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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

 

Tuesday: Books We Liked A Lot But Cannot Remember Much About

Wednesday: Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce

Thursday: Guest Review!: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Friday: Pandamonia by Chris Owens

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 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee

I apologize for missing another Monday, but for personal reasons, I am taking this week off.

Ricki

You get me this week! Henry and I have been busy reading the Animal Crackers graphic novels. He likes to read graphic novels lately, and I enjoy reading them, too!

We read the Circus Mayhem book tonight. It’s great!

I am so excited to be teaching History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera tomorrow. I’ve divided my class into thirds (I have two great interns), and we each are reading a text that features the theme of grief. This book is simply phenomenal for discussing this theme, and I am really looking forward to hearing what my students think about it!

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This Week’s Expeditions

Ricki

I’m almost done with We Are Okay and The 57 Bus. I am loving them both!

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

Tuesday: Books We Can’t Believe We’ve Read

Thursday: Guest Review!: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

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 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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Pandamonia
Author: Chris Owen
Illustrator: Chris Nixon
Published 2017 by Kane Miller Books

Summary: Here’s something to remember: when visiting the zoo, whatever you do, DON’T WAKE THE PANDA!

Join in the fantastic fun of Chris Owen and Chris Nixon’s Pandamonia, as one could-be-grumpy-if-woken-up sleeping panda sets off a frenzy of wild partying.

There’s grunting and growling and prancing and prowling and … so much more in this rollicking, rhyming text. It is so filled with energetic art and action and noise and alliteration that it just begs to be read aloud.

There is a playfulness, a rhythm and an energy to both the text and the illustrations, a cumulative growing and building of words and pictures, plus a whole bunch of animals you might never have seen in a picture book before. And the hilarity will have listeners and readers on their feet!

This is one for story time, or anytime!

ReviewThis picture book quickly became a regular in our reading because my son is just a bit obsessed with animals and there is such a wide variety introduced and shared in this title. Sometimes we read all the way through and just have fun with it while other times we look up the animals and find them in the pictures and find videos of the sounds they make. A different experience each time. And with the party-filled pages and colorful illustrations, every experience is fun.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be such a fun read aloud! The illustrations are really colorful, the text is alliterative with a ton of onomatopoeias, and there’s lots of fun to be had! In addition to alliteration and sound words, it can also be a way to talk about animals or zoos.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did the author use the word pandemonium and panda as a premise to his book?
  • What animals did the author include that you didn’t know?
  • What type of medium do you think the illustrator used to make the illustration?
  • How did the author use onomatopoeias and alliteration in the story?
  • What do you think will happen if the panda gets woken up?!?!

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellie, Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex, The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth by Ellie HattieHello Hippo! Goodbye Bird! by Kristyn Crow, Can Aardvark Barkby Melissa Stewart, Other books about animals or zoos

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Lynn Kelly from Kane Miller for providing a copy for review!**

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There’s Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 26, 2017 by Dutton

Guest Review by Kaari von Bernuth

Goodreads Summary: One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

My Review: This book was gripping from the first page. I found myself getting sucked into it, trying to figure out the mystery of who the killer was, but also of what Makani’s past entailed. The author, Stephanie Perkins, did an amazing job of planting foreshadowing and clues that hinted toward the answers to the multiple mysteries that kept my brain working the entire time that I was reading.

I also loved the emphasis on friendship groups, feeling like an outsider, and bullying/hazing as many adolescents face these topics every day. The way that these topics were portrayed in Makani’s friend group, and the way that the friends help Makani to deal with her hazing trials were something that I appreciated. However, there were two things that I wish were approached differently in this book. 1. Even though this is a small point, one of the characters was a stereotypical, loud Christian character who tried to force his beliefs on everyone else, including a mention of how he managed to get rid of any mention of evolution in his school textbooks. He was characterized as a Lutheran. While this probably wouldn’t mean much to other people, I am a Lutheran, and all of the Lutherans I know believe and support evolution, and don’t at all act like this negative christian stereotype character does. But, this book makes it look like all Lutherans act this way. I wish that there had been no mention of the character’s denomination.  2. I wish that more emphasis had been placed on dealing with the deaths that occurred in the books, as well as the motivations of the killer, as those were both just glanced over. This is problematic as it leaves a huge hole in understanding of the novel, and makes it harder to talk about some of the prominent events in the story. Overall though, it was a very entertaining novel.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This would be a great book to have in a classroom library for kids to enjoy. Given the graphic, violent nature of some of the scenes, I wouldn’t recommend teaching to an entire class. However, it will appeal to students who enjoy the horror genre. This book also has great potential in literature circles. Perkins does a great job of foreshadowing and giving hints not only as to what is going to happen, but to stories that have already happened that the readers don’t know about yet. As I was reading, I loved being able to piece together the clues that were given to try to guess what had happened and also what was going to happen. A literature circle could have a lot of fun trying to piece those clues together as a group. This book also touches on other important topics such as bullying/hazing and family struggles which could be discussed in a literature circle, as well as the elements of forgiving oneself/dealing with guilt (which Makani experiences as a result of the hazing incident). The one thing that I found this book lacking was any form of dealing/acknowledging grief and death, as well as an acknowledgement of mental health issues (which the killer would have to have). These failings in the book could also be discussed in relation as to how to acknowledge those topics in a healthy way.

Discussion Questions: Where do you see foreshadowing in the early parts of the books?; How does Perkins create suspense in her novel?; What is Makani’s relationship with her parents like?; What was Makani’s experience with hazing like? Have you experienced something similar?; How does blame and justice appear in this book? Is it always fair?

We Flagged: “Sharing her story now, however, had opened a valve of tremendous internal pressure. Her secret- this self-inflicted burden- had finally been released.” (page 207 of Advanced Reading Copy)

Read This If You Loved: The Merciless by Danielle Vega; Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz; The Forest Dweller by Deborah McClatchey; Confessions: The Private School Murders by James Patterson

Recommended For:

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  

  RickiSig

**Thank you to Kaari for reviewing this book!**

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Ellie Engineer
Author: Jackson Pearce
Published January 16th, 2018 by Bloomsbury USA

Summary: Ellie loves to build. She’s always engineering new creations with the help of her imagination and her best friend Kit. Unfortunately, with Kit’s birthday just around the corner, the French-braiding machine Ellie built turns out to be more of a hair-knotting machine. What’s Ellie going to do? Luckily, the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about Kit’s surprise – it must be the dog she’s always wanted! Ellie is struck with inspiration: she’ll build Kit the best doghouse ever! The project quickly becomes more than just a present for Kit – it builds a bridge between Ellie and those bothersome neighbor boys, as well as the other handy girls in her class.

Designed to look like Ellie’s notepad, with pencil-on-graph-paper illustrations of her projects interspersed throughout the book, Ellie, Engineer inspires creative and crafty girls to get hands-on with their imagination. Ellie’s projects range from the simple (using a glass against a wall to amplify sounds), to the practical (the doghouse), to the fantastical (a bedroom security system featuring spikes) – encouraging readers to start small but think big. Ellie’s parents support her engineering experiments, with important safety tips sprinkled throughout, and her relationship with Kit is a glowing example of positive female friendship. They share their hobbies – Ellie likes to get her hands dirty, while Kit prefers ballet – reminding readers that there’s no wrong way to be a girl. Ellie’s hand-drawn tool guide at the end explains basic tools in accessible terms, rounding out this fun and funny adventure, and giving girls everything they need to be their own Ellie!

About the Author: Jackson Pearce lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of a series of teen retold fairy-tales, including Sisters RedSweetlyFathomless, and Cold Spell, as well as two stand-alones, As You Wish and Purity. As J. Nelle Patrick, she is the author of Tsarina. In addition to The Doublecross and The Inside Job, her middle grade novels include Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures, co-written with Maggie Stiefvater. Visit her at www.jacksonpearce.com and @JacksonPearce (Twitter and Instagram).

ReviewI so often hear stories from women my age that share that they loved science or nature or math when they were younger but that they were steered away from that those interests in little ways that they don’t even remember, but they do remember just not loving science anymore. This is exactly the scenario that has raised awareness in the need for STEM or STEAM books, programs, and role models for young girls. Ellie Bell is a perfect girl for this mission! Ellie wants to be an engineer when she grows up and even has her own workshop where her parents give her free reign to work on projects (with the safer tools–power tools require supervision). Pearce has even set up Ellie Engineer to include drawings and plans for Ellie’s projects to show readers how Ellie goes from an idea to a project. And Ellie’s story is one that all readers will connect with as well, so it is a win-win in narrative and STEM!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Books like Ellie need to first be found more in classrooms and libraries. That is step one! After that, I think that using Ellie’s process for keeping track of her projects and how she brainstorms and plans could be an amazing exemplar for a classroom of students who are embarking on project-based learning.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which of Ellie’s projects would you build?
  • How has the way Ellie’s parents parented helped Ellie become the engineer she is?
  • How did Ellie’s assumptions about the boys in her neighborhood stop her from seeing their real personalities?
  • What does Toby teach us in the story? The Presidents? Kit?
  • Compare and contrast Kit’s mom and Ellie’s mom.

Flagged Passages: 

Ellie’s plan for building her friend a dog house:

Read This If You Love: Ellie Ultra by Gina Bellisario; Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina; Bea Garcia by Deborah Zemke; Cody and the Fountain of Happiness and Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe by Tricia Springstubb; Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins; The Trouble With Ants by Claudia Mills;Lola series by Christine Pakkala; Salem Hyde series by Frank Cammuso; Here’s Hank series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver; Bramble and Maggie series by Jessie HaasFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo; Eleanor series by Julie Sternberg

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Casey at Media Masters and to Bloomsbury for providing a copy for review!**

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!

 Today’s Topic: Ten Books We Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

Ricki

It felt a bit embarrassing to write this post. I am finding it interesting what I remember about books that I read over twenty years ago. I suppose my brain doesn’t have the space for as many books as I think it does. The funny thing is that I seem to remember much more about the YA books that I read 15 years ago than the canonical texts that I read 15 years ago.

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I read this book dozens of times as a kid, yet all I remember is that there was a girl in the garden.

2. The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I read every book in this series, and all I remember is that it’s about four (?) kids who are orphaned. They solve mysteries. Apparently, I subconsciously named my sons after the two boys, too. When my older son is a bit older, we will be reading these together!

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I loved this book, yet all I remember is that there were four daughters living with their mother. I think the dad was at war, and my favorite character was definitely Jo. This is a book that I know I should remember more.

4. As You Like It by William Shakespeare

I remember thinking this was quite funny (it is a comedy, after all). That’s all I remember. I think the culminating scene is a huge deal. But I suppose that’s every Shakespeare play. 😉

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

I remember the main characters are Jake and Lady Brett. I remember there was war and that this was about the lost generation. And there was definitely bull-fighting. But this one seems to be conflating with the other Hemingway books that I’ve read.

Kellee

I went through my 5 stars and picked the 5 that I remember the least about. I do remember that I love them, but if you asked me too many specifics, I wouldn’t be able to remember much. I know a lot of it has to do with time since I’ve read it because all of these were at least 5 years ago.

1. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I remember the first book the most because I read it more than once, and I have book talked it to many classes; however, I don’t remember what happened in the rest of the series, and I never finished it!

2. Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

All I remember is loving the main character and the tie-in of Audubon.

3. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

I remember being fascinated with the mythology included in the story and that it fit directly with the Hero’s Journey.

4. Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

I wish I remembered more about the plot of this story because I remember crying and loving the main character; however, I just have lost the plot…

5. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

This book was such a fun book! Why, you may ask? I don’t remember! HA! But I did love reading it, and I could definitely see myself reading it again–it was a really entertaining read.

Which books have you read, liked, and seem to have forgotten specifics about?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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CONGRATULATIONS

Jeff S. 

for winning a copy of Don’t Forget Dexter!

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Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

Tuesday: Twenty 2018 Books We Look Forward to Reading

Wednesday: Love by Matt de la Peña

Thursday: Guest Review: That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

Friday: What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada

Sunday: Author Guest Post by Shana Hollowell, Author of Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat

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 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee

Why do short weeks at work always feel the longest and most hectic?!?!

 

I am so glad that my book club chose, and Laurel agreed, to Skype (Google Hangout, actually…) with Laurel Snyder because I was able to read a bunch of her amazing books!

I loved every single one of them, and I adored that my middle schoolers made sure I got her picture books to read with them too. I know many of you have read Bigger Than a Breadbox, but did you know Seven Stories Up is a companion about Rebeca’s mother?! And Orphan Island is quite special! I can definitely see why it is on many Mock Newbery lists.

Almost done with what is out in the Whatever After series 🙁 This one, a twist on “Hansel and Gretel” had a bit of a twist in it–super fun!

Two new favorite reads entered into our lives this week: Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters! by Marikka Tamura and Hi, Jack! by Mac Barnett & Greg Pizzoli. Trent has made me read Hi, Jack! over and over since I introduced him to it. And I love Penguins because it is adorable but also teaches about the dangers of environmental issues for animals.

Trent and I have also found two more ways to get reading into his life. First, my friend, Cristen, was kind enough to gift us read along books with CDs, so now we listen in the car on the way to school in the morning or any other time we have alone time in my car. We also have found Read Along Movies through Hoopla and my public library. This week we watched the Goodnight Moon movie (which also had a sign language interpreter!) and the by mouse & frog movie.

 Ricki

It’s been a busy week for me! The first week of classes started, and I’ve spent some good time planning and prepping syllabi and meeting with my interns. I redesigned my Adolescents’ Literature class, and I’m really excited to see how it goes this semester.

Henry is really into this graphic novel. We read a little bit each night. I think I’ll be hunting for the others in the series as this is book #4. Bird & Squirrel on Fire features two characters (Bird and Squirrel) who are best buds. They have a run-in with some rats and some fire in their adventure. My favorite character was a more minor character named Red. She’s lovely.

I REREAD The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This is my fifth or sixth time reading it, and I genuinely enjoy it more with each reading. I am excited to discuss it with my class this week. 🙂

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This Week’s Expeditions
Kellee

As many of you recommended, one of the first books I picked up from my #mustreadin2018 list is a Gae Polisner novel: The Memory of Things. And it is beautiful. I am halfway through it, and I cannot wait to read more. I also am about to start the last Whatever After book that is out right now. Number 11 comes out in April, 2018. Until then, I am going to listen to the Fablehaven series per Twitter recommendations.

Ricki

Because I have 40 students enrolled in my Adolescents’ Literature class, my interns and I are splitting the class into thirds every few weeks to have more intimate book decisions. I am in charge of Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me. I will be discussing it with Creative Writing majors, and I am really excited to hear their thoughts.

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

 

Tuesday: Books We Liked A Lot But Cannot Remember Much About

Wednesday: Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce

Thursday: Guest Review!: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Friday: Pandamonia by Chris Owens

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 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“How to Get Your Toddler to Enjoy Reading”

by Shana Hollowell, MPH

I cannot think of a better activity than reading with your child. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it helps your child learn the meanings of words, explore new concepts through pictures, and stimulate their imagination. Some parents may feel reading to their child during the toddler years is a challenge due to their attention span and ability to sit quietly. However, the following are some easy tips to get your energetic, busy toddler to wind down and develop a love for reading.

Select the right book.

Choose a book that you think your toddler will enjoy, not necessarily a book that you want to read. Make sure it is fun and age appropriate. Books geared towards toddlers usually rhyme and are not too long, which is important as toddlers are not known for their attention span. Toddlers love animals, the alphabet, real pictures of children, a finger puppet, etc. When reading the book to your toddler, say the rhymes in a sing-song voice. Your child will enjoy hearing your voice and looking at the bright, colorful pictures.

Read every day.

Make sure that reading to your child is an important part of your day. Children love routine so whether you read before nap time, after bath time, before bed time, etc., try to read to your toddler at the same time every day. It also makes a good winding down activity for active toddlers. Soon your child will begin to expect and look forward to reading time.

Keep books accessible.

Store your child’s books so that they are readily accessible to them, not just you. View your child’s room from their eye level. Install book racks low on the wall so they are within your toddler’s reach or store books on the floor in a basket or bin. Create a special reading nook in their bedroom with a bean bag chair or a cool teepee.  The goal is to keep your child’s books low so they are able to see them and pick out a book to look at whenever they choose.

Change books as interests change.

As your toddler grows, they may begin developing new or different interests. You want your child to enjoy the books they read and learn that books are special so change books as your child’s interests change. You can also promote reading during special occasions. For instance, if you celebrate Christmas, when you put your Christmas tree up, place Christmas storybooks under the tree so your toddler can pick out a Christmas story to read leading up to Christmas Day. Websites that carry a variety of low cost children’s books are Thriftbooks and Amazon.

Involvement is key.

When you read to your child, do not just read the story word for word and close the book. Instead, explain and involve your child in the book. Let them hold and feel the book. Talk about what is in each picture before turning the next page. For instance, in “Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat,” little mouse meets different animals that share their preferred food with him. Talk to your toddler about the colors of each animal and the sounds they make. For example, on the page where little mouse meets the cow and the cow offers him grass to eat, you can also say “The cow is black and white. The cow says moo.” Then after a couple reads, you should be able to point to the cow and ask your toddler “what animal is this” and they will respond “cow” and then say “what does the cow say” and they will respond “moo.” Then, try to incorporate it into everyday life. For instance, when you drive past a cow pasture, say “look a cow just like little mouse met in the book.” Another fun activity in “Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat,” is to have your child find and point out the little snail that is hiding on each page. Toddlers get so excited when they find the snail that follows little mouse on his journey.

Keep at it.

If your toddler does not seem interested, do not give up. They are learning and absorbing so many new things. Just keep reading and soon your toddler will start asking you to read to them. Sometimes they may ask for one particular book to be read over and over, but just remember this is how they learn. They are internally building their memory, vocabulary, and understanding. Then, one day they will repeat phrases from the book and read to you. This makes it all worthwhile. I hope these tips help make reading an enjoyable experience for you and your toddler and they grow into becoming a lifelong reader.

Shana Hollowell is a public health professional and author of the children’s picture book, “Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat.” She has two boys age 8 months and 2 years old and reads to them every day. “Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat,” is recommended for children ages 0-5 and is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

About the Book:

Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat is a cheerful, lyrical story that tells the tale of a little mouse that goes on an adventure in search of something sweet. He meets lots of friends along the way that share their preferred treats with him, but none are quite right. He is disappointed until he arrives home and realizes his Mommy baked the sweetest snack just for him – cookies! Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners love this book.

About the Author:

Shana Hollowell has a Master’s of Public Health in Health Care Management from Eastern Virginia Medical School and a Bachelor’s of Biology from Old Dominion University. She is a Supervisor for the Virginia Department of Health. She has a background in HIPAA compliance, medical research compliance, and veterinary management. She lives in Suffolk, Virginia, with her husband, two baby boys, four cats, 31 koi fish, and hundreds of bonsai trees. She has been published previously in scientific journals, but this is her first children’s picture book.

Thank you, Shana, for this very helpful advice!

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