Kid Confident Books for Middle School Students – Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM)

I am sharing two dynamic nonfiction resources written by Bonnie Zucker PsyD and Lenka Glassman, PsyD, and illustrated by DeAndra Hodge, that will help prepare readers, ages 11 to 14 for middle school. Published by Magination Press Aug. 30, 2022, both books help students transition from elementary school to middle school. It is both an exciting and challenging time as readers learn to handle the many changes that are occurring in their personal and home lives, their bodies, and their relationships with friends and peers. The first book helps readers understand social power and how to keep it balanced in their interactions with friends/peers. The second book helps readers examine their emotional life and rapidly changing moods so that they can learn to face their school experiences with self-confidence and self-control.

The authors provide useful strategies and advice. I like the design of each book, which has has ten short informative chapters that end with a “Take-Away” page that highlights the major points. And every page is full of fun and expressive illustrations and cartoons — the cover is a good example of what is inside.

Kid Confident #1: How to Manage Your Social Power in Middle School

Author: Bonnie Zucker, PsyD

Illustrator: DeAndra Hodge

Synopsis: Do you know what “social power” is? HINT: You experience every day, you share it with your friends and classmates, and when it is balanced and equal, you feel AWESOME. But when it’s unequal or out of whack, you feel All. That. Drama… right?  

This book gives you a real look at the social life of middle graders and offers expert ways to deal when unbalanced social power situations and unfriendly peers happen. Loaded with safe and appropriate strategies and easy-to-apply advice, you’ll get just what to need to blossom and grow though an often turbulent time in your life. With this, you will thrive in your friendships, figure out who you are, become the best version of yourself, and have a rock-solid sense of confidence.

Kid Confident #2: How to Master Your Mood in Middle School

Author: Lenka Glassman, PsyD, 

Illustrator: DeAndra Hodge

Synopsis: Some kids sail through their middle school years without any drama, but most kids get stuck on a rollercoaster of up and down moods. How is it possible to feel sad and happy at the same time? Why is everything so embarrassing? How does one eye-roll from a friend make you suddenly doubt everything about yourself? 

The truth is you are growing into the amazing person you are meant to be and your many moods and emotions are helping you figure it all out. Not everyone nerds out on mood and emotions, but this book is packed with cool brain science and info on mental health and wellness, plus real-life stories from kids your age, you’ll learn something about yourself without even trying! Soon you’ll be an expert on YOU and will figure out what your emotions and feelings are saying. Soon you’ll staying cool and calm during really tough moments knowing that you can handle anything. And all that adds up to feeling so much lighter and more confident about yourself and your future. 

Bonnie Zucker, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from George Washington University, her master’s degree from the University of Baltimore, and her doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Dr. Zucker specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and is the author of Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding DeathAnxiety-Free Kids,Take Control of OCD, and co-author of Resilience Builder Program for Children & Adolescents and two relaxation CDs. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Visit

Lenka Glassman, PsyD is a licensed psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety and related conditions. She runs a private practice in Washington, DC and Bethesda, MD where she works with children, teens, adults, and families on issues related to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and self-esteemIn addition to her clinical training and career in psychology, Dr. Glassman has worked as a group fitness leader for over 18 years, and views physical exercise as an important component in overall psychological well-being. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Visit and @drlenkaglassman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

DeAndra Hodge is an illustrator and designer based in Washington, DC. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from University of Montevallo. Visit and on Instagram as deandrahodge_ 

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copies provided by Magination Press in exchange for a review.

Under the Tangerine Tree by Esther M. Brandy

Under the Tangerine Tree

Esther M. Bandy, Author

JEBCO Publishing, Fiction, Jan. 6, 2022

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Pages: 226

Themes: Loss, Grief, Family relationships, Moving, Adventure, Faith, Hope

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Angie Mangione lives with her parents and her five-year-old brother, Joey, in New York City. After Papa is shot, Mama moves with Angie and Joey to Granny’s house on a country lake in Florida. How can Angie cope with missing Papa, moving to Florida, being the new girl at school, and living with her angry teenage cousin at Granny’s house? Will Angie and Joey be able to survive the mysterious danger that lurks in the lake? With all the changes in Angie’s life, will she ever be happy again?

Why I like Under the Tangerine Tree:

Under the Tangerine Tree is a heartwarming tale about strong family bonds and faith after the unexpected death of a parent. It’s also about moving to a new town, making new friends and dealing with grief and other big emotions. 

Readers will enjoy Bandy’s visual and melodic writing. It is simply beautiful. And it is a timely book for children who have lost a parent through an act of gun violence. They will find a friend in Angie and the many other engaging and memorable characters.  The plot is interesting, adventurous and entertaining — especially with peacocks scratching and screaming on the roof of Granny’s house. And then there is the mystery in the lake that poses a danger.  

The story is set in 1963 when Angie Mangione is 12 years old. The time frame immediately drew me into the story because I was the same age in 1963. I observed many of the historical events of the time — the Bay of Pigs incident with Cuba, Martin Luther King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and the death of President Kennedy — which are seamlessly woven into the story. It was a lazy summer time for kids as we played games outside, went fishing, caught lightning bugs and went on picnics. There was more interaction with family members and neighbors.

The story has a strong Christian theme as Angie struggles to deal with her father’s death. Her faith helps her through some tough times along with the support of her mother and Granny. It reminds me a bit of Because of Winn Dixie. It’s always tough moving to a new town and making new friends. 

This is a perfect summer read and a satisfying coming-of-age story. And I must comment on the title and beautiful book cover.

Esther Bandy  has been published in two anthologies: Treasures of a Woman’s Heart and Triumph from Tragedy. Under the Tangerine Tree is her debut middle-grade novel,  When she was five, a neighbor taught a Good News Club. She heard the gospel there, and she received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. That was the most important day in her life. She later worked as a nurse, a missionary, a director with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and a Spanish teacher at a Christian school.  Visit here at her website,  You can follow her on Facebook @EstherMBandy.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by the author in exchange for a review. 

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Jan. 28,2022


When We Say Black Lives Matter

Maxine Beneba Clarke, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, Sep. 7, 2021

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Themes: Family, Social themes, Diversity, Multicultural

Opening/ Synopsis:

Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,

We’re saying Black people are wonderful-strong.

That we deserve to be

treated with basic respect

and that history’s done us wrong.

From birth to the end of school, in joy and in sorrow on the trumpet and the djembe, at home and in the community, A Black child’s parents explain why Black Lives Matter.

A gorgeous and essential picture book for children of all ages from best-selling and award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke.

Why I like this book:

Maxine Beneba Clarke’s When We Say Black Lives Matter, is a  powerful tribute to the African-American experience and will fill its readers with pride and joy. It is an important picture book for families with young children regardless of their race or ethnicity.   

Clarke, who is of Afro-Caribbean descent, composed this empowering poetic ode for her extended family, who live in more than eight different countries around the globe. It is an honest look at a social movement that encompasses a history of pain and struggle, resilience and strength. But it also offers a glimpse of hope for the future. 

Her rich and colorful illustrations are done in watercolor pencil and collage. They beautifully support the poetic text and remind me of stain glass windows. She uses her art to emphasize key action words in bold colors — respect, raise, enough, whisper, sob, bellow, drive, stand, and laugh.  One particular scene carefully depicts the darkness of persecution as it shows a simple white outline of legs with a black/yellow stripe marking off an area and a woman weeping.

This book is one that every Black family will treasure. It belongs in every school library.

Resources: Check out the Teacher’s Guide for When We Say Black Lives Matter. There are excellent discussion questions, important words that children can use to create their own artwork, and suggestions for role-playing.  They fulfill Common Core requirements in the classroom.

Maxine Beneba Clarke is an award-winning Australian writer and slam poet champion of Afro-Caribbean descent. Her poetry and short fiction have won several prizes, including an Australian Independent Bookseller Indie Book Award and a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her debut picture book, The Patchwork Bike, won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and was named a New York Public Library Best Books for Kids selection. Maxine Beneba Clarke lives in Australia.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review.


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!


PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared,, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

FREE Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Raising Awareness on Systemic Racism in America Classroom Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!  We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.               

You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light

Aaron Becker, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Studio, Fiction, Mar. 26, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Light, Color, Imagination, Board Book

Opening: This is the light that brings the dawn / to warm the sky and hug the land.

Publisher’s Synopsis:

With a wondrously simple die-cut book, the Caldecott Honor–winning creator of the Journey trilogy brings his talents further into the light.

This is the light that brings the day.

Open this beautiful book to find a graphic yellow sun surrounded by a halo of bright die-cut circles. Now hold the page up to the light and enjoy the transformation as the colors in those circles glow. In an elegant, sparely narrated ode to the phenomenon of light, Aaron Becker follows as light reflects off the earth to warm our faces, draws up the sea to make the rain, feeds all the things that grow, and helps to create all the brilliant wonders of the world, including ourselves.

Why I love this book:

Aaron Becker’s board book is a celebration of light. It is magical and creates a sense of wonder for young children, who will want to hold the book up to the light and read the story repeatedly. Becker stimulates children’s senses and imaginations with his flowing verse that allows for open discussion on each carefully crafted page. It is beautifully designed. The spare and beautiful text ends with, “This is the light that dwells inside all the brilliant wonders of the world, including YOU!”

Resources: Children can create some of their own light pages by cutting a shape and placing a piece of  colorful cellophane behind it. Cut out shapes of stars, butterflies, animals, flowers and attach them to a window pane. Hang prisms in near a sunny window, so children can see the light reflected on their walls.

Aaron Becker is the Caldecott Honor–winning author-illustrator of the Journey trilogy and of A Stone for Sascha. He lives in western Massachusetts with his family.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. 

*Reviewed from a copy provided by the publisher.

** I am in the processing of moving this month, so I won’t be releasing many reviews. I should be back on line in June. Thank you for following my reviews.

One Million Men and Me

Children's Books Heal

One Million Men and Me 

Kelly Starling Lyons, Author

Peter Ambush, Illustrator

Just Us Books, Inc., 2007, Historical fiction

Suitable for:  Kindergarten and up  (Ages 5 nd up)

OpeningMy cousin, Omari, said no girls were allowed.  But Daddy took me.  Our bus rumbled through ebony night.  My head snuggled into Daddy’s warm chest until pink rose around us and the driver called, “Washington, D.C.”   A father takes his daughter, Nia, on a long bus trip to take part in a march with one million men.  They walked peacefully, sang songs and “stood tall and proud as mighty oaks, the men, Daddy and me.”  They listened to speakers like Maya Angelou, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Everyone held hands in unity.  Nia notices that their faces were filled with pride and their hearts filled with hope.  Everyone seemed to know everyone as they all nodded, smiled and hugged each other.  At…

View original post 239 more words

The 6th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest

The 6th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest

witch-imagescaxqb6gwThe Contest: Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spider, ghost, and moon. Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people. Post your story on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog between 12:00 AM EDT Thursday October 27th and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT.

My entry is 97 words.

All Hallows Eve
By Patricia Tilton

A spider crawled across my forehead. I didn’t dare arch my brow.

SWAT! I got it!

A toad hopped onto my foot.

Stomp! I grabbed it!

A bat flew through my window and whirred past my ears.

Whoosh! I snatched it!

Outside the full moon revealed a black kettle. Fires licked its hungry sides.

I dropped my bounty into the bubbling green and orange brew.

“Hee, hee, hee,” I giggled.

“Matilda, you’ve brewed your first all Hallows stew,” cackled Mama.

Ghosts, goblins and witches hovered around the kettle.

“Let’s party,” I screeched. We all danced a jig.

Children’s Books Heal Has New Look

Before I start posting new items on my blog, I thought it best to let my readers know that I have changed the face of my blog.  I hope you will like it.  It’s still a work in progress, but it has a crisp look to it and feels more childlike.  I hope you like the change.

I will be posting two items this week, but I will cut back on my reviews until September so I may focus on other things.



First Campaign Challenge

For the Rachel Writes first campaign challenge, we’ve been given the following instructions:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem.
Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count).  For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Here is my entry, and it is exactly 200 words.      Entry #85

The door swung open beneath the belly of the Boeing 707.  Baggage handlers positioned a large box.  A group of young men and women in uniform stepped out of a van.  They slipped into formation as they walked with precision towards the aircraft.

Amidst the roar of passing aircraft, Bella heard quiet sobbing and felt the linking of arms to hers.  It was her extended family, there to support her and receive their loved one. The reality that Noah had made his final journey home sliced through her like the cold north wind.

“Mama is that Daddy?” asked Michael.  His arms tightly wrapped her neck.

“Yes, sweetheart, it is.”  She held him closely.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as she wondered how Michael would ever remember his father’s love.

In her grief, Bella looked up at the terminal windows.  Hundreds of people stood there holding their hands over their hearts.  In that moment she felt wrapped in their grace.  They didn’t know Noah, but in their quiet compassion they were honoring his service and her family’s grief.  It was a beautiful moment of sadness.

The Honor Guard carried the flag-draped casket across the tarmac to he hearse.  The door swung shut.

Writers’ Platform-Builder’s Campaign

Two writing friends told me about the Third Writers’ Platform-Builder’s Campaign, organized by Rachael of Rach Writes.   This is an outstanding opportunity for writers and bloggers to meet, blog, and support each other.

According to Rachael:  “The Campaign is a way to link those of us in the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others’ online platforms while at the same time building theirs.”

The campaign runs from Aug. 22 – Oct. 31.   This is a great opportunity to link with writers in your genre.  Go to the link highlighted above for information.  The deadline for registration is Aug. 31.

Although I had difficulty downloading my photo on the Platform site, you will see a W, which takes you to my About page instead — go figure.    You really don’t see my blog site unless you click on my last blog.  Must be a sign I need this group.  Looking forward to meeting everyone.   I am an unpublished author writing children’s picture books with an emphasis on special needs and healing.

Patricia  Tilton