Monday, February 22, 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 Storygraph account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week On the Blog:
cover images of four books. I'll Be the One, Somewhere Only We Know, K-Pop Confidential, and Shine.
K-Pop in YA Lit (Rich in Color)

Stack of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega books next to another that is face out. There are twinkle lights around them.
Group Discussion Announcement (Rich in Color)


Book covers for Tougi the Toad, I Can Do It!, The Collection, and Hmong Picture Dictionary
I also updated my Hmong Resources Post

Last Week in Books:
Cover images of the books listed below.

Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail is a sweet story that will be lovely for Jewish readers and informative for others. I was familiar with some aspects of Passover Seders from other books, but learned more here. Even though it could be instructive, it felt like a story rather than a lesson.

The Train is an emotional text that deals with the residential schools that Indigenous children were forced to attend. It touches on the trauma of being removed and having people trying to erase an entire culture. Readers will see the grief that folks are still recovering from even today. 

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors is the fourth in the series and brings laughter and smiles as the others before. The children are playful as they camp and explore.

i Am! Affirmations for Resilience is a board book filled with simple affirmations that help readers understand that feelings are real and that we can notice them and know that they aren't forever. The affirmations are provided for specific situations as when one is feeling scared. Highly recommended.

Call Me Max is about a young trans child and it is mostly explanatory about being trans and some of the issues he deals with. In the second book, Max and the Talent Show, we get to know more about Max's friend Stephen and it's basically a friendship story.

A Sled for Gabo is precious. It's a beautiful snowy day, Gabo and his family have recently moved so he doesn't know anyone and he doesn't have a sled. All of his problems have a solution and it's dulce de leche levels of sweet. 
Cover images of titles listed below.
I will be reviewing Yolk on Friday at Rich in Color, but it's a YA contemporary. I've enjoyed all of Mary H.K. Choi's books. I find her books have a lot of bittersweet elements to them so they seem very realistic to me. I had an ARC and it comes out on March 2.

I had two different books involving tigers this weekend and they had some similar elements. They both looked at the threatening aspects of the tigers, but also the resilience of women. When You Trap a Tiger was the Newbery this year. It's a book about family and identity especially as it applies to women and specifically Korean women. It references some traditional Korean tales regarding the tiger and life choices. I can't say too much without giving away plot. Staring Down the Tiger: Stories of Hmong American Women is an essay collection about Hmong women and their strength and resilience. It was written because Hmong women are largely left out of histories about the Hmong and the editor Pa Der and the other writers want to change that.

Paris is Always a Good Idea was entertaining and a pleasant way to spend an evening. I'm not sure it would make my all-time favorite rom-com list, but it was okay. It was just laying out on a table when I stopped to pick up my holds at the library so I grabbed it.

The Coming Week: 
I still have quite a few ARCs to catch up on, but I have started listening to Ikenga and it is hard to stop. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Review: Zonia's Rain Forest

Title: Zonia's Rain Forest

Author: Juana Martinez-Neal

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Pages: 40

Review copy: Digital ARC via Edelweiss

Availability: March 30, 2021

Summary: Zonia's home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. She visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer? Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal explores the wonders of the rain forest with Zonia, an Asháninka girl, in her joyful outdoor adventures. The engaging text emphasizes Zonia's empowering bond with her home, while the illustrations--created on paper made from banana bark--burst with luxuriant greens and delicate details. Illuminating back matter includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.

My review: This is a gorgeous book and it is lovely that the paper the illustrations were made on was created by women of the Amazon with leaves from the rain forest. There is definitely a connection to the land and the people even through the physical creation of the book.

Martinez-Neal is from Peru, but is not part of the community represented in the book. I have no way of determining if the people are being shown in an accurate light, but it does seem that the author went to great lengths to be respectful and she didn't work in isolation. She explains that she wanted to show the resiliance of the Asháninka and their resistance to the outside pressures that would attempt to change their way of life and take or negatively impact the resources from their homeland. 

The story begins gently with Zonia sitting near her mother who is nursing her brother. A blue morpho butterfly then leads Zonia through the pages of the book. The journey playful as Zonia greets her many animal friends. The illustrations have so much texture and are pretty adorable. One bird is red with white wing tips. The wing tips are overlapping just a bit and it gives the impression of a heart. There's just so much love and joy on each page as she interacts with the animals. This makes it quite jarring when Zonia comes across a part of the forest that is not filled with that same loveliness. 

Zonia's story shares much of the beauty that can be found in the rain forest, but also briefly touches on some of the threats to the forest. Even though there is reason to be concerned, there is also a determination to do something about it. This is all dealt with in an age appropriate way and caregivers can choose to share more information via the back matter if there are questions or for the youngest readers, just stick with the text and illustrations of the story. 

The back matter is fantastic and explains about the variety of threats, some of the things that are being done about them, includes the common and Latin names of all of the animals and an Asháninka translation of the main text. The entire books is also available in Spanish. 

Recommendation: Zonia's Rain Forest is a delight and can be read as a very simple story or as a call to action. It will be a great addition to any home or library serving young people.

Extra:

Zonia's Rain Forest author video with Juana Martinez-Neal from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Monday, February 15, 2021

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 Storygraph account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:
Picture Books
covers of the books listed below

Via Netgalley, I read the ARC of Yang Warriors which is an excellent memoir picture book by Kao Kalia Yang. Me & Mama got a Caldecott Honor & CSK Honor and is just really lovely. Way Past Worried deals well with the social anxiety of attending a party. The Suitcase brings tears to my eyes each time I read it. The author reads it here. Do Not Lick This Book gets up close and personal with germs. Nice for these times. I think I heard about it on the COVID episode. Sloth Wasn't Sleepy is adorable. Kate Messner reads it here. I saw it and The Suitcase on Linda's post last week. 

Middle Grade
covers from the books listed below

All Thirteen is incredible and it really, really deserved the Newbery Honor that it got. Christina Soontornvat did a phenomenal job sharing about the rescue of the Thai soccer team. Ana on the Edge is a lovely middle grade novel about a young person who is exploring their gender identity. All You Knead is Love was a lovely book about family and baking. It was especially fun because it was happening in Spain. Stepping Stones is a Lucy Knisley graphic novel for young people!!! I love her adult memoir GNs. This one is about the blending of a family. Amari and the Night Brothers was a great fast-paced middle grade fantasy. 
YA
covers of books listed below

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and A Ph Love Story are two very nice rom-coms. Foreshadow is an anthology of short stories by new authors. So Many Beginnings is an ARC of a Little Women retelling. It is outstanding and made my heart so happy. 


I had already read a book by Marie Kondo, but was glad for this refresher in Spark Joy. It really reminded me of how many things I have done as a result of the first reading. I've created art using meaningful objects. I've stored things in different ways, and have found new ways to enjoy items in my home. It was funny though that I hadn't realized how much the first book influenced me. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm still working on getting through some ARCs and have a lot of them to catch up on so that will be most of my reading. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids


Title:
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids 
Editor: Cynthia Leitich Smith 
Publisher: Heartdrum 
Pages: 320 
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley 
Availability: On shelves now 

Summary: Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog). They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featuring stories and poems by: Joseph Bruchac, Art Coulson, Christine Day, Eric Gansworth, Carole Lindstrom, Dawn Quigley, Rebecca Roanhorse, David A. Robertson, Andrea L. Rogers, Kim Rogers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Monique Gray Smith, Traci Sorell, Tim Tingle, Erika T. Wurth, Brian Young, In partnership with We Need Diverse Books

Review: Whether you've been to many powwows or none, this book will touch your heart. Kim Rogers starts things off brilliantly with a definition poem that will introduce the uninitiated and bring memories to mind for those who've had powwows as part of their lives. A powwow has so many facets and many are explored briefly in the poem, but then more thoroughly in the stories that follow.

Monique Gray Smith brought tears to my eyes right from the start. So much of the powwow experience is about connection and family, healing and belonging. She is able to show this through a lovely relationship developing between a step-parent and child. 

The individual stories have connections beyond just the fact that everyone is attending the same powwow. Within the first few stories we meet characters that will have cameos in some of the other stories. One of my favorites is Rez dog.  This dog bobs and weaves through many of the stories bringing smiles and even creating some helpful changes for folks. This critter helps demonstrate a sense of community and belonging.

There are stories that show forgiveness and healing. There are stories that let us see resilience and strength. Readers also get to see the joy of the dance and the pulse of the drum.

One of the best aspects of this book is the many perspectives. The characters are coming from many different states with different types of transportation from a wide variety of tribes and everyone is coming with their own hopes and ideas about what will happen during this weekend. No two people are having the same exact experience, but they are all connected by what happens at this event at this moment in time. Carole Lindstrom's poem at the end brings it all back to a circle explaining that we are all related.

Recommendation: This book is a delight. I recommend it for any home, school, or public library or for any place serving young people. 

Monday, February 8, 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 Storygraph account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.
Last Week in Books:

cover images of six books Oona, I'm On it, How Do You Dance? Papa Brings Me the World, I'm Not a Girl, and Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns.

Oona is an adorable mermaid story. I love the sea otter sidekick. I'm On It is a super cute Elephant & Piggie Presents that features preposition antics. How Do You Dance? is an exploration of some of the many ways that people dance. I used it with my kindergarten classes this past week. We then danced to Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill and had a fabulous time expressing ourselves.  

Papa Brings Me the World is based on the author's childhood. Papa is a photojournalist so travels all around the world. The daughter misses him, but tracks his trips on a map and he brings gifts back, but she yearns to go along. The story in I'm Not a Girl: A Transgender Story is based on the lived experience of one of the authors. It is feels a little stiff and like a book designed to teach about being trans rather than a storybook. Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth is an interesting tale about the creation of humans and has Tonatiuh's distinctive illustrations. 

Cover images of six books. Uncovering Bias in the News, Swish! The Teachers March, A Bowl Full of Peace, The Power of Style

Uncovering Bias in the News is informative and could be useful in the classroom setting. It's quite timely. Swish! is a fun picture book history of the Harlem Globe Trotters. The Teachers March! is a nonfiction picture book that shares the 1965 Selma Teachers' March. Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 is a very detailed and fascinating book. A Bowl Full of Peace is a heartbreaking book about the bombing of Nagasaki through the eyes of Sachiko Yasui who was featured in a middle grade award winning book a few years ago. This time the story is focused on the beautiful bowl that had belonged to her grandmother and survived the bomb. The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures is a YA nonfiction book that features many young people who are creating and using fashion to express their identities and honor their culture. It's full of amazing photographs and is a feast for the eyes. 

Cover images of three books. Ancestor Approved, Roomies, and Love is a Revolution

I had an ARC of Ancestor Approved. I will write a full review of this middle grade short story collection  later this week, but just know that it is fantastic and is a purchase that I would highly recommend. Roomies is an adult rom-com and was fun, but not anything super remarkable. It reminded me of the movie Green Card from many, many years ago. As I suspected, the YA Love is a Revolution was simply lovely. I always enjoy Watson's work. There are only a few authors that have multiple books on my personal shelves and she is one of them. 

The Coming Week: 
I am trying to catch up with all of the digital ARCs I have on my devices. I got a little carried away with Netgalley and Edelweiss and then there were some books sent that I didn't request, but that did look interesting so I will likely be reading those. I have started Yolk by Choi and Remy Lai's new book, All You Knead is Love. I also have Misfit in Love and Generation Misfits. There are also quite a few audio books that I am excited about, but I'm not sure which one will be next. Have a great week!

Monday, February 1, 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 Storygraph account, you can see what I have read recently & click on the books to learn more.

Last Week in Books:

Root Magic is a wonderful middle grade audiobook I got from Librofm. The family dynamics are wonderful and it is interesting to learn more about root magic and how it's passed from one generation to the next.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying was a massive book. A friend had recommended it to me when I asked her for books that deal with death and dying. I knew that was something she had read a lot about. Did you know there are even groups who get together and talk about death? There's also an organization called Death Over Dinner that encourages folks to get together to talk about death over dinner. Anyway, the book, and the Death Over Dinner website both indicate that many of us are not going to our deaths in a good way and part of that is because we avoid talking and thinking about it. Lots to think about and to hopefully discuss. 

Real Men Knit was a delight. This is another in my long list of lighthearted romances that I am picking up more often as self care. ;) I liked this one better than many of the rom-coms I've stumbled across the past few months. There are four brothers who inherit their mother's knitting shop and have to figure out what to do with it. The young woman who has worked there for ages has always had a thing for one of the brothers and amusing and sometimes steamy things happen.

Concrete Rose is a prequel to The Hate U Give and shares Mav's story. I love his character in THUG, but even more so after seeing him as a teen. 

The Coming Week: 
I just started reading Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson. I love her writing so much. I'm still reading Foreshadow. That's what I love about short story anthologies. You can pick them up and put them down over and over. I'm also very slowly making my way through the Audre Lorde collection. Next I need to really chip away at the many, many digital ARCs I have. Three are from the new imprint Heartdrum and I am eager to get to them. I had forgotten that they were waiting because I've been reading physical books and haven't opened up Netgalley or Edelweiss for a long time since I had such a huge pile of books on my end-table. This is obviously a good problem to have, but it means that I don't get to choose my reading as much for the next few weeks. I wish you a great week full of fabulous books. 

Monday, January 25, 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:

Diary of a Tokyo Teen is a travel diary of a Japanese American teen visiting her grandparents. I had read it before, but was wanting to revisit and remember my own Japan trip.

Love Overdue was an adult romance featuring a librarian. Not my favorite, but it was okay. She never once mentioned reading a book. Puzzling. There were also some other things I didn't appreciate, but I kept reading because it was good enough. Not a high recommendation I guess. ;) 

About Grace is an adult novel about a man who has dreams of events before they happen. He ends up fleeing his family to keep something from happening to one of them. His reasoning being that since he is part of the dream when bad things are happening, if he stays away, they can't happen. It was for book club and I enjoyed it for the most part. He was a scientist and I especially liked the snowflake information and references.

Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts was a humorous early chapter book with plenty of illustrations. 

Lillybelle, a Damsel Not in Distress is a cute picture book about a young girl who is all about having agency and solving her own problems. She is not at all interested in waiting for someone to rescue her. 

The Coming Week: 

I'm still listening to the middle grade Root Magic. I am working my way through the short stories in Foreshadow. It will take ages, but I am also still reading the poetry of Audre Lorde and I am almost finished with The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I just picked up my library copy of Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas and will probably get started on that soon. I also bought the newest Renee Watson book, Love is a Revolution, that isn't actually supposed to be on sale yet, but was out at the bookstore. I hope you have a great week! I'm super excited to see which books are honored at the Youth Media Awards. I always enjoy that. :)