• Y. Y. Chan

Book Recommendations (January & February 2021)

Those who have been following me on Instagram and Facebook may know I do monthly book recommendations on my page: Kids' Corner. It's been quite troublesome and time-consuming editing and changing the page each month and I feel it's also not that easy to navigate. The previous months recommendations are also not stored or saved anywhere and all that time and effort spent setting it up would be wasted each month. So, I've decided to transport them to my blog instead! If you miss any of them, you can easily find them again by searching the tags on my blogs! But I will not be doing it for last year's recommendations. Instead, I'll just start from January this year and include my February recommendations together as well. I'll be transforming my Kids' Corner page to provide other resources instead. You can still submit your book recommendations on the page, but all previous recommendations will soon be removed.


So, without further ado, here's a quick recap of January's Book Recommendations:

(You can click on the book titles and covers to find links to purchase as well!)


The Wild Boy by A.A. Williams (Author), Mariia Andrieieva (Illustrator)


Book Description: Ages: 5-12​ While playing in his garden, Wilder meets a whimsical Woggledorf named Wimpelton. Wilder and his pup Winfrey join Wimpelton on an adventure to a mysterious land. On their adventure, they face many trials where they learn about friendship and the importance of taking care of the world around them.


Why I like this book: This adventure story was very enjoyable and meaningful, full of wisdom and important lessons and messages for readers young and old. I love the descriptions and the little details. The author has a gift for writing and writes so beautifully. It reminds me of some popular classic children's stories in the way it is written. It is humorous at times too with the use of word play and repetition. Overall it's a wonderful story and one children and adults will enjoy.


But i don't want to say GOODBYE! (A Child's Journey Through Grief) by Ta'Shay Mason (Author), Tanya Colton-Cauley (Illustrator)


Book Description: Ages 8-12​ 'But i don’t want to say GOODBYE!' is a perfect book to help any family experiencing grief and also for young readers who might need help in understanding someone else who is going through a loss. The death of a loved one is never easy to understand, let alone speak about. But for a little girl whose father has just died, the hardest thing is figuring out how to say goodbye. As Mommy makes funeral arrangements and tries to figure out the best way to say goodbye to a man who was loved by many, the little girl must find her own way to come to peace with her father’s death. As the funeral gets closer, will she find a way to say goodbye?


Why I like this book:​ It's not easy to say goodbye to your beloved father and it's hard explaining death to a child. This book is a great way to start difficult conversations about death and loss and how to cope with your feelings and emotions of grief. There aren't many books like this. As someone who has lost a father, I can relate to this little girl, even though I was an adult when I lost my dad. I like the way it explains the events following the death of a loved one, like cremation, funeral and even creating a reef ball to memorialize them. The book is easy to read and understand and provides a great tool for parents and teachers who may need to talk to their kids about death and loss.

The Biggest Winner by Luci Neves (Author, Illustrator)


Book description: Ages: 2 to 7 Do you have what it takes to be a WINNER? This small girl is determined to win the big race. She works hard to get ready, and the BELIEVERS cheer her on the whole way! But the DOUBTERS are not so sure she can win. Who will she listen to? Will she win the big race? Does she have what it takes to be a real WINNER? Why I like this book: What a beautiful book with an important message for all kids to remember what it means to be a winner. Everything is so competitive these days and it's easy to forget how to be kind, loving and caring towards others who are in need or need help. This little girl has a big heart and even though she wanted to win, she chose to help someone else instead. A really wonderful book! The illustrations are also very beautiful and adorable! Luci is a very talented author and illustrator! I look forward to more books from her!

A Pocket Full of Colours by Joe Starling (Author, Illustrator),


Book Description: Ages: 4-10​ A Pocket Full of Colours is a story about a quiet young boy called Sam, who struggles to manage his emotions, which are actually colourful creatures living in the navy blue pocket of his t-shirt. As we experience a day with Sam, we get to know, love and relate to him. One of the greatest problems for Sam is his irritating younger sister Tilly, who is his complete opposite. Sam's different emotions come out as small, brightly coloured creatures who pop out of his top pocket and express how they feel in dramatic ways. Throughout the story, we learn a range of coping strategies that Sam uses in order to calm each creature and help them return to his pocket. ​ Why I like this book: A Pocket Full of Colours is a very special children's book that readers, young and old, will be able to relate to easily, as it deals with different kinds of emotions. Emotional development is extremely important for children, so it is crucial for them to find ways to effectively cope with their changing emotions. This book does just that. There are humorous as well as heartwarming moments in the story that are sure to bring a smile to your face. Each scene is thoughtfully laid out, and the expressions on each character's face perfectly capture each of the emotions portrayed. It ends with a lesson in forgiveness, something that we can all appreciate and learn from. There are also many wonderful and meaningful activities that the author has created to accompany the book, making this a perfect package for any teacher to include in their classroom library.

Idia of the Benin Kingdom by Ekiuwa Aire (Author), Alina Shabelnyk (Illustrator)


Book Description: ​ Idia of the Benin Kingdom introduces young readers to the story of Queen Idia of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, who played an essential role during the reign of her son, Esigie, who ruled Benin from 1504-1550. This story tells of a young Idia who pursued her dreams, believed in herself, and became the first Queen Mother of Benin. The story starts with a dream young Idia has where she sees a woman in battle. The woman in her dream also appears to be using herbs and potions to heal the wounded. Something about the dream convinces Idia that she is destined to do more for her beloved kingdom. She does whatever it takes to become what her dream had shown her. It wasn’t easy because, at the time, young girls were not groomed to be warriors. But Idia was determined to challenge the status quo. Why I like this book: This book is gorgeously illustrated. The colors are so vibrant and the images are captivating. I was drawn into the story from the first page. I am not familiar with African history so this story really helped me to get a glimpse and understand some of the cultures, traditions and this beautiful story about a young girl who grows up to be a strong and courageous warrior in the Benin Kingdom. This is an absolutely powerful and inspiring story that teaches young readers to be courageous and follow your dreams! This is a great book to introduce African history to kids with a wonderful message and moral.

Now I Know, How To Go, Potty! by Tasha Powers (Author)

Book description: Ages: 0 to 5 Big Brother and little brother Joe are having fun playing together in their room. But suddenly, big brother stops playing and rushes to the bathroom. Little brother Joe patiently waits and then asks, “How?” In this rhyming picture book, a big brother kindly and patiently teaches his younger brother, Joe, how to potty in the toilet bowl. Inside, you'll get an exclusive free bonus to a super fun Potty Training Toolbox that will fully equip you from the get-go. ​ Why I like this book: ​ This book made me laugh! It's written in rhyme and explains in clear steps how to go potty. The Illustrations are quite cute and I think it will make kids laugh too. It's definitely a fun way to teach kids how to go potty, making it easier to talk about through the story than trying to explain all the steps yourself. Should definitely get it for kids training out of their diapers!

And now, here are my February Book Recommendations! Since Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year fall in this month, I'm going to include some books related to these very special days, and a few others I have enjoyed reading over the last month.



I Wish You Happiness

by Michael Wong (Author), Ann Baratashvili (Illustrator), David Miles (Contributor)


Book Description:

Ages: 8 to 12

This timeless classic is filled with inspirational wishes to empower children to be the best they can be, with beautifully enchanting illustrations by a prize-winning artist. This would make a great gift for special occasions such as a baby shower, new baby, adoption, birthday, Valentine's, graduation, and Christmas.


Why I like this book:

This is a beautiful book with gorgeous illustrations. The book is filled with wishes from a parent to a child. It is full of love and encouragement. I like the various fonts used for the words and the inclusion of the different famous people. It is inspiring and full of heartfelt messages that anyone can relate to. Some of the words and concepts may be slightly difficult for a young child so parents may need to explain them in more detail. It is a truly beautiful book! The author has also produced personalized versions of the book! You can choose from 75 popular names! Simple search for 'I Wish You Happiness + [name]' on Amazon. To see the complete list of names, go to the main book page and see if the name you want is included!

Love Ninja

by Mary Nhin (Author), Jelena Stupar (Illustrator)

Book Description:

Ages: 6 to 8


Love Ninja goes on a quest to learn more about love. Find out what happens in this comedic book about love. Life is hard! And it's even harder for children who are just trying to figure things out. This series is a great resource for parents and teachers who want to help teach their kids about various life skills and concepts.


Why I like this book:

What a sweet and adorable book about love! I love that he interviews different ninjas about what they all think love means and showing all the different examples of love and how to express and communicate love. It's not something many people do very openly or regularly. This is a great way to show kids the different forms of love and how they can show their loved ones how much they love them! I've never used so many 'love's in a review before! This is just a lovely book!

The Little Book of Valentine's Day

by Zack Bush (Author), Laurie Friedman (Author)

Book Description:

Ages: 3 to 10

Are you ready for the sweetest holiday of the year? There are so many special and fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and they’re all revealed in The Little Book of Valentine’s Day.

VALENTINE’S DAY is the perfect holiday to show all of the special people in your life just how much they mean to you! The Little Book of Valentine’s Day is filled with so many creative holiday tips—including an artist’s trick to make perfect hearts every time and a secret list of clever ways to tell friends and family just how much you care.

With fun text, engaging illustrations, and creative ideas, The Little Book of Valentine’s Day is the perfect addition to your holiday collection.

Why I like this book:

This is a fun and engaging book to introduce kids to what Valentine's Day is all about. It includes a lot of different ways to show your loved ones how much you love and care about them. It is a very sweet book with lots of ideas and activities. Teachers will find it useful for the classroom to get kids excited about the day and preparing their cards and crafts to give their loved ones.

Tastes of Lunar New Year

by Cheryl Chepusova (Author), Isabel Foo (Illustrator)


Book Description:

Ages: 3 to 6

A playful book introducing 12 unique dishes celebrating Lunar New Year around the world. Tastes of Lunar New Year is inclusive of regional customs from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Korea. This book is suited for readers ages 3-6 and is also available in a bilingual English and Traditional Chinese edition (with audio.) (Funded on Kickstarter.)


Why I like the book:

First of all, I received this book from the Kickstarter campaign. I got the bilingual version because I also wanted to practise my Chinese! The book arrived just a few days ago. It came with a poster, postcard and red packets!


The book is simple with just a few lines on the page about the different food items that people eat to celebrate Lunar New Year from different countries. I like that it includes so many different countries and cities of people who celebrate the festival, such as Beijing, Seoul, London, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and even San Francisco! It reminds us that we live in a multicultural society and this festival can be celebrated worldwide and are respected by all nationalities and countries. Each city has their own set of traditions and special foods. I love the explanations about each of the dishes and traditions at the end. It was really interesting to read and learn about them all! I did not know about half of these food items and the meanings behind them! I love that there is an audio version available from the website because I had no idea how to read some of the words! I wish it included the pinyin as well! The audio version is great though. It plays a chime, alerting you to turn the page.

BEE!

by Carrie Hyatt (Author), Tatiana Kamshilina (Illustrator)


Book Description:

Get ready to shout, "BEE!" along with everyone swatting and fearful of Buzz. He’s on a mission to gather nectar. But first, Buzz must make a dangerous journey through a busy park. Will he return safely to the beekeeper? Take time to read BEE! and see. This book as well as SPIDER! and SNAKE! is the perfect addition to the classroom setting or at home. BEE! sends a powerful message of encouragement to be swift, be brave, and be safe when facing our fears.


Why I like this book:

This is a lovely story about a bee and how to overcome fear from different perspectives. I like the rhyme and repetition in the book and the little reminders from the beekeeper on some pages. An informative and educational book that is also fun and entertaining to read. I wish I had read this book when I was young! I have a lot of fears that took me years to overcome - some I'm still working through! It is such a great topic for kids and so important for their social and emotional development.

Preston's Positive Thoughts

by Jenelle French (Author), Karina Yasinova (Illustrator)


Book Description:

Preston is having a really bad day. All day he tells himself he can't do something well, and that's what happens. His negative thoughts lead to negative actions and outcomes. But what would happen if Preston were to change his thoughts? Instead of thinking negative thoughts, what if he thinks positively about himself? It's amazing how much our way of thinking leads to positive or negative outcomes. If we believe we are bad at something, we usually will be. If we believe we will succeed, we have a much better chance of succeeding. Join Preston as he learns how to turn his negative thoughts into positive thoughts!


Why I like this book:

I posted an interview with the author a couple of days ago so it's perfect timing to also include her newest book in this month's list!

This book will be a great tool for teachers and counselors. It talks about the power of positive thoughts and how it can affect our attitudes and mindset in all kinds of situations. Preston starts off having nothing but negative thoughts. Every time he had a negative thought, that thought became his reality. Then one day he wondered what would happen if he thought more positive thoughts - those become his reality too! So why continue to think negative thoughts and feel bad when you can think more positively and feel happy and proud of what you can do!

It reminds me of the quote: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right." (Henry Ford) Your thoughts become what you are. I highly recommend this book to all teachers, counselors and parents to instil a positive and growth mindset in kids at a young age. I know I definitely would have benefited from reading this book myself when I was young.

I hope you like these book recommendations and found something you are interested in checking out! If you do read any of them, don't forget to leave a review. Reviews are super important. I can't wait to share next month's recommendations!

* This post contains affiliate links. All images of book covers and descriptions taken from Amazon or authors' websites. All opinions are my own.

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