It’s Women’s History Month!

Posted March 4, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Women's History Month


In March we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by women. In every walk of life, women have helped to make America and the world a better place. Below are are just a few of the many books written about strong women who will inspire you.

The Leaf Detective written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jana Christy, Calkins Creek, 2021

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, Holiday House, 2017

Turning Pages: My Life Story written by Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Lulu Delacre, Philomel Books, 2018

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizabeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Brooke Smart, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secret of the Atom written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang, Sterling Children’s Books, 2019

Firebird written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2014

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020

Coming Soon! Don’t Miss it!

Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott written by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 8, 2021

Coming Soon: A Hilarious Picture Book!

Posted February 25, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Cow Says Meow written by Kristi Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, March 16, 2021.

If you like animals, wordplay, and serious silliness, this is the book for you! Cow Says Meow written by Kirsti Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott will have you and young readers meowing, clucking, and belly laughing with each page turn. The illustrator’s bold art will appeal to the youngest of readers who can practice identifying the animal pictures and matching the animal sounds to the proper animal. The clever text with a young boy as the narrator combined with the humorous illustrations make this book a winner! “Ewe” will love it!

Join the free virtual book launch on Tuesday, March 16th at 7pm EST. Kirsti Call will be singing a song written by her daughter especially for Cow Says Meow. The illustrator will be there, too, for a fun evening. You can register here.  Once at the site, click on the date above the pictures of Kirsti Call and Brandon James Scott in the big black box.

See you there!

PB Review: The Clothesline Code

Posted February 18, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Trisha Mason, Brandylane Publishers, Inc., 2021

Have you ever thought about becoming a spy? Is it dangerous? What if you get caught? Award-winning author, Janet Halfmann‘s newest book, The Clothesline Code, tells a compelling story about Dabney and Lucy Ann Walker, two black patriots, who fled slavery and became spies for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Dabney and Lucy Ann found refuge and work in a Union camp near the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Lucy Ann worked as a laundress, and Dabney worked as a cook and scout. Camped across the river was Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army. Major General Hooker of the Union army wanted to find out every detail about the enemy. Dabney volunteered to help by becoming a spy. He told Lucy Ann about the flags the Union soldiers used to send coded messages. Together the two of them came up with a clever way to use different colors of clothing and different patterns of hanging laundry on a clothesline to send messages across the river.

Dabney and Lucy Ann worked hard to flesh out every single detail of their code and practiced until they knew exactly how to work it. It was time for Lucy Ann to take her place as a spy. She used her wits to cross the Rappahannock River and blend in with the other women doing laundry in the Confederate camp. She washed clothes for General Lee and his officers, and she also cooked for them. She was in the perfect place to gather information. Spying was a dangerous job, but the clothesline code worked well. Dabney decoded the messages sent by Lucy Ann which then provided General Hooker with valuable information about the enemy forces. Janet Halfmann has written a powerful story of two extraordinary black patriots who were willing to risk their lives so others could enjoy freedom. Trisha Mason‘s illustrations help tell the Walkers’ story, depicting emotions of fear and elation experienced by Dabney and Lucy Ann. This book is a fascinating look at American history and how two heroic people came up with an ingenious idea to help the Union Army during the Civil War.

A perfect book to celebrate African American History Month!

Books Celebrating Black History Month

Posted February 11, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: African American History Month

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Check out these books that celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans!

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad written and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2020

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston written by Alicia D. Williams and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, Antheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2021

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner written by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, Calkins Creek, 2019

Carter Reads the Newspaper written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2019

RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Frank Morrison, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World written by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones, Wayne State University Press, 2021

Black Women in Science written by Kimberly Brown Pellum, PhD, Rockridge Press, 2019

PB Review: Little Dandelion Seeds the World

Posted February 4, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Little Dandelion Seeds the World written by Julia Richardson and illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell, Sleeping Bear Press, March 15, 2021


Children love them. Lawn enthusiasts not so much.

Where do dandelions come from? Why do they seem to pop up everywhere?

Julia Richardson has the answer to these questions in her delightful book about the adaptability of the dandelion in Little Dandelion Seeds the World. With the use of repetition, rhyme, and alliteration, the author’s lyrical text is music to readers’ ears. Each page turn engages readers as they follow the path of one little dandelion seed. The wind twists and turns the seed, taking it to far-off places where it plants itself. Down with a root. Up with a shoot. And when the yellow flower fades, POOF! The seeds take flight once again. It slowly travels across the world. It finds its way to each continent by hitching a ride with the weather, indigenous animals, and human beings. Readers will enjoy the bright and colorful illustrations created by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell as they follow the journey of the dandelion seed to unusual places. This book is informative, entertaining, and provides room for discussions about seeds, animals, and continents. Little Dandelion Seeds the World celebrates resilience and deserves a prize bouquet of — dandelions!


Posted January 28, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books

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Winged Wonders:  Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery written by Meeg Pincus and illustrated by Yas Imamura. I love this book! The author takes readers on a journey of questions about the migration mystery of the monarch butterfly. They are questions that pique the curiosity of readers. Meeg Pincus begins with the question, Where do they go? Then comes a discovery about monarch migration. From there, comes another question. Who solved this age-old mystery? Each page turn asks another question, which provides the reader with added information about the monarchs and where they go. There is the Canadian scientist who tags the monarchs’ wings, his wife who spreads the word about tagging monarchs and who collects information from volunteer helpers. There are teachers, gardeners, and ordinary people who work to solve the mystery. Because of their team efforts, we now know the migration path of the monarch butterfly that goes from Canada, through the United States, and to the mountains of Mexico and back again each year. Yas Imamura’s colorful illustrations help bring this amazing story to life. Meeg Pincus leaves readers with words of caution, reminding us that we need to take action to save these delicate creatures. Find out what you can do!

How About a Hug?

Posted January 21, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Uncategorized

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It’s National Hugging Day!

A hug lifts you up. It gives you a sense of comfort and security. A good hug is like good medicine. Studies have shown that a twenty-second hug relieves stress. Sometimes, a hug is all you need.

Do a good deed. Reach out and hug someone today. If not physically, do it virtually. Make a difference in someone’s life!

“A hug is the perfect gift; one size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it.~Unknown


Share these sweet books with someone you love!

Bird Hugs written and illustrated by Ged Adamson, Two Lions, 2020. See my review here.

Hedgehog Needs a Hug written and illustrated by Jen Betton, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2018. See my review here.


Posted January 14, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Author, Jenna Grodzicki, offers readers a new way of showing off a “wild style.” This book is about creatures found in nature that dress up themselves in unusual ways. Their style is definitely unconventional. Wild Style:  Amazing Animal Adornments is filled with colorful photographs that beg to be carefully examined. These extraordinary creatures have adapted to their environment in exotic ways. There’s the assassin bug that protects itself with a pile of dead ants on its back. A carrier crab carries a sea urchin on its back to keep predators away. And readers will love learning about the golden tortoise beetle larva that covers itself with poop! Jenna Grodzicki cleverly introduces readers to a variety of animal adornments that are as fascinating as they are unusual. Dress up your bookshelves with this stylish book!

PB Review: Bird Hugs

Posted January 7, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Bird Hugs written and illustrated by Ged Adamson, Two Lions, 2020.

Bernard, the bird, has a problem. His friends have all left the nest and flown away, but Bernard can’t. He is different than his bird friends. His oversized wings hang to the ground. They’re too heavy to fly. Bernard tries everything to get his wings working, but he has no luck. One day he hears a sob from none other than an orangutan. Bernard uses his oversized wings to give him a hug. The orangutan immediately feels better – much better. Soon everyone wants a hug from Bernard. They tell him their problems. Bernard listens and gives them a hug. With each hug, Bernard’s wings become stronger. With his new strength, he knows he can fly. Bernard tries again and again with no luck. He finally has the strength to realize flying isn’t everything – especially when you have friends. Ged Adamson‘s text and humorous illustrations are filled with heart and include a surprise ending that readers won’t want to miss!

Onward to 2021

Posted December 31, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holidays

Tags: ,

It’s time to leave the woes of 2020 behind and look forward to the possibilities 2021 has to offer.

If you believe, anything is possible!

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