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The Beatryce Prophecy
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publishing September 28th, 2021 by Candlewick Press

Summary: From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all–for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories–powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves–ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her–a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone–will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo’s lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for Candlewick Press for The Beatryce Prophecy:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about The Beatryce Prophecy on Candlewick’s page.

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Bow to Win a Slime War
Author: Mae Respicio
Published September 14th, 2021 by Wendy Lamb Books

Summary: Two kids face off in an epic battle to see who can sell the most slime, while navigating sticky situations with friends and family.

Alex Manalo and his dad have just moved back to Sacramento to help out with their extended family’s struggling Filipino market. While Alex likes helping in the store, his true passion is making slime! He comes up with his own recipes and plays with ingredients, colors, and different bumpy or sparkly bits, which make his slime truly special. A new friend encourages Alex to sell his creations at school, which leads to a sell-off battle with a girl who previously had a slime-opoly. Winner gets bragging rights and the right to be the only slime game in town.

But Alex’s dad thinks Alex should be focused more on traditional boy pastimes and less on slime. As the new soccer coach, Dad gets Alex to join the team. Even though he hates sports, Alex gives in.

Alex is battling on multiple fronts–with his new friends at school, and with his dad at home. It will be a sticky race to the finish to see who oozes out on top.

Praise:

“Oozing with fun.” —Kirkus Reviews

★ “A well-written story of family and friendship. Slime aficionados and newbies alike will enjoy the recipes for slime at the beginning of each chapter. Highly recommended.” —SLJ, starred review

About the Author: Mae Respicio writes novels full of hope and heart. Her debut, The House That Lou Built, received the Asian/Pacific American Library Association Honor Award in Children’s Literature and was an NPR Best Book of the Year. Mae lives with her husband and two sons in the Bay Area suburban wild, where they love hiking, hanging at the beach, and some good old-fashioned family slime time. Visit her online at maerespicio.com.

Review: Happy book birthday!!!!

How to Win a Slime War is definitely about slime, but it is about so much more.

It is about family. Alex and his dad have a lot of changes happening in their life and they are figuring out how to deal with it all. The kid characters aren’t the only characters that need to grow and change.

It is about friendship. Alex is starting at a new school, which means leaving his best friend, so he has to figure out how to fit into a new place. It is so much fun to meet all of his new friends with him and navigate the new environment.

It is about passion. And also about how passions of kids are not always what the parent wants it to be.

It is about entrepreneurship. Alex wants to be a business owner when he grows up and is already talking about it. He has been to conferences and has so many great ideas.

It is because of all of these different aspects that I found the book so engaging and a book that many people will find connection with Alex and his story.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will find the most success in classroom, school, and public libraries in the hands of students; however, I could definitely see a teacher using aspects in their classroom: both the slime science aspect and the business/entrepreneurship.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did each character grow and change throughout the book?
  • Why was Alex so hesitant about the changes in the Manalo Market? How did Alex and his father end up combining some of the new ideas with honoring Lolo & Lola’s market?
  • How was Meadow more than what meets the eye?
  • How did Alex’s science teacher add extra engagement to her classroom?
  • How do you feel about schools banning things that have become popular?
  • How does Alex use what he has learned about business when it comes to selling slime?
  • Alex got really good at soccer but decided not to keep playing. Why did he make that choice, even after becoming successful? Is there anything you have been good at but you ended up not liking?

Flagged Passages: Chapter 1

The world has plenty of twelve-year-olds who’ve accomplished amazing things, like:

Hoisting 308 pounds in one clean lift.
Inventing a braille printer from a Lego set.
Making millions of dollars from candy that’s good for your teeth.

I wish I could add myself to this list, but I can barely lift a fifty-pound bag of rice, when I play with Legos I usually lose the pieces, and when it comes to candy–especially my favorite kind, with an edible wrapper–I’d rather eat it than sell it.

I do have one hobby I’m not bad at: Making slime.

I’m stellar at slime challenges. This morning my best friend, Raj, and I are doing one final face-off before my dad and I move from San Jose to Sacramento. It’s our way of saying goodbye.

I lay out the ingredients, a couple of bowls, and some fat wooden stirring sticks. Raj sets my laptop on the kitchen counter, raises the volume, and cues up a video: Slime Time Soraya’s 30-Second Challenge!

He rubs his hands together. “I’ve been waiting the whole week for this!”

We’ve done all her challenges except this one, which we’ve been saving for a special occasion.

“Okay, Slime Squad!” Slime Time Soraya says on-screen. “Today we make . . . classic slime! Your goal: mix as fast as you can.”

“Challenge accepted!” Raj says back.

“Who makes good slime in thirty seconds?” I say. “Art takes much longer than that.”

Raj smiles slyly. “You’re not the only one with skills, Alex.”

Read This If You Love: Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung JeongMe and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Hello From Renn Lake by Michele Weber Hurwitz, Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin YunRescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review and giveaway!**

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It Fell From the Sky
By the Fan Brothers
Published: September 28, 2021 by Simon & Schuster

Summary: From the creators of the critically acclaimed The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky comes a whimsical and elegantly illustrated picture book about community, art, the importance of giving back—and the wonder that fell from the sky.

It fell from the sky on a Thursday.

None of the insects know where it came from, or what it is. Some say it’s an egg. Others, a gumdrop. But whatever it is, it fell near Spider’s house, so he’s convinced it belongs to him.

Spider builds a wonderous display so that insects from far and wide can come look at the marvel. Spider has their best interests at heart. So what if he has to charge a small fee? So what if the lines are long? So what if no one can even see the wonder anymore?

But what will Spider do after everyone stops showing up?

Review: I cannot get enough of this book. I just want to hug it every time I see it. The story and illustrations work in a way that is simply magical. Their talent is simply remarkable. When an object falls from the sky (“A marble!” -My 7-year-old), the insects are convinced it must be from another world. Spider decides to develop a display and invites the insects far and wide. They merely need to pay a leaf to see the object. But spider learns an important lesson—one that serves as a good reminder to all of us. I loved this book and expect it to see some awards. It dazzled me.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might to ask students to choose an object to examine from a different perspective than their own. They could write their own picture books.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How do the creators of the book use color to enhance their story?
  • How do the creators of the story use personification to teach a lesson?
  • What do we learn from this story? What does the spider teach us?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers; What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada; What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada; What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada; Magic Candies by Heena Baek; The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

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**Thank you to Beth from Simon & Schuster for Providing a Copy for Review!**

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