Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week in Books:
Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bessie Stringfield is an entertaining YA graphic novel bio of an African American woman who criss-crossed the U.S. on a motorcycle. I enjoyed finding out about her adventures and her determination to live in a way that fit her personality and passions. Hoodoo is a seriously creepy middle grade novel and I know there are students who are gonna love it. The Education of Margot Sanchez is a YA book about family, community and more.

In Plain Sight is a sweet picture book about a granddaughter/grandfather relationship told through their daily game of hide and seek. Readers can also try to spot the hidden objects. Sleep is an older picture book created to go with a choral work. It has lovely dreamlike pictures to go with the text. Because of the Sun is a fairly intense YA book about a girl dealing with grief and some pretty emotional family history.

The Hate U Give was a re-read to prepare for a book discussion over at Rich in Color. It's a book everyone should read. It's a fantastic novel that touches on friendship, family, racism, and community. The book is so relevant to what is happening around our country right now. I loved the characters and the voice of Starr. It's a book that made me laugh and cry. A Spy Called James was interesting because I had never heard of James Lafayette before.  He was enslaved, but worked as a double agent in the Revolutionary War. It's a picture book and I would have enjoyed even more facts, but I don't think there is a ton of source info about him. Quiet Power is a young people's version of the adult nonfiction book Quiet. It's about being an introvert. I'm an introvert and found it nice to have validation for some of the things I feel and do. I think young people would enjoy it.

Pauly Wants to Doodle All the Day is a self-published book by a local author. It's not fancy, but it was nice to read it knowing that the author works in my school district. She'll be part of the author fair I'm helping co-ordinate for WEMTA in the Dells next month. ABC Pasta is another book by Juana Medina that highlights found art. The illustrations are fun though sometimes the vocabulary is quite challenging. Things to Do is a beautiful and poetic look at some of the simple things in life that bring joy.

The Coming Week: I'm looking forward to getting the graphic novel version of Kindred. For the month of March we're going to be focusing on young women in graphic novels over at Rich in Color. That's going to be one I read for review there. I'm wanting to see the movie I Am Not Your Negro, but it isn't playing anywhere around here so I think I will try to read some of James Baldwin's books while I wait. Also, next weekend I get to see Carole Boston Weatherford at the Zolotow Award reception so I may re-read some of her books.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 85/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 41/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 27/125

Monday, February 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last Week in Books:
 
 

I read a lot this week, but there were several that really stood out from the rest. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera was amazing. I loved Juliet and really appreciated hearing her voice and watching her grow. She is figuring out her cultural history and finding out what feminism means for her. As she meets new people and researches women from history, she navigates ideas, vocabulary and relationships. I will definitely be recommending this one and re-reading it too.

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak was intriguing. I went into it thinking it was a simple contemporary romance between Aidan and Jarrod. It has a whole other plot going on though. There are stories within the story and supernatural happenings. I loved that it was complex and really delved into the idea of story.

For our African American Read-In, I read I, Too, Am America illustrated by Bryan Collier with my fourth and fifth grade students. In just a few words Langston Hughes conveys a powerful message. The book is also gorgeous and the excellent author's note teaches some history of the Pullman Porters. It's a book I use and revisit almost every year.

The final two that really made an impression are both about sound and the absence of sound. The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin is a fabulous story that is exactly what I was looking for this week. I wanted to find a good picture book to introduce freedom of speech. This is about a village that has been very noisy. The new mayor creates increasingly strict rules that require residents to be quiet. The rooster defies the rules even when the consequences become more and more restrictive. It's a story that will inspire much discussion.

The other book about sound is The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldseito and illustrated by Julia Kuo. In it, the young child is trying to find silence, but when listening, always hears sounds everywhere. It speaks to mindfulness and inner peace.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 72/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 33/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 22/125

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Review: American Street

Title: American Street
Author: Ibi Zoboi  
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages:336
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Review copy: ARC via Edelweiss
Availability: On shelves now

Summary:  On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Review: American Street and Joy Road cross each other in Detroit. Fabiola's cousins live near this intersection of streets that would seem to bring happiness and the answers to dreams. Fabiola is finding the reality to be very different than what she had expected though. She was coming with her mother from Haiti, but her mother was detained by immigration officials so she had to meet her cousins and her aunt on her own. There are new people to meet and many adjustments to make, but Fabiola holds onto her faith and her inner strength as she settles into the new family and culture. This is very much an immigrant story. Readers see the challenges Fabiola goes through and the balancing act she has holding her values and history close while still trying to find her way in this new life.

This is also a story of family ties and sisterhood. What are sisters willing to do for each other? Fabiola's cousins may fight among themselves sometimes, but they always have each other's back. The majority of the story is told from Fabiola's perspective, but we do get chapters in between from the sisters and other characters so we get their point of view sometimes.

Faith plays a role in the story too. Fabiola believes in Haitian Vodou and is not about to let that go. In American media, Vodou can often be portrayed in a negative way or is included only to add something exotic. This isn't the case in American Street. It's unique enough that her cousins ask questions about what she's doing, but it is an important part of Fabiola's daily life.

Her faith is something Fabiola appreciates about her Haitian culture. She doesn't just accept the narrative that everything about the U.S. is better. She knows that there are good things about being in the U.S., but also acknowledges the things about her home that were superior - like the support of her family and community and her feeling of safety.

Recommendation: Get it soon. This novel packs quite a punch and Fabiola is someone you will be glad you met.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blog:

by Adam Silvera at Rich in Color

Last Week in Books:

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (WI Author!!) is so fabulous. I will be re-reading my copy multiple times. I love that there are 44 different voices shared in this work and it's super accessible. And it's intersectional. And glorious. And there is a playlist. And comics. Have I sold you yet? Get it.

Since The Hammer of Thor won a Stonewall and I've been working my way through that list, I picked it up and had an entertaining time reading. I appreciate how Rick Riordan creates unique and diverse characters and packs humor and action in there too. Fun stuff.

Unbecoming was a Stonewall honor book this year. It's a wonderful multi-generational book. I love that there is a grandmother involved as my grandmother is also aging and I could connect to much that was happening. I would call it a lovely book.

Dear Pope Francis is a nice collection of letters from children along with the Pope's answers. It's a book we have in my school library that quite a few children have checked out so I wanted to give it a go. He gave very thoughtful answers to some simple and complex questions.

Pedro for President is a cute early chapter book and I enjoyed learning about slinkys in The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring

The Coming Week:
I'm about to start Juliet Takes a Breath and Wonders of the Invisible World, but other than that I don't have many plans. We will see what comes my way. Have a great week!


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 56/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 26/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 16/125

Celebrating Widening the Circle



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.


This week I'm celebrating Widening the Circle. It's a wonderful education conference that I've attended at least six or seven times now. I've posted about it before because I always learn something new there. The focus is on Native American and Hmong Indigenous education. I appreciate learning traditional ways of living and teaching. Forrest Brooks (see the picture above) shared how to interact with others in good ways. We shared and learned from each other about ways to have peace in our lives and ways to interact productively. I also had the opportunity to share about how to create inclusive libraries. The conference is something I look forward to every year because I get to connect with new and old friends and improve my teaching and my life. I'm so thankful for the people who make the event happen each time.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last Week in Books:

 
The Sound of All Things is a picture book from a unique perspective. The parents are deaf and the son interprets sounds for the father who could hear when he was very young.  The Alphabet from the Sky is a nice concept, but I found the text didn't add anything to the photographs so it just annoyed me a bit to have to bother with the words. I liked looking for the letters though. Hank's Big Day is super adorable and I never would have thought a pill bug with a human friend could be described as adorable. Giant Squid is a gorgeous book. The illustrations make the book, but the text is very nice too.

Magnus Chase was a humorous non-stop adventure that was just what I needed to take my mind off of some things. I do wish he hadn't used the phrase spirit animal early in the book and it had nothing to do with a Native person that I could tell. I would love for that to be a phrase that stops being used. There is a lot of diversity in this book as in Riordan's others and I appreciate that about his characters.
 
American Street is an intense contemporary young adult book focusing on a Haitian American family. Some of the major issues are the bonds of family and balancing cultures. I will have a longer review sometime later.
 
Enter Title Here was definitely different. The main character Reshma Kapoor is willing to do pretty much anything to get into her dream university. Anything includes some highly unethical activities. It's sometimes hard to like Reshma, but I certainly had to admire her persistence.
 
The Coming Week in Books: I'll post a review of History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera over at Rich in Color. I've been taking my time with Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World because I am enjoying the essays so much I don't want to rush through them. I also started listening to the memoir Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers. I also have a few books waiting on my shelf.

I wish you a great week!
 
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 47/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 24/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 15/125

Monday, January 30, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last Week in Books:
 

It was fun to read quite a few picture books. I appreciated A Family is a Family is a Family. It was nice to finally get to read it along with I Am Not a Number. Both had been highly recommended and for good reason. I enjoyed everything I read this week, but won't go into detail with all of the titles due to time constraints.

Next Week in Books: 
I am still reading Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World and I just started Enter Title Here. I have the first two Magnus Chase books by Riordan also.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 40/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 21/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 14/125