When Elephants Listen with Their Feet: Discover Extraordinary Animal Senses Reviews

Posted on January 6th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

An African elephant, rendered as a digital illustration, and a girl with brown skin walk side-by-side along a grassy path. The title of the book is When Elephants Listen with Their Feet. Written by Emmannuelle Grumndmann, illustrated by Clemence Dupont. Translated from the French original by Erin Woods.“Grundmann and Dupont highlight the ways in which various nonhuman animals display extraordinary sensory capabilities that human bodies lack….Small lessons in the science behind senses are interspersed amid the many short paragraphs about animals all over the planet. The text is graceful and often humorous, with an extensive vocabulary and fairly complex sentence structure….Overall, the book thoughtfully and exuberantly excites wonder in its readers. Sensational sensory stories.”

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School Library Journal

“This book highlights the extraordinary ways some creatures’ unique senses are highly developed. The text is organized by the five senses….The brief descriptions are clear and contain an appropriate amount of scientific terminology. Each section begins with a short introduction to the sense, usually comparing it to humans’ use of it. Text boxes feature a realistic image and are attractively laid out on the page to provide a clean, uncluttered format. An index of animals offers additional information about each creature and the corresponding page number. VERDICT A solid contribution to any elementary study of the senses.”
–Maggie Chase, Boise State Univ., ID

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Canadian Review of Materials

When Animals Listen with Their Feet is an enjoyable, informative text for children that manages to capture facts and curiosity at the same time. Using the senses as a framework, the author and illustrator take the reader on a journey through the wild kingdom by way of intriguing facts and images.

The text is informative, and the images match and complement with simple, yet true to life depictions. Children who love facts and who enjoy the animal world will find this book a pleasure to read. Teachers for grades K-4 will find this a wealthy resource for research units or writing/drawing activities.”

Click here to read the full review.

YA (and Kids) Books Central

When Elephants Listen With Their Feet is a seriously cool collection of animal facts around the senses….There are some new facts that I did not know as an adult, and I love learning something new. This would be a great book for children who love to know unusual and cool facts….

A seriously awe-inspiring collection of facts about animal senses, When Elephants Listen With Their Feet is a delightful book to explore and learn. Highly recommend for older elementary school aged / middle grade readers who love cool and unusual animal facts.”

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Midwest Book Review

“Exceptionally ‘kid friendly’ in tone, commentary and presentation, When Elephants Listen With Their Feet: Discover Extraordinary Animal Senses is especially recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Wildlife picture book collections for young readers ages 8- 12.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? This non fiction picture book shows how animals use their senses to interact with their environment, for food, mating, defense and more….I learned many facts I didn’t know, such as: the golden mole has no eyes; the Atlantic herring passes gas to communicate; the salmon can smell under water; a blue whale’s tongue weighs 3 tons; and birds have no nerve endings in their feet….

The text is conversational and informative without being didactic – I would say that this French translation is very successful. Charming realistic illustrations complement the text, and I appreciate that most of the humans in the book have non-white skin, which is rare in non fiction. There are indexes at the end, so this book can be used for elementary school animal reports. This is a great book to sample bit by bit to learn fascinating animal facts.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 8-12, especially kids who love fun animal facts….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, if you are looking for a fresh source on animal senses.”
Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“A 40 page picture book, it has attractive art and lots of text boxes to encourage curious, budding biologists. From fish that pass gas to communicate to the taste buds of pigs and everything in between, this book is full of fascinating facts about senses.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“The tone of the text is conversational, the design well-organized and eye-catching, and the information provided is often quite remarkable. Initially organized according to the senses, the text then moves on to describe vibrations, electromagnetism, and the final part of the book deals with ‘superhero animals’. This gives readers a look at some pretty spectacular ways that animals have adapted to their environment….An animal index provides further tidbits of info and page numbers for each to allow readers to return to reread the parts of the book that hold specific interest.”

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San Francisco Book Review

“Emmanuelle Grundmann has found a new way to help kids learn lots of new, fascinating facts about a wide variety of critters. She looks at how animals use their five senses to help them navigate, communicate, hunt, stay safe, and more….Facts are laid out in text blocks with wonderful drawings by Clémence Dupont to support the text. This is a picture book for older youngsters, second through fifth grade. It is fascinating and fun. Don’t miss it.”

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Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“Not an encyclopedia, but maybe an illustrated primer on some of the wild and interesting things animals can do with their senses, WELWTF has an abundance of information for budding scientists to pour over should they want to engage in some animal exploration.

There is no discernible story, and only a very loose organizational structure (e.g. Superhero Animals, Good Vibrations, On the Nose, etc.) yet, the book’s charming illustrations do lure you in and the accompanying text does provide interesting, if not perfunctory data:”

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Jill’s Book Blog

Rating: ★★★★★ This picture book is about the amazing things that animals can do with their bodies. It goes through all five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell) and the unique ways that animals use the senses to interact with the world around them.

I didn’t know most of these fun animal facts before reading this book, so I found it fascinating. I think adults and children will enjoy this beautiful picture book!”

Click here to read the full review

Raven, Rabbit, Deer Interviews

Posted on December 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Raven, Rabbit, Deer Author: Sue Farrell Holler Ilustrator: Jennifer FariaCanLit for LittleCanadians interview with author Sue Farrell Holler and illustrator Jennifer Faria

The Library Bus Teaching Guides

Posted on November 17th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the teaching guide for The Library Bus.

A World of Mindfulness Teaching Guides

Posted on November 17th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the A World of Mindfulness teaching guide.

A World of Mindfulness Reviews

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Booklist

Cover: A World of Mindfulness From the Editors & Illustrators of Pajama Press

“This calming picture book is a collaboration between a number of Pajama Press’ editors and illustrators. Their styles differ, but all are soothing and promote thinking in the moment about one’s environment and feelings….The gentle writing and age-appropriate examples make this a useful book for little ones.”
— Miriam Aronin

Read the full review in the December 1, 2020 issue of Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“From the team behind A World of Kindness comes this picture book, which does double duty as a mindfulness guide. Fourteen artists illustrate, with a table of contents helpfully identifying the respective page numbers….The children have differing skin tones and hair textures, highlighting the universality of this effectively grounding read.”

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Kirkus Reviews

“Numerous artists illustrate words meant to ground readers in the moment….Designed to bring readers’ attention to what is occurring within and around them, the text reads like a guided meditation, beginning and ending with ‘I am here.’ Each spread features art by a different illustrator, varying in style, with bright colored-pencil drawings, soft watercolor paintings, mixed-media collage, and striking scenes in textured clay. The scenes represent the moments and experiences described in the text, and they feature children of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. With its meditative words that encourage slow reading, this book can be used as a practical introduction to mindfulness meditation, as an example of the practice, and as a guide.”

Click here to read the full review

Postmedia

“Mindfulness practice, such as meditation and yoga, can be helpful to children making them feel calm, focused and more in control….This collaborative picture book is ‘dedicated to all children struggling to navigate our uncertain world.’”

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Winnipeg Free Press

“In a year when the pandemic has turned the whole world upside down, children may need familiar and comforting things to hold on to. Pajama Press has gathered 14 exceptional Canadian artists to project the calming feelings that can be invoked by our senses: smelling fresh grass, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the sound of birds or experiencing the joy of creating things and more.”

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Canadian Review of Materials

“This book transcends categorization as it tells a story of tranquility, instructs a generation on mindfulness, and opens a conversation about self-care for every age….

While each page plays host to a simple, reinforcing statement of calm reliance on the five senses and leaning into your feelings to stay grounded in the now, the real draw of A World of Mindfulness is the exhibition of immense artistic talent at Pajama Press. The artwork is bold and diverse with each piece showcasing a different use of colour, texture, or form. From Amélie Dubois’ simple calming landscape embracing fear to Suzanne Del Rizzo’s detailed ode to tactility and from Miko Sato’s mixed-media winter wonderland to Tara Anderson’s soft pencil summer scene, each illustration welcomes the reader into a new and wonderful world.

A World of Mindfulness is a wonderful resource for parents and educators as it makes mindfulness practice for children accessible and uncomplicated….Highly Recommended.”
Amber Allen is a librarian in Guelph, Ontario, with a passion for children’s literature and writing.

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“A meditative text, accompanied by beautiful images demonstrates the importance for children on being quiet and reflective some times. It shows how listening to birds can help quiet the snow storm in your head and help you to let go of anger. This picture book can help to lead children to practice yoga, meditation and general peace of mind.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Our world needs more mindfulness. With all the strife and worries, we need to become aware of the present, appreciate the now and bring calm. A World of Mindfulness will help all of us, but especially children, find that.

Fourteen illustrators provide artwork to complement Pajama Press editor Erin Alladin’s words. The text is sparse but impactful…Whether trying to permeate the text with the calm resulting from mindfulness or the wish to find joy or the angst that compels a need for mindfulness, the illustrators complete the messages of enlightenment and support in their medium of choice. There are coloured-pencil drawings, cut-paper art, digital illustration and more. As diverse as the ways to attain mindfulness, the illustrators of A World of Mindfulness explore the concept with their own form of creativity.

When Pajama Press came out with its first collaboratively-created picture book, A World of Kindness, it impressed all with its poignant messages and stunning and varied artwork. It ushered readers through recognizing the need for kindness, especially when faced with unkindness, and how to be kind. A World of Mindfulness similarly takes the reader on a journey of discovery, of how to find the calm within, of focusing on moments and tasks and of immersing oneself in the experience that is. Whether for quality of life or therapy, mindfulness works and so does A World of Mindfulness.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“Particularly this year, with the lack of structure and routine, proliferation of screen time, and societal anxiety, this book can help children stop and find balance and calm in their lives.

The illustrations are beautiful and show the beauty of our world and the diversity of our peoples. Each picture has lots of things to look at and can provide an image to meditate on. They celebrate our self, our natural world, small joys of life, and the act of creation and reflection.

This is a beautiful book and an apt one for this difficult year.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“As the Pajama Press team led by Gail Winskill did in A World of Kindness, they again combine stunning artwork with sensitive text to help young children find ‘warmth, peace and hope’ in difficult times. As 2020 winds down with a fervent hope for a better new year, this is a book that will resonate with all families….

The artwork is created in a variety of media, and is beautifully rendered to bring a sense of calm and to empower readers to take note of the world that surrounds them every day. The well-chosen words offer a chance to think about self, nature, feelings, movement, and place in that world….

Read slowly. Look carefully. Feel the calm as the world moves from one year to the next, with hope for better and a plan to find joy in the small things.”

Click here to read the full review

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“The importance of meditation and mindfulness has been taking root in the Western world recently especially as it pertains to our kids well being. This book is a beautifully illustrated reminder that we come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds, and that we all possess our own way of finding our inner peace. From yoga, to running, reading, to closing one’s eyes, from the sound of a page turning to blowing bubbles, each two-page spread features children finding their own peace.

I love that the book does not gloss over the fact that life can be hard and scary.”

Click here to read the full review.

It’s a Librarian Life

“There are many ways to find your calm, but using your SENSES to notice what you see, smell, taste, hear and feel is a powerful way to start.

“A World of Mindfulness”, is a beautiful picture book about children finding their calm through their sense’s.

Not just a story but also a resourceful book to help children manage their emotions, have positive experiences and stay resilient and celebrate life around them….

This book is just stunning. Gentle, soothing, joyful and yet full of so much importance for children’s emotions and well being.

Whether your reading the book or purely looking at the stunning illustrations that have been illustrated throughout by fourteen talented artists on different pages of the book, this read will assist, support and find calm in children who need it most.”

Click here to read the full review

A Family for Faru Extra Content

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: A Family for Faru Author: Anitha Rao-Robinson Illustrator: Karen Patkau Publisher: Pajama Press“A Family for Faru & A Different Drummer Books” virtual launch video with author Anitha Rao-Robinson from October 7, 2020

Teaching Mrs. Muddle Extra Content

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press“Teaching Mrs. Muddle: Behind the Scenes” video with illustrator Alice Carter

Duck Days Reviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Cover: Duck Days Author: Sara Leach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

What did you like about the book? There’s so much I love about this book! Lauren is a relatable third grader who has a best friend Irma….Lauren also has autism, and regularly describes her feelings and reactions for the reader….All readers will be able to relate to her experiences navigating friendships, child stresses at school, and big emotions, and readers without autism will find many role models in the story for ways to connect with and support friends and family with autism without harping on it. Diversity is celebrated in the book – with Lauren, her friend Irma who is learning English, and supportive classmates with different skin colors. Black and white illustrations on most pages show both the events of the story as well as additional clues about characters’ emotions. The messages and theme of the story come across strongly even for young readers, but they are woven throughout the fantastic story to create an overall enjoyable reading experience.

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be an ideal read aloud for a class (probably 1st or 2nd grade). It would be great for adults to read with children (both on the autism spectrum and not) to support social emotional skills. I would also give it to kids who have read any of the picture books A Friend for Henry (Bailey), My Brother Charlie (Peete), All My Stripes (Rudolph), or Since We’re Friends (Shally) and are looking for something a bit longer, but are not ready for longer chapter books like Rain Reign (Martin) or A Boy Called Bat (Arnold)….

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes”
Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“The collaborative work author/storyteller Sara Leach and artist/illustrator Rebecca Bender, Duck Days is an honest and warm-hearted successor to their critically acclaimed Slug Days and Penguin Days. With its straightforward text and frequent black-and-white illustrations, Duck Days is a thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ and accessible chapter book suitable for young readers ages 7-10 — especially those with mountains of their own to climb! While wholeheartedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that Duck Days is also readily available in a digital book format.”

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Manhattan Book Review

“We rated this book: [5/5]…

Text: I think this book is amazing. I love that it is from first person, Lauren’s point of view, and how we can see how she processes things. It is so helpful for me as an adult, and I think also for kids on the spectrum (or not) to be able to understand how they process their emotions. I love how Irma and the teachers help Lauren, but also gently help her challenge herself.

Illustrations: I thought the pictures depicted the scenes perfectly, whether something was happening or whether Lauren was processing emotions. It adds to the text wonderfully.”
—Megan Walvoord

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“From the author of the highly recommended Slug Days and Penguin Days, this early chapter book puts the reader squarely in the life of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder….Sara Leach is a teacher-librarian from Whistler, B.C., who has worked with students who share Lauren’s condition and has been able to help them cope. Rebecca Bender, who added the sensitive, homey black-and-white illustrations, lives in Burlington, Ont., and is best known for her award-winning Giraffe and Bird books.”

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Canadian Review of Materials

“This story hit close to home as I have two children very close to me with ASD. Duck Days is accurate when portraying the challenges for a child who has “dragonflies” in her tummy when faced with something new. Showing Lauren being hesitant to try new foods, activities and not being in charge will be relatable for the readers.

Although Duck Days might read as a Kindergarten-grade 4 level book, I think it could be used as a teaching tool for even higher grades to address differences and challenges for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a lifelong disorder. You cannot change the fact that a person has ASD, but support can significantly improve the ability of that person to be successful in all areas of her/his life. This support is referred to as intervention (Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – Canada.ca)

Having books like Duck Days available as a starting point for discussion with children who can relate and see themselves in Lauren’s behavior and thought process can only serve as essential tools for parents and teachers alike.

Recommended.”
Shelly Quade, the Talent Lab Manager for the Whistler Film Festival, is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she helps train and promote Canadian storytellers from her remote office.

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

Duck Days by Sara Leach is a novel for ages 7 – 11. Third grade student Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder and experiences some things a bit different from her friends….This book is part of a well written series for young kids on Autism and Asperger’s.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Author Sara Leach introduced young readers to Lauren, a young child living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in Slug Days (2017) and Penguin Days (2018) and, with each new story we get to celebrate Lauren’s successes in developing coping strategies that give her the comfort to endure typical childhood situations from school to spending time with relatives to making new friends and keeping them. Though it’s evident that Lauren becomes uncomfortable with anything that detracts from her routines primarily as a result of her ASD, Sara Leach helps young readers see that anyone can use a little help when having a hard time. Most children do better with routines and the predictable and have worries about friendships and looking foolish. So while Sara Leach helps them understand some of the challenges faced by children with ASD, she also encourages them to find coping strategies, including visualization and focusing on breathing, to help get through uncomfortable or irregular circumstances.

Accompanied by the charming pencil and digitally-rendered artwork of Rebecca Bender whose illustrations have graced her own picture books like Giraffe and Bird Together Again and How Do You Feel?Duck Days will captivate early readers with both the familiarity and distinction of Lauren’s circumstances and recognize that being brave is in everyone.”

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Getting Kids Reading

Duck Days is a heart-warming chapter book for early readers. It’s the third in a series; the main character is Lauren, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. All of the books are lovely reads about friendship, perseverance and the challenges life brings to us all. In Duck Days, Lauren uses the concepts of ‘go with the flow’ and ‘water off a duck’s back’ to help her deal with last-minute changes to her plans….

I’m going to add that even if your young reader doesn’t have the same mountains to climb as Lauren, Duck Days and the other books in the series, are a good choice.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“Sara Leach kindly and matter of factly shares Lauren’s journey with readers. We learn the challenges that Lauren faces everyday at home and school. Readers will also recognize the same challenges that we all face during childhood: navigating friendships, persevering against bullies, being brave and trying new things. Everything Lauren does in Duck Days is very relatable to all children but this story also fosters empathy in those who do not have ASD….

Books like Duck Days and the companion stories Slug Days and Penguin Days are important for your readers to access. It is through learning stories about people who may be different from ourselves that we learn empathy, compassion and the richness of the human experience. I love the illustrations by Rebecca Bender….

I really hope to see this series continue. I want to read more about Lauren’s journey through life and how she and her friends will approach the challenges that come their way.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“Lauren learns about what it means to be brave, and how she can have more than one friend. I like to see how Lauren grows from book to book and becomes more confident in her abilities and tackles new challenges with the help of her family, friends, and teachers. As always with this series, the illustrations show both the events of the story as well as Lauren’s feelings. The facial expressions really work well to show how she feels in different situations here.”

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Jill’s Book Blog

“I loved the Autism representation in this story. Lauren had a lot of visual techniques to help figure out the world around her….Lauren helped Irma with her English, which showed some representation of the immigrant experience. Irma had to go to school and learn a language that she wasn’t familiar with, but she had the courage to do it every day. Lauren would correct Irma’s language, but at least Irma was trying to speak, even when she got it wrong. They were both brave little girls. This is a great children’s book!”

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Youth Services Book Review

“Third grader Lauren is trying hard to follow her father’s advice and learn how to ‘go with the flow’ as she navigates school and friendship issues in this follow-up to Slug Days and Penguin Days.  Lauren is on the autism spectrum, and as she narrates her story, she describes what that means for her in easily understandable, kid-friendly terms.

Readers will cheer for Lauren as she conquers her fears and makes new friends.  Short chapters and frequent illustrations make this an accessible book for elementary schoolers in grade 2 and up; an author’s note provides a little further insight into Autism Spectrum Disorder and celebrates the existence of caring adults and kind friends.”

Click here to read the full review

Disability Rights UK, Aurelia (aged 11)

“All three books show us that the things around Lauren are really bad and need to change to accommodate Lauren. Things don’t change around Lauren in Slug Days, but she does finally manage to make one friend who arrives new in class from Sweden.

I feel annoyed reading books like this because I can really feel the pain that Lauren goes through. I have had teachers who didn’t understand me, and behaved very passive aggressively in response to my autism. When you are an autistic child, if the people around you who have the power make bad decisions and don’t act as though they understand you or care, it makes you really angry, anxious and depressed. Lauren feels anxious and angry when she is misunderstood too.”

Click here to read the full review

Teaching Mrs. Muddle Reviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press“The first day of school can be scary and very, very confusing, and not just for the students….Nelson embraces the nervousness of walking into a school for the first time and blends those feelings with the antics of a hapless teacher who would get along just fine with Amelia Bedelia. Friendly and colorful illustrations depict a diverse group of students with a zany teacher at the helm…Children not yet old enough to read will be engrossed by the detailed images of all the places they may find in a school building. VERDICT This story is perfectly suited to settle some first day jitters, but will also be appreciated by teachers and parents who know what it takes to help children feel comfortable in new environments.”
—Erica Deb, Matawan Aberdeen P.L., NJ

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“It’s Kayla’s first day of kindergarten, and she’s riddled with anxiety about all the mistakes she’s sure she will make.

Then Kayla meets her teacher, Mrs. Muddle, and realizes that she might not be the only one learning the ropes….By the time the day is over, Kayla is confident in her ability to navigate her new school. Nelson’s narratorial voice is clear and charming, and the choice to illustrate Kayla as a dark-skinned girl of color is pleasing.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Children’s Book News

Teaching Mrs. Muddle by award-winning author Colleen Nelson and illustrated by Alice Carter, is a fun-loving, thoughtful picture book about first-day-of-school jitters, empowerment and personal growth, all housed within 32 colourful pages….

A former kindergarten teacher turned junior high school teacher, Nelson has astutely captured both the curiosity and nervousness that often accompanies kids when beginning something new. And Carter’s bright, delightfully whimsical illustrations bring Kayla and her new school world brilliantly to life. The choice to illustrate Kayla (and many of her classmates) as a dark-skinned person of colour is both refreshing and important. At the same time, Carter’s ability to expertly characterize the expressions, actions and emotions of Kayla, Mrs. Muddle and those around them adds to the giggle level of this charming read.

A practical resource for librarians, teachers and families, this timely book makes the grade as ideal reading for bringing the focus back to a love of learning, friendship and fun, perfect for engaging and encouraging children during these uncertain, challenging times.”
—Jennifer D. Foster

Read the full review in the Winter 2020 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Without making Kayla precocious or Mrs. Muddle outrageous, Colleen Nelson creates a very relatable school situation that is both engaging and charming. It’s giving Kayla and every child the opportunity to see that they embody far greater capabilities than they imagine they possess. Though this is Colleen Nelson’s first picture book, her impressive repertoire of both middle grade novels such as Harvey Comes Home and YA novels like The FallFinding Hope and Sadia have always cheered young people for their ability to face challenges, find solutions and make better lives for themselves than their circumstances might dictate. Even in a light but big-hearted story about finding your own way by helping others, Colleen Nelson drives home the conviction that young people can do so much.

That brightness of Colleen Nelson’s story and message about children’s potential to lead is emphatically portrayed in Alice Carter’s illustrations. Rich in the primary colours which will appeal to young children, Alice Carter makes what could have been a gloomy story about making mistakes or an incompetent teacher into an energized lesson in helping with heart and being confident.

Teaching Mrs. Muddle should become a must-read for parents sending little ones off to kindergarten but it will be also become a favourite for young children who will laugh at the muddled Mrs. Muddle and applaud Kayla for her cleverness and subtlety, recalling their own first times in new situations and satisfaction at handling them as well.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? Kayla is nervous about her first day of kindergarten, but has so much fun at school she forgets about her worries. Mrs. Muddle, her teacher, makes mistake after mistake all day long, and Kayla and her new classmates must help her out. Kids will love laughing at the mistakes she makes, including giving out the wrong name tags, holding a book upside down during a read aloud, and taking the class all around the school and into many wrong rooms while looking for the gym and the bathrooms. Whether or not the reader knows that Mrs. Muddle’s ‘mistakes’ were on purpose, they will enjoy following her and the class all around the school. I appreciated the variety of skin colors in the characters, and the inclusion of a few male teachers. The illustrations add to the humor and really give the feel of a tour around an elementary school….

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a perfect read aloud for a first day of kindergarten (or preschool, or first grade). I would also recommend it to adults to read with children who are nervous about starting school for the first time, or for young readers who like funny school stories.”
Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“The illustrations were the best part of this book. They absolutely made the story come to life….From problems matching nametags to kids at the beginning of the day, to going to different rooms in the school as the day progressed, to using snacks as art supplies, the kids learn to work together to get things done and keep Mrs. Muddle organized….The endpapers are filled with more illustrations, alphabet pictures of letters and animals whose names start with the letters (or for Xx end with them).”

Click here to read the full review

Little Bookworm Club

“This is a really lovable and amusing story that’s sure to ease some first day jitters. Kayla is nervous about her first day of kindergarten. What is she gets lost or misses her mom so much she cries?
She meets her quirky teacher Mrs. Muddle, who is mixing up students name tags, reading books upside down, and can’t find the correct classrooms on their school tour. She follows Mrs. Muddle for the day helping correct her “mistakes” and has hands too full to remember she’s nervous.
Readers will delight in this humorous book even if they don’t catch what Mrs. Muddle is up to.”

Click here to read the full review

The Vancouver Writer’s Fest

“The titular Mrs. Muddle in this book is true to her name. She’s a kindergarten teacher, who instead of being the leader of her band of little charges, is very confused and, well, muddled. It’s the first day of school and little Kayla is worried about starting kindergarten. She’s worried about missing her mom and about finding her way around. But when she meets her teacher, Mrs. Muddle, she realizes that her problems are nothing compared to her teacher’s… Teaching Mrs. Muddle is a funny little book that conveys the message that it is okay to be nervous about starting new things; it’s a universal feeling shared not just by students but their teachers too; what is important is to be kind and extend help when you see that someone could with it. Grades Preschool-1

Click here to read the full review

@jmebills

“Kayla is very nervous to start kindergarten until she meets her teacher, Mrs. Muddle.

Mrs. Muddle holds books upside down,

mixes up classrooms,

and gets lost in the halls.

In fact, Kayla is so busy helping Mrs. Muddle all day, she forgets to be nervous.

Now Kayla’s only concern is whether or not Mrs. Muddle is ready to teach Kindergarten.

Hahaha.

This heartwarming tale had me smiling and giggling as Mrs. Muddle brilliantly guides her students and puts their worries at ease through her “mistakes”.”

Click here to read the full review

Raven, Rabbit, Deer Reviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Publishers Weekly ★ Starred Review

Cover: Raven, Rabbit, Deer Author: Sue Farrell Holler Ilustrator: Jennifer Faria“Acrylic and colored pencil artwork by debut illustrator Faria (Chippewas of Rama First Nation) startles with rich, startling winter sunset hues of fuschia, violet, and aqua….Holler’s story gains from the interplay of dimensions: the affectionate relationship between the boy and his grandfather, the growing vocabulary they share, and their slow-paced appreciation of the natural world.”

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School Library Journal

“Brilliant colors of the trees, animals, and characters contrast nicely with the white of the snow, and on several pages the late-day rainbow-colored sky is reflected on the ground. Whether or not children are close to their own elders, this beautiful picture book engages and delights. The grandfather points out animals in both English and Ojibwemowin; the illustrator is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. VERDICT An excellent addition to any school or public library, especially those looking to freshen up their picture book collections on the subject of winter.”
—Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State Univ., NH

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The Horn Book Magazine

“This sweetly unassuming picture book is simultaneously a small wintertime adventure, a story of a loving intergenerational friendship, and an animal-identification book incorporating both English and Ojibwemowin vocabulary….Acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations vividly portray the snowy landscape as well as the boy and grandfather’s home; the bright yellow living room filled with mementos radiates love and warmth. Endpapers helpfully label the three animals with their English and Ojibwemowin names; the Ojibwemowin names are also spelled phonetically.”
—Nicholl Denice Montgomery

Read the full review in the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Kirkus Reviews

“On a snowy winter’s day, a young Ojibwe boy takes Grandpa’s hand and leads him out of the busy town and into the woods….Faria (Chippewas of Rama First Nation) brings an #ownvoices perspective to Holler’s text, illustrating the gentle scenes in acrylics and colored pencil. Understated humor emerges in the details…Phonetic pronunciations of the Ojibwemowin words appear on the endpapers.

This intergenerational tale gently introduces woodland animal tracks and Ojibwemowin words.”

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Midwest Book Review

“A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining picture book introduction to the subject of animal tracks to children ages 4-7, Raven, Rabbit, Deer by the team of author Sue Farrell Holler and illustrator Jennifer Faria is an extraordinary and forthrightly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 5…In this story, the grandfather provides the Ojibwemowin (an indigenous language of North America) name for all the animals that he and his grandson see in the woods. There is a pronunciation key for each of the names as well….

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of three and six years old. I could see this book being read just before a winter walk in the snow–a great way to encourage children to carefully look for tracks in the snow of any animals that might have passed through….

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes, great introduction to the Ojibwemowin language for children.”
Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian

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Canadian Review of Materials

Raven, Rabbit, Deer tells a sweet, intergenerational story through the eyes of a young Indigenous boy….

I enjoyed the almost childish and innocent illustrations by Jennifer Faria. The soft lines and gentle colours connect the reader (or viewer) to the tender inside the world of the young boy. The illustrations align perfectly with author Sue Farrell Holler’s words and invite us to walk with the boy and his grandpa on that glorious winter afternoon….

Raven, Rabbit, Deer serves as a window for Indigenous children to see themselves and their families in the story. It also serves as a window for everyone in the classroom to learn about Indigenous ways of knowing and being. There is a thoughtful glossary with pictures as well to teach readers the proper pronunciations of raven, rabbit, and deer in Ojibwemowin. If you are considering setting up a multicultural and multilingual classroom library, I highly recommend adding this piece to your collection.

Highly Recommended.”
Emma Chen is a Ph.D. student with a research focus on immigrant children’s heritage language education at University of Saskatchewan.

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Postmedia

“An extraordinary nature picture book for young children is Raven, Rabbit, Deer by Sue Farrell Holler….This delightful book is ideal to share with a child anytime, but particularly during winter.”
—Glenn Perrett

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“At its heart, Raven, Rabbit, Deer is a story about a grandfather and young grandson taking a walk in the snow. But simple pleasures and company are often bigger than they might appear, and that can be said for Raven, Rabbit, Deer as well….

Though Raven, Rabbit, Deer is culturally informative with its inclusion of Ojibwemowin, author Sue Farrell Holler has not created it as a picture book of vocabulary as much as a story of a touching inter-generational relationship. As grandfather and grandson walk and chat, they each give and take something different and yet together….The child sees the wonder of the natural world while the grandfather sees its reality, instead appreciating the wonder of his grandson’s perspective. By focusing on the relationship and the sensory nature of that walk, Sue Farrell Holler makes Raven, Rabbit, Deer more personal and less informative than it could have been by another pen.

Similarly, debut picture book illustrator Jennifer Faria takes that heartfelt relationship and organic walk in a winter park and makes it into something warm and embracing….Using acrylic paint and coloured pencil, Jennifer Faria has given Raven, Rabbit, Deer a boldness of colour and shape but with an understated edge that complements Sue Farrell Holler’s story and intensifies it.

In Raven, Rabbit, Deer, or gaagaagi, waabooz, waawaashkeshi as would be in Ojibwemowin, Sue Farrell Holler and Jennifer Faria have let us enjoy an outing with a grandfather and his grandson and feel the warmth of that harmonious connection between people and with place.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This picture book is a beauty….I loved how the end papers showed the three animals of the title, showed the tracks they make, and gave their names in Ojibwemowin with a pronunciation guide….The drawings were great, with expressive faces and simple and colourful images of the world. A great book for the coming season.”

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The International Educator

Raven, Rabbit, Deer by Sue Farrell Holler is a brand new release….grandfather teaches the boy which animals make which tracks as well as the Ojibwemowin names of the animals.”

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Teaching Mrs. Muddle Interviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama PressOpen Book interview with author Colleen Nelson

The Library Bus Interviews

Posted on October 8th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: The Library Bus Author: Bahram Rahman Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard Publisher: Pajama PressOpen Book interview with author Bahram Rahman

Snow Days Reviews

Posted on October 6th, 2020 by pajamapress

Publishers Weekly

Cover: Snow Days Author: Deborah Kerbel Illustrator Miki Sato Publisher: Pajama Press“Kerbel’s couplets include both concrete details and more poetic abstractions. Sato’s deceptively simple illustrations are almost tangible in their layers, showcasing an array of stitches, paper finishes, and fabric surfaces, and depicting an inclusive cast. Back matter features five ‘fun experiments’ with snow.”

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Kirkus Reviews

“Simple rhyming couplets explore the myriad experiences snowfall brings, from the revelatory joy of the first snow to the somber goodbye of winter….The colorful collage illustrations strongly utilize texture to create depth and visual interest. The materials used to create the outerwear and accessories are especially realistic and invite closer inspection. Timid blooms peeking through melting snow end the book with a hopeful promise of spring. A playful celebration of wintry weather.”

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Foreword Reviews

“From the first snowfall of the year to the sprouting of spring, Snow Days walks through the magic of winter in charming rhyming couplets. Meticulous paper and fabric cutouts form illustrations that seem to leap off of the page…”
—Danielle Ballantyne

Read the full review in the November/December 2020 issue of Foreword Reviews

Quill & Quire

“The text is poetic but accessible, and compact without feeling hasty. It affirms the experiences of young winter veterans, while also being instructional for little newcomers as to why Frosty cannot always be constructed on a whim.

Sato uses paper and fabric collage for the illustrations, creating a striking juxtaposition between the textures of snow (mostly paper) and winter clothes (mostly fabric). Sato also demonstrates the surprising range of white paper: after showcasing the predictable, traditional snowflake cut-out on the first page, tiny haphazard shards evoke ‘Blowing flakes of frosted light’ and crinkled sheets that resemble plasticine represent the coveted packing snow.”

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CM Magazine

Snow Days is about the magic of winter through the eyes of a child. With each page, children are seen taking part in various winter activities, such as skating, making snow angels, and building snow forts. Instead of depicting winter as sad and cold, winter is described as a wondrous season filled with many opportunities to enjoy the outside, even when there is a blizzard….Young readers will become excited for the first snow of the year with this delightful story. Highly Recommended.”
Julia Pitre is a children’s librarian with London Public Library in London, Ontario.

Postmedia

“The rhyming text, complemented by quality illustrations, looks at the various types of snow including the first snow, powder snow, Christmas snow, packing snow and last snow.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Deborah Kerbel begins her story with the delight of children taking in the first snow of the season. With arms upraised and mouths agape, perhaps to catch a few of Miki Sato’s extraordinary snowflakes, the warmly-dressed children revel in the splendour of the snow….Whether it be powder snow or packing snow, blizzard snow or Christmas snow–a particularly special kind– or even frozen snow and slush and sleet, Deborah Kerbel invites little ones to savour each as a sensory experience of touch and feel….

Miki Sato’s three-dimensional illustrations, created with cut-paper collage, reflects Deborah Kerbel’s textured text, making us feel the iciness of packed snow and the dampness of mittens, amidst the piles of different snows. Just as each snow day is different, Miki Sato’s children and landscapes are as varied and diverse….

With our own snow days upon us, enjoy Deborah Kerbel and Miki Sato’s exploration in words and art and even consider the handful of experiments for very young children suggested at the end. It may be a little cold and get a little wet but the adventure will be worth it.”

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Fab Book Reviews

Snow Days, written by award-winning Canadian author Deborah Kerbel (My Deal With the UniverseSun Dog with Suzanne Del Rizzo), and Japanese-Canadian illustrator Miki Sato (Golden Threads with Suzanne Del Rizzo) team up to bring readers the gorgeously cozy rhyming story Snow Days….With Miki Sato’s gorgeous and cheerful multi-textured, paper collage images (be sure take a close-up look at the snowflakes!) and Deborah Kerbel’s precise and lively rhythmic couplets, Snow Days is a snuggly, bouncy and softly reflective reading experience- and one that is truly perfect for reading aloud. Additionally, at the book’s end, five simple science experiment involving snow are offered- just right for any potential snow days ahead!”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful picture book looks at all the different kinds of snow and the things that one can do with it, in it and because of it….Sato’s illustrations, using paper and fabric in collage, add a lovely dimension to the book.  The book closes with five fun activities you can undertake with your child to further explore the world and wonder of snow.”

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Kids Books I Didn’t Hate

“Growing up I was always fascinated by the fact that there are Indigenous groups in Canada that have tons of different words to describe snow. As a Canadian kid I could see that there were many different types of snow, but never had a good way to describe them, so when I learned about people who had words for it, I wished that I did too. This book makes me think of that because it is a joyous ode to snow and all the beautiful varieties it comes in. The illustrations have a stunning depth to them and are layered and detailed papercraft creations (these pictures really don’t capture the detail well). There is also some fun back matter with interesting ideas on how to play in the snow.”

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Book Riot

“This picture book captures the wonder of snow and the beauty and magic of a snow-covered landscape. Written in rhyming couplets, the book contains beautiful collages of snowflakes that invite readers to pause and enjoy the season.”

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Teaching Mrs. Muddle Teaching Guides

Posted on September 15th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama PressClick here to download the Teaching Mrs. Muddle teaching guide.

The Library Bus Reviews

Posted on September 8th, 2020 by pajamapress

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

Cover: The Library Bus Author: Bahram Rahman Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard Publisher: Pajama Press

“Villages and refugee camps in Kabul are visited by the area’s only library bus in this picture book that celebrates the continued fight of Afghani women for education….An author’s note follows, explaining refugee camps, growing up under the Taliban, and the author’s personal admiration of female teachers in their pursuit of an education. The conversational text is great for one-on-one sharing, but this will also come in handy at story times, for a celebration of reading, and for a glimpse of Afghani culture.”

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The New York Times

“In a story inspired by the first library bus in Kabul, Afghanistan, where Rahman grew up during the civil war, it brings books to girls in remote villages and refugee camps who have no other access to education. When it arrives, their cheeks blush with hope, like Pari’s magenta dress against Grimard’s richly nuanced saffron sand and sky.”

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Booklist

“Illustrations in warm-hued watercolors depict the buildings in the old city nestled in the mountains ‘like the embroidered scarfs in the Grand Bazaar,’ which contrasts with the dusty tents of the camp. The girls’ individualized faces and emotions will establish a bond with children everywhere as Rahman celebrates the brave and resourceful Afghani women teachers from his childhood who found creative ways to educate girls.”
—Lolly Gepson

Read the full review in the October 1, 2020 issue of Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Grimard’s illustrations pair well with Rahman’s words, from the sun rising over the mountains in the morning against an atmospheric sky to the dusty camp area with tents labeled UNHCR. Pari, her mom, and many girls cover their hair. In the backmatter, the author, an Afghan refugee himself now living in Canada, offers a personal message, which is accompanied by a brief note about refugee camps.

An inspiring story that conveys the power of education—paying it forward and meeting avid readers where they are.”

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The Horn Book Guide, “Book Bundles: Finding Hope”

“Rahman, who grew up in wartime Afghanistan, states that ‘all of the characters [in this fictional story] are inspired by the children that I met during my visits to refugee camps and orphanages in Kabul.’ The reassuring watercolor and digital illustrations help convey Rahman’s assertion that ‘when you are born in war, you are truly unaware of the alternative, peace. War is your normal.’”
—Kitty Flynn

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Shelf Awareness

“Bahram Rahman, who worked as a gender equality activist in Afghanistan, delicately portrays in his first picture book the continued effects of the Taliban’s prohibition on female education. Yet it is with profound hope and drive that Rahman depicts his characters…With her watercolor illustrations, Gabrielle Grimard (Stolen Words illustrator) evokes natural movement, suggests soft textures and depicts the beauty of dusty landscapes dotted with brightly painted buildings. Closed with an author’s note sharing his connection to the story, The Library Bus extols the soaring spirit of those who value learning.”
—Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer

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Quill & Quire

“The majority of Canadian children – though shamefully not all – can take for granted the availability of books at home or in schools and local libraries. Two new picture books, both told from the perspective of children, are set in war-ravaged countries where access to books is anything but a given….The Library Bus introduces readers to the brave women in contemporary Afghanistan who run mobile schools and libraries to teach young girls and provide them with reading and writing materials….

Bahram Rahman’s The Library Bus is inspired by growing up in Afghanistan and by the children he met during visits to orphanages and camps in Kabul….

The dangers and obstacles that still exist for girls getting an education in Afghanistan are not emphasized; Rahman instead refers back to the education of Pari’s mother by her father, which had to be conducted in utter secrecy. In the afterword, the author mentions the inspiration he drew from the real-life children he met. Gabrielle Grimard’s characteristically warm style and her animated representation of Pari and the other children beautifully brings to life the vitality and potential of the girls in the book.”

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Asian Review of Books

“Although the book deals with heavy and complex themes, there is still a lightness to the story that attracts and engages young readers. While the circumstances around the library bus in the villages and refugee camps are sobering, Pari’s enthusiasm for a library bus is joyous….

Rahman provides a number of opportunities for young audiences to engage with the story: an author’s note that follows the story gives some insight into Rahman’s childhood, while another note provides an introduction to refugee camps.

The illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard are equally appealing and capture Rahman’s tone and the power of books and education, while celebrating the bond between mother and daughter.”
—Melanie Ho is the author of Journey to the West: He Hui, a Chinese Soprano in the World of Italian Opera.

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The International Examiner

“Bahram Rahman’s The Library Bus is set in Afghanistan and tells the story of a little girl, Pari, and her mother who take a library bus filled with notebook, pencils, and books to villages and refugee camps so young girls can become literate….The story is simple and heartwarming and underscores the importance of literacy and schooling for girls and gently points to the political challenges—repressive regimes, poverty, refugee camps—that preclude education for young girls….

[A] beautifully illustrated heartwarming narrative that will appeal to young children, especially at bed-time….welcome additions to any child’s library.”

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Montreal Review of Books

The Library Bus reminds us what a luxury it is to learn to read. Set in Kabul, Bahram Rahman’s first picture book takes us on a journey – a library bus journey – to Afghanistan, bringing books and teaching English to children in the small villages and refugee camps where there are no schools for girls….Award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard brings this story to life with water-colour paintings of the refugee camps, villages, and the little children who live there.”

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Midwest Book Review

“Drawing upon very real conditions confronting Afghanistan girls wanting an education, The Library Bus by the collaborative team of author/storyteller Bahram Rahman and artist/illustrator Gabrielle Grimard is an extraordinary, original, thoroughly ‘kid friendly’, and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-8.”

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CM Magazine

“The text sweetly follows young Pari as she assists her mother and learns a little bit about why her mother runs a library bus. When her mother was young, girls were not allowed to read, and so her father taught her in secret….

More than anything, The Library Bus is a slice-of-life book that takes the reader through a typical day of an Afghani library bus. Along the way, the story subtly drops points of information that will leave readers with much to think about and discuss. This book is notable for depicting Afghanistan without fear or violence. The only reference to hardship is the description of the refugee camp mother and daughter visit, and, even then, dust and patched clothes are only briefly mentioned. The author’s Afterword provides clear reasoning for doing so and may influence adult readers to reconsider some of their own assumptions.

The illustrations, created using watercolour and digital media, are lovely and bring the setting to life….The Library Bus is a gentle day-in-the-life book that introduces readers to a beautiful country. Highly Recommended.”
Sadie Tucker is a children’s librarian at the Vancouver Public Library.

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Winnipeg Free Press

“Inspired by the first Library Bus to operate in Kabul, Bahram Rahman, who was born in Afghanistan and is now a senior policy advisor for the Ministry of Health in Ontario, has written The Library Bus to show how important it is for girls to be allowed to go to school….Gabrielle Grimard’s pictures wrap around whole pages with watercolour and digital abandon.”

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Postmedia

“This nicely illustrated picture book looks at the importance of education for everyone. At the end of the book the author writes about what it was like growing up in Afghanistan. There is also ‘A Note About Refugee Camps.’”

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The International Educator

The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman is a picture book, a gently told story of Pari and her mother who operates a library bus in Afghanistan….A great read to discuss the plight of refugees with young children.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This picture book was written by a Canadian who immigrated here from Afghanistan and was inspired to document the struggle for education faced by not only the women in his family, but for thousands of others….The illustrations were lovely, with the girls seen as individuals and the eagerness clearly portrayed. I loved the colours used here as well. And, of course, how could I not love a book about libraries and their importance.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Hopeful stories impact each of us in these troubled times….Warm and inviting artwork, done in watercolor and digital media, allows readers a chance to appreciate both setting and characters. The author’s note adds context for the telling, and an information box explains the need for camps to house refugees.”

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Kids Read the World

“This book packs so much into its 32 pages. It is fiction written in a way that opens up so many doors for discussion about Afghan culture. The city of Kabul is mentioned, a small village is shown, the language of Farsi is included in a few places, female dress is shown and discussed, there is mention of the Grand Bazaar, and the mother and daughter travel to a refugee camp. My 4 year old stopped me on every page to ask questions, which is awesome. This book was so accessible for both my kids and gave them such a rich introduction to the country of Afghanistan.

This book includes a note from the author in back matter explaining why he felt it was important to write this book. There is also information about refugee camps and organizations who work to help those displaced by war or natural disasters.”

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@jmebills

“A bookmobile in Afghanistan!
I felt a connection right away to the excitement of having access to books through a bookmobile. The small town I grew up in did not have a library. There was one in the next town over, but we rarely visited, so I looked forward to bookmobile day in the neighborhood. It meant I could check out another Babysitters Club Book. Hahaha.
The bookmobile (Library Bus) in this story had a far deeper meaning for those it visited. 📚
It meant access to education. For in addition to bringing books, Pari and her mom taught English and reading classes.”

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Little Bookworm Club

“Education and literacy is so accessible to us here in the US that we sometimes forget this is not the case everywhere.(including in parts of the US) The author @bahram_rahman grew up in Afghanistan during the strict regime of the Taliban, a time when women, including his own sister were forbidden to learn, read, or write.

The Story follows Pari and her mother. It’s Pari’s first time helping her mom on her library bus, the only library bus in Kabul. Her mother travels to villages and refugee camps where there’s no access to school, teaching young girls to read, write, speak English, and count. She is their only means of education, once a week.

Pari’s mother learned these things from her grandpa long before girls were allowed to go to school, to learn to read or write. Her mother encourages her to never stop learning. Because learning = freedom.

This is such a poignant and touching story and truth. It celebrates literacy, resourcefulness, and women striving for a better future while shedding light on past generations struggles and injustice. The illustrations are absolutely stunning with rich earth tones depicting this heroic mother/daughter duo and their journey to sharing love and education.”

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Storytime with Stephanie

“The Library Bus is a beautiful book to show children about what it’s like to grow up without access to education. When we exist in our own little bubbles we can forget there is a huge world out there and many different people with vastly different experiences. It’s incredible to have a story to share with children that not only show what life is life for women in Afghanistan but also shows their strength and determination. I love how Bahrain Rahman frames the story and shares joy with readers. It’s not a story that will leave readers feeling sad for the women and girls in Afghanistan but leaves them grateful for the privileges they have living in Canada. The girls who learn from Pari’s mama are grateful and happy to learn and the story is very joyful.

Gabrielle Grimard’s illustrations contribute to the joyful feeling in the story. Readers will see all of the smiling faces and the beautiful landscapes depicted. The illustrations envelop the pages with beautiful colours and so many books. It’s a book that will instantly draw your eyes.”

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The Colorful Muse

“A truly poignant story set in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mama drives the only library bus in the city. Pari is nervous about her first day as Mama’s little library helper. The bus starts off its journey as the sun is rising, making stops at villages and refugee camps, welcoming little girls returning their books, requesting writing supplies, and learning to write….

When war is all you know, that is your normal. Lack of access to education did not stop women like Pari’s mama to help the girls. Lack of basic needs did not damper these girls’ hopes and dreams.

Such an amazing story of hope and resilience and the power of everyday female heroines.”

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