Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the July and August 2018 issue of Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews. I have put together a wonderful collection of reviews for you for this issue, and I hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them.

As always, the books reviewed on TTLG are carefully chosen by the editor. We only review books that suit the scope of TTLG, and that we feel have something to offer readers. Therefore, all our reviews are positive ones. We hope this will help you to find excellent books for the young people in your lives. If you are looking for books for yourself, we hope you will find books that you will enjoy reading. Please consider buying books through this website. Your purchases help to support our work, and give us the means to improve this online resource.

For this month’s special feature I am looking at books about Strong Girls, Strong Women. When I was young there weren’t many books that told the stories of girls and women who had done, and were still doing, wonderful and amazing things. I recall reading biographies about Madame Curie – my parents got this book because her real first name was the same as mine – and Florence Nightingale. And that was it. It was only much later that I began to learn about the women scientists, artists, inventors, and musicians who have enriched this world because of their achievements. Thankfully in the last twenty years or so authors have been writing more and more biographies about the amazing women and girls who have done so many interesting and extraordinary things. The books in this feature will appeal to boys and girls, young men and young women alike. It is a celebration of girls and women whose stories need to be told and shared.

In July and August most schools are closed for the summer vacation, and children all over the world get ready to enjoy family holidays, days at camp, and many other summer activities. When I was growing up, we would escape the heat of town by going into the mountains for a few weeks, or we would camp at the seaside. These camping trips were wonderful, and I still remember the hours I spent snorkeling, looking for pretty stones on the beach, and watching the fishing boats chug past. You will find a large collection of books about going to the beach on the Days at the beach page.

For this month’s Editor’s Choice title, I have selected Brick, who found herself in architecture. The book, written by Joshua David Stein and illustrated by Julia Rothman, is the story of a little brick who sets off to find her place in the world. I think this book would make a wonderful gift for young people who are about to head off to college. Yes, it is a picture book, but the story is ageless and timeless and so it will appeal to readers of all ages. Through the main character, Brick, we see how important it is to be true to who you are as you set out to explore the world. The story will actually resonate with a lot of adults as well, particularly those who are questioning where they are and where they want to be.

In every issue I spotlight a series that I am really enjoying, or have enjoyed in the past. For this issue I chose The Aurora County Books. I fell in love with the first book in this series, Love, Ruby Lavender when it first came out in 2001. Since then we have been blessed with three other books that are set in the same place. The latest of these has just come out and I have reviewed it in this issue. The characters in these books are delightfully colorful and they are often rather peculiar as well; in the best possible way of course. With humor and sensitivity the author explores human relationships in creative ways, and we come to love the people (and the animals) who call Aurora County home.

Clearly I am a fan of the author of this series, Deborah Wiles, so it should come as no surprise that I chose to feature her on the Author Spotlight for this issue. So far Deborah has written six books for young readers and each one of them is a gem. I hope that you will get to know and love her work as I do.

When I choose the award-winning books that I want to feature on TTLG, I don’t only look at the recent winners. I also go back and review books that won in the past. In this issue I look at the book Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends. This is a charming book and it won a Geisel Honor Award in 2010.

Finally, take a look at the Bookish Calendar page for book reviews about Henry David Thoreau, volcanoes, the moon landing, Amelia Earhart, and much more. This calendar is a great tool to use at home and in the classroom to help children incorporate books more fully into their lives.

In September of 2012 I launched a project that I would like to tell you about. It is a story blog  called Talon Diaries, and it is written by a colorful and very unusual character who is called Gryf. I hope you will come and read Gryf”s blog posts.

For those of you don’t know already, I also publish a blog about children’s books and the children’s book world. On the blog I post reviews, interviews with great authors and illustrators, I offer book giveaways, and I tell you about interesting contests and bookish events. Do visit the blog and sign up for the feed. In the coming year, I will be posting new picture book reviews on Mondays and poetry book reviews on Fridays.

Some of the titles I reviewed several years ago are now out of print. Though you cannot buy these books in every bookshop, many of them are still available for purchase on websites like Amazon.com.

I hope you enjoy this new issue, and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,