Category Archives: chapter book

Today Is My Book Birthday!

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I’m excited to share that book 3 in my chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi, launches today!

Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl (Junior Library Guild 2018 Selection)

It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths—tree-climbing, mochi making, collage—none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent.

When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Buy the book!

If you email me at jasminetoguchibooks at gmail with your proof of purchase, you will be entered in a drawing for a Jasmine Toguchi goody bag!

You can win signed paperback copies of Mochi Queen, Super Sleuth, a signed hardcover copy of Drummer Girl, an original Jasmine Toguchi bag designed and silkscreened by the talented illustrator of the series, Elizabet Vukovic, along with other goodies! Email by April 25 for a chance to win!

Thank you!

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#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (10 & 11)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

This weekend I’d like to share two books in The Bland Sisters series by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill. The Bland Sisters are Kale and Jaundice who live on their own while waiting (a very long time) for their parents to return. They like their quiet life in Dullsville, darning socks. But in The Jolly Regina, the sisters end up on a pirate ship with swashbuckling (female) pirates on an expected (and unwanted) adventure. And in book 2, The Uncanny Express, Kale and Jaundice end up on a train. They become assistants to a great detective as they try to unravel the mystery and interrogate the passengers on the train who all seem a bit suspicious. Both books are full of clever word play and mystery. Buy the books!

#kidlitwomen

#kidlitwomen – Book a Day in March

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. Big thanks to Grace Lin and Karen Blumenthal for organizing this wonderful group of authors, illustrators, and industry peeps. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Starting today off with Jada Jones by Kelly Starling Lyons – a chapter book series about a 4th grade girl. In book 1, Jada Jones Rock Star, Jada’s best friend has moved away and must work with a not-so-friendly classmate on a class project. In book 2, Jada Jones Class Act (a favorite of mine), Jada runs for student council and must overcome her fear of public speaking. I love Jada for her quiet strength and kind heart. Buy here!

#kidlitwomen

Third Quarter Reading List

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WOW! Those last 3 months went by super fast! Part of it was due to my being busy with my own debut book launch for my chapter book series, JASMINE TOGUCHI. And the other part was it just being summer and spending time with family and friends. But fear not, I read some fabulous books and here they are:

 

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REBEL SEOUL by Axie Oh

HERE COMES THE TEACHER CAT by Deborah Underwood (Illus by Claudia Rueda)

WARCROSS by Marie Lu

HERE COMES THE TOOTH FAIRY CAT by Deborah Underwood (Illus by Claudia Rueda)

WHAT GOES UP by Katie Kennedy

HOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon

I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE by Sarah Mlynowski

RAISING THE GRIFFIN by Melissa Wyatt

THE INCREDIBLE MAGIC OF BEING by Kathryn Erskine

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THE LIGHT WE LOST by Jill Santopolo (adult fic)

THE STARS OF SUMMER by Tara Dairman

BUBBLES by Abby Cooper

WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME by Natasha Friend

SHINY BROKEN PIECES by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp

HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR by Nancy Werlin

WANT by Cynthia Pon

I am very behind on my reading. There are So many wonderful books I want to read, and the great books keep coming out! I’m going to try hard to read a ton over the next three months! What are you reading that you’re loving?

My Book Birthday

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I don’t talk much about my own writing here – as this is my reading blog, but I can’t let this milestone pass without a mention. Today is the release day of my debut chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi, with the first two books in the series: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth. This has been a long journey and I’m overjoyed that my books are now out in the world.

Another milestone is that we got a new puppy. Meet Kiku! She’s also happy to join in on the celebration!

For more info and how to purchase, please see my website. And to read some interviews and reviews, see my blog Notes from the Word Nest.  If you’d like a chance to win both books, make sure to stop by the Emu’s Debuts blog for my launch week posts Monday – Friday, July 10 – 14.

Thank you!

Second Quarter Reading List

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Half the year is up and here’s what I’ve read the second quarter of the year. I slowed down with my reading in the last month because we got a new puppy. Meet Kiku! She’s a rescue pup, part dachshund and part terrier and we love her!

 

STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN by Jennifer Torres

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

CILLA LEE-JENKINS FUTURE AUTHOR

EXTRAORDINAIRE by Susan Tan

STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart

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SPILL ZONE by Scott Westerfeld (illus by Alex Puvilland)
A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman (adult fic)
ALWAYS AND FOREVER LARA JEAN by Jenny Han
LOLA LEVINE MEETS JELLY AND BEAN by Monica Brown (illus. by Angela Dominguez)
GHOST by Jason Reynolds
ESCARGOT by Dashka Slater (illus by Sydney Hanson)
A LETTER TO MY TEACHER by Deborah Hopkinson (Illus by Nancy Carpenter)
THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER by Jenny Colgan (adult fic)
WE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour
THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE by Stacey Lee
GEM & DIXIE by Sara Zarr
RAISIN, THE LITTLEST COW by Miriam Busch (illus by Larry Day)
BUNNY BUS by Ammi-Joan Paquette (illus by Lesley Breen Withrow)
PUDDLES!!! by Kevan Atteberry

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FINDING WONDERS by Jeannine Atkins
HELLO GOODBYE DOG by Maria Gianferrari (illus by Patrice Barton
ARMY BRATS by Daphne Benedis-Grab
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas
LET’S PRETEND WE NEVER MET by Melissa Walker (ARC)
ONCE AND FOR ALL by Sarah Dessen (ARC)
ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts (ARC)
COMING UP FOR AIR by Miranda Kenneally (ARC)
THE MANY REFLECTIONS OF MISS JANE DEMING by J. Anderson Coats
A LIE FOR A LIE by Robin Merrow MacCready

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What have you been reading and loving so far this year?

Happy reading!

Welcome to the Spotlight Monica Brown and Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean!

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I’m very pleased to shine the spotlight on author Monica Brown and her chapter book series Lola Levine! So far there are four books in the series starring vivacious and kind-hearted Lola. Lola Levine, Drama Queen is a Bluebonnet nominee in Texas. Awesome! Stay tuned below for a chance to win the most recent book in the series:

Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

(Little Brown/2017)

Lola Levine is excited! This summer break she is getting a kitten. Lola and her brother, Ben, prepare to welcome a new pet by reading books, designing a cat castle, and finally going to the animal shelter to pick out a kitty. But Lola’s happiness soon turns to distress when she realizes Ben might be allergic to Jelly, her kitten. Will Lola be able to keep her new pet?

Can you tell us a little about how you came up with Lola Levine and her stories? How did you develop Lola as a character?

Lola’s story is my own, and that of my cousins, siblings, and community.  I grew up in a large, loving diverse Latino/a community and I wanted to depict children like myself and my own that are bicultural, bilingual, biracial, and so much more. I am Peruvian, Jewish, and European and can trace my ancestry across the Américas, Africa, and Europe.  Lola Levine can’t be described in fractions and I don’t think any child should be. Our multicultural children are whole just as they are. My own daughters, Isabella and Juliana inspired Lola and other characters in the book, but she is a person of her own—funny, fierce, passionate, dramatic, loud, smart—a super soccer fanatic that has a beautiful, honest way with words. When I write I slip into what I call Lolaworld, and it is a loving, challenging, fun place to be.

In LOLA LEVINE MEETS JELLY AND BEAN, Lola is excited to adopt a kitten. What was your inspiration and spark for this story?

I love animals and at one point my house had two dogs, two Guinea Pigs, and two fish.  Our two dogs are still with us, Ollie and Finn.  As a child I always wanted a cat, but I, like my mother, was severely allergic to them, so I got a wonderful dog instead.  This book is about children and animals, but a lot more too. It’s about what we do when our wants conflict with what is right. Lola loves Jelly, but her brother is allergic.  She and Ben learn the hard way, that health, and taking care of our bodies, is always best.  It’s also about making mistakes, and how we grow from them in the context of family. I don’t believe there is such a thing as “bad” kids. Rather, children are inherently good, and like adults, make mistakes.

Lola’s favorite drink is chicha morada from Peru – made from purple corn, spices, and pineapple. It sounds delicious and I sure would love to try some! What is your favorite drink and why?

As a child, my most favorite, special drink was one that I could ONLY have when we were in Peru—Inca Kola!  It is a sweet, fizzy, neon yellow cola drink that tastes like bubble gum. It’s now available (if you are in the know) in the United States, wherever Peruvians are found:). I must confess that aside from water, my most favorite drink is one that is intimately tied to my writing life—coffee!! We have some amazing local roasters in this town, and I am, in fact, answering these questions in one of my favorite coffee shops!

Monica Brown, Ph.D. is the award-winning author of many multicultural books for children. Her books have received numerous honors and starred reviews. She wrote the Chistopher-Award winner Waiting for the Biblioburro, illustrated by John Parra, and the Marisol McDonald picture book series, which includes Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/no combina; Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash/y la fiesta sin igual, and Marisol McDonald and the Monster/y el monstruo all illustrated by Sara Palacios. Her most recent creation is the unique, fabulous Lola Levine, who stars in Monica’s first chapter book series, which includes Lola Levine is Not Mean!, Lola Levine, Drama Queen, and the forthcoming Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme (Fall 2016) and Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean (Winter 2017). Her next picture book will be Frida and her Animalitos, from North South Press.

Monica Brown is also a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University where she teaches Chicano/a, U.S. Latino/a, and African American Literature.

For more about Monica and her books, check out her Lola Levine web site where you can download an educator’s guide, her author web site, and follow her on Facebook,

To win a copy of Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean for yourself, a young reader, or a school or library, follow these directions to enter the drawing:

1. Comment on this post by Saturday, May 6 by midnight EST. A winner will be drawn at random and announced on Wednesday, May 10. Be sure to include your email address.

2. Entrants must have a US mailing address.

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations Colleen M. for winning a copy of Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean!

Happy reading!