Friday, January 25, 2019

Turn Your Child into a Book Character with TimTimTom

Convincing the children to read a book, in a world overwhelmed by the fascination of devices and gadgets is becoming more and more difficult. Although, personally I have nothing against gadgets and I am myself quite an active social media user and consumer, my love for books - both e-books and in physical form - doesn't compare with any other 2.0 temptation. I was, been and will be a person deeply connected with the written word, especially if it is transmitted into a variety of languages.
Therefore, when I was offered the occasion to get to know TimTimTom, an edition house that not only published books, but it brings your child a a character into the story, I couldn't wait to see what it is all about. TimTimTom is an independent publisher of bilingual personalized books. There are 10 languages available to set up the story with your child as the main character: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Chinese (both simplified and traditional). There are 100 personalization available the choice being made within minutes on their websites.
I ordered for my son a book in German - a language that he is starting to learn intensively since starting the German Kindergarten - with him as one of the characters of a main ballet Swanlake show. I was impressed by the quality of the paper and illustrations while my 3 yo son had a lot of fun to see himself part of a story with a very important role to play. Reading him in German, which is not his mother tongue, was a lot of fun, as he enjoyed being told what he did in the book and what fantastic adventures expected him. According to the website, stories and languages are regularly added, therefore if you did not find a variant available in a specific language, maybe in the near future, such a thing might be possible.
I grew up as a multilingual child myself and reading books in my main languages was always a challenge and stirred up my passion for stories, writing but also opened up the windows to a world of diversity where the difference matters and shall be respected. I am glad I had the chance to get to know such an important project for multicultural children and families and hopefully will be able to share more about their future achievements another time.

Disclaimer: The personalised book for my son was generously offered by TimTimTom part of an online events organised on the occasion of the Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Review: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai drives you through complicated and complex layers of recent history through memorable characters telling unfathomable stories. 
The main characters are gay, dead or miraculously surviving the surge of AIDS epidemics at the end of the 1980s. They are Americans, from Chicago, close to the artist movement and at least some of them, ressenting the injustice of the establishment's incapacity to offer a proper institutional answer - not based on morality or religious lessons - to the medical crisis that dramatically affected the American society. 
The stories are spread across two temporal slots: in the 1980s America and in 2015, in Paris. The constant presence of both times is Fiona, sister of one of the first in the community to be killed by the deadly virus. A faithful companion and helper to the other memers of the group that suffered the same fate, she is looking for her estranged daughter, that apparently found refuge here, after escaping a bizarre religious cult. 
Although I personally found more than once that the stories are not always greatly built and at least for the 2015 period of time, are just stealing space from the initial plot, the construction of characters is what really makes The Great Believers a fantastic read. They have substance, personality, struggle and physical shape, everything made out of words. The book is also well researched, therefore the historical background creates a specific reality, and the artistic references are perfectly inviting the characters to come it to add their personal touch. 
I've read it very slowly, sometimes with couple of days in between the reading sessions, becaue I wanted this book to continue. It opens up hearts and minds to a different reality and historical time frames, to intellectually charming characters. Probably the plot could have been more structured and from interviews with the author I understood that the final version was very far away from the first version of the book.  But there is a strength to create characters, with a touch of words as strong as it could be the hand of a painter on the canvas.

Rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Reading Challenge for 2019

I've finished 2018 with 20+ books short of the Goodreads challenge. I haven't done it until 250 books as I planned and although I've started the year in a relatively optimistic bookish  note, somewhere in the middle of the year - probably around July/August, I've noticeably slowed down. 
With piles of books from the local libraries - both fiction and non-fiction - and over 1,000 ARCs ready to be reviewed, I've somehow failed to reach my optimistic reading goals. 2018 was a good yet confuse year from me, both professionally and personally, therefore the choice of and approach to books was  relatively challenging. From literature to politics and science books, to self-help and even poetry (an area that I relatively neglected in the previous years), my choice of books was well tempered and helped me to navigate smoothly through the realities of my life and the new professional assignments. 
Therefore, I am definitely ready to embrace the new challenges of 2019, while keeping the commitment to finish at least as many interesting books as in the previous year. Books that will help me better understand my personal writing challenges, books that would open up new worlds and human emotions and experiences, books that will teach me new skills and encourage me to follow new spiritual paths. 
The last year I was able to discover a couple of new interesting writers outside the usual European/Western realm and hopefully would be able to continue the exploration. As my plans for the year is to improve my Spanish and Portuguese, hopefully there will be more books read in original in those two languages. Another relatively secret dream of mine is to be able to read and fluently understand Hungarian again, a language I grew up with but neglected for way too many reasons. However, I see this coming only from April on, when I might be more safe with my other two languages. More reading - and preferably writing - in German is also part of the to-do-list for 2019, and 2018 was relatively a good year for improving - although not at the level I need to start writing and pitching in this language - my skills, but I am still far from my expectations.
With so many books received to review from the previous years, at least for the six first months I would rather focus on my current library than hurry up to purchase or request new books. It is quite hard for me, but a bit of moderation in bookish issues is more than welcomed. As for now, I will prefer to focus more on writing than on various events - book tours and interviews - but for the second part of the year I want to focus more - again - on libraries and the bookish lifestyle and challenges in general of being nowadays a person who reads, attached to the physical books.
I also want to be more prolific in writing my reviews, as much as I would love to see my writing style changing, improving and creating a more significant impact than before. Maybe, a little bit of more social media activity would not hurt as well, but given all the blogs I have to manage and their attached social media channels, I could only dream about finally jumping out of the mediocrity level and maybe becoming a bookish 'influencer' too. As someone who is doing social media curation and daily management, I know oh so well how much time such activities require and honestly I have no idea how would find that necessary amount of time to juggle with the branding of this bookish identity hat. 
2019, I am ready for your reading challenges! Bring on those unforgettable books and amazing authors, with their unique stories! Can't wait to read my way through the year and share on my blog as many bookish adventures as possible!