About the Book
My name is Flint, but everyone in middle school calls me Squint because I’m losing my vision. I used to play football, but not anymore. I haven’t had a friend in a long time. Thankfully, real friends can see the real you, even when you can’t clearly see.
Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the “Find a Comic Star” contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus—an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.
McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell’s not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy named Squint. He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?
McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn’t share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint’s comic book named Squint.
Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.
About the Authors
Chad Morris grew up wanting to become a professional basketball player or a rock star. (Inspired by Animal from the Muppets, he’s been banging on drums since he was eight years old.) After high school, he wrote and performed sketch comedy while going to college, and eventually he became a teacher and a curriculum writer. He lives in Utah with his wife and five kids. Chad would love to teach at Cragbridge Hall.
Shelly was born in Portland Oregon but spent most of her growing up years in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a child you could usually find her wearing a swimsuit and bouncing between the pool, the beach, and her family's ski boat.
She has always loved children and books so it made sense when she started writing books for children. In her spare time she helps her husband, author Chad Morris, write MORE children's books. In her extra-extra spare time she loves the theater, history, kdramas, and traveling. She is also one of the worst tap dancers you will ever meet. But she does it anyway.
She has no regrets, one husband, three chickens, five children, and sixty-four Pez dispensers.
Squint is a beautiful, powerful, and inspiring story of two friends, their struggles, fear of being judged, and learning to lean on and trust one another. Chad Morris and Shelley Brown have come together and created a realistic fiction and contemporary story focused on family and friendship that readers will immediately fall in love with. From the delightful and beloved believable characters, to the sweet and charming story of true friendship, readers will come to see what in life matters most.
Genre: children’s, contemporary, middle grade, family, realistic fiction
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication date: October 2, 2018
Number of pages: 256
A review copy of this book was provided by Shadow Mountain. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Book
In this rhyming picture book for dog lovers of all ages, readers follow the adventures of Santa’s best dog, Lance, when he falls out of the sleigh one Christmas Eve. He’s taken in by the animal shelter and then brought home by a military family who needs some help as Dad is called to serve his country. When Christmas Eve comes ‘round the next year, Lance must decide whether to return to the North Pole with his friend Santa or stay with his new family. Kirkus Reviews describes SANTA'S DOGS as "a sweet, powerful Christmas story." SANTA’S DOG would be a great addition to any library or classroom reading program! To accompany this book, we have developed full teacher resources, including a Teacher Lesson Plans packet as well as an Activity Packet, both of which are available for FREE download from the Dogs & Books website. JoAnn also offers FREE virtual author visits to schools. Additional information about all of these resources can be found here.
About the AuthorJoAnn Sky has written for years as part of her job (business and marketing plans and the like). One day she tried her hand at writing for fun—and liked it. Now she authors adult contemporary romance and young adult romance with a magical twist as well as children's books. She is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist and a member of Romance Writers of America. Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her husband a.k.a. love of her life, three teenage children, and three crazy rescue dogs.
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The Atonement of Jesus Christ Is for Me by Sierra Wilson & illustrated by Corey Egbert -- Book Tour Review + Giveaway
About the Book
Christ's Atonement is stronger than storms on the sea--and it's Jesus's gift to you and to me. This reverent, rhyming picture book teaches that the Atonement can help us overcome any challenge we face, whether we've made a bad choice or feel lonely or scared. Help your children learn that when we turn to Jesus Christ, we can do hard things and become our best selves.
About the Author
Sierra Wilson started talking early and has been a storyteller ever since. She loves to teach and work with children, and this love has shaped her life from working as a junior high/high school English teacher and children’s art teacher to serving as a church children’s leader and a mother. Sierra is passionate about writing, art, hiking, family time, and eating entirely too much chocolate. She currently lives with her husband and three young children in the prairies of Alberta, where she is a toddler-chaser by day and a writer/artist by night.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me by Sierra Wilson and illustrated by Corey Egbert is a fabulous children’s book and teaching tool for parents and church leaders. Filled with delightfully bright and colorful pictures that coincide with the story and explination of Jesus Christ and the Atonement are expressed in a way that children will enjoy, discover, and learn. The Atonement is a hard topic to help children understand and this book is written and illustrated in a way that children can understand. This is an excellent resource and tool for teaching young children.
Genre: children’s, religious, LDS
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: September
Number of pages: 32
A review copy of this book was provided by the author via the publisher, Cedar Fort. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Book
A fun, thought-provoking 365-question guided journal and keepsake that sparks daily interaction with your child to create a memory book capturing your child's life, personality, and faith journey.
This interactive prompted journal allows a parent to create a keepsake of three years of their child's life. By answering each of the 365 questions together on the same date each year, readers will get a unique and precious picture into their child's feelings, development, and personality. Some of the questions focus on spirituality and the child's heart, while some are meant to capture their creativity, spirit, and sense of humor. All questions spark conversations and memories that span well beyond the pages of this book.
The Daily Question for You and Your Child is a great spiritual journal that will strengthen the bond between parent and child. This three year journal is set up so that for each day of the year a parent or guardian can record a child’s response to the given question and then repeat and compare over the next two years. It’s a fun way to see a child grow and develop over a three year period. The journal’s simple, but excellent questions are ones that both children and a parent or guardian will enjoy discussing and recording. This is a fun and simplified way of journaling for children.
Genre: parenting, diary, journal, children’s, nonfiction
Publication date: August 28, 2018
Number of pages: 384
A review copy of this book was provided by Waterbrook Creatives Launch Team. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
About the Book
Series: Sophie Washington
Genre: Children’s, Fiction
Publication date: June 2018
Sixth grader Sophie Washington, her family and friends are in for an adventure-filled week of boa constrictors, monkeys and mayhem after they sign up to take part in a church mission trip to Costa Rica.
About the Author
Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the Readers’ Favorite “Five Star” rated Sophie Washington children’s books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence and worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer.
The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, and Mission Costa Rica.
Tonya lives in Houston, TX. When she’s not writing, the author enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel and spending time with her husband and three children.
Welcome to the Jungle
The sky is sunglasses-required bright. It is hotter than a coal-fired pizza oven. Sweat drips into my eyebrows, and my t-shirt sticks to my back like gum to the underside of a desk. Ignoring the baking temperature, Carlos, our guide, is the one of the cheeriest people I’ve ever met. It’s like a smile is tattooed on his mouth as we bump along the narrow, winding road at about ten miles per hour.
Carlos abruptly puts on the brakes and yells, still grinning, to get our attention. My dad jerks our golf cart to a halt right behind him.
It’s Day One of our trip to Costa Rica, and Dad, Mom, my little brother Cole and my friends Chloe, Valentina, and I are taking a tour of the golf course near our hotel.
Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!
The exotic sounds of howler monkeys and sights of red, yellow and blue parrots, lime green iguanas, and tropical plants mingle with the common golfing fairways and tees.
“Whoa! Check that out over there!” Cole points out a thick, gray and forest green-colored hose sliding on the turf.
“What do we have here?” asks Carlos.
“Get back, kids!” Mom exclaims. “It’s a snake!”
A five-foot-long serpent glides near Carlos’ feet, and instead of moving away our crazy guide eases toward the creature.
I freeze. Everyone else steps back.
“Not to worry, the snake is not poisonous,” Carlos reassures us. “It’s a boa constrictor.” Then he reaches down to pick it up and wraps the snake around his neck as we all stare with our mouths agape.
Mosquitoes buzz toward my open lips and I whack at my mouth to stop them. I can’t keep my eyes off the serpent. And it looks like he’s checking me out too.
“Would you like to pet it, young lady?” Carlos inquires. “We see this snake on the path nearly every day; he won’t hurt you.”
“A boa constrictor’s bite won’t hurt you, but it can squeeze you to death,” warns my father, holding his arms out to keep me from getting too close.
“I bet Sophie is part Slytherin, just like Harry Potter,” says Cole, comparing me to the snake-loving members of the club from the Harry Potter book series while he observes the snake and me watch each other.
“Be quiet, Cole, and all you children stay back,” scolds my mother.
I blink and the spell the snake cast on me is broken. I am able to move again.
“I can’t believe we’re this close to a boa constrictor,” Valentina says as she snaps a picture of the snake-clad Carlos with her cell phone. “No one will believe this is real.”
“Yeah, looking at that creepy thing makes my skin crawl.” Chloe smooths a black curl off her forehead and peers to get a better look. “Take one of me standing with the snake in the background, Valentina,” she asks, striking a pose.
I roll my eyes. Leave it to my two friends to be snapping selfies when we might be in danger. Though we are all on the cheerleading squad, Chloe Thompson and Valentina Martinez would probably be considered the most “high maintenance” in our group. Both love to shop and spend lots of time talking about hair and makeup. They are both very pretty too. Chloe is tall and thin with dark curls and caramel skin, and Valentina, who was born in Mexico, has long black hair and can do back flips across the school gym.
Chloe and I have been best friends since we were small. We’ve been in most classes together at Xavier Academy, the private school we attend, until last year when she was placed in some special classes because she has dyslexia. The learning disorder makes her see letters backward so Chloe needs more time to do her reading assignments than other people. Some kids used to make fun of her about it until they found out that Chloe has a temper, and since she’s one of the tallest girls in our grade you don’t want to mess with her.
I used to think Valentina was just a bubblehead until she and her family had to leave their home during a hurricane earlier this year. They camped out with us in my father’s dental office for a few days because parts of our neighborhood were flooding and we couldn’t stay in our house either. During our time in the office, Valentina and I became friends and she convinced me to try out for the cheerleading team.
“Can I see the pictures?” Cole bumps me out of the way and shoves in closer. “I left my camera at the hotel.”
“Ouch!” I stumble back off the path and into a huge pile of fire ants.
At least fifty angry bugs crawl up my leg and start biting.
“Aaaaah!” I shriek.
Mom rushes over and swats the ants off with her sun hat.
“Everybody back on the golf carts!” she commands.
“Is your daughter okay?” A lady from one of the two other carts touring with us walks over to offer help.
“Yes, thankfully, she’s not allergic to fire ant venom,” Mom answers. “It looks like she’ll have to suffer through pain from a bite or two the next couple of days.”
“A bite or two? There must be at least twenty bumps on my leg!” I exclaim. “And it’s all your fault, Cole!”
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