Children's Book Reviews


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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Gabby Makes a Friend by Chris Elle Dove / Illustrated by Sofie Schollaert (Picture book)

Gabby Makes a Friend is a wonderful story of friendship between two very different characters, Gabby, the Golden Retriever and Katie, the caterpillar. From the first day the puppy meets this little Katie, they quickly become best friends and enjoy playing together until the day Katie disappears for a while. No matter how different they are or how they change, their friendship remains the same.

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Great-Grandma's Gifts by Marianne Jones (Picture Book)

Great-Grandma’s Gifts is a charming picture book with sweet, colorful, childlike illustrations. Arlene had her mother’s talent for sewing. When she grew up, Arlene shared her gift with her children, and later with their children, by the many wonderful things she was able to make for them. This is a great book to teach children appreciation for the elderly and remind them that their grandparents were young once too.

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The Imaginaries by Emily Winfield Martin (Middle-grade)

This unique book for tweens leaves stories for the imagination on every illustrated page. Emily Winfield Martin describes her paintings as “illustrations for stories that didn’t exist.” In The Imaginaries, she has collected her paintings throughout the years and united them with short, poetic thoughts.

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Her Shining Eyes by Jeanette Morris (Middle-Grade Fiction)

Irina’s young, teenage life changes instantly when her sick mother is sentenced to jail time and she is dropped off at a boarding school. Although she faces many challenges, Irina holds onto her dream of becoming a professional violinist until a bully steals her violin and leaves her hopeless.

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That Pesky Dragon by Julie Sykes (Picture Book)

“Izzy’s dad had a farm. And on that farm, there was a herd of cows…a flock of sheep…some chickens…two dogs…three cats…and a dragon.” The fire-breathing dragon causes chaos on the farm; his breath hard-boils eggs and turns their cow’s milk to yogurt. And he won’t go away.

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Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton (Picture Book)

Russell the sheep can’t sleep. What will he do? The simple text is witty and adorable to match the illustrations. The hilarious details on each page are captivating. Russell is the cutest, fluffiest insomniac. The perfect story to snuggle with at bedtime. A+++ from me.

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