Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"ALL ARE WELCOME" is a Welcoming Picture Book Celebrating Diversity and Encouragement for Kids

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

I love when I stumble upon a book that celebrates diversity and encourages kids to be kids and not to look at or judge others based on the color of their skin.   So, when I heard about a new children’s picture book, “All Are Welcome,” by Alexandra Penfold, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy to share with my girls, and share my thoughts in a post on my blog. 

As you know I homeschool my two girls.  But, we also go to classes outside the house, so they are around kids of all races, nationalities, etc.  And, being part Latina, my girls are now at the age that they notice their skin color is different from mine, as I have pale white skin, and they are lucky to have beautiful tan skin thanks to their Daddy who is from El Salvador.  The girls have asked why we look different, and I have talked with and even shared books about diversity with them, to help them truly understand how everyone  on this planet is different in some, and that shouldn’t be a reason to mistreat or judge them. 

This book is really well written, and is recommended for children ages 4-8 years old.  The pages are filled with vibrant colors that really help to bring the story of inclusion to life.  Children will be introduced to people from all walks of life who may look different or dress different from them, as they read through the pages of “All Are Welcome.”  They will see a school filled with kids wearing patkas, hijabs and even yarmulkes, who play side by side in the classroom and out at recess.  I really love how this book is written and how they include so many races, religions and backgrounds, while repeating one key phrase, “All are welcome.”  There is even a sign hanging outside the school that has this phrase, making it a welcoming school and story from the very start.
About this book:

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yamulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school."


My girls really enjoyed this book, and have even talked about it with their friends.  They have even shown interest in learning about the cultural differences and traditions of those they saw in the book, so that they can learn and appreciate the diverse world we live in.

I highly recommend this book for teachers looking for a book to share with their classrooms at the start of school, to remind children that even they their classmates may look different, that they shouldn’t be treated differently.  Children may have questions and wonder why their fellow classmates may be wearing clothing or a headpiece.  This book is great to share and open up the lines of discussion about diversity and need for inclusion of all.  With all the craziness in the world right now, it is nice to look to our children and see them open their arms and hearts to those who may be different. They don’t see color or religion…they just see an opportunity for a new friendship.  That is how it should be for all of all – welcoming everyone with open arms.  We should live the theme of this book – “All Are Welcome.”  Hopefully this book will be a reminder of this powerful message of inclusion, and have us thinking twice when we see someone who may be different than us, and be reminded that we should all be treated equal.

To learn more about this wonderful new children’s book, which hit stores shelves back on July 10th, head on over to Random House Kids today.

About the Author:
Alexandra Penfold is the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop (Knopf) and the picture books The Little Viking and Food Truck Fest!  She is also a literary agent at Upstart Crow, where one of her clients is Suzanne Kaufman!

About the Illustrator:
Suzanne Kaufman is an author, illustrator and animator.  Over the years she’s done everything from animating special effects for Universal Television and the Discovery Channel to animating award-winning video games for children.  She’s the illustrator of a number of books for children, including Samanthasaurus Rex by B.B. Mandell, Naughty Claudine’s Christmas by Patrick Jennings, 100 Bugs! by Kate Narita, and her own book, Confiscated! among others.  Learn more about Suzanne online at

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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New from the Little Simon, Celebrate the World Board Book Series -- Día de los Muertos, Arrives in Stores on 7/31 (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Arrives on Bookshelves on July 24th, 2018

Dia de los muertos 9781534415157 hr

Thanks to last year’s animated movie, Coco, many young children and families were introduced to the Mexican/Latin holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  My girls were already aware of this holiday as we touch upon on it in our homeschooling each November, and I remind them of it, as it falls on my birthday, Nov. 2nd, each year.  But, thanks to the animated movie, Coco children were able to see this ancient tradition brought to life.  

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They got to see how families put out pictures in a shrine/alter of those who have passed on, and how they cook up lots of food and visit the cemeteries as a family to visit and have picnic near the tombstones of their beloved who are no longer here.  Then, they return home to continue the party at home, or in the streets.  My husband shared with the girls how they used to celebrate Dia de los Muertos back in his country of El Salvador and how it was a joyous time with lots of food, music and even fireworks.  Death wasn’t looked at as something to be sad about when celebrating this tradition.  Instead, it was treated like a party and a way to honor those ancestors who have passed away, and share stories of their beloved.

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I was excited to share this book with my girls, as they really enjoyed the previous “Celebrate the World” book we read, and I shared a review on – “Ramadan.”  Similar to “Ramadan,” this board book is filled with colorful illustrations that bring the tradition of Dia de los Muertos to life.  The illustrations also had a folk-type style to them as this is a favorite of the illustrator, which gave a playful and fun spin on the illustrations that fill the pages of this board, and really made the story come to life.

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My girls walked away with a greater appreciation of this ancient tradition, and want to try and incorporate some of the festivities and treats into our very own Dia de los Muertos celebration of life this November, as we remember ancestors from both sides of the family who have passed, but still hold a special place in our hearts.

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If you love books that celebrate special occasion and holidays celebrated all around the world, then you will definitely want to pick up “Dia de los Muertos,” by Hannah Eliot, when it arrives in stores on July 24, from Little Simon.

More about this book:

“Readers will learn all about the traditions of Dia de los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series “Celebrate the World,” which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe.

Beginning on October 31st, each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe-winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed.  From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.”


About the Author:
Hannah Eliot is a children’s book editor who lives in Manhattan, NY.  Her favorite activities include editing (of course), writing, painting and doodling all over every piece of notebook paper she uses.

About the Illustrator:
Jorge R. Gutierrez is a Mexican animator, painter, writer, and directory who, along with his wife, Sandra Equihua, created the multiple Annie and Emmy-Award-winning animated television series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera for Nickelodeon.  Born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana, Gutierrez has completed various films, cartoons, illustrations, and paintings exploring his love affair with Mexican pop and folk culture.  He won two Annie Awards and one Emmy Award for El Tigre.  He was also nominated for an Annie for Disney’s  The Buzz on Maggie.  Most recently, he co-wrote and directed the animated feature The Book of Life, which earned him a 2014 Golden Glove Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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PBS Distribution to Release The Awe-Inspiring New Series "NOVA: WONDERS" July 31st (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a screener from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.


Available on DVD July 31 from PBS Distribution
Available Now on Digital HD

We have been getting our NOVA documentary fix the past couple weeks, thanks to a handful of recent and upcoming DVDs that were sent our way from the folks at PBS Distribution.  A standout recently was NOVA: WONDERS, which is available now on digital, but will be available on DVD on July 31st.  Like the title suggests, this DVD focuses on diving into the many wonders of the world by means of studying the scientific process.  What is go great about this DVD is that it is broken down into episodes, so you don't have to be overwhelmed, or can go to a specific episode.  With over 6 hours of content on 2 discs, this series will take viewers on a journey as they explore the wonders of the world, in a quest to answer scientific questions posed.

There are so many intriguing topics that you are bound to find a topic that that resonates with you and will have you pondering it.  Here are the featured episodes for you to dive in and explore when you pick up the NOVA: WONDERS DVD:

Disc 1:

  • What are animals saying?
  • What's living in you?
  • Are we alone?
Disc 2:

  • Can we build a brain?
  • Can we make life?
  • What's the universe made of?
Cool topics, huh?  We really had fun watching these two DVDs, and will definitely be watching again, and including in our homeschooling studies.  If you love exploring unexpected places, hunting for signs of extra-terrestrial life and learning more about animals and other life that roam the world, then you will love NOVA: WONDERS.

More about this upcoming DVD release:

"PBS Distribution announced today it is releasing the all new series “NOVAWONDERS” on DVD and Digital HD. This tantalizing new program takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of science and is hosted by three engaging young scientists. The series follows remarkable researchers who are tackling the biggest unanswered questions about life and the cosmos, pushing the boundaries of understanding in ways that could transform our world and the future.

NOVAWONDERS(SRP $34.99) will be available on DVD July 31, 2018, and has a run time of approximately 360 minutes on 2 discs. The program is also available for digital download. 

NOVAWONDERS” is a fresh, lively series that makes complicated concepts accessible while taking a deep dive into the scientific process. Each episode poses a big scientific question and takes viewers along on a journey to explore how far we’ve come in our quest for answers, and how we’ve managed to get here. Among the intriguing topics pondered are the secret language of animals, what’s hidden in the human body, the artificial intelligence technologies that could rival and surpass the abilities of the human mind, the controversial power to engineer life in a lab, and the mysteries of the universe.

The program travels to some unexpected places to look for answers — including deep underwater, where humpback whales are essentially playing a game of “telephone” across the world, with pods teaching each other new songs; deep beneath our skin, where trillions of microbes are living in our bodies; deep below the earth, in mines where researchers are trying to detect elusive dark matter particles; deep into space, where astrophysicists are hunting for signs of extra-terrestrial life, and more.

Three young scientists serve as enthusiastic guides and science communicators. Talithia Williams is a mathematician and statistician who also applies data models to the human body and the environment. She is joined by co-hosts Rana el Kaliouby, a computer scientist developing emotion recognition technology used in artificial intelligence, and André Fenton, a neuroscientist studying the biology of memory. All three set-up the inquiry, demonstrate key aspects of the challenges facing scientists, and ask provocative questions about research carried out on the winding paths of uncertainty and the unknown.

NOVAWONDERS” is a NOVA production for WGBH Boston. Series Producers are Michael Bicks and Anna Lee Strachan. Executive Producer is Julia Cort. Senior Executive Producer is Paula S. Apsell. 

NOVAWONDERS” is funded by Draper, the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and public television viewers, with additional funding for “Are We Alone?” and “What’s the Universe Made Of?” provided by the John Templeton Foundation.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1420749. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."


About NOVA
Now in its 44th season, NOVA is the most-watched primetime science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to the deepest mysteries of the natural world. NOVA is a production of WGBH Boston. NOVA airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT on WGBH Boston and most PBS stations. The Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.

About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading distributor of public media content around the world, PBS Distribution is a leading distributor of public media content reaching global audiences through multiple platforms including PBS-branded OTT channels, digital download and streaming services, theatrical and inflight entertainment, DVD and Blu-ray sales and international licensing.   


PBS Distribution offers consumers and educators over 4,000 hours of the highest quality factual, scripted and children’s programming, including films from producer Ken Burns, hit dramas from MASTERPIECE, entertaining and educational children’s series and award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and many independent producers. We extend the reach of programming beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system, stations and producers.

Street Date: July 31, 2018
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: Approximately 360 minutes on 2 discs
SRP: DVD, $34.99
Format: DVD and Digital HD

Disclosure:  I was sent a screener from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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