Let’s Add Up! Reviews

Posted on July 6th, 2022 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“Simple math problems are lively and fun in this sweet picture book that shows all the different ways to add up to 10, then goes one step beyond, e.g., “6 pots + 4 pans = 10 dishes…or a feast!”…The children are an ability-diverse group….They have a range of hair textures and skin tones; in fact, a variety of browns, tans, and pinks are the dominant colors in the illustrations, which also feature a palette of muted primaries (red, blue, yellow). A note to adults suggests four ways to make learning foundational early math skills fun with a child….Add this book to all early childhood collections, and watch the math come out”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“8 + 2 becomes more than just numbers in this invitation to think outside the worksheet. Here, as she did for shapes and for sounds in her previous entries in the Big, Little Concepts series, Allenby turns arithmetic into play…The author supplies caregivers with further enrichment activities designed to stretch counting and classification skills at the end, and Zeng’s expressively posed children are having so much fun throughout that readers will jump at the chance to join in…Teachers and parents can count on an enthusiastic response from younger audiences.

Click here to read the full review

Children’s Literature

“Join a group of young children as they add to ten in creative ways with this math-themed picture book….The illustrations are colorful and straightforward. Children with different skin colors and abilities are shown in the illustrations, as are a child in a wheelchair and one with hearing aids. Even the end pages show the numerical equations! This is a great book for introducing or reinforcing early math skills at home or in a preschool classroom….Reviewer Rating: 5”

CM Magazine

“Let’s Add Up! is a cheerful book that can teach young children counting concepts and new vocabulary. It can help instill a joy of learning which can then contribute to lifelong curiosity and a pursuit of knowledge….[Victoria Allenby] has the knack to put delight in discovery…she takes children’s thinking to another level….Montreal illustrator Maggie Zeng complements Allenby’s content with playful characters….The happy children are a diverse group, representing the current Canadian population….Let’s Add Up! can be a useful addition to a childcare centre as well as a home collection. It will create opportunities for children and adults to have many shared experiences while giving children skills and learning that will last.

Highly Recommended”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central

“The author uses easy, simple words that are easy for young children to understand, but not so simple that it is a chore for a parent to read aloud. The illustrations are cute and vivid, and they provide that necessary step for visual learners. I enjoyed that the author included fun activities for kids at the end of the book, perfect for kinesthetic learners. Let’s Add Up! would be a great addition to any beginner reading/counter library – whether at home or a school setting.

Good Points: Easy To Read, Vivid illustrations, Educational

Overall Rating: 5”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“[T]he perfect early learning book to get readers excited about numbers….The book, part of Pajama Press Inc’s Big, Little Concept Books line, is created especially for early readers with sturdy, heavy card pages and a soft heavy duty cover, it’s a book that will stand up to multiple readings. It also has excellent back matter to help parents and educators extend the learning in the story. There is lots of inspiration for math centers or small world exploration that will come from this simple little story.

Maggie Zeng’s illustrations are inclusive and full of joy….The art makes the story feel like a community or classroom, perfect for the theme of the book.

There are very few math focused picture books available to readers and educators to foster not only a love of reading but also a love of numbers. Victoria Allenby has found a gap in the toolkit and has filled it with Let’s Add Up! I hope there are more math focused books in the future.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“Let’s Add Up! by Victoria Allenby, with art by Maggie Zeng, is a frolicking romp counting to 10….Fun to count and read (and then have a party!) with a Kindergarten class.

Click here to read the full review

Luminous Libro

5 out of 5 stars….This is such a cute book! It really makes it fun to learn addition and see what the children will do with each type of item….It makes learning addition easy because each page is such a clear visual representation of the arithmetic that is happening.

I loved the adorable illustrations, and I really appreciated that the children on each page are from diverse ethnicities and abilities. I love the sweet smiles on all their faces, and the way each child is included in their fun activities.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

“Victoria Allenby’s latest picture book for two to five year olds introduces early math skills….What I like about this padded board book is that while five drums plus five tambourines do add up to 10 instruments, it also adds up to a band….It’s a fun concept that shows more than math skills.

At the end of the book, Allenby offers four ways to make learning fun.”

Click here to read the full review

The U-nique Lou Fox Teaching Guide

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to download The U-nique Lou Fox teaching guide.

Whistling for Angela Teaching Guide

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Whistling for Angela teaching guide.

 

 

Dinos Driving Reviews

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“Buckle up, young dino!

Eight species of dinosaurs from across geologic periods are featured, each paired with a type of motor vehicle. The nearly-all white backgrounds keep children’s full attention on the dinosaur and vehicle introduced on each double-page spread. Iguanodon drives an electric vehicle, while Triceratops and their friends prefer motorcycles. Tyrannosaurus Rex drives a monster truck, while Carnotaurus makes a living driving a limousine. Diplodocus drives a bus, while Brachiosaurus dreams of driving a Jeep—but only when she’s old enough to do so. The concept of the book is interesting and gets a big lift from four appended suggestions for caregivers on engaging readers and honing their critical-thinking skills….Young readers who sit firmly in the Venn diagram overlap of dinosaur lovers and car enthusiasts will be thrilled, and with the right guidance, those outside of that overlap will be interested as well. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Amusing fun from the “Car”-taceous era! (Picture book. 4-6)”

Click here to read the full review

Publishers Weekly

“Dinosaurs hit the road as Leitch and Ritchie pair eight species with their ideal vehicles… Set against white backgrounds, Ritchie’s cartoonlike pencil, ink, and digital art presents the subjects’ personalities with an anthropomorphized stylishness befitting their vehicle of choice: Velociraptors sit easily in a minicar, while Diplodocus less comfortably occupies a yellow school bus… a playfully tender concluding scene should fuel driving daydreams. Back matter includes facts and discussion prompts.”

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“In a (mostly) four wheeled flight of “What If…” Leitch pairs prehistoric motorists to preferred motor vehicles and Ritchie puts pedal to the metal with windswept views of full sized dinos atop, usually, hilariously tiny cars, motorcycles, or (in the case of T. Rex) a monster truck…Sporting loud, unnatural, vigorously brushed colors the eight drivers prance on foot across a closing spread alongside identifying labels and facts, and the author tacks on a set of extension activities”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“There is a page of facts about dinosaurs at the end of the book and a list of questions prompting creative thinking about dinosaurs and vehicles.”

Children’s Literature

“Lively dinosaurs and colorful vehicles collide, combining two preschooler-popular topics in one playful story with the imaginings of “dinos driving.” Bright, exciting illustrations on the contrasting white background will catch the attention of toddlers through school-age children; and large, multicolored text appeals to beginning readers….Bolded dinosaur names and vehicle terms aid in word recognition, and the end-of-reading picture glossary is a useful tool for a young audience. The closing page offers activity suggestions to expand children’s critical-thinking skills….Whether read aloud by an adult at home, shared by a teacher in the classroom, or selected as an independent reading choice, the title has vast appeal and will fascinate children and adults alike….Reviewer Rating: 5”

Youth Services Book Review

“Cute and cuddly dinosaurs drive a variety of vehicles, with each illustration loosely tied to an attribute of the extinct animal…The very attractive pen-and-ink drawings filled with digital color look like watercolor and the bold, irregular font changes color to match both the dinosaurs and the vehicles. I definitely liked the clean, spare, and stylish look of the book, with its boldly colored illustrations on mostly white pages. A short afterward shows pictures of the creatures and clarifies the attribute that led to their vehicle assignment. Also included: a list of interactive questions for adult readers to use with their children.”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central 

“Each page introduces a species of dinosaurs, such as velociraptor or brachiosaurus, and states what kind of car they would drive…I recommend this book to parents or teachers of young children in the age 3-8 range who enjoy dinosaurs and are beginning to explore repetitive beginner books with increasing independence. Overall rating 4.5″

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Scot Ritchie…has contributed his signature illustrations to bolster this…picture book written by first-time author Lynn Leitch. Spread by spread, one brightly-coloured dinosaur after another can be seen steering some kind of motor vehicle across the viewer’s horizon…The author has ended the book with a page directed at parents and care-givers with ideas for expanding on the use of the book through discussion and activities. Ritchie’s illustrations are definitely the star here. Dinos Driving would be an entertaining addition to picture book collections for young ones interested in both dinosaurs and things that go. Recommended

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“I love the opportunity for critical and creative thinking involved in Dinos Driving…Lynn Leitch pairs a few different dinosaurs with their ideal vehicles…It’s a really cute story that dinosaur enthusiasts will love.

Throughout the book, readers have an opportunity to look at each dinosaur and their chosen preferred vehicle and make inferences as to why each dinosaur had chosen each particular vehicle. This allows readers to use their critical thinking skills and also provides the opportunity to extend the thinking to other dinosaurs not included in the book…There is also a handy parent’s guide at the end to help extend the story beyond the preschool years…Scot Ritchie’s illustrations are whimsical and fun. I love the movement on each page, signaling which dinosaurs like to go fast and which prefer a slower pace. Children will have a good laugh seeing how the different dinosaurs navigate driving their vehicles.”

Click here to read the full review

Kids Book Buzz

“I like that I can read the book by myself, and I like looking at the pictures on each page because they are bright and colorful. The book is silly because we know that most dinosaurs couldn’t even fit into cars, but fun to read about anyways! This story would be a good one for little kids to enjoy or people of any age who really like dinosaurs!

Reviewed By: Lydia – age 8”

Click here to read the full review

Storywraps

“Velociraptor, Iguanodon, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bradchiourus ( and more )  all weigh in the kind of vehicle that they want to drive.  The illustrations animate the text and tickle kid’s imaginations.  The book is enriched with preschool- friendly facts and activities.  Eight dino-mite dinosaurs will take you on a ride of your life.  I love the whole exciting vibe of the book and I highly recommend it.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

“If your favourite dinosaur drives a vehicle, what kind would it drive? In this picture book, author Lynn Leitch answers just that question: Velociraptor drives a mini car, while Tyrannosaurus Rex drives a monster truck (really, what else would he drive?)….I love the illustrations by Scot Ritchie.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“[A] wild ride that will be especially exciting for little ones who like dinosaurs and cars….A fun book to share out loud.”

Click here to read the full review

Luminous Libro

5 out of 5 stars….This is such a fun book! It’s cool to imagine what the dinosaurs would drive based on their size and the characteristics we know about them. I like that the text is simple, but it really sparks your imagination!

The illustrations are adorable, and I loved the cute designs for each dinosaur character….Every page has something new and interesting!”

Click here to read the full review

The Egyptian Mirror Teaching Guide

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to download The Egyptian Mirror teaching guide.

 

 

Berani Reviews

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“A genuine and thoughtful realistic novel that focuses on protecting our animals and resources….this moving middle grade novel will keep kids interested. Readers will be putting the pieces of the plot together as they turn each compelling page. Kadarusman adeptly weaves factual information about orangutans and the rainforest into the fictional story….A recommended purchase for elementary or middle school libraries. A perfect choice to give to fans of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and an inspiring tale in support of environmental conservation.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Inspired to help orangutans facing habitat destruction for palm oil agriculture, Malia disregards her teacher’s warning and circulates a petition through her private school in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The seventh grader garners peer support, but the petition falls afoul of the government’s pro–palm oil stance, resulting in both Malia’s and her teacher’s suspensions. Meanwhile, Ari has moved to the city to work in his uncle’s restaurant and attend middle school. Ari feels guilty for his good luck and even more guilty as he looks after Ginger Juice, the sad-eyed orangutan trapped in a too-small cage at the restaurant. Ari feels helpless until he learns about Malia’s petition, which offers information about rescuing captive orangutans. All the while, Ginger Juice dreams of the jungle and her lost mother. Told through alternating viewpoints, Malia’s and Ari’s chapters detail the corruption, inequities, and prejudices that are obstacles to activism as well as the differences between Ari’s village life and Malia’s privileges…the portrayal of Malia’s experiences as the biracial daughter of an Indonesian father who has passed away and a White mother from Toronto is nuanced and well integrated into the larger plot.

A stirring introduction to the plight faced by orangutans.”

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“Seventh-graders Malia and Ari seem unlikely to cross paths. Malia has had a privileged upbringing at one of Indonesia’s best schools, and Ari is grateful to be attending a less prestigious academy in a neighboring town. But one subject binds them together: orangutans…When the kids’ lives finally overlap, a series of events change their lives—and Ginger Juice’s fate—in ways they never could’ve imagined. The expansive story, nimbly told from both human and orangutan viewpoints, gives glimpses into different class, race, and even species experiences while introducing readers to life in Indonesia and the plight of the orangutans. Ari and Malia are warm and well-intentioned guides, and it’s impossible to resist Ginger Juice’s gentle charms. A compelling call to action and a crucial reminder that, while doing what is right is not always easy, it is always worthwhile.”

CM Magazine

“Author Michelle Kadarusman deftly weaves several social justice messages through the narratives of her three protagonists while giving readers a glimpse into the standard of living for different families in Indonesia….At the end of the novel, Kadarusman includes notes to further educate her readers about orangutans and how they can be helped. Also included in the notes is a glossary that provides definitions for some of the Indonesian words found in the novel. The additional issues and storylines add richness to the narrative that brings Kadarusman’s story alive within its appropriate cultural and societal context.

I particularly appreciated how the author depicted the wide-ranging consequences of choices and activism. The author carefully suggests to readers some of the possible impacts Malia’s and Ari’s choices may have on their futures as well as on the lives of others….Kadarusman’s novel exudes the positive message that everyone can make a difference while also reminding readers that there are always consequences – good or bad – to the choices one makes and that many situations are not as black and white as we perceive….Highly Recommended

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“Berani by Michelle Kadarusman is a perfect book for international schools. This is a novel takes place in Indonesia and is told in 3 voices… Each one of them needs courage to stand up for their convictions and follow their hearts, despite the consequences this may have. A fantastic read that shows kids (and readers of all ages) to believe in their values and that they, too, can change the world.”

Click here to read the full review

Books + Publishing

Berani is a powerful middle-grade story about animal activism set in Indonesia, by the Indonesian-Australian author of Music for Tigers. Weaving in two interconnected stories and three voices, including that of a captive orangutan, Michelle Kadarusman creates a number of moral dilemmas for the book’s protagonists and shows them working together on an orangutan rescue…The story is exciting and engaging, with strong character development as Malia and Ari learn to take agency in their own lives, making some big decisions about the world they want to live in. Berani is ideal for animal lovers or readers interested in activism and would also be a good choice for book clubs. Highly recommended for readers aged nine to 12.”

Open Book 

“Governor General’s Literary Award-nominated children’s writer Michelle Kadarusman brings her passion for the great apes to the page in her moving new middle grade novel…A book about bravery and doing what’s right, standing up for the voiceless, and what we owe one another, Berani is a powerful, bittersweet, and engrossing story that can help blow the spark of environmentalism in young readers into a flame.”

Click here to read the full review

CBC Books

“[Michelle Kadarusman’s] novels have a compelling way of unraveling complex world issues for children and teens.

Her latest middle-grade novel, Berani, is no exception. The story is told in three voices: Malia, who is determined to risk whatever is necessary as a young environmental activist; Ari, who can tell what is right but fears what that path will cost him; and Ginger Juice, a caged orangutan whose former home was turned into a palm-oil plantation.

In Berani, Kadarusman draws on the plight of orangutans while offering up a narrative steeped in empathy and inspiration for youth.”

Click here to read the full review

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“From memorable, courageous characters to thought-provoking themes, Berani has it all. Set in Indonesia, the latest middle-grade novel by Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman centres around an orangutan held in captivity and the converging efforts of two seemingly disparate seventh graders…Kadarusman expertly explores how doing the right thing isn’t always easy, and what is easy isn’t always right. Berani is a multilayered, nuanced novel with a strong message: “One person can make a difference.”

Click here to read the full review

CCBC Book News

“Michelle Kadarusman has authored another fabulous novel for middle-grade students that delves into the issues that Indonesia is facing regarding their rainforests and orangutan population. A glossary, information about orangutans and an author’s note are included at the back of the book offering tips on what can be done to help. I think young readers will thoroughly appreciate and enjoy reading this latest offering by Kadarusman and perhaps be inspired to become social activists themselves.”

Kathie MacIsaac

“This author was a Governor General’s Award finalist for her 2019 book, GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA, and I will pick up anything she writes. Still, the stunning cover of BERANI designed by Peggy Collins will draw readers to this story told from three different points of view that focus on environmental activism in Indonesia…These three perspectives weave together into a moving and inspiring story about standing up for what you believe…Fans of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN will especially want to add this book to their TBR shelf.”

Book Time

“Michelle Kadarusman’s latest middle grade book, Berani, was a great read…The book is told in three voices – Malia, who has had a privileged upbringing in Indonesia and uses her voice to share the plight of her country’s orangutan; Ari, who knows he is lucky to be working in his uncle’s shop so he can go to school and play on the chess club; and Ginger Juice, his uncle’s orangutan, which is being kept in a too-small cage and is growing more desolate by the day.

Each voice is unique, and each story is connected to the other…I look forward to reading it again.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“Michelle Kadarusman always writes from the heart. The love she has for the places she writes about is evident throughout all her stories and none more than in Berani. I really appreciate how she takes readers on a journey, to the special places of her childhood and her heart but also grounds them to her current home in Canada. Readers have the opportunity to travel and learn about the wide world around them while still having the connection to home. In really enjoyed Berani’s three different voices, providing readers with three different perspectives of the lives of other living in Indonesia. Each voice was clear and it was easy to navigate the story, never forgetting who the story was centering at any given time because of each character’s clear voice.

I especially loved the discussions about Malia’s activism. There are always consequences of social activism. There is an incredible opportunity for discussion, through this story, about orangutans, habitat destruction, farming culture, livelihood and the world’s reliance on single industries. In Canada, we can link the discussions about habitat destruction and livelihood by comparing with the logging industry or the oil and gas industry.

If you enjoyed The One and Only Ivan, put Berani on your TBR list. I think you will love it even more.”

Click here to read the full review

The Book Muse

“The latest novel from Michelle Kadarusman, an Indonesian-Australian author, tackles climate change, the palm oil, industry, illegal animal trade, and the plight of orangutans in Indonesia. The story is told through three perspectives – Malia, Ari, and Ginger Juice….It is a powerful story that needs to be told, and it fits in well with all the other climate change fiction that is coming out at the moment….I love this book, and it dealt with important and heavy issues in a way that is accessible to younger readers and gives them pointers on how they can help at the back of the book. I also loved reading a story set in a country that is often not seen in the books I read and showing a culture that is vastly different….It is a story about choices and consequences, and growing up – about finding your way, knowing what is right and doing what is right, whilst working out where you stand and what you are capable of doing. I hope people love this story just as much as I did.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians 

“As someone who cares for the environment, I think Berani is a fantastic way to introduce some of our world’s problems to kids. This book touches on so many important issues: animal rights, climate change, preserving the environment, the loss of family members, and the struggles of moving. The main characters Ari, Malia, and of course Ginger Juice are brave, kind, and thoughtful. The book’s colourful descriptions and Indonesian words sprinkled throughout (a glossary is provided) really set the scene, and the way the chapters flip between the kids’ and orangutan’s perspectives is a nice touch as well. It’s a great way to start conversations about our world, and our responsibilities as inhabitants of it….Berani, which I would rate 9 out of 10 stars, is definitely worth a read!

~ Written by Bronte, Gr. 9”

Click here to read the full review

Mrs. Book Dragon 

“What an awesome book! Multiple POVs (including an animal point of view), short chapters, student activism, and doing the right thing even when it’s the hardest thing…[Michelle Kadarusman] has such a talent for creating worlds…book was a treasure to read.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

“Rating: ★★★★★…This was a touching and emotional story…it’s important to read these types of stories because they reflect real world problems. Berani is a beautiful middle grade story.”

Click here to read the full review

@westmaplemedia

“Berani by [Michelle Kadarusman] captivates, inspires, and gives hope. This tale takes you to Indonesia through three perspectives interwoven with culture, environment, and character growth.”

Dr. Larry Recommends

“This fine novel, set in Indonesia is a story of activism and animal rights, choices and consequences…The three perspectives are woven together as readers enter the worlds of three conflicted, fearful  characters…the author builds readers’ compassion as they learn about the circumstances and choices of each character who bravely confront the odds of class, culture and climate change. This is a wonderful novel and my guess [is] it will be on several Canadian award lists in the year ahead.”

Click here to read the full review

 

Whistling for Angela Book Trailer

Posted on May 26th, 2022 by pajamapress

“A first purchase for libraries where books about adoption are in demand.”— School Library Journal

Harvey Takes the Lead Teaching Guide

Posted on May 24th, 2022 by pajamapress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to download the Harvey Takes the Lead teaching guide.

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs Reviews

Posted on May 18th, 2022 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“How does a person find a job that they enjoy doing? This inspiring book helps readers do just that. Nelson and MacIsaac profile 25 people of diverse backgrounds who love their jobs….This is a wonderful compilation sure to interest students….A solid choice for a library needing middle grade nonfiction about careers.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life!

The professional lives of 25 diverse individuals are documented in this fascinating title that will spur readers to consider how their own passions may shape their futures…All individuals profiled express pride and fulfillment with their careers. Each entry spans a double-page spread with added bubbles of additional information, such as “Fun Facts,” “Spin-Off Jobs,” or a brief summary of a similar individual in a connected field. Photos of the subjects are included; Ritchie’s graceful illustrations of the individuals in action round out the book…the authors use measured vocabulary that does not assign a hierarchical value to any of these paths…Readers will delight in learning more about the range of professions available, and adults looking for a career change may be tempted to pick up the book as well.

Will inspire readers to find—and follow—their dreams.”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal, Fuse 8

“Colleen Nelson and Kathie [MacIsaac] … created a book where 25 people of a wide range of occupations explain precisely how they got those jobs in the first place. How cool is that? … It actually looks like something a kid would get a kick out of reading. This is so cool.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Some people know from a young age what it is they want to be when they grow up while others find their passion purely by accident. What the 25 individuals featured in If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It have in common is that, through hard work and overcoming obstacles, they have found success and fulfilment in meaningful professions…The book has many strengths. Firstly, the jobs featured cover a wide range of professions, many of them quite unusual…Secondly, the individuals hail from different parts of the globe and are representative of different races, genders, cultures, physical abilities and sexual orientation. Thirdly, women are often featured in non-traditional jobs. Finally, the text boxes not only add visual interest but also provide motivational stories and tips for readers…Illustrations consist of colour photographs of the 25 featured individuals and the youth who are up-and-comers in their fields and cartoon-like drawings, all of which are presented in an attractive, eye-catching layout.

Extremely engaging, the stories in If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It are not only inspiring but will, perhaps, spark some readers to explore unique professions and, above all, to follow their dreams. Highly Recommended

Click here to read the full review

Metroland Media

“Have you ever wondered how Theresa Tam became the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada? Or, how people make a career out of playing video games? You will find these answers and much more in If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It….Whether you want to learn about Martha the Smokejumper, Blake the NHL Scout or Ismail the Documentary Photographer, this book contains several common and less heard of jobs. Which career will entice you?”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central

“In this well-formatted collective biography, nicely illustrated with Scot Ritche’s full color, exuberant page decorations, we meet a variety of people who set out to pursue jobs from farming to teaching to writing books. There are common jobs that young readers may see in their every day lives, as well as more exotic occupations like stuntperson, clothing designers and mathematicians, as well as the holy grail of middle school careers, professional video game player! Each biography includes basic information about what encouraged the person to go into a particular field, “pro tips” on how to get into the field as well as tangential areas, “spin-off jobs” that are similar, and a short biography of a younger person who has already started the path to a similar career. I especially liked the “Why Not Try?” feature that might suggest a web site to visit, opportunities young people might avail themselves of, or activities to try to see if they have an interest in a topic. There are also fun facts and information about inspiring individuals and how they fought through challenges, like Dav Pilkey.

Click here to read the full review

Beth Rodgers, YA Books Central 

“[T]he perfect book for anyone who wants to be inspired and learn more about a host of different career opportunities. The book lays out each person’s story very nicely, not only telling each person’s individual background and career aspirations, but also tips for how to work toward that job on one’s own, and also “spin-off jobs” that use similar skills, but are not quite the same as what the main person does.

It’s nice how the book provides practical tips and thoughts to encourage readers to delve deeper and learn not only about the people whose stories are told in the book, but about others who had similar dreams to learn how they were encouraged as well to pursue their interests…Definitely a must read…Overall rating: 5.0″

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“I love this book! Kathie MacIsaac and Colleen Nelson have created a dynamic resource that will appeal to middle grade readers right now as well as in the future as jobs and work evolve. There are many things to like about this book not the least being that they have sought out diverse people in diverse careers to inspire young readers today…The authors also sought out people who perhaps would not traditionally hold such jobs, especially women in male dominated fields and vice versa. There are many opportunities throughout this book for ALL readers to see themselves reflected through the biographies of those featured…I often find that books about inspiring people are very narrowly focused. I love that this book provides readers with a very broad understanding of just what kinds of jobs are out there and the different people who are successful in their fields…It can be a difficult thing, figuring out what you want to be when you grow up, but with incredible inspiration from those featured in the book and Kathie and Colleen’s excellent way of bringing their stories to life, this book can provide a little bit of guidance.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“[A]n inspiring, in-depth look at how specific people came to their profession….This book features 25 individuals with a wide variety of interesting jobs and what it takes to get there. Complete with variations and examples. A great resource for ‘career day’.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“The completeness of this collection will be a worthwhile reference for career counsellors and kids thinking about where their passions may lead them, but it’s also just a well-organized collective biography that informs and celebrates. From info boxes and a glossary, as well as a listing of types of skills needed as a foundation for those jobs, Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac cover all the bases in a comprehensive and captivating format…with Scot Ritchie’s playful cartoons reflecting the diversity and abundance of people and jobs showcased….With a little bit of everything and everyone, Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac, with Scot Ritchie’s illustrative additions, take us into the studios, schools, labs, and outdoors to meet the doers who endeavoured to find their dream jobs and now enrich our world in countless ways.”

Click here to read the full review

Marsha Skyrpuch (Goodreads)

“This book illuminates a pile of modern careers and professions in a way that’s diverse and accessible for young readers. Each job is described with just the right amount of detail, and then on the same page spread, there are bullets about related jobs, plus interesting anecdotes. This is all enhanced with photos and vibrant illustrations…Every reader will find themselves in this book.”

Click here to read the full review

Bit About Books

“If anything was going to get me out of this blogging funk, it was Kathie’s (and Colleen Nelson’s) upcoming release If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.   I am so proud of Kathie and her debut book, and I know that many of you are just as excited and eager to read. You will NOT be disappointed.

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It is not your every day “Here is what you can do when you grow up” book. Instead, the authors highlight more unfamiliar jobs such as a smokejumper, a video game player, and an NHL Scout. Yes, some jobs that people may consider typical such as a carpenter or a teacher, are in the book, but the authors have put their own spin on that by ensuring it is someone you may not first envision. As a reader, I appreciated the diversity and representation of all genders when reading about the imaginative and what I would say are “cool careers.”

Click here to read the full review

Ms. Yingling Reads

“In this well-formatted collective biography, nicely illustrated with Scot Ritche’s full color, exuberant page decorations, we meet a variety of people who set out to pursue jobs from farming to teaching to writing books….Each biography includes basic information about what encouraged the person to go into a particular field, “pro tips” on how to get into the field as well as tangential areas, “spin-off jobs” that are similar, and a short biography of a younger person who has already started the path to a similar career. I especially liked the “Why Not Try?” feature that might suggest a web site to visit, opportunities young people might avail themselves of, or activities to try to see if they have an interest in a topic….There is also additional information about the different paths of education that can be taken to end up in a career, so that readers can understand that college is not necessary for everyone….The overview of skill sets that are useful for most jobs should be something that all students are required to read….In addition to being a good book to have for career studies, this book can offer a lot of scope for the imagination and open up the world of career opportunities.”

Click here to read the full review

Sun in My Tummy Teaching Guide

Posted on April 25th, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Sun in My Tummy teaching guide.

No More Plastic Extra Content

Posted on April 22nd, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to see Storytime Trail and a message from Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The U-nique Lou Fox Reviews

Posted on April 19th, 2022 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“In Lou Fox, Carmichael has created a refreshing, believable, and fun-loving protagonist who will be a welcome addition to library shelves. Her navigation of stage fright, jealousy, friendship, and schoolwork is deftly written with believable examples. Despite Lou’s anxiety about school and home life and frequent pitfalls and fresh starts, the book flows at a cheerful, bouncing pace. The very short chapters, often between two and six pages, will build confidence for emerging readers. The font was selected with readers with dyslexia in mind, with emphasized words bolded and back matter sharing information and resources about dyslexia and ADHD…Prepare to fall in love with Lou Fox and her supportive cast of family, friends, and teachers. Recommended for fiction collections.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy has 36 letters in her name—and she hates spelling. She’d rather go by Lou Fox, the dream name that she plans to use when she becomes a Broadway playwright. For now, though, she is stuck in class with Mrs. Snyder, someone who seemingly doesn’t like anything about Lou and can sense her daydreaming a mile away. Lou nicknames her teacher the Shadow Phantom, after the stealthy character in her dad’s comic books. Lou attempts to control her wandering mind but nevertheless ends up regularly visiting the principal’s office. But trouble with her friends over her behavior as director of the school play and stress at home since her mother became pregnant with twins mean her level of distraction grows. Still, she is supported by a humorous, devoted father full of love for Lou just as she is. The book’s text design and font were selected with accessibility for readers with dyslexia in mind, and the author shares her own struggles with ADHD in a note to readers.”

Click here to read the full review

Publishers Weekly

“Pulling from her own experience with ADHD, Carmichael (Family of Spies: Paris) deftly captures the imaginative protagonist’s internal struggle of conflicting emotions, including perfectionism and a desire to please. Designed using fonts made with consideration for dyslexic readers, this touching book with an arc toward self-acceptance demonstrates the importance of accommodation and classroom support.”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal, Fuse 8 

“It would seem to me that if one were writing a middle grade novel about a girl that’s dyslexic and has ADHD, it might make complete and utter sense if said book were written in a dyslexia friendly font. So often this is just simply not the case, and it’s nice to see Pajama Press making a bit of an effort here with this publication. In this story Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy wants to be a writer, but has to deal with things like a teacher who simply doesn’t understand what having ADHD actually means. Fortunately, Lou has a lot of good coping techniques and the book takes time and attention to display these.”

Click here to read the full review

Foreword Magazine

“The books also strikes an excellent balance between acknowledging the hardships that disabilities bring and making it clear that disabilities do not define people—they can even be strengths. Though Lou has trouble concentrating in school, her active mind means she can balance the intricacies of complex plots. Her struggles encourage others to learn more about dyslexia and ADHD. In the book’s sweet ending, Lou dedicates her play to someone who she’s come to understand is not so bad after all.

Both humorous and melancholy, The U-nique Lou Fox is a touching novel about a young playwright’s self-discovery and creative triumphs.”

Click here to read the full review

Portland Book Review

“Jodi Carmichael has written a solid middle-grade novel that gives a good picture of what kids with learning disabilities have to deal with and how hard it can be and how it can affect those around them…the writing is great and the story is compelling.”

Click here to read the full review

Children’s Literature–CLCD

“The storyline is adaptable to middle school and upper elementary. Themes include family relationships, friendships, learning disabilities and school. The author also has ADHD and addresses the day-to-day difficulties of living with a learning disability”

YA Books Central

“Appreciate those close to you. The author is able to evoke empathy for Louisa, as she becomes overwhelmed by the challenges faced every day. The plot isn’t overly complicated, but the feeling of normalcy helps to make the book approachable. This book became more than I expected, and I highly recommend you give it a shot.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

The U-nique Lou Fox by Jodi Carmichael is a book about a girl named Louisa, who dreams of being the youngest Broadway playwright in history, as well as the youngest Cirque du Soleil gymnast. But for now, she’s in fifth grade, with two best friends (Lexie and Nakessa), ADHD and dyslexia, and a teacher, Mrs Snyder, who seems to hate her. Then Lou’s mom delivers some bombshell news: Lou is going to be a big sister—to twins! Will she ever get to spend time with her mom after the babies are born? This book is amazing. I could really feel what Lou was feeling.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Probably every family, and every teacher, knows a Louisa. ‘Louisa’ in our family (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) is every bit as fun and creative and caring as author Jodi Carmichael’s Louisa. And she struggles every bit as much as Louisa to focus and function in a school environment. Carmichael, who has ADHD herself, has created a totally believable character.

Our ‘Louisa’ loves to cook, and so it is a nice bonus that Carmichael has included a recipe at the back of the book for “Mom’s Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies”. Carmichael also includes short descriptions and resources for more information on dyslexia and ADHD, as well as a message to her readers…I hope that every Louisa in every classroom gets an opportunity to read or listen to The U-nique Lou Fox. It will be wonderful for all Louisas to have their uniqueness recognized and affirmed. Highly Recommended”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“Everything about The U-nique Lou Fox is fantastic. Pajama Press Inc has ensured the book is accessible using a font and font size to make it dyslexia friendly. Jodi Carmichael writes from personal experience. As an adult with ADHD, her writing celebrates the wonderful things that come from having such a creative, empathetic and adventurous spirit…This story exudes kindness and generosity and is a must have for classrooms and school libraries. It’s time for more stories about neuro-atypical children.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

“Rating:★★★★★ … This is a fabulous children’s novel! Not only is it written about a main character with dyslexia, but it was printed with consideration for readers with dyslexia. The text was set in Helvetica and the headers are in OpenDyslexic, so they are easier to read for children with dyslexia…I appreciated this detail in the story.

There were also parts of this story that are universal…lessons that everyone can relate to.

The U-nique Lou Fox is a great middle grade story!”

Click here to read the full review

Rainy Days Extra Content

Posted on April 6th, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to see Rainy Days on CTV Your Morning

Finding Moose Reviews

Posted on April 6th, 2022 by pajamapress

Youth Services Book Review

“A little boy narrates a walk in the woods with his grandpa. They find fresh moose droppings and walk softly in hopes of seeing a moose in person. They hear the call of a chickadee and the hammering of a woodpecker, and see a chipmunk and a beaver, but no moose. Along the way, Grandpa tells the boy the Ojibwemowin words for the animals and plants they find. Finally, just as they get home: “Mooz!”

This is a sweet tale of exploring nature with a grandparent, enriched by the grandfather’s observations and Ojibwemowin words. The boy and his grandfather present as indigenous people, adding to a growing number of children’s books which feature native cultures from around North America. Endpapers have a pictorial glossary, with English, Ojibwemowin and pronunciations.”

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“Providing an inherently fascinating glimpse into the wondrous world of nature through the eyes of a curious child, “Finding Moose” is a thoughtful and entertaining picture book that is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-7.”

Click here to read the full review

Portland Book Review

“Sue Farrell Holler has written a sweet, quiet story of a grandfather introducing his grandson to the wonders of nature and teaching him the names of flora and fauna in both English and Ojibwemowin. Charming illustrations by Jennifer Faria are painted in gentle, soft colors, and they are filled with plenty of details to keep little eyes on the pages as the story is read to them. This is a lovely story that will become a favorite at reading time.”

Click here to read the full review

Children’s Literature

“[T]his joyful book reinforces the need to listen, see, and be present in the woods so that the wonders of nature can unfold. The power of loving inter-generational relationships rests at the core of this simple story. The ability to be moved by even the most everyday aspects of nature is a sign of mindful action…The end result is a touching story that addresses important lessons at a time when environmental change is such a pressing concern…Reviewer Rating: 4”

CM Magazine

“The illustrations are serene, detailed, and convey the crisp cold of the forest on this exploratory day. Faria utilizes textures and colour to bring the audience with the grandfather and his grandson as they go on their journey and to illuminate the movement of animals in the forest. Her illustrations also hold a surprise near the end.

Holler’s Finding Moose is an excellent addition to any bookshelf, especially for helping young learners learn a bit of the Ojibwemowin language. Lovers of nature, exploring, and spending time with dear loved ones will enjoy this story – it is a gem for all ages.

Highly Recommended

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Finding Moose is as contemplative and instructive as Sue Farrell Holler and Jennifer Faria’s earlier picture book. Sue Farrell Holler gives Grandpa the wisdom of age and experience and the boy that of fascination and connection. Together they experience nature fully but perhaps in different ways. A walk in the woods becomes a sensory adventure without the drama and high-octane action that can be tiresome and ephemeral. Instead, the two walk and look. They are one with each other and the world. That patience and calm is carried with Jennifer Faria’s illustrations. Her acrylic paintings are often reflective of a Woodland Art style (see the flowers in the illustration above), emphasizing line and shape and keeping the story grounded in tranquility and reality. Even her choice of colour expresses that oneness with nature, playing the browns and blues with occasional flashes of red or a shamrock green.”

Click here to read the full review

Simcoe.com

“I like children’s books that are both educational and show how wonderful nature is, so I was delighted with Finding Moose written by Sue Farrell Holler and beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Faria.

The story sees a young boy and his grandfather quietly go for a spring walk in the woods where they come across some moose poop on the trail. They look for the moose and find where he ate some branches for breakfast…Children will enjoy this simple story that introduces them to some of their forest neighbours whose names are in both English and Ojibwemowin. Highly recommended.”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central 

“The observations about nature that the grandfather teaches the little boy to make could be a great springboard to neighborhood walks…it’s always good to help children connect to nature. [Finding Moose] fills a niche for much needed books about the natural world for children…”

Click here to read the full review

Finding Moose Teaching Guide

Posted on April 4th, 2022 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Finding Moose teaching guide.