7 Fabulous Choices in Children’s Picture Books for Black History Month

With the increase in diversity in children’s books, there is a plethora of wonderful books for children of all ages that are perfect picks for February and the celebration of Black History.

“Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic dreambigdreamsPresidency” by Pete Souza, the former chief official White House photographer, is a beautiful book filled with touching and insightful images of a president who could be solemn when the occasion called for it, caring when compassion was needed, loving with his family, and fun when children were involved. The images show a man who wasn’t afraid to be real with people and to show them that he cared. The photographs show a man who radiates confidence and charm. It’s a really lovely book. (Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers)

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Ten Perfectly Poignant Picture Books for Valentine’s Day

It’s not too late to get the perfect Valentine’s Day present for your favorite picture book reader. Here are ten picture-perfect choices.

Dog lovers who are book lovers know that almost no one writes nonfiction dog books IMG_3995like Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, author of “Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners.” This small picture book is aimed at older picture book readers, although younger readers will love the beautiful photographs by William Muñoz. The book is filled with all the nonfiction features teachers love to teach, like Contents (Part One: A Perfect Partnership; Part Two: The Science of Love; and Part Three: Sharing Our Lives), Resources for Young Readers (books, websites and videos with more information), Source Notes and Additional Sources (a bibliography of resources used for the information in the book), and an Index. Within the book’s pages is information ranging from how dogs differ from wolves and how they may have parted ways in the past to how dogs help us now by being our best friends, guiding us, protecting us, providing us with therapy, and just loving us. It’s a beautiful, completely true love story. (Crown Books for Young Readers)

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Remembering Nugget: Blacky’s Brother and Beloved Cat

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Nugget, my ten-year-old cat just died. He was not only a huge cat physically, he also had a huge personality.

Loss is difficult. Any loss. The loss of a pet, especially one in the prime of life, is hard, and some losses are more difficult to bear than others. When an old dog or cat dies, it’s sad but expected. But Nugget was not old; in fact, he was much younger than my oldest cat, Sally.

Few visitors to my house ever saw Nugget. Twelve years ago, he was a feral kitten who was already wild by the time I trapped his brother and him. At four months old, after being neutered and vaccinated, they cowered in their large crate and hissed and scratched when approached.

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How Important is Customer Service? Chewy.com Knows; Diamondback Drugs Needs Some Lessons

See update from Diamondback Drugs below.

It’s rare to experience in one day both the pinnacle of excellent customer service and the opposite — a customer service experience so bad that the consumer would rather spend more money elsewhere than to give a bad company good business.

When you have many pets in your home, a lot of money flies out for many purchases. Cats need kitty litter and food; dogs need food and toys. I’ve been using Chewy.com for many supplies because getting 40 pound bags of dog food and kitty litter delivered to my front door just makes sense. It wasn’t until there was a problem with my most recent delivery that I realized how superb their customer service is. Continue reading

‘Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court’ by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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“Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court” is a marvelous autobiography by one of the greatest basketball players who ever graced the court. Watching him play was a privilege for any true sports fan because he appeared to be graceful and athletic, ultra-competitive, always under control — and in control — and a true champion. He and his teams won an almost unbelievable percentage of their games at every level — high school, college, professional.

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‘Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better’ by Tracey Stewart

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“Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live and How We Can Make Their Lives Better” by Tracey Stewart is not a new release, but it’s a perfect book to read for those who want a New Year filled with compassion, kindness and humane choices.

Stewart is lucky to be married to Jon Stewart because between them, they have the money to fund her passion — animals, animal rescue, and spreading the message of compassion for animals, humans, and the world around us. With this book, Stewart created an easy-to-read, beautifully illustrated book filled with facts about Stewart and her family, pets, and farm animals, and also filled with ways to make the world a better place for everyone.

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5 Children’s Picture Books With Messages for Young Readers

This holiday season, or any time of the year, it’s wonderful to find picture books that share  uplifting messages for young readers. Many picture books, fiction and nonfiction, allow young readers to think about issues such as fairness, inclusion, and just that it’s okay to be different. Here are some really thoughtful books that will open children’s horizons in wonderful ways.

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‘Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen’ Is a Beautifully Illustrated and Narrated Book about the World of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’

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If there is one book that lovers of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” would love to own, it’s this book: “Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” This weighty (literally, maybe five pounds) book is filled with photographs, information, architectural drawings, and quotes about the entire process in creating the Tolkien world.

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‘Malala’s Magic Pencil’ by Malala Yousafzai Is a Story About Possibilities and Kids Love It

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While the name “Malala” is quite familiar to adults, children may not know who the author of this picture book is. In “Malala’s Magic Pencil,” Malala Yousafzai tells her story, and it’s one that opens the eyes of the kids hearing her tale.

She starts her story telling about a show that she watched as a child, a TV show about a magic pencil that could create anything that was drawn with it. The boy who used it, the hero, always used the magic to protect people who needed help. Malala thought of the things she would do with a magic pencil.

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‘Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal’ Is a Must-Read for Animal Lovers

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In “Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal,” authors Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris tell story after story of a veteran and the animals — mostly dogs but also cats, horses, birds, and a pig — who helped them heal. In  many cases, the animals that saved the veterans helped them not only heal, but live a normal life.

The book includes a wonderful anecdote about an incident that happened during the Battle of Germantown in the Revolutionary War. A small terrier was wandering on the battlefield, and after he was captured, the Americans realized that he belonged to the British General Howe. Washington was advised to keep the dog as a trophy and that it would demoralize the British troops. Washington, however, declared a truce and had the dog returned to his owner. He realized the importance of the bond between man and dog. Continue reading