& oodles of art

A Book for Bear by Ellen Ramsey (PB for ages 3-8)

Bear loves to read like his friend Ellen, but he wants to find a book of his own. The problem is he’s a bear and bears aren’t allowed at school or the library or in bookstores. Ellen is determined to help Bear and won’t give up until they find a solution.

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It's a RHAP, Cat by Lee Y Miao

It’s a RHAP, Cat, the second book in the Ellie & Co Series, combines art and Renaissance history in this exciting middle grade mystery adventure.

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Wei to Go! (Ellie & Co Book) by Lee Y Miao

Wei to Go is a unique mystery filled with adventure, humor, and Asian culture. Ellie will capture the attention of middle-graders as she finds clues and travels around Hong Kong.

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Young Adult)

Wow! This memorable novel deserves every award it received. Jason Reynolds tells this dramatic story involving teenage gun violence in short powerful poems. Reynolds has explained, setting the entire book in an elevator, he wanted to mimic the feelings of anger, pain, and helplessness.

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Ruby Moon by Jenny Knipfer (Young Adult/adult Fiction)

I knew I would like Ruby Moon from the first page. The poetic prose and introduction to Jenay’s vulnerable side hooked my attention. Author Jenny Knipfer begins her novel in the present, revealing Jenay’s guilt for some horrific accident she caused. I was intrigued, wanting to know more, and not disappointed as the story slowly unfurled.

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A Soul as Cold as Frost by Jennifer Kropf (Young Adult Fantasy)

From the first page, I knew this was going to be something special. And it was even better than I expected. I’m not one to usually read fantasy novels, but the poetic descriptions of this magical world author Jennifer Kropf created sparkled.

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Beautiful Beast by E.J. Hill (Young Adult)

When I started reading this retelling of the original fairytale, I couldn’t help focusing on the similarities and differences to the original story and Disney version, the main difference being the beast is female. But author, E.J. Hill’s beautiful writing soon carried me into her unique version of the story. Her intricate plot details wove together with vivid descriptions to create something new and unexpected and drew me into her mysterious world.

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Roam by C.H. Armstrong (Young Adult Fiction)

Abby Lunde appears to be an average teen at her new school since moving to Minnesota with her family, but she has secrets. Since her mother’s scandal, they lost everything—jobs, friends, and even their home. Aside from handling the typical teenage mood swings and fears, Abby must deal with living in her family’s van in a Walmart parking lot. She is humiliated, having to sponge bathe in public restrooms and depend on soup kitchens for meals. Abby is angry and blames her mother for ruining their lives...

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Fade to White by Tara K. Ross (Young Adult Fiction)

Fade to White is an exceptional young adult novel. Author, Tara K. Ross has a beautiful writing style that drew me in from the first page. I love her character’s humor and honesty in relating the difficult topic of living with a mental illness. Aside from the typical teenage insecurities, Thea has severe anxiety issues, panic attacks, and pulls her hair out to release stress. Her anxious thoughts multiply after reading about the death and suicide of a classmate.

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Let's Dance by Valerie Bolling / Illustrated by Maine Diaz (picture book)

Every page of Let’s Dance is delightful and invites participation. Clap, tap and twirl through the pages! Valerie Bolling captures the essence of each dance from many different cultures in fun, musical words that flow in perfect rhythm. The illustrations are gorgeous and fit each style of dance perfectly.

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Wink by Rob Harrell (middle grade)

Wink is a book that touched my heart. I enjoyed the humor and blinked back a few tears from tender scenes created by the author, Rob Harrell. As a seventh grader, Ross has enough teenage angst to deal with before finding out he has eye cancer. He wants to fit in with his peers, blend in with everyone normal, but the eye treatments force him to stand out. Just when he thinks he couldn’t be more embarrassed, another side effect pops up to draw more attention his way.

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Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark / Illustrated by Todd Bright / Picture Book

Taste Your Words is a delightful story with hilarious illustrations. After Amera and her friend argue and share some mean words, Amera’s mom suggests she tastes her words before letting them out of her mouth. From that moment, Amera tastes everything she says. Her mean words fill her mouth with yucky flavors like pickle juice and rotten eggs. But when she realizes nice words taste yummy like chocolate or sweet oranges, she is encouraged to be kinder and think before she speaks.

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About imageAbout image
Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I want this to be a fun place for you to visit, where you can find great children’s books and ideas to inspire and showcase your child’s creativity. I’m an author and illustrator who graduated from FIT in Manhattan with a major in illustration. I believe books and art go together like the classic PB & J. I love both and couldn’t have one without the other. A jelly sandwich? No way. Blogging about books without including art? No, thanks. Wouldn’t taste right. So, here you can have it all. Enjoy.

While you are here, you can click the link and visit my author website to learn more about my published books, stories, and poems. I’m in the process of editing my second novel, hopefully ready to be published this year. Any updates will appear in the newsletter with balloons. You can also check out my book Randi's Steps on Amazon.

Now that you know what’s happening here at Doodle Stories, I’ll share a bit about me. I grew up in the town of Mount Sinai, New York, on the north shore of Long Island with my wonderful parents, one sister, and cats. My dad is an amazing portrait artist, winning too many awards to count. His father was a writer who had a column in the local newspaper. I like to think I inherited their gifts or at least a portion. While I was in art school, I met my husband, a graduate from the School of Visual Arts. His mom was an artist too. We had five kids who I homeschooled for ten years and now are grown and pursuing artistic careers. I have written close to 250 short stories and poems, been published in magazines and anthologies, and self-published a middle-grade novel that was a contest finalist. My writing has earned some awards, but I don’t want to bore you with all that. When I’m not reading or writing, I love tennis, bike riding, and playing trivia games with my family at the dinner table. 

Thanks for visiting! Come back soon.

Frances Judge

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