Christine Emery’s The Black Cloud Blues

The Black Cloud BluesWritten by Christine A. Emery and illustrated by Kellie R. Emery, The Black Cloud Blues does the important work of acknowledging childhood depression. In doing so it makes a valuable contribution to children’s literature. Kellie Emery’s deliberate illustrations provide access to the unnamed narrator’s feelings as he takes readers on a journey into his experience with depression. Continue reading

Terry Lynn Johnson’s Lost!

Terry Lynn Johnson’s Lost! is the first book in the Survivor Diaries series. Two recently introduced children vacationing with their families at a resort in Costa Rica get lost in the rainforest. They survive through will, wit, and a little luck.

In the first chapter, one of the two protagonists, Carter, a young African American boy, is interviewed by a reporter about surviving being lost in the Costa Rican rainforest. We learn that his friend and fellow survivor, Anna, a white girl who is older, taller, and stronger than him, will be interviewed the next day. Knowing the children survive alleviates a sense of doom in the chapters that follow, which pull us back in time six weeks to when Carter and Anna disappeared into the rainforest. Continue reading

Thank you!


I have just reached 1100 followers on WordPress and 1000 followers on Twitter. I’m so happy!

I have been putting tons of work into RaiseThemRighteous! I love writing book reviews about my favorite children’s literature and am looking forward to expanding my blog to include reviews of #MG and #YA literature in 2019! Thank you to everyone who follows the blog. If you don’t, please take a look and follow for email alerts about new posts!

I’ve made amazing connections in the blogger and children’s literature communities on Twitter! I love serving as a first round @CybilsAwards judge for #EasyReader and #EarlyChapter books. And, I’m excited to review my first book for Multicultural Children’s Literature Day! If you haven’t followed me on Twitter, please do.

Thank you for your support!


Elise Gravel’s You Can Be

You Can BeElise Gravel’s board book, You Can Be, subtly rejects gender stereotypes while introducing very young readers to a range of characteristics through images of diverse children embodying them.

Steely-blue and bright-red images leap off the glossy-white background of each page. The cover features the back of a young child with light-brown skin and long black hair running in a garden. It sets the tone for the text, welcoming young readers into the book to explore all the things they can be. Continue reading

The Beginning of Your Life Book Club

Episode 1 - Book ClubI love presenting my work on children’s literature at academic conferences. I never fail to meet amazing people who understand the importance of popular culture, including children’s books. I met Emily Akins at the Children’s Literature Association‘s Summer 2018 conference. Emily is an Editorial Director at Hallmark and in 2018 she won an award that provided her with a 6-month sabbatical from her job to pursue a personal project. Emily decided to research children’s literature and create a podcast: The Beginning of Your Life Book Club. She is already reaching a wide audience, but let’s help her reach even more people as invested in amazing children’s books as we are!

Courtney Carbone’s This Makes Me Sad

This Makes Me Sad, written by Courtney Carbone and illustrated by Hilli Kushnir, is one of several books in Rodale Kids’ Dealing with Feelings series. This easy reader does a great job teaching emotional literacy through simple sentences that build an accessible and engaging story about a boy and his lost dog.

The story is told in the first-person by a little boy who accidentally left the gate on his fence open, which allowed his dog, Kit, to escape. His parents try to reassure him that everything will be okay, but he is anxious and sad. Continue reading

Follow Me on Goodreads and Twitter

Hi friends!

I am working to spread the word about RaiseThemRighteous! I am on Twitter at @jlmiller516 and on Goodreads at! Please, follow me across platforms and share my blog with friends and family.

I’ve been posting socially engaged, diverse, and LGBTQ* #kidlit book reviews for about four months, and plan on adding middle grade and young adult literature to the blog in January!

I’m also a @CybilsAwards judge for easy readers and early chapter books – I love it! And, this year I’m going to be a Multicultural Children’s Book Day Reviewer for the first time. I love that these things exist and am so happy to participate!