Monday, July 12, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogpost:
Books Read Last Week: 
Cover images of the books listed below the image.


My clear favorite this week was the middle grade novel Amina's Song which was a sequel to Amina's Voice. It's a beautiful story of family and how Amina sorts through having family on two different continents. I also really appreciated the way that she tries to change the perception that her peers have of Pakistan and the people who live there. It's truly a wonderful story and I hope it is read by many people. 

Another favorite this week was the picture book I Dream of Popo which again is showing love between family members who are living very far away from each other. It's based on the author's own relationship with her grandmother after her family moved to the U.S. when she was young. You can feel the love expressed in the pages. 

The two adult romances were for a book club I participated in that had the author as a guest. We were reading the second book in a series so I read both #1 and #2. I found the first one to be a lot of fun, but the second one seemed to have been rushed to publication. The story was also fun, but it could have benefitted from one more rounds of edits. 

Josie Dances, The Powwow Thief, and Swift Fox All Along all featured Indigenous families. Josie Dances stood out to me as it shows the family members all contributing to the creation of Josie's regalia for her to wear when she dances at the powwow. It's sweet. The mystery is an interesting combination of brief chapter book, picture book and graphic novel. It has a few elements of each format. 

Sadiq wants to stitch tells of a young boy who wants to sew, but his mother says that in their community, men take care of the sheep, they don't sew. He loves sewing though and tries to find a way to make that happen for himself. 

Amira's Picture Day centers around Eid and a young girl who is missing school for the holiday, but will also miss class pictures and while the holiday is exciting, it's hard to miss something that is also important to her. 

The drag queen book is a re-wording of the song The Wheels on the Bus. It shows different activities or aspects of drag queens with the format of the song. They are dancing their way through San Francisco and there are bright bold colors. The illustrations are the most interesting part of the book to me.

The Coming Week: I have family coming to visit this week, so I'm not sure what I'll pick up or if I'll get to many books. I wish you some awesome reading!

Monday, July 5, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogpost:

Books Read Last Week: 
Three book covers. Not Here to Be Liked has a young woman leaning on a desk. Over her shoulder is a young man at a desk who is glancing back at her. Polo Cowboy has a young woman with a polo mallet and a young man wearing a cowboy hat. The Forest of Stolen Girls as the title in red and illustration in black and white. It has many leaves and two young women facing away from each other and mostly hidden by the leaves.

I really enjoyed the ARC of Not Here to Be Liked. I read this young adult novel so I could prepare interview questions for the author so that is something to look forward to. It's a romance, but also has a lot to say about feminism and gender discrimination. Look for it in September. 

The Forest of Stolen Girls is a historical mystery set on Jeju Island in Korea. Girls have been going missing and a detective who was investigating has also disappeared. One of his daughters makes the journey to see if she can find out where her father has gone. It's intriguing throughout and the suspense made me push through fairly quickly. 

Polo Cowboy is the middle grade sequel to Ghetto Cowboy or as they have retitled it for the Netflix movie, Concrete Cowboy. I read the first book quite a few years ago, but luckily the publisher sent a copy of the first one with the ARC so I could remind myself of what happened before. This is a great story about friendship, and maybe a little more. It's also about family, love, loss, and of course polo. I didn't know much about the sport, but that knowledge isn't necessary for understanding the plot. Look for this one in October.

I've slowed down significantly on my reading. I have been doing a lot outside. I've been busy in the school garden, kayaking, hiking, riding my bicycle, and visiting with friends. I've also started studying Spanish. It feels like my summers are way busier than the school year sometimes. 

The Coming Week: Alta California is still in progress. I didn't get to Arsenic and Adobo, but maybe this week it will happen. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Review: The Whole Hole Story

A young Black girl is climbing a ladder that leads to a hole. There is confetti type things and colorful air breezing out of the hole.
Title:
The Whole HOLE Story 
Author: Vivian McInerny 
Illustrator: Ken Lamug 
Publisher: Versify 
Pages: 32 
Review copy: Digital copy via illustrator 
Availability: On shelves now 

Summary: Zia is used to the hole in her pocket—she frequently fills it with frogs and other objects. And as it gets bigger and bigger, she starts to wonder what might happen . . . if she fell right through. Would she cover it with a blanket to catch an elephant, or dig a tunnel to the other side of the world? The possibilities are endless, and readers will love following Zia’s adventurous imagination from beginning to end.

My review: What a fantastical adventure and a great one to add to my list of portal books. Zia travels through this delightful world of her own making. It's like a dream sequence, but she has determined that it will not be a scary place so all is cheerful.

The illustrations are playful and Zia's expressions are a lot of fun. It would be a great mentor text for imaginative writing or illustrating. It seems like a book that would really inspire readers to think about what they would do if they had their own portal world to explore. 

Recommendation: This will be a fun addition to any collection particularly if you are looking for fantasy picture books. I'm happy to have another example of portal fantasy to share with students during our genre unit. 

Possible Pairings: 
Picture Books
Another by Christian Robinson
Door by JiHyeon Lee
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Journey, Quest, and Return by Aaron Becker
Lift by Minh Lê illustrated by Dan Santat
Polo and the Dragon by Régis Faller
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett illustrated by Jon Klassen
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Graphic novels
Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
Glitch by Sarah Graley
Mal & Chad: Food Fight by Stephen McCranie
Paths & Portals by Gene Luen Yang
Where's Halmoni? by Julie Kim

Novels
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
The Barren Grounds by David Robertson
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
Heir Apparent by Vivan Vande Velde
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Alberto Hernandez
The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta
Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, June 28, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here


Books I've Read Recently: 
I read a playful picture book The Whole Hole Story which I will review here tomorrow. 

I also read the YA poetry collection Somebody Give This Heart a Pen. I looked for it after watching an excellent interview with her from Candlewick as part of their Black Creators Series.  

In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees was pretty incredible. I appreciate hearing accounts of refugees willing to share their stories. 

In adult reading, I enjoyed Gray Hair Don't Care which is a rom-com. For a book club I also read Summer of '69 which was a family story set in the year of my birth. It was an interesting story by itself, but the time period made it even more intriguing to me. 

The Coming Week: I am still making my way through Alta California. It's not super compelling, but it does have a lot of information about the California coast and since I've been to many of the places or have heard of them, I like finding out more about the areas. I'll probably keep working through it, but I'm not quite halfway finished. I also picked up Arsenic and Adobo from the library hold shelf after hearing the the author interview on Books and Boba so will likely get started on that. Have a great week!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Review: All of a Sudden and Forever

Title:
All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing
Author: Chris Barton 
Illustrator: Nicole Xu 
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books Pages: 40 
Review copy: Final copy via author 
Availability: On shelves now 

Summary: Sometimes bad things happen, and you have to tell everyone. Sometimes terrible things happen, and everybody knows. On April 19, 1995, something terrible happened in Oklahoma City: a bomb exploded, and people were hurt and killed. But that was not the end of the story. Those who survived—and those who were forever changed—shared their stories and began to heal. Near the site of the bomb blast, an American elm tree began to heal as well. People took care of the tree just as they took care of each other. The tree and its seedlings now offer solace to people around the world grappling with tragedy and loss. Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, this book commemorates what was lost and offers hope for the future.

My review: It's very difficult to write for young people when the subject is a horrifying and deadly event. There's a balance of providing the truth without overwhelming the readers. Here Barton shares the terrible thing that happened back in 1995, but has also demonstrated the healing that has happened over time. 

"Sometimes bad things happen, and you have to tell everyone. Sometimes terrible things happen, and everybody knows." The first lines help readers relate to this event. Bad things could mean a lot of different events or situations and many young people have already seen some terrible things on the news or in their lives. 

The tone of the illustrations is subdued with many grays and browns especially in the beginning. As the book progresses, the colors lighten and become a little brighter, but always stay gentle. The illustrations of the tree are particularly hopeful as the roots reach down and stretch out showing connection. 

The awfulness of this event is clear. The pain of the loss is not minimized, but the focus of the text is on how the healing began and continued. There are many stories of people in the community reaching out and connecting with others especially through the memorial and the seedlings of the tree that survived. The hope is also seen when people impacted by this event helped others who were facing tragedy. 

The author and illustrator include helpful notes about their process and the impact this project had on them. 

Recommendation: This is a powerful book that honors the lives of those who died that day while also honoring those who went through the grieving and healing process following the loss.  It's a helpful addition to any personal or public library and would be useful in many ways, but especially for providing a way to talk about loss and grief with young people. 

Possible Pairings: Here you will find fiction and nonfiction picture book titles for readers dealing with loss

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Review: Generation Misfits

Publisher: Farrar, STraus, Giroux 
Pages: 352
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley 

Summary: Millie is attending a real school for the first time, and she dreams of finally having friends and a little bit of freedom. She finds her chance when she joins an imitation band of her favorite J-Pop group, where she's thrilled to meet a group of misfits who quickly become a tight knit group of friends that are like family.But Millie soon realizes that one of them is dealing with problems bigger than what notes to hit when it comes time for their performance. Can Millie help her friend, even when their problem feels too big to say out loud?

My review:  I did not expect to cry, but the tears welled up more than once. Sometimes because my heart hurt and sometimes they were happy tears. The cover made me think this was going to be an exciting and upbeat book--and it was. But it was definitely more than just a light friendship story. Everyone has struggles they are working through.The main character has been homeschooled and now is beginning sixth grade at school. I was concerned that the book was going to make homeschooling seem like a horrible thing since Millie had a very negative opinion of it in the beginning. That is balanced out a little later in the book though. So often young people feel like they may never find people they can really connect with and this book will be easy to relate to for those readers. This would be especially true for those who have unique music tastes. It really was fun to see the friends in all of their excitement and effusiveness about their J-Pop band and the gloriousness of finding other who share their enthusiasm. One character is nonbinary and uses them/they pronouns. That isn't explained initially so it really isn't something that stands out as an issue for anyone. Later in the story there is a conversation that goes into it a bit when a friend is seeking to understand, but it isn't a conflict it's just part of the character.Each person is distinct and they are all discovering things about themselves as they learn more about each other. They hurt each other along the way, but they also strengthen each other. Through it all they are learning to be true to themselves.

Recommendation: This will be a great middle grade book to hand to those who enjoy contemporary fiction or music or friendship stories.

Extra:
Video discussion with author along with two authors of books featuring music.

Monday, June 21, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here


Books I've Read Recently: 

I finished listening to Made in Korea (thanks Libro.fm!) which is a cute YA rom-com. I found out about it on the Books and Boba podcast when they had a great chat with the author Sarah Suk

I also ran across A Manga Lover's Tokyo Travel Guide. While I am not a teen manga lover, I still found this comic book to be a lot of fun and I learned a lot of helpful hints in case I ever visit Tokyo again and it was also nice to have memories brought to mind.

In the theme of travel, I also read two books for adults that were place based. When we were in CA to visit family, someone handed me Kendra Atleework's memoir, Miracle Country. She grew up in an area east of the Sierra Nevadas which doesn't seem to show up in books and other pop culture very much. I've really only been there once when we drove from Sacramento to Death Valley. She refers to Mono Lake and many of the other places that I still remember from that trip. The land and the people there are definitely interesting. I also read Disappearing Earth which is a mystery that takes place on the Kamchatka Peninsula which is another place that is rarely a setting in books I read. Both were compelling. 

I haven't read many picture books lately, but one that I really loved is My First Day. Apparently it was first published in Asia with a different title, but here is a trailer made for that first publication.

 

I shared it with my fifth grade classes during our final week of school and we made connections to starting middle school in the fall. Students really enjoyed the book and we also learned a bit about Vietnam. I will definitely be sharing this one at the beginning of school in September. 

In a book store this past week, there was a Pride display so I finally got to read Pride Puppy! which is as adorable as it sounds. A puppy and its family get separated during the Pride celebration, but all ends well. There was also a copy of the Prince & Knight sequel The Shadow King. I enjoyed it in spite of the rhyming text. 

The Coming Week: I'm still reading Alta California which was interrupted by my actual visit to CA. I am also in the middle of the book Summer of '69 for one of my book clubs. I've just started listening to A Sitting in St. James for a virtual book discussion with Ms. Edith Campbell and Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen. I'm not sure what else I'll be reading this week, but I'm looking forward to having the time to read a bit more now that my travel is finished. Have a great week!