children

Memories of a Birch Tree


Author: Daniel Cañas
Illustrator: Blanca Millán
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
ISBN: 978-84-18302-54-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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A young birch tree is enjoying his home among the other trees in the forest, content to live there forever. Suddenly, he is uprooted and planted along a busy city street. Initially, he finds it difficult to adjust to the environment. After time and some gardening care, he begins to flourish, as he realizes he has the opportunity to share his gifts with the people around him.

Memories of a Birch Tree touches on the differences between the country and the city, as well as handling change and making the best of it. Kids will enjoy this charming book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Library Book


Author: Gabby Dawnay
Illustrator: Ian Morris
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65260-2
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Illustrator’s website
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Zach and Ro are visiting the library, and Ro can hardly wait to start browsing to find the perfect book. But Zach is not impressed. Ro excitedly explains to Zach about all the fun and adventure he can find in books as Zach remains stubbornly disinterested. Finally, after much encouragement, Zach’s interest is piqued and he can hardly wait to dive into his own stack of books.

This cute rhyming book is fun to read while extolling the virtues of all kinds of books. Kids (and parents) will love to read it out loud. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

self improvement

The Magic of Momentum


Author: Stephen Guise
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1956980943
Pages: 244
Price: $14.99

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If you’ve ever wanted to start a new habit but became frustrated with your lack of success, you may have been missing the magic element. Willpower and a good plan will get your started, but what happens when you have a couple of bad days and don’t meet your goals? Many people will abandon the new habit and give up. But what if you used momentum along with your plan?

The laws of physics state that an object in motion will continue moving until stopped. But does this actually work for humans? According to Stephen Guise, the answer is a resounding YES. But how can we make it work for us? Building on the ideas described in Mini Habits and Elastic Habits, he shows us how we can use the concept of making small changes to create the momentum we need to sustain our efforts. And once we get our momentum going, we become as unstoppable as a boulder rolling down a hill.

Guise frowns on what he calls perceived momentum – time-based massive change goals – that force us to do a lot for a short period of time, but come to a grinding halt when the challenge is over. And of course negative momentum – those pesky bad habits that we can’t shake – need to be reversed through creating positive momentum to replace them.

The Magic of Momentum is an important addition to the Mini Habits system of habit formation, and shares key information on why momentum is the magic element that drives us to success. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Nibbling Your Nails


Author: Paula Merlán
Illustrator: Brenda Figueroa
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
ISBN: 978-84-18302-36-7
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

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Sara nibbles her nails all day – while she reads, waters her plants, and even when she dreams. But her body isn’t happy with her unconscious habit.

One day grandma shows up with a surprise – a beautiful cake made from strawberries and freshly cut nails! Sara is horrified. Why would she eat such a cake? But when grandma tells her that it’s made from Sara’s own nails, she realizes what she’s doing. Thankfully, it’s only a dream, but Sara wakes up determined to use the nail clippers from now on.

Breaking bad habits is hard, but Nibbling Your Nails might gross kids out enough to make them stop chewing their own nails. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Mole in a Black & White Hole


Author & Illustrator: Tereza Sediva
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65205-3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Mole lives in his hole with his best friend, Chandelier – a radish growing above him. Chandelier is the only color in his black and white world, but he tells Mole all about the things he sees around him. Colorful things like flowers, birds, and sunshine. He encourages Mole to come out to see them, but Mole is content in his black and white hole.

One day Chandelier is picked, leaving a hole in the ground. Mole finally gets the courage to leave, and explores the world around him. He enjoys seeing the beautiful colors, and brings some of the items he sees back to his hole. Now he can see color in the hole as well as above it.

Mole in a Black & White Hole is full of insights into the human experience that children will be able to discuss and explore. It tackles the concepts of safety, courage, black and white thinking, and friendship, while also telling a charming tale. I highly recommend this cute story for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Brothers and Sisters


Author: Ariel Andrés Almada
Illustrator: Sonja Wimmer
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-84-18302-46-6
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Family can be loving, fun, and occasionally difficult. But the strongest families stick together through it all.

Brothers and sisters play together, fight over their toys, snuggle up while reading together, and giggle over the same things. They may be as different as day and night or souls that share the same spirit. But no matter what happens, they love each other and try to make each other’s days just a little brighter.

Brothers and Sisters expresses all the feelings kids have about their siblings. It’s a warm and caring look at family relationships that kids will really enjoy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, mystery, tween

Monkey Magic 3: The Ghostly Thieves of New York


Author: Grant S. Clark
Genre: Middle grade / adventure / animals
ISBN: 979-8701643480
Pages: 206
Price: $9.99

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Romy Alexander has just arrived in New York after her adventures in China. She plans to tour the hot spots the guide has chosen for them and catch up on some sleep. But she doesn’t anticipate finding out that there are ghost thieves visiting the museums at night, stealing artifacts from endangered species in order to bring attention to their plight.

Nocturnal monkey visitors to her hotel room explain what’s going on, and look for her assistance. She’ll need to use her monkey magic once again to communicate with them and help them out. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Romy finds herself in trouble. It’s a good thing she isn’t the only one who has the ability to use monkey magic!

Monkey Magic 3: The Ghostly Thieves of New York is a fun mystery-adventure with lots of action. Romy barely has time to settle in before being whisked away on her latest mission. Kids will enjoy her daring and concern for the monkeys she meets. I highly recommend this newest addition to the Monkey Magic series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Bad Apple


Author: Huw Lewis Jones
Illustrator: Ben Sanders
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65243-5
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Apple is a nasty piece of fruit. He drank Pea’s tea. He stole Cat’s hat. And he pushed Spud in the mud. So what happens to a really bad apple? He just might just do something to Snake that he will regret.

Bad Apple is a mischievous tale that reminds kids that it’s not a very good idea to be bad. In fact, it can have terrible consequences.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, self improvement

Stilte: The Dutch Art of Quietude


Author: Mirjam van der Vegt
Publisher: Worthy Books
Genre: Christian / Self improvement
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1578-9
Pages: 224
Price: $21.00

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Author’s website

Do you long for more silence in your life? Do you find that your prayers are short and squeezed in between daily activities? Would you love to go on a retreat but can’t find the time? If so, Stilte is perfect for you.

After a brief explanation of the importance of silence, forty short meditations follow with ideas on how to cultivate it in our own lives. The include pruning, slowing down, and stopping the multitasking that never allows us to focus on only one thing at a time. We learn how to be silent while in motion, in contemplation, and in visiting places that are conducive to silence. Silence can be everywhere, if we only know how to find it.

Our world is filled with noise and busyness, which contributes to our high stress levels. In the silence, we can slow down and seek God’s direction in our lives. Stilte offers wonderful ideas on how to do this. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

P Is For Puffin


Author: Timothy Young
Publisher: Schiffer Kids
Genre: Children / Board book
ISBN: 978-0-7643-6247-7
Pages: 26
Price: $8.99

Author’s website
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P Is For Puffin is a unique alphabet board book. Rather than using more traditional animals associated with each letter of the alphabet, the author has chosen to show us some unusual and unique animals instead. Kids will be introduced to echidnas, kinkajous, and vaquitas, as well as many others. Each animal is pictured along with a short description about it, along with a pronunciation guide.

There is so much to learn from P Is For Puffin and children will love reading about these animals. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger