About me

My name is Janet Dawson, and I am the librarian at the Rebecca Johnson Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts.  I’ve been a school librarian for 20 years, working in ten different schools.  One of the most important parts of my job is connecting students and teachers with great books.

We’re lucky to live in a world where fantastic children’s books are published every week.  Every day I review a book published this year.  Although I may mention things about books that I don’t like (“Cons”), I only choose books for which I feel I can give a mostly positive review.

I try to find books that would appeal to kids and/or fit in well with the elementary school curriculum.  Most books come from my local public library.  I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you click on the link at the end of a review, I get a small commission.  This blog is mostly a labor of love, but getting a little money for the work I put into it is nice too!

A note about self-published books: while I understand the difficulties of marketing your self-published books, I do not review them on this blog.  It is all I can do to keep up with the books coming from the mainstream publishers.

Please feel free to spread the word about this blog to parents, grandparents, teachers, children, or anyone else you think might enjoy it.  I hope you will comment as you see fit, and share anything you think might make the reviews more useful.

Happy reading!

53 thoughts on “About me

  1. I really enjoy your reviews with my morning coffee. I know these reviews take work on your part, so…thanks! I love the new look to your blog (usually read in email) and especially knowing more about you. Hooray for school librarians!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your reviews are great–I have discovered so many books through your site, and ordered them all through my library! One suggestion: maybe include the number of pages each book has? It’s hard sometimes to gauge if a book is meant for a younger or slightly older audience. Thanks so much, and I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello!
    My name is Kate Metroka, and I’m starting a campaign to get Ellen Degeneres on board with helping my children’s book series to get published. The series emphasizes strong female characters and is highly relevant in today’s world. Let’s start rewiring the way our culture treats little girls one children’s book at a time! I would love if you could watch the videos below, and give them a like or a share. Have a great week!

    Kate Metroka

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi I am author Benjamin Boyd. I would love it if you could do a review of my book The Adventures of Kid Humpty Dumpty. I think you and your followers would like this book. You can get a preview of it on amazon.com yo can contact me at bjessieb2@yahoo.com. Thank You


  5. Janet,

    Like Benjamin above, I would love to have you look at my books and see if they fit your Blog standards to do a review. My picture books (Glad to do it!” series) can be viewed at http://www.gladtodoit.net and are about a firefighter, police officers and EMTs who like to help others.

    Uncle Ricky, Fireman – Fire! is viewable as a free download and you could quickly tell if they fit your standards. We will publish the first EMT Morales story in about 2 weeks. Uncle Rocky, Fireman and Officer Jack were published last year and earlier.

    You will note when perusing the book that children act out getting dressed for the fire, they make all the truck sounds and then shout, “Glad to do it!” at the end along with Uncle Rocky or Officer Jack.

    Please let me know and thanks for your time



  6. Hi Janet,

    I really enjoyed the recent review you left about Fish Girl. It was well thought out and written. Since I’d enjoyed reading many posts on your site so much, I thought it might be a good place to share a project that I’m working on.

    I’ve just launched a campaign about a children’s book called Brady Plays the Fiddle. It’s a lyrical picture book that inspires a love of music in young readers. My young music loving friends have expressed how much they like the the book. I’m trying to self publish it and raise funds via Indigogo. I want to raise awareness about the campaign and was wondering, would you be interested in writing a post about it? If you are I could send you a digital copy to read!

    Please contact me if you are interested at kungfumel@gmail.com

    Also please feel free check out my Indigogo page for the children’s book I wrote and illustrated, Brady Plays the Fiddle:

    Thanks for your time!



  7. Hello there Janet!

    I want to begin by e-introducing myself! I am Rami Jandali and I am a first-time, children’s book author with an inner child and a passion to share stories!

    Just last Monday, May 1st, I self-published my first-ever children’s book, “An Almond All Alone”, available on Amazon as both an eBook and as a Paperback version as well. In essence, it speaks of the power of having just one other person (or “nut”, as is the case in this story) believe in you, regardless of how bullied you have been or insecure you have felt about yourself. It is lighthearted, it is airy and I am absolutely ecstatic to share it with the world, adults and kids alike!

    I would be incredibly honored and grateful if you would consider “An Almond All Alone” for a review on your blog, and/or to share it with your friends and family.

    A link to my book, for your convenience:

    I truly look forward to hearing back from you and hope your week is off to a fantastic start!!


    Rami Jandali


  8. Hi–I LOVE your site…I am curious about your reference to a “problem cover” in your review of the book posted on 9/28/17…


  9. I was thinking about problem books from the 1970’s–young adult books written specifically to address some problem like drug abuse or teenage pregnancy.


  10. Hi Janet, I am a new author with Eifrig Publishing, and have just finished a 3 book American Herstory Series (historical fiction picture books). Eifrig is a very small company so I am looking to get my books reviewed and get any type of help promoting myself as an author (reviews, interviews, articles, etc…).
    I have e-copies available and can also send hardcovers.(I know you prefer hardcovers). You can get a better feel for who I am by looking at my new author website: lisagammonolson.com
    Let me know if you’d be willing to review: Dust Flowers, Sewing the Magic In (both are in print) and my newest book The Cheese Song (debuting @ Christmas time). Thank you so much for your time and effort. If you are interested, please let me know where you’d like me to send you the hard copies! Lisa


  11. Need to let you know a couple of things–how much I appreciate your dedication to children’s literature by your posting of the daily book suggestions. These posts help guide my collection development decisions every single day. Also, just read today’s post about Nathan Hale. It was my honor at the recent Texas Book Festival to hear Nathan talk about his last project-Lewis & Clark. He had a tablet with him and was able to illustrate on a large screen while he spoke. Children and adults alike were absolutely mesmerized. Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Janet! I found your blog via another children’s book blog, and I’m ever so glad I did! I would be delighted to receive your reviews of my books for young readers: the YA historical fiction novel Risking Exposure and the picture book Mikey and the Swamp Monster.

    For the novel: A timid Hitler Youth member contracts polio. Photographs she takes of fellow polio patients are turned into propaganda, mocking people with disabilities. She has become an outsider, a target of Nazi scorn and possible persecution. Her only weapon is her camera.

    For the picture book: When the stinky Swamp Monster returns, an imaginative boy uses his monster-stopper kit to protect his home and family. This humorous picture book celebrates the blurry lines between inventiveness and reality.

    Please let me know if you are interested. Thank you, and happy holidays to you and those you love.
    Jeanne Moran


  13. Hi Janet!
    I was wondering if you would like to review my latest picture book, IF I DIDN’T HAVE YOU. It was written by Alan Katz and illustrated by me and it’s my first book with Simon & Schuster! So as you can guess, I’m pretty excited about it!

    I can send you a digital ARC if you would like. The book was officially released on April 10th! 🙂

    Please, let me know what you think!

    Chris Robertson


  14. Just wanted to let you know, I tried to share your site to my facebook page and FB thinks that your site violates ‘a security measure’ so it won’t let me post it. I would definitely check with them about that.


  15. Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for your hard work putting these reviews together, they are succinct and easy to use which as a public librarian are both very helpful to me when reviewing books to order!


  16. Hello Janet,

    Thank you for maintaining such an informative blog!

    I have written a book titled Charlie’s Magical Tomato Vines, and I would like to share my homemade book trailers:



    Morgan Lee


  17. Hi,

    I really like the way you review books. So much so, that I’m submitting the link to my Ghosters book promo video in hopes that you’d be interested in writing me a review. Sure wish I knew how to make it appear like those other ones, but I’m not really that computer savy. Who knows. Maybe it will appear when I hit submit. I can only hope that you will follow the link otherwise. If it doesn’t work, you can also type in Ghosters book promotional video.

    Thanks for your time!

    Diana Corbitt


  18. hey Janet !! Hope you are doing Great!! Love your Blog Idea!! Great Stuff!!

    Amazing Stories!!

    If I can be of any help I would love to!!


  19. Hello,

    I just discovered your blog and love it. I am an illustrator and author as well as a publisher and I recently released a new all-ages graphic novel series called PUNK TACO that I created and wrote with my son who is currently 7-years-old. I would love to send you a copy if you are interested.


    Adam Wallenta


  20. Hello Janet.

    For your consideration:

    I would like to announce my new “Old West” themed children’s novel, “Christmas Jones”, published March, 2019. A free e-book copy is available for your review.

    Book sample available here (Amazon link): http://www.amzn.com/B07PLLJZHQ

    Thank you

    Anne Parr


    “Christmas Jones” is a gentle story for young readers, and for the young at heart.

    Tad is a red headed boy of twelve, growing up on an isolated homestead ranch in the desert southwest of the 1850’s. The ranch is far from any neighbors, and young Tad longs for a friend.

    Tad’s father has broken his leg, just as the family’s spring threatens to run dry. With summer coming, the family needs to dig a new well, or they will run out of water. Without a reliable source of water, they will lose their ranch. Tad is too young to dig the well on his own, so the family’s future looks bleak.

    Until one day a stranger rides in, offering to help the struggling family. Although the man’s past is unknown, and mysterious, the family has no choice but to take him on.

    Tad’s parent’s have found someone that might help them to save their ranch, and lonely young Tad hopes he might finally have found a friend.


  21. Thank you so much for this review! Would you consider also becoming an INDIEBOUND affiliate? That way you could also receive a commission when people want to buy this (or any) book you recommend from an independent bookstore. They can do it easily using INDIEBOUND. Please consider it! It is a great way for people to support local independent bookstores in their community. Thanks!


  22. Dear Janet,

    I was trying to find an email to contact you, but since I understand that all the contacts are posted here I will send mine as well.

    I am sending you our story, the book born from a wonderful collaboration between my son and his father.
    Their editor wrote the review. It would be wonderful to see it on your site if you feel it is what you look for.

    Please contact me should you have any questions.

    Thank you in advance.
    Best Regards,


    Fingerman: a Saga in Imagination

    by Misha Monteiro-Benson

    In a time when many lament the lack of imagination, the Fingerman story is not only a cracking
    good story but it is also the testament to the depth of imagination possessed by Matteo Moro,
    aged 8. Together with his father, Mauro Moro, the two embarked on a labour of love and fun
    which culminated in the illustrated adventure Captain Fingerman and the Boring Galaxy.
    As Matteo’s tutor and guest in the Moro home, I watched as father and son worked together
    on the dining table with rolls of sketch paper and the all-important computer. Their process is a
    story worth telling. Typically Matteo bouncing up and down with enthusiasm would describe
    scenes to Mauro who would employ his considerable artistic skill to reproducing Matteo’s
    scenes on paper. However, Matteo is an exacting creator and would reject sketches which did
    not fit his vision of the scene.
    This journey of creation began in an unlikely situation. While on holiday, the family realised with
    considerable horror that young Matteo had not brought any toys. However, in the absence of
    plastic and metal distractions, the family turned their fingers into little men to play with.
    Fingerman was born.
    Matteo has an active and vivid imagination but also a thirst for knowledge. So with his father,
    he took Fingerman as a character and added him to a subject which he finds fascinating. The
    cosmos, the infinite span of space and all the wonders of the universe. Fingerman’s character
    developed and grew with the Moro family and became another member. A naturally naive
    sometimes unpredictable but an adorable addition to the family.
    However, Fingerman must leave the confines of the Moro home. For the call of the final frontier
    is strong and by Matteo’s order he must take command of the starship BananaStar as her
    Captain to explore deep space and to poke what no finger has poked before. Captain
    Fingerman faces the unknown and will find untold wonders but also threats, old and new. Join
    the crew of the starship BananaStar and follow Captain Fingerman in an adventure full of
    surprises and good laughs in the illustrated saga, Captain Fingerman and the Boring Galaxy!

    Title: Captain Fingerman & the Boring Galaxy
    Author: Matteo and Mauro Moro
    Illustrator: Mauro Moro
    Publisher: Independently Published (KDP Amazon)
    Publication Date: 12 October 2019
    Format: Paperback and Kindle $17.90 and $4.99
    ISBN: 9781699343609
    For ages: 6-12
    Type: Picture Book 
    Website: http://www.fingermancomics.com


  23. I’m a primary teacher and am working on my MA in Children’s Literature. Your site is wonderful! Thanks so much for your time and insights!


  24. Hi Janet,
    I just discovered your blog and am impressed with how many reviews you’ve done. I am a new author and was wondering if you would be able to review my book. Is there an email I can reach you at to send a sample?


  25. Hi Janet!! I put up a book to help little kids with the pandemic and the coronavirus situation, if you are interested in featuring it. It is available for sale on Amazon. I also have it up as a “read aloud” on youtube. The link for the ebook is books2read.com/someday-soon and the read aloud is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuaFfc6X-7Y


  26. Hi, I was browsing the site and decided to check out your read aloud on youtube. I really enjoyed Someday Soon I think it was done really well. Thanks for sharing. I’ve also written a book called Perla the Pink Penguin to help kids learn to practice self-love and understand that its okay to be different. All the best to you.


  27. Hi, your blog is wonderful, fun and inspiring, I’d love if you could take a look at my first book “Granny and Danny Aren’t Bored Anymore” – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F7W92MR  
    The book tells the story of Danny and his granny Annie, who are both bored during the Covid-19 lockdown.  They connect online and together they do various activities like baking a cake, dancing, solving online puzzles, but mainly connecting and bonding with each other.The book also offers a link to a free guide “Fun Online Activities for Grandparents and Grandkids”
    Today – August 6th and tomorrow Aug 7th, the book is on a FREE promotion, for the week between Aug 7th-14th it will be offered for $0.99 and after it will be on a regular marketing price


    1. Sorry, Tom, I don’t review self-published books. I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but I have my hands full reading and reviewing what’s being published by the traditional publishers. If I’m ever in Wisconsin, though, I’ll take you up on the coffee. Thanks for reaching out.


  28. Hi Janet, I’m writing from Beyond Words Publishing. We have an exciting children’s book releasing next year that I’d love to send a few more details about to you to see if you may be interested. What is the best way of contact?


  29. Hello,
    I am writing from DW Beam Publishing in King, NC. We have three new children’s books that were just released and two more being released this year in our new children’s book division, A Story to Tell. The Moon’s Race by Jaylin Beam, Dizzy Dizzy Desmo by R.L. Weiss, and Star’s Song by Amy Beam. We would like to send you more details on these titles. More information can be found at dwbeampublishing.com .


  30. Hi Janet,

    I know you said you get most of your books from your local library, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right? I’m the one who wrote the middle grade Ghosters books and posted the video up there a ways. Got 3 books in the series now, all published by Bedazzledink Publishing. Would sure love a review. I can send you ebooks of one or all. If you want, I can send you an actual paperback. Just looking for honest reviews. You can check out all the books and 2 short stories on good old Amazon or my website. Thanks for your time!


  31. Hi! I’d like to bring to your attention a book called OSA: A CURIOUSLY DIFFERENT DOG.

    This is a book about a dogs search for who she is. The story is based on the author’s rescue dog and is all about equality and how we all aren’t so different. It’s a really special and meaningful book.

    Available at ideasbyacs.com


  32. Hello Janet,
    Seeking permission to send you a copy of my upcoming new release for a possible review?
    It is a wonderful inspirational story called:
    The Seed of Faith- A Christmas Miracle.
    It is a 6,500 word fully illustrated chapter book.
    Young readers and families I believe,
    will delight in this heartfelt Christmas story!
    Thank you
    ( note: website will be active prior to book release)


  33. I wondered if you would be willing to review my new picture book Yay for Big Brothers! It releases November 2 from Arbordale Publishing,

    The Story
    Big Brothers are amazing! Did you know that big brothers are important in animal families, too? Animal big brothers do many of the same things as kid big brothers. They play with their younger siblings, teach them new things, and help with their care. Sometimes animal big brothers even babysit when their parents leave to hunt for food. Are you a big brother or do you have a big brother?

    My Inspiration
    I was inspired to write this book when our toddler grandson became a big brother. Becoming a big brother is not always easy, and I thought all big brothers needed a book to celebrate them.

    Here is a link to the book’s page on my website:

    I will send the pdf if you can review the book. You can contact me through my website.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!


  34. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this blog. I read it everyday and it helps me with my work as a literacy professor in Tennessee. THANK YOU!


  35. Hi! Here to introduce myself. My name is Rachael Tarfman-Perez and I am a brand new (debut) author. I recently published my first children’s picture book titled, “3 P’s for Potty.” This book is not the traditional potty training book that focuses on helping young children feel comfortable with the process of using the toilet. This book dives into more the dos and don’ts of using the potty (discussing what is appropriate to go into the toilet). What are the 3 P’s for potty? Please check out my book to find out!

    I think your readers would really like this book. Please let me know if you would be interested in reviewing the book and I can send you a pdf file or a paperback copy. Here is more information on my website: https://rachaeltarfmanperez.com

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hello, Janet. I was wondering about how I go about getting my new children’s book, One of Our Gorillas is Missing!, reviewed. It’s the fifth in a series called The School of Animal Magic Adventures. Each standalone book tells about an endangered species and how young readers can help them.


  37. Hi Janet,

    Here is a free book – currently #1 in its category on Amazon. Why free, you may ask. You will find out when you read the description. I hope, as a great ambassador of children’s books, you will enjoy it: https://www.amazon.com/Smile-story-about-parents-necklace-ebook/dp/B0B1VYPCFW?&linkCode=sl1&tag=thechisboorev-20&linkId=07123e56a71b9c4b79ce18fc64e72b7a&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl
    If you prefer other than MOBI format, the title is listed as permafree on all major book retailers.
    Have a wonderful weekend.


  38. will be free on Amazon on March 20, 2023. I taught creative writing to middle-grade students This one was a. labor of love. I am hoping it is the kind of book to get middle-grade boys reading rather than playing video games.


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