Book Reviews

Great New Book for Early Childhood!

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015

51q32bu5cenlWhen I look at you
And you look at me,
I wonder what wonderful
Things you will be.

From there, Martin celebrates all that a child is like kind or bold, and all that a child can be: “Will you stand up for good?”The sweet, vintage-like illustrations are a perfect match for the spare text and rhymes. Takes Guess How Much I Love You to the next level and will be a book to be savored over and over again by kids from ages 0 – 100.

A New York Times bestseller
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Kirkus Starred Review
Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle: 4 Stars

Gabriel is George Hagen’s first novel for children, or should I say middle schoolers. Could he really be this good? It is so well-written and the story so compelling. With no other children’s book of his with which to compare, I sought out one of his novels for adults, The Laments. Yup, sure enough, he is an amazing storyteller.

Gabriel goes in search of his father, who seems to have vanished into this air. With the help of his raven, Paladin, they seek out the way to find him and that involves a magic tork, many riddles, adventure, evil ravens and good ravens (one can tell them apart by good ravens’ ability to solve riddles), Gabriel’s dark uncle, and more unforgettable characters. Great for reluctant readers as it is engaging from the first page and accessible, yet the author never talks to down to kids.

The book begs a sequel, which will be eagerly anticipated by all the author’s new fans.

The Amazing Emily

Do you ever get up on a seemingly normal day thinking you know exactly what is going to happen only to discover by the end of it that your life has changed in some significant way? So, I showed up early to teach my adult ed class on children’s literature, got myself all ready, my materials and books laid out, handout ready to hand out, and shrugged off the technical glitch that didn’t allow me to hook my iPad up to the projector (it actually told me to unplug it). Anyway, people came in and we started talking. One of the people was a mom who had lost her baby to SIDS a few years ago. She was calm and amazingly graceful as she told us about her daughter Mya and the book she had written for her son and for other families going through the same thing. I tried to read the book, She’s with the Angels, aloud to the class but didn’t much make it past the first page without trouble, so Emily offered to read it to us herself. With more balance and equilibrium than I have on a typical day, she read us her beautiful book. Life has new meaning now. I almost never review self-published books but this one is special and worth all the attention we can give it. Please click here to read about She’s with the Angels.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Reviewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning by Ben Foss, Ballantine, 2013

Not only is Ben Foss 1) the founder of an organization for the dyslexic community called Headstrong Nation, 2) the inventor of  the Intel Reader which essentially takes photos of print and reads it back to you, and 3) the co-founder of a venture capital firm that invests in dyslexic entrepreneurs, but he is dyslexic himself.  His very life and what he tells us about himself in this book disproves Myth #9 in the chapter “Discard the Myth” that being dyslexic means you are stupid or lazy.

This comprehensive handbook on how to help your child succeed with a disability embraces dyslexia, helps you identify your child’s strengths, encourages children to dream big, identifies accommodation that might be needed, reminds children and parents that they are not alone but part of a community, and assures parents that their child is not broken. If you are not sure what dyslexia is or what it looks like at different ages and stages, then this book is for you, too.

Foss  proves in his life that one can be highly successful, literate, and inventive with dyslexia and his empowerment plan shows parents how to help their children be all they can dream to be. Well done!

Other Reviews:

“A passionate and well-articulated guide that puts to rest the idea that dyslexic people are unintelligent . . . This extremely practical and motivational book will be welcomed by parents of dyslexic children.”Publishers Weekly(starred review)

“I study dyslexia in the lab and am a parent of a wonderful daughter who fits this profile. Ben Foss’s book should be considered essential to any collection on the subject. It was extremely useful, especially for a mom. Thank you!”—Maria Luisa Gorno Tempini, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, UCSF, Memory and Aging Center

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