Tag Archive | crafts

His dream needs THE CEDARVILLE SHOP AND THE WHEELBARROW SWAP! by Bridget Krone (MG book review)

book cover of The Cedarville Shop and the Wheelbarrow Swap, by Bridget Krone; art by Karen Vermeulen. Published by Catalyst Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Too-small house,
big-big dream –
action time is now!

Reading an old magazine aloud to his grandmother, 12-year-old Boipele finds the most interesting story – a man in Canada began with a red paperclip and kept trading until he had a house!

He longs to get his father and grandmother out of this tiny two-room house in their dusty South African village where they have many friends, but no jobs.

Boi and his best friend Potso decide he can start trading with the clay cow they make, so Mrs. Viljoen gives them permission to place their poster outside her Cedarville Shop.

Once folks understand that Boi is trading for something “of greater value” everyone is talking about his swapping dream. For each new trade, Potso draws another clever poster.

As the swapping continues, their classmates prepare for the Talent Show, and little breezes of hope stir through the village, along with a newspaper reporter who wants Boi’s story!

Why are his village’s problems as big as Cedarvale Mountain?
Will lovely, kind Sesi in his grade ever notice Boi?
Can Boi truly swap his way to a house big enough for three?

Come over to Cedarville and meet all of Boi’s neighbors as this young man works to make his dream come true.

What would you trade Boi for his clay cow?
**kmm

Book info: The Cedarville Shop and the Wheelbarrow Swap / Bridget Krone; art by Karen Vermeulen. Catalyst Press, 2022. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

See them in new ways – STRAW INTO GOLD: FAIRY TALES RE-SPUN, by Hilary McKay (MG book review)

book cover of Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun, by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Published by  Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Never insult fairy godmothers,
kindness makes the path easier,
curses can flip to blessings…

The fairy tales that we’ve heard over and over can be retold, modernized, role-switched, or set in other lands, yet we recognize their core stories every time.

This collection of “Fairy Tales Re-Spun” charmingly presents a double-handful of familiar tales using non-classic viewpoints, like the new teacher whose writing assignment at a backwoods school results in “What I Did in the Holidays and Why Hansel’s Jacket is So Tight (by Gretel, age 10)” – truth or fiction?

Cinderella finds a friend in Buttons and helps him shine boots for the prince who’s turned away from royal society to tend “The Roses Around the Palace.”

A stuffy bureaucrat is more concerned about keeping his town tidy (and his coffers full) than paying the agreed price to that motley-looking Piper for luring away all those horrid rats… so very quiet now at “The Fountain in the Market Square.”

Enjoy these ten fairy tale retellings, including lesser-known stories “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Swan Brothers” (also the basis for A Rush of Wings, by Laura E. Weymouth that I recently recommended here).

Which fairy tale is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun / Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [illustrator bio] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

RIMA’S REBELLION – she rides against tyranny in Cuba! by Margarita Engle (YA book review)

book cover of Rima's Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny / Margarita Engle. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No voice in elections,
no protection from angry men,
no standing under the law – enough!!

Rima’s grandmother fought on horseback during the long struggle for independence from Spain, yet two decades laterin the 1920s Cuban women still cannot vote, not even las Mambisas.

Men hold all the power here, may kill a wife or daughter suspected of adultery without penalty, yet leave their own illegitimate children in poverty with no rights.

Forced to leave school at 14, ‘natural child’ Rima learns lacemaking with her mother in the shack on the far edge of her father’s land, knowing he could destroy it and Abuela’s horseshoeing forge at any time. Riding on her buckskin mare is Rima’s joy and escape:

“The enemy I run away from
is my own thought-trapped self,
all these doubts born within me.
If only I could mount a horse of hope
day and night, airborne, free!” (pg. 44)

It’s awkward to make lace mantillas for her half-sister Violeta, but worse to be mocked at the forge by every man in the village – except the glassblower’s son, who gives her glimpses of beauty in his work and his words.

Year after year, Abuela and Las Mambisas ride in parades to show their skills as horsewomen, inspiring young women like Rima and even Violeta to ride, to ask again and again for voting rights and protection of women’s rights.

Can Rima find a future without the protection of her father?
Can Violeta live up to the perfection he expects?
When will Cuban women finally earn respect and rights?

Happy book birthday to Rima’s Rebellion, another powerful novel-in-verse celebrating Cuba’s history like The Lightning Dreamer (see more here), and Lion Island (recommended here); the Spanish edition will be published in April 2022.

I also recommend the author’s Jazz Owls (here) and With a Star in My Hand (here) – so much poetry, such compelling histories!

What injustice would you parade against?
**kmm

Book info: Rima’s Rebellion: Courage in a Time of Tyranny / Margarita Engle. Atheneum, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Statistics show OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST, right? by Susin Nielsen (book review)

book cover of Optimists Die First, by Susin Nielsen. Published by Tundra Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sister’s death wasn’t her fault-
Everyone says so,
but she can’t accept that…

Everyday life in Vancouver is filled with deadly risks, so 16-year-old Petula takes every precaution now (but nothing can bring back her little sister or her best friend).

The new guy with the prosthetic arm witnesses her panic attack in class and is in her youth art therapy class and thinks Petula is nice (but doesn’t know how Maxine died).

Ack! Petula and Jacob have to do a project together for English?! His movie-making skills and her recently abandoned crafting supplies plus her mom’s rescue cats should be perfect (but Dad doesn’t agree about having so many cats, not one bit).

As they work together, Jacob reveals his struggles with surviving the crash that killed his best friends back in Toronto, Petula begins to look forward to spending time with him, and life becomes brighter for both of them (but hopefully kissing is less germ-filled than she thought).

When the art therapy class rebels against their teacher’s little-kid ideas, she challenges them to find creative ways to face their issues – parental rejection, grief, survivor’s guilt, addictive behaviors – and they begin working together (but don’t call them friends quite yet).

But when one secret comes to light, Petula’s new happiness and the art therapy group’s progress are all threatened.

From the author of We Are All Made of Molecules (recommended here).

How do you know when it’s time to let old problems go?
**kmm

Book info: Optimists Die First / Susin Nielsen. Tundra Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Here, have A PEBBLE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS & grow kindness, by Megan Murphy (book review)

book cover of Pebble for Your Thoughts, by Megan Murphy. Published by Mango Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The right words
at the right time
can make all the difference.

When Megan Murphy decided to turn off the negativity of the morning news and spread love during her daily walks, The Kindness Rocks Project was born.

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” – Winston Churchill (pg. 40-41)

This book collects some of her favorite sayings to paint on rocks and leave where others can find them (info on where not to leave them also included).

“If not us, who? If not now, when?” – John F. Kennedy (pg. 56-57)

What uplifting message will you send out into the world?
**kmm

Book info: A Pebble For Your Thoughts: How One Kindness Rock at the Right Moment Can Change Your Life / Megan Murphy. Mango Publishing, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Starting with one person’s attempt to counteract negativity through small encouraging messages to anyone, The Kindness Rocks Project has grown into a worldwide movement trying to uplift everyone.

Chapters featuring quotations on

  • strength -“Never underestimate yourself”,
  • encouragement – “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” – Rumi,
  • grief and healing – “Sometimes, something as simple as a smile can make all the difference”,
  • faith – “Live the way you want to be remembered”,
  • personal growth – “You can go your own way” – Fleetwood Mac, and
  • self-love – “Accentuate the positive”
    show example Kindness Rocks in picturesque natural settings and discuss the word or quotation painted on each one.

Sections on the Project’s origins and how to become involved by painting your own Kindness Rocks round out this handy collection, which reminds us to LeaveNoTrace and place our own #thekindnessrocksproject inspirational rocks in just the right places.

Change is risky – Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder (book review)

book cover of Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccepted to Harvard? Check.
Chosen for prestigious medical research internship? Check.
Eager and ready for these great opportunities? Nope.

Parker’s meticulous life-plan to cure the cancer affecting her twin brother goes way off course during the summer after graduation, as the introvert finds herself in charge of senior citizen pottery painting classes, is amazed by new friend Ruby’s open-heartedness, and just might find a connection with artistic Finn from grade school.

Happy book birthday to Letting Go of Gravity ! Have you read Leder’s 2016 novel The Museum of Heartbreak ? I recommended it here.

Is it time for you to fly away from expectations?
**kmm

Book info: Letting Go of Gravity / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A decade of hard work and Parker is accepted to Harvard! After twin Charlie was diagnosed with leukemia when they were kids, med school has been her sole goal (especially after last year’s relapse).

But she can’t stomach the internship at the hospital where Charlie was treated and finds another summer job at a pottery studio where she reconnects with Finn from elementary school.

Her best friend is in Europe for the summer, Charlie is acting so recklessly, and Parker isn’t sure how long she can put off telling her parents about how things have changed.

If Charlie is just flirting with Parker’s new friend Ruby…

Oh, such critters in this sketchbook! If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel (book review)

book cover of If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel, by Elise Gravel. Published by Drawn & Quarterly 2017  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWant to become an illustrator?
Ready to step up your drawing style?
Elise says “let out all the ideas” in your sketchbook!

Monsters and microbes and funny mushrooms are some of the “complete nonsense” that this Quebecoise author/illustrator allows herself to draw in her plain black notebook, only later revising them or adding funny stories or spinning them off into her many books for kids.

Her top advice for illustrators-in-training? “Draw all the time!”

Enjoy this sample of Elise’s unique creatures and drawing style here, courtesy of the publisher, then visit your local library or independent bookstore to get your own copy.

What creatures might your doodling reveal?
**kmm

Book info: If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel / Elise Gravel, translated by Shira Adriance. Drawn & Quarterly, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Creatures large, small, and all whimsical fill this notebook by Canadian illustrator and children’s author Elise Gravel, as inspiration for us to draw, draw, draw!

Draw in spare moments, like Elise does – practice and more practice is the way to improve, as you find your own drawing style.
You can imitate illustrations for practice or create crazy ideas and doodles. Some may inspire a story, so write it.

Look at her Floofs and foxes, bunnies dressed in punk rock t-shirts, and “the Incredible Hulk presents his favourite recipes for a romantic dinner” – mashing up ideas can make really funny pictures!

To become a better illustrator, just grab your notebook (any color, says Elise) and keep on drawing!

F = fantastic Fashion Rebels, by Carlin Cerniglia Beccia (book review)

book cover of Fashion Rebels by Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia published by Beyond Words  | recommended on BooksYALove.comHigh heels, short skirts,
Sky-high hairdos, hats tall and wide,
Fashion is always in flux!

I was really pleased to see this informative and fun book as a finalist for the CYBILS Award for Middle-Grade Nonfiction, where I got to read and discuss it as second-round judge this year.

Take the Fashion Rebels quiz to see which fashion icon you trend toward, then be your own person!

What fashion trend of the past would you like to see today?
**kmm

Book info: Fashion Rebels: Style Icons Who Changed the World Through Fashion / Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia. Aladdin/ Beyond Words, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fashion trends have signaled rebellion, improved international understanding, and raised parents’ eyebrows for centuries, as this sketch-filled book shows, celebrating Fashion Rebels past and present.

Meet queens Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette, artist Frida Kahlo and dancer Jacqueline Baker, along with Audrey Hepburn, Ellen DeGeneres, and many more as you examine essential components of each woman’s style and discover how you can use their inspiration to make your own fashion statement.

Filled with accurate histories that sound like the best kind of celebrity gossip, lots of DIY techniques and tips for adding signature fashion elements to your wardrobe, and current fashionistas to watch, every section of Fashion Rebels reminds you to be you!

Adorable adornments – maker books for Slow-Down Sunday

Slow down the pace today, as you craft unique summertime styles for yourself and your home with expert instruction.

book cover of Junk Box Jewelry by Sara Drew published by Zest Booksbook cover of Stitch It Simple by Beth Sheard published by Taunton PressJunk Box Jewelry  leads you from tools and materials to finished fashion as you transform found items into unique bracelets, earrings, and necklaces – my recommendation here.

Peek into Stitch It Simple (my recommendation here) for patterns that you can adapt to create pillows, wall hangings, and giftables that you’ll be proud to share.

What craft books would you suggest for summer?
**kmm

 

Make your hands happy – crafting books on Slow-Down Sunday

With so much rush-rush and 24/7 connectivity, it’s good to sit back and work with our hands for a while.

Choose a time to give yourself permission to slow down and make something special – for yourself or for someone else (hint: Father’s Day is 2 weeks away).

Click on the title for my recommendation of these fun craft books to try new materials, new ideas, new techniques:

book cover of At Home With Handmade Books by Erin Zamrzla published by Shambhala Booksbook cover of Sticky Fingers by Sophie Maletsky published by Zest BooksAt Home With Handmade Books – think beyond plain white paper as you make books from shipping tags or use postcards as covers.

 

Grab your favorite colors and designs of duct-tape and let your Sticky Fingers craft new accessories and adornments.

What crafty creations would you like to try on a slow-down summer day?
**kmm