Yolanda Ridge

Children's Author

Gold Rush Bookstore Grand Opening

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The Expendable

THE EXPENDABLE, published in YOUTH IMAGINATION MAGAZINE, is a short story written by my friend and critique partner, Jerry Mikorenda. It is aimed at a slightly older audience than most of the books I review on this site, but it is an important read for everyone, especially today. Check it out.

The Expendable, Youth Imagination.

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Selkirk College Course on Children’s Literature

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New Year’s Resolutions

Part of my resolution for 2017 is to do more teaching. To that end, I’m pleased to announce the following courses I will be offering through Selkirk College:

Introduction to Children’s Literature
Course ID: ARTS 1084A

For those wanting to know more about children’s literature in order to write a book of their own. Learn about the different categories of children’s books and how to identify your target audience. Using examples from current and classic books for readers from newborn to age eighteen, participants will examine what makes a children’s book successful. Leave with a plan for getting your book idea onto the page. Guided by Yolanda Ridge https://yolandaridge.com/
Trail Campus
Section W17T01:
February 2 to March 9; Thursday 7:00pm – 8:00pm (6 sessions)

Creating Your Children’s Book
Course ID: ARTS 1084B

Do you have an idea for a book aimed at children ages newborn to eighteen? In this course, you will learn how to write and revise your book to suit your target audience. In each class, we will examine one aspect of a successful children¿s book and apply it to your work in progress. Includes 1:1 feedback with Yolanda, leave with up to 5 pages of a completed draft.https://yolandaridge.com/
Trail Campus
Section W17T01:
April 6 to May 11; Thursday 7:00pm – 9:30pm (6 sessions)

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If one of your resolutions is to try your hand at writing or learn more about the genre, please consider joining me! Go to http://selkirk.ca/ce/courses/arts-culture/writing find out more.

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Happy Holidays!

There is a lot of talk lately about 2016 being the worst year ever. In terms of world events, I don’t disagree. More personally, however, I realize more every year (and every day) just how fortunate I am. Looking ahead to 2017, I hope to share my good fortune with others and do my part to make the world a more tolerant and accepting place. I’m looking forward to the release of my book, Inside Hudson Pickle (I just saw a sneak peak of the cover and can’t wait to share it here), as well more writing and sharing of good books.

But we still have a few more days left of 2016 and I want to wish everyone a very happy and joyful holiday. I hope we all find a sense of peace that can carry us into whatever lies ahead.

Best wishes. xo yolanda

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The Wild Robot

Title: The Wild Robotwildrobot1

Author & Illustrator: Peter Brown

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 0316381993

A middle grade book about nature triumphing over technology? Yes, please!

On the surface, The Wild Robot is a book set in the not-so-distant future where robots (or robot creators) rule everything but the small island where ROZZUM unit 7134 (aka Roz), gets stranded after her cargo ship sinks. Beyond that, it is a story of love, community, and the force of nature with layered themes that will resonate with a wide range of readers. The relationship Roz develops with an orphaned gosling, Brightbill, is so touching and full of humanity that it brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. Not your typical robot story, that’s for sure.

Although character development is paramount, Peter Brown does not sacrifice on  plot. Essentially a survival story, the ending is shocking, sad and oddly satisfying (with more than a hint about the possibility of a sequel).

As another reviewer said, “This book will do for robots what Charlotte’s Web did for pigs”. Read it (or listen to the audiobook) – I promise it will make you re-think the future of Artificial Intelligence.

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The League of Unexceptional Children

Title: The League of Unexceptional Children

Author: Gitty Daneshvari

Illustrator: James Lancet

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 0316405701

Not only do I love the concept of this book, the execution is great too! I listened to the audiobook on a summer road trip with my sister, 9-year-old niece, and two 10-year-old sons (yes – twins). It kept the kids engaged the entire time and made my sister and I laugh out loud on several (okay, many) occasions.

The start is a bit slow but once the “unexceptional children”, Jonathan and Shelley, are introduced the reader is drawn immediately into their world. Making the point that not everyone is exceptional – and nor they don’t need to be – does not get in the way of a great adventure story that involves saving the Vice-President of the United States.

I’m not sure if I missed any great visuals by not reading the actual book but the audio narrator is amazing and the voices she does really brings the story to light. Prepare to laugh and cheer for the unexceptional.

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Authors for Earth Day

So proud to be part of this group. Read my latest blog post here.

CLIMATE ACTION

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Painting in the Dark

97819434311441Title: Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist

Author: Rachelle Burk

Illustrator: Claudia Gadotti

Publisher: TumbleHome Learning

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 987-1-943431-15-1

This nonfiction picture book, aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, introduces readers to Esref Armagan, a blind artist from Turkey. In typical biography style, author Rachelle Burk outlines Esref’s life chronologically, which is well laid out and researched. What makes this book special is the focus on how the artist developed his ability to paint things he’d never actually seen.

Accompanying the text are a few samples of Esref’s work, incorporated into vibrant illustrations by Claudia Gadotti. Unfortunately, some of the text, which changes color to stand out against the corresponding background, is often obscured by the illustrations.

This will not in any way prevent readers from being touched by Esref’s story. Reading about all the obstacles he faced in becoming an artist will inspired people of all ages, regardless of the type of limitations they must personally overcome. Artists in particular will enjoy learning how he continually improved his paintings by learning to add elements like shadow and perspective.

Making Painting in the Dark  even more powerful is the fact that Esref Armagan is still alive and he is not world famous or rich. He has struggled and continues to persevere.  I could not think of a better person to feature in a biography for young readers. Highly recommended for the school library.

Addendum: According to the publisher and author, the text issue has been addressed in a new printing of the book. Good News!

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OCDaniel

Title: OCDanielocdaniel-9781481455312_lg

Author: Wesley King

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 9781481455312

Based at least partly on the author’s own experience with obsessive compulsive disorder (as outlined in the author note at the end), this book is a must read for all school aged kids. With up to 20% of children experiencing some type of mental illness, OCDaniel shows why some people chose to keep their “craziness” hidden while providing  hope for affected kids, their friends and family.

But that’s not why you should read this book (and recommend it to all the young people in your life). You should read OCDaniel because it is entertaining, touching, insightful, and commassionate. You should read it because there’s football. You should read it because there’s a mystery. You should read it because you will fall in love with Daniel, Psycho Sara, and all the other realistic characters in this book (especially best friend of the year – Max!)…. But most of all, you should read OCDaniel because it is so darn good!

Without spoiling the ending, you will route for the Elephants even if you don’t like football and have no idea what a kicker does. And the mystery will definitely keep you guessing even though the actions of one character’s mom stretches credibility.

A mix of Wonder and Fault in our Stars, and just as well written, OCDaniel will not disappoint in any way. Highly recommended!

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