Saturday, December 17, 2022

Today's read...Decked with Holly by Marni Bates and PJ Library offers Braille Editions!

Lots of Holiday cheer going on today! Not only do I have a stocking-stuffer for tween and young adult romance fans, but I also was informed this week about an amazing project being launched by PJ Library and the JBI Library — Braille book editions for kids! So, you'll want to scroll down after this review and discover the awesomeness of that new project, too.


by Marni Bates
Tween/YA Romance
244 pages

Smartly blending of-the-moment pop culture references and timeless themes, Bates follows her YA debut, "Awkward", with a hilarious, over-the-top adventure about a teen girl who becomes the fake girlfriend of a cute rock star.

Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn't Holly's idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she's pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she's greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly's face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can't risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend - just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be "fauxmantically" involved with a cute rock star? She's about to find out...



Rock star meets chaotic teen girl in a tale of mishaps, accidents, ridiculousness, and jingling joy.

Holly would do almost anything to get out of the Christmas cruise her grandfather has set up with her and the extended family for the holidays. But when her attempt to find a quick job (to use an excuse not to go) has her destroying the Santa display at the mall, she's stuck on the boat in a cabin with her two unkind cousins. Seasickness forces her to flee to the halls when her cousins bring in some guys, and that has her stumbling into an unknown cabin, which ends in an attack with pepper-spray. Her victim ends up being the drummer of the hottest band in the US. To avoid a scandal (and huge trouble for her), he demands she pose as his fake girlfriend until the press blows over. It sounds easy, but of course, it's not...and more than a little chaos is about to ensue.

This is a light-hearted, no-seriousness, super-sweet romance. Holly is a mess, who despite her down-to-earth mind, stumbles into one ridiculous problem after the other. Dominic, the drummer, offers the exact opposite as he takes his career and life-choices very seriously. With his bad temper and her careless nature, silliness is a given...especially since the characters around them are just as quirky and over-the-top.

This isn't a read with depth and there are a few stumbles on the logic end, but that's not the point. It's a fast-paced dive into fun and humor with a sweet enemies-to-heart-throb romance as a heaping side. 


to provide Braille editions of Jewish children's books
to kids, who are blind or visually impaired. 

This was just announced this week (I believe...and if I'm wrong, don't quote me on it). There are four books on the list (see below). Each title will come with a Braille transparency overlaid on each page with carries text. That way, kids, who are blind or visually impaired, will be able to enjoy the same books as other kids.

The program was created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and is being supported by Jewish organizations and other philanthropists. 

To learn more, visit Families, who are in use of such a resource, can call 
(800) 433-1531 to order the Braille version(s), large print versions, or even Digital Talking Books for a month. To explore other resources and benefits from JBI's free service, call 
1-800-433-1531 or email Of course, you can visit for more information on all of this and more. 



Hanukkah at Monica’s  
by Varda Livney / 
Ages 0-5

No one loves Hanukkah more than Monica. And celebrating the Festival of Lights — lighting candles, singing blessings, eating delicious fried foods, and playing dreidel — is even more fun with friends. Luckily, Monica has lots of friends, including a robot, a pirate — even a jellyfish! Who’s going to arrive at her party next?


The Peddler and the Baker

written by Yael Molchadsky, illustrated by Liora Grossman

Ages 5-10

The poor peddler can't afford to buy the baker's fresh challah, so he contents himself with merely sniffing their tantalizing aroma — until the baker gets angry and demands payment for that, too. When the rabbi hears of the dispute, he comes up with an ingenious verdict.


Until the Blueberries Grow

written by Jennifer Kam and illustrated by Sally Walker

Ages 5-10

Until the blueberries grow . . . until the grapes are ripe . . . until the snow falls . . . until the flowers bloom . . . Ben tries to convince his great-grandfather to stay in his house just a little longer as the two celebrate a yearly cycle of Jewish holidays together.


Jeremy’s Dreidel

Ages 5-10

written by Ellie Gellman and illustrated by Judith Friedman

At a dreidel-making workshop, Jeremy’s friends think he’s molding a secret code on his clay dreidel. But he’s really making a special gift for his father, who is blind. How will he get his friends to appreciate his special dreidel?

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a light, romantic story perfect for this season. And what a wonderful project to provide more books in braille. Have a Happy Holidays!