Sunday, September 4, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

An image of books has another image on top that explains what It's Monday is all about. You may find the same information in the first two sentences on the post. 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. The lists of the books in the images below may be found at Goodreads. 

The Past Week in Books: 

Book covers that go with the books listed below the image.

The Flat Share was a romantic comedy that I read celebrating three days off in a row. With my teaching jobs and the fill-in job at the county library, I've had six day work weeks for the past few weeks and so this time was an extra special treat. 

Notable Native People is a great middle grade collection of brief biographies. It also has several essays mixed in. I appreciate that the essays add context like with the first one "Settler Colonialism 101." 

The She Persisted series is a very nice early chapter book set and Kekla Magoon did a great job with the one about Ruby Bridges. I was able to hear her speak once and will likely never forget being able to speak with Ruby Bridges. 

I'm still having fun with easy readers and board books in Korean. In case anyone else is trying to read picture books, the Papago app is excellent for Korean in particular, but has other languages too. It's from a South Korean company. It has a camera feature so you can take a photo of the words on the page and have them translated over the image. I read the book as well as I can and then go back through and see if I was anywhere close and learn a few new words. 

I had thought I'd read A Boy Called Bat before, but it was just that I had read many reviews and heard so much about it. I finally read it because amazingly enough, the public school mentioned in the book is where my husband went to school and the private school in the book is modeled after the one I now teach at. It's a lovely book and was delightful to read as I was noticing things from my everyday life since we now live in the midst of the setting. ;) I followed up with the sequel Bat and the Waiting Game. They are both lovely middle grade stories of friendship and family. 

The Genius Under the Table: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain is another gem from Eugene Yelchin and would fit in nicely with Banned Books Week. I have a post from a few years ago that features picture books that touch on censorship in one way or another in case you'd like to read other books like this. There are even more books for a variety of ages here on my Goodreaeds censorship shelf. 

To Change a Planet is a beautiful picture book about how our planet is changing and how we can be a force for positive change. 


Swim Team is an awesome middle grade graphic novel about a girl who goes to a new school and reluctantly joins the swim team and learns a lot about history and herself. Aven Green is an early chapter book series that is fun and features the character from Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Bubbles is an adorable board book and May We Leave Enough to Share, by Richard Van Camp is another beautiful board book with photos of Indigenous babies and their care givers.

There are others I read, but I am getting sleepy. I have been working beyond 40 hours a week and was also prepping for the online class I will teach in Oct. I decided on my reading list and may share portions of it over time. Two of the videos that I chose for professional development purposes are the Spring 2022 Baker Diversity Lecture - Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (Amy Breslin, Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen & Becky Leathersich) and Native Voices in Children’s Literature with Debbie Reese. Both are so helpful when people are choosing and evaluating literature to use with young people. 

The Coming Week: 
I'm not sure what I will read this week, but I did just pick up a lot of Korean picture books so likely that's what I'll focus on. I'm also reading the new book As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow. I think it releases later this month. Have a great week!

Monday, August 29, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

An image of books has another image on top that explains what It's Monday is all about. You may find the same information in the first two sentences on the post.
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. The lists of the books in the images below may be found at Goodreads. 

The Past Two Weeks in Books:  

John's Turn by Mac Barnett

Learning My Rights with Mousewoman by Morgan Asoyuf

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clark

Baby, Sleepy Baby by Atinuke

Herizon by Daniel W. Vandever

Flip the Script by Lyla Lee (YA and fun)
Triceratopposite by Bridget Heos
Vanmpires Don't Wear Polkadots Graphic Novel by Pearl Low
American Desi by Jyoti Rajan Gopal
Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo
The Very True Legend of the Mongolian Death Worms by Sandra Fay
Flubby Will Not Go to Sleep & Flubby Will Not Take a Bath by Jennifer E. Morris
The Bad Seed Goes to the Library by Jory John 
Fancy Pants by Dawn Quigley
I Love You More Than Ice Cream by Becky Davies
A Cool Day at the Pool by Lola M. Schaefer

There were many really excellent books in my past few weeks, but I am just not able to comment on them right now. I am almost falling asleep sitting up. The first week of school is always draining and the second week is just about to start so I need to get to bed. 

The Coming Week: 
I am still working on finalizing my reading list for the What's New in Children's Lit class I will be teaching through UW-Madison in October so I will try to get to a few more picture books and early chapter books. Have a great week. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading? information on this image is in the first paragraph on the blog.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. The lists of the books in the images below may be found at Goodreads. 

The Past Two Weeks in Books:  

20 book covers that may be accessed at my Goodreads page linked above. These are the twenty books read most recently for the 2022 reading challenge.
Cover of Eyes that Speak to the stars

I have a bunch of work to do tonight and professional development days begin tomorrow at both of my schools so I am going to keep this brief. 

I have been reading as much as I can fit in around my training at the public library (to be a substitute/extra help librarian) and preparing at the private school where I will co-teach humanities with 3rd-6th graders half-time and at the public school where I will be the half-time teacher librarian. It's going to be fine once it all gets rolling, but right now I am pulled a few directions with odd scheduling. 

Some of the books I really enjoyed were:

Picture books
Graphic Novels
  • Heartstopper (YA) - the whole series was relaxing & often made me smile - then I had to watch the series of course 
  • Rabbit Chase is a fun middle grade Indigenous retelling of Alice in Wonderland
  • Silk (YA) is a super hero I hadn't met before, but I enjoyed getting to know her
Middle Grade Novels
  • Operation Sisterhood was a delightful story of family and friendship and dealing with change
  • New From Here is a story from COVID times that closely mirrors that of Kelly Yang and her children and I couldn't put it down
Nonfiction
As always, I am also grabbing many short Korean board books and picture books (not all are on Goodreads so I don't record them all there) and am finding better luck understanding what I'm reading--yay!

The Coming Week: 
I will be preparing for the school year, but I also need to finalize my reading list for the What's New in Children's Lit class I will be teaching through UW-Madison in October. That means I may be re-reading or grabbing some new titles to round out the list. I wish you a great week of reading!

Monday, August 1, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading? information on this image is in the first paragraph on the blog.
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. The lists of the books in the images below may be found at Goodreads. 

Last Week on the Blog: 
A plate with a blueberry scone on it is sitting next to the book Batter Royale. The cover has a young man and woman who are both wearing white chef coats. She is Black and is carrying a three tiered cake. He is white with red hair and is looking at her over his shoulder.


Last Week in Books: 
15 book covers

15 more book covers

Here are some of the books that stood out last week.

Picture Books--
Luli and the Language of Tea is sweet and shows children connecting through tea. They are from various places in the world and have slightly different names for it, but they can all relate to one another through this beverage. Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems was really clever. There isn't much text, but he communicates so well with very little text and simple illustrations. A Boy Named Isamu is a nice book that shares a bit about the life of the Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi who found inspiration in nature. It's a book to encourage wondering. Big Truck Little Island is a fun story about a road getting blocked by a large truck and the way people deal with that challenge. Calvin is the story of a young transboy and how he lets the people in his life know who he really is. The family and school are supportive.  

I also read two books that were closely related and noticed a difference. Light for All by Margarita Engle has the Statue of Liberty and immigration as a focus and I is for Immigrants by Selina Alko also speaks to immigration in the U.S. They both celebrate immigration and the phrase "a nation of immigrants" is brought up in both. The difference I noted is that in Engle's author note she addresses an issue with that phrase. "That phrase ignores the true experiences of Indigenous and African American communities who were either here before conquerors and immigrants arrived, or were brought by force, kidnapped, and enslaved." Alko does point out that there are also descendants of African slaves, but doesn't mention Indigenous folks which is a common omission. 

Early Readers--
Juana and Lucas: Muchos Changes is another fun early chapter book from the Juana and Lucas series. It has humor and realistic situations as Juana and her family prepare to welcome a new family member. 

Young Adult--
My Mechanical Romance was a very fun rom-com centering on a young woman who is kind of aimless, but begins to find her way unexpectedly through the school robotics team. 

Sugar Falls is a graphic novel that shares about a young woman who is sent to a residential school in Canada. It's a reissue of a short story by David Robertson that had been published ten years ago. I really appreciated how it showed a focus towards healing. 

Adult
Kamila Knows Best is inspired by Jane Austen's Emma. It's not direct, but it is related enough that I realized that without being told ahead of time. As I read, I was thinking that it reminded me of Emma. It's a fairly light and fun rom-com.

The Coming Week: I just started reading Kelly Yang's newest book New from Here and am reading many books for ages birth to 14ish for the class that I will be teaching online in Oct. so I can finish up my reading list for the students. I am not sure how reading will go though since I am simultaneously starting several part time jobs which add up to full time. Onboarding in multiple places means a lot of paper work and meetings. It's exciting, but also there are many details to keep track of and I don't have a lot of extra brain space for other things. Have a great week!

Monday, July 25, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading? information on this image is in the first paragraph on the blog.
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

Last Week on the Blog: 
Want a Clue? (A booklist of YA mysteries)

Last Week in Books:


Yusuf Azeem is Not a Hero and Omar Rising were amazing middle grade books. Blur is a lovely book and I can't believe it took so long for me to get to this one. Minh Le and Dan Santat are an awesome pair. Scrap Metal Swan was a fun read about a river cleanup with community members and then they use things to create a work of art with things they collected. It reminded me of the cleanups they did on the Mississippi when I lived in Wi. Once I finished reading I found that the author was on the Mississippi. Cat Problems is hilarious. The cat is so frustrated stuck in the house, but there is a cute joke with a squirrel about that. I don't want to spoil it for anyone though. The cupcakes book was a little underwhelming, but I know there are young readers that love anything with cupcakes.

The Coming Week: I'm currently reading a cute YA rom-com My Mechanical Romance and will need to read something else for review at Rich in Color. Otherwise, I'm not sure what I'll be reading. Have a great week. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are You Reading? information on this image is in the first paragraph on the blog.
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

Last Week on the Blogs:  
Young woman is holding a camera. In the lens a reflection of another young woman is visible. She is looking a bit tense. The title is pixelated. Some of the background is also pixelated.

Review: Pixels of You (YA Graphic Novel)

Young girl with pig tails on each side of her head is wearing sunglasses and holding up two pencils. She has a big smile on her face. Books and crayons are in the air above two desks to show that she is banging on the desks.


Last Week in Books: 
29 book covers of mostly picture books. They may be accessed thorough the goodreads link up above.

Four more picture book covers.

I read Tales from the Cafe which is the second book in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series. It's a book translated from Japanese and has related short stories that all happen in and around a cafe where time travel is possible. I don't usually enjoy time travel, but this series is delightful to me. Sad things do happen, but people are able to make meaning from their grief. 

Speaking of sadness, I watched the series 스물다섯 스물하나 -- Twenty-five Twenty-one (Netflix) and after the finale, I had cried so many tears. So many. Ack. I just re-watched the trailer and am crying again. Whew. It's an emotional series as so many K-dramas are and I really enjoyed the friendships. That is when I turned to the Totoro comic series (middle grade). They are pretty brief and if you've seen the movie already, it goes pretty quickly. Totoro is so darn soothing.  


I hadn't been reading a ton of English children's literature lately, but I have a class to teach in the fall and I need to read a lot of new material as I prepare for that. Some of the stand outs were: 

Star Child by Ibi Zoboi is a fantastic mixed format middle grade biography about Octavia E. Butler. It's predominantly poetry, but also has prose and some media. It's lovely and worth a read or even more than one read.

Maya's Song is another biography, but is a picture book in poems. The art is stunning and the poetry itself sings. There are traumatic events that are referenced, but the author handles this so well and I think it may be healing for young children who have also gone through things children should never experience. 

Keep Your Head Up is a picture book about a young person who is having a rough day and is trying to keep his head up. Readers can really see the frustration building and can see that he is trying to cope, but eventually he has what he calls a meltdown. I think this could be a valuable book for discussions in classrooms or between caregivers and children. Honestly, I think it would be good for adults to read also to remind them that some people in the world seem like they aren't even trying, but they may be trying everything they know how to try.

A few that revolved around family and cooking were sweet: Tomatoes for Neela and Granny's Kitchen: A Jamaican Story of Food and Family

We Shall Overcome is a beautiful picture book that packs in a lot of history and connects it to the present with an amazingly small amount of words.

Stacey's Extraordinary Words is a fun memoir from Stacey Abrams that shows her love for words through and focuses on a spelling bee that she participated in when she was young. It shows that even if you don't win, that isn't the end and also demonstrates how to speak up. 

The Coming Week: I will continue reading a lot of kidlit because my time is running out to prepare my list of what's new and wonderful in kidlit these days. Have a fantastic week. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Review: Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules!

Young girl with pig tails on each side of her head is wearing sunglasses and holding up two pencils. She has a big smile on her face. Books and crayons are in the air above two desks to show that she is banging on the desks.
Title: Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! 

Authors: e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller

Illustrator: Joe Cepeda

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Review copy: Final copy via publisher

Availability: On shelves now

Publisher summary: When Lupe Lopez struts through the doors of Hector P. Garcia Elementary in sunglasses with two taped-up Number 2 pencils—drumsticks, of course—poking from her pocket, her confidence is off the charts. All day, Lupe drums on desks, tables, and chairs while Ms. Quintanilla reminds her of school rules. Lupe has her own rules: 1) Don’t listen to anyone. 2) Make lots of noise. ¡Rataplán! 3) Have fans, not friends. But with her new teacher less than starstruck, and fans hard to come by, Lupe wonders if having friends is such a bad idea after all. Can it be that true star power means knowing when to share the spotlight? With its spirited illustrations and a simple text threaded through with Spanish words, this picture book is proof positive that being a strong girl moving to her own beat doesn’t have to mean pushing others away. 

When a sassy drummer starts kindergarten, the rules of school cramp her style. What’s a young rock star to do?

My Thoughts: Lupe is full of confidence and excitement as she bounces through the door into her kindergarten. I could help but be entertained by her. Though Lupe and her teacher don't see eye to eye, the teacher does seem to keep a smile on her face even when she was delivering information Lupe wouldn't appreciate. Young readers seem to enjoy mischievous characters and here they will definitely see someone who stands out and pushes boundaries. The illustrations are bright and upbeat and add a lot to the story. 

Recommendation: This would be a nice story to use at the beginning of the school year to have a discussion about rules and why we have them and/or why we choose to follow or break them.