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“DIY Box Creations” Courtney Sanchez

Discover a variety of out-of-the-box cardboard creations for families to build together in[  ]{.Apple-converted-space}the book, “DIY Box Creations.” Author Courtney Sanchez began crafting as a way to keep her children stimulated and active. From planes, trains, forts, lemonade stands and puppet theaters, your children will have fun building memories and creative projects through the exploration of textures and colors. This book will help you bond and teach at the same time. Ages 8 to 12. Available wherever books are sold for $9.95.

“Strong Inside” Andrew Maraniss

  Author Andrew Maraniss reclaims the pages of American sports history for a new generation. “Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball's Color Line” is an inspiring book for sports enthusiasts everywhere. It recounts the life of Perry Wallace, the first African-American man to play basketball in the all-white Southeastern Conference. Blazing a path to glory through injustice, hatred and racism, Perry Wallace's story is the ultimate American dream. Ages 10 and up. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and online retailers for $17.99.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Winter Books

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

The Snowball

In what may seem a Sisyphean task, an adorable mouse pushes a snowball up a hill. Along the way, other animals join in to help, including a cat, a pig and a bunny. With every new double-page spread of this board book, a perfectly round hole in the far-right page grows bigger and BIGGER, to show the increasing size of the snowball. But there’s high drama at the top of the hill when the quartet loses control and the enormous snowball rolls down and smashes at the bottom. What do the friends do next? Make a snowman! The minimal text and whimsical watercolors playfully demonstrate that together, we can enhance strength and problem-solving skills.

ages 3 – 8

Mary Had a Little Glam

What better way to perk up a bleak day than with fashion and fun? Tammi Sauer employs the rhythm of the classic poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for her tale of Mary, whose fashion-forward accessories include multiple scarves, pink glasses and a fuzzy lamb-shaped purse. Soon Mary’s flair has “brought out the glitz and glam” in fellow students, teacher, principal and classroom pet. You might think recess would put a damper on this, but Mary and pals know just how to divest to best enjoy mud puddles and soccer balls. Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s lively art captures Mary’s creative exuberance and the joie de vivre of childhood, in general.

ages 9 – 13

The Friendship Experiment

To help her navigate middle school, Madeline approaches situations through a scientific lens and develops SOPs (standard operating procedures). Using SOPs, she tries to figure out how to make a friend on a bus and how to get out of a cupcake-tasting party, but she eventually realizes that life itself is too unpredictable, with too many variables and unanswerable questions. Two big ones: How will others react to her rare Von Willebrand blood disease? And will she ever be cured? Science lovers will relate to Maddie’s mindset and applaud her evolving desire to connect more fully with a wider, mysterious world in this fresh, poignant debut novel by local author Erin Teagan.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 24 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Together Forever: True Tales of Amazing Animal Friendships,” and a popular school/conference speaker.