Monday, October 7, 2019

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: 



There were a lot of great books in my hands this past week. Here are the ones that stood out:

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai - Historical novel in verse (ARC via Netgalley)
Does it Fart? by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti - funny NF PB about farts
The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott - sequel to Dragons in a bag - fun early chap book fantasy
The Line Tender by Kate Allen - middle grade look at grief and sharks
Who Are You Calling Weird? by Marilyn Singer is an engaging NF PB about strange animals
A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai is a fun YA rom com
Spencer's New Pet by Jessie Sima is quite a unique PB
IntersectionAllies by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi - is a NF PB & would be a fantastic conversation starter about intersectionality and ways to be allies and support each other.
Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker - a middle grade novel about a trans girl with serious computer skills who has relocated and is finding friends and working on family relationships.
Sadiq and the Desert Star by Siman Nuurali is an early chapter book about a boy developing an interest in astronomy
A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy is a celebration and lifting up of boys and the wide varieties of being a boy

The Coming Week:

I'll be reading When You Ask Me Where I'm Going by Jasmin Kaur for a review next week. I am still reading Mindful of Race and Waking Up White for two different groups I'm part of so those will be on my list for many weeks since we go slowly. Have a great week!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2019 - 758/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2019 - 268/275
#MustReadin2019 - 21/30

Monday, September 30, 2019

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 posts:

Last week in books: 

I got to read a lot of pretty awesome books this week. Guts will be super popular with students. Interestingly, there was a podcast this weekend that would be a great companion. The Daily had a special episode for kids: The Fear Facer. The guest on the podcast is a young girl with OCD who is terrified of tornadoes and vomit. I couldn't help but think of Raina's newest book. I think the episode would really appeal to her readers.
  
The Coming Week:
I'll be reading Waking Up White, Mindful of Race and The Line Tender. Have a great week!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2019 - 735/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2019 - 261/275
#MustReadin2019 - 21/30

Monday, September 23, 2019

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 posts:
Last week in books: 
 

My students adore slime and slime books so I grabbed Karina Garcia’s Next-Level DIY Slime to see if I should get it for the library. I will be putting it on my order list. My Jasper June was really so well written. I was totally sucked in and felt so many emotions. Sheets was an interesting graphic novel that will likely be popular. What Girls Know is a tough, but very good novel memoir in verse. See my review above for more info. The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster was a clever and quick read. I loved the collages and the bit of mystery it holds.

Finally, Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers was a great middle grade book about friendship and activism. It also has some food references. There's a Chips and Chips recipe at the end that's basically chocolate chip cookies with crumbled potato chips on top. I had to make them and they are really yummy.
  
The Coming Week:


Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2019 - 727/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2019 - 257/275
#MustReadin2019 - 21/30

Sunday, September 15, 2019

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.

 

I'm not a huge fan of the Jack series because Jack is naughty beyond what I enjoy, but I applaud the author and illustrator for listening when their ARC went out and making a change. The main character had been a monkey and they heard about Edi Campbell's work so they switched to dogs. Orange for the Sunsets was a good historical fiction set in Uganda during Idi Amin's regime. One main character is Indian and one is Black. Amin has called for all Indians to leave the country and this threatens to tear their friendship apart. It's nice to have a middle grade that deals with a topic that doesn't appear in many books except one I read a few years ago, Child of Dandelions. The new Mia Mayhem is another fun early chapter book. The Infamous Ratsos Project Fluffy was a disappointment. Several characters have crushes and are trying to get a boyfriend or girlfriend. As this is aimed at first/second grade students, it's not my favorite topic choice. It's humorous and kids will likely enjoy it, but I'm not sure why the author felt that was a topic to pursue. The Scarecrow is beautiful and sweet as a scarecrow basically adopts a baby crow. 

Just Ask! is by Sonia Sotomayor. It's about many different disabilities and how often, people would not mind if you just ask about the differences you see rather than stare or make rude comments. There are some people who have brought up two issues about that book worth considering. The books speaks of differences, but does not use the word disabilities. Also, it credits Autism Speaks which is a troubling organization. One other comment from someone else indicates that saying be brave is also troubling as people with disabilities are not being brave by existing. They are living their life. Here is the post/discussion from The Conscious Kid. I still think the book could be a valuable conversation starter, but it's good to be aware of the issues.

I quite liked the It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity. It will be a wonderful book for so many children and families. It's simple to understand and very affirming. For Black Girls Like Me was a look at cross racial adoption, but also mental illness. It's well done, but the choice to omit commas in the text was a distraction for me. What's Your Favorite Food? is a collection of foods that various illustrators enjoy. It would be a great mentor text for a class book. The Yellow Suitcase is an excellent exploration of loss and grief. Around the Passover Table isn't so much a story as an explanation of the steps in a Passover seder. In When I Found Grandma, a young girl has a somewhat complicated relationship with her grandmother who lives far away. She is embarrassed by this woman who is loud and so very different, but eventually comes to see her value.
  
The Coming Week:
I'm reading What Girls Know by Neesha Meminger. It's a memoir-novel in verse. The author sent it to me for review so watch for that over on Rich in Color later this week. After that, I still have several piles of books to read for the Wisconsin State Reading Association committee I'm on so will likely be reading some MG and YA for that. Have a great week!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2019 - 720/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2019 - 255/275
#MustReadin2019 - 21/30

Thursday, September 12, 2019

#MustReadin2019 Fall Update


#MustReadin2019 is a wonderful book community activity hosted by Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That. I love this group of people who are setting goals and reading through some awesome books.

For 2019, I chose this fun group of books:


I finished 18 of the 30 books back in the spring, but since then, I have only finished three more.

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot - heartbreaking memoir
Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith - a book for teens and adults sharing some of the actions taken in response to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada. Lots of history in a very visually appealing format.
Undocumented: A Worker's Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh - this was an interesting book. It's a picture book for older readers than I expected. Good though.

Still to Read
Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
Go Home! by ed byRowan Hisayo Buchanan
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
Everyday People ed by Jennifer Baker
All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Niciole Chung
Coyote Tales by Thomas King
Make Space by David Kelley
Breakout by Kate Messner

I am no longer serving on a picture book award committee, but now I am on the Wisconsin State Reading Association children's literature committee and so my reading is once again kind of out of control. I hope to finish the rest of my list though by the end of the year.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Review: Nina Soni, Former Best Friend

Title: Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Jenn Kocsmiersky
Publisher: Peachtree
Pages: 128
Availability: October 1, 2019
Review copy: ARC via publisher

Summary: The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends. Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery--and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita's birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of.

Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth's endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.

Review:
Reasons to love Nina Soni:

1. She has a great sense of humor
2. She has unique ideas
3. She talks with her hands--mostly because she's passionate about things
4. She cares a lot about her family and her best friend
5. She's an excellent list maker

Nina Soni has a friendship she's worried about and a homework project that she simply must finish so her stress level is up a bit. Even under pressure though, she's a lot of fun. These are types of problems many readers will have experienced. Young people are also likely to enjoy her somewhat bouncy conversational style.

Teachers will want to seek out this first book in the Nina Soni series. The school project is a personal narrative and teachers are always looking for literature that will provide models for that. This story even models what could work for such an assignment. It's also a fantastic example of how versatile and helpful lists can be. This would be a great read aloud in the lower grades. This was a quick read that will be excellent for readers looking for an amusing chapter book that doesn't have high-stakes. 

Recommendation: Nina Soni and her escapades will be the perfect stories to hand to those looking for early chapter books that are fun and engaging. I'd recommend this as a read aloud and as independent reading for those starting to read short chapter books.

Monday, September 9, 2019

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.


Not Every Princess and Introducing Teddy are both books that deal with gender and gender roles. Either could be used to have a discussion around gender with young children. I think others may be better, but these were okay. Big and Little is a picture book about opposites and had cute dogs, but it was a little meh for me. Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist is a nice picture book biography. It was cool to learn about this Chinese American artist who was very influential with the art in the movie Bambi. I especially enjoyed the addition of actual photos at the end. Waiting for Chicken Smith is a simple book about someone waiting for a friend to show up and what he does in the meantime. It has unique art. 

The rest of the books were the standouts. Why Indigenous Literatures Matter takes a while to read, but part of that is needing to stop and copy out quotes. I really appreciated what Daniel Heath Justice has to say about literature in general and Indigenous literatures in particular. I am really thankful to have listened to the podcasts This Land and All Our Relations prior to reading because I think those conversations really helped me to see relationships in a much broader way. We are relations to kin by birth, but also to others by choice. This is true of human relations, but also non-human such as animals, land, or the environment. And with our relations, we have responsibilities and obligations. One of the quotes I copied was, "In all cases, story makes meaning of the relationships that define who we are and what our place is in the world; it reminds us of our duties, our rights and responsibilities, and the consequences and transformative possibilities of our actions. It also highlights what we lose when those relationships are broken or denied to us, and what we might gain from even partial remembrance." Indigenous literatures matter for many reasons and Justice lays them out. I also copied this quote, "Literature as a category is about what’s important to a culture, the stories that are privileged and honored, the narratives that people—often those in power, but also those resisting that power—believe to be central to their understanding of the world and their place in relation to it." 

Merci Suárez was a re-read for me since it's one of the book on our battle list. I loved it last year and loved it once again even though I cried - again. A Map Into the World is a beautiful picture book featuring a Hmong family going through the four seasons and their relationship with a neighbor and his wife. It deals with grief and empathy and connecting with others. I believe it's the first picture book written by a Hmong American author to be published by one of the big publishing company. I'm very excited to share it with students. 

The two graphic novels were also very good. Mooncakes is a fun fantasy that made me smile and smile and smile. They Called Us Enemy did the opposite. I appreciated this memoir about a pretty grim time in the history of our country. George Takei shares his memories of the incarceration of Japanese Americans. He also draws parallels to present day issues.

The Coming Week:
Quite honestly, I do not have a plan beyond reading What Girls Know by Neesha Meminger for a review I'm doing next week. I literally have piles of books stacked in the room I am sitting in right now and I don't know where I'll begin. Happy reading!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2019 - 708/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2019 - 249/275
#MustReadin2019 - 21/30