Monday, January 18, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

#IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading? Sharing picture books, early readers, middle grade books, and young adult books for readers of all ages. Hosted by www.unleashingreaders.com and www.teachmentortexts.com. This text is centered over a background of bookshelves.
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.

If you go to my Goodreads account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:
Two cover images. Dream Builder and Swim, Mo, Swim!

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon is an interesting picture book biography. Philip Freelon found reading difficult, but numbers, science, and drawing were strengths. One of his major accomplishments was the design for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Swim, Mo, Swim! made me laugh. Each of these Mo books are a delight and are great for beginning readers. 

Cover image of The Other Half of Happy. There are lots of brightly colored flowers and designs, but there is also a guitar & manatee there.

The Other Half of Happy is a middle grade novel dealing with family and that feeling of not quite fitting in with people. She's biracial and is trying to find out how to be herself. I had it on my #MustReadin2021 list because it was a Pura Belpré honor that I had missed. 
Cover images of Husband Material and Meet Cute. Both are illustrated with bold colors.

I'm still reading a lot of rom-coms. Husband Material and Meet Cute were both entertaining. I'm not sure I'll remember them in a week, but they were enjoyable at the time. ;)

In addition, I read a lot of picture books with my students as we did our Mock elections. Here were their picks for winners and honors. 

First Grade - Geisel Award Winner = Sun Flower Lion, Honors - Swim, Mo, Swim!, Astrid & Apollo and the Happy New Year, and The Old Truck

Second Grade - Caldecott Winner = Honeybee, Honors - Lift, We Are Water Protectors, & Hike

Third Grade - Coretta Scott King = Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, Honor - Just Like Me, Black is a Rainbow Color & You Matter

Fourth Grade - Pura Belpré Winner = ¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat, Honor - A Journey Toward Hope

Fifth Grade - Sibert Winner = Honeybee, Honors - All the Way to the Top and How to Solve a Problem

The Coming Week: 
I have about 100 more pages in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying so may finish it this week. I am reading several books at the same time right now. I am listening to the middle grade book Root Magic from LibroFM. I just got a copy of Foreshadow, a YA anthology, from a book exchange through the 88 Cups of Tea Facebook group and am enjoying the stories. I am still working through an Audre Lorde collection too. I wish you a great week filled with reading. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

#IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading? Sharing picture books, early readers, middle grade books, and young adult books for readers of all ages. Hosted by www.unleashingreaders.com and www.teachmentortexts.com. This text is centered over a background of bookshelves.
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.

If you go to my Goodreads account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:


cover images for seven picture books that are mentioned below

Picture books
Eyes that Kiss at the Corners is a beautiful book that describes a young girl's eyes and the many ways they are beautiful. It will be a lovely book for any young person, but especially for Asian and Asian American readers. 

A Jedi You Will Be is a fun Star Wars inspired picture book that is narrated by Yoda. I know many young readers who are going to love it. 

Nacho's Nachos is a picture book biography. I didn't know that nachos were named after an actual person. It's fun to see how they came to be and of course there is a recipe. 

Honeybee is an absolutely stunning and enthralling nonfiction picture book about the life of the bee. The facts are absorbing and again, the illustrations are amazing. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann have hit it out of the park again. 

Outside, Inside is a lovely picture book that tells about that time in the early spring of 2020 when many of us went inside. I had to go buy it after I listened to LeUyen Pham with Matthew Winner on the Kidlit These Days podcast that was focused on the pandemic experience and young readers. 

Sharuko is a bilingual picture book biography of a Peruvian archaeologist. It was pretty fascinating. He helped to shed light on the history of the indigenous peoples in Peru.

Federico and the Wolf is a spin-off of Little Red Riding Hood. 


Middle Grade Chapter Books

Becoming Muhammad Ali is a biography of Cassius Clay that shares a lot of his childhood. Readers get to "hear" his voice in poetry. 

Leaving Lymon is a middle grade historical novel that is a companion to Finding Langston. This book made me cry. I loved getting to know Lymon as he went from one place to another trying to hold onto his family. 

Fighting Words also made me cry. It's a contemporary middle grade about a ten year old and her teen sister going through some serious trauma including sexual assault. The author handles it in an age appropriate way. I wanted to read it after I had watched the conversation between Colby Sharp and author Fighting Words.


Adult Reading

The Fire This Time is an excellent anthology of essays from a variety of people on the subject of race. 

Red, White & Royal Blue was a relatively light-hearted rom-com and it was exactly what I needed after this stressful week. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm a little more than half-way through The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and will continue to work through that. I will likely be reading more kidlit and will likely be seeking out books with a little humor. I wish you a great week filled with reading. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

#IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading? Sharing picture books, early readers, middle grade books, and young adult books for readers of all ages. Hosted by www.unleashingreaders.com and www.teachmentortexts.com. This text is centered over a background of bookshelves.
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.

If you go to my Goodreads account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week on the Blog:
Image from Goodreads. Open book at top. My Year in Books. 93,893 pages read 590 books read. Shortest book is Cupcakes 123 at 14 pages and the longest is the Qur'an at 978.

Photo of two bookshelves filled with books. The title is #MustReadin2021. Text at the bottom says Hosted by Library Matters and A Day in the Life. Originated by Carrie Gelson at thereisabookforthat.com


Week in Books:
Cover images of The Summer of Everything which has yellow rays from the center out. The next is a Qur'an that is black with gold swirling designs. Third is Jedi Mind with Yoda meditating under the title. Every Body Looking with a Black young woman who is dancing. Her hair is swinging. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise has a girl sitting on top of a schoolbus and Keep it Together Keiko Carter has a young girl sitting in front of an open locker.

This is a fairly random grouping of books. ;) I just finished The Summer of Everything and enjoyed having a light summer type of read in the midst of our very cold and crisp winter. I went on a hike right after finishing it. Quite the contrast with California in the summer. 

Person is walking on a snowy path. Snow is everywhere. There are tall trees and everything has frost on it so even the trees are white with some bark contrasting.

Three tall trees covered in frost on a snowy hill. The sky is foggy.

The next book in the photo is the Qur'an. A few years ago I heard about #Muslimshelfspace. I had books by Muslim authors in my school library, but not at home so I started to collect some and seek them out at the library. Some years I have also participated in the Ramadan Readathon where you read books by Muslim authors during Ramadan. This year I was doing it again and it occurred to me that I was missing quite an important book, but we actually had it in our house. A friend had gifted it to my husband. I started it in May and finished it this past week. Having read the Bible multiple times when I was young, it was definitely interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two. 

Star Wars: The Jedi Mind was a Christmas gift from a friend and has Jedi teachings, quotes, and examples from certain characters. It also has mindfulness activities. It was nice to read through and I may even do some of the activities once in a while. 

Every Body Looking is a coming of age verse novel about a girl in her freshman year at Howard University. The story also flashes back to incidents in the past that have shaped her as she tries to find her path forward.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise was certainly a quirky middle grade. It was one I grabbed on the way out of my library right before winter break. I've seen it mentioned many, many places. It was fun and certainly had unique characters. In that way it reminded me of The Water Bears

And finally, Keep it Together Keiko Carter was another that I grabbed on the way out the door for winter break. It was a fun and sweet middle grade friendship story with a dash of a romance. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm still reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and have also started to read The Fire This Time. Beyond that, I will likely be reading some kidlit since an order is going to be delivered at school tomorrow. Yay! I love delivery days. I wish you a great week filled with reading. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

#MustReadin2021

The #MustReadin.... is a reading challenge that originated with Carrie Gelson at There is a Book for That and I've been participating since 2014. It's a group of folks who are trying to whittle down the list of books on our To Be Read shelves. I've really enjoyed being part of this reading community each year and am happy to be able to join in once again. This year it is being co-hosted by Cheriee Weichel at Library Matters and Leigh Ann Eck at A Day in the Life. It's not too late to join. 

Here is my list for 2021 via a new reading app called StoryGraph if you want to find out about any of the specific titles. 

20 book cover images are shown in four rows of five.

Here is the list typed out so that I can come back and highlight them as I finish reading them. 
  1. We Are Not Free by Traci Chee 
  2. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall with A. D'Amico
  3. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
  4. Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading & Writing YA edited by Nova Ren Suman & Emily X. R. Pan
  5. Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith
  6. Simmer Down by Sarah Smith
  7. The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
  8. Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
  9. Wink by Rob Harrell
  10. The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel
  11. Risk. Fail. Rise: A Teacher's Guide to Learning from Mistakes by M. Colleen Cruz
  12. Outside, Inside by Leuyen Pham
  13. Teaching for Black Lives by Wayne Au, Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian
  14. Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad
  15. Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
  16. The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
  17. Wildcard (Warcross) by Marie Lu
  18. Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death by Joan Halifax
  19. Superman Smashes the Klan by Gurihiru & Gene Luen Yang
  20. The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward
Whew! That is a bit of a list, but is actually fewer than I have attempted in the past. Maybe I will be able to finish this year. Some years I do, but not always. I've chosen some for fun, some for professional learning, and some for personal learning so it's a mix. I look forward to seeing everyone's lists. Have a great week!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Reading Update and Plans for 2021

 Reading Update & Plans

Image from Goodreads. Open book at top. My Year in Books. 93,893 pages read 590 books read. Shortest book is Cupcakes 123 at 14 pages and the longest is the Qur'an at 978.

It seems I read a few pages in 2020. What I noticed for certain is that I read longer books this year. In 2019, I read 917 books, but fewer pages than this year. So.... I looked back and I read about 78 books for adults in 2020 compared to 47 in 2019. I think this was a way to make sure there was no work happening. When I read YA or children's lit, it's fun, but is tangentially related to blogging or work. Reading was escapism in 2020. Some people had trouble reading long books, but I actually read fewer picture books. I needed things I could fall into for hours at a time.

Here are my favorite YA books of 2020 that were highlighted over at Rich in Color

Book covers including Cemetery Boys, Darius the Great Deserves Better, Elatsoe, Furia, Parachutes, and Say Her Name

Here are my favorite YA graphic novels of 2020 that were highlighted at Rich in Color:

A cute tiger is sitting over a circle with two ribbons at the bottom like an award. There are six stars over the top of the circle.
I was participating in the Year of Reading Asian Challenge hosted by several people:

I chose to aim for the Bengali Tiger level which meant reading 50 or more books by Asian authors. I was counting picture books and middle grade too and I ended up reading 74 books for #YARC2020 which are also listed on my Goodreads shelf. :)

Cover images of books found on my Goodreads shelf that is linked.
Cover images of books found on my Goodreads shelf that is linked.

I enjoyed this challenge, but am not sure if it will be offered again this year. After doing this challenge two years in a row, reading books from Asian authors is part of my plan anyway. Also, I listen to Books and Boba and they are often leading me to great titles.

Another challenge I was doing was the #MustReadin2020 that was inspired by Carrie Gelsen. Several of us have been participating in the #MustRead challenge for a few years. I chose 35 books to read in 2020. I finished 32 of them. I still have three that I will move to my #MustReadin2021 list. To see the list since the cover images may be difficult to read, visit my Goodreads shelf

The cover images of the books I read that may be accessed on my goodreads shelf.

The Fire This Time, Salvage the Bones, and The Buddha of Suburbia can go back on the list. I am not quite sure what I will be putting on my list for 2021 yet, but will try to get that done soon. I will be trying out a new platform though. I have moved my books over to The Story Graph which is still in beta form. It will be interesting to use something other than Goodreads for a bit. 

I am also considering participating in the Read Native 2021 challenge this year so you may see more about that soon. 

I hope you have a great year because we all really deserve one at this point. Happy reading!

Monday, December 28, 2020

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.

If you go to my Goodreads account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:

Kiki's Delivery Service is a middle grade translation that is just as cute as you might expect if you have ever seen the Miyazaki movie. 

The Paper Boat is a picture book that helps to tell the story of a refugee family making the ocean crossing. It was hard to fully understand the metaphor of the illustrations until I read the author's note. It's fairly powerful even if without totally understanding, but once that is clear it is even more impactful.

Kent State is a young adult graphic novel that pretty much gutted me. It does offer some hope, but honestly, it was really bleak. 

Mind the Gap Dash & Lily was super fun especially after watching the Dash & Lily Netflix series (which I loved). I had read the other two related books previously. 

The rest of the books were adult nonfiction. Women Race & Class was on my #MustReadin2020 list. It was enlightening and confirms to me that I want to read more from Angela Davis. Janesville was also on that list. Since I live in Wi it was interesting, but I wish the author had gotten into some of the racial issues and a few other aspects of the town's history. Otherwise, it was pretty comprehensive. 

Minor Feelings was a fantastic collection of essays that delve into some of the feelings and experiences that the author has had as a result of growing up Korean American/Asian American. It was one I heard about on the Books and Boba podcast (highly recommended).

Secondhand is a very interesting look at the ways that our things move through the world once we donate them. I read this for a book club and am looking forward to the Zoom discussion. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm still reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and I have a few middle grade books from the library - The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Keep it Together Keiko Carter. Other than that, I'm not sure what I'll be picking up, but plan to read several more books beyond that as it's winter break. Have a great week of reading!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
#MustReadin2020 - 31/35
#YARC2020 - 74/55
Muslimshelfspace - 27/30

Monday, December 21, 2020

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.

If you go to my Goodreads account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:

I finished Krik? Krak! this week. It was on my #MustReadin2020 list. It's a collection of related short stories by Edwidge Danticat. It was an emotional read for me. There's a lot of pain in these stories. Survival and family and love too, but a lot of pain.

I did read other books, but didn't make it all of the way through. I am reading another #MustReadin2020 title. This one by Angela Davis - Women Race and Class. The more of her work I read, the more impressed I am. This one is laying out the history of how these three things have been entwined in the U.S. 

The Coming Week: 
I started reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. With a bit of a break this week, perhaps I will finish a few more books before my next post. I have The Summer of Everything through Overdrive and I just now got access to the Mind the Gap Dash and Lily. I may watch the series over break. I am also working my way through Star Wars: The Jedi Mind. I have my next #MustReadin2020 book too -- Janesville. We finished watching The Mandalorian and have considered watching the 9 major Star Wars movies over break. Not sure if I want to commit to that or not.  It would put a big dent in my reading time. I wish you a great week!  

Reading Challenge Updates: 
#MustReadin2020 - 29/36
#YARC2020 - 71/55
Muslimshelfspace - 27/30