A short, sweet story that will educate readers about a dark time in history while also providing a healthy dose of sci-fi...

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Full Moon Lagoon

In Nawrocki’s debut middle-grade novel, three kids accidentally travel back in time and must warn a Japanese-Canadian family of what awaits them post–Pearl Harbor.

Maddy is a rambunctious 12-year-old redheaded girl who lives on tiny Cortes Island, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. One summer night, she sneaks out of the house to go lagoon diving with her best friend, Cat, and Cat’s exceptionally smart, hard-of-hearing twin brother, nicknamed “Draggin” because the girls must drag him with them everywhere they go. By the light of the full moon, the trio is swept by the tide through the lagoon—and, by some form of magic, back to late December 1941. There, they meet a kind woman named Malila who tells them about a legend involving people suddenly appearing in the lagoon and delivering important messages. Malila is convinced that the kids have such a message for her, but none of them can figure out what it could be—and until they do, they won’t be able to travel back to their own era. However, they soon learn that a Japanese-Canadian family on the island, the Tagawas, may be in danger of being forced to move east to an internment camp as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a few weeks prior. Maddy, Cat, and Draggin must warn the family before the Canadian authorities—or other paranoid, prejudiced people—can get to them first. Nawrocki has created a magical story that still feels grounded in reality thanks to her three realistic main characters, their snarky, often hilarious banter, and some heartbreaking historical details. It also helps that the kids’ method of time travel is refreshingly simple, relying on mythology and magic as opposed to hard science. Maddy and company face their share of dangerous obstacles once they land in the past, but they remain spunky and spirited throughout, which helps keep the story from becoming too sad in its darker moments.

A short, sweet story that will educate readers about a dark time in history while also providing a healthy dose of sci-fi fun.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7713-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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