All Cats Go to Heaven is a touching children’s book that deals with difficult yet important topics, such as death, friendship, and accepting others for who they. The story is told through the eyes of Minka the cat, who has just become an angel and returns to earth to protect her friends.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF REVIEW READ
After many years, Minka the cat finds herself in Cat Heaven. She is kind of surprised because she thought that cats had nine lives. Is it because she’s lived a long life? Or, is it a myth? Who cares, she’s now in Cat Heaven and she is given one last earthly wish. What does she do? Hmmm, on the premise (that means pretending) that she wants to help her living friends, she makes a request to return to earth. To her surprise, her request is granted provided she follow the rules. Rules! They have rules in Heaven? There are always rules. They just want you to be safe. Especially if you are going on a great adventure like this. And, that what All Cats Go to Heaven is…a spectacular adventure. There are so many things I would like to tell you about the adventure, but I won’t spoil it for you. Just be ready to sing, dance, and laugh. Plus the pictures are awesome.
The UNIQUE thing about All Cats Go to Heaven is its ETHNIC diversity.
Who would have known that about cats?
All Cats Go to Heaven is recommended for First Time Readers (6 – 8) Certain Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12), specifically those that tend to shy away from reading and those who love animals, will also like this book. It will also make a great Bedtime Story for those younger than 6.
BIO – Valda V. Upenieksreceived her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and has worked in various nursing leadership and consulting roles throughout the country. “Minka was my first cat and she lived for 17 years,” she says. The author has two daughters, Laura and Lasma, who live i the greater Seattle area with their two dogs and two cats.
Hong goes to Taiwan with her dad to visit her grandmother. She finds two BIG problems. First, there is an enormous beetle in the bathtub. Second, her grandmother’s noodle shop is being forced to close. What can she do?
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
For the first time in her life Hong is visiting her grandmother in Taiwan. Unknown to her, she is about to become part of an exciting fantasy mystery. It all starts with a bug. Eww, a nasty bug. Hong doesn’t want it to fall on her while she is sleeping. Everyone knows that girls hate bugs, well some don’t, but that’s a different story. Let me tell you a little secret, over fifty percent of all boys like bugs, and that’s why they will love Superbeetle. But, I’m getting off the subject. Hong hates bugs, and is crawling over her head. What will she do if he falls. Not gonna happen, she screams and her father takes care of it.
Or does he? She’s afraid it’s going to come back. What does she do? She goes to find it. As she enters the hallway, she hears splashing water coming from the bathroom. Something isn’t right. She creeps towards the door, and slowly peeks inside and, and it’s a…. I really want to tell you what it is. You probably already know. I can tell you that…no, I can’t tell you. Hurry, just read Superbeetle. You’ll get the answers. Please, please, I can’t tell you anymore. What makes Superbeetle an ETHNIC read is Hong, Chi Chi and their families. What makes it UNIQUE read is the way that the author showed you how to say the Chinese words right inside the text.
Superbeetle is a Chapter book recommended for First Time Readers (1-8) I also think this book will appeal to boys included in the Middle Grade Readers (9-12) because of the bugs. Everyone will be drawn to the fantastic illustrations.
Author S. Michele Chen lives in Southern California but visits her family in Taiwan when she can because the bugs no longer scare her.She has published numerous crime fiction short stories and a novella under a secret identity.Superbeetle is her first children’s book: www.superbeetlebook.com
Illustrator Leda Chung was born and raised in New England.In 2010 life swept her away to Northern California where she currently resides with her boyfriend and their pet pigeon, Olive.When she’s not creating art, you can find Leda experimenting in the kitchen, tending to her small plant-family, and rescuing pigeons and doves in the California Bay Area: www.ledachung.com
THE AGE OF MYTHS & LEGENDS BOOK ONE: MONSTERS Written and Illustrated by T. D. HILL
Drawn from the myths and legends of the first inhabitants of North America, the delightful tales, collected for this book series, not only offer insights into tribal character and beliefs, but they also celebrate the diverse tribal traditions of rich and powerful cultures that are still relevant today.
Beautifully illustrated throughout, this book holds an amazing collection of tales concerning the many evil creatures that once haunted the dreams and nightmares of the Indigenous tribes of North America. Told in an enchanting, yet unencumbered style, this collection seeks to shed light upon the richness, wisdom, grace, and depth of the North American tribal cultures and their timeless myths and legends.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
There’s nothing more thrilling than sitting with family and/or friends around a campfire, in front of a fireplace, on a couch or simply lying the floor with bent knees crossed and elbows supporting your wide-eyed face as you listen to an ancestral story of your family’s past. What makes the story even more intriguing is when you get to share someone else’s past. This time, I had the privilege of reading and learning about the myths and legends of the American Natives populating the United States of America.
The Age of Myths & Legends – Book One: Monsters presents stories about giants, ogres, wolves, mermaids, witches, sea creatures, and little people just to name a few. Did I say little people you ask? Yes, I did. Little people can be quite vicious, I have so many stories about them, but alas, I’m not talking about my history—I’m talking about The Age of Myths & Legends- Book One: Monsters. Of course there was that group of little people who weren’t vicious. In fact, they were quite interesting as they—oh, I can’t tell you about that one. I’m going to have to let you read it yourself, because I want to tell you about Skunny Wundy who encountered a Stone Giant in my favorite legend of the book.
Skunny Wundy was a master storyteller. You see, he liked to embellish his stories. However, instead of elaborating the story’s details, he liked putting himself in it. Yes, he was better known as a braggart. Now, for some reason, this only bothered the Hoya’nê (the most powerful man in the village.) You see one day, he questioned him. “Skunny Wundy! What would you do if you saw a Stone Giant?” Without hesitation, Skunny Wundy smiled and replied, “Why I would break every bone in the giant’s body! I would tear off his arms and legs!… The Stone Giants fear me. Just one mention of my name would cause them to flee in terror!”
I am so sorry, I can’t tell you the rest of this story other than the fact that it is very hilarious and it alone is worth the price of the book. Naturally, The Age of Myths and Legends – Book One: Monsters is an ETHNIC read because of its diverse characters.
The Age of Myths & Legends – Book One: Monsters is recommended for All Ages. Now, there are some stories that may be a little scary and/or mature for younger audiences, so parental discretion is advised. However, there are some great bedtime stories, so snuggle up and enjoy.
BIO – Author/Illustrator: T.D.Hill (Wichita, Kiowa, Pawnee) is a Native American writer, artist, and motivational speaker. Much of his writing draws upon his experiences as an Indigenous American with ancestry from several tribes. He grew up in Southwestern Oklahoma and now lives in Austin, Texas.
He can be reached at: NATIVE TALES
LITTLE KARL M. EARL SMITH Illustrator E. A. SANTOLI
Little Karl is a curious child, always wanting to know everything about the world around him. As he walks through the city with his mother, he asks question after question about what he thinks is wrong with the world and offers his own solutions to make sure everyone has shelter, food, education, work, and comfort.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It’s morning and you step outside your house and see lush green grass, sunlit bright blue skies. You smile because the world is a great place, but not for everyone. That’s what Little Karl noticed when he went walking around town with his mother. He saw this and asked why it was that way. Then he saw that and again he asked his mother why it was this way. Oh, you want to know what this and that is? You know me by now, you have to find out for yourself. I will say that it is something very valuable. What makes Little Karl a UNIQUE read? It’s all about the ending. With its diverse characters, Little Karl is also an ETHNIC read.
Little Karl is recommended for First Time Readers, Middle Grade Readers to age 10, and curious readers of all ages.
Author Bio: With work for children and adults, M. Earl Smith is a writer who seeks to stretch the boundaries of genre and style. A native of southeast Tennessee, Smith moved to Ohio at nineteen and, with success, reinvented himself as a writer. After graduating from Chatfield College in 2015, Smith enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to study creative writing and history. He is the proud father of two wonderful children and, when he’s not studying, splits his time between Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Chattanooga, with road trips to New York City, Wichita, Kansas, and Northampton, Massachusetts.
Illustrator Bio: E. A. Santoli is an illustrator and teacher. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His inspirations are bridged between academic painting and Japanese manga and anime. He currently resides in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
HOW KING MONTEZUMA GOT HIS REVENGE ANNALISA NASH FERNANDEZ ILLUSTRATOR PILAR CASTILLO LAYOS
Montezuma’s revenge is more than just a legend; it’s legendary for its stinky curse. Centuries after King Montezuma was defeated by Hernán Cortés and his Spanish army, a strange illness befalls legions of people arriving to his land. But this illness isn’t anything ordinary. It leaves a putrid smell in the air and gassy people racing for el baño . It is a battle – a battle your butt won’t win!
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It has many names because it happens in many places. For me, I had Mummy’s Tummy in Egypt and I’m not sure what they call it in France, but I had it there too. In Mexico, it’s called Montezuma’s Revenge. That bellyache and gas that sends you rushing to the bathroom when you eat the food in another country. Now you may wonder what’s this got to do with How King Montezuma Got His Revenge. Well, you know it’s a legend don’t you? You don’t!? Stop everything right now and get this book, because the story behind the legend is astounding.
The UNIQUE thing about How King Montezuma Got His Revenge was how the illustrator incorporated historical pictures (gathered from public media) into her illustrations in the form of a book. This book was being shared by the book’s main character, a little girl of Mexican heritage. Thus, How Montezuma Got His Revenge is also an ETHNIC read.
This book is recommended for First Time Readers (7-8) and Middle Grader Readers (9-10). However, it a great read-to book for any child.
LET’S GO BUNGEES NAVA ALMOG ILLUSTRATED BY KEREN ALMOG
We are so happy to have you with us on this marvelous adventure to explore the world.
Together we will go places, see new faces, learn a lot, and have tons of fun.
Hidden in our books are secret links. Find them, and with one click you will be up high, looking out at new horizons.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Let’s Go Bungees is the first in a series of interactive books that take children on an adventure around the world. As they learn about different places, people, and cultures, children will be able to get an animated version of their journey through links that are hidden (in plain sight) throughout the book. For me it was an exhilarating experience and a UNIQUE way to see the world. Your tour guides in Let’s Go Bungees are Ming, his wife Sheen, and their friend Yoga. Because they are Japanese ladybugs, Let’s Go Bungees is also an ETHNIC read.
Primarily, Let’s Go Bungees would be recommended for First Time Readers (0 – 8), but with the interactive links, I also recommend this book for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12).
Nava Almog was born in Italy, raised in France, Israel, and Africa. She spent her childhood traveling the world in the company of her parents, Nava fell in love with the wonder and adventure of discovering new people, places, and cultures.
As far back as she can remember, Nava has written or drawn the stories of her journeys, and she has passed on these passions to her children.
Nava and her daughter Keren (who also loves to travel) have written and illustrated stories based on their own experiences so that children all over the world can discover new places, cultures, and friends through the adventures of the BuggeesBunch.
Keren Almog-Shalem came into the word in a whirlwind of happy enthusiasm. She has been a creative adventurer since she was a child, and loves to travel the world searching for the most unique, special and daring experiences. She climbs the highest mountains, bungee jumps, sky dives, and generally seeks the most daunting challenges.
As an artist, Keren is a marvel at transforming an idea into a project or product, and it is she who has infused the Buggees with such humor and joy.
Like her mother, Keren loves to cook and to paint. She also plays beach volleyball and tennis and loves a day in the sun.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR BENJAMIN ELLEFSON ILLUSTRATED BY KEVIN CANNON
Lost in a strange land where everything is gray, Alvin must find the true color thieves to save the princesses and restore the color to the kingdom.
Floating into the air with an enormous gum bubble, Alvin lands in a strange world where everything is gray. The trees, the flowers, the dirt, the sky, the animals, and even the people are all missing their color.
Confronted with the mystery of the missing color, Alvin teams up with some unexpected friends to battle man-eating plants, outsmart the bumbling Crimson Guards, cross the Sugar Desert, overcome the two-headed dragon, and find the color-stealing goblins to restore color to the kingdom.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It starts off with a simple game of kick the can. but with Brandon and Steven being the only ones free, it was bound to end in a tie. And…it almost did. You see they both reached the can at the same time, they both kicked it up into the air at the same time, but when it came down, somehow it landed in front of Steven making Brandon and all the other kids the winners.
As they celebrate the win, Paul and Derek, two brothers, drop by and asked them to go fishing. However, they can’t find anything to cut the spool of fishing line. Wait! Brandon’s grandfather lives near the pond, They can get something from him to cut fishing lines for each of them.
Grandpa Alvin, pulls out a pocket knife and not since the Wizard of Oz has such an adventure been told. A wad of Never Pop bubble gum lands twelve-year old Alvin son of Jack in a place that is all gray. The grass, the road, the sky, everything, Well not Permy of course, but everything else is gray. Together, Alvin and Permy set out on a trek across THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR simply to find out what happened and change everything back to its normal self.
Did I say simply. Nothing is ever simple and THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR doesn’t disappoint. First there’s…, then… well next… Shucks, I can’t tell you about any of that. You’ll just have to find out for yourself as you read THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR. I can say that there is one wicked twist that will have every parent cheering.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR and which makes the story UNIQUE is that it had lots and lots of pictures. Something that is very rare in a Middle Grade Book. However, its main character, which turns out to be Alvin, provides an ETHNIC read.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR is primarily recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9-12) especially those boys and girls who are reluctant to read. However, because of the illustrations, I also recommend this book for first time readers who show advanced reading skills.
BIO Benjamin Ellefson loves writing whimsical adventures for children of all ages.
Childhood was a magical time for him. Benjamin grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. Every day was filled with imagination, adventures, fantasy, and wonderful stories. In school he loved any project that let him explore his creativity.
When Benjamin was older, he traveled across the country to study story telling at the University of Southern California in their school of Cinema/Television. While in school, he had the amazing opportunity to work on several film productions and saw stories coming to life first hand.
Over several years after school, Benjamin had four beautiful daughters. When they were little, he spent all of his creative energy giving them the magical childhood that he had when he was small. There was nothing as exciting to Benjamin as watching their imaginations flourish as they explored the world.
Now that they are older, he wants to give that magic to all of the children of the world. Benjamin focuses his writing on modern fairy tales that are fun for kids and thought provoking for adults. Each adventure celebrates important values of self-reliance, preparedness, and diversity. He hopes with each book to spark imagination in each reader.
It’s midsummer. David Elbert’s final semester at the university comes to an end. For this fresh Engineer, the daunting task of saving a company from imminent disaster soon pales in comparison to the multimillion-dollar stash of drugs and money found in a luxurious property he comes to own. His nerves start to singe. Criminals come out of the wood work. Escalation is imminent. When police and drug enforcement agents pop onto the scene, all hell quickly breaks loose. At this point, pure survival instinct takes over.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
When I started reading Intrinsic Encounters I expected mystery, intrigue, espionage, and a spy thriller. Why? I’m not sure, that’s just what the cover spoke to me. Instead, I got the longest most hilarious first chapter I’ve ever read. It gave you all of David’s backstory. And the things he did as a kid. Hm, hm, hm. His parents way of resolving the problem–priceless. I’m still laughing.
Getting over my initial shock that this was not a mystery was replaced by some well written humor. This hype was immediately replaced as we returned to the present and David presented a more somber mood.
Then Elise came into the picture, David’s girl friend. No, not girlfriend, his friend that is a girl. That is until David realizes his like for her has moved into love. Aaaah, a budding romance. This is a romance novel. Of course not! Let me be clear that relationship does develop throughout the novel, but—there was that thing you know, that thing that centered around Displaytek (the place where David did his internship). That engineering thing that got him there in the first place and was the primary story of the book. Right, Let me explain it more clearly, It was that thing that some of us would label as technology. While others would call it geeky and nerdy. Oh! Or science fiction as those of us who must categorize books into genres would call it.
No mystery! I should have really been let down. But, I like humor. I like romance. Wait, I even like science fiction. Besides, there was a little bit of mystery with that drug thing. Yet, you already know about that.
The UNIQUE thing about Intrinsic Encounters is the suspense. Yes, you heard me, it is a suspense thriller, (my mystery) with lots of action and adventure. When David walks into Displaytek on the first day, and talks to Anje Tille of Human Resources, he asks her what is expected of him as an intern. Her answer is what kept me turning the pages of this book. With characters like Henrik Wang and John Nwosu, Intrinsic Encounters is also an ETHNIC read.
This book is recommended for Young Adults from age 16 and Adults.
Verónica pushes through the other seventh grade kids in our breezeway, speaking over the noise, “María! What’s wrong with Hannah?”
What does she want? Like she suddenly cares about Hannah, cares that the nurse sent her home, cares that her eyes were glassy, her face swollen and her whole body sagging. I begged Hannah to stay home, but she wouldn’t listen.
Thus begins a multicultural novel set in Salinas, California, in which 12-year-old María Cortez discovers her inner strength and uses it to save her best friend, Hannah, a Caucasian girl who lives next door. As the story unfolds, a presumed enemy becomes a friend, a mysterious old women, a curandera, becomes her mentor, she learns why the space on her birth certificate for father is blank, she discovers her Huichol roots and in the end she choses a life career.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
When I started reading María’s Beads, I thought I knew a lot about Hispanic culture, I was pleasantly surprised to know that I didn’t. I loved the storytelling aspect of María’s Beads, and the way in which certain things were presented in the story. What certain things you ask? You know I can’t tell you, that would spoil the story for you.
I can tell you that she used the same method of an important historical figure to solve the problem of Hannah’s illness. What, you want more information about this historical figure and what she did? Really! So you can be mad at me later for giving away the story. Lets go on.
The UNIQUE thing about María’s Beads is the power Maria receives from the beads and from her lessons with La Curandera. María’s Beads is also an ETHNIC read because Maria learns that her Hispanic roots are a mix of Huichol and Brazilian.
I really, really liked this wonderful, amazing, historical story for Middle Grade Readers 10 – 12 and Young Adults to age 14.
BIO: One evening my wife told me the story of her 13-year-old best friend who lived next door to where she grew up in Salinas, California. One day, she contracted kidney disease, her parents refused medical intervention and the girl died. I was struck by the emotional impact of such an event on a pre-teen. It propelled my wife out of a near-poverty existence and into a life-time career as a medical professional, impacting hundreds of patients. This book is my attempt to capture that motivation for pre-teen girls without the death.
Charles is coordinator and meeting moderator for the Sonoma County Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). He has published three middle-grade novels as well as work in three literary anthologies, Tiny-Lights literary website and the Santa Rosa Press democrat newspaper. He was co-editor of the Redwood Writers 2012 anthology, Call of the Wild, and is an active member of the Redwood Writers a branch of the California Writer’s Club (CWC).
The weirdest, most horrible week in Toby Stevens’ life starts when he hears a voice no one else can hear. The voice tells him that he has been Chosen to fight in a thousand-year-long war. It says that he’ll be given a Gift, a superpower to help him save the world. Terrified, Toby tries to ignore the voice, to pretend that everything is normal. But his friends keep catching him talking to himself. And the voice keeps saying stranger and stranger things. It tells him that he has to go to the middle of the Nevernight Forest, the giant woods that surround Toby’s town. In the Nevernight, the voice almost screams, all of your questions will be answered.
By the end of the week, Toby can’t take it anymore. He jumps up in the middle of class, races past the school security guard and runs straight into the Nevernight Forest. As the shouts of “Stop!” and “Come back!” fade behind him, Toby almost runs headlong into a fight between an old man with a silver sword and a huge man with a black axe. The two men stop fighting long enough to turn to look at Toby. As they drop their weapons and start walking toward the frightened boy, Toby’s normal life ends and the Nevernight Wars begin.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Imagine sitting in your basement on a dark and stormy night secretly looking at a forbidden scary movie with your best friends Kirsten Roberts and Billy Delancy when you hear a voice. “You have to help her,” it pleads. You look around, did the others hear it? No, they are focused on the screen where Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is chasing some girl. In confusion, you wonder if this is part of the movie. No . . .it’s not his voice. Freddy’s voice is deeper and scary. This voice is soft and gentle and . . . it’s outside. Slowly you look towards the window. There’s nothing there but your backyard. Yet, beyond that lies—the Nevernight Forest. Someone in that forest is asking you to help her because, “she’s drowning.”
Who is she? Who’s talking? Why are you the only one that can hear him? Yes, that soft gentle voice is male. At your hesitation, it becomes commanding. “TOBY! LOOK OUTSIDE!” What are you going to do? What any curious sixth-grade boy would do. Ignore the wet and wild weather and step outside.
The brilliant thing about Jeff Trussell’s The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift, is:from the moment that you discover the voice in the woods is Cayman, a black man with a Jamaican accent who tells you the history of the Nevernight Forest, and the war that has been going on for centuries to save it from destruction; from the moment that Toby’s gift (superpowers to you), which is achieved by an ancient process handed down by the Goddess Isis, begins to grow and you find yourself trying to scrat—no, no, no–no spoilers from here; from the moment, the very touching moment (I’m a girl what do you expect), that Toby asks Billy, his best friend who is in a wheelchair to teach him how to use his gift, you are part of the story both mentally and physically.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Giftis a fantasy story with a little bit of science fiction and a lot of mystery thrown in. The way that Toby defeats Mr. Skinner, the antagonist, makes this a UNIQUE read. With the inclusion of Cayman (not to mention Isis, my favorite Goddess) and Billy, The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is also an ETHNIC and SPECIAL NEEDS read. I can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12). First Time Readers (8 -12) with Parent assistance. Girls will also enjoy this book.
BIO Have you ever had a story you just had to tell? Something you ran home from school, burst in the front door and started blabbing to your parents before they even knew who was talking to them? The Nevernight Wars is that story for me. And like any good story, The Nevernight Wars has become more that just a story. In a weird way, and I wouldn’t admit this to just anybody, the characters are real. Toby, Kirsten and Billy aren’t real in the same way my wife Jennifer or baby Silas or our funny looking basset hound Luke are real. But real in the way Halloween or what you wish for on your birthday is real.
And for everyone who keeps asking when the next Nevernight will be ready, the answer is very soon. I won’t say what’s going to happen, but I will say that even I was surprised.