Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. I am thankful that she has this challenge because I know I have read more nonfiction texts as a result.

Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree 
by Kate Messner, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani

Summary via author page

Deep in the forest, in the warm-wet green, 1 almendro tree grows, stretching its branches toward the sun. Who makes their homes here?

2 great green macaws,
4 keel-billed toucans,
8 howler monkeys,
16 fruit bats,
32 fer-de-lance vipers,
64 agoutis,
128 blue morpho butterflies,
256 poison dart frogs,
512 rusty wandering spiders,
1,024 leafcutter ants.

Count each and every one as life multiplies again and again in this lush and fascinating book about the rainforest.

My thoughts: First, I really love the recent trend of decorating end papers. I love the shadows of animals on the forest colored background. I also liked the concept of showing the varied wildlife that is able to live because of the tree.

The inclusion of math added a fun layer to the text. Seeing the numbers doubling made me always wonder which animal could be coming next. I also enjoyed the extra math problems at the end of the story.

Messner also includes several ways to continue learning and/or to help save the rainforest or the animals living there.

Tree of Wonder will be a nice addition to our nonfiction collection. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hmong Children's Literature

We celebrated Hmong New Year in La Crosse earlier this month. As always, it was amazing with fantastic food, fun, music, dancing, sports and so much to see. Hmong people have been living in the area for forty years now and have brought much to strengthen the community including this celebration.

Teaching in an elementary school, I want to make sure that the Hmong culture is also represented in our library. I wrote about that on the Nerdybookclub blog. I've looked around and have found some great books and have also added some artifacts to our collection. A few people have asked me about specific titles and resources so I wanted to share them here.

The best possible place to start when looking for resources is online with Hmong ABC. They have a physical bookstore in St. Paul, MN on Como Ave. If you are close enough to visit, it's also helpful to visit both the Hmongtown Marketplace (this is where you will find the bookstore) and the Hmong Village Shopping Center. Both shopping areas are in St. Paul and provide access to all kinds of Hmong art, clothing, music, and more. One other online resource for Hmong handicrafts is Redgreen Rivers™.

At Hmong Village, I also found a place that makes custom t-shirts and pins, Big Eye Little Eye. They have an online presence, though not all of their products are shown there. I was able to buy a t-shirt that shows the numerals 1-10 and the Hmong words for each of them. When I wore it to school many students were able to count in Hmong with me as we read my shirt. I looked, and that particular shirt isn't available online yet. You can see it here in our library window display.

Our school has a large story cloth that shows the journey of the Hmong people from Laos to Thailand and then to the U.S. Our art teacher also purchased a smaller story cloth showing Hmong New Year. He has it on display in his classroom. There is another small cloth I purchased at Hmong New Year that shows all sorts of animals. At the markets and the local New Year celebration, I've also acquired a small girl's traditional outfit, a pair of baby shoes, a ball that is used in a game at New Year, a purse, and a bracelet. These items will all be going into the Hmong Culture Kit I'm putting together for the LMC. The kit will be available for checkout to staff. I would also like to add at least one music CD and a few other items, but it will be a work in progress.

As for books, Hmong ABC is not the only place to get them, but they have the most extensive collection that I have found anywhere. Here are a few more places that offer Hmong materials:

The Reading Together Book Project - Melody of the Qeej, Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon, and The Imaginary Day

D.C. Everest High School - Zaj Lus: A Hmong Children's Story Collection, titles for older students or for professional collections: Looking Back, Stepping Forward: The Hmong People, Hmong in the Modern World 

Project Hmong: Books for Young Readers - This is a series of controlled vocabulary books that are also bilingual.

Here are two newer self-published titles that I want to highlight:

Hmong Names by Susan Kaying Pha - here's an article about it from Hmong Times Online. I've had baby name books in my library before and students love to look up their names along with other family member names and even those of friends. I'm planning to purchase this one soon.

Gathering Fireflies was written by Mai Chao, an art teacher in our community. She wrote this novel-in-verse and created some illustrations to accompany the text. It's aimed toward middle school and high school. She wrote about a young boy who is interviewing his grandparents and learning about his cultural heritage. Mai Chao believes that it's time for Hmong voices to tell their own stories. I own this one for my personal collection, but would recommend it to our middle and high school.

If you would like to see the titles we have available in our school, visit our catalog via this link. Click on Northern Hills and then search Hmong. We only have about 50 titles right now, but I'm always looking for more.

Here are some of our most popular titles:

Zaj Lus : A Hmong Children's Story Collectionby D.C. Everest Students and Staff

Many Ideas Open the Way : A Collection of Hmong Proverbs by Randy Snook
The Terrible Journey : A Hmong Child's True Story of His Escape from Laos to Thailand by Cha Ya
Dia's Story Cloth by Dia Cha
I Won't Bite! : English/Hmong = [Kuv tsis tom!] by Rod Campbell
Pw zoo, Tus Me Ntshuab/Good Night Little Sea Otter by Janet Halfmann
Ka's Garden/Kab lub vaj by Maggie Lee McHugh and Dr. Bee Lo
Tougi the Toad Finds His Smile by Gaonou Thao

My Family is Special to Me by Bao Xiong

Nine in One, Grr! Grr! told by Blia Xiong, adapted by Cathy Spagnoli

Another favorite is our Hmong New Year book. Students and staff from our school made this using Shutterfly. Several of our students took cameras to Hmong New Year. The photographers got many wonderful photos that were used to create a nonfiction book that shares the celebration. 

If you know of other titles that would be good for us to acquire, please let me know.

Review: Monsters, Zombies + Addicts

Title: Monsters, Zombies + Addicts: Poems
Author: Gwendolyn Zepeda
Publisher:  Arte Publico
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 84
Review copy: Final copy from publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: "I was scared of a thing that might have happened. In daytime I'm sure it never did. / At night, I don't trust daylit memories or instincts. In nightmares, like filmstrips, the feared thing occurs." In her second poetry collection, monsters real and imagined chase Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda through late nights when she can t sleep. Ghosts routinely visit in the early morning hours, but in spite of her fears, she dares to believe that she has escaped the devils that once followed her.

This collection of 62 narrative poems contains witty observations about the rituals of contemporary life. In "Cocktail Hours", she wonders, "What if all my nights were Christmas lights on patios with tinkling drinks and fun conversations." And in "Recipe for Fun," Zepeda offers a ten-point guide to soothing away life's frustrations, including a suggestion to get some peace by giving "everyone in your house pizza, cat food or video games."

Musings on family, remembrances of childhood games and encounters with strangers (and ants!) fill this clever, thought-provoking collection in which Zepeda dares to express her individuality. She knows that she is different, "Maybe I am a boy in drag. Especially here, where I don't feel like everybody else." She doesn't follow others blindly or do what society expects of her. Readers will appreciate this second poetry collection, which is deeply personal yet universal in its hopes and fears.

Review: Since I usually review children's and young adult titles, I want to make it clear that this is an adult collection. It's marketed adult and is written from an adult perspective. Having the word zombies on the cover may still get the attention of a few YA readers or adult readers that don't usually venture into poetry. The word zombies is what caught my attention. The title also lets you know that this is a darker poetry collection. Zepeda delves into the creepy and disturbing areas of life. There is a smattering of humor here and there, but on the whole, these poems are unsettling and are definitely not sweet and pretty ditties. These poems were unlike any other collection I have dipped into before. The poems expressed some strong emotions and called to my own.

Whether the topics were drinking too much, anxiety attacks, a brother's anger, devils, maggots or nightmares, Zepeda's poems are probing into scary aspects of life and into the dark places of the mind. Real or imaginary, the effect is the same. Hansel and Gretel has always been a disturbing story, but under Zepeda's pen, it becomes even more chilling.

The book is organized in four sections: Addicts and Obsessions, Monsters and Warriors, Zombies and the Bitten and Animals and Nature. Animals and Nature had several of my favorites and were more likely to be amusing. One that I really liked was "Recipe for Fun" mentioned above in the summary. Feeding others then hiding in the bathroom with a salt scrub sounds appealing to me. It made me want to write my own recipe for fun too.

It is a poetry collection, but a few of the pieces appear to be narrative essays. Even when they don't have the tradition form of a poem though, all of the selections are filled with rich imagery capable of calling up emotions - and strong emotions at that.

While I don't often venture into the realm of the creepy, I'm glad that I had the chance to walk through the twisted paths found here.  -- Cover image and summary via Goodreads

Interview with Gwendolyn Zepeda via WordMothers
"Gwendolyn Zepeda Explains Her Life to Strangers"

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week: 

My favorite of these three was Island Treasures by Alma Flor Ada. It's a memoir comprised of short stories from two prior books with some additional stories. I felt like I was sitting among her family.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was really fun. I enjoyed getting to know Simon as he muddled through high school days.

I also enjoyed The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. Suzy is quite an interesting character and she's dealing with some heavy grief. She also deals with a changing friendship. I found the science in the book to be incredibly interesting. I didn't like it as much as some people. Some things were just more than I could believe, but overall, it was a nice middle grade novel. Strangely enough Suzy reminded me of Elise in the YA book This Song Will Save Your Life. They are both precocious characters struggling with self worth and finding friends.

Unstoppable Octobia May was a very unique and twisted mystery. I enjoyed it, but wondered if the confusion at the beginning would be difficult for young readers. It takes a while for things to untangle. I thought it was neat that a middle grade book mentioned passing. A new girl moves into the neighborhood. She has a black mother and white father. She doesn't look black. There is a discussion about whether she passes for white or will in the future. That was something that I didn't even think about or know about when I was growing up. It doesn't come up in literature too often. I loved Octobia's aunt and her drive for equal rights for women.

Of the three picture books, Wait was the standout for me. It reminded me of Sidewalk Flowers. I love the reminder to be present and really see the world around us.

At the Same Moment Around the World shows snapshots of people around the world at the same time in different time zones. There is a foldout map at the end and an explanation of the history of time zones and how it works.

Little Kunoichi is a story about a little girl training to be a ninja. It's not totally a story though. There's not much of a plot. It was cute though.

The Coming Week: My digital download of Good Omens expired before I was finished so I may try to get the actual hard copy and finish it. I'm almost finished with This Song Will Save Your Life. I'll finish Urban Tribes. I brought home a pile of library books: Stella by Starlight, School for Good & Evil, and Harriet the Spy.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Discover. Play. Build.  

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

Today I am celebrating books. I have celebrated them before and will probably celebrate them again many times. Books make me laugh, cry, think, relax, and so many more things. Some people may think that reading is isolating, but I've also found that books can help me connect with people. This year I've already shared many books with my students. We've had discussions and we've laughed together. We have common texts that we can refer to and have shared memories of those conversations and especially the laughter.

Books have also brought me into contact with so many people via Twitter. There are two groups of people that I have appreciated over the past few years - the Nerdybookclub and advocates for inclusion and diversity. I am afraid to start lists of names for fear of leaving people out, but also, the lists would be so amazingly long. That's the celebration. It's fantastic to find so many people with a passion for reading and books.

I also celebrate having the time to read. I get to work in a job where I actually get paid to read. How lucky is that? This week I got to read Wings, The Swirling Hijaab, Interrupting Chicken, What Can You Do With a Rebozo?, The Three Questions, and portions of The Big Fat Cow that Went Kapow and The Cat on the Mat is Flat. Sharing books with students is such a privilege.  I look forward to teaching because children are amazing, but also because many lessons involve sharing my love of reading.

I also had time to read this weekend. Saturday mornings with a book are a treat. Today began with a cup of tea, a blueberry bagel and a fun novel. It was the perfect way to relax after a long week.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week:
I reviewed Trail of the Dead by Joseph Bruchac at Rich in Color

Actually 2 weeks ago, but I forgot to mention it over here: 
I created a list of YA books featuring LGBTQ characters of color over at Rich in Color

I will review the poetry book Monsters, Zombies and Addicts: Poems by Gwendolyn Zepeda later this week. It's quite an interesting adult poetry collection.
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban was a fun book that looked into family dynamics, friendship, and perfection among other things. There were things to think about, but always with the promise of more humor so it wasn't a heavy book. I loved Zoe's voice. There was a part that really stood out to me. She mentions Vladimir Horowitz (a phenomenal pianist) many times. Zoe's mother explains that he made multiple mistakes in a performance. "And then she said those mistakes didn't matter because it was Horowitz. And Horowitz was not about perfection. He was about joy and art and music and life. And those things have mistakes in them." (p. 137) 

I'm not a big soccer fan, but my son played when he was young and now plays goalie with friends in college and has a lot of fun with that. Of course this means that Tim Howard is a name I know. When I saw the description of The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard Young Readers' Edition, I knew I wanted to get it because there are not very many books out there that involve Tourette syndrome (TS). Tim Howard shares about the difficulties he had in school and how he tried to hide what was happening. He also shares what he calls the flip side. He believes that TS, and the hyper-focus he has as a result, is one of the reasons he has been successful as a professional athlete. I found the book valuable for the way that he shares about his ups and downs. This will be a great book for students who have a TS diagnosis, but also for other students to see what that might be like. I read it in one sitting and found it compelling. I am often a biography fan though.

Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta was not an easy read. It's a adult collection of short stories, but I have to say, these are not your happily-ever-after types. There are glimmers of hope here and there, but if you are looking for a laugh, look elsewhere. If you are looking for stories to make you think and feel though, these will fit the bill because she packs an emotional punch as she shows you lives of Nigerian women both in Nigeria and in the U.S.

The Coming Week:
I am still listening to Good Omens on the iPad. I find audio a little frustrating because it is very hard to determine how much longer there is when it is through my library lending. You have to go to each chapter and add up the time left. There is nothing letting you know how much more is there - at least not that I can see. Anyway, it looks like it will be a while before I finish this one. It's fun, but I sometimes lose track of what's going on. Urban Tribes is one I'm reading for a Rich in Color discussion. This Song Will Save Your Life is what I listen to in the car. I'm not sure what I will read next, but I will likely start Out of the Darkness soon. Have a great week of reading.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

I'm the one waving.
See - it really was beautiful.
 Today was the Mini-Donut Half Marathon in honor of loved ones and in support of suicide awareness in general. I was running and remembering my father who completed suicide in 1997. Running 13.1 miles through peaceful wetlands gives you a lot of time for thinking and remembering. It was sad to realize how long Dad has been gone and all that he has missed. But it was also nice to remember good times. It occurred to me that Dad would probably be surprised that I have run half and full marathons. I know he would be proud of me for finishing them though. The race was a wonderful way to start the day.

When the race was over and I got cleaned up, I headed to the next event - Hmong New Year. I met up with another teacher from my school and we wandered about. The weather was simply gorgeous and seeing students and friends was lovely. The food was also fantastic.

Finally, I also celebrate having some quiet time this evening. I may blog, read, knit and basically relax after spending so much time out and about. Household chores like laundry are waiting, but they will still be there tomorrow, or maybe even the next day. I'm taking Ruth's advice from last week and will "release myself from should."

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

The Past Week:
I spent a lot of time in bookstores on Labor Day so I read quite a pile of picture books. My favorites of those were Waiting and Bug in a Vacuum Waiting speaks quietly and peacefully. Bug in a Vacuum strangely enough is about grief though in a humorous way. Hope is a Ferris Wheel really touched my emotions. I will review the YA book Into the Dangerous World at Rich in Color later (the author provided me a copy for review), but it was certainly a very unique story. The main character is trying to figure out who she is as an artist while  experimenting with graffiti in the big city. 

I went to a local university for an afternoon on the weekend to read An Island Like You. I don't have borrowing privileges there but was having difficulty getting it through ILL. I requested it in English, but ended up with a Spanish version. This was the final title I needed to read of the Pura Belpré winners/honors. It was a nice collection of short stories. Now every year I can just read the new winners and will be caught up again. Yay! Actually, if I read the books on this very thorough list of 2015 publications posted at Latin@s in Kidlit, I may even get ahead.

The Coming Week:
I'm listening to Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett. I'm also reading the ARC for Urban Tribes. I actually need to do less reading and more reviewing this week. I am far behind on that. So perhaps there won't be as many books on my list next week. Have a great time reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Celebrating Time with My Children

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

Last weekend was a busy one even though it followed the first week of school, which is always exhausting. Fortunately, Saturday was somewhat relaxing. I read and blogged then went for a seven mile run. There was a little grocery shopping and brownie baking, but otherwise, not much was happening. The next day though, I drove to Madison to take a desk to my son. I got to see the new house that he and his roommates moved into a few weeks ago. We also got to have lunch together, see a movie and walk to Taste of Madison for dinner later with one of his roommates. Spending time with my adult son is a gift.

The following morning my youngest and I drove in the opposite direction to the Twin Cities. We met an online friend at the Mall of America and then they stayed to shop while I got to go visit the Minnesota History Center. I finally got to see the "We are Hmong Minnesota" exhibit. I also had a wonderful lunch out in front of the museum while reading. That was the most relaxing part of the day. After that, I went to the Hmong Village and found a fantastic shirt. It shows the Hmong number words counting to 10. I also found out that Hmong ABC (a Hmong bookstore) is no longer there. The woman at the t-shirt booth told me about their other location at Hmongtown Marketplace and I headed there next. I was able to get a few more Hmong/English books for our library and headed back to the mall to meet up with my shopper. We had dinner together at IHOP and in the car to and from the cities, we had more than 5 hours of talking, singing, and some time listening to a digital book.

These moments sharing, laughing, and just being together are truly special. It was a treat to have the weekend with both of my children.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

The Past Week:
I reviewed The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham

I loved How to Read a Story by Kate Messner. It will be a wonderful book share as a read aloud. Mummy Cat is absolutely gorgeous. We Should All Be Feminists is a fantastic TEDTalk that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave that I had already seen. I didn't realize that until I was reading it. It was nice to see it in print though. The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill was an intriguing middle grade fantasy that I listened to while I was setting up our new library and then while driving to Madison this weekend - quite enjoyable. Macbeth wasn't exactly cheerful, but Gareth Hinds does an excellent job making classics accessible. I really appreciate his explanations for his writing and illustration decisions that he includes at the end. I will review Trail of the Dead by Bruchac later this month over at Rich in Color, but I was quite entertained and look forward to reading more in this series. Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn was a book that had me thinking. It's interesting because it is essentially a writer being asked by an elder to help him share thoughts with the world. The problem for me, was I never felt like I entirely trusted the writer. He doesn't share the elder's name because he said that there was a promise of anonymity. I guess I am a skeptic though so I wondered how we were supposed to be able to see the line between the author's thoughts and words and those of the elder. It was an extremely interesting look into Native life regardless.
The Coming Week: I just started listening to The Terrible Two by Mac Barnet and Jory John. I just got a copy of Into the Dangerous World so will likely start that soon along with Out of Darkness. I am also reading Spirits of the High Mesa which is another Pura Belpré Award book. It only has two stars, but that is from only one person. I'm enjoying it so far. I also downloaded the E-ARC of Urban Tribes. It's another book from the same editors that created the fabulous book Dreaming in Indian so I'm pretty excited to read it. It looks to be a great week of reading. I wish you the best.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

My celebration this week started with a mistake. I went out for a six mile run. The weather was warm and humid, but I had some water with me and planned to refill my bottle on my way back through the park. All was going well for the first 3 miles. The path I took led along a creek and through a small forest. Around mile two, the path ended, but I went another mile before I turned around. This is where it got interesting. First, I noticed that I had traveled that road years ago with a friend who no longer lives here. It was fun thinking about Cindy. Then I saw the fields of corn and marveled at how beautiful they looked with the sky and bluffs above them. In all of this though, I missed the entrance to the path.

Eventually I wondered why it was so far and realized that I had overshot and would be running more than six miles. I also understood that going back would not be a good plan because I was nearly out of water and there was no way to get any for quite some time if I turned around so I kept going to the next road. I knew there were houses coming up so at the very least perhaps someone would let me fill my bottle.  There is a small rodeo facility on that road and fortunately there was a rodeo this weekend. Yay! I got to see a few horses, but more importantly, the woman working at the front gate got water from her vehicle and filled up my bottle. Thank goodness for kind strangers.

The re-route also sent me through a neighborhood with some memories. I passed the house of a woman who used to babysit one of my children. I also ran near a place where I used to have Zumba classes. My detour added more than a mile to my run, but there were some nice memories along the way.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: The Perfect Percival Priggs

Title: The Perfect Percival Priggs
Author: Julie-Anne Graham
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pages: 32
Review Copy: Final copy from publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Percival Priggs seems to be the perfect child. His parents are perfect, his grandparents are perfect, and even his pets are perfect. Percy’s shelf is packed with gleaming trophies. But with all the practice and preparation needed for his competitions, Percy never has a free moment.

Percy worries that his parents will not love him if he does not smile his prize-winning smile and perform perfectly in every competition. But after his rocket experiment turns into an imperfect mess, Mr. and Mrs. Priggs reveal their own funny imperfections and show Percy they are proud of him exactly as he is.

Review: Percy is trying very hard to be perfect. He mistakenly believes that his parents expect him to be absolutely perfect. He is a bundle of nerves as he tries hard to be perfect in every single area of his over-scheduled life. This is quite a burden for a young child.

The illustrations are whimsical and humorous. Readers paying attention to the details will see a dress decorated with crossword puzzles, skin with words on the surface, and Percival's magnificent hair once chaos ensues. From the cover image, you can also see that the characters are made in a cartoonish manner.

This is more of a message type of book to me than a story that happens to have a message, but the illustrations and the humor at the end do keep it from being completely preachy. 

This would be a great book to share early in the school year to emphasize trying new things and being kind with ourselves as we are learning. It would pair well with Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzberg  and The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#MustReadin2015 - September Update

The fantastic Carrie Gelson organized a reading challenge to help herself and others whittle down the books on their To Be Read list/pile. My #MustReadin2015 list has 53 books on it and is housed on a Goodreads shelf

As of April 2, I had read 12/53. When we updated at the beginning of July, the total was up to 30/53. Now I've read a grand total of 41/53. This leaves only twelve more to go for the year. If I read three each month, it should be achievable. Does it count if I skimmed one of them? It was a professional development book and I don't think I am going to ever read every word on every page, but I will deal with that issue later. :)

Most of the ones I've read lately have been in an attempt to read all of the books that have been Pura Belpré honors and winners. There are only two left now, Spirits of the High Mesa and An Island Like You.  I'm hoping that our inter-library loan service comes through for me here since those titles are hard to find. By the way, I find the list difficult to read on the ALA website, but now I have a shelf with all of them there so you can see the titles that way too.

Here are my top ten #MustReadin2015 books so far this year:


Happy reading!