Cool Kids by Arlene Freeman (Book Review)

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Like most kids, Michael and his friends are so excited for their first day at a new school. They have a lot of questions about what to expect, but most of all, they wonder if they’ll get to join the football team. That would be the perfect way to start the year! However, Michael soon finds out that it’s not as easy as he thinks. The team is filled with bullies, and to join, he has to become one of them. In order to be cool enough to get a spot on the football team, Michael has to start changing his behavior—for the worse! Suddenly, terrible things start happening to him. Finally, he begins to wonder: Was it all worth it?
 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
According to a UNICEF article, “On any given school day, over 1 billion children around the world head to class.” UNESCO stated, “New data reveal that one out of three teens is bullied worldwide.” Together Against Bullying lists 20% of kindergarten students reported being bullied often. Those numbers are saddening. Parents and educators should make every attempt to stop the spread of bullying. The author of Cool Kids, Arlene Freeman, is doing their part to show the repercussions of becoming a bully. 


When kids start a new school, some follow the lead of others to fit in, which sometimes means being mean to others. They just want to feel accepted. Michael fell into this role. The meaner Michael became, the uglier he felt. This was reflected in thoughts and imagery. My daughter called mirror Michael a monster, and that’s how Amelina Jones (the illustrator) and Arlene Freeman (the author) wanted us to view him. 


Rest assured, Michael does see the error of his ways. 


When I read this with my daughter, she remarked Michael’s apology was nice, but it doesn’t repair the damage. She grabbed a sheet of paper and said the following: “Imagine if this paper was a person. If you tear a section off here (rip) and here (rip) and here (rip), it’s still damaged no matter how much tape you put on it. Apologies don’t fix everything, not completely. If you don’t want to cause harm to another person then don’t be mean in the first place.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 


Thank you, Arlene Freeman. I hope many parents and educators read your story to their children/students. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Arlene Freeman

Freeman’s first career was a third-grade schoolteacher in the Passaic School System. Teaching children is her true passion, and she incorporated this passion in her community involvement. Her second career as a real estate broker and appraiser enabled her to open her own real estate company, Prime Realty, with a partner. After thirty-five years, they sold to Coldwell Banker. She loves dogs, playing piano, telling stories, singing, dancing, and sharing wonderful examples of life’s lessons with her grandchildren. Arlene lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. She has two sons, Dr. Ted Freeman of Long Branch, New Jersey, and Dr. Eric Freeman of Westfield, New Jersey, as well as three grandchildren: Michael, Max, and Quinn. This is her first book and maybe her third career.

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Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi (Book Review)

SPRUCE THE BRUCE: A New York City Fairytale about the true meaning of Christmas Trees by A.A. Cristi

Bruce the Spruce has Christmas all wrong.
Thanks to his fancy decorations and adoring admirers, this artificial spruce tree doesn’t just wear a star at Christmas, he IS the star. But when his longtime family gets a new tree, it sends Bruce on a holiday adventure through New York City.
From a party in Brooklyn, to a run-in with rats, to a revelatory visit to Rockefeller Center, Bruce the Spruce takes an unforgettable journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas trees!
 
Buy Links:
Amazon ~  Barnes and Noble
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
I’d first like to praise Pablo Andreeta for your spectacular artwork. The facial impressions on Bruce made my youngster smile, gasp, and even get sad. They felt every emotion Bruce felt, and that’s great. We loved the Christmas lights streamed across the top and bottom of several pages. 


Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees’ cover was also superbly designed. It’s eye-catching!!!


The context (plot, dialogue, etc.) was fantastic as well. We loved ALL the decorations Bruce adorned in the various celebrations he found himself in. Well, maybe not the rats. Rats are just GROSS! 


It’s apparent how much A. A. Cristi loves New York City. One day I hope to visit there and see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for myself; I heard it’s a spectacular sight to behold. 


I don’t want to ruin the overall message behind Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi; I’ll let you read that on the closing page.


I know this book will become a staple in many homes during the holiday season. It’s a perfect story to read, before or after you’ve decorated your tree. 


As with most children’s books we read in my home, I like to introduce art activities that go hand-in-hand with whatever we read. We’ll be making ornaments, stockings, Christmas tree cookies, and creating our own “Bruce the Spruce” using paints or another medium. I can’t wait to get started! 


Happy holidays! 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author A.A. Cristi

 
A.A. Cristi was born and raised in the world capital of Christmas trees and musicals – New York City. By no small miracle, she has managed to make a living writing about both topics. When she is not dreaming up fantastic adventures for inanimate objects, she is covering the Broadway industry as a journalist and editor at BroadwayWorld.com. Though writing is her calling, her true passion is playing mother to a neurotic wiener dog named Jack and Aunt Rah Rah to two truly remarkable kids.
 
 
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Mia and the Hummingbird by Nancy Carlisle (Book Spotlight)

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“An inspirational story! The juxtaposition of the hummingbird’s struggle with Mia’s struggles is unique and I feel that kids will be able to relate to it.” – Reader in a 5-Star Review
 
Mia and the Hummingbird is the story of a young girl who immigrates to a new country and learns to accept a new life.She sees the hummingbird building her nest for her babies and thinks that she and the bird are similar as they learn to adapt to their new homes. Mia and the Hummingbird includes information about environmental and social reasons for immigration, the struggle to adapt to a new home and information about hummingbirds.
 
 
Included is a glossary about these issues, a bibliography, and references.
 
 
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Meet the Author:
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Nancy Carlisle is an author, illustrator and retired architect and manager. She writes hopeful books for kids that interweave facts and fiction about the environment and global responsibility.

During her 38 year career, as an architect and researcher, her focus was on the environment. She led work nationally and internationally on sustainable and energy efficient buildings and communities and won awards for collaboratively designing award-winning sustainable buildings, a laboratory campus, and as part of a team to develop a program to improve the energy efficiency of laboratories in the U.S.

 

connect with the author: website
 
 
 
 
 

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Lion in Your Heart by R.C. Chizhov (Book Review)

 

Dennis has moved to a new home and is scared to sleep alone in his room. Mommy tells him that there is a friendly and dependable lion in his heart, always there to protect him. But Dennis is confused and curious:

Where is the lion, if he can’t see it?
Will the lion be with him all the time and everywhere he goes?
Does Mommy have a lion in her heart?

Dennis learns that there will always be times when we are frightened or nervous: at school or when we try something for the first time…or when we are orbiting to space! But the brave lion is inside all of our hearts, giving us the courage to conquer our fears.

“The Lion in Your Heart” book makes a thoughtful gift for ages 3,4,5,6,7 and up. Great for bedtime, read-aloud, confidence building, classroom discussions and improving children’s reading skills.

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Story: The world can be a scary place. Kids will experience fear inside and outside of their homes at some point. Whether they are scared of strange noises, the dark, or something else, R.C. Chizhov shows young readers how to defeat their fear. R.C. Chizhov tells them they all have a lion inside them who’s strong and brave. If they embrace their inner lion, the child will become brave and strong too. I can practically hear many young children roaring each time the lion is shown. 

Illustrations:  I wasn’t too keen on the people’s faces; they came across as long and flat. However, I don’t think children will care or notice. Overall, Anil Yap did a marvelous job bringing life into the story. As a parent with a child who loves space, I can already guess which adventure will be her favorite to read. 🙂

I would recommend this book for anyone with young children. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  ❤ 

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

 

About R.C. Chizhov

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Children’s book author R.C. Chizhov grew up in India, moved to New York in 2005, and spent sixteen years in the financial services industry, before pursuing her childhood dream of publishing a book: her new picture book release, The Lion in Your Heart. 

R.C. thinks a good story is one that remains with the reader long after the book has closed and stays with them throughout their life. She hopes her young readers come away from her book understanding that everyone has fears, even adults, but that we are stronger than our fears and our hearts have enough courage to overcome them.

Inspired to write her story by her five-year-old son and his difficulty in sleeping in his bedroom alone, R.C. wanted to pen a tale that would show children that their bravery is always deep within them.

R.C. lives with her husband and son and when she isn’t writing heartwarming and poignant stories for children, she enjoys reading, traveling, dancing, solving jigsaw puzzles, and spending lots of time with family and friends. R.C. also loves anything math and numbers related. The Lion in Your Heart is her debut children’s book.

 

 
 

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The Christmas Blanket by Ed Damiano (Book Review)

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What is the meaning of Christmas? That’s what eight-year-old EJ wants to know. The other kids say it’s about getting toys‚ but is it, really?
​One evening, EJ’s mother takes him to the Rockefeller Center to see the lighting of the most magical tree in the world, and EJ meets someone who teaches him what Christmas is truly all about.
 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
As a parent, it’s so nice to see the kids excited about Christmas. Everything about the holiday is magical and full of wonder. However, Christmas can bring out the greed in some. They forget and need to be reminded Christmas is not just about the presents. In The Christmas Blanket by Ed Damiano, this misgiving is brought up between two characters (EJ and Tommy). 


EJ asked his mom, “What was Christmas really about?” but she just laughed. That response, in my opinion, was not the optimal way to handle a sad child who is pondering an important question. 


Soon enough, EJ met a man who helped him understand the true meaning of Christmas, and, not, it was no Saint Nick.


While it’s lovely to receive presents on Christmas, it’s also essential to understand the rewards of giving to others. This vital lesson should be taught to young children. During this holiday season, encourage your child to help others. Donate toys, blankets, jackets, etc. Make cards for residents at your local nursing home. Teach them that doing for others is the true joy of the holiday season. 


I want to wrap up my review, talking briefly about the illustrations. Life on the streets is hard, and the elements show no mercy. Jeff Vernon’s drawings captured the harshness of living outside and the gratitude an individual feels when they are shown a bit of kindness. 


In a world where you can be anything, be kind! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Born in Newark, New Jersey, Damiano has a passion for creativity, and his stories always contain a positive message. He also wrote The Christmas Blanket, which earned him a Mom’s Choice Award. In The Christmas Blanket, his character EJ realizes the true meaning of Christmas, which is not about getting presents, but about giving back to others.
 
Connect with the Author:  ​goodreads
 
 

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