Summer 2021 Childrens Books & Giveaway

Summer Book Review - Kids


One of the fun parts of my job is getting a variety of books from publishers.  My kids and husband love it when we get new books in the mail. There are so many amazing authors and illustrators, many of of which are Canadian.  Many of the books I get are about local sites and history which is extra special for my family.

The following is a list (in alphabetical order) of childrens and young adult books that have come out recently:


Books for Children thru to Young Adults


Modern Mama Approved

A is for Anemone


A great board book gift for toddlers.

Synopsis: (source

With crisp, luminous illustrations by celebrated Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers, and a simple rhythmic text, this sturdy board book introduces the alphabet using iconic imagery of the West Coast, creating a book that will be cherished by young readers and their families.

Starting with colourful sea anemones waving in the ocean currentand closing with a snoozing grizzly bear (Zzz), this board book supports both early literacy and children’s awareness of the natural world.

I just loved this book. While my kids are older, they still really enjoyed this little book with all the cool illustrations and rhyming words about our local west coast surroundings.  It is a wonderful little book that would make a great gift.



Modern Mama Approved

A Girl Called Echo Series


Graphic novels for children aged 12-14

I had a hard time putting these books down. I felt like I was learning so much as I was reading them. The illustrations are so detailed.  The whole series was exciting to read.

Synopsis source: Portage and Main Press

Volume 1: Pemmican Wars

Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl adjusting to a new home and school, is struggling with loneliness while separated from her mother. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.

Volume 2: Red River Resistance

Echo Desjardins is adjusting to her new home, finding friends, and learning about Métis history. She just can’t stop slipping back and forth in time. One ordinary afternoon in class, Echo finds herself transported to the banks of the Red River in the summer of 1869. All is not well in the territory as Canadian surveyors have arrived to change the face of territory, and Métis families, who have lived there for generations, are losing access to their land. As the Resistance takes hold, Echo fears for her friends and the future of her people in the Red River Valley.

Volume 3: Northwest Resistance

In Northwest Resistance, Echo travels to 1885, a period of turmoil. The bison are gone, settlers from the East are arriving daily, and the Métis and First Nations of the Northwest face hunger and uncertainty as their traditional way of life is threatened. The Canadian government has ignored their petitions, but hope rises when Louis Riel returns to help. However, battles between Canadian forces and the Métis and their allies lead to defeat at Batoche. Through it all, Echo gains new perspectives about where she came from and what the future may hold.

Volume 4: Road Allowance Era

In Road Allowance Era, Echo’s story picks up again when she travels back in time to 1885.

The government has not fulfilled its promise of land for the Métis, and many flee to the Northwest. As part of the fallout from the Northwest Resistance, their advocate and champion Louis Riel is executed. As new legislation corrodes Métis land rights, and unscrupulous land speculators and swindlers take advantage, many Métis settle on road allowances and railway land, often on the fringes of urban centres.

For Echo, the plight of her family is apparent. Burnt out of their home in Ste. Madeleine, they make their way to Rooster Town, a shanty community on the southwest edges of Winnipeg. In this final instalment of her story, Echo is reminded of the strength and resilience of her people, forged through the loss and pain of the past, as she faces a triumphant future.



Mega Monster


A great gift for children aged 8-12

The new children’s book from No. 1 bestselling author David Walliams – a timeless adventure illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross.

On a volcanic island, in the middle of shark-infested waters, stands The Cruel School. The lessons are appalling, the school dinners are revolting and the teachers are terrifying – especially the mysterious Science teacher Doctor Doktur.

When Larker is sent to the school, she quickly realises something very odd is going on… something involving Doctor Doktur, a pair of strange spectacles, and a ‘Monsterfication Machine’. And ultimately she finds herself face to face with a real life Megamonster.

There seems to be no escape – but for Larker, nothing is impossible…


Metropolis Grove


A great gift for children in grades 3-6

METROPOLIS GROVE follows the perilous escapades of a newfound friendship put to the test when chaos ensues in suburbia. The big city is full of Superman sightings, but in Metropolis Grove? Every kid in the suburb knows that he’s not real except Sonia Patel, a newcomer to town, who convinces her friends Duncan and Alex to believe in Superman again! This all changes when the trio discovers a mysterious cave full of Super-memorabilia that they can’t keep to themselves, setting off a school year full of drama and adventure and more than a few opportunities for a newfound friendship to test its limits. But when they finally figure out the resident of the cave is Bizarro, things get even more out of control!

** Want to win a copy of Metropolis Grove?  I have 3 copies to giveaway to lucky readers/followers! Scroll down to the bottom for the entry form **


Modern Mama ApprovedThe Mystery of the Meanest Teacher 


A great gift for children in grades 3-6

My kids love anything DC, so my sons opinion of the book is a bit one-sided.  He thoroughly enjoyed the story and the illustrations.  I enjoyed the story-line and the characters.

Synopsis: After angering a number of hostile spirits in England, 13-year-old magician Johnny Constantine finds himself at the Junior Success Boarding School in Salem, Massachusetts. Even though he’s across the world, he can’t seem to escape his problems as he finds himself to be something of an outcast and is convinced that his homeroom teacher really has it in for him. Worse, he’s convinced that she’s really a witch. Fortunately, John is able to find one kindred spirit at school with whom he’s able to form an alliance–another misfit named Anna, who also happens to have her own developing magical powers. John recruits Anna in his efforts to uncover the truth about Ms. Kayla and expose the Meanest Teacher’s real identity to the world. Joined by a friendly demon named Etrigan, these two amateur sleuths will uncover clues and stumble upon forces beyond their control in a humorous series of misadventures.


The Mysterious Stones


For children aged 5-8

A book for young children about a little boy named Kiki who find new found hope in beautiful stones that a mysterious woman leaves for him on the beach.

Synopsis: Kiki is a young boy, growing up in Cuba in a house by the sea. He lives with his uncle and grandmother ever since his father sailed off across the ocean in search of a new life. One night, Kiki dreams about a ghost-like woman in white. He is amazed to encounter her the next day on a nearby beach, the same beach his father sailed off from. She leaves him a mysterious gift of colourful stones that give him newfound hope to be reunited with his father.

This book had me very captivated, but in the end I felt like the story needed to continue. I felt a bit let down as I thought the story was unfinished.


The Street Belongs to Us


Designed for children aged 8-12 LGBTQ. For children aged 8-12

Synopsis (Source:

A sweet middle-grade chapter book about two best friends who transform their torn-up street into a world where imaginations can run wild.

In 1984 Los Angeles, Alex is a tomboy who would rather wear her hair short and her older brother’s hand-me-downs, and Wolf is a troubled kid who’s been wearing the same soldier’s uniform ever since his mom died. They temporarily set their worries aside when their street is torn up by digging machines and transformed into a muddy wonderland with endless possibilities. To pass the hot summer days, the two best friends seize the opportunity to turn Muscatel Avenue into a battleground and launch a gleeful street war against the rival neighborhood kids.

But when Alex and Wolf make their headquarters inside a deep trench, Alex’s grandmother warns them that some buried things want to be found and some want to stay hidden and forgotten. Although she has the wisdom of someone who has survived the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Flu, and immigration to a new country, the kids ignore her warning, unearthing more than they bargained for.

The exuberant and expressive line drawings by Gabriela Godoy perfectly capture the summers of youth, when anything feels possible and an adventure is always around the corner. Bursting with life and feeling, both the people and the land come alive in a tale interwoven with Mexican-American identity, experience, and history. The Street Belongs to Us is a story of family, friendship, and unconditional acceptance, even when it breaks your heart.




Young adult nonfiction graphic novel (aged 12 and up)

A poignant bilingual YA graphic novel about a teenage girl’s harrowing experience crossing the Mexico-US border.

This compelling young adult graphic memoir, based on real events, tells the story of Gricelda, a fifteen-year-old Mexican girl who attempts to cross the border into America with her mother and younger brother in search of a better life. Their treacherous journey, filled with both heartbreak and hope, begins in Tijuana, where they are transported from house to house by strangers. Here they meet the mysterious smuggler el Guero, who promises to lead the young family through the mountains and the scorching heat of the desert and beyond. Can he prove himself by keeping them safe during the crossing? Will America be the country of dreams like they imagined? Or will adjusting to their new life in California be another type of struggle for Gricelda and her family?

With captivating illustrations inspired by the graffiti and stencil art prevalent during the 2006 political uprising in Oaxaca, as well as local textiles and embroidery, Travesia is Gricelda’s first-person account, derived from interviews with author Michelle Gerster and told in both English and Spanish, of crossing the Mexico-US border. Timely and relevant, Travesia is a vibrant and powerful testament to the desperation and resilience of millions of migrating people who endure the pain of leaving their old lives behind to embark on the perilous journey across borders in search of a new life.

Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Centro Legal de la Raza, a legal services agency protecting and advancing the rights of low-income, immigrant, Black, and Latinx communities through bilingual legal representation, education, and advocacy.





Modern Mama ApprovedWe Dream Medicine Dreams


A great gift for children 5 to 8

I cried, I wept.  This book reminded me of how I feel when I read the “Love You Forever” book.  It was very touching, moving and beautiful. What a wonderful book about grief and loss. Teaches us that no one is every truly gone. They live on in and around us.


We Dream Medicine Dreams tells a poignant story of a young girl who has to say goodbye to her grandfather who is in a coma. The girl takes comfort remembering what her grandfather taught her about connecting with the knowledge of her ancestors through dreams. The lessons of Bear, Hawk, Caribou, and Wolf, shared by her grandfather, have given her the strength to face life’s challenges and she takes solace knowing she will see her grandfather again, in her dreams.


Green Glass Ghosts


A book for young adults LGBTQ+

At age nineteen in the year 2000, the queer narrator of Green Glass Ghosts steps off a bus on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, a city where the faceless condo towers of the wealthy loom over the streets of the east side where folks are just trying to get by, against the deceptively beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains and sparkling ocean.

Armed with only their guitar and their voice, our hopeful hero arrives on the West Coast at the beginning of the new millennium and on the cusp of adulthood, fleeing a traumatic childhood in an unsafe family plagued by religious extremism, mental health crises and abuse in a conservative city not known for accepting difference. But their search for belonging and stability is disrupted by excessive drinking, jealousy and painful memories of the past, distracting the protagonist from their ultimate goal of playing live music and spurring them to an emotional crisis.

The haunting illustrations by Gem Hall conjure the moody, misty urban landscape and represent a deep collaboration with the author based on their shared experience of seeking safety, authenticity and acceptance on the West Coast. Green Glass Ghosts is an evocation of that delicate, aching moment between youth and adulthood when we are trying, and often failing, to become the person we dream ourselves to be.


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Note: As an Amazon  Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  I get commissions for purchases made through certain links in this post. I was gifted a copy of all of the above books, for the books I have had a chance to read and write reviews on above,  all my opinions are my own. 


Tina Evans


1 comment

  1. 1

    Thanks a MILLION Modern Mama Fraser Valley for this TOTALLY AWESOME CONTEST and EXTREMELY GENEROUS PRIZE!! I have a Book worm who would LOVE LOVE LOVE to WIN THIS!! He LOVES DC SUPER HEROES!!

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