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 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. 

Bookshelf filled with books. Babysitter's Club graphic novel on a bookstand. Words present are # Must Read in 2021 Hosted by Library Matters and A Day in the Life Originated by Carrie Gelson at There is a book for that dot com

#MustReadin2021 Update

I am happy to have a community of readers that help inspire me to whittle down my To Be Read list. A big thank you to Cheriee Weichel for hosting this year. I chose 14 books for my #MustReadin2021 list. So far I have read five of them. 

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad - so good and I am definitely using this as we modify our curriculum and as I plan for lessons

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang & Gurihuru - a fabulous graphic novel that really takes on racism and connects well to our current reality unfortunately with the Anti Asian violence in our country.

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh is a really interesting graphic novel with fun characters. One has the hobby of takes the bones of roadkill and recreates the skeletons. It's definitely a unique story. 

Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh is a middle grade novel that deals with the past and present and family relationships. Highly recommended.

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee is a phenomenal young adult novel about the incarceration of Japanese Americans told from multiple perspectives. 

Still to read:
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton & five others
Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel
Have we Met? by Camille Baker


  1. Your climbing with Jen looks like such FUN! Sure wish I could have joined in, but I'm living vicariously through you. ;) Thank you so much for sharing the professional development resources, these look fantastic! And, ugh, I failed to add my #MustReadin2021 Update to my post. So I'll need to take care of that tonight. I've fallen behind this summer, but I won't give up hope. Thanks for all the shares, Crystal! I hope to be back with the #imwayr program for the year. :)

    1. You're welcome and we all fall behind at some point or to rephrase, we all pace ourselves as necessary. ;)

  2. I used to climb in our Rockies but don't think it would be safe enough for me anymore. My granddaughters are really getting into it. What fun that you & Jen got together. I need to get Finding Junie Kim. You & others are really praising it! And, I loved Superman Smashes the Klan, too! Thanks, Crystal, for all you share, always adds to my list!

    1. That's fun that you also climbed. It's a really enjoyable activity for me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. I didn't know you knew Jen Vincent—and how fun that you both went rock climbing! All of these books look wonderful, especially Finding Junie Kim. And I figure you probably reviewed Snapdragon a while back, but I'll say again that it's a fun read and I'm glad you liked it too! Thanks so much for the great post!

    1. Yes, I'm a lucky person. Jen and I knew each other online, but then met at multiple educational/lit type events over the years. This was a first though with the rock climbing. Thanks for reading.

  4. I have only done indoor rock climbing, but loved it. I even used to take my class every September as a team building experience for the new school year. It was the best thing ever!
    I have enjoyed many of the books on your list here, but especially Finding Junie Kim. I also enjoyed Superman Smashes the Klan. We Are Not Free is on my list. Maybe I will add it to my Must read for next year?