Posted in PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful

Perfect Picture Book Friday

When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful (B&H Kids, 2024) by Kate Rietema and illustrated by Jennie Poh is a sweet picture book inspired by the author’s experience with foster parenting.

“Sometimes, hard things happen. It might feel like a dark scribble.” You can’t ignore it. And it won’t go away. But you can ask God for help. “And little bit by little bit, He will.” You may have to wait a while, but He’ll be with you while you wait. And someday you’ll be able to help someone else with a scribble.

This books explains many concepts about God in easy understandable language. Bible verses that reinforce the text are on the bottom of many of the spreads. The illustrations grow in beauty to match the text throughout the story.

The author has a second book coming out in October. Read about both books here. There are also free printables on the website to help kids talk about loss and hardship. Read about Kate here.

Check out a number of Jennie’s illustrations here where you can also see her awards. Read about her here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The First State of Being

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The First State of Being (Greenwillow Books, 2024) by Erin Entrada Kelly is a fun mix of historical fiction—Y2K—and time travel.

It’s 1999 and 11-year-old Michael is hoarding food that he’s stolen for when the world shuts down on January 1, 2000. (He has to help his single Mom who is struggling making ends meet. And she loves peaches, right?) And then he and the apartment maintenance man meet a weird teenager, who appears to be half Filipino like Michael. Ridge doesn’t even know what year it is and is dressed oddly. Something’s off about that kid. Despite all of Michael’s worries, he decides to help Ridge obtain his desire of going to a mall.

This is a story of hope and has great reminders of deciding how we want to be. The book came out in March.

Erin is a Newbery medalist and a NY Times bestselling author. Read about her here and check out all her books here.

Posted in PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

When a Dragon Moves In

Perfect Picture Book Friday

When a Dragon Moves In (Flashlight Press, 2011) by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam is fun book about imagination.

“If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.” And it will be great–a built in marshmallow toaster, a raft, and a an assist with kite flying. But there are rules on the beach, so you have to hide his smoke and erase his footprints from the sand. Then he eats all of the peanut butter sandwiches, blows bubbles in your drink, and nibbles all the brownies. Which you are blamed for. Plus he kicks sand on your sister. So, you have to tell him to leave. Until…

Read about the author here and see her books here where you’ll see there’s a sequel called When a Dragon Moves In Again.

Check out the illustrator’s many children’s picture books, children’s novels, and magazine illustrations here. You can read his bio here. He also wrote and illustrated Just SNOW Already! (Flashlight Press, 2023).

Posted in Nonfiction, PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

God Made You Too

Perfect Picture Book Friday

God Made You Too (WorthyKids, 2022) by Chelsea Tornetto and illustrated by Kimberley Barnes is perfect for sharing God’s nature with little ones.

God made the universe, hung stars, and spins the planets around. He formed the depths of space and YOU. He created oceans, mountains, creatures, the seasons, and billions of people, and YOU too.

Heartwarming text written in subtle rhyme and adorable illustrations make this a great read aloud book. It answers why He made you.

The author is a former classroom teacher. Check out Chelsea’s books here.

The illustrator likes bright and shiny as you can see in her illustrations on her website. Read about Kimberley here and see some of her books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Beneath the Swirling Sky

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Beneath the Swirling Sky, The Restorationists 1 (Waterbrook, 2023) by Carolyn Leiloglou and illustrated by Vivienne To was a fun and nail-biting fantasy adventure. And bonus, I learned more about art and the art world.

12-year-old Vincent and his 6-year-old sister Lili are going to Great Uncle Leo’s for a week while their parents go on a cruise. Mom is upset that their young cousin Georgia is staying there and despite whispers between the adults about traveling and getting involved, she and Dad do leave. Vincent is afraid Uncle Leo, who is an art restorer, is going to make him work on art, but Leo only warns him, “Keep your paws off the art.” After what must surely have been a dream of going into Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Vincent knows it must have been true when Lili goes missing. He and Georgia team up to save her.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The sequels are expected summer 2024 and spring 2025. I’m really looking forward to them.

Read about the author here and check out her other publications here. Carolyn also is a book reviewer on this site.

See many of the illustrator’s beautiful art here and read about Vivienne here where you’ll see she’s also a visual development artist creating concept art for some animated movies. Here you can check out her picture books.