20221223ma_2019“Tea!” / Theme: It’s Time For …

A little about this photo…

This is my flowering teapot! a few years ago, the glass lid broke. But this summer, I found a new one for something like 50 cents! I was excited to bring it out and so I did over the Christmas holidays.

In my opinion, it’s always time for tea!

 


THIS 2023 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is YEAR SIX of doing this photography challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2023picoftheweek

My Top Reads… from 2022

My Top Ten of 2022

It’s so hard to pick, but these are the books that I’ve choosen as my Top Ten Reads for 2021… in no particular order:

1) Over and Out by Jenni L. Walsh // A daring escape attempt by two girls and their families from East Berlin to West Berlin. Lots of intrigue in this one.

2) The Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre // This book was part of my Civil War-inspired read-a-thon! I like how the present intermingles with the past. And there’s a treasure hunt! What more could you want?

3) The Star that Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson  // A little bit of Anne Shirley and a bit of Betsy-Tacy. This book has a lovely old-fashioned feel to it. (And for some reason, I did not write a review for it. I will remedy that in 2023!)

4) A Wish in the Dark by Christine Soontornvat // A wonderful, fantastical “remake” of Les Miserables for the middle-grade crowd. I loved seeing how the author made it all work.

5) Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds // I didn’t know what to expect for this one, but I really was impressed. It touches on a very heavy topic, but I thought Reynolds did it in such a perfect way.

6) Remarkably Ruby by Terri Libenson // I really enjoyed this graphic novel hybrid featuring Baked Bean Girl (Ruby) in the Emmie and Friends series. These books always have a nice little twist at the end bringing everything together.

7) Room to Dream by Kelly Yang // Another good book in the Front Desk series. In this one, Mia goes to China and starts an advice column of sorts. Except, she starts using her friends as examples. Yikes!

8) Kid Spy: Mac Saves the World by Mac Barnett // Such a fun romp all over East Berlin for this Kid Spy in the employ of the Queen of England. (I love these books!)

9) Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk // This is a book about bullying, but not in your present-day middle-school type book. The bully is so memorable. But it’s more than that. It’s also about a girl who is intent on helping a man escape the town’s censure when said-bully blames him for things that are going wrong.

10) The Captive Kingdom + The Shattered Castle by Jennifer A. Nielsen // I’m counting these two books as one! These are the final books (or latest?) in the False Prince series. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but it was really fun to be back with all the characters I’ve grown to love.

 


YOUR TURN…

What were your top reads for 2022? Anything I should add to my TBR in 2023? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Challenge #53 / Perfect Shot

20211220ma_4135“Blue Water” / Theme: Perfect Shot

A little about this photo…

Took this photo on a visit to see Niagara Falls at night… on a day that had a gorgeous full moon! There are lights to light up the water. I caught it when the lights were blue to give me the perfect shot …

Happy New Year!

 


A 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek.

Next Saturday, we begin #2023picoftheweek! Check out the new Bingo card.