The Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi Review

The Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko MiyakoshiThe Tea Party In The Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Release Date: August 1, 2015

Pages: 32

Available Through The Book Depository: The Tea Party In The Woods

Cover Design: Akiko Miyakoshi

Summary: On a snowy winter’s day, Kikko sets out to bring a pie to grandma. When she happens upon a strange house in the woods, the most surprising guests invite her inside for a tea party. Kikko can hardly believe her eyes…

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Tea Party In The Woods is a detailed, atmospheric, almost surreal picture book! Evoking the style of a classic fairy tale, Miyakoshi delivers a wondrous story about friendship and resilience!

The Tea Party In The Woods is a beautifully illustrated picture book that I discovered when browsing through Goodreads and I picked it up mainly because I was really in the mood to read something short!

Let me just say that this book is beautiful inside and out! Miyakoshi’s art alongside her storytelling really evokes a classic fairy tale vibe that’s sure to captivate anyone! ❤✨

The story starts with Kikko’s father headed to her grandmother’s house after a night of snowfall. She decides to follow him into the snowy woods when he forgets to take a pie for Grandma!

Along the way, Kikko accidentally drops the pie but manages to keep up with her father (recognizing his hat). But, she realizes her father has arrived at the wrong house.
Kikko quickly learns that she hadn’t followed her father, but a bear in a coat. The house it seems, is full of walking/talking animals who happily invite her to their tea party.

From there, they chat with Kikko and help her find her grandmother’s house at the end of the woods. The story beautifully explored the idea that your never alone and the importance of not giving up, even when it seems like you’ve made a mistake!

“The woods were very still. And so quiet. Kikko’s footsteps were the only sound…”

Miyakoshi evokes a fairytale-like prose that weaves together with charming storytelling and captures that idea of a comforting, quiet fantasy.

I actually reread this book multiple times in just one sitting, it was just so cute and immersive!

The art is so beautiful. Miyakoshi uses a hand-drawn pencil and charcoal illustrations to deliver art that is detailed and captures that magical winter vibe! I also found that the use of a monochrome palette, really makes the colors pop (one of my favorite pages was where it shows a pie platter where the animals place slices to help Kikko bring more to her grandmother).

There’s also a beautiful attention to shadow and detail, which is highlighted through the wintry world and animal characters. There’s a variety from deer to rabbits, bears, rabbits, and many more that Kikko meets at the party.

Every page had such a perfect attention to detail that you could really picture yourself there and the world itself feels so big, such as the tea party house and the woods themselves.

The only reason I’m personally rating this 4.5 is that I wish this was longer, the characters and the charming world Akiko crafted felt so expansive through her art. To me, it seemed like there was much more story to be told! Overall though, Tea Party In The Woods is making it onto my list of favorite picture books━ it’s charming, sweet, and wholesome!

The Tea Party In The Woods is an atmospherically detailed picture book that evokes the feeling of a classic fairytale! The storytelling, artwork, and immersive world deliver a quiet fantasy sure to captivate any reader!

 

Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar Review

planting stories--the life of librarian and storyteller pura belpréPlanting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise + Paola Escobar (Illustrator)

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Pages: 32

Available Through The Book Depository: Planting Stories

Summary: When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular stories into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and cuentistas continue to share her stories and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the power of storytelling and the extraordinary woman who opened doors and championed bilingual literature.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Planting Stories chronicles and celebrates Pura Belpré, her journey as a storyteller, bilingual librarian, and author! The illustrations are colorful, detailed, and evoke a sense of magic!

I’ve made it a priority ever since getting involved in Latinx Book Bingo last year to discover and read more Latinx books!

Planting Stories is a picture book I’d been wanting to read for quite a while and now that it finally released this month, I just had to read it before January was over!

Pura Belpré grew up in Puerto Rico as an avid storyteller and she shared the stories + folktales her abuela told her with her community! Then in 1921, she comes to America carrying those tales with her.

What started as a visit to celebrate her sister’s wedding, soon marks a new part of her life both for her and her stories when she decides to stay in New York!

Her first job is in the garment industry, but when the New York Public Library is seeking a bilingual assistant, Belpre takes hold of this opportunity and it changes her life!

When she notices the lack of Latinx stories on shelves, she uses her power of storytelling to bring those tales to the children of the library!

Belpre’s stories gather both children and families, which leads her from librarian assistant to storyteller/puppeteer, and soon–author! She publishes the folktales and other stories of Puerto Rico to allow them to reach many more readers.

Planting Stories is a magnificent picture book that reminds us of the power of storytelling and celebrates the legacy of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City!

It was so beautiful to see Spanish woven throughout this book as well!

I adored Paola Escobar’s art and illustrations! From the warm colors, detail, to the heartwarming emotions and magic it evokes!

The symbolism of flowers and trees really bring to the center how stories grow, flourish, and celebrates the power of stories.

Her art brings so much to this wonderful story!

Denise’s writing throughout this picture book, chronicles Belpré’s life in such a beautiful way! Her writing-style is also what brings a sense of magic to this story!

Those who are looking for a book that celebrates stories, influential storytellers, and the impact of stories in a community, Planting Stories is a must read!

Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpré is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates the legacy of an influential storyteller, librarian, and author! Detailed and vibrant illustrations bring the story to life! Woven throughout the pages are the importance of storytelling, diversity among stories, and their lasting impact!

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett Review

Franklin's Flying BookshopFranklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell & Katie Harnett (Illustrator)

Publisher: Thames And Hudson

Release Date: September 7, 2017

Pages: 32

Available Through The Book Depository: Franklin’s Flying Bookshop

Summary: Franklin the dragon loves stories and loves reading stories to people too, but everyone is too scared to even talk to him. One day, he meets a girl named Luna who, rather than being afraid, is fascinated to meet Franklin, having recently read all about dragons in one of her books. They instantly become friends and talk nonstop about what they’ve read: books about roller-skating, King Arthur, spiders, and how to do kung fu. Together they hatch a plan to share their love of books with others by opening a bookshop―a flying bookshop, that is―right on Franklin’s back!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Franklin’s Flying Bookshop is a delightful picture book that explores the wonder of books, stories, and the love of reading–while the style of illustration brings a whimsical feel to the story!

🐉 + 📚 + 🎨 = Franklin’s Flying Bookshop

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop is a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since it released last year, I mean–dragons, books, & bookshops?–Sign me up!

Well, now that winter break has started, I also felt a short picture book would get me back into reading!

There’s no other way to describe this book other than adorable! (´▽`ʃƪ) The book follows Franklin who’s a dragon that loves to read: from books about word fights, adventures in the open sea, to music & baking.

He even has a bookcase as his front door!

With his love of reading, he’s always eager to go into the local village and speak to people around town about all the wonderful books, but they’re scared of him!

That’s until he meets Luna who loves to read just as much as he does. Soon their talking about all the books they like to read and come up with a plan to share that with as many people as possible!

They hatch a plan to create: a flying bookshop!

Both of them head into town to introduce it to the villagers so they won’t be scared of Franklin anymore!

I loved Katie Harnett‘s art!, because it brings a comfort and whimsy to the story. The style of colors also bring a lot to the story!

While reading Franklin’s Flying Bookshop I also found this underlying message about how powerful reading can be in allowing you to learn new things, connect with others, and offer a sense of escapism from the everyday!

My only issue (which has me caught between 4 & 4.5 stars) is that the writing at times would jump between regular prose and rhymes–so it made the flow of dialogue and storytelling feel a bit off.

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop is a delightful picture book with lovely illustrations that introduces you to a kind-hearted dragon who loves reading!

April 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 3

April wasn’t the best reading wise, but overall it did give me more time to come up with posts that I can’t wait to share this month!! ^_^

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen1.Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Owned | Started/Finished April 6 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Legendary Ladies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Legendary Ladies is a beautifully illustrated book that chronicles the tales of goddesses from around the world! With a selection of goddesses from a variety of cultures, Shen not only shares their stories, but also a guiding sentence at the end to offer words of wisdom inspired by each heroic goddess. What I found while reading, was how goddesses tales across time and cultures seemed to weave together and connect! I just wish there were more stories, because Shen not only does an incredible job at summarizing their legends, but also accompanying them with such vibrant illustrations! This colorful and inspiring collection is a must read!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi2.Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Library | Started April 3 + Finished April 8 | Rating: ★★★★★ | Emergency Contact Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Emergency Contact was a book I knew I would go into really enjoying, but did not expect to love it as much as I did! I don’t usually read contemporary books that a very romance heavy/centered, but this one was just incredible! Choi delivers such a character-driven, raw, modern-day romance that is just so unique and moving! I found myself re-reading this book twice & annotating my own copy when I bought it late last month, because I just loved it so much! Told through dual POV, it allows you to really understand the main characters Penny & Sam, how they really escape their loneliness through one another, and seeing the development of their deep friendship & connection with each other. It was so interesting to see how their text messages with each other vs. real-life interactions differed. Overall added such a unique layer to their relationship/development. It has a deep and moving story, is romantic, and has such emotional depth! If your looking for a unique,modern-day romance, Emergency Contact is definitely a book to check out! 

Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi3.Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Pandava Quartet #1)

Library | Started April 11 + Finished April 24 | Rating:★★★★☆ |Aru Shah And The End Of Time {Mini Review}

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi delivers a heroic fantasy adventure weaved in with Hindu mythology and folklore! Aru Shah And The End Of Time also emphasized family and friendship throughout the entire story, which is so wonderfully explored (And I loved that!). The 3rd person POV really allowed for the mythology, characters, and world to get such an expansive view and great development! Sadly the plot did get a bit slow for me as I read nearing the middle and the end. However, Chokshi’s debut into middle grade is not a book to miss! She brilliantly blends fantasy w/ the modern day, delivers a dazzling writing style, and immerses you into an unforgettable fantasy adventure!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #10

Empire Of Sand by Tasha Suri Cover Reveal

Top 10 Tuesday: Podcasts I’ve Recently Discovered {Freebie!}

LA Times Festival Of Books Wrap-Up {2018} + Giveaway {INTL + Open until May 15th}

Plans For May:

~ Now that finals are close, I’ll be on summer break (finally!) and catch up on so many books!!

~Planning to finally post my SFF TBR! 😍💞✨⚔🚀💫📚

~Share the posts I spent time drafting last month!

Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen Review

Legendary Ladies-50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann ShenLegendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses To Empower And Inspire You by Ann Shen

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Pages: 128

Available Through The Book Depository: Legendary Ladies

Summary: From the beloved author and artist behind Bad Girls Throughout History comes this lushly illustrated book of goddesses from around the world. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess whose love overcame mortality. Mazu, the Chinese deity who safely guides travelers home. Lakshmi, the Hindu provider of fortune and prosperity. These powerful deities and many more are celebrated in gorgeous artwork and enlightening essays that explore the feminine divine and encourage readers to empower themselves. Ann Shen’s signature watercolors make Legendary Ladies a unique, gift-worthy homage to the mighty women within.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Legendary Ladies chronicles the heroic, inspiring, and empowering tales of goddesses from around the world! Through beautiful artwork, Shen illustrates these goddesses lives and what wisdom or guidance they can offer + inspire, if you choose to call upon them!

 If your looking to learn more about the origins and inspiring tales of goddesses from around the world, then I highly recommend checking out Ann Shen’s Legendary Ladies!

This was such a beautifully illustrated and inspiring read, that while chronicling numerous tales of heroic goddesses it also was very inspirational and moving.

Separated by sections: Creativity & Manifestation, Love, Power, Protection, and Reinvention, Shen recounts the legends behind goddesses from an array of cultures, while also explaining how each goddess can inspire or help you during certain moments in your life.

For example: If you are seeking good fortune, spiritual strength or inner strength, starting a new chapter in life, whatever the case may be, reading those inspirational messages with each goddess’s story, your left feeling hopeful and with a sense of guidance!

Another one of my favorite aspects of the novel was, with the more you read through each goddess’s tale, the more you see how threads between each of the stories, and across a variety of cultures as well, interconnect.

You see across differing eras and cultures how these inspiring ladies and their stories have such universal truths. Additionally, how their tales set up many integral and essential foundations for numerous cultures across eras!

It was great to see such diversity among each section! While many are familiar with the gods/goddesses of Greek Mythology, I loved seeing numerous cultures represented throughout the entire novel!

From Hindu, Chinese, Native American, Yoruba, Hawaiian, Egyptian, Shinto, Vietnamese, Japanese, Mayan, Aztec, and so many more, it was amazing to see such diversity throughout the sections!

It saddens me that there were quite a few goddesses I’d never even heard of before, but its so great a book like this exists because each of these goddesses has such an inspiring story to tell!

One of the most memorable goddesses that I read about (& who’d I’d never heard of before) was Nüwa, a goddess of Chinese origin. Half human & half dragon, her legend states that she molded people from clay and when crisis came, she created 5 stones (of differing colors) to create water, air, earth & wind.

Her’s was probably the story I re-read the most! And I especially loved the “Call” for the end of her story:

“Call on Nüwa when you want to create something beautiful out of the raw material of your life” (25).

+ It was so great to see rep. of Mayan and Aztec goddesses in this book too! I’m pretty familiar with the legend of Ixchel (Mayan goddess of fertility & healing) and overall it was just so great to see that representation in this beautifully illustrated book! I loved it!! ❤❤

The artwork is absolutely stunning! Each illustration beautifully captured each goddess and accentuated, I felt, each of their stories even more!

Shen masterfully highlights the stories of each goddess and the origins of their legacy.

I can’t speak highly enough about this book! The art is beautiful and each story is just inspiring!

Honestly, I just wish this book was longer! 50 seemed like far too little for me. I would read hundreds of Shen’s books about even more Legendary Ladies!!

Legendary Ladies is colorful, vibrant and has spectacular illustrations that brilliantly capture the triumphant and empowering spirit of each goddess! While allowing each story to stand on its own, Shen also manages to weave in common threads that link each of the stories so beautifully! If your looking for a bit of guidance, inspirational words, or just want to read about empowering goddesses, I highly recommend this book!

Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women In Science 50 Fearless Pioneers by Rachel IgnotofskyWomen In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Pages: 128

Summary: It’s a scientific fact: Women rock!

A charmingly illustrated and educational book, Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: “This book tells the stories of some of these scientists, from ancient Greece to the modern day, who in the face of “No” said, “Try and stop me.”

Such an inspirational & beautifully illustrated book!

Many of the scientists in this novel I had never heard of! This book taught me about so many women who studied hard to get their ground-breaking work out there in the world. And the struggles they faced from needing to create their own funds to working in secret!

For ex. Wang Zhenyi a Chinese scholar (from 1768) who became quite an influential astronomer + mathematician & tested her many theories about eclipses, and the rotation of our solar system!

She is one of many trailblazing women who fought hard and beat the odds to develop ground breaking work in the name of science & math, which is still used today!!

I highly recommend this book if you are interested to learn more about female scientists, scientific accomplishments from history, or want to be inspired by these fearless pioneers! ❤