Tag Archives: review

Grant’s Huge Choice by Aaron J. Parker (Book Review)

Grant has a choice to make, and so do you!

A big event is coming up for Grant. It’s his class picture day! Grant can’t contain his excitement to take pictures with all his classmates, but there’s one problem. His locs! Grant loves his locs. And after Ms. Jones tells him he won’t be able to join the class pictures unless he changes his hairstyle, Grant has to make the toughest decision of his life. The thought of missing his class pictures makes Grant sad, and the thought of cutting his hair doesn’t help much either. But after a powerful conversation with Daddy about choices, Grant gains the confidence he always needed to stand up for himself and do what is best for him. Join Grant as he learns a valuable lesson about choices and doing what makes YOU happy!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Class picture day is here! It’s an exciting day for a lot of students. They spend a great deal of time selecting the perfect outfit and styling their hair. 

Summary: Grant can’t contain his excitement to take pictures with all his classmates, but there’s one problem. His locs! Grant loves his locs. And after Ms. Jones tells him he won’t be able to join the class pictures unless he changes his hairstyle, Grant has to make the toughest decision of his life. The thought of missing his class pictures makes Grant sad, and the thought of cutting his hair doesn’t help much either.”

In 2019, it made national news a high schooler was forced to cut his dreadlocks during a wrestler competition. I can’t fathom the emotions coursing through his body that day. I know I was outraged. The actions of the adults that day were inappropriate, hurtful, and humiliating. I think that incident and many others like it have inspired Grant’s Huge Choice by Aaron J. Parker. I applaud the author for writing a story that will resonate with the black and brown community.

The image of Grant standing in front of the bathroom mirror, eyes wide and full of sadness, nearly broke my heart. Excellent work, Derreck Washington, on this and all the other powerful drawings! 

The father and son heart-to-heart discussion was beautifully written. Grant’s father’s response to his son’s painful predicament was perfect. “Grant, there is nothing wrong with your hair. Sometimes people try to change what they don’t understand.” He continues to say, “…no one else’s opinion matters but yours.” The father is correct. The school had no right to demand a child change his hair. 

I felt my eyes water when the father started crying during their chat. If I were in the same situation, I would’ve cried about my child’s choice. 

In the end, Grant made the right choice. Be true to who you are! 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 8/12/22.

#KamsPlace

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

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Meet the Author

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I am a Father to 4 beautiful children, married to the most amazing woman ever.
Being a community leader and mentor is of the highest priority to me.

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Adventure Emu by R.C. Chizhov (Book Review)

Fasten your seatbelts for a tornado, funfair and adventure!

An emu whines about his mundane life and wishes for a grand adventure.

One day, a tornado whisks him away to a funfair! Life is as thrilling as it gets, but can the flightless emu find his way back home?

 

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

 

My family lives in an area with a threat of tornadoes every fall and spring. Heck, we’ve also been under warning for one during the wintertime. Crazy, but true! Therefore, my kiddos are well aware of the dangers—the destruction they cause. Even though my family has gone over our “tornado preparedness” plan several times, we went over it again. I encourage you to go over yours if you live in an area with twisters. If you don’t, maybe go over fire or earthquake instead; whatever disaster might strike your location.

One kiddo’s first remark about Adventure Emu was, “They wish our tornadoes took people to a carnival cause carnivals are fun.” My other child made an ick face regarding the kale and romaine lettuce. They said, “Who would pick salad over popcorn and nachos?” Their question led to a great discussion about the dietary needs of animals and humans. 

Since our town has a carnival every Fourth of July, we discussed the differences between Emu’s festival and ours. My children wish ours had a roller coaster and bumper cars. Me too; those are a lot of fun. 

Adventure Emu by R.C. Chizhov is a fun story that I’m sure your kids will love to read. Anastasia Yezhela once again knocks it out of the park with their illustrations. Congrats to both of you for creating a book my family loved, and I’m sure many others will too.

 

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

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About R.C. Chizhov

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R.C. Chizhov grew up in India, moved to New York in 2005 and spent fourteen years as an investment banker before pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an author. She now lives in Florida with her ever-supportive husband and ever- energetic son. She is a member of SCBWI.

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Instagram: @rcchizhov

 

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Nope-Nope Emu by R.C. Chizhov (Book Review)

A funny and endearing tale about the power of persistence and never giving up.

An emu wins the emu-flap game every year. But when she loses her winning streak, she mopes around saying “Nope!” to every game. Follow her journey as she finds inspiration to say “Yes!”

and play emu-flap again.

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

Anastasia Yezhela did a phenomenal job with the illustrations. My daughter loved the emus. She liked their different hairstyles and clothing choices. She remarked that their shoes matched their outfit. Good catch! What an observant kiddo, and well done to the artist! My daughter was excited to see the emus wearing a crown since she plays dress-up and wears a crown too. She recognized the unicorn float from our local department store. 

We laughed together as the puppy chased his tail. In my daughter’s words, “Puppies are so silly.” I agree. We never see our kitties chasing after their tail.  

My daughter covered her eyes when she saw the pages with the magenta spider. I don’t blame her. They were rather big. Even though she kept her eyes closed, I read her the pages because spiders play an essential part in our daily lives. BTW: I thought the spiders were cute because they were fake. 

Nope-Nope Emu by R.C. Chizhov teaches children a valuable lesson: don’t give up when something is challenging; keep trying!

Nope-Nope Emu combines easy and complex words, perfect for homes or classrooms with varied reading levels. If your child is a non-reader, no sweat, they will enjoy the story too. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

About R.C. Chizhov

ALX00719_315.png

R.C. Chizhov grew up in India, moved to New York in 2005 and spent fourteen years as an investment banker before pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an author. She now lives in Florida with her ever-supportive husband and ever- energetic son. She is a member of SCBWI.

Instagram: @rcchizhov
 
 

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Federico Exaggerated by Hazel Pacheco (Book Review)

Federico enjoys exaggerating. Especially when it means all eyes are on him! One day his inflated story of his bravery on the Rio Grande is interrupted by the announcement of ripe hackberries. Left without an audience, Federico stomps off and accidentally stumbles onto a way to recapture his friends’ attention—well maybe. What he finds might teach him that truth can be incredible without exaggeration.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

There were a few challenging words for young readers to decipher: covey, arroyo, bosque. There were also animals listed that might be unfamiliar to them: sagebrush sparrow and yellow-bellied sapsucker. I was happy to discover that Hazel Pacheco included a glossary after the story ended. 

I plan to use single words in spelling and vocabulary lessons in my classroom. I’ll also allow my class to explore the Rio Grande and look up real-life images of hackberry, roadrunners, sagebrush sparrow, and the yellow-bellied sapsucker. 

As a parent, I like to share the stories I get the privilege of reading with my child. She loved the suspense, the action, and the drawings. She pointed out that the feathers on the top of their heads resemble question marks. You know what, they do. Not all the time, but definitely in several spots. I don’t know if the artist (Kim Sponaugle) would be thrilled by the comparison, but I’m happy my daughter noticed a grammar mark. That means she’s retaining what she’s learning in school. She also said that the red on their head and fluffy white trim looked like Santa’s hat. What an observant child! I can also see what she’s talking about. Federico also had white feathers circling his head, giving him a Saint Nick appearance. I joked he must be Santa’s bird. That explanation delighted her. This whole story delighted her. 

Federico Exaggerated by Hazel Pacheco had action, suspense, and yummy watermelon. Not only did this story entertain my youngster, but it also made her ask for a slice of watermelon. She wanted one with seeds to eat like the birds in the story. She settled for seedless. 

Federico Exaggerated is perfect for school-age children who understand how to use a glossary. If you read this book to children six and under, explain the difficult words or substitute them for words they’ll understand. You can always define the more challenging words when they are a bit older. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

About the Author

After retiring, Hazel Pacheco discovered a new passion–writing. Since her home is in New Mexico, you won’t find her taking long walks along the beach, but she does have plenty of sandy paths to walk in her native Land of Enchantment. That is how she became acquainted with the gambel quail.

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Hope . . . and the Hedgehog: Life? Death? And then what? Our personal quest… by Tom Vaughan (Book Review)


Hope…. And The Hedgehog is a ‘pocketbook philosophy for the present age’, a digestible exploration of the meaning of life which aims to unpick the big questions most of us spend our lives avoiding: how did life begin, how does it end, and what happens to us after we die?

Is there life after death? Is there a higher power? Or, is life one big cosmic accident; a clash of particles and atoms and one big bang? Tom looks instead at the power of faith and spirituality which he separates from religion. While he does not attempt to present any definitive argument, he looks at all sides, gathering thoughts from history’s most influential philosophers and scientists.

He makes the proposition that, between only two possible explanations for the existence of life, there is a greater likelihood of the one over the other. He believes in the importance of opening up our minds and finding more of a sense of purpose and direction in life – a view that, as we look towards a post-lockdown future, will resonate with many people.

“I chose the book’s title Hope … and the Hedgehog because hope is one of the principal drivers we resort to as human beings when confronted with a challenge to which there is no obvious solution. In the case of this book, that challenge is a very prickly issue: how we came into existence. It is an issue that we are all drawn to, but at the same time we do not want to handle or investigate too closely. Like the proverbial elephant in the room, we know that little hedgehog is there, we just prefer to leave it be – even if, in the end, there is no avoiding it.”  – Tom Vaughan, May 2022. 

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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.
 
 

If you read the book’s summary, you’ll recall the author states this is not a religious book. That’s the truth. They do not support one religion over another. However, they don’t push religion under the rug either. Tom Vaughan states, “…we cannot ignore that religion of every creed is embedded in human society that it forms an integral part of our lives.” Also, another truth. Even our government seems to be run by faith, which goes against the Constitution. The first amendment to the US Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” 

Tom Vaughan also informs readers they have “no scientific, philosophical, or theological training of any kind.” That made this book more personal – less like I was getting schooled on a subject. 

Tom Vaughan gave insight into many areas and posed questions to his audience. “Why are we born?” “Why are we here?” “Purpose of life?” “What happens after I die?” These questions have been on the minds of many scholars and non-scholars for many, many years.

Tom Vaughan made one remark that is 100% true: “Rich or poor, we all carry the same chronic illness.” Money might change your type of dwelling, but at the end of the day, we all get sick. We all die. Your cash and acquisitions will hole zero value to you when your body gives out. Speaking of wealthy people, I had no idea how much a person would pay to have their head frozen ($80,000) or their entire body put on “ice” ($200,000). Seriously, that money would be put to better use elsewhere. Instead of freezing all or parts of oneself, how about leaving your money to a charity? 

You can’t discuss life and death without throwing in some science. Don’t worry, it’s not super complex information—just cool facts. You might find the answer to a clue on Jeopardy. 

I could go on and on with my thoughts on Hope . . . and the Hedgehog: Life? Death? And then what? Our personal quest… by Tom Vaughan, but I think you can sense I liked it. I wasn’t expecting the colorful images scattered throughout the book. The drawings fit perfectly with the surrounding text/thoughts. Nice work. 

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

 
Tom’s life has come full circle from his first career as co-founder of the successful chain of Juliana’s discotheques, which he started in the 60’s and grew to be the world’s largest entertainment group of its type at the time, with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Sidney. With no scientific, philosophical or theological training and few school qualifications but armed with heaps of life experience as an entrepreneur, Tom switches gear with his latest work Hope…And The Hedgehog to take on the role of ‘everyman philosopher’, creating a new book that makes people stop and think. 

connect with the author: website twitter facebook

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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