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Bookie Blogger's Dynamic Elementary Reviews
Summary: Chef Toussaint Palmer is a 9-year-old boy who resides in Georgia and is passionate about cooking. His love for food is engrained in his family where the kitchen is referred to as a magical place. It all began with Nana and her sisters who were the successful owners of a soul food restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. Nana’s love for homemade cornbread, peach cobbler and banana pudding are a few favorites that have been influential in shaping Toussaint’s’ family traditions. The smell of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg floating through the air is an aroma that entices the community where Toussaint is known as a cooking sensation. Toussaint shares his delightful caramel apples with sixteen local restaurants to showcase his talent. He also enters the local “Buckhead Cook-Off” a big competition in Atlanta where the top winner is featured on a magazine cover and wins a cash prize. Will Toussaint make his mark in this challenging competition? Are the recipes influenced by Nana enough to impress the judges? Will he be the youngest chef to ever win? Strengths: This book mirrors the importance of community and family. Toussaint emulates what he is exposed to as young boy which shapes his outlook without limitations. He develops a sense of self and confidently takes on challenges while growing up in a healthy environment. His passion for cooking supports his drive that screams, “I can do anything!”. Weaknesses: It would have been nice to hear or see how Toussaint interacts with others his age somewhere in the story. Thoughts: This book embraces ethnic pride through its content and illustrations. It is a book that will influence those who desire to become part of the culinary profession. However, the impact of cooking is just the key storyline. The overall message is one that has the potential to encourage young readers to dream big and to face the challenge of something new with confidence.
Summary: Your Mama is like no other! She is original in her walk and spicy in her talk. She is strong like an anchor, forgiving, and even sometimes cray cray. The brainiac she is does not block her awareness or humor. She is a role MODEL who is beautiful, mighty, and powerful. Give it up for “Your Mama” because you will only have one! Strengths: This is an inspirational story about the relationship that little girls share with their mothers. The flow of the nearly verse words grip the pages and draws you into this poignant story filled with “plain” ole English. The truths and realities of motherhood, mother-daughter and daughter-mother relationships are easily identifiable through the words and illustrations in this vibrant story. The Latinx author and illustrator provides a nice combination of Spanish translations and detailed glimpses of the culture. Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses, but this story will leave you wanting more. Thoughts: This book is a beautiful way to engage young girls in conversation from the parental and educator prospective. It can even be use in therapeutic settings for those dealing with grief, relational issues, and separation.
Summary: Your voice is one of the most important things in the world. It does not matter if it is small or tall. It can roar like a lion or show its strength in a stream of mighty sound like a trumpet. It gives you the power to ask, tell and learn. It also allows you to wonder. Wow! Your voice speaks to others it tells how it feels using endless words. Did you know the power of the voice creates a beautiful song? Everyone uses their voice in a unique way. How do you use your voice? Strengths: This book is full of vibrant illustrations that sets the tone for the reader. Each page draws your imagination into the descriptive words that makes the pictures come to life. The theme encourages students to be who they are and use the power of their own voice. The diversity of the characters creates an all-inclusive atmosphere that exaggerates the message that there are no exclusions. Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses, but I would have loved to see this story written in a series. Perhaps this would be the first of the series. Thoughts: Students love this book. It empowers them to like themselves and respect others. It promotes several character traits that are a focal point in elementary school.