Here are a few reviews of my books — from librarians, teachers, bloggers, book review magazines like Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and of course, readers themselves. What continues to amaze me is the masterful writing in the reviews. Some literally take my breath away. Enjoy!
MONUMENT MAKER: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial
“As the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln fought to bring together a divided country only to be assassinated for his ideals. Readers will be drawn in by how these two stories intersect as they follow Dan Chester French’s career from the creation of one stunning statue after another to his ultimate masterpiece- the Lincoln Memorial-, a true monument honoring not only a great leader but the ideals that make our country great. History truly comes to life with Linda Booth Sweeney’s engaging text and Shawn Field’s incredible illustrations.” – Dr. Cheryl S. Vanatti, Cybils 2019, Elementary Non-Fiction finalist
“…an exquisite biography that brings history to life for young readers.”
–The Children’s Book Council
“Both bracing and winning, a fine tribute to the sculptor and his world.”
“If ever a book was crafted to explain the artistic life to young readers—indeed, to inspire artistically minded young people to pursue their own dreams and gifts—Linda Booth Sweeney’s gem of a biography is the one. Daniel Chester French always hoped his sculpture would appeal to, and inspire, young people, and Monument Maker will help do so.”
—Harold Holzer, author of Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French
“Both the artistic vision and engineering requirements of the memorial are detailed in beautiful soft pencil pages, making this volume another little paper museum in and of itself.”
“…beautifully illustrated and inspiring!”
–Youth Services Review
This handsome book introduces sculptor Daniel Chester French and the monumental statue that he created for the Lincoln Memorial… Strong, graceful, and expressive, Fields’ artwork captures the period setting while making even unnamed people look like individuals… (in) this engaging tribute to French and the Lincoln Memorial.
When the Snow Falls
“Two-word sentences . . . tell this seasonal story with a cadence that captures both the captivating beauty of a glistening wood and the snowy dunes of a blanketed city street . . . .This mixed-race happy family’s enjoyment of all the fun and exertion a snowstorm bring spills from each . . . spread . . . A heartwarming adventure rolls along in a delightful rhythmic verse.”
“An ode to winter that hums with a zingy, excited energy . . . . Icy pale blues and purples contrast with brightly colored winter wear and the children’s warm brown skin . . . . A joyful winter readaloud with an infectious enthusiasm for everything that the season brings.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Country and city kids alike will relate to this joyful romp celebrating family, snow, community, and the wonders of nature.”
– School Library Journal
When the Wind Blows
“Whipping, wild wind calls a grandmother and her grandson out-of-doors into the frenzied, fantastic fray with a kite and giddy grins.
Electric colors (cerulean blues, emerald greens, brilliant magentas) evoke the kinetic energy that crackles before a storm and the irrepressible excitement a good squall brings out in young and old. Who really feels gray and dreary right before a proper storm? Cheerful, phosphorescent illustrations stretch across double-page spreads, with the boy’s flapping kite, the salty seaside town, its beach and white-capped ocean all bending to the wind’s howl.
The artwork’s consistent slant creates a joyously cockeyed perspective that conveys the madcap glee of the grandmother and grandchild’s pre-storm surge through their neighborhood. Young readers race alongside them, pausing to scan each scene for the bustling activities of others: a boatman’s wave, a bundled baby, a leaping dog, a bride and groom emerging from the chapel. The wind whirls all around these townsfolk and through the book’s exhilarating verse too—metronomic and as succinct as the heartbeat throbbing in the cold ears of a child racing back to his dry house: “Trees dance. / Spiders curl. / Mice shiver. / Leaves swirl.”
Gale-force gusts of invigorating artwork and imagery will leave readers breathless in windswept wonder. (Picture book. 2-6)
“When the Wind Blows by Linda Booth Sweeney has a writing style that makes turning each page feel as if the wind itself is blowing the reader toward the end of the book. Uncommon for a children’s book, the story is written in verse and uses poetic language that describes how things throughout the city move as the wind blows. Conveying how each item moves in the wind only requires that Sweeney use a simple two-word sentence. By the ocean, “water ripples. Buckets tumble. Birds scurry. Castles crumble.” In the park, “strollers stroll. Kites glide. Bells clang. Puppies hide.” Further description of each item is not needed because paired together, one can imagine the setting and envision the images that Sweeney tries to create. The lyrical verse paints an image of how the wind’s movement has various effects, from sails and boats out at sea to swings and wheels at the park. As if the beautifully and carefully-selected words aren’t enough, Christy’s illustrations show items as they move with the wind. White lines fill the page, representing the wind’s every move.
Because there is not much complexity in language to describe the items as they move, I would recommend this book for any elementary-aged child. The story and its language are quite straightforward and don’t require higher-level cognitive processes to understand them while the organizational structure and poetic nature of the book can be explored among older children. This combination of structure and content make it a versatile book that children of all ages can read.”
“For many people, a windstorm might be reason to stay inside safe and sound. However, the family in this book looks at a windy day as an adventurous day for kite-flying fun. Simple, rhythmic two-word phrases appear on each page in four-line stanza. “When the wind blows” repeats every three stanzas to create a dependable structure in this poetic text. Strong verbs such as “whistles,” “flicker,” “swish,” and “clang” allow readers to experience the blustery day with sounds, feeling, and imagery.
The rhythm of the book seems to mimic the steady blow of the wind on each page. Young readers will enjoy following the story in the supporting gorgeous watercolor images as they watch the winds pick up speed, sending the family on a wild chase trying to catch their kite, and making a groom lose his hat on his wedding day. Older readers can dive deep into the rich language of each page. This story line spans multiple pages, and readers will enjoy looking for the hat and kite throughout the book. Each illustration supports the text with each noun appearing in the image with many additional details, which can offer young readers an “I spy” opportunity on each page. As the rain and wind pick up, the family makes its way back inside to the familiar routines of getting ready for bed. This book will be a great bedtime story, and educators will appreciate the descriptive language when teaching creative writing and poetry. A welcome addition to collections.”
–Andy Plemmons, David C. Barrow Elementary, Athens, GA
“This picture-book tribute to windy days features satisfying, singsongy rhyming couplets that creatively describe a variety of windblown neighborhood adventures. Beginning with basic descriptors (“Windows rattle. / Doors creeaaak. / Chimes sing. / We peek”), the action tracks Mom, Grandma, a young boy, and his toddler sister as they fly kites, visit the seashore, splash in puddles, chase after hats, and dodge raindrops.
Bright, warm hues welcome the family home just as a storm hits, and then it’s time for baths, stories, and bed. All four thoroughly enjoy their blustery day, demonstrating delight in one another and with the changing weather. Each stanza consists of four two-word sentences. The rhymes are fresh and unpredictable, and the narrative maintains a crisp rhythm throughout. Christy’s illustrations align closely with the text, effectively capturing swirling winds, swinging signs, and swaying tree branches. Pair this with Helen Cox Cannons’ nonfiction title Wind (2014) to reate an enticing and bracing introduction to spring weather for young readers.”
— Kathleen McBroom
“Linda Booth Sweeney (The Systems Thinking Playbook), making her children’s book debut, and Jana Christy (How to Hug) pay homage to the changing of seasons in this picture book tale of a warmhearted family and their cozy seaside home.
Laundry wafts on the line as a child and dog peer out of an upstairs window in a blue-roofed cape house. “When the wind blows…” reads the opening line in a hand-lettered purple that matches the home’s exterior. “Windows rattle./ Doors creeaaak./ Chimes sing./ We peek,” the text continues in white type that pops against cornflower blue skies. Grandma takes the boy and dog out to fly a yellow kite, while his mother, clad in a blue coat, pushes a baby in a red stroller. A lighthouse hints at a nearby body of water, and cows complete the pastoral scene.
“Trees dance./ Spiders curl./ Mice shiver./ Leaves swirl.” The beach grasses in Christy’s multimedia art mimic the swirl of the leaves, where children can spy a spider’s web and two mice taking refuge. The repetition of “When the wind blows…” gives the story its structure, and Christy adds a visual storyline. As the child loses hold of the kite and impatiently pursues it (his mother recovers the kite), Grandma waves at a sailor and a top hat blows off the groom departing the church. “Skies darken./ Thunder booms,” driving everyone inside.
Sweeney pens rhyming couplets that softly mimic spring breezes, while Christy balances bird’s eye-view perspectives with intimate portraits of this closely knit family.”
–Jennifer M. Brown, children’s editor, Shelf Awareness
“The moment you touch and open this book, its wisdom is evident. This is the wisdom of wholes, of belonging, and connecting the dots to see the richer tapestry of life.”
–Raffi, singer, author, founder of Child Honoring
“Artfully, beautifully, playfully, seriously, clearly Linda Booth Sweeney invites us to join her in a deeper understanding of the profound principles of living systems. Tapping wisdom connected to many cultures and many times, Linda weaves memorable simple stories into a tapestry holding enormous complexity. A book that is at once a work of art, a representation of science, and an invitation to think more deeply and playfully, Connected Wisdom is a gift. Whether the reader is six or sixty, it matters not. These pages open us more fully to the world around us.”
–Judy Sorum Brown, Author, Senior Fellow, The James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership
“Beautiful …. The writing so seamlessly tied together [the author’s] ecological concepts with the stories … chosen. And such handsome bookmaking! I am doing a keynote on tales of kindness for the National Storytelling Network Conference in Hawaii and will add this to my bibliography.”
–Margaret Read MacDonald, Author and storyteller
“Our actions, connected to the people and the natural world around us, are not only worth seeing, it is the point at which you are actually seeing. Connected Wisdom uses simple language, pictures, and parables to explain and beautifully illustrate natural principles in our relationships to each other and the natural world. This book helps parents and children alike see our world made up of many parts for what it is – connected.”
–Steve Swenson, Aldo Leopold Foundation
When A Butterfly Sneezes
“Systems thinking provides structure to understanding our complex world. Stories, whether our own or selections from literature, offer a powerful hook to recognition of the interconnectedness within a system. As an educator, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of systems thinking, but somewhat intimidated by its complexity. After reading and rereading WHEN A BUTTERFLY SNEEZES, I have a far deeper understanding of its power.
I’ve long believed in the power of story to enhance understanding. This little book affirms that belief. Thank you, Linda Booth Sweeney, for this fine work.”
— Phyllis MacDonald
“I have used some of the same stories described in Linda’s book in training courses with environmental professionals from many countries as well as in introducing systems thinking into my own organization. There is a universal appeal to stories by Dr. Seuss, for example, and much wisdom hidden just behind the wild drawings and imaginative language. Linda’s unique contribution lies in showing teachers and parents how they can use a wide range of enchanting stories to tap into this deeper meaning in order to improve problem solving abilities in everyday life. The book’s recommendations on using stories can easily be applied to improving our parenting and teaching skills by listening more carefully to the stories children tell, asking better questions, and sharing responsibility with our children for interpreting the answers.”