children

The Thank You Letter


Author & Illustrator: Jane Cabrera
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4250-8
Pages: 34
Price: $23.99

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Grace is celebrating her birthday and receives a bunch of really great gifts. So the very next day, Grace sits down to write Thank You letters to everyone who gave her a present. But when she’s finished, she keeps writing Thank You letters to other people she knows. Everyone who receives a letter feels really special.

One day, Grace comes home to find Love letters written to her. Her Thank You letters have sparked a lot of love in the community, and everyone wants to share how good they’re feeling. Grace had no idea how her letters would impact the community in such a wonderful way.

The Thank You Letter is a terrific book for kids on the power of gratitude in their lives. By showing her gratitude with others, Grace has opened up a flood of positivity all around her. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Herring Hotel


Author: Didier Lévy
Illustrator: Serge Bloch
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 978-0-500-65212-1
Pages: 40
Price: $14.95

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There once was a very nice hotel called the Sherrington Hotel, but some time ago, it lost a few letters, so now it’s the Herring Hotel. But along with the missing letters, it’s also fallen into disrepair. Water leaks through the ceiling in dozens of places, but the guests don’t seem to care. They’ve been there forever, and they really don’t want to leave.

Gabriel lives there with his parents, and he likes to spend time with their unusual guests, especially Mrs. Kettle, also known as Tina the 23rd, exiled Queen of Kettlippia. One day the damage to the hotel is much too bad, and they will all need to pack their things and find someplace else to live. But Mrs. Kettle has a big surprise for them all.

The guests of the Herring Hotel are an eccentric bunch, but they form a lovable family. When forced to leave, they struggle to control their tears. Kids will love Gabriel’s interactions with them all, especially Mrs. Kettle. I highly recommend Herring Hotel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, Christian

Night Night Devotions


Author: Amy Parker
Illustrator: Virginia Allyn
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Children / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0890-6
Pages: 208
Price: $16.99

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Bedtime is a great time to ponder the goodness of God. Night Night Devotions is a collection of 90 devotions for children to meditate upon as they fall asleep.

Devotions are broken into two sections – Old Testament and New Testament. The table of contents provides the topic along with the Bible verse, so kids can choose the appropriate devotion to fit their day. Each devotion is two pages long, and includes a Bible verse, the devotion itself, and a four line rhyming prayer. Then the devotion closes with “Night Night, God” along with a message for kids that builds on the devotional topic.

Like all of Amy Parker’s Night Night books, Night Night Devotions shares positive messages about God and his love for children. This book would be a wonderful additional to every child’s bedtime routine.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Henry and Bea


Author & Illustrator: Jessixa Bagley
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4284-3
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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Henry and Bea are best friends. They love to play together, and they always seem to know just what the other is thinking. But one day, Henry doesn’t want to talk to Bea anymore. Instead, he sits alone in silence, avoiding everyone. Bea doesn’t know what happened, or if she did something wrong, but she keeps reaching out to see if there is anything she can do.

Finally, on a field trip to a farm, Henry tells Bea why he’s upset. His cat, Buddy, died, and he’s very sad. Bea gently comforts him, and they share a companionable silence. Then they decide on a symbolic act to honor Buddy’s memory, just as a storm begins. They both hope they will see a rainbow.

Children are understandably sad when a pet crosses the rainbow bridge. Henry and Bea demonstrates how to handle a friend’s grief in a positive and supportive manner, even when it appears that the person no longer wants to be friends. This touching and sweet book would be a perfect addition to any child’s collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

acting, children, tween

Monologues for Kids and Tweens


Author: Mike Kimmel
Publisher: Ben Rose Creative Arts
Genre: Acting / Children / Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-0998151328
Pages: 150
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Practice makes perfect in the world of acting, so it’s no surprise that kids are always looking for good pieces to perform. Monologues for Kids and Tweens gives them some great new material to work with.

Kids think and speak differently from adults, and these monologues are written with that concept in mind. But young actors are also encouraged to personalize the monologues if they want, to make them truly their own. Most of the monologues are designed to be around one minute long, although some could run two to three minutes. They contain humor and drama, as well as some really good advice for kids. All contain positive messages, and there is no inappropriate humor or vulgarity.

Monologues for Kids and Tweens would be perfect for young actors looking to improve their skills. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Seed Who Was Afraid to Be Planted


Author: Anthony DeStefano
Illustrator: Erwin Madrid
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1622828289
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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A little seed lives in a drawer with other seeds. Sometimes a man comes and opens the drawer, taking one away with him, and no one ever sees it again. The seed lives in fear that the man will come for him and something terrible will happen.

One day, the dreaded moment arrives, and the seed is carried away. He feels sad and lonely when he’s planted, and contemplates his fate. But a miraculous transformation starts taking place. He begins to grow, and soon he’s a tall tree. Now he can see the sun, the blue sky, and all the people and animals around him. He is happy because he has fulfilled his destiny.

The rhyming text of this story is perfect, and the illustrations are stunning. While there is no direct religious message presented in the story, Bible quotes are provided at the end of the book. These include a reference to the parable of the seed that must fall to the ground and die in order to bear fruit.

Kids find change frightening, and they will relate to the seed feeling fearful of leaving the safety and comfort of the drawer. Seeing the seed accept and finally embrace his transformation will help them see that sometimes change can be very good. I highly recommend The Seed Who Was Afraid to Be Planted.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Franklin and Luna and the Book of Fairy Tales


Author: Jen Campbell
Illustrator: Katie Harnett
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65175-9
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
Illustrator’s website
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Luna is planning a surprise birthday party for her dragon, Franklin. To distract him while the guests arrive, she takes him to a magical bookstore. While they browse, her pet tortoise, Neil, opens up a very dangerous looking, locked book. In a flash, he disappears inside.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Franklin and Luna dive inside the book, looking for Neil. They run into three pigs, a witch, a knight, and others, and pass a glass slipper shop. No one has seen Neil. After nearly colliding with a wolf, they ask once again about Neil, and the wolf leads them to a race between her tortoise and a hare. Finally, a giant shows up on the scene, alerting them to the fact that the book is closing, and they’d better get out soon before they’re trapped for good.

Everyone wants to join Franklin and Luna on their trip back to the real world, and soon everyone tumbles out of the book. Franklin’s birthday party bash is the best ever, as new friends join old ones. Franklin and Luna and the Book of Fairy Tales is a creative spin on the classics, and is highly recommended.

Reviewer: Alice Berger