Monday, December 27, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Where Have I Been [Again]
This time, I have been out of circulation due to a fall I took a few weeks ago. I injured one of my legs and  have been slowly gaining more mobility. Winter in WI is not a great time to be on crutches, but I think I am almost ready to move around without them. I have another appointment next week to determine what we will be doing next. It's been fun navigating school this way, but have had a lot of students and staff that have been extremely helpful.

Most Recent Blogpost:



Recent Reads: 
I read two fun Young Adult books this past week. Huda F Are You? is a great graphic novel fictionalized memoir [is that the correct designation?]. Huda and her family moved to Dearborn, MI when she was starting high school. She had previously lived in a place with few Muslims and in Dearborn, she was one of many young women in hijab. It's interesting to see how she works through who she is beyond that one piece of material that had been shorthand for her whole self in the past. I also read the rom-com Miss Meteor for a book club and really enjoyed the relationships and the fantastical elements of the book.

As for middle grade books, I read and loved How to Find What You're Not Looking For and revisited Concrete & Polo Cowboy [see reviews above]. I also finally picked up The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story. It's biographical, but much is fictionalized as the author didn't have enough information and filled in the gaps. That aspect is troubling to a certain degree, but it does spark a desire to know more about him. I had non idea he died so young. 

I really enjoyed Roots Run Deep by Zetta Elliott and King Sejong Invents an Alphabet. Both had a lot of great history and again, made me want to know more. My Two Border Towns is excellent and is a great way for readers to see that there are many people who regularly cross the border. It's definitely a view that many may not have seen before and for those who have this experience, it's one of the few picture books that show this and how connected the lives can be from one side of the border to the other. 
 
The Coming Week: I still have a few ARCs to read, but am slowly but surely catching up with my large pile. I hope to finally get to the bottom of the stack over winter break. I have been spending so much time with Spanish and Korean that my reading has really dropped off, but I am slowly finding a good balance. I wish you all well.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Concrete Cowboy & Polo Cowboy

Book cover with images from the movie including a profile of Idris Elba smiling in his cowboy hat and Cole also wearing a cowboy hat sitting astride a horse.
Concrete Cowboy by G. Neri illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

Publisher: Candlewick

Pages: 211

Publisher's summary: When Cole's mom dumps him in Philadelphia to live with the dad he's never met, the last thing Cole expects to see is a horse, let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that cowboys aren't black, and they don't live in the inner city. But in his dad's world, horses are a way of life, and soon Cole's days of skipping school and getting in trouble in Detroit have been replaced by shoveling muck and trying not to get stomped on. At first, all Cole can think about is how to ditch these ghetto cowboys and get home. But when the City threatens to shut down the stables--and take away the horse Cole has come to think of as his own--he knows that it's time to step up and fight back. Inspired by the little-known urban riders of Philly and Brooklyn, this compelling tale of latter-day cowboy justice champions a world where your friends always have your back, especially when the chips are down.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book when I initially read it several years ago under the title Ghetto Cowboy. This was not only because it is well written, but also because it is about a neighborhood and way of life that I'd been unaware of before. Urban cowboys are certainly interesting and seeing that community working together was fascinating. 

Seeing Cole and his father adjusting to each other was powerful. The interactions and relationships in the story are so compelling especially the one of father to son. I reread the book so I would be able to make connections with the sequel and then I also watched the Netflix movie. The book and the movie are both  worth reading and watching though since the movie includes some things from the second book, it's a good idea to read both before watching. Here's an interesting clip with the actors talking about the father-son relationship central to the story.

   

Book cover of Polo Cowboy. Young Black man is on a horse looking at reader. A young Black woman has a polo malet slung over her shoulder and is also sitting on a horse with a slight smile on her face. She has patches of skin that are much lighter than the other skin on her face.
Polo Cowboy by G. Neri and illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

Publisher: Candlewick

Pages: 278

Review copies: Both ARCs provided by publisher 

Publisher's Summary: When Cole moves in with his dad, Harp, he thinks life will be sweet—just him and his horse, Boo, hanging out with Philadelphia’s urban cowboys. But when Harp says he has to get a job, Cole winds up as a stable hand for the polo team at George Washington Military Academy, where the players are rich, white, and stuck-up—all except Ruthie, the team’s first and only girl, who’s determined to show the others she can beat them at their own game. As Cole and Ruthie become friends—and maybe more—he starts imagining his future, maybe even at the academy. But between long workdays, arrogant polo players, and a cousin trying to pull Cole into his dangerous business, that future seems remote. Will Cole find the courage to stand and be seen in a world determined to keep him out? With striking illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson, celebrated author G. Neri’s novel weaves themes of tenacity and community into a rousing sports story inspired by Philadelphia’s real-life urban cowboys and polo players.

G. Neri Talking About Polo Cowboy

My Thoughts: Cole still has a lot to learn about horses, being a young Black man, and relationships. Watching him put in effort and yet stumble over and over is difficult. Polo Cowboy isn't an easy book to read, but it is meaningful. Again, it deals with a topic that was unfamiliar to me. Polo is not a sport I have much experience with and for most middle grade readers it may also be new to them, but since Cole is in the position of a newbie, there is plenty of explanation. 

This is a great middle grade read that has the excitement of competition along with a bit of danger and a possibility of romance so there's a lot there to interest a variety of readers. It's one I can see many young readers enjoying. The addition of illustration is nice with both novels too. I hope to see many young readers picking up both books and getting to meet Cole and his friends and loved ones.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Review: How to Find What You're Not Looking For

Young girl is making a poem by crossing out all of the words on a paper except the words in the title. We are viewing her from above so can see other things on the desktop such as a recold, photos of a mixed race couple and articles about the Loving case.
Title: How to Find What You're Not Looking For

Author: Veera Hiranandani

Publisher: Kokila

Pages: 378

Review copy: ARC via publisher

Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Twelve-year-old Ariel Goldberg's life feels like the moment after the final guest leaves the party. Her family's Jewish bakery runs into financial trouble, and her older sister has eloped with a young man from India following the Supreme Court decision that strikes down laws banning interracial marriage. As change becomes Ariel's only constant, she's left to hone something that will be with her always--her own voice.

My Thoughts: If you've read The Night Diary, you will not be surprised to find out that this book is an excellent work of historical fiction. Once again, Hiranandani swept me back in time. She does an excellent job of providing the context of the events of the time and how they relate to the very personal issues that Ariel and her family are working through. There is a lot going on, but a middle grade reader will see how so many of these things are connected to each other. 

I appreciated how the characters are complex so we can see that there can be many reasons for the way people are acting or reacting even when everything seems impossible to comprehend. We get to see the ways that Ariel is slowly piecing together what she is experiencing and is discovering her own opinions. 

The cover art had me hopeful that there would be poetry and I was not disappointed. It's sprinkled throughout and really adds a lot to the story. I don't want to get too spoilery so I won't go into that a lot. 

Recommendation: I see this as a great book to hand to readers who want a book with substance or simply enjoy books with a lot to think about. It also has the potential to be a fantastic read aloud with upper grade students. There is so much for discussion about family, friendship, bullying, and more. It could also lead to discussions of both historical and current events and how they can affect our lives. I would also add that one of my fourth grade classes was able to have a virtual author visit with the author the year The Night Diary was released. She did a fantastic job and my students were ready to read anything else she had already written or would ever write. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

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

Where Have I Been? 
I really haven't been anywhere exactly, I just needed to have a break from blogging here for a bit. I think the beginning of the school year is always a lot of stress and this year was no exception. It's hard to explain why I feel more tired than usual, but I think Pernille Ripp explained it well in her recent blog post "Perhaps Like Me."

I'm back, at least for this week and I've scheduled my Rich in Color posts now so I will have a break there until mid-January. 

Blogposts from Rich in Color While I Wasn't Posting Here:

Highlights of Recent Reads: The challenges of the school year have affected how I spend my time, but I have also been teaching a short online class through UW-Madison and am taking two language classes online. I am on my third session of Spanish and have also started attending a Korean class. I know, for someone who is feeling drained, this seems strange, but teaching the class was a great way to interact with library colleagues and kind of distance myself from my own school. The language classes are also a way to use my brain in a completely different way. I can just focus on my flashcards and not think about other things. It's also really fun to learn how to write and read in Korean. I even entered an art contest for the first time ever and won first place in my age group for calligraphy on a watercolor painting of fall leaves. The repetition of the calligraphy was meditative. With all of this, I haven't been doing much reading beyond that required for my Rich in Color blogging. 

We read Jade Fire Gold for a group discussion at Rich in Color and it was a nice step back into fantasy. I also read Too Bright to See for the class I was teaching. It's a great middle grade book about identity, ghosts, and more. It's a tricky one to talk about without giving spoilers though so I won't go much beyond that. One day I picked up Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry because it looked like a fun YA rom-com and it definitely was. I re-read The Astonishing Color of After for a book club meeting and it was excellent the second time through too. This weekend I also enjoyed reading A Clash of Steel which was a reimagining of Treasure Island. I don't know how many times I read Treasure Island as a child, but I loved the original and this is a fabulous story in that style. 

The Coming Week: It's really difficult to predict what I'll be reading next, but I have several ARCs that I need to get to including the sequel to Aristotle and Dante and the upcoming book by Axie Oh, The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea. Have a great week!

Monday, September 20, 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Blogpost from Last Week:

Books Read Last Week: 
I read A Neighborhood Walk: A Musical Journey by Pilar Winter Hill and illustrated by Olivia Duchess. This picture book is filled with sounds and once I realized it was written by a young musician, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole. This first video introduces Pilar and her typical practice routine.

   

And in the video, you learn about Lindsey Stirling who is another amazing violinist. So of course, I had to track down one of her videos also. Wow. Just wow.

 

I did finish reading the ARC of the translated novel How Do You Live? and it is a pretty philosophical book. I really enjoyed it and will review it later. 

Halal Hot Dogs is a super fun family and food picture book. Humor and food are two of my favorite things in books. 

Tokyo Ever After was a fun YA rom-com that was similar to The Princess Diaries. It takes place in Japan and was a perfect weekend read.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 was my only adult book for the week, but it was pretty amazing and unforgettable. One of my favorite Korean actors was in the movie made from the book. I couldn't find the movie to watch, but it had such interesting comments in the reviews, I went ahead and found the translated book. It is a book that really examines some of the ways that societal expectations of women can impact people in many ways. I will be thinking about this one for a long time. Here's the movie trailer to give you an idea.
   

This book and the movie stirred up strong feelings in Korea around feminism and gender. Another video that discusses a little of that is here

The Coming Week: I'm in between books, but look forward to grabbing something fun from the stacks of books that just came at school. Have a great week. 

Monday, September 13, 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogposts:

Books Read Last Week: 
I read two awesome picture books this week. I'm Sorry by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by the amazing and awesome human Debbie Ridpath Ohi was released Tuesday. It's a great book that walks readers through how and why to say I'm sorry. I already have a waiting list for it. Also, I think I've said it before, but if you haven't yet checked out the resources that Debbie provides online, you are truly missing out. Another picture book I enjoyed is Thao by Thao Lam. It's a great way to have a conversation about what it's like to have a name that people are mispronouncing and making fun of daily. This is based on the author's own experiences. The art is fun with interesting fonts and collage. I read it with fifth grade and it generated a good conversation.

I read an ARC of the YA rom-com It All Comes Back to You. I'll write up a full review soon, but did enjoy reading it. 

The Coming Week: I just started reading an ARC of a book translated from Japanese. How Do You Live? was written by GenzaburĊ Yoshino and was originally published in 1937. Hayao Miyazaki is making a movie of this book so it got an English translation ahead of the movie release. It was Miyazaki's favorite book from his childhood. It's a thinking type of book and I'm enjoying it so far. Have a great week!

Monday, September 6, 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 want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogposts:


Books Read Last Week: 

Ahmed Aziz's Epic Year is a fantastic middle grade book about being the new kid, family, identity, friendship, and reading. I enjoyed how literature was woven into the story, but do wish that some newer titles had been used as texts in Ahmed's class. The book was one that I read all in one sitting and it made me laugh and also cry so I'll definitely be recommending it to young readers.

The First Blade of Sweetgrass is a quiet picture book about a grandmother and grandchild harvesting sweetgrass. I am happy to have this as it's a great way for students to learn more about this important plant. Our school is on Ho-Chunk land and this is one of the medicines that is used by the Ho-Chunk people. It's also a lovely book about being with and learning from grandparents. 

The Coming Week: I'm still listening to Up All Night and am still working my way through ARCs. Next up is a YA - It All Comes Back to You. Have a great week!

Review: Pahua and the Soul Stealer

Young Hmong girl stands holding a sword. There is a black cat on her shoulder. She is in a tunnel with many tusks on the walls and ceiling. Another young girl is behind her shining a flashlight ahead and grabbing a sword from her back.
Title: Pahua and the Soul Stealer

Author: Lori M. Lee 

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Pages: 432

Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley 

Availability: September 7, 2021 

Summary: Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see. 

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood--whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can't be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt's old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother's return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother's soul before it's too late. Little does she know she'll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .

My thoughts: I'm so excited for students to get their hands on this book. Like the other Rick Riordan Presents books, this is also jam packed with action and fascinating storytelling. Each book in the imprint is written with inspiration from traditional stories and this one is based on the Hmong stories that Lori M. Lee grew up hearing. 

There are Hmong stories scattered throughout the book and the warrior shaman Pahua meets helps explain a lot of things about Hmong practices and beliefs in between their many adventures. There are also Hmong symbols at the beginning of chapters. Readers unfamiliar with Hmong storytelling and culture may not notice everything, but Hmong readers are sure to recognize the many Hmong symbols, foods, words, and much more. 

The spirit cat and the many other spirits that Pahua encounters are each unique and intriguing. Young readers may find the story to be slightly creepy, but it is not terrifying horror. It seems to be just enough scariness to send shivers up the spine on occasion without overwhelming the typical middle grade reader.

I flew through the story at a fast pace in a hurry to see what would come next. Traveling through the spirit realm with Pahua was quite a ride and I was very happy to be on the journey.

Recommendation: Pahua and her companions are sure to entertain and delight middle grade readers as they attempt to finish their quest. This will be a winner with readers who love fantasy and lots of action. There is also plenty of humor too. I'm really looking forward to sharing it with my students and hope that many readers get a chance to meet Pahua. 

Extra: Schedule of Virtual Events with the Author

Monday, August 30, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? & #MustReadin2021 Update

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading?It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogposts:
Book cover featuring the golden mask that was with the king in his tomb. There are swirls of light and dusty swirling air around it. The mask is golden with blue accents. There are two snakes up at the forehead.

What I've Been Up To: I start back with students this Wednesday so I've been trying to do as many things as possible before my life gets busy. One of the most fun things I got to do was go climbing with Jen who is one of the co-hosts of It's Monday! What are you reading? It was super fun. 

I am smiling and wearing a helmet. Behind me are bluffs and a lake well below me. There is a forest below full of green trees. The sky is blue with some white puffy clouds.

I am on a rope nearing the top of a rocky bluff. There are a few trees along the edges.

Books Read Over Past Weeks: 

Adult - I read several professional development books over the past two weeks. 5 Different Kinds of Nonfiction by Melissa Stewart is definitely helpful for any teacher or librarian who uses or teaches about nonfiction. Through this book, I have better ideas of how to talk about nonfiction and some great ways to use nonfiction in my library and classroom. 

Reading the Rainbow: LGBTQ-Inclusive Literacy Instruction in the Elementary Classroom is a fantastic resource for both those who are or will be purposefully filling their library or classroom library with LGBTQ resources and for those who may not have that freedom. There are great ideas for both situations. While I am able to purchase many LGBTQ resources, I know that there are teachers and librarians in situations where that isn't the case and there were many suggestions for inclusion with the use of pretty much any kinds of resources. 

No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching is pretty much what it says. It's a book that provides suggestions and strategies for teaching in culturally relevant ways. The contributors share some of their successes and some of their mis-steps too. 

I also finally got my hands on the memoir Crying in H Mart. I love learning about other people's lived experiences. Michelle Zauner shares many of the challenges in her life and the high points too. She had me laughing and crying.

Middle Grade - The Curse of the Mummy was fascinating and I reviewed it [linked above] because it was so well done. I think it will be useful in upper elementary and middle school classes. I appreciated that colonialism is not ignored as a factor. Candace Fleming provides context and other perspectives beyond just the archaeologists. Finding Junie Kim is a book that also wowed me. I read it for a virtual book event hosted by Sarah Park Dahlen and Edie Campbell in September. The relationships in the book are meaningful and moving. Ellen Oh has also done a wonderful job with the dual timelines in the present and in the past during her grandparents' wartime experiences. It's soooo good. 

Early Chapter Books - I got the digital versions of the newest Astrid & Apollo books. I read The Magic Pepper and the Tae Kwon Do Champs. They are both excellent and many of my students have been eager to read the second set of this series. Four were released in the past and now there are eight altogether. They are really well done and of course, I am always eager to see more Hmong representation. 

The Coming Week: I'm still reading Pahua and the Soul Stealer and am listening to Up All Night. I need to read quite a few ARCs so I will get going on those. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun's Tomb

Book cover featuring the golden mask that was with the king in his tomb. There are swirls of light and dusty swirling air around it. The mask is golden with blue accents. There are two snakes up at the forehead.
Title:
 The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun's Tomb
Author: Candace Fleming 
Publisher: Scholastic Focus
Pages: 304
Review copy: ARC via author
Availability: September 7, 2021

Summary: Candace Fleming presents the edge-of-your-seat true story of the search for Tutankhamun's tomb, the Western public's belief that the dig was cursed, and the battle for ownership of the treasures within.

During the reign of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun ruled and died tragically young. In order to send him on his way into the afterlife, his tomb was filled with every treasure he would need after death. And then, it was lost to time, buried in the sands of the Valley of the Kings.

His tomb was also said to be cursed.

Centuries later, as Egypt-mania gripped Europe, two Brits—a rich earl with a habit for gambling and a disreputable, determined archeologist—worked for years to rediscover and open Tutankhamun's tomb. But once it was uncovered, would ancient powers take their revenge for disturbing and even looting the pharaoh's resting place? What else could explain the mysterious illnesses, accidents, and deaths that began once it was found?

My thoughts: Narrative nonfiction is probably my favorite and I started reading it in Junior High. Fiction had my heart, but when I read an awesome novel and wanted to learn more about a related topic, narrative nonfiction was my go-to for information. Even diehard fiction lovers can appreciate The Curse of the Mummy because it reads like a novel. Fleming has crafted an intriguing and thought-provoking story that carries a ton of information and questions about this king. 

The chapters are interspersed with brief commentary about rumors surrounding the curse. These tidbits are on black pages so it is easy to distinguished the rumors from the actual facts. She uses the phrase fake news at least once so readers can draw parallels to the current day.

This is mostly a chronological narrative, but it doesn't just tell the individual actions and happenings that occurred around the site of the tomb, but some of the things that led to British people digging up the artifacts of Egypt and even taking some of them out of the country. She asks questions and provides the background for readers to consider colonialism and some of its affects. Readers will also likely be questioning if it is a good thing to disturb the tomb a teenager who would never have envisioned how his body would be taken apart, studied, and put on display for so many people. 

It's a book about a particular set of circumstances, but it is a book that is meant to inspire curiosity and model questioning the processes and ways in which we move through the world. 

Recommendation: This is a significant book that would be an awesome addition to any library or classroom serving middle grade readers. I believe it will work best with readers on the higher end of middle grade, but it would also be an incredible read aloud with those on the younger end. There is much to discuss and many parallels to be drawn between current events. I immediately thought of the museum scene in Black Panther and so many of the Indigenous nations here in what is currently known as the United States that are working toward repatriation of remains and artifacts. Fleming respects her readers so she does not overly simplify the content and while it is a challenging book, it is well worth the read.

**Update: There are also Indigenous archeologists at work that it would be great to learn about or connect with around this book, like Marvin Defoe the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. You may listen to a podcast about the work he is part of at Frog Bay or read the transcript.

Extras:
Short book talk by the author


Longer video from SLJ Day of Dialog including her writing process & about her goals with the text

Monday, August 16, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading?It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogposts:

What I've Been Up To: 
For the past two weeks I've been in our school library for summer school. It was great to see the students and have time to get some administrative duties done and even some re-arranging of books. Our county has rising COVID numbers so it's concerning to think about how the school year will go, but in one more week all of the teachers will be back and I'm sure we'll give it our best effort.

Books Read Over Past Weeks: 
Adult Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Antiracist Literature Instruction for White Students is directed toward high school English teachers, but I found it helpful for critiquing literature in general. It actually fits well with So Many Beginnings (review above) as they both interrogate the literary canon. It was interesting to have read them so close to each other. 

Young Adult - I finished We Will Always Be Here which is a history of LGBTQ+ activism specifically in WI. It was a book that the local public library was giving away and they also had an event. I wasn't able to attend, but appreciated knowing this history.

Middle Grade - Stamped (for kids) is a great resource for younger readers. I'm glad there's one that is tailored to the elementary school readers now. 

Tales of the Feathered Serpent: Rise of the Halfling King is the first in a graphic novel series that I am excited about. It is an adaptations of a Mayan myth and is full of action, adventure, a huge snake, and more. I can't wait to see more in the series.

Allergic is a great realistic graphic novel about a girl whose dreams are destroyed when she finds out she is too allergic to own a furry pet. It shows her disappointment, but also her determination to do what she needed to do to change her circumstances if possible. There is also another character with a different kind of allergy so there is conversation about allergies in an organic way. It's also a friendship and family story. 

Picture Books - There are too many to list here, but these are the highlights.
Becoming Vanessa is a fabulous first day of school book about identity. 

We All Play is sure to inspire movement and smiles. Julie Flett's illustrations of children and animals playing are just perfect.

Brayden Speaks Up is his own story about his stutter and how he spoke up and also had a connection with President Biden.

The 20th anniversary of September 11th is this year so it is unsurprising to find books showing up in displays and on lists. I read 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 flag and learned a lot about this flag I hadn't known existed or at least didn't remember. In addition, I read two about a tree that survived. Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree and This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth. They were both interesting and each have a slightly different perspective. I have to say that reading about 9/11 hits differently now that I have been to the site and have seen the memorial and museum. 

How to Apologize lays out some excellent advice about apologies. I know this one could be useful for all ages. 

From the Tops of the Trees is another gorgeous book from Kao Kalia Yang. It takes place in a refugee camp and is about the hope and resilience of her father and how that shaped her life. I read the ARC since it's available on Netgalley. 

An Equal Shot shows the history of Title IX in an easy to understand manner. 

Goodnight Veggies is a bright and fun look at a garden and a worm wearing a sock and shoe. 

Nugget and Dog is a hilarious beginner graphic novel. The first pages explain how to read a graphic novel. The story itself had me laughing. Thunder and Cluck is another in this series and it also had me rolling. 

Let's Find Momo is an adorable look and find book that has only two or three objects to find in the bright and crisp photographs that always have Momo hidden somewhere in addition to the other things. I had fun seeking everything myself. 

I am a big Kate Messner fan and she has created an awesome nonfiction picture book biography of Dr. Fauci. Readers see him as a child and see his curiosity and persistence over the years. There is a lot of helpful backmatter too. 

The Coming Week: I am still working on 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children's Books. I have also started the adult memoir Crying in H Mart, the middle grade Pahua and the Soul Stealer and am listening to Up All Night. This is my final full week before going back to work so I am hoping to get a lot of reading accomplished. Have a great week!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading?It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Recent Blogpost:
XOXO Book cover. A young woman and young man are standing facing each other with hands on the others' waist. They're in the street lined with traditional Korean buildings and the Seoul skyline is visible in the distance.

What I've Been Up To: 
I haven't posted for a few weeks, but I've had family visiting and have been enjoying the outdoors quite a bit. My son and I met this fun friend out on a recent hike. It appears to be a Timber Rattlesnake unless we are mistaken. It did rattle at us and it was large enough to be interesting even if it was one of those snakes that pretend to be a rattler.

Forest walking path. Greenery on left. A large snake is stretched out from the greenery into the path. At least two feet of it are visible. It has dark brown marks spaced every few inches.

Yesterday we only saw a very young deer and the mother. Way less exciting, but still fun. 

Books Read Over Past Weeks: 
I've read quite a few books over the past few weeks and here are a few that were stand outs. I got to read quite a few excellent nonfiction books. 

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People is an incredibly thorough history of the organization for middle grade and young adult readers. I'll feature it at Rich in Color soon.

As expected the middle grade Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You is well done and makes the information from the previously published books more accessible for young readers.

Sharice's Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman is a picture book that knocked my socks off. I had been excited for it, but had not made the connection that Sharice is Ho-Chunk. Our school is on the ancestral lands of the Ho-Chunk and they are one of the Native Nations in our state. There are very few books available featuring Ho-Chunk people that are in the current day so this is a wonderful resource. It was also very intriguing for other reasons including her mixed-martial arts experience that will be sure to interest many young readers.

Areli is a Dreamer: A True Story by Areli Morales, a DACA recipient. This is an important picture book narrative that shows Areli's experience with the many challenges she and her family face. It is also a story of love and what a family will do to be together.  

A Day for Rememberin': The First Memorial Day is a picture book that shares some of the history of Memorial Day which is something I had never learned about before this. 

The Little Feminist board books are wonderful. The photographs are just fantastic. There is one about families, one about hair, and one about different ways people get around. 

I think I had read an ARC in the past, but I got to re-read We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know and it is simply a must have picture book. 

Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race is a board book that does an excellent job of discussing and providing for discussion about race, skin color, and injustice. 

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is an adult nonfiction book about the many way laws and governmental policies created the segregation present in our country. I had to take quite a few breaks while reading this because much of it was both infuriating and heartbreaking. 

There were also several fiction books that will stick with me for a while. 

YA - Luck of the Titanic was another incredible historical fiction novel from Stacey Lee.

Middle Grade - The graphic novel The Legend of Auntie Po is wonderful. It has a character that is similar to Paul Bunyan and takes place in a logging camp that is predominantly employing white men of European decent, but also has a significant amount of Chinese workers. One has a daughter and she is telling the story. It is rich in details of the time and place, but also delves into friendship, family, identity, and belonging.

Take Back the Block is an interesting book to have been reading while I was reading The Color of Law. It's about a sixth grader who has a friend that is displaced by gentrification happening in the community. Wes is sad about it, but it becomes more of a concern when developers start trying to get his parents and neighbors to sell so they can continue to change the community. This is a compelling story, but would also be a good entry to discussions about activism, gentrification, and other social issues. 

A fun early chapter book is Too Small Tola by Atinuke. Tola is small, but finds that she is still capable of doing a lot of hard things as she and her grandmother go to the market. It's a fun story and also gives readers a glimpse into what it's like to move through a market in Lagos.

I'm running out of steam, but I also really enjoyed reading these fiction picture books: Hair Twins, Laxmi's Mooch, Training Day by Raul the Third, The Electric Slide and Kai, and Home is in Between

The Coming Week: I was super excited to get a copy of Melissa Stewart's new book about nonfiction texts, 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children's Books and will be reading it this week (or at least starting to read it). I'm also reading We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ) Activism in Wisconsin. I am working at summer school this week, so I will likely read some kidlit too, but that will be more random I think. Have a great week!

Monday, July 12, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading?It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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