Cover Image: Astrid and Apollo and the Starry Campout

Astrid and Apollo and the Starry Campout

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Member Reviews

Thank-you to NetGalley and Capstone for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’m always on the lookout for engaging books with teachable lessons for the young readers in my home. The first in the series, Astrid and Apollo and the Starry Campout by V.T. Bidania accomplishes both and enhances the story with Dara Lashia Lee’s vibrant illustrations. 

On the cusp of a family camping adventure, Astrid finds herself distressed over being the woods in the dark - with bears. With the help of her brother Apollo, Astrid overcomes her fears realizing they were not as big as she originally believed.  

I am looking forward to reading this series and learning more about the Hmong-American community.
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A solid #OwnVoices early chapter book with nice illustrations.  I like that the story combines Hmong words, food and culture and a family camping trip.  The book features a supportive family structure with realistic characterizations of the siblings (well, maybe with less fighting).  I think kids that enjoy realistic fiction and family stories will enjoy this book.
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4.5 stars

This was a really cute book with Hmong characters that had me smiling ear-to-ear. Although I am not Hmong (I am Taiwanese American), I am always happy to find books by Asian Americans that celebrate their culture and tell a good story while they're at it. This book is aimed at early readers (I'd say 1st-3rd grade) and is about Astrid and Apollo going camping with their family. I love the theme of Astrid being afraid at the beginning but learning how to face her fears through this experience. At the end, they have some discussion questions that would be great for the classroom. I love the illustrations throughout and at the end, there are facts about the Hmong, as well as a vocabulary list of popular Hmong foods with illustrations! Yum! I think this book would be a perfect addition to any elementary classroom.

Thanks to #VTBidania and #DaraLashiaLee for a lovely book, and to #NetGalley and #PictureWindowBooks for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a super cute book. I read it with my 7-year-old and he loved it. I plan to use this in my classroom for students to enjoy. Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in addition to my opinion.
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Astrid and Apollo is a fun, twin duo of characters for emergent chapter book readers. Astrid and Apollo are on their way to a camping trip. They are so excited, yet scared of the unknown. Together, they conquer their fears and end up having a great time on their trip.

Astrid and Apollo is written at an easier text level. It does bring in a lot of multicultural aspects. Their family is from Laos, so they utilize vocabulary to represent their culture. I loved this aspect, and I think multicultural books are wonderful to get in the hands of students everywhere.
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It’s good to see books written for children that introduce them to other cultures. I really like that this was a simple adventure of a family going camping - something most kids can identify with. Explaining the unique foods as well as pronunciations in the glossary is very helpful as most kids (and some adults) can be off put by their names alone. We need more stories like this that show how we are all not very different from each other.
I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for my volunteer review.
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I really enjoyed this book! This is a kids book so it was short and simple but still such a great story. It had amazing artistry throughout the book. With beautiful colors! It was nice to see such a grounded family. To see a little girl with fears that are very normal seems like it can really help growing girls in this day and age! Most kids books now a days are fantasy or something to make them think and I don't think that is a bad thing but I do think they need to see some examples of themselves. I saw this is a series of books so I am looking forward to reading some of the others!
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Thanks to Netgalley for this digital ARC. A very relatable tale about how scary it can be to try new things with a lot of support for emerging readers. Astrid and Apollo's family is Hmong and there is some fantastic backmatter as well as a vocabulary and pronunciation guide in the beginning that give cultural information.  Looking forward to reading more in the series and sharing with young patrons!
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I received an electronic ARC from Capstone through NetGalley.
Astrid and Apollo are twins who have their own interests. In this book, the family is going camping. Apollo is excited for this adventure; Astrid is scared and doesn't want to go. They both discover that camping is full of unexpected adventures and familiar family fun.
Bidania has created relatable characters that elementary readers will relate to. She defines some Hmong words to begin the book and provides information text at the end explaining history since the Vietnam War and provides further information about their culture. Simple to read text in a short chapter format works for intermediate readers to read independently or as a family read-aloud.
Realistic illustrations capture the fun and joy of this family's camping adventure.
Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

This is an adorable book (part of a series but this is the first book I've read in the series) about twin siblings Astrid and Apollo and their family. They are everything a family should be - encouraging, comforting, full of praise and nurturing. 
Astrid is scared about going camping as she thinks there will be mosquitos, bears and she is also afraid of the dark. 
My daughter and I really enjoyed this and will be reading it again and doing the activities at the back too.
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When people hear the word "Hmong", notions conjured may be of the Secret War, the refugee camps of Thailand, and/or Hmong immigration. What V.T. Bidania has done here is craft an elegantly true, accessible, and different narrative of what it means to be Hmong. As a Hmong reader myself, always having wondered if a Hmong child was able to, and often times worthy of, play like roles as Harry Potter in an original fictional series, here, Bidania has masterfully shown us, that yes, it's possible. This book is specifically catered to a Hmong children audience and captures so well the nuances of the Hmong-American experience beyond war and trauma.  I, for once in thirty years of existence, finally see myself and my parents on the page and what a powerful experience this is! It felt surreal at times and indescribable. The little details of the Hmong-American life was so finely and un-apologetically woven into the craft of this book, making it a heart-warming gift to all Hmong kids and adults alike. Thank you so much for this book!
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The characters of Astrid and her twin brother Apollo really shine in this funny and sweet chapter book.  A family camping trip helps the kids face their fears, bond with each other and their parents, and triumph after a crazy wildlife adventure. Lively camping trip details and the spunky and upbeat illustrations make this book a joy to read and share with kids.
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Recommended for grades 2-4. I can't think of many children's books that explore a Hmong-American family--I feel like I learned something while reading this because the author includes a list of Hmong words and facts at the beginning and the end of the book. The writing is concise in a way that would make this appropriate for younger readers, and the vibrant illustrations are compelling and add to the "kid appeal."
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What a relevant, exciting new series!  I can not wait for my students to read it.
The introduction of the Hmong culture is especially important and this book does a fine job of bringing it to elementary students' attention.  The glossary of terms at the beginning of the book along with the section at the end will appeal to their curiosity and will serve to enhance their understanding of others with whom they may not be familiar. 
The positive messages in the story of family and overcoming fear will resonate with the young readers.  The humor is an added fun feature. Sure to be a hit!
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This is a great book for middle-grade levels and multicultural classrooms. I would even read this with my high school English Learners. There are cultural variations that make the book important when learning about the Hmong culture as well as Hmong students to identify with. The story is easy to read and understand with a connection to learning and deep conversation. The definitions at the beginning and end of the book are great for preteaching. The questions as the end are a little too easy and need to be more of a progression to higher-level thinking. This doesn't distract for the book. The content is warm and welcoming. I enjoyed this book.
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I cannot even express how excited I am about this series. This is the first and only early chapter book series to feature a Hmong American family. This first book in the series introduces the eight year old twins and their family as they go on a camping trip.

Along the way, we learn about their Hmong names and their meanings. Astrid, or Gao Nou, is apprehensive about camping, but her twin helps convince her to give it a try by framing it as an adventure. Their cousin Lily had told some horror stories about a camping trip she had been on, but this camping trip is not a horrifying even though they do encounter some intimidating critters at one point.

This is a fun and entertaining beginning chapter book that anyone could enjoy. The mishaps and frights are amusing and so is their little sister and her amazingly noisy screams. My youngest would completely relate to detesting bugs and bathrooms on campouts as Astrid does.

What makes this book more than just a typical chapter book though is the inclusion of Hmong American culture. This is something that will be interesting for other readers, but for Hmong American readers this is filled with many opportunities for connections. Between the smattering of Hmong words, egg rolls, papaya salad, Thai chili peppers, Hmong sausage, and even mention of Hmong Village Mall, there is much that Hmong American students may find familiar. Even though the mall is several hours away in St. Paul, many of my students have been there or know of the mall. The back matter also includes a brief history of how Hmong people came to be in the U.S. which is almost always new information for non-Hmong folks. A list of popular Hmong foods with their descriptions follows the historical notes.

There are many Hmong Americans in our community and across Wisconsin and Minnesota along with several other locations in the U.S. and this book is one way for readers to get a small glimpse into the Hmong American culture or even see themselves reflected on the page.

Recommendation: This is a great early chapter book for any library or home with young readers and it is essential in communities where Hmong Americans are living. The story is engaging and the chapters are brief, but challenging enough for readers just beginning to read chapter books. I cannot wait to share this series with my students, my community, and anyone else I can persuade to read it.
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Cute easy reader with Hmong theme. Astrid and Apollo are twins. When the family decides to go camping, Apollo is excited, but Astrid is afraid. Friends have told her there are bears, it is dark, and the bathrooms are smelly. Things go well, but when night comes Astrid hears some strange noises. When she and her father check it out, they are surprised.
Back matter talks about popular Hmong foods and there is a glossary of terms.
Good story for overcoming fears, trying something new, and courage.
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That is so freaking cute!
All the family goals! 
I absolutely love this book. It gave me all the right kind of feels when it comes to family and siblings.
This is a series. But I can rest assure you that you can read this as a standalone. In this one, Astrid and her family is going for camping and stay a night outside. 
The cover is just eye-catching and adorable, the content illustration is no less! It gave me all the anime/animation vibes because you will know why it is so when you read this book! 

This book gives me the feeling that if a child starts a book series, he or she should start from this one! It's cute, sweet, interesting and adventurous.
The family dynamics has been represented well. 
The description about the Hmong people is educational. And yes, the description regarding the Hmong dishes! Wow!

The book is interactive as well. 
Without a doubt, you can go for it. 
As for me, I am planning to get all the books in the series. 

Thank you #NetGalley for the book #AstridandApolloandTheStarryCampOut
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This is a great children’s book and story! It will teach kids to be brave in a way they will understand, and the illustrations will help keep them intrigued.
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