Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Delicious! Poems Celebrating Street Food Around the World by Julie Larios

Today's review continues the dive into National Poetry Month, but this time, we're heading into the world of food. I mean, who doesn't like to eat? In these pages, the reader travels the globe...from one country to the next...and discovers all of the amazing, surprising, delicious, and odd sounding foods offered as snacks and treats. The poetry adds just the right amount of fun...and the illustrations...well, they are lively. 

And as a last, quick warning:  reading further might just make you hungry.

Poems Celebrating Street Food Around the World
by Julie Larios
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 4 to 8

Journey around the world with this poetry collection celebrating delicious international street food!

The world is a delicious place! Come along on an international journey to try a hot pretzel in New York City; saffron tea in Mumbai, India; deep fried scorpions in Beijing, China; and much, much more.

This poetry collection celebrates all the different kinds of street food from around the globe, introducing young readers to snacks they know and ones they’ve never heard of—showing that no matter where we live, we all appreciate a yummy treat!

GOODREADS   /     B&N    /    AMAZON    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY  


                                           * brightly illustrated
                                           * covers foods from all over the world
                                           * more information at end of book
                                           * many short, easy-to-read poems


Vibrant and lyrical, this is a celebration of food, which hits taste buds from all corners of the globe.

Snacking is a world-wide, favorite past time, but food varies greatly from one culture to the next. This book takes a look at some well-known foods but mostly at lesser known ones, which kids around the world enjoy. Everything from fried scorpions to hotdogs, it's a vast array of tastes and treats.

Each two-page spread covers a country and food, which might be found at street vendors. The illustration shows children of that country getting their favorite treats from various sellers, and these scenes are surrounded by a colorful, busy, and artistic frame. It's bright and colorful and radiates a joyful atmosphere. The food items are shown, but these are small and only a little part of the overall images. 

A short poem accompanies each of these scenes. The few lines make for an easy read, while keeping the food of each culture at the center of attention. Young listeners won't recognize all of the dishes, and that's half of the fun. For those seeking more information, there's a short summary of each country and the mentioned food at the end of the book.  There are some very unexpected morsels, and some listeners are sure to have heard of themselves. It opens up curiosity and will have kids wondering what each one tastes like...and maybe, wanting to try some themselves.

And here they are...

The Author...
Julie Larios taught for seven years on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in writing for children program before turning full-time to her writing. Her work has earned her a Pushcart Prize, a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship Award, and two inclusions in the annual Best American Poetry series for her poetry for adults. She has published four books of poetry for children.

The Illustrator...
Julie Paschkis is a painter, textile designer, and award-winning illustrator and author of many books for children, including Vivid: Poems and Notes about Color; Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, an Américas Award winner and an Orbis Pictus Honor book; Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams by Janet S. Wong, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman; and Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary by Julie Larios, a Boston Globe–Horn Award Honor Book. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Visit her at JuliePaschkis.com.

Happy Book Birthday, Reclaiming Ryda by Rachel Rossano with Giveaway!

 I'm throwing in a really quick Mommy and Daddy's Day post...since I haven't done one in a very long time. These posts pop-up because parents love to read, too. The books I present on here are never anything any more 'inappropriate' than a usual young adult read. So, there's no reason to hide these under the bed. 

Reclaiming Ryda
by Rachel Rossano
Once Upon a Duchy, #2
 April 20th 2021
Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Romance


Rydaria lives as a prisoner in a tower library. Captured as a child, her past is a mystery. Maintaining the literary treasures within her care, she studies the world through books that give her a glimpse of the freedom she craves.

A scribe by trade, Crispin has devoted the last three years of his life seeking the lost heir of Avalene. He travels to Worthenave’s famed library in hopes of finding the key. Instead, he discovers a new mystery, a beautiful librarian who is locked in with her books every night.

As the days pass, Crispin must choose. Rydaria’s precarious situation is deteriorating. Meanwhile, his duty demands he leave before the Duke of Worthenave uncovers his quest. Still, the scribe can’t bring himself to abandon the captive in the library tower, even if it costs him his mission.

Inspired by Rapunzel and East of the Sun West of the Moon

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A large circular room greater than thrice my height in diameter lay beyond the gate. On all sides from the floor to about two feet below the ceiling, which was well beyond my reach, were shelves laden with all manner of written records. Binders, scrolls, bound volumes, drawers, boxes, and files lined each shelf. Small tags hung from many of them—each card covered in neat writing. Over them, a wooden ladder hung by hooks on a rail that ran the circumference of the room. Above the track, small rectangular windows nested in the thick stone walls between the top shelves and the carved ceiling. In the center of the rotunda lay a thick round carpet. On it sat a large wooden table that had clearly been made to match the shelves and five padded chairs.

I crossed to the table and set my scribe’s bag on the polished surface. As I surveyed the shelves wondering where I ought to begin my search, I came up short. Someone was singing—a woman by the sound of it.

Leaving my bag behind, I turned around searching for the source of the voice, which was how I discovered the stairs. Tucked behind the shelves opposite the gate by which I entered, they could not be seen from the entrance. The narrow steps led upwards, following the curve of the stone tower wall. In the niches where the straight wooden boards of the stairs didn’t quite match the curve of the stone, someone had tucked all kinds of odd things, like clay jars, colorful baskets, and crocheted blankets.

As I climbed, I struggled to focus on the singer’s words. The words weren’t from my native tongue. However, the melody sounded familiar. I came to a halt on the landing just outside a second room almost precisely like the one below, the sounds fell into place.

She was singing in Saruthian.

Pale as the moon all still and lovely,
The maiden’s heart longed for his touch.
Still, the moon hung quiet, unresponsive,
Cold and unfeeling despite her love.

Her honeyed voice washed over me. Blinking in the glow of the late-morning light pouring in the octagonal windows above the shelves on this level, I studied the singer as she continued her work. She was perched halfway up the ladder against the shelf with a bag full of tomes strapped to her hip and a long golden-brown braid falling down her back like a thick rope. I couldn’t help thinking of the ancient Saruthian tale of the captive of the rampion witch.

She was definitely fetching enough to play the role of the captive. With the long length of hair, the color of honey, the hue falling between the alfalfa and buckwheat honeys my bees produced at home, she could snare any man. Her form appeared pleasant as well, slender and curved in all the right ways.

As she reached the last of the verses in the poem, I fully expected her to stop. Stepping into the room, I prepared to introduce myself.

But she didn’t stop. As she set the second-to-last book in place, she began to sing a verse I had never seen in any of my references. My mind scrambled to translate it as she sang. Then she turned around.

A soft squeak escaped her, followed by a heavy thud as the last book fell from her suddenly lax fingers and hit the floor.

“Who are you?” she demanded.

And here she is...

Rachel Rossano specializes in clean romantic fiction set in historical-feeling fantasy worlds. She also dabbles in straightforward historical romance and not-so-strict speculative fiction. A happily married mother of three children, she divides her time between mothering, teaching, and writing. She endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work. A constant student, she seeks to improve her skills and loves to hear from readers.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Review: Your Heart My Sky by Margarita Engle

April is also known as National Poetry Month, and there's no way I'm going to let that slide by without presenting at least a couple wonderful poetry reads on Bookworm for Kids. Today, I have two (yep, keep your eyes open for the second one popping up later today!) 
This first one didn't only catch my eye due to the form of writing but also the topic:  el periodo especial en tiempos de paz. Starting in 1991, Cuba entered a horrible period of starvation and economic disaster. This book takes a look at a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy, who do their best to survive before deciding to risk their lives and flee. Combine this heavily emotional period with poetry, and it was one I couldn't pass up.

Love in a Time of Hunger
by Margarita Engle
Atheneum Books
Young Adult Historical Fiction / Poetry
released on March 23
224 pages

Acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells a painful, poignant story of love in a time of hunger inspired by her own family’s struggles during a dark period in Cuba’s history.

The people of Cuba are living in el periodo especial en tiempos de paz—the special period in times of peace. That’s what the government insists that this era must be called, but the reality behind these words is starvation.

Liana is struggling to find enough to eat. Yet hunger has also made her brave: she finds the courage to skip a summer of so-called volunteer farm labor, even though she risks government retribution. Nearby, a quiet, handsome boy named Amado also refuses to comply, so he wanders alone, trying to discover rare sources of food.

A chance encounter with an enigmatic dog brings Liana and Amado together. United in hope and hunger, they soon discover that their feelings for each other run deep. Love can feed their souls and hearts—but is it enough to withstand el periodo especial?

BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    AMAZON   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    GOODREADS


                                        * poetry
                                        * set in the 1990's in Cuba
                                        * centers around hunger and romance
                                        * a pinch of magical realism
                                        * very emotional read


Beautiful poetry allows the raking hardship of starvation to mix with the wonder of love and form a captivating, bitter-sweet tale.

Liana and Amado both struggle to find anything edible and survive as the world around them collapses into poverty and starvation. Both are determined to defy the government's requirements and choose not to attend the 'voluntary' summer-camp, which has teens slaving away all Summer long on the sugar plantations. By refusing to go, they've lost their chance at a bright future. When a stray dog brings them together, a romance begins, and with it, the magic of true love.

This one is written from three points of view: Liana, Amado, and the Singing Dog. It begins with Liana as she decides not to attend the camp and is forced to search the streets and beach for anything she can find to eat. Amado comes in a little later, also refusing to attend camp but with a slightly more political angle, since his older brother already sits in prison. The dog settles in as Liana's companion but soon gains a slightly mythical air as its very conscious purpose as a match-maker comes into play. Each chapter is kept very short (1-2 pages), and each one begins with the name the character's name to avoid any confusion.

I'd heard about this time period in Cuba but really am not extremely well-versed. So, this was intriguing, in that respect. Since this tale isn't about the background of the situation, the facts and reasons for the depression are only briefly mentioned. So, anyone wanting to know more or unfamiliar with the situation, will have to do research on their own. That said, these pages dive into the emotional end of things and the budding romance. Both characters are very fleshed out with their feelings, and both are easy to like right away. The poetry form really brings this aspect to life and allows the pain, hunger, desperation, hope, dreams and love to come across well. It's an easy read and no problem to sink into. 

While the setting and characters are brought across expertly on the emotional end, the plot is more light and stretches in the direction of hunger and romance... which is more than enough for this read and very well done. But because of this, there are many openings and holes in the way of setting descriptions, background, and surrounding characters. But, as said, this also isn't the point of this book. Instead, one message comes across loud and clear as the two battle with the rights and wrongs when simple survival is at stake, and that is the amazing power of love.

And here she is...

Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Your Heart, My SkyWith a Star in My HandThe Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture books include Drum Dream GirlDancing Hands; and The Flying Girl. Visit her at MargaritaEngle.com.

Challenging Destiny by Cherie Colyer


Challenging Destiny 
by Cherie Colyer 
YA/NA Fantasy
Wild Rose Press

Being Chosen is a terrible thing when there's no one you can trust.

Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister, Ariana, have been marked, chosen to be unwilling participants in a war between angels and demons.

 Logan can sense something's not quite right. Like an unexpected chill on a summer's day, he can feel the unseen closing in. He's had these feelings before and, each time, someone close to him died. He's afraid this time it might just be Ariana.

 Logan's fears are soon confirmed when he discovers their new friends aren't human, but rather representatives from Heaven and Hell sent to Earth to ensure he and Ariana accept their roles in an ancient prophecy. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but if she chooses to side with Heaven to spare the lives of thousands of innocent people, she'll damn her brother for eternity.

 Together, they must derail the biblical event if they hope to save themselves and the future of mankind...but what price are they willing to pay to keep the other safe?

Challenging Destiny is 


99 cents from April 19-23rd! 







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And here she is...

Cherie Colyer is best known for her young adult, paranormal romance thrillers, including the Embrace series (featuring witchcraft) and Challenging Destiny (a story about outsmarting heaven and hell.) She usually has several book projects in the works. She enjoys helping budding writers improve their craft and learn more about the publishing industry. Cherie lives in Illinois with her family. She happily visits schools and libraries and is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators).

Website: https://cheriecolyer.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cherie-Colyer-author-250631921629169   

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherieColyer

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cherie_colyer/  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5288487.Cherie_Colyer  

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cherie-colyer   

Bookbub for the book: https://www.bookbub.com/books/challenging-destiny-by-cherie-colyer

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Review: Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera


by Cozbe A. Cabrera
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
34 pages
ages 4 to 8

Mama's love is brighter than the sun, even on the rainiest of days. In the tradition of Someday, this celebration of a mother-daughter relationship is perfect for sharing with little ones!

On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.

BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    AMAZON

                                               * celebration of mommy and child love
                                               * gorgeous illustrations
                                               * goes through a day of a child
                                               * warming, wholesome, snuggle-snuggle worthy read


The one-of-a-kind relationship between a mother and her child unfolds in warmth, joy and peace, making this the kind of read to snuggle together with in a chair and simply enjoy.

A little girl wakes up early in the morning and heads to her favorite place—near her mother. From dressing to eating to getting on the rubber boots and heading outside, the wonders of a simple day come to life and celebrate the amazing warmth between mother and child. When the day wraps up and night dawns, calm radiates and invites to peaceful dreams.

The best part of this book is the illustrations. They are beautiful and capture every moment with perfect emotions, while presenting familiar moments from what many young readers might see as a usual day. But the artistry and color combinations make each page a joy to gaze at.

The story is told in a loose rhyme, which brings the various moments of a normal day across in a natural and lyrical way. The style is different and doesn't flow always smoothly, but rather stumbles and skips a bit, making it, in my opinion, a little choppy, sometimes. Still, it does bring across the scenes and tale nicely. The message behind this one is clear and one kids can never get enough of. It's a lovely book, especially with the illustrations, and radiates warmth and love.

And here she is...

Cozbi A. Cabrera received a BFA from Parsons School of Design. Her cloth dolls (Muñecas) have garnered the attention of collectors around the world and have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is the illustrator of several books, including the picture book Beauty, Her Basket, which Publishers Weekly called “a quiet treasure” in a starred review. Her work is featured in her eponymous shop and atelier in Brooklyn. She lives in New York City. To learn more about Cabrera, please visit her at Cozbi.com.