Category: giveaway

Before You Were Born Book Review

A beautiful book for new parents that celebrates the promise of new life.

About Before You Were Born

Told from the perspective of new parents welcoming their baby to the world, this love letter to young children written by Governor General’s Literary Award–nominated author Deborah Kerbel describes with lyrical grace all of the promise held by new life. As the seasons change from fall through winter and into spring, the expectant parents’ anticipation over the baby’s arrival is mirrored in the animals around their home, marrying the natural world to the family’s experience.

My Thoughts

There is nothing more exciting in the world than when you are pregnant and expecting a child. It is full of excitement, worry, love, wonder and appreciation of the world around you. You watch patiently as your child develops, grows and moves throughout those long nine months. You can’t even begin to anticipate the wonder of the day when you get to meet your little one. You fell in love with them from the first moment you learned you were pregnant and this love continues to grow throughout the seasons.

This beautiful book describes the wealth of emotions that you feel during the time – the desire and want for a child, the promise of new life and the secret feeling that you can treasure with your partner when you find out that you are pregnant. It describes the anticipation and lead up to the amazing moment when your child arrives and you become a family.

The beautiful illustrations mirror the emotions and evolving seasons as the parents wait for their child to join them. I loved their texture and design, which added even more depth to the story as it holds its own story within the story.

This is a beautiful book for new parents, that will make an excellent baby shower gift for first and second time parents. It will be a gift to treasure for years to come.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Deborah Kerbel is the author of seven novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association YA Book of the Year, and the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award. Deborah was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of two and went on to attend the University of Western Ontario. Deborah lives in Thornhill, Ontario, with her husband, two book-loving children, and a schnoodle named Alfredo.

About the Illustrator

Suzanne Del Rizzo is the award-winning author/illustrator of My Beautiful Birds and the illustrator of several other books for children. Suzanne has always loved getting her hands messy and traded a job in scientific research for a career in children’s books. Suzanne’s dimensional illustrations use polymer clay, acrylic, and other mixed media to bring rich texture and imagination to her books. Suzanne’s 2017 picture book, My Beautiful Birds was a New York Times Notable Children’s Book selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, 2017 One Book, One San Diego for Kids selection and won the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature. She lives in Oakville, Ontario.

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

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Okko’s Inn Review and Giveaway

Kitaro Kosaka’s stunning anime feature Okko’s Inn from the famed studio Madhouse will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on July 2, 2019 from GKIDS and Shout! Factory. 

About Okko’s Inn

Kitaro Kosaka’s stunning anime feature Okko’s Inn from the famed studio Madhouse will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on July 2, 2019 from GKIDS and Shout! Factory. Nominated for the 2019 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the filmcomes to home video following its nationwide theatrical release earlier this April.

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional inn near an ancient spring said to have healing waters. Okko soon discovers there are spirits living there only she can see – welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. Okko strives to be a gracious host, and this is soon put to the test by a string of challenging guests with different stories. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself, in this beautiful tale from Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli.

Bonus Features

  • Interview with the Director
  • Interview with Seiran Kobayashi (Okko)
  • Q&A with Directors and Producers at Japanese Premiere
  • Trailers

Our Thoughts

This is an excellent movie for young children as it touches on some pretty important topics that may be difficult to discuss in an age appropriate manner.

Okko loses the people who are the most important to her, her parents. She must learn how to cope with her loss and grief. This is never easy for anyone to do, let alone a child. She moves in with her Grandmother after their deaths and we are with Okko as she learns ways to cope and move forward.

After the accident, she develops a rather unusual talent – she is now able to see ghosts! One of these ghosts was there with her on the fateful day her parents died. Many enter and exit her life but she learns many valuable lessons from them.

Okko learns to deal with her grief through service to others and finds joy in this. She discovers that being there for others helps her feel as though her parents are still with her.

You can order a copy of this DVD here.

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

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A Silent Voice DVD Review and Giveaway

A Silent Voice presents a powerful message about bullying, depression and forgiveness.

About A Silent Voice

Silent Voice is a gorgeous anime film with a powerful message about bullying, depression and forgiveness. The moving coming-of-age drama depicts the struggles of adolescence through its memorable characters and stunning animation.

When a deaf elementary school girl named Shoko is forced to transfer to a new school after a boy named Shôya constant bullies her, Shôya suffers over the consequences of his guilt for years. Upon entering high school, Shôya decides he must find Shoko, to make amends for what he did in elementary school and to become her friend. He meets new and old faces, and struggles with many complicated relationships and feelings in “this beautifully rendered anime” (Total Film).

Based on the critically acclaimed manga by Yoshitoki Oima, this release is presented in Japanese with subtitles, and with an English dub. Winner of the 40th Japan Academy Award for Excellent Animation of the Year, A Silent Voice – The Movie makes its debut on home entertainment following its 2017 theatrical run in the U.S. 

Our Thoughts

This is a very powerful and important message that many young adults and teens should watch and learn from. It is recommended for youth thirteen years of age and older, I feel this is most appropriate based on the story line and topics.

We hear a lot about bullying and the consequences of bullying and this movie tackles this right on. A young deaf girl is forced to go as far as to change schools because of how she is bullied. Her bully in turn becomes someone who is also shunned, no friends and bullied. It is when he is the shoes of Shoko, that he can truly understand the consequences of his actions. He wants to set out to try to make his actions right but also has to come to terms with his own actions and ask for forgiveness.

While a tough topic and parts can make your heart sore, it is an excellent topic starter for young teens. Because of the topic, I would definitely recommend it to be viewed by children thirteen years of age or older. The total run time of this DVD is 130 minutes.

You can purchase a copy of this DVD on Amazon.

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

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Sesame Street Awesome Alphabet Collection DVD Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

Learn your ABCs with the best gang in town – Sesame Street! Awesome Alphabet Collection is coming to DVD on May 7, 2019 from Shout! Factory.

About Awesome Alphabet Collection

Kids will enjoy practicing their ABCs with Awesome Alphabet Collection. Highlights include classics “The Beetles Perform Letter B” and “C is for Cookie,” animations, pop culture parodies, and segments from recent seasons. Explore the alphabet alongside their furry friends and an all-star lineup of celebrity guests. Norah Jones duets with the letter Y, Tori Kelly tries a little kindness, and Pharrell Williams belts it out for the letter B. Maya Angelou talks hugs, Sheryl Crow helps “I” soak up some sun, and Ricky Gervais tries singing a lullaby to a sleepy Elmo. Talk about a list of entertainers there!

The DVD has a runtime of two hours, including Elmo’s Amazing Alphabet Race as a bonus feature. ABC-themed printable activities round out this one-of-a-kind collection.

Awesome Alphabet Collection is being released during Sesame Street’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The anniversary celebrates the timeless lessons that Sesame Street has always taught: everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, is equally deserving of respect, opportunity, and joy.

How can you not love the Sesame Street gang? I grew up with them and I am proud to say my kids are growing up with them. They instill important lessons, values and morals that are crucial for our children, all while making it fun. You will love the entire two hours of learning with your child.

Have a special Sesame Street memory? Make sure you share your favourite Sesame Street memories across social media this year, using #ThisIsMyStreet as they celebrate 50 years!

Don’t forget to download the Sesame Street Printable and the Sesame Street Bookmark.

Awesome Alphabet Collection Trailer

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

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From An-Other Land Spotlight

iRead Book Tours

From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself.

About From An-Other Land

Never has been the conversation on immigration more pertinent than now, post 2016 US elections. From cancellation of refugee protection and zero tolerance to undercurrent crackdown on H visas to the border wall – the resurgence of nationalism is hitting the globalized population head-on.

But what is immigration today? A question of life or death – fleeing of persecution? A compulsion? Or a mere pursuance of privilege? And what is the US today? A land of opportunities? Or a quagmire impossible to comprehend, inherently racist and selfish?

From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself. A reality check and a guide for anyone who wants to understand the modern-day US.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Tanushree Ghosh works in Tech and has a Doctorate in Chemistry from the Cornell University. She is also a social activist and writer. Her blog posts, op-eds, poems, and stories are in effort to provoke thoughts, especially towards issues concerning women and social justice.

She is a contributor (past and present) to several popular e-zines (incl. The Huffington Post US, The Logical Indian, Youth Ki Awaaz, Tribune India, Women’s Web, and Cafe Dissensus). Her literary resume includes poems and stories featured in national and international magazines (Words Pauses and Noises, UK; TUCK, Glimmer Train Honorable mention) as well as inclusion in seven anthologies such as Defiant Dreams (Oprah 2016 reading list placeholder) and The Best Asian Short Stories 2017 (published out of Singapore by Kitaab). Her first single author book, From An-Other Land is on immigration.

She has held different leadership roles in non-profits (ASHA and AID India) and is the founder and director of Her Rights (www.herrights.website), a 501(3) c non-profit committed to furthering the cause of gender equality. She is often an invited speaker or panelist for both corporate and non-profit endeavors.

Connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

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