The Science of Breakable Things

by Tae Keller

The science nerd in me loved that each chapter was set up like a middle grade science notebook. STEM and girls is a huge movement right now. This book is more than a book about STEM it tackles a subject that some middle grade books haven’t touched on much: depression. Depression in a parent is one I’m not sure I’ve read about in middle grade lit. So I was interested to see how it was handled in this book. I feel in love with this book, it was heartwarming and touched me.

The main character Natalie’s science teacher has assigned a big school year-long science project. They have to create a scientific question and use all that they learn to research it and present everything they have learned in their science notebooks.  Natalie isn’t sure here question really counts as scientific inquiry but she is going to try because she really does want to know:  How do you grow a miracle? See she needs a miracle to get back the mom she use to have before the sadness took over. Natalie’s scientist mom is very sad and doesn’t get out of bed. She is suffering from depression and no one is addressing it. Natalie is going to do everything she can to get her family back to the way they were before. Natalie has 2 great friends that will do anything to help their friend. Twig and Dari are just who Natalie needs right now and sometimes just having great friends can help more than you realize. Depression is a hard thing to understand for anyone who doesn’t have it, even harder for kids to understand why does their parent not want to be with them. The author Tae Keller does an amazing job at showing how the depression of a parent can effect a child and family. Yes The Science of Breakable Things was sad but it wasn’t unbelievably sad. It shows sometimes families can’t be happy go lucky and sometimes we need to heal before we can get back to where we were before. She has created a well written book that might show a child who is also experiencing the same thing Natalie is that it is alright and it will be Okay. The Science of Breakable Things tackles family members depression,  the challenges of friendship in middle school, not giving up hope when you really feel like there is nothing you can do.  I really loved this book and I think and hope it helps a reader who might just need a glimmer of hope in a trying time.

About the book: How do you grow a miracle? 

For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not. 
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it’s up to kids to save them, right?

Thank you so much Random House and Tae Keller for sending me a copy of The Science of Breakable Things. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.


The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell

Based on the childhood of a Great American Artist

by Candace Fleming

illustrated by Gerard Dubois


I love going to the art gallery and checking out new artist and favorite artist. In all my years I’ve never heard of this amazing unique artist. Joey Cornell started his art life at a young age he just wasn’t sure what or where it was going to take him. At first it was just collecting things that he thought was pretty. His mom and dad while they thought his ever-growing collection was a bit weird. They also that it was wonderful and were always on the look out for things he could add and would bring home things when they found that certain something. His father gets sick and sadly doesn’t make it. His family is sad and he retreats to his art shed. There he gets inspiration to create collection boxes. He creates his very own. His collection is pretty and full of memories for the family.

This picture book will introduce the reader and listener to a new artist and way of art. So many times we think of paint, colored pencil, clay and more as art. Joey Cornell was a different kind of artist. I looked up his art after reading this book since he was new to me. I loved his shadow boxes and art form. A really fun activity to go with the book would be to go around and collect some fun and interesting items, a box ( it could be a recycled box or paper mache box from craft stores) and create their own Joey Cornell inspired art.

About the book: A stunning picture-book based on the childhood of artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell, sure to beguile aspiring artists and collectors of all ages. 

Joey Cornell collected everything — anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces just looked right together. He assembled his doodads to create wonderful, magical creations out of once ordinary objects.

Thank you Schwartz and Wade for sending me The Amazing Collection of Joseph Cornell. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Poppy, Buttercup, Bluebell and Dandy

written and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock




This picture book from the cover reminded me of the flower fairy chapter books my youngest loved when she was in kindergarten and first grade.  The illustrations are the strength in this picture book they are so beautiful and I love them. They are frame worthy works of art. The story was good and has a good message. They are on a mission to bring back color and happiness in the world – in this case New York City.  They spread their bold bright flower colors all over the city making it come alive with fresh fragrant flowers.  This would be a fun book to read at the beginning of spring when everything is starting to brighten up with color. Pair the book with some poppy, buttercup, bluebell and yellow flower seeds since I don’t think you can buy dandelion seeds 🙂 . Read the book – plant some flower seeds or plants or even better spread your own color by gifting some family and friends with the planted seeds on May-day and your little bookworm can be like these sweet little flowers!

About the book: A group of beautiful and feisty young wildflowers on skateboards and scooters zoom through the pages of this stunning book, spreading flower seeds as they go. Together they transform their urban environment into a place that is no longer gray, but filled with color and scent. Nature’s magic is revealed in all its glory, embodying Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea that a weed is “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Budding environmentalists will respond to the underlying themes of conservation and stewardship of the earth.

Thank you Random House Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Poppy, Buttercup, Bluebell and Dandy. All thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Grandma’s Purse

written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton


All little kids love purses, yes even boys. There is something magical about a purse to them. There are so many treasures to be found. Plus every now and then they find candy or gum! 🙂 My girls always loved going through my purse and especially the grandma’s purses. Grandma’s Purse of course has the common things like wallet, lipstick, pictures. Grandma also carries a scarf, glasses and other items that are special for Mimi’s grandma. Each item is explored and explained. There is even a special something just for Mimi in the purse. The illustrations are great, they are big and bold and cover the whole page making them the focal with not a lot of background. The one that will make the mom or grandma reading this sweet little picture book smile is the messy lipstick all over Mimi as she had put in on after finding in in the purse. Be ready to share your purse with your little bookworms after reading this one.

About the book: Spend the day with Mimi and her granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in Mimi’s favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma!

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there–fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!

Thank you Alfred A Knopf for sending me a copy of Grandma’s Purse. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

Moon A Peek Through Picture Book

written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup



Oh my gosh I can’t say enough about this beautiful picture book! I loved it so much, all of Britta Teckentrup books are amazing but there is something magical about the moon. Moon A Peek Through Picture Book follows the moon through its cycle. The peek through picture book pages are the shape of the moon from waxing to waning, full to new. This is a semi introduction to non fiction for the picture book readers and listeners. The author used simple words and a rhyming text to make this book capture the youngest of listener’s to the early readers. If you are looking for a great gift idea for kids of all ages think about gifting Moon, Tree and Bee by Britta Teckentrup. She captures the beauty of the world in these amazing picture books. I hope she continues creating picture book treasures for kids for many years to come.

About the book: Over deserts and forests, Arctic tundra and tropical beaches, the moon shines down on creatures around the world. Children will love discovering how it changes from day to day as the lunar cycle is shown through clever peek-through holes, each revealing the moon in a different size and shape.

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers and Doubleday Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Moon A Peek Through Picture Book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line

Young Reader’s Edition

by Andrew Maraniss


So many times it’s hard to get non fiction books into the hands of young readers. I know many love non fiction – my middle grade reader really only likes non fiction. So many though don’t, but that is changing thanks to Young Reader’s Edition books. They take a popular adult non fiction and give a detailed but condensed version of the book with younger reader’s in mind. My middle grader reader and I have read many Young Reader’s Editions and have enjoyed them so much we’ve seeked out the adult book as well .

Strong Inside The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line follows Perry Wallace through out his young school days through his college years. This book is a sport biography but also a historical biography as well. He grew up in an era that was full of racism and people who didn’t want to see him succeed. He didn’t let them hold him back. He had a dream, the talent and the strength and character that took all the way! There is some tough language in here. The author has a note in the beginning saying to whitewash the language would be a disservice and I agree. We need to read about this time in history, we can not forget or go back to that era. If generations going up know don’t know about it history repeats itself. Perry Wallace is one I hope many kids will read about and look up to. He would be an excellent role model that I used his good heart, brains and talent and made something of himself. It wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter. He had to work 10 times harder than most high school and college players but he didn’t let that stop him.  He was not only talent on the basket ball court but he was also very well-known in the courthouse as well. He became a trial attorney and worked with environmental law. He was appointed Environmental Policy Advisory Council by the EPA but also a professor at American University Washington College of Law. I enjoyed this book very much and was quite surprised I’m not a sports gal but he was such an inspiring man! If you have a sports minded boy reader, reluctant reader or a non fiction book-worm hand them a copy of Strong Inside. Don’t be surprised if this one doesn’t stay on your bookshelves much. I have a filling this will be a very popular book choice for upper elementary, middle grade and high school readers.

About the book: The inspirational true story of the first African-American to play college basketball in the deeply segregated Southeastern Conference–a powerful moment in Black history.

Perry Wallace was born at a historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially integrated state tournament.

The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.

Thank you Puffin books for sending me a copy of Strong Inside. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Sleepover Duck!

written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen


Carin Bramsen’s Duck series of picture books is so cute! I just can’t get over the cuteness! The stories are short but engaging. The personality of Duck and his friends are just like preschoolers with their curious nature. In Sleepover Duck! Duck and Cat have to find out just who is interrupting their first sleepover with all that Whoo Whoo noise. The reader and listener will see it’s just friendly Owl but Duck and Cat go around the barn trying to figure it out. The illustrations are bold and bright and perfect the story. If you are looking for a cute story to read over and over again grab any and all of the Duck books by Carin Bramsen.


About the book: It’s Duck’s very first sleepover . . . and it’s in Cat’s barn! But a “Hooot, Hooot” is keeping Duck from getting any sleep. So Duck and Cat set off to search high and low to find out just who is doing all that hooting…

Another great book by her that was a favorite of my youngest when she was little was Yellow Tutu. It was a must read when I was making a million tulle tutu’s for her tutu phase. 🙂

Thank you so much Random House for Young Reader’s for sending me Sleepover Duck! . All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.