Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kid Konnection: Creston Books Part 1

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a couple of picture books from the new imprint Creston Books.

Summary: Meet Lola, a little terrier with a big job. Children will identify with the feisty Lola as she struggles going to school, passing tests, and finally achieving her Big Dog dream. If Lola can make it in a world of Great Danes and Labradors, so can anybody who's feeling like a runt.-- Creston Books

A few weeks ago when I was at BEA, I was fortunate enough to meet Marissa Moss, founder of Creston Books. She had recently sent me a few of the picture books in her new imprint and I'm finally getting around to reviewing them. The first one I picked up was LOLA GOES TO WORK: A NINE-TO-FIVE THERAPY DOG by Marcia Goldman. Kathy (aka Bermuda Onion) just about died when she saw this adorable book on the showroom floor and she reviewed it immediately upon her return.

LOLA GOES TO WORK is just plain precious. It tells the story of Lola, a terrier who is training to become a therapy dog. After much hard work, she passes the test and is certified to help comfort people in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. She loves her job and feels important when she helps make others happy!

Do I daresay that I'm not a huge dog fan? However, that didn't matter one bit when it came to my enjoyment of this book! I still managed to fall in love with Lola! Lola is just the cutest little dog and the photographs of her are nothing short of delightful. I challenge anyone (child or adult) who picks up this book not to fall head over heels for this sweet little dog.

I think LOLA GOES TO WORK is a terrific picture book for young children. Not only will the photos capture their interest, but the book actually has a great message too. I think kids will relate to Lola as the "underdog" -- she is small to be a therapy dog and has to work really hard to pass her test; and I think they will also see how everyone (including animals) has the ability to help others. I especially liked that the last page of the book provided some additional information about therapy dogs.

Recommended for dog lovers and anyone who appreciates books with photographs.

Summary: With powerful words and pictures Florida chronicles in her notebook her journey to figure out how to read facial expressions, how to make friends, how to juggle all the social cues that make school feel like a complicated maze. Diagnosed with autism as a three-year-old, Florida is now an articulate 15-year-old whose explorations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to handle peer pressure will resonate with any pre-teen. For those wondering what it's like inside an autistic child's head, Florida's book provides amazing insight and understanding. Reading how she learns how to be human makes us all feel a little less alien. -- Creston Books

And now for a picture book that is aimed at older children... HOW TO BE HUMAN: DIARY OF AN AUTISTIC GIRL by Florida Frenz. The book gives an inside look into the mind of an autistic girl and was actually written and illustrated by a girl with autism. It truly is unlike any picture book I've every seen. HOW TO BE HUMAN is part advice/self help, part journal, part notebook and part graphic novel.

HOW TO BE HUMAN begins with a foreword where the author explains autism and how it makes her feel. I found this section to be fascinating as well as extremely powerful! Then the book becomes a step-by-step guide for dealing with autism. There are so many positive suggestions including how to figure out faces and feelings as well how to avoid being a perfectionist. While the advice is geared towards children with autism, this picture book has so many wonderful messages for anyone who wants to improve themselves and the way they deal with others.

HOW TO BE HUMAN is so good on so many levels. First of all, I was struck by the insight I got into how a child with autism feels. I was somewhat familiar with a few of the references; however, I was blown away by just how many things affect an autistic child. The simplest things to my children can put a child with autism over the edge -- it's all so overwhelming.

Additionally, I liked that this book explored the themes of bullying and peer pressure. I've seen with my own eyes how cruel children can be to each other and I'm sure that children with autism face even more mean-spirited behavior. I loved how the author explains ways to cope with other children (both good and bad) as well as how to carefully select quality friends. She also talks about the different types of behavior and how to express yourself!

I can't rave enough about Florida's story. She truly is a special child who has worked extremely hard at communicating with others, and I know that her words will help parents and children better understand autism. However, I also think she has some wonderful messages about friendship, bullying, and peer pressure that are helpful to all children and tweens.

Thanks to the publisher for providing review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

Both books look fabulous, but How to Be Human really caught my attention. It sounds like a must read.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with Candace - How to Be Human really is calling out to me!

bermudaonion said...

I adored Lola and can't wait to read How to Be Human!

Laura Fabiani said...

I've seen therapy dogs in action. They are amazing! Lola looks adorable. My son would love this book.