Genre: Illustrated Stories

A pre-#RRSciFiMonth Book Spotlight | “The Why-entist and the Wild Weather” by Jane Lowry A STEM #MGLit story to encourage scientific curiosity!

Posted Wednesday, 9 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Why I am consistently looking for STEM stories in MGLit & YALit:

I grew up enjoying the benefits of having a local Science Center – where I could study a variety of Sciences and have hands-on learning experiences. One of the saddest days of my adult life was finding out my old Science Center changed from being open & accessible to all learners to being a test-in center where you literally had to ‘prove’ you belonged and deserved to attend those classes, labs and workshops. It also became an accredited center where those classes were not just strictly taken for personal enrichment & the curiosity of the Sciences themselves but rather as another box to tick off as completed towards a final transcript for the students portfolio.

I found that to be quite off-putting as an adult who has a curiously healthy appetite for seeking new frontiers to explore in all STEAM & STEM disciplines – the reason that saddens my heart is because of the children that will automatically exclude who do not test well or who cannot take a test to prove their deserving of taking those classes simply due to an innate curiosity about their topics, subjects & lessons which the teachers will help them explore. I firmly believe the Sciences should remain open to ALL learners – especially for children without having to have this stacked requirement just to get into the door. That benefits no one and it makes learning as a child as structured as school – I for one, did not thrive in structured learning environments & as a dyslexic learner I fell behind a lot of those cracks in the organisation of traditional learning. The Science Center of my youth is where I spent thirteen years exploring the Sciences and developing a curiously scientific mind as an adult.

This is why as a book blogger – I was naturally attracted to reading Science & Mathematics topics in Non-Fiction inasmuch as I wanted to seek out pro-positive Science narratives for young readers within the realms of Middle Grade & Young Adult – whilst recognising there are a heap of talented illustrators and Picture Book authors who are also contributing a positive ray of light on encouraging children to cosy into Science and their own wings to fly within the subjects & fields which personally interest them to explore.

When I saw this story was going to be featured on a blog tour – I quite literally jumped at the chance to focus on it because who wouldn’t want to question the weather & the practices of others who are helping to do more harm than good in our physical environments? Be sure to earmark this on your #mustread list and/or if you find it an inspiring premise – maybe tuck in a copy for your young reader for Christmas?

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A pre-#RRSciFiMonth Book Spotlight | “The Why-entist and the Wild Weather” by Jane Lowry A STEM #MGLit story to encourage scientific curiosity!The Why-entist and the Wild Weather
by Jane Lowry
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Sukarno Achmad
Source: Publicist with Aunt Addie's Book Tours

The Why-entist is a girl who asks a lot of questions!

After her uncle cuts down a forest and causes a lot more carbon dioxide to get into the air, the weather gets wild with big winds and storms. The Why-entist asks librarians, an environmentalist, her family and a scientist about the change. They explain green house gas and how global warming works. She and her friends and everyone in town, except her uncle, decide to clean up the air by planting trees and using clean energy like solar and wind power. Can she and her friends help her Uncle change his mind?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1733837507

Genres: Children's Literature, Climatology, Illustrated Stories, Meteorology, Middle Grade, Science, Science Fiction


Published by Quoi Happens Publishing

on 10th October, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Published By: Quoi Happens Publishing

Illustrated by: Sukarno Achmad

Available Formats: Hardcover

Converse via: #MGLit, #mgbooktober + #STEM and #RRSciFiMonth

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About Jane Lowry

Jane Lowry

Since the first time Jane Lowry saw a headlamp shine while pedaling her bike, she has been in love with renewable energy and what it can do.
As a former teacher, Jane knows the importance of motivating children to learn more STEM/STEAM material. She believes that it’s never too early to gently introduce young minds to real world vocabulary and ideas in a friendly story.

Her love of teaching and energy has taken her as far away as Japan. She’s active in the United Way’s “Read With Me” program.
Today, Jane works with engineers and scientists who research renewable energy technology from solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, to biomass.

Born in Canada, she now resides in Colorado with her Navy veteran husband, two growing up fast teens, Jasmine the rescue dog, and Pickles and August, her cats. Her love of writing, discovering what clean energy can do, coupled with cooking, travel and what’s new in the delicious world of chocolate keep her busy.

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Posted Wednesday, 9 October, 2019 by jorielov in Aunt Addie's Book Tours, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

Blog Book Tour befitting #SpooktasticReads | “Hall-o-ween” (Children’s Picture Book) written and illustrated by Tia Perkin

Posted Monday, 23 September, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Hall-o-ween” direct from the author Tia Perkin in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I wanted to accept this Picture Book blog tour:

It has been quite a long while since I’ve had the joy of reading and reviewing Children’s Lit on a regular basis. I used to receive quite a few titles – some of which were picture books, like this one. However, in the past most of the picture books were in hardback – with the one exception, I received a printed but unbound copy of “The Blue Hour” from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer programme.

I’ve been missing being a champion of #KidsLit on Jorie Loves A Story – as I have such an eclectic curiosity about *stories!* – my readerly life wanders quite a bit through genre, style and voice as I continue to seek out what personally inspires me to read. This particular book just felt *right!* as it has a bit of cheeky humour whilst its celebrating one of my favourite holidays: HALLOWEEN! What could go wrong? lol I loved the illustrations as you’re about to find out, too!

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Blog Book Tour befitting #SpooktasticReads | “Hall-o-ween” (Children’s Picture Book) written and illustrated by Tia PerkinHall-o-ween
by Tia Perkiin
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

"Hall-O-Ween!" is a spooky little rhyming book about all the sweet bites and fun frights on Halloween day and night.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781732747203

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Fantasy Fiction, Illustrated Stories


Published by Self Published Author

on 1st October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 38

This picture book is self-published

Converse via: #SpooktasticReads, #Halloween + #KidsLit with #PictureBook

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 23 September, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Children's Literature, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Literature for Boys, Picture Book, Prism Book Tours

Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti Bourque

Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the Alycat series hosted by iRead Book Tours. I have been showcasing Children’s Lit alongside my adult literature choices since I first started blogging. I appreciate finding new voices in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult selections as an Auntie and secondly as a future mother. Today’s Children’s Lit market is vastly different than when I was growing up as there is happily more diversity and more choices in stories. Whenever I get a chance to become introduced to one of today’s Children’s Lit series or stand-alone stories, I feel blessed for the chance to see what is newly emerging onto the scene for young readers! I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Alysson Foti Bourque in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Ahead of sharing my thoughts today about this delightfully colourful Picture Book, I have a Guest Post to share from the author. I wanted to tap into her inspiration behind creating ‘Alycat’ and how she made the choice to feature a spunky cat who has a lot of personality and life lessons to impart on the readers who find her stories.

How did the Alycat series percolate inside your imagination and develop into a cleverly illustrated series for young readers? Especially as cats have such cheeky personalities, it leads to a lot of life lessons which can be told through a character’s journey. What is your favourite aspect of Alycat’s personality?

I have always loved to write and read. It gives me peace and an outlet for my thoughts and imagination. Every night, my husband and I read a story to our children before bedtime as part of their routine. One night, after reading every single book in the bookshelf, the kids said it was time to buy more books. That is when I had my “ah-ha” moment. I simply told them that I would write a story for the next night and they believed in me.

I wrote and wrote that evening into the following day as the first Alycat story unfolded. Unfinished and unedited, I read it to the kids before bedtime. They loved it! They had ideas for the ending and gave me outrageous outcomes to choose from. The laughs and squeals made my heart full. It was then that I knew that this was a journey I needed to take in my life.

Why cats? Well, cats are very interesting animals. They have bold and mischievous personalities, coupled with a loving and nurturing nature. My favorite aspect of Alycat’s personality is her ability to solve her own problems with imagination and creativity. She is like most children where she has good days and bad days. She has such enthusiasm for what her heart wants and she is eager to work hard to obtain her hopes and dreams. It was important for me to develop her character to be self-motivated, hopeful, and fearless. I want readers to be inspired by Alycat to reach their goals, get themselves out of a slump, and demonstrate kindness even in tough situations.

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Blog Book Tour | “Alycat and the Monday Blues” (Book Two: The Alycat Series) by Alysson Foti BourqueAlycat and the Monday Blues
by Alysson Foti Bourque
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Alycat wakes up with the dreaded Monday Blues and is certain that nothing will go right. But when a mishap sends her astray, she discovers that helping a friend will help her discover her own hidden talent—curing her Monday Blues.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1684012459

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Illustrated Stories


Published by Mascot Books

on 12th September, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 38

Published By: Mascot Books (@MascotBooks)

Converse via: #KidsLit, #PictureBook

About Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the Rhyme or Reason Travel series, and the multi-award winning Alycat series. Alysson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She believes that there is an Alycat in all of us, encouraging our imaginations to guide us through new opportunities and adventures. ​

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Posted Thursday, 5 October, 2017 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cats and Kittens, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Picture Book, School Life & Situations, Siblings

Book Review w/ Author Q&A | The #picturebooks of Muon Van (“In A Village by the Sea” and “Little Tree”) with a lovely convo about her creative style of writing stories for children.

Posted Sunday, 3 January, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to review “In A Village by the Sea” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. After I was putting together this showcase, to highlight both the story and a conversation with the author, I learnt of her second picture book “Little Tree”; enabling me to combine my showcase to feature both releases. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 2nd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary copy of In A Village by the Sea (hardback) and Little Tree (PDF) direct from the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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I decided I wanted to switch things up a bit today, and offer the conversation before my thoughts on behalf of the illustrated stories contained within the picture books of Muon Van! In this way, I wanted the author’s own words to help define the stories and in some ways, give an extra layer of enjoyment to my readers as they read this ahead of knowing what I found inside the books themselves! Enjoy!

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My convo with Muon Van on her creative way of giving children a beautiful ‘first start’ towards embracing creative stories built on family, hearth and love:

How did you create In A Village by the Sea to bespeak of such a grounding of autobiographical inspiration and homage to your heritage whilst renewing the spirit of Vietnam for those of us who are not as familiar with the country?

Van responds: I come from a long line of fisherfolk on both sides of the family, which is pretty unusual for both an American and Vietnamese-American. I grew up with my dad at sea most of the time, and eating seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I wanted to write a story that would reflect those experiences.

Whilst your father was away fishing, how did your mother encourage you and your siblings not to worry about his safety and well being? Were the passages of home and hearth reminiscent of your mother tending to the home? I ask as there is such a lot of warmth and love set inside this story, it softens the concerns of dangers at sea. 

Van responds: Even though fishing is considered one of the most dangerous occupations around, my siblings and I didn’t consider it as such while we were growing up–it was just what our dad did. My mother definitely tended the home–cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, dressing, educating nine kids! I always knew she was a superwoman and supermom but after I had my first kid, I was amazed!

I was curious about the process you took with April Chu to bring your story to life through her illustrations – can you explain how you worked together to give the reader such a wellspring of living realism whilst deepening it with thought-provoking narrative?

Van responds: Unlike what most people think, April and I did not collaborate in real-time on the book–we only met once it was completed! April only received a plain, unannotated manuscript and knowledge that the story was dedicated to my father, a Vietnamese fisherman. With just those pieces of information, she was able to imagine and execute the brilliant art in the book. I, and the readers, are truly lucky!

The spirit of Vietnam is strongly lit inside you, as the story that is set inside this picture book is alarmingly clear and visually stunning – when you wrote the words that are featured against the illustrations did the final copy read to you like the internal visuals you had whilst you had written the story?

Van responds: I believe the published visuals are faithful to the story but in my imagination, they were spare and monochromatic, sort of like the verse. I was surprised, and delighted, by the outcome.

What has caused the fishing lifestyle of the villages in Vietnam to disappear? Is it the culture of the time that is changing or is the fishing industry unable to support itself, as this happens in other countries as well?

Van responds: I can’t speak to all fishing lifestyles in Vietnam–just the one in my ancestral village. The villagers there, and the ones who have migrated to America, have found the the income derived from fishing is not as great, or sustainable, as it is through other means. While most of my relatives worked in fishing when they first arrived in America, most now work in the cosmetic (nails) industry, as it’s lower-risk and more profitable.

In your heart, your drawn to the sea as it states in your biography you live near it; what do you find the most alluring balm about the sea and how it’s set a harmonic pulse inside your life?

Van responds: Probably that it seems so vast and unknowable (you can only see a bit of it at a time, from a beach or a boat or an airplane). I also like the color blue :)

In The Little Tree the colour contrasts are brilliantly bright and pop with vitality whereas the colour contrasts in In A Village by the Sea is more traditional and classic. Did you have input about the colour spectrum for the illustrations and books?

Van responds: No, but I love that they are so different.

The Little Tree is philosophical and intuitive, giving children a pause to think about the larger scale of life and how the circle of life evolves during our lifetime. How did you tap into this life lesson whilst writing such a cleverly witty story?

Van responds: I was inspired after my first (and so far, only) trip back to Vietnam in nearly thirty years. I thought about how my parents must have felt when we left and how they would felt about it now, thirty years later.

I love how you’ve stitched familial history inside your stories – you write from the heart and your stories have a living spirit about them. How did you capture the moment of recognition to be given to the Little Tree by the Little Seed’s leaf? It was such a warm gesture of love from a child to a mother.

Van responds: Parents will always know their children, right? (Ask me this again in thirty years; my older child is only four :))

You give so much of your own heart to your writings and you leave fingerprints of affection in your closing statements where your ancestry and your family are illuminated in short stories of recollection. How did your family react to the picture books and of your continuance of carrying forward your living histories to inspire children and adults alike?

Van responds: My family likes to play it cool but I think one day soon, one of them will get choked up reading it to their daughter or son. Three, soon to be four, of my brothers just had their first child!

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Truly blessed to have had the chance to ask these questions of Ms Van and to have your responses threaded inside my showcase! I was truly touched by the warmth of her words in her stories and wanted to gain a bit more insight into how she created the world in which I lived for the time I soaked inside her picture books! I can definitely foresee many Mums and Das appreciating ‘reading time’ with their children as they pick up either volume and enter a world of family and timeless love!

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Book Review w/ Author Q&A | The #picturebooks of Muon Van (“In A Village by the Sea” and “Little Tree”) with a lovely convo about her creative style of writing stories for children.In a Village by the Sea
by Muon Van
Illustrator/Cover Designer: April Chu
Source: Publisher via JKS Communications

Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, this richly illustrated picture book is about longing for the comforts of home while braving the adventures and perils of the wide world.

In a house by the sea, a woman is cooking. Near the woman, a baby is crying. Under the floor, a cricket is painting. In the painting, a fisherman rides stormy seas, longing to get home to his wife and infant…

The perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles, children will delight in this beautiful story which pays homage to the vanishing fishing culture in Vietnam, honors courage and sacrifice, and celebrates hearth and home.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781939547156

Genres: Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Illustrated Stories


Published by Creston Books LLC

on 9th June, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 32

Published By: Creston Books, LLC (@CrestonBooks)

Available Formats: Hardcover and Ebook

Converse via Twitter: #MuonVan

#picturebooks and #JKSLitPublicity

About (Illustrator) April Chu

April Chu

APRIL CHU began her career as an architect with a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, but decided to return to her true passion of illustrating and storytelling. April currently lives and works in Oakland, California.

About Muon Van

Muon Van

MUON VAN was born on the run in the southern port city of Rach Giá, Vietnam. When she was nine months old, she left Vietnam as part of the “boat people” mass exodus. She now lives in Northern California.

Her previous book, In a Village by the Sea, is also a family story and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, as well as rave reviews from The New York Times and School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Production.

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Posted Sunday, 3 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Children's Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Author, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Equality In Literature, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Picture Book, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data