The first book that would make a lovely gift is the fourth book in the Becoming America Series. The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers (Becoming America’s Stories Book 4) by Antoinette Truglio Martin
About the book
Lily has to do EVERYTHING. She bakes Daily Bread, minds her thumb-sucking little sister, hangs laundry on the roof, and keeps up with home chores her big sisters list. She even fetched a nurse from the Henry Street Settlement to save Mama and the new baby. Now the bossy public health nurse, who visits each day to attend to somber Mama and the bawling baby, sends Lily on errands throughout the Little Italy streets.
Things turn around when Lillian Ward, the Henry Street Settlement head nurse, hears Lily’s powerful voice, she invites Lily to sing in the Children’s Choir. Lily sneaks to the choir and the forbidden play yard with tag-along Gigi on Wednesday afternoons. Her schemes unfold when she needs permission to sing with the choir at the New York Highlanders Fourth of July baseball game at Hilltop Park. The Yanks need a morale booster, and Lily and the choir may be the ticket to keep fans cheering and buying beer, Cracker Jack and ice cream. More trouble arises when a mean girl wants Lily’s solo, and the “Black Hand” terrorizes the neighborhood.
One of the early reviews for the book
The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers by Antoinette Truglio Martin invited me into the fourth floor walk-up on Mott Street. The invitation made real all the sights, sounds and smells of a tenement building on the lower east side of New York City in 1911. The melting pot of neighbors, joys and dangers met my hungry eyes. I could not read this fast enough. What a perfect way to introduce the readers to this slice of history. Baseball, (when the Yankees were the New York Highlanders), the Henry Street Settlement House, the attitudes of some toward immigrants, how some within a group turned against their own. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Librarians, teachers, lovers of New York History, this book was made for you! A great read-aloud, the short, fast moving chapters are well suited to family, to middle grade readers, to adults who love New York History.
Also by Antoinette Truglio Martin
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews: Goodreads – Website: Stories Served – Blog: Stories Served Blog – Facebook: Antoinette Truglio Martin – Twitter: @StoriesServed – Linkedin: LinkedIn
The next great gift idea is the latest children’s book from D.L. Finn – Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories
About the book
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I’ve enjoyed getting to know this author and her writing style through social media, so I knew I was in for a treat when I read Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories. Author D.L. Finn introduced me to an enchanting and magical world, one that I hadn’t experienced in decades. Although classified as a Middle Grade level read, this book carries a beautiful message for young and old alike. This book came at a perfect time when I needed an escape and a little magic. It was a delightful read!
Other children’s books by D.L. Finn and for adults in the Cafe and Bookstore
The next author Darlene Foster has a wonderful travel series and here is Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady.
About the book
Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.
Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?
Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.
A recent review for for the book on Goodreads
An exciting mystery for children in a fascinating location
Amanda in Malta is Book 8 in the Amanda Travels series, and it is a great mix of mystery, adventure, travel and history.
I think this series is a brilliant concept, allowing young people to learn about wonderful places around the world while developing their reading at the same time. It’s sure to inspire an interest in travel, and each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.
Amanda is a twelve-year-old girl who receives a strange letter from her friend Leah. Leah is visiting Malta with her aunt, and seems to be in trouble. Then a friend invites Amanda to travel there on vacation. The adventure plays out around the most interesting historic and tourist sites in Malta, so for the reader it’s almost as good as really being there. Tensions rise when a tiny Neolithic statue, The Sleeping Lady, is stolen from the museum.
This is an enjoyable mystery that young people will love. Amanda and her friends are courageous and daring, always willing to head into danger, and the story is a real page-turner. The historic and tourist sites are brilliantly woven into the action, and are integral to the most dramatic scenes.
I was very interested in this book, having visited Malta on a cruise about four years ago. It was a pleasure to visit again through Amanda’s eyes, and learn so much more about it.
Although suited for children aged 9 – 12, it would also be excellent for anyone learning English or trying to improve their literacy. it’s an easy and enjoyable read, so would be a great choice for reluctant readers. The whole series would be a good gift idea for children of the right age.
This is the sort of story that ticks all the boxes, helping to inspire a love of reading in children as well as expanding their general knowledge. I give it a resounding five stars.
A selection of other books by Darlene Foster
Now for a review a book for younger children by Miriam Hurdle – Tina Lost in a Crowd.
About the book
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.
A recent review for the book
Tina and her friend Erica go to the Hollywood Bowl with Tina’s parents to listen to a classical music concert and watch fireworks. During the intermission, on the way to the restrooms, Tina and Erica get lost. Thankfully, Tina remembers some words of wisdom and all ends well. This is a cute story appropriate for preschoolers and young readers, and it shares some excellent advice for kids if they ever get separated from their caregivers. The language is accessible and the illustrations are delightful. It made me want to visit the Hollywood Bowl!
Also by Miriam Hurdle for adults
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…thanks Sally.