Picture Book

Captain Mama's Surprise / La Sorpresa de Capitán Mamá by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Captain Mama's Surprise takes children on a wonderful adventure on a KC-135 Aerial Refueling Tanker. Mama introduces her son's classmates to the crew and clearly explains to them what the mission is and how it is accomplished. The cast is made of diverse characters, which is refreshing. Also appreciated was the focus on female characters who not only are teachers but also pilots in charge of very important missions in the United States Air Force, thus breaking away from the more standardized gender roles that women have usually had in children's books.

The illustrations add a lot to the book as a whole and help highlight the celebration of diversity that is present in the story, which is also brilliantly told in Spanish. The addition of a glossary (in dual language) and an art project make for unexpected yet welcomed additions.

Review by Brunella Costagliola (April 2019)


Author's Synopsis

In this second book in the Captain Mama series, Marco and his sisters, whose mother is a U.S. Air Force aviator, visit the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker on a field trip with his second grade class. The children and their teachers meet the aircrew and the crew chief, tour the airplane to understand its unique parts and learn what each crew member does as they work together onboard this gas station in the sky. Includes a STEM activity for children to learn basic aircraft terms and structure plus glossaries in Spanish and English of aviation terms in the text. From School Library Journal K-Gr 3—Marco's second grade class goes on an Air Force base field trip. His mom is the navigator on an aerial refueling tanker, and the kids are excited about touring the plane and meeting the crew. In an easygoing first-person narrative, Marco describes the adventure. Everything from the refueling process to the manual landing gear crank is explained to the eager students. The smiling, accommodating crew members outline their responsibilities and the importance of working as a team. Lens's simple but colorful illustrations reinforce the childlike quality of the book. Tiscareño-Sato is a Mexican American military veteran/aviator, and in this continuation of her bilingual series "Captain Mama," the author affords young readers the opportunity to observe a coed, multiethnic crew performing their vital tasks. In addition, the final six pages include an English/Spanish glossary, a list of educational resources and their respective links, and an art/engineering project. VERDICT An accessible and positive portrayal of the mothers and people of color who serve proudly in the military; a good purchase for bilingual collections.—Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ

ISBN/ASIN: 9780997309003, 978-0997309034, 9780997309010, 9780977309027
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 42

Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child's View of Military Deployment by Chandelle Walker

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

In her book, Daddy Left with Mr. Army: A Child’s View of Military Deployment, military spouse and author Chandelle Walker has created a powerful tool for military families. Although specifically targeted to those wearing Mr. Army’s green, the book will appeal to military families of all service branches—helping them cope with the stress of military life in general and deployment in particular.

The US military has participated in frequent and lengthy overseas deployments for decades now. The media often focus on the war-fighting aspects of these activities, but overlook the impact on our military families. These deployments cause stress for those left behind—and military children are especially vulnerable. 

The book includes short rhyming passages suitable for young children dealing with different aspects of deployment. Each facing page includes colorful and moving illustrations by Joshua Allen, which help tie together the various issues and emotions brought out as the story progresses.

The author includes a page of helpful suggestions for activities to help families—and especially children—deal with the tremendous challenges associated with having a military parent deployed. I recommend this book for military families with elementary to middle school-aged children.

Review by John Cathcart (February 2019)


Author's Synopsis

 Living as a military child can often be challenging. Have you wondered what a military deployment is like from the eyes of these children? Have you thought about what they might be feeling, and do you question how to help them get through it? In Daddy Left with Mr. Army, author Chandelle Walker offers insight from a child's perspective to help you understand the emotions your child may be feeling as separation occurs. Based on Chandelle's personal experiences in a military family dealing with deployments, Daddy Left with Mr. Army helps both children and parents open a conversation about the time away. Through rhyme and illustrations, this picture book shares the challenges of deployment but also the joys of serving the United States in the military.

ISBN/ASIN: 1480868051
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 30

Lighthouses of America by Tom Beard

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Lighthouses of America is a splendid and diverse pictorial collection of the American “castles” guarding our coasts.  In addition to nearly 150 breathtaking photographs, Tom Beard (Editor-in-Chief) and Tom Thompson (Graphics Editor), in conjunction with the United States Lighthouse Society, accomplished a masterful job compiling a treasure trove of historical and often humorous tidbits.  The book educates and delights the reader and leaves him/her hungry to discover more.

Lighthouse construction was the first public-works project of our new nation.  These guardians of the coast were essential for our fledgling shipping industry, making our ports safer for commerce.  Many are still in operation today, serving to guide vessels to safety and to warn of danger.   Many are shrouded in mysterious and romantic legends.  Many have been destroyed or damaged by nature or war.  Some have been rebuilt on the same location, some have been moved, and some have been left to the elements.

The Preface by Wayne Wheeler (Founder and President of the Board of Directors, US Lighthouse Society) and The Forward by Captain Robert Dash, US Coast Guard (Retired) provide useful and detailed information on the organizational, architectural, and technological journey lighthouses have taken through their 300-year existence on our shores.

The book is divided into five geographic regions:  New England, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, and West Coast.  Information is provided on Fresnel lenses, which in the 1840s greatly improved the structures’ light magnification—saving even more souls and cargo.  These days, many lighthouses are powered by solar panels and use light-emitting diodes.

Lighthouses of America is fascinating and would be a welcome addition to any library or coffee table.  The book teases the reader to seek these treasures out and visit first-hand.  It is the perfect gift for those who love the sea and all things nautical, and even for those who will just want to appreciate their unique history and beauty.

MWSA Review by Sandi Cowper (Feb 2018)

Author's Synopsis
Through gorgeous photography, this spectacular collection of America's most iconic and stunning lighthouses celebrates these unique and magnificent beacons and their history. The construction of lighthouses began as this new nation's first public-works project in 1789 and established the United States as a maritime world power by making ports safe for navigation. Early lights shined from reflectors bouncing the flickering flames from multiple lard-burning lanterns. Towers boosting the lights high, making them visible over the horizon to sailors, came in hundreds of architectural designs and construction materials. Then, in the early 1800s, came the amazing Fresnel lenses, first boosting light from the oil flame and later by electric lamp Today, LED science has become the light for navigational aids in this country. From Maine's West Quoddy Head to North Carolina's iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Alaska's Eldred Rock to Southern California's Fort Point Lighthouse, and Michigan's Holland Harbor, these structures--many still active and serving their original purpose--are living museums and popular tourist destinations.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-59962-140-1
Book Format(s): Hard cover
Genre(s): History
Review Genre: Artistic—Pictorial
Number of Pages: 176