By reviewing high-quality, culturally-sustaining (and enjoyable) books that affirm and value all children, I hope to encourage children and those young at heart to read more. 

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Negative Cat

Love this NEGATIVE Cat

The boy in this picture book really, I mean really, wants a cat. Did I mention that this boy really wants a cat? Finally, on Day 427 of asking his parents for a cat, they say yes! At the rescue shelter, the boy immediately recognizes his cat – the one in the cage labeled “Pookie.” And thank goodness, the boy changes the cat’s name to Maximilian Augustus Xavier and calls him “Max” (a favorite nickname around here!).

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Koala Lou by Mem Fox

Koala Lou, I DO Love You!

Koala Lou (Guliver Books/Harcourt 1988), written by Mem Fox and illustrated by the late Pamela Lofts, tells the story of baby Koala Lou, “so soft and round that all who saw her loved her.”  But her mother loves her the most, telling her hundreds of times a day, “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” Koala Lou is the oldest, and as the family grows, her mother has less time to tell Koala Lou how much she loves her.  Koala Lou, hoping to regain her mother’s notice, decides to win

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appleblossom the possum

The Adventures of the Brave Appleblossom the Possum

Not a big fan of possums?  This middle grade book might just change your mind! Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan and illustrated by her husband, Gary A. Rosen, tells the story of Appleblossom, the smallest and most timid of Mama Possum’s first batch of babies.

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Book Review: Take A Beautiful Hike with Pete Oswald

Told through pictures, Hike by Pete Oswald is the story of a father and child taking a spring hiking trip into the mountains.  Everything feels fresh and new, and you can literally feel the father and child breathing it in.  The gender of the child is left open in this story to make it more inclusive.  As Pete Oswald said in an interview with Publishers Weekly, he wanted a story that anybody could relate to.  I love that.

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Tristan Strong Series

Tristan Strong is Strong – Book 1

Tristan Strong, a seventh grader, is supposed to be a boxer.  He can hold his own in fights at school (no, his parents aren’t happy about school fights), but he loses his first official match, much to the chagrin of his father and grandfather, both champion boxers.  So Tristan is not feeling strong, especially after he was unable to save his best friend Eddie.  Over the summer, Tristan’s parents decide to send him to his grandparents’ farm in Alabama (without his input, of course!), hoping a change of scenery will help him process his grief.  Tristan is dreading the trip, but he has no idea what he’s about to face.

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The Last Fallen Star Rick Riordan Presents

Find Adventure in The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1)

Yet another exciting Rick Riordan Presents publication, The Last Fallen Star, the first in a series, introduces readers to the world of Korean mythology.  Riley Oh was adopted into a family of healing witches from the Gom clan, descendants of the Cave Bear Goddess.  Riley has memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, but it’s not doing her any good because she has no magical powers.  Like everyone, Riley just wants to fit in, but it’s hard when you’re the only kid without magic.

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Mac B. Kid Spy series

Get the Scoop on Being a Kid Spy with Mac B., Kid Spy Series (Books 1-6)

Mac Barnett is an author. But before he was an author, he was a kid. And when he was a kid, he was a spy for the Queen of England.  I know, right?!  Who would have thought this award winning children’s author was once a kid spy?!  Fully (and hilariously) illustrated by Mike Lowery, the Mac B., Kid Spy series provide a firsthand account of Mac Barnett’s top secret, undercover missions for the Queen.   

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