Monday, September 14, 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 on the blog:

Review: Apple: Skin to the Core at Rich in Color

Last week in reading:

Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop was a sweet adult romance with a dash of magic.

This is My Brain in Love was a YA rom-com and it made me smile. 

The Assignment was the book this week that was most amazing. It's a contemporary YA and really dealt with this idea some folks have that we need to see and understand all sides of something. A teacher gives an assignment requiring students to argue the opinions of the Nazis who were dealing with the "Jewish problem." There is a lot to think about here. It was very well written.

The Talk was also one that will stick with me. It's a collection of essays/short stories from a wide variety of folks that share ways to talk to young people about race, identity and self-esteem. 

Bloom is a YA graphic novel about a young man working in his family's bakery and is figuring out what he wants to do with his life. Someone had commented on my blog post about books with food and recommended this one. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm still reading A Map to the Sun and did make a little bit of progress this week. I've started reading Cemetery Boys and am reading The Situation and the Story. It's hard to know if I'll read a lot or not this week. School is stressful and busy, but that actually sometimes means that I need some escapist reading to balance it out and sometimes it means I'm too exhausted to read. 

Reading Challenge Updates: 
#MustReadin2020 - 28/36
#YARC2020 - 58/55
Muslimshelfspace - 23/30

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: Love by Sophia

 


Title: Love by Sophia

Author: Jim Averbeck

Illustrator: Yasmeen Ismail

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 40

Review copy: Final copy via publisher

Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls 

Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view?

Review: Sophia is back with another delightful family story. This time the focus is perspective. Her art teacher has shown her how to place and shape things on the page to show perspective, but there is also a nod to personal perspective in how we view the world. 

As with previous Sophia books, there are some pretty high level vocabulary words being used in the text, but again, there is a glossary just in case someone could use a little more information. 

I love Sophia's flair for the dramatic and how she interacts with many family members. They don't all agree, but they communicate their opinions and you can see the love within the family. 

Recommendation: You'll definitely want to grab this one if you have enjoyed the previous Sophia books. Even if you haven't though, it works as a stand-a-lone too. It would be a great one to pair with Brendan Wenzel's book They All Saw a Cat.

Monday, September 7, 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 on the blog:


Last week in reading:

I read way too many books to share about every single one, but there really were some awesome books here this week. I read twelve excellent fiction picture books. My top two were Grandpa Grumps and Your Name is a Song. I also read three very cute board books - I Love All of Me, Be Boy Buzz and Count My Cupcakes 1-2-3.

Sweet Dreams Sarah and The Power of Her Pen are great nonfiction picture book biographies that I'm glad to add to the library.

I finally read the other three Astrid and Apollo early chapter book series and they are pretty perfect. The author is telling about a Hmong family and some of the events and activities they go to. The stories aren't very complex (which is good for that level), but they are interesting. I really can't wait to share these with students. 

A Place at the Table is a lovely middle grade chapter book about two middle school girls beginning a new friendship. One girl is Jewish and the other is Muslim and at first glance it would seem they have little in common, but they begin to discover many commonalities. 

I read two novellas this week. I don't come across those too often. There should be more quick and yet very engaging stories on my TBR. Cin's Mark is a fabulous YA contemporary with a little history by Zetta Elliot. The Empress of Salt and Fortune is marketed to adults, but could easily be a YA crossover. It is historical with a few fantasy elements including a hilarious talking bird. 

You Should See Me in a Crown is a YA rom-com that was just as delightful as anticipated. I will be recommending this one to many readers. 

Finally, Good Talk is an adult memoir written in the graphic novel format. I read it in one sitting because it was really compelling.

The Coming Week: 
I'm still reading A Map to the Sun. It's on my desktop, so I still haven't managed to get to it. I'm also still  reading This is My Brain in Love through Sora. I also started reading The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative. I'm not sure what else I'll get to, but I am definitely excited to start reading with my students again. Happy reading!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
#MustReadin2020 - 27/36
#YARC2020 - 56/55
Muslimshelfspace - 23/30

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Cooking Up a Storm


Books featuring food are some of my favorites. It's cool to see what combinations the characters try. It's especially great when there are recipes included in the book, but even when that isn't the case, similar recipes can be found online so I get busy cooking or baking either way. 

Here are some of the books featuring food that I've enjoyed during the past year or two. 

Picture Books:

Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore
Illustrated by Xinoi Yan



Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
Illustrated by Aneesha Syed



Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez


Middle Grade Novels/Grapic Novels:

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan



Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai



Measuring Up (Available Oct. 27) by Lily LaMotte 
Illustrations by Ann Xu


Young Adult:

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo






Edited by Caroline Tung Richards & Elise Chapman


Non-Fiction: 

by Kevin Noble Maillard, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal




Illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz



Not Necessarily for Young Readers:


by Hugh Amano & Sarah Becan



Happy reading and happy eating!!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Short & Sweet Long & Savory Tour

 

Have you met Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast? How about Baron von Waffle or Professor Biscotti? If you haven't had the opportunity to meet them yet, you will want to do so soon. Books featuring food are some of my favorites. Mostly because it gives me just the excuse I need to make something yummy.

Short & Sweet is the 4th book in the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series. In this delightful kitchen adventure, Professor Biscotti transforms the two sweet breakfast treats into toddlers. Yikes! 

The story is a great romp through entertaining locations such as the Fjords of Farfalle and the Pasta Playground. Along the way there are many fun details to discover within the illustrations.

To get a taste of the tale, you can watch the musical trailer here:

Author: Josh Funk

Illustrator: Brendan Kearney 

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books

You'll want to visit other stops on the virtual tour by clicking on the image below. You'll be able to read interviews and reviews, listen to podcasts, and find out about all the sticky and sweet details about Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.


Now for a short and sweet introduction to the author. I first met Josh a few years ago at Nerdcamp in Michigan. I appreciated his stories, but also the work he's done to encourage and support picture book creators. If you're thinking about writing a picture book, I suggest you pop over to his resource page. Here's a little more info about Josh.

Author photo - He has a short beard and mustache. He has a slight smile and is looking to the side. He's wearing glasses and a pageboy hat.  He's wearing a
Photo Credit Carter Hasegawa, 2017

Full Bio: Josh Funk writes silly stories such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, the How to Code with Pearl and Pascal series, the It's Not a Fairy Tale series, the A Story of Patience & Fortitude series in conjunction with the New York Public Library, Dear Dragon, Albie Newton, Pirasaurs!, A Night at the Bookstore: A Barnsie & Noble Adventure, and more coming soon! 

Since the fall of 2015, Josh has visited (or virtually visited) over 400 schools, classrooms, and libraries and he is a board member of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA. 

Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts. 

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________. ​ For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Monday, August 31, 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 on the blog:

Interview with author Darcie Little Badger

Last week in reading:

I knew 10 Things I Hate About Pinky was on its way to me, so I quickly re-read the first two books - When Dimple Met Rishi and There's Something About Sweetie. They're all rom-coms and they really made me smile a lot. Another YA rom-com that had me smiling was an ARC of Super Fake Love Song. The other standouts were Magnificent Homespun Brown (beautiful poetry picture book celebrating the color brown and brown skin), Be You! (inspirational picture book), and Love by Sophia (a sweet picture book about family and perspective in an art type of way). I got the Love book from the publisher and will review it more formally later in the week. Redwood and Ponytail made me cry, but also smile. It's an excellent  middle grade novel in verse romance with a focus on identity.

The Coming Week: 
I'm still reading a graphic novel called A Map to the Sun. It's available on my desktop, so I don't think to get back to it. I've also started reading This is My Brain in Love through Sora. I have really been enjoying our school Overdrive collection. We're in a consortium and so though I set my students to only see the books appropriate for elementary, staff are also allowed to access the YA and adult sections. This means I have one extra library worth of books available to me now. I didn't know that was available when I signed up so it was a happy bonus. This is our first week back to school so I'm not sure how reading will go, but I wish you all a great week filled with wonderful books.

Reading Challenge Updates: 
#MustReadin2020 - 26/36
#YARC2020 - 51/55
Muslimshelfspace - 21/30

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Journey Toward Hope


Title:
 A Journey Toward Hope

Author: Victor Hinojosa & Coert Voorhees

Illustrator: Susan Guevara

Publisher: Six Foot Press

Pages: 40

Review Copy: Final copy via publisher

Availability: On shelves now

Summary:  Every year, roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minors arrive at the US/Mexico border to present themselves for asylum or related visas. The majority of these children are non-Mexicans fleeing the systemic violence of Central America’s “Northern Triangle”: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. A Journey Toward Hope tells the story of Rodrigo, a 14-year-old escaping Honduran violence; Alessandra, a 10-year-old Guatemalan whose first language is Q’eqchi’; and the Salvadoran siblings Laura and Nando. Though their reasons for making the journey are different and the journey northward is perilous, the four children band together, finding strength in one another as they share the dreams of their past and the hopes for their future. Written in collaboration with Baylor University’s Global Hunger and Migration Project, A Journey Toward Hope is a celebration of their humanity and an ode to the power of hope and connection even in the face of uncertainty and fear.

Review: A Journey Toward Hope helps show the diversity of those coming into the US from the south. They are coming from many different places and situations. Their humanity is shown and young readers can see that unaccompanied minors go through much to get to the border asking for asylum. Though we don't get to know each character well, they are distinct and they each have hopes and dreams for their future. 

The artwork is lovely and the addition of the animals related to each character will likely make it more appealing to young readers, but also simply adds a creative beauty to the story. The train, La Bestia, also has a beast shown that emphasizes the danger of that way of traveling without making it too overwhelming for young readers. Without visually showing how people may be injured or killed, it still communicates the fear and risks.

The end notes are excellent and I was glad to see a map that shows the places mentioned in the text. It also shows the paths that each of the characters travel. There are suggestions on how people can be involved in addressing the needs of migrant children. The illustrator's notes are also wonderful and explain that she was trying to show the importance of connections and relationships. 

Recommendation: This is a wonderful addition to any library. There is a lot of confusion about unaccompanied minors and this is one way for readers to learn more about them in an age appropriate way. Many facts are shared through the end notes and through the story we see the emotional aspects. This will be a great way to start discussions with young people and I would venture to say there are many adults who could also benefit from this story and information.