By Kristen and Kevin Collier
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing
ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-64-1,
Jamaal Hawkins is a typical nineteen year old teen. Dreams and inspirations to become the next basketball superstar are always in his mind. However, his grandmother wants more from him; wants him to think beyond the NBA. So she comes up with an idea, one she hopes will teach Jamaal a lesson in humanity. When the teen complains and mutters about their living conditions, his grandmother begins the lesson with these words: “Jamaal,” she said softly. “It’s not where you live that matters. It’s how you live.”
The Colliers give a poignant and touching story how one determined grandmother is set on showing her grandson that life has more to offer besides basketball. She forces him to accompany her one day as a volunteer at a governor’s campaign office, stuffing envelopes. It’s here where Jamaal meets and interacts with others where his grandmother’s lesson plan begins to sink in.
I highly recommend this book to be read by families together with their children.
By Donna J. Shepherd
Illustrated by Kevin Collier
Published by Guardian Angel
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-10-8
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-13-9
Sneakiness is just part of being a small child. They get excited just with a simple notion they’ve put in their heads. Add the mixture of ‘friend’ in there and you’ve got an adventure waiting to happen. Well, adventure is what you get in Chizzy’s Topsy Tale, beautifully illustrated by Kevin Collier. I have to say there isn’t one book I’ve come across illustrated by Collier that hasn’t impressed me.
Ms Shepherd’s book doesn’t involve children but animals…monkeys, and hippos, and elephants, oh my! Chizzy’s best friend Dotty the hippo found some fresh fruit. Her little nudge is enough to entice Chizzy to sneak from his tree house and follow Dotty. However, finding the fresh fruit will prove extremely adventurous.
The strength of this book is the poetic flare throughout on each page along with the illustrations. The storyline brings the animals alive, appealing to this big child, but to families who are seeking a story that will entertain and teach children the mishaps of disobeying.
A great and fun read all around.
Written by Nancy Sweetland
Illustrated by Robert Sweetland
Published by Raven Tree Press
Meet the husband and wife team and creators of “If I Could/ Si Yo Pudiera”; book available in English and Spanish.
This children’s picture book touches the imagination of one little boy who fantasizes various things he’d love to be. Everything from flying to spinning webs like a spider. As children, we certainly can remember how we imagined ourselves becoming astronauts, singers, teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, etc. In Ms Sweetland’s book, her character is no different, yet he takes it one step further and pictures himself as various animals.
I’ve always loved Raven Tree Press’s books because of the imaginary world they pull their readers into, the educational value behind each story, and the vivid illustrations to go with each page.
The author and illustrator end “If I Could/ Si Yo Pudiera” with a valuable lesson for children: “I’m very glad that I’m just me!” Perfect ending. I highly recommend this poetically versed book for parents to read to their young ones.
The Magic Violin
By Mayra Calvani
Illustrations by K. C. Snider
Print ISBN13: 978-1-933090-49-8
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-62-7
Published by Guardian Angels Publishing, Inc.
Christmas is a time when magic can weave its long hand of possibilities and create a setting where anything is possible. This is what I found in Mayra Calvani’s The Magic Violin.
Little Melina craves to learn how to play Vivaldi’s “Winter”. Yet, along the way she becomes disillusioned in herself and capability to be a good violinist. Her mentor, Andrea, a woman with twinkling green eyes and a mysterious bright green-stoned ring, encourages her to keep practicing.
One day, Melina is out with her parents when she hears Vivaldi’s piece being played. And this is where the magic for this little girl and for all the little girls who will read this story will begin.
Mayra strings the reader with her simple yet precise words, and the illustrations bring the whole book to life. The Magic Violin is a tale of believing in yourself, a ‘feel good’ classical read.
I highly recommend it for families to read together and appreciate the magical qualities an adult can inspire in a young child.
Lea Schizas – Muse Book Reviewer 4/4 Roses
Kurtis wants nothing more than to be near the baseball team, helping in any way he can. However, his brother Ryan finds Kurtis a bit on the annoying side, always in his way. But this story isn’t only about brothers. The author, right from the start, has spun a yarn surrounding the mystery as to who vandalized the Chargers team’s baseball equipment.
The boys on the team had formed their own little club called the Base Stealers Club, initiated when they teamed up and solved a previous mystery. Now the boys are at it again, this time to discover the identity of the vandals. Yet, the boys have another dilemma: what to do to raise funds to allow all of their teammates to participate in the National Tournament games hosted outside of their vicinity.
Vivian Zabel gives us a delightful tale of sportsmanship, excitement centering the team’s efforts to win the tournament games amidst dangerous and mysterious going-ons, building confidence, and friendship; everything a young adult or even a family would enjoy reading about.
What I loved the most about this book is the way the mystery played out in snippets, pulling me to continue to read and find out what was going to happen. The boys pulling through as a team and their interaction with the youngest brother brought a realistic side to it.
Excitement is built slowly as to ‘who is this mystery person determined to get the team off the Nationals and back home’. From mysterious threatening notes, phone calls, fire alarms going off in their hotel, to tampered food, Vivian Zabel punches in a hoot full of excitement for the reader.
It’s easy to read and comprehend, the black and white pictures add realism to each chapter, and the question “What’s going to happen” eats away at you until the very end.
A Great Read all around. 4/5 ROSES
Lea Schizas – Muse Book Reviewer