Category: children

Juan Has the Jitters

A story about inclusion, diversity, and the power of math to help one boy with autism thrive among his peers.

About Juan Has the Jitters

Juan claps his hands to get his Jitters out. They make his tummy swoosh and swirl. His Jitters happen when there are too many people, too much noise, or too many changes to his day. Juan doesn’t like surprises.

Tomorrow there is an athletic event planned at school, which makes Juan very nervous. But his teacher has the perfect solution: math–Juan’s favorite subject! Counting, sorting, and matching help Juan calm his Jitters. By making math part of the day’s athletic games, and by appointing Juan the official judge, his teacher can make sure that Juan will have fun and feel included. The class is calling it the Mathletic Games!

Our Thoughts

Juan Has the Jitters is a very special, important book for young readers, a book that they may find themselves relating to personally.

Juan is a bright young boy with autism. He loves math but some of the other subjects can make him nervous. One of these things that was making him nervous was an athletic event planned at school. Juan marked it on his calendar but it was causing him such stress in the days leading up to the event. He was experiencing jitters – the jitters affect his stomach and causes buzzing in his ears. Juan uses clapping to help him cope with this stress, which I can relate to – when I get nervous or feel overwhelmed I tap my fingers on tables and my toes on the ground as I find it helps to soothe me. His receptive teacher and kind classmates help him through the day by creating the Mathletic Games! Sorting, matching and racing events were played to ensure that Juan felt included and not overwhelmed at any time.

Juan Has the Jitters is a beautiful book that shows the power of inclusion and compassion. This made a huge impact on Juan and while he started the day clapping because of a few jitters by the end he was clapping in fun. He felt that he belongs, which every child should feel. Juan is a bright young boy who has so much to offer his classmates and this was highlighted in his judging skills and attention to detail throughout the event.

Juan Has the Jitters is a great resource for young children to explain the importance of inclusion, kindness and compassion. We all have differences and these should be celebrated. The illustrations are beautiful and match the theme of inclusiveness. This is a such an important topic for young children and this books open up conversations for you to have with your child.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

ANETA CRUZ is a pre-K teacher and children’s book author. She holds a credential in early childhood special education, a BA in English literature, and an MFA in creative writing. When she’s not reading, writing, or eating Nutella by the spoonful, she teaches her class of preschoolers how to love books (and other things) as much as she does. She divides her time between the Czech Republic and Southern California, where she lives with her husband, two children, and Poe, the cutest ugly dog in the world.

MIKI YAMAMOTO has been drawing since a very early age, Most of her childhood was spent in her room sketching, coloring, and painting to entertain herself. She studied illustration at Cal State University, Long Beach and has worked for Hallmark Cards, Disney, and Amscan Party. Miki has won numerous awards as a children’s book illustrator. She resides in Southern California with her wigglebutt Aussie, Bella.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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ABC What Can I Be?

ABC What Can I Be? presents a wonderful world full of career possibilities—from Astronomer to Zoo Keeper and everything in between. Representing kids of all kinds, this book shows that there are no limits to what a kid can pursue.

About ABC What Can I Be?

Whether they are fascinated by animals, trains, flowers, teaching, or more, kids can grow up to be whatever they want! ABC What Can I Be? presents an alphabet full of exciting, thoughtful, and wonderful things that children can do.

Pairing a career with each letter of the alphabet, ABC What Can I Be? features colorful illustrations and careers to get kids thinking about all the possibilities for their future. Each page introduces a letter of the alphabet with bright artwork and highlights a career that is fun, challenging, and makes a big impact in its own way. The twenty six careers— including Dentist, Floral Designer, Meteorologist, Robotics Engineer, Train Conductor, and Wildlife Conservationist—are just some of the things that a kid can become! A fun read for the whole family, ABC What Can I Be? is not only perfect for teaching toddlers their ABCs, but also for encouraging them to consider all the careers that they can be when they grow up.

Our Thoughts

ABC What Can I Be? is a beautiful, hard cover book for young children that both inspires and educates.

I loved the bright, bold illustrations paired with amazing career choices (EMT, quantitative analyst, youth director and so much more). We learned about so many inspiring careers in this creative book – I never would have thought about a user experience designer career to encourage for a child. You will enjoy exploring these new careers and even adding in your own ideas. We made a challenge for ourselves to add two new careers for each letter (we did have to google it sometimes). We also loved how the book breaks down gender and social stereotypes – young children regardless of their gender or culture will find themselves in this inclusive book. The book encourages you to find yourself in any role and reminds you that you can truly be whatever you set your mind to.

ABC What Can I Be? is a must have book for children of young ages – it is engaging with its bold, bright illustrations, inclusive and inspiring. We had a fantastic time reading the book aloud and even added in some of our own ideas.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Sugar Snap Studio is led by Jessie Ford, an English illustrator whose colorful view of the world has been brightening people’s lives for the last decade. Her graphic shapes, bold color palette, hand-drawn typography, and textured layers create a handmade effect that has been commissioned by clients such as Harry N. Abrams, Rodale Kids, Volkswagen, Samsonite, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Unilever, and Westin Hotels. Her books include ABC: What Can She Be?, ABC: What Can He Be?, and ABC: What Can I Be?

Jessie Ford is the illustrator behind Sugar Snap Studio. She lives on the south coast in Hove, England. Visit her online at 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Whale Child Book Review

“You have family on land as you do in the sea. . . being a caretaker of the earth begins with taking care of the water that all life depends on.”

About The Whale Child

Shiny is a whale child. One day his mother teaches him about the harm the world’s oceans are facing because of ourcarelessness. Shiny agrees to be turned into a boy by the ocean’s water spirit so that he can visit the land and alert people to the dangers.

He meets Alex, a young Coast Salish girl, who learns from him that the living spirit of water exists in everything – glaciers, rivers, oceans, rain, plants, and all living creatures. Together the two travel the world, confronting the realities of a planet threatened by an uncertain future.

Inspired by Shiny, Alex makes the promise to become a teacher for future generations. She realizes that the timeless Indigenous value of environmental stewardship is needed now more than ever and that we must all stand up on behalf of Mother Earth.

Our Thoughts

“The spirit of the ocean moves within every drop of water, traveling the globe within the bubbling, rolling waves, within the seafoam on the still surface and down into the deepest trenches carved in the ocean floor…It has chosen you to share this wisdom with the humans, who will be responsible for what happens to the earth” – The Whale Child

The Whale Child is a powerful, beautifully written story that challenges you to examine your community and the impact that you are having on the environment and our oceans with a message that touches both adults and children.

Shiny is born a very special whale, full of kindness, curiosity and an understanding of the world around him. His Mother teaches him not only how to survive but also the importance of the ocean, and how water is the source of life. He is chosen for a very special mission – to turn into a human boy and remind the humans of the impact they are having on the oceans and the consequences this can bring.

Alex is a bright young girl from the Coast Salish people who are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest Coast. Shiny is her brother from the water and he will guide and teach her to remember all of the things that they may have been forgotten.

“Seeing what is bad will make you realize the good you can do. Take one smart step in the right direction and the next will come much easier” – The Whale Child

Shiny and Alex set off on a special journey to see the impact that humans have had on Alex’s home. We see the impact that plastic, pollution, over harvesting has had on Alex’s home and the bigger picture that this has on our earth. The experience is difficult for Alex (and readers!) but so important, and like Shiny tells us, we need to see the bad in order to see all of the good that we can do. Their journey together is short but makes a great impact on young Alex. She is determined to be a champion of the water and share the knowledge that she was shown.

The Whale Child is beautifully written and powerful, I enjoyed reading the book with my son. The story gives you a greater understanding of the world around us, the importance of our oceans and our place in protecting the waters. The book contains beautiful illustrations at key points during the story that help readers understand the messaging of the story. I loved that the authors included at the end of the story the following resources: glossary, student resources (which included information on the indigenous tribes in this region as well as projects that students can complete to enhance their learning) and classroom discussions. The Whale Child is a powerful, beautiful story that all young children (and adults too) should be encouraged to read and discuss both in the classroom and at home. Our youth play an important role in protecting the environment, and this should be encouraged. A definite must read story for youth and adults.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Penguin, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Authors

KEITH T. A. EGAWA is a novelist who focuses on both adult and children’s literature. He is a Washington native and a member of the Lummi Indian Nation. Egawa’s extensive experience in the field of child welfare has provided him with both inspiration and insight into his subject matter.

CHENOA T. Y. EGAWA is Coast Salish of the Lummi and S’Klallam Nations of Washington State. She is a medicine woman, singer, writer, illustrator, photographer, and teacher dedicated to bringing healing to our Mother Earth and to people of all origins. She is a voice to bring Native wisdom and perspectives to the world when these teachings are particularly poignant reminders of our shared responsibility to live with respect for ourselves, one another, and all that gives us life.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Animal Antics Book Review

We all love animals – the silly, funny and crazy ways they behave, eat, and play!

About Animal Antics

Kids love animals – they love the silly, funny and crazy ways they behave, eat, and play. Animal Antics is full of fascinating facts that takes a look at the engaging, informative, humorous and intriguing aspects of animal behavior including why blue-footed boobies like to dance, why a goose whiffles, or why penguins like to steal food.Using a selection of funny animal pictures from swinging pandas to ninja lizards to weightlifting ants and back-scratching monkeys to frolicking frogs and giraffes doing splits, the reasons behind what these animals do are explained in accompanying, bite-sized informative text that helps young readers understand why animals behave the way they do.

With a collection of photography guaranteed to make children laugh out loud, kids will go wild for Animal Antics.

Our Thoughts

We love animals in our home – our two dogs leave us laughing, hearts warm with the love they give and keep us on our toes. We couldn’t wait to dive into this hard cover book after reading the book description to learn about the funny side of animals.

This beautiful letter size, hard cover book features one to two animals for every two page spread. The photographs of each animal are stunning and wonderfully capture their humour and personalities (my favourite images were of the elephant seal, red eyed tree frog, brown bear and jaguar). Each animal also has roughly a paragraph to two dedicated to them. The paragraph explains their quirks and what makes them so unique. We loved learning about the animals – we learned so many new facts. Who knew that a guinea pig’s front teeth never stop growing or that polar bears use snow to dry off after they have been in the water! Neat right?

Animal Antics would make a perfect gift for the animal fan in your life – the one that loves learning fun, new facts that will make them laugh and encourage them to discover more. The amazing photographs help bring to life the funny personality of each animal, they are stunning and just adorable (you just want to pick those animals up and cuddle them!). We loved Animal Antics and couldn’t wait to share all we learned with family.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sesame Street: When You Wish Upon a Pickle

Shout! Kids Factory

When a mysterious wishing machine is delivered to Sesame Street, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, and Ernie find their wishes coming true after they talk to the magical pickle inside.

About Sesame Street: When You Wish Upon a Pickle

Winner of the 2019 Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Children’s Program,Sesame Street – When You Wish Upon a Pickle will be available for digital download on June 2, 2020 from Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop.

The primetime special features guest appearances by Blake Lively and Amanda Seyfried!

When a mysterious wishing machine is delivered to Sesame Street, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, and Ernie find their wishes coming true after they talk to the magical pickle inside. One word of warning though: when you wish upon a pickle, make sure you read ALL the directions first!

When Elmo wishes to be a grown-up and run Hooper’s Store, he switches bodies with Chris. When Ernie tries to help his friend achieve his dream of becoming a TV meteorologist, Bert ends up trapped in the television, dashing from show to show. Cookie Monster’s wish for more cookies results in more Cookie…Monsters! Abby teams up with her favorite storybook detective – brought to life by a wish, to figure out what’s going on in the neighborhood. In the end, the gang learns that if they believe in themselves, they can be anything they want to be — without needing magic.

We love the Sesame Street characters and this feature does not disappoint! How can you resist making a wish? I know we at home constantly make wishes or wish we were something different (‘I wish I could play with Messi!’). As the characters play different roles, they learn a very important lesson (something that we try so hard to teach our children). If they believe in themselves, they can be anything they want to be (no magic needed!). We all have special talents that we should be proud of. This will be a new favourite in your home and as we spend more time at home due to COVID, a win win for families. You can download the feature here.

Official Trailer

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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