Eclipse Day!

It’s a big day in Nashville – many folks are traveling here to watch the full solar eclipse! In honor of this incredible event, I thought I’d share some books about eclipses (the descriptions below are the publishers’ statements found on Amazon.com or the publishers’ websites):

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THE BIG ECLIPSE by acclaimed children’s illustrator and author, Nancy Coffelt, captures the sense of wonder and excitement of a total solar eclipse through its cast of animal characters as they follow the path of the 2017 eclipse across America. Readers of The Big Eclipse will learn all about eclipses – how and why they happen, strange eclipse effects, eclipse myths and even what hippos do when day turns to night!

The book tells why it’s important to protect your eyes when viewing the sun, especially during an eclipse – and how to safely watch the upcoming eclipse. Each book includes instructions on making a simple solar projector and comes with a safe solar eclipse viewer.

Penny Parakeet

Join Penny as she travels to St. Joseph, Missouri to witness the total eclipse of the sun with her new friends Aunt Mellie B and Sarah the parakeet from the French Riviera.

top ten

Excitement is building for the Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017. This book for kids ages 9-12 answers their questions about eclipses. Included are not only how solar and lunar eclipses happen and how to safely view a solar eclipse, but also 
• How often do eclipses happen? 
• What happens to animals during a solar eclipse? 
• Do other planets have eclipses? 
• What does a lunar eclipse look like from the moon? 
Top Ten Facts About Eclipses answers these questions and more. Young astronomers reading this book will know facts about eclipses and what to expect when viewing the Great American Eclipse.

what happens

Everybody gets thrilled when hearing about an eclipse happening. It gets broadcasted in the news and people actually look up at the sky, waiting. But for children to better appreciate what an eclipse is, proper introduction needs to be in place first. The purpose of this book is to give your child the introduction that he/she can understand.

Eddie

Follow along with Eddie, a budding young scientist, as he navigates the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse. Eddie uses his curiosity and imagination to become an “expert” in eclipses so that he can thoroughly take in this spectacular scientific event. His energy and enthusiasm for all things science help him to engage with his family and friends while experiencing this great science adventure. The book details solar eclipse facts and encourages safety for children while observing the solar eclipse.

Cowee Sam

Cowee Sam returns as the Great Pyrenees guardian dog of Cowee Mountain Valley Farm. Meet some of the other working dogs in the neighborhood and join Farmer Joe and his family as they get ready to host their own solar eclipse party. Learn about some of the science behind this exciting event. Mark your calendar for August 21, 2017, 2:36 PM Franklin, North Carolina, is in the path of totality!

Sun dark

Get ready for the Great American Eclipse of 2017 with this charming and straight-forward story about how eclipses of the Sun and Moon occur. Includes activities using ordinary items to make models, and explores common questions. 

This illustrated book is a fun way to get young astronomers ready for August 2017, when millions of North Americans will have the rare chance to witness a solar eclipse. The book tells how two curious children and their grandparents re-create eclipses in their living room using a lamp, a tennis ball, two Hula Hoops, and Ping-Pong balls. Later, in the backyard and around the house, the family explores safe ways to view a solar eclipse and ponders phenomena from sunspots to phases of the Moon. Written by the authors of NSTA’s award-winning book Solar Science, When the Sun Goes Dark gives children and adults hands-on techniques for learning the science behind eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

where did the sun go

WHY IS THERE NIGHT DURING THE DAY?

For thousands of years, our ancestors created myths and legends to explain the puzzle of solar eclipses. The poems in this book bring the ancient beliefs of many different cultures to life. Designed for children, parents, and educators, this delightful book includes a puppet show script, with instructions for easy to create puppets, stage directions and other helpful hints for creating a fabulously fun show, while answering the question, “Where Did the Sun Go?”

Guatemalan

When a solar eclipse frightens an entire village, a young Guatemalan girl named Maria searches for answers. The ensuing story goes great lengths in teaching children about bravery and the importance of nature. Join Maria as she races across the landscape of her mountain community and faces her fears head-on. This Tz’utujil Mayan folktale, suitable for children, originates from the lakeside village of San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala.

sun went out

The Day the Sun Went Out is a beautifully illustrated children’s science storybook. The story begins with Alexander and his parents hiking in the mountains one Saturday morning. After awhile on the hike they notice an unusual occurrence in the daylight. The day grows dark and Alexander begins to wonder why. Learn about important astronomers like Johannes Kepler, and hot facts of solar and planetary motion alongside Alexander, his mom and his cousin Max. Join them as they explore the sun and the Kepler Mission. Challenge your youngsters to wonder with Alexander as his questions how life on Earth is in a careful balance with our sun. Ponder how our lives are woven into the enormous cosmos in which we all live. See what Alexander discovers about the natural world around himself. At the same time make your own discoveries about how you feel about the sun’s importance in the meaning of life.

HAPPY ECLIPSE DAY READING!

Have you read any great books lately?

The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball

It’s sometimes too easy to forget that the way we live (whether in Canada, the United States, or China) is not the only way. The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball explores just how jarring moving halfway around the world can be—particularly for children.BaseballThe Forbidden Temptation of Baseball follows two brothers, Woo Ka-Leong and Elder Brother Woo Ka-Sun, as they move from their village in Southern China to Suffield, Connecticut in 1875. They are part of a group of 120 boys that the Imperial Government of China is sending to the United States as part of the Chinese Educational Mission. Their task is to learn English, complete college degrees, and return home to help transform China to a strong, modern country.

The boys participating in the Chinese Educational Mission are sent to the United States with almost a year of training in the English language (enough to be polite), descriptions of American culture, and many admonitions: do not act “too American,” do not join a church (although they must attend with their host families), do not cut the long braid that all Chinese men and boys wear as a symbol of loyalty to the emperor, and avoid the American frivolity called “baseball.”

Ka-Leong and Ka-Sun are placed with the Swann family: Reverend Swann, his wife, and their two daughters, Julia and Charlotte. The Swanns immediately begin calling the boys Leon and Carson, deciding their Chinese names are simply too difficult to pronounce. A day later, Carson, who is the more serious and studious of the two brothers, is dismayed to learn that their teacher will be a woman.

This is just the beginning of the clash of the two cultures. As the boys’ time in America continues, they are teased by children and adults for their braids and their clothing. They struggle to learn the English language and to continue their own Chinese studies after their lessons. They are stunned by aspects of American culture that they were unprepared for, in particular, the role and treatment of women.

Author Dori Jones Yang has done a fantastic job identifying many ways in which the cultures of 1870s China and 1870s America differed. But even more impressive is her interpretation of how the Chinese boys might have responded to these disparities. Although Leon and Carson are brothers and come from the same home and upbringing, their reactions to life in America, and their willingness to adapt to this new life, are dissimilar.

I was enamored with this tale of two brothers and could not put it down. Ms. Yang’s exploration of the relationship between Leon and Carson was brilliant. I loved the use of baseball to symbolize one brother’s attraction to American culture, while he pulled away from both his brother and the life in which he was raised.

The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball is based on the true story of the Chinese Educational Mission, in which the emperor of China sent 120 boys ages eleven through sixteen to study in America. They stayed with host families in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. You’ll have to read the book to learn whether the Mission was successful!

I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Dori Jones Yang is the author of a number of books, from non-fiction to YA novels to children’s readers. Her website is www.booksbydori.com.

Have you read any great books lately?

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

A hotel is often said to be a “home away from home.” This is how the animals of Fernwood Forest see Heartwood Hotel. In A True Home, Kallie George brings this adorable new chapter book series to life and introduces us to Mona the mouse.Heartwood HotelFlooding drives Mona the mouse out of her newest home. With her suitcase in hand, she heads out into the storm. Fate sweeps her to the door of the Heartwood Hotel.

Mona discovers a ballroom full of animals—rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, hedgehogs, birds, a lizard, and even a badger. They are dressed up, dancing, eating, and laughing. These are the guests (and some staff) of the Heartwood Hotel. A bird band is providing entertainment, and there is a table stacked with food.

Gilles the front-desk lizard intercepts Mona and regretfully informs her that the hotel is fully booked due to the Acorn Festival. But Mr. Heartwood, the owner, takes pity on Mona. He offers her a temporary position for the night as a maid and a place to sleep in the staff quarters.

The next day, Mr. Heartwood offers to extend Mona’s single-night job through the fall festivals. Mona is grateful for the hospitality and pledges to “give her all” to the hotel.

Although Mona works hard, she can’t win the friendship of the other maid, Tilly the squirrel. Mona also attracts trouble over and over again—with skunk guests, with Tilly, and even when a bug tries to stay at the hotel!

Mona is sure to become a much-beloved character in many young readers’ homes. Her hard work on behalf of the hotel, her penchant for mishap when she is trying to help others, and her creative solutions to problems will make her a favorite among little ones. Those young readers will be spellbound by Mona’s tale, as they worry with her about where she will go after the fall festival season is over.

Kallie George is the author of a number of children’s books, including both picture books and chapter books. Her picture books include The Melancholic Mermaid and Duck, Duck, Dinosaur. In addition to the Heartwood Hotel chapter book series, Ms. George is the author of The Magical Animal Adoption Agency series. Her website is www.kalliegeorge.com.

Heartwood Hotel also has its own website, where you can check on the availability of rooms, apply for a job, learn more about the rooms and staff of the Heartwood Hotel, and take quizzes. The Magical Animal Adoption Agency’s website tells about animals available for adoption, assists people in making adoptions, provides “tips and alerts” and “pet care” information (“Owning a unicorn is a big—and wonderful!—responsibility…”), and offers a downloadable “Magical Egg Handbook.” Lots of fun!

I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review and am looking forward to the next books in this series! Book 2, The Greatest Gift, was released July 11, 2017, and Book 3, Better Together, is planned for February 6, 2018.

Have you read any great books lately?

Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief & GIVEAWAY!

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Most teenagers wish their lives were more exciting, more thrilling, anything but dull and normal. Then, there’s Maribel.

Maribel is a “Teenage Jewel Thief.” We meet her scaling the wall of a museum in the middle of a heist. The job is interrupted by the arrival of goons sent by Petrov Rosinsky, the leader of a crime syndicate. Petrov killed Mari’s father nine years ago, and he seems determined to wipe out the rest of the family.

Mari and her mother flee to New York, where they attempt to live a “regular life.” Mari begins high school as just a typical teenage girl—a life she has been pining for as she moonlighted as a professional thief.

On her first day of school, Mari meets Will Campbell. She instantly falls for his good looks and charm, but tries to distance herself from him in case Petrov finds her.

When Mari starts seeing suspicious people that appear to be following her, she becomes convinced that Petrov has found her. Is her imagination threatening to destroy her new love and regular life, or has her past caught up with her again?

Mari frequently takes a break from the high school drama to write in her diary. We learn about her fears for herself and her mother, her growing attraction toward Will, and her attempts to fit in at school.

The action in Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief is addicting—by the end of Chapter 1, I couldn’t put the book down. Mari battles typical teenage problems and doubts, while also struggling with her fears from her past. Mari is charming and vulnerable, and I was cheering for her throughout the book as she looked for to ways fit in and make friends.

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The publisher of Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief has provided this synopsis:

Most sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t know where museums keep their rarest jewels (the basement) and they really shouldn’t know that vans make the worst getaway cars. But for Marisol Flores, a life of jewel thievery is a birthright handed down from generation to generation, even if she didn’t ask for it. So when a rival thief targets Mari and her mother, Mari’s more than happy to flee to the anonymity of bustling New York City.

Blending in is a dream come true for Mari, but keeping her former thieving ways a secret gets way more complicated when handsome Will Campbell sets his sights on her. She can’t help but like his terrible puns and charming grin…but when her past catches up with her, it’s not only her life—and her anonymity—that’s at stake.

Will could be the next target.

This is a great book to pick up if you want a fun, exciting, compelling read, with a little love thrown in. You can find Diary of a Teenage Jewel Thief at Amazon.com and other book retailers. Click here to enter a GIVEAWAY for a $20 Amazon gift card.

About the Author:

Rosie Somers is a beach-going book addict who’s been crafting stories since before she learned her ABCs. When she’s not busy trying to bring the characters in her head to life on paper, she can be found volunteering with local animal rescues, crocheting funky hats for her friends, or eating herself into the poorhouse at Chipotle. Her fondest dream is to one day own a goat.

You can follow Ms. Somers on her blog (rosiesomers.blogspot.com), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ProsyRosie/) or on Twitter (@prosyrosie).

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Have you read any great books lately?