It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

We celebrated another family birthday this week — our middle son turned 12! And let me just say that we shocked his socks off with a brand new Apple Watch (Series 3). He’s been asking for one for at least two years, now. They’ve been so out of our price range, but we were able to pull one of the older models off this year. He had NO IDEA what was coming, so it was such fun to watch him be utterly speechless. LOL

49360778NOTE: Last month I reviewed an ARC of The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner (at THIS LINK). This is an exciting middle grade historical fiction based on ancient Egypt. Does “filled with interesting research and rich details” ring a bell? Yeah? Well, Ben Gartner dropped me an email last week to tell me that, in the midst of all cancelled school and social distancing, he’s decided to make the e-book format of his book FREE. That’s right, until April 1st, (so for today and tomorrow, only) you can get a FREE e-copy of The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner. At the link you can choose whether you’d like to read it with Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, and more. Be sure to take advantage of this deal and enjoy! 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting, today. For the first time in the history of my book blogging, I did not finish any of the lengthier middle grade, YA, or adult nonfiction books I’m currently reading. This has nothing to do with how great my selections have been — I suppose we’ve just had more distractions than usual, this week. Nevertheless, I did get to some great new picture books that I’m excited to share. Whether it’s a new or older title, I hope you find something of interest to add to your TBR list.


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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Daniel Bernstrom
Shane W. Evans, illustrator
January 14, 2020
HarperCollins

This is a tender-hearted story about the love between a grandfather (AKA Papa) and his grandson, who doesn’t want to go to school. Papa takes him back through time, showing him moments where bravery was necessary in order to move forward.

There’s an author’s note in the back about Daniel Bernstrom’s childhood of growing up adopted and not knowing about his history. He didn’t meet his grandfather until he was eighteen — that’s when he learned about his African American story. There’s also an illustrator’s note about the challenges of interpreting this story of time travel in artwork. The artist used patience, skill, mixed media, pen, alkyd paint, and digital media tools to create the illustrations in this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Big-Papa-and-the-Time-Machine-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The President of the Jungle
André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro,
Paula Desgualdo, Pedro Markun
January 7, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

Is everyone gearing up to discuss the election process? Well, The President of the Jungle would be an age-appropriate addition for a young child’s curriculum. Lion is king of the jungle and he only really cares about himself. The other animals of the jungle want their interests to be considered, as well, so they decide to hold an election to see who will be the best leader for everyone. With humorous artwork, complete with debates and selfies, this story will make a lasting impact. There’s also a glossary of election terms in the very back.

The illustrations were made by mixing hundreds of paper cutouts and loose pencil and charcoal doodles, and then coloring them digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

President-of-the-Jungle-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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I Do Not Like That Name
Erin McGill
November 5, 2019
Greenwillow Books  

Herb and Sophie decide to adopt an elephant. But they never imagined the difficulty in selecting an appropriate name for their elephant. This is a story about identity. It would be a nice way to kickstart a discussion of names and families.

Cut paper, ink, and gouache were used to prepare the full-color art. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

I-Do-Not-Like-That-Name

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Wintercake
Lynne Rae Perkins
October 15, 2019
Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)

I’ve heard a great deal about this book, so I was so happy to see it was available in our tri-college system. I won’t spoil it by telling the whole story, but it’s a tale of forgetfulness, false judgments, going the extra mile, looking out for one another, and building friendships. I just wish I’d gotten the ingredients, ahead of time, to make a wintercake! 🙂

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find how Perkins created the artwork. However, I’ll provide one page of beautiful artwork as an example of what to expect, below:

Wintercake-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Luckiest Snowball
Elliot Kreloff
September 10, 2019
Holiday House

My goodness, what an adorable picture book recounting the seasons in the life of a snowball named Larry. He spends most of his life in the freezer, watching different types of foods being stored and eaten. It’s a very interesting take on a seasons book. And if any book will have children singing “In Summer” from the movie Frozen or “Frosty the Snowman” from caroling time, it’s this one!

The artwork for this book was created as digital collages. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Luckiest-Snowball-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Odd Dog Out
Rob Biddulph
August 25, 2016
HarperCollins

This cute picture book is written in rhyming lines about the odd dog out — a dog that isn’t like everyone else. After leaving and trying out a new place, he quickly learns that every place has an odd dog out. He learns an important lesson on standing out and being proud of who you are! It will be a wonderful addition to discussions on identity and unique characteristics.

The artist used pencil, some paper, a scanner, Photoshop CS5, a Wacom Tablet, and a Cintiq 6D Art Pen to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:

Odd-Dog-Out-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Thurgood
Jonah Winter
Bryan Collier, illustrator
September 3, 2019
Schwartz & Wade Books

I imagine many people know Thurgood Marshall as being the first black justice on the Supreme Court, but there were many other things that happened in his lifetime. This picture book attempts to bring his experiences to life from his childhood on up. He was loud, he liked to joke, and he didn’t mind standing up for himself. But over time he learned the importance of carefully changing laws and making lasting differences for everyone. The Author’s Note explains that there’s no way to fit the importance of Thurgood’s work into one 40-paged children’s book. It goes on to share a few more important details that children should know about his life.

The artwork in this book was rendered in watercolor and collage. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Thurgood-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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On Wings of Words
The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Berne
Becca Stadtlander, illustrator
February 18, 2020
Chronicle Books

What a stunning picture book autobiography of Emily Dickinson! While younger children will appreciate the artwork, this book will also be adored by older learners and adults. Lines of her poetry are shared throughout the pages and the soft watercolor artwork perfectly matches the feelings she expressed and the struggles she faced while attempting to come to terms with all the unanswerable questions. The back matter shares more about her poetry along with books by and about Emily Dickinson.

The artwork was created with gouache and watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

On-Wings-of-Words-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


Currently Reading:

I’m still currently re-reading The Giver as a read aloud to the five kiddos. We’re just about half way through, so things are really picking up in the storyline. I’m also finishing up an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman — really enjoying this one, so far. And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, which is completely stunning and important for any parents of teen girls (or boys). I’ve set Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli on the back-burner all week only because I started listening to To Fly Among the Stars by Rebecca Siegel (which is beautifully narrated by Saskia Maarleveld) and I really got caught up in it. I also have a large pile of picture books that just came in via ILL at our college library, so we will be working our way through those this week, as well.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 96/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/23/2020 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

This week we celebrated my youngest’s 6th birthday! ❤ I must say I was so relieved that I had been slowly picking up special gifts for her since Christmas because there wasn’t much time to think about presents and cake or even wrapping paper with the city practically shutting down everything except the essentials. We already do a huge once-per-month shopping trip for our staples, but we double-checked everything and made sure our pantry was stocked enough to not have to go shopping for a while. Living in a very secluded, small college town means everyone from far and wide visits our two grocery stores: Walmart and Safeway. So the aisles held mostly barren shelves almost immediately while townspeople were simultaneously preparing for a blizzard on Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, we all made it through and I was even able to read my latest stack of picture books and squeeze in just one survival novel before the weekend came to an abrupt halt. Whew!

Thank you for visiting, today! Along with our regular weekly reading, I’m excited to be sharing a soon-to-be published picture book called Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia. Whether it’s a brand new book or an older title, I hope you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


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Lali’s Feather
Farhana Zia
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
April 1, 2020
Peachtree Publishing

Young Lali appears to be a creative, free-range spirit who loves nature and talking with the birds. One day she finds a loose feather in a field and attempts to discover the owner. But it’s not rooster’s or crow’s or peacock’s or hen’s or duck’s or blue jay’s feather. All their feathers serve very unique purposes just for them. Still, Lali finds incredible value in her feather. For example, it can write in the sand. It can sweep a deck. It can fan a fire. Or it can tickle unsuspecting family members. After a day of experimental play, a gust of wind sadly carries Lali’s feather away and her bird friends must help her find it. However, just wait until you see what she finds next.

The ending showcases the fact that we can find value in just about anything if we are open-minded and look more closely at our seemingly worthless possessions. Lalai’s Feather is an excellent, light-hearted picture book that can be employed to open a deeper discussion about first impressions and even gratitude. My thanks to Netgalley and Peachtree Publishing Company for providing me with an e-ARC so that I could give my honest review. This title will be published on April 1st!

The colorful artwork in this book was rendered digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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96 Miles
J. L. Esplin
February 11, 2020
Starscape

First, I have to say that this was an especially interesting read to take on during the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing. The Lockwood brothers, John and Stew, have been trained by their father to survive just about anything. They’ve stockpiled everything from generators to food to large tanks of water on their isolated Nevada ranch in the event of a long lasting emergency. And wouldn’t you know, the electricity goes out when they least expect it — right after their father heads out of town, leaving his two sons to look after their home. Thank goodness they have nothing to worry about since their father was the only “crazy” who made sure they’d be good and ready for losing all power and connection to the outside world. But what happens when a group of rowdy men break into their home in the middle of the night, holding the boys at gunpoint while they take everything of value, including the very medicine needed to keep the younger Lockwood brother alive? Oooh, this one kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Pokko and the Drum
Matthew Forsythe
October 1, 2019
Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Any parent who has raised a beginning band student will understand the frustrations of those early off-pitch, out-of-beat home practice sessions that are tolerated until their children become accomplished musicians. Well, Pokko’s tale is exactly that scenario. The noise from her drumming is so unbearable that her father sends her outside to play her drum. But as they say, practice makes perfect. The watercolors in this book are so lovely. And with the oranges, greens, browns, and yellow watercolors, this book sometimes had the feel of retro picture books that I grew up reading. This story will be especially helpful for any younger siblings of middle school or high school band students. 🙂

The illustrations for the book were rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Pokko-and-the-Drum-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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A Quieter Story
Liza Woodruff
July 9, 2019
Margaret Ferguson Books

This cute little picture book is of a young girl who is writing a story about a kitten. No, scratch that — a tiger! At every turn of her story, her cat must interject and make the story more adventurous. But when her story gets a little too frightening for her sweet kitty, she decides it’s time to tone it down a bit. Hence, “a quieter story.” This one will certainly make young readers laugh!

The artwork was created with mixed media: watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, block print, and Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

A-Quieter-Story-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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So Big!
Mike Wohnoutka
July 2, 2019
Bloomsbury

In only a few words, readers will feel the highs and lows of their very first day of school. Sometimes we feel soooo big when we’re old enough to start something brand new. Other times, we feel NOT so big when overwhelm kicks in. This book could be great for the beginning kindergartener in your life or the soon-to-be college student. All the feels, right here!

The artwork was created with Holbein Acryla gouache paint on hot press watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

So-Big-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Bear Came Along
Richard T. Morris
LeUyen Pham, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

This gem of a book is so adorable! Sometimes we have no idea what can happen until we just jump in and try something. With hilarious artwork, we see how Bear, Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck will weather the unexpected storm together. Be sure to check out the lovely Author’s Note in the back about diverse personalities bringing balance in unexpected situations. I would say this book is particularly perfect for what we’re currently experiencing with COVID-19, but just without the social distancing. LOL

AWARDS: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2020)

The illustrations in this book were created in watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot-press illustration board. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:

Bear-Came-Along-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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You Are Home: An Ode
to the National Parks
Evan Turk
June 4, 2019
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Be ready for an adventure across the United States in this poetic book about all the different homes we find for plants, animals, and people. The artwork is so pretty and colorful as the words are a celebration of our National Parks. In the Author’s Note, Evan Turk shares that his  father worked for as a Park Service employee for more than forty years!

The illustrations for this book were rendered in pastel on black paper. I’ll provide on page spread to serve as an example, below:

You-Are-Home-National-Parks-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Welcome to Morningtown
Blake Liliane Hellman
Steven Henry, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

What a sweet, simple book all about the joys of a young bear and his mother waking up and getting started in a new day. The pictures remind me of books I read when I was a child — so innocent and comforting. In the end, everyone is up… except for one. Can you guess who?

The artwork for this book was created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Welcome-to-Morningtown-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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You Are A Gift To The World
Laura Duksta
Dona Turner, illustrator
April 12, 2011
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

This picture book has two different titles, depending on which end you start from. If you start from one side, it’s The World is a Gift to You, which celebrates the beautiful gifts of the world, ranging from plants to animals to mountains. From the other side it’s You Are a Gift to the World, which celebrates the beauty of the young child. It’s called a flip-sided book that never ends. One side appears to be a daughter and her mother and the other side a different young girl and her father.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

You-Are-a-Gift-to-the-World-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m currently re-reading The Giver as a read aloud to the kiddos and I’m reading an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman. And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 89/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/2020 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

What a wild week between toilet paper outages, business closings, schools canceling face-to-face classes, all sorts of online conversations over what to do and what misinformation is running wild, and, oh yeah, we also had a surprise snow storm (and another one on the way). As we collectively attempt to flatten the curve of this pandemic, I’m having to make myself take lengthy breaks from social media and COVID-19 tracking apps every so often just to sit and “be” with my family. We’ve been nestled in here at home with our five kiddos over the weekend, enjoying good food, movies, and books, but now that it’s Monday, hubby and my oldest have to continue going to work (hubby as a college administrator and our oldest daughter as a server/host at a restaurant). So I’m grateful, today, to have the #imwayr link-up so I can stay blissfully distracted, catching up with everyone’s weekly reading!

By the way, If you’re looking for extra non-book home activities to do with restless children this month, there’s a very long (and still growing) list of virtual museums, virtual e-learning, and various online collections at http://mcn.edu/a-guide-to-virtual-museum-resources.

Thank you for visiting, today! Whether it’s an older or a newer title, I hope you can find something to add to your reading list. 🙂


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A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Leslie Connor
February 25, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This story was quite amazing. I wish I had better words, but it just completely caught me by surprise. I checked it out on a whim (it was not on my TBR list) and even with a surprise snowstorm and coronavirus and schools and businesses being closed down, I felt like I was cozied up in a soft, warm blanket of love by the time I finished. So much devastating loss, but then healing and bonding and love and strength by the end. Thirteen-year-old Lydia was extremely close to her mom before her death. Now she has to come to terms with moving in with her Aunt Brat, her wife, Eileen, and Elloroy, the elderly gentleman who owns the home they’ll be living in. This unusual family hits a few bumps along the way, but there’s so much they face and grow through, together. And if you have a soft place in your heart for dogs and other animals, then you will find yourself right at home with this story.

Note: I tend to judge books by their cover, without even realizing it. However, now that I’m on the other side of this story, I can definitely say I have a much deeper appreciation for the artwork on the front of the book.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Scar Island
Dan Gemeinhart
January 3, 2017
Scholastic Press

This one was a re-read that I did with my five children over the last three weeks. And I dare say I enjoyed it even more the second time. Jonathan Grisby is sent to Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys for a crime we don’t learn much about until later in the story. In a freak accident, all adults are struck by lightning and the boys must navigate life on their own, unexpectedly. It gets dark and scarier and it was honestly hard for me to stop reading it to the kids, every day. I love the goodness of Jonathan as he attempts to punish himself for things he cannot change. And by the end, we can all empathize more with the biggest bully of the group. While catalogued as a middle grade novel, there’s harsher language than I’m accustomed to for this level (damn it, pissed off, hell, etc.) as well as violence and frightening bullying. But I had fun narrating all the voices and my kids really seemed to enjoy it. At the end, my oldest asked if I owned any of Gemeinhart’s other books, so I handed off The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise to her. 🙂

Now to decide on a new read aloud. So many choices. I’m leaning toward The Giver, but hoping it’s not too scary for my 9 and 5 year old. It’s been so long since I last read it, so I’m not certain. Anyway, feel free to suggest a new read aloud for my whole gang, in the comments.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Snail Crossing
Corey R. Tabor
February 4, 2020
Balzer + Bray

This super cute picture book is about a snail who is determined, but also kind. While he has his eye set on the cabbages across the road, he takes time to entertain guests. And you just never know when humbleness and kindness will pay off.

The artist used pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, and ink, assembled digitally, to create the illustrations in this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Snail-Crossing-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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One Hug
Katrina Moore
Julia Woolf, illustrator
December 10, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books

What an adorable book, featuring a Chinese American family who loves to snuggle. With rhyming text, we see all the ways they choose to hug one another, including with their extended family. The final page is of them snuggled up in bed — the perfect story to read before bedtime.

The artist used ArtPrint printers ink by Seawhite of Brighton and Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

One-Hug-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Everybody Says Meow
Constance Lombardo
November 5, 2019
HarperCollins

This hilarious picture book features cats who just KNOW that everyone is supposed to say “Meow.” But it doesn’t take long before they realize that not everyone knows the rules. And some rules are meant to be bent. Nevertheless, just wait for the twist ending where everyone is a bit surprised!

The artist used pen, ink, and watercolor to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Everybody-Says-Meow-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Frank and Bean
Jamie Michalak
Bob Kolar, illustrator
October 8, 2019
Candlewick Press

In this early chapter book, we meet Frank (hot dog) who is the calmer character of the two, but will be heard yelling, “Good gravy!” on certain occasions. Bean is rambunctious and completely unpredictable. And together, this duo is quite a funny match. I liked that the book ended with them heading off to sleep. Yet another good book to read at bed time. I’m assuming this is going to be a series, but I didn’t verify this. If you happen to know, please mention it in the comments.

The illustrations for this book were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Frank-and-Bean-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Dinosaur Feathers
Dennis Nolan
September 24, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This nonfiction picture book features rhyming text with pronunciation keys for difficult dinosaur names. The story takes us through their life on earth, their death, then follows with what we believe to be their descendants, today: flamingos, parakeets, chickens, and so many different types of birds. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and will keep young children engaged as the text is read aloud. This would be a great addition to any classroom study of dinosaurs!

The artwork for this book was made with transparent watercolor on watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Dinosaur-Feathers-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Stop! Bot!
James Yang
July 23, 2019
Viking Books for Young Readers

Awww. A young child is so excited to have a bot. But then his bot floats up and gets stuck in what appears to be a large apartment building. Everyone has a plan for getting the bot back down, but ultimately it’s a simple trick of distractions. There’s a funny little surprise ending, too! The cheery, colorful illustrations are bright and inviting, however, I could not find out how they were created. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Stop-Bot-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m currently listening to 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin, still reading Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein, and I also may try to squeeze in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, since my daughter really wants us to watch the movie, which was just released on Disney Plus last Friday.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 80/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/2020 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!


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Birdie and Me
J.M.M. Nuanez
February 18, 2020
Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Young Readers

This tenderhearted story is of Jack and Birdie, two siblings who recently lost their mother. Jack is the mature older sister, always seeking to protect her little brother. And this is especially important since Birdie tends to be bullied due to his creative, colorful clothing. After their mother dies they are sent to live with their Uncle Carl, who loves them deeply. But one day his ability to properly care for them is questioned and they’re eventually sent to live with their Uncle Patrick. They know practically nothing about Patrick, except how gruff he seems. But sometimes it’s important to peel back the emotional “onion layers” and see more than what’s visible on the surface. This is a story that addresses a wide variety of family dynamics, including questions about transgender behaviors and feelings. It also addresses bullying, regrets, and mental health. I would anticipate mostly older middle graders or younger mature middle grade readers to appreciate this emotional story, but there’s plenty here for the YA crowd to discuss, as well.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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New Kid
(New Kid #1)
Jerry Craft
February 5, 2019
Quill Tree Books

I’m SO happy to finally get my hands on the 2020 Newbery Medal winner. What a refreshing read! Jordan Banks is a brand new 7th grader to Riverdale Academy Day School. He’s not accustomed to the realities of an upscale prep school. The story line has some outright hilarious moments of surprise laughter, but those moments are matched by equal feelings of hurt due to micro aggressions from students and faculty. Craft showcases numerous experiences of bias due to Jordan’s skin color and socioeconomic status. At the same time, Jordan is met with kind-hearted students who he initially assumed were stuck up or racist due to their deep pockets or seemingly inappropriate gifts they gave him. But in the end, every reader will take away some very important lessons in love and empathy. ❤

AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2020), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2020), Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2019)

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Home in the Woods
Eliza Wheeler
October 1, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books

I deeply enjoyed this story of the author’s real life ancestors during the Great Depression. Her grandmother was named Marvel and she had seven siblings. After her father died, they moved into a little abandoned house in the middle of the woods and lived off whatever they could. They hunted, fished, gardened, picked berries, canned their food, chopped fire wood, and even made up their own games. By the end of the book, they’ve made it through the seasons of summer through spring (with all the highs and lows that each season brings). And now the abandoned house doesn’t feel so cold and empty like it did when they arrived. The artwork is gorgeous and the story makes me long for simpler times. I’m reminded of how grateful I am for the skills I was taught, like canning, sewing, crocheting — all dying arts these days, it seems. In the Author’s Note, Eliza Wheeler tells us more about the stories her grandmother passed down and encourages readers to gather stories from that generation and share them with the world, before it’s too late. I want a copy of this book in my home!

The illustrations in this book were created with dip pens, India ink, watercolors, acrylics, and pastel pencils. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Home-in-the-Woods-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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No One Likes a Fart
Zoë Foster Blake
November 19, 2019
Penguin Workshop

So, um, apparently dad farted and little “Fart” has a personality of his own. lol Fart travels the whole town, smelling up the place and looking for acceptance. At last, he finally finds someone just as socially awkward as he is and they go off together, hand in hand, smelling up the town together. This one is sure to get a lot of laughter from a classroom full of children. I know MY children giggled like crazy! 🙂

I couldn’t find details on how the artwork was created. However, I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect:

No-One-Likes-a-Fart-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Heart of a Whale
Anna Pignataro
January 28, 2020
Philomel Books

This was such a sweet story of loneliness. Whale sings a beautiful song that speaks volumes to all sea creatures, but in the end he longs for companionship. Will anyone be able to fill whale’s empty heart? Yes, I do believe so. Packed with lovely musical metaphors that speak of drumbeats, orchestras, lullabies, sonatas, and symphonies, this quiet book with pastel water-colored artwork and poetic lyrics will showcase the power of friendship and the comfort of finally being heard.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the illustrations, below:

Heart-of-a-Whale-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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In a Jar
Deborah Marcero
January 21, 2020
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

This book is truly one to be experienced to appreciate. Llewellyn and Evelyn meet one day while Llewellyn is out filling his jar with things he loved. After that day, they continue to collect items together — not just objects, but fantastical items like rainbows and the wind. Their adventures follow the seasons of the year through autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Then one day, Evelyn’s family moves away. But they continue to send jarred items to one another. At the very end, it’s autumn and Llewellyn sets out to collect a new batch of items to send to Evelyn when he runs into yet another young rabbit named Max. And luckily, he brought an extra jar along. I didn’t think I would love this book when I saw the cover, but I was won over very quickly. Such sweet messages of friendship and the wonder of childhood. If only we could capture all the feelings and keep them stored away in jars!

The artwork in this book was done in pencil, watercolor, ink, and digital media. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

In-a-Jar-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Secret Garden of
George Washington Carver

Gene Barretta
Frank Morrison, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This is a wonderful picture book biography of George Washington Carver. It showcases his curiosity and love for nature from his earliest days after being born into slavery in 1864. He tended a secret garden and learned an incredible amount of knowledge from diligent trial and error. He learned how to sew, make dyes, create medicine from plants and leaves. At the age of 12, he moved away from his childhood home and traveled through several states, continuing to learn about art and agriculture. He was the first Black man to graduate from Iowa Agricultural College and he went on to teach agriculture at Tuskegee Institute. On the very last page of this book we’re left with a final thought, which appeared to be his mantra: “Regard Nature. Revere Nature. Respect Nature.” The back matter includes a timeline of Carver’s life, along with a bibliography and selections for further reading.

The artist used oil on illustration board to create the illustrations for this book. It was so difficult to pick just one page spread to share because there’s so much beautiful artwork to see in this book. The details are stunning! But here’s just one example, below. I love his expressions and look at those lovely flower petals along the bottom of the page:

Secret-Garden-George-Washington-Carver-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Tomorrow I’ll be Kind
Jessica Hische
January 14, 2020
Penguin Workshop

This book will make a fantastic bedtime reading book as a child thinks of all the good things he wants to do the following day. In brightly colored illustrations and full-paged words, we read about how a child wants to be helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful, and kind. Great ending thoughts just before it’s time to sleep!

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Tomorrow-ill-be-kind-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Honey, the Dog Who
Saved Abe Lincoln
Shari Swanson
Chuck Groenink, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

Raise your hand if you knew the story of how a dog saved Abe Lincoln’s life. I sure didn’t! Abe found Honey while walking home one day. He’d broken his leg and so Abe created a splint to help the bone grow back together. He ended up keeping the dog and they had wonderful adventures together. One day, they explore a dark cave together where Abe became lodged between two boulders. Practically his whole town goes out looking for him, but it’s Honey who leads them all to his beloved boy. The back matter includes a lengthy timeline of Abe’s experiences (especially focusing on his love for animals, including his time with Honey). There’s also an Author’s Note that shares where this story came from as well as mentioning that Abe Lincoln filled the White House with various animals when he was president.

The artist used Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Honey-Abe-Lincoln-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Cool Bean
(Bad Seed #3)
Jory John
Pete Oswald, illustrator
December 3, 2019
HarperCollins

Following Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s previous books in this series, The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, book #3 is about The Cool Bean. Sometimes friendships drift apart and you might not feel like you’re quite as special as you once were to past friends. But the most important lesson from this book is that being cool is about more than looking the part and hanging with the right people. It’s about having empathy and lending a helping hand when someone needs it.

The artist used scanned watercolor textures and digital paint to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cool-Bean-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children. We hope to finish that up this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I plan to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’ve begun with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 72/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/2/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

49360778I posted last week’s #imwayr post a few days late, so I wanted to mention that I reviewed The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner. You can learn more about that new middle grade historical fiction series RIGHT HERE in case it is new to you.

This week I decided to have some fun reading different Why? picture books I rounded up from our local libraries. I’m also reviewing Help Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson and Courtney Dawson, which is being published TODAY. In any case, whether it’s a new book or an older title, I hope you find something to add to your reading list.


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Help Wanted, Must Love Books
Janet Sumner Johnson
Courtney Dawson, illustrator
March 2, 2020
Capstone

Young Shailey is in a rough situation. Her bedtime story reader is not working out, so she fires him. That is, she fires her dad! She creates a sign for the position and a number of fairytale characters apply, but none of them are quite what she needs. In the end, Shailey is in for a big surprise when the final applicant shows up and ends up being perfect for the job. In the end, we’re all reminded of the importance of prioritizing those we love and showing up when it matters most.

At the conclusion of the story, there are a couple pages of ADORABLE resumes from Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Tinkerbell, and The Frog Prince. So make sure to keep turning the page to enjoy the details from each applicant. This will be such a great book to read with your youngster at bedtime!

The sweet, soft artwork showcases many pastels and I loved exploring the details in each illustration. The page spread, below, comes from the ARC, so it may be altered in the final print. But I hoped to provide an example of the adorable art you can expect:

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Thank you NetGalley and Capstone for sending me an advanced copy so I could provide an honest review.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Beginners Welcome
Cindy Baldwin
February 11, 2020
Quill Tree Books

This is such a beautiful, heart strings book full of love, loss, vulnerability, and friendship. Annie Lee’s daddy died just a few months ago. He was never a planner because he lived in the moment. So Annie and her mother are left with only a tiny insurance policy while they can barely make ends meet. Annie Lee makes a new friend at school and their friendship blossoms into something quite beautiful. Annie begins sneaking away to the mall across town to take private piano lessons with an elderly gentleman willing to teach for free. But as so often is the case, secrets can damage so many people in their wake. I love that this story shares so much heartache, but also offers much-needed resolution. Just lovely!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Things You Save in a Fire
Katherine Center
August 13, 2019
St. Martin’s Press

It was nice to squeeze some adult literature into my reading week with Things You Save in a Fire. The story was fast-paced and a nice mixture of firehouse and fire fighting information, facing past abuse, mother-daughter bonding, feminism, and yes, even romance. I enjoyed this one enough that I immediately put a hold on How to Walk Away.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Why?
Adam Rex
Claire Keane, illustrator
October 1, 2019
Chronicle Books

In this story, a little girl helps a super villain uncover the root to his problems with one simple word: Why? Parts of this one are hysterical as we discover the villain has daddy issues. The book ends with a cute twist where the main character finally says something other than “Why?”

The illustrations were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Why-Adam-Rex-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Why?
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
August 13, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This is a sweet little picture book with bear and rabbit. Rabbit is full of “why?” questions and bear attempts to answer every one. Until one time when he says “I don’t know why. Sometimes I just don’t know why!” Children can look at each illustration and attempt to figure out what rabbit’s complete question would have been. Such a precious story with heart warming artwork.

The illustrations in this book were made using watercolors. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Why-Laura-Seeger-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Why?
Richard Torrey
April 27, 2010
Balzer + Bray

This picture book has a mixture of happy, sad, and hilarious situations where a younger brother persists with so many “why?” questions. “Why do feet stink?” “Why doesn’t hair hurt when you cut it?” One of my favorite pages is where he asks “Why is it always your turn?” when it’s an illustration of his brother getting to use the TV remote. But on the mirror page he asks, “Why is it always my turn?” when the illustration shows him having to take the trash out. Very cute picture book and I really love the expressive pictures in this one.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the artwork in this picture book:

Why-Richard-Torrey-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Why?
Lindsay Camp
Tony Ross, illustrator
January 1, 1998
Putnam Juvenile

This picture book flips back and forth between narrative prose and graphic novel squares with speech bubbles. Young Lily asks “Why?” to almost everything that happens with her father. It’s incredibly annoying, but he continues to answer her every question. Then one day a space ship lands while they’re playing at the park and Lily successfully convinces the Thargon aliens that their plans to destroy earth is not in everyone’s best interest. She does this with one simple word: Why? With humorous crayon-like artwork, the funny little story ends with her father better appreciating his daughter’s curious nature.

I don’t think it was quite as common to share how picture book artwork was created back in the 90s, so I can’t be sure if it was drawn with crayons or just made to look like it. In any case, I’ll share one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Why-Lindsay-Camp-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children (a good follow-up to Holes with unique boys’ detention centers). I also just got a copy of the picture book Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler to read this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I recently purchased to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’m beginning with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. I also hope to finish New Kid by Jerry Craft. I’m really enjoying it, so far!

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 63/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/24/2020 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

I must admit that one major reason for being a little late to the #imwayr link-up, this week, is because I became thoroughly engrossed in a new book I hadn’t even planned on starting for another week or so. Don’t you just love it when that happens? There’s something so thrilling about being able to put the world on hold simply because you don’t want to put your book down. We love to see this happen with our children and students, but it’s equally as exciting when it happens for adults. ❤

It’s been another great week of reading. Our tri-college system has a large pile of 2019 picture books I haven’t yet read, so I’m slowly working my way through those. And today I’m excited to be reviewing The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner, which was published earlier this month. Whether it’s a new or older title you come across today, I hope you’ll find something you can add to your future reading list.


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The Eye of Ra
Ben Gartner
February 1, 2020
Crescent Vista Press

Heads-up, middle grade readers! Here’s a new historical fiction full of action, adventure, family, and friendships! John and his sister, Sarah, are devastated to discover their family will soon be moving from their beloved home in Colorado to a new city in Maryland. Before the big move, they’re out hiking the land near their home when they come across an interesting symbol inside a cave. After rubbing their fingers over the lines in the symbol, there’s a bright flash and they are suddenly surrounded by sand. Where and WHEN in the world are they? It appears they’ve landed right smack dab in the middle of ancient Egypt. And thus begins an unforgettable adventure that no one in their right mind will EVER believe!

While some readers are comparing this book to The Magic Treehouse, it was definitely more mature and filled with interesting research and rich details. There were comparisons between Ancient Egypt and modern day America that are well worth discussion, such as how the days were filled with real work just to stay alive (gathering water, growing crops, building your own fire for cooking, etc.) versus having a life of convenience, today.  Furthermore, in ancient Egypt only the wealthy boys went to school — if you were poor or a girl, it wasn’t a priority. I also appreciated how John and Sarah discovered they couldn’t possibly explain light bulbs or ice or television or airplanes without having to teach through many layers of science, first. It was easiest and more practical to simply call it magic.

“John opened his mouth to teach Zach about filaments and Thomas Edison and electricity, but it seemed like too much to explain. Every invention built on something else before it.”

I really enjoyed this book and hope the series will continue. I also hope to cook the Tilapia Barley Stew recipe, available in the back, as it is said to be one used by the ancient Egyptians (like the characters we meet in this book).

My sincere thanks to Ben Gartner for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in both paperback and as an e-book and it was published earlier this month. I’m happy to recommend it!

You can add The Eye of Ra to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.
Also, check out Ben Gartner‘s author website HERE.


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Middle School Bites
Steven Banks
Mark Fearing, illustrator
February 4, 2020
Holiday House

This lighthearted audiobook was just what I needed after a difficult week of real life events. Middle schooler, Tom, is experiencing some unique feelings and cravings. He’s constantly hungry, he can see well in the dark, and he accidentally howls right in the middle of class. Could it be that he’s a Vam-Wolf-Zom? I mean, there was that weird bite he never identified. The narration was great in this one and I’ll definitely keep going if this series continues!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Mini Rabbit is Not Lost
John Bond
October 8, 2019
HarperCollins Children’s Books

Mini Rabbit has one thing on his mind: cake. His mother’s cake, to be exact. But before his mother can make cake, he has to find some berries. He travels far and wide to find berries for the cake and eventually isn’t sure where he is. Thankfully, the smell of cake brings him back to his senses and he find his way back home. But is he hungry for cake anymore?

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find out how the artwork was created because I really liked it and wanted to know more about it. At times you can see a canvas look. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Mini-Rabbit-is-Not-Lost-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Just in Case You Want to Fly
Julie Fogliano
Christian Robinson, illustrator
October 8, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This is a great bedtime read-aloud! While not really a story, it has fun rhyming text and collage pictures worth talking about with young children. But this also would make a beautiful gift for someone going on a long trip or leaving home for college as it discusses all the important things to take with you and ends with a map with an “x” so they can find their way home, again.

The artwork for this book was made with paint and collage. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Just-in-Case-you-Want-to-Fly-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Love Letter
Anika Aldamuy Denise
Lucy Ruth Cummins, illustrator
October 8, 2019
HarperCollins

This one is such an adorable story of how your entire attitude can be changed when you think someone loves you. In the end of this one, three friends come together and realize how lucky they are to have one another. Not just a great book for around Valentine’s Day, but a good read for the entire year!

The artwork was created with Navah Wolfe’s old-timey typewriter, gouache, brush marker, colored pencil, and ink wash. Then the illustrations were finished digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

The-Love-Letter-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Roar Like a Dandelion
Ruth Krauss
Sergio Ruzzier, illustrator
October 1, 2019
HarperCollins

This new little Krauss alphabet book uses each new letter of the alphabet to represented a verb, such as: Act like a…, Dance with a…, Fall like…, etc. The soft colored pictures depict primarily animals and bugs doing the actions.

The artist used pen & ink and watercolor to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Roar-Like-a-Dandelion-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


10322836

Be Who You Are
Jennifer Carr
Ben Rumback, illustrator
November 23, 2010
Authorhouse

I recently heard about this book and was pleased to see it was available through my college. It begins with a young boy named Nick who, after a lot of consideration, decides he isn’t a boy and makes slow changes to become “Hope.” His parents are patient and understanding, even making sure to find a good doctor for their child to speak with while making this decision. Obviously, this book provides a framework for transgender discussion as so many children are going through this process, today. I found it especially interesting how the book switches from referring to the child as he/his/him to she/hers/her once the decision is made. And it also discusses how it can sometimes be difficult for friends and family members to remember a name change, to change from being a brother to a sister, and to use the proper pronouns.

The artwork is clearly not intended to be the focus of this book. It’s simple with a variety of pastel circles serving as backgrounds in each drawing.

Be-Who-You-Are-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

As I mentioned earlier this month, I am re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children (seemed like a good follow-up to Holes) and I have some Netgalley e-ARCs I need to share this month, including Help Wanted, Must Love Books. I also need to finish New Kid by Jerry Craft, which just didn’t happen this week due to other obligations. However, my priority over the next few weeks will be some adolescent/teen books my husband and I recently purchased to read and discuss with our teenagers in 2020 that cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. So I’ll begin with Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 56/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/17/2020 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!


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Maybe He Just Likes You
Barbara Dee
October 1, 2019
Aladdin

Seventh grader, Mila, is experiencing unwanted attention by a group of boys in her middle school. They bump up against her, ask for hugs, subtly rub by her backside, and giggle or high-five with each other after each incident. She begins feeling nervous about going places and sensitive to the clothing she owns — even choosing to wear the same sweater a few times each week because its the one that covers her developing body, best. What makes matters worse is that a female friend of hers seems to think Mila is overreacting and doesn’t give her the support she really needs. She’s scared to report the contact and comments because the person she would have to talk to is also the basketball coach (so she fears he’ll automatically take the boy’s side since they’re basketball players). Barbara Dee writes so sensitively, revealing all the awkward feelings puberty brings and the fear of having no adult to trust. And the book was almost 90% finished before the phrase “sexual harassment” even came up. Before that time, Mila didn’t know how to describe the behavior. I’m so happy this book exists. There aren’t nearly enough middle grade books written on this topic.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Hundred-Year Barn
Patricia MacLachlan
Kenard Pak, illustrator
September 17, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books

Ah, this book is sure to make one long for a better sense of community:

The hundred-year barn was built one summer in our meadow with a small stream running through.
  It was built by townspeople:
fathers and daughters,
mothers and sons,
grandmothers and grandfathers,
and friends.

Written from the point of view of the son whose father built the barn, he takes the reader through the process of building the barn, how it was used over the years, and we discover he’s a grown man by the last few pages. And much to his surprise, something that was once lost during the building of the barn is finally found. ❤ The artist used watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and digital media to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:

Hundred-Year-Barn-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Octopus Stew
Eric Velásquez
September 17, 2019
Holiday House

Ramsey’s grandma sees her grandson’s drawing of an octopus and it puts her in the mood to make some octopus stew. So off to the store they go to pick out an octopus to cook. But they’re certainly in for a shock when they get back home and begin cooking up their octopus. Then, right smack dab in the middle of the picture book, there’s a four-paged spread that lets us in on the fact that this is a fantastical story being shared with Ramsey’s family, after the fact. At the end, in an Author’s note, Velasquez shares more about his family’s gatherings where they would tell stories or play music for one another. He also shares that his family spoke non-standard Spanish at home, which is reflected in the English and Spanish usage in this story. The illustrations were painted in oil on Fabriano 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper. I’ll provide one example, below:

Octopus-Stew-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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A Place to Land:
Martin Luther King Jr. and
the Speech That Inspired a Nation
Barry Wittenstein
Jerry Pinkney, illustrator
August 27, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This beautiful picture book focuses on the events surrounding Martin Luther King’s speech on the National Mall during the march on Washington, August 28th, 1963. There were so many tidbits in these memories and it surprised me to learn of how many people attempted to influence his famous speech. I also wasn’t aware that most people don’t believe he intended to use his memorized “I Have a Dream” segment (which he had used several times, before, but not with as much national attention — primarily from white America). The seven pages of back matter are well worth the read, including a lengthy Author’s Note, Artist’s Note, a full page about the Willard Hotel Advisors, information on other voices and speakers for the march, sources, and a selected bibliography.

The artwork for this book was made using graphite, color pencil, watercolor, and collage on Arches watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

A-Place-to-Land-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Let’s Scare Bear
Yūko Katakawa
July 9, 2019
Holiday House

This cute little tale is based on a classical Rokugo story that is traditionally performed onstage by a storyteller. Based on the cover, it appears that bear is scared. However, we quickly learn that bear isn’t scared of sharp teeth, sticky webs, a coiling snake, or being yelled at. Nope, he says Manju cake could very well be his downfall. Children will definitely enjoy this surprise ending!

The artwork in this book was created with mixed media. I’ll provide one example, below:

Lets-Scare-Bear-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Bear Out There
Jacob Grant
June 4, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Bear does not like to go outside with a filthy ground, itchy plants, or pesky bugs. But his friend, Spider, needs help finding his kite after it flies away. This is a sweet story of friendship and the importance of persistence. If we don’t give up, we’ll often be successful! The artwork in this book was made with charcoal, crayon, and ink and then colored digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Bear-Out-There-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Mary Engelbreit’s
The World is Yours
Mary Engelbreit
April 2, 2019
HarperCollins

This precious keepsake book will be enjoyed by everyone from preschool through their wisdom years. It’s an illustrated collection of Mary Engelbreit’s favorite quotes. For example:

Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.” -Mother Teresa
The only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance.” -Oprah Winfrey
We must not allow fear to stand in our way.” -Nelson Mandela

Some are just so adorable that I want poster-sized copies to frame for my walls.  I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Engelbreits-World-Yours-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Puddle
Richard Jackson
Chris Raschka, illustrator
March 26, 2019
Greenwillow Books

When you’re trudging through the rain, do you ever take a moment to consider what the puddles think of you? Well, that’s precisely what this picture book makes us ponder. Puddle has low self-esteem, wondering if his sisters and brothers are better than him. A seagull swoops by, sneakers splash through, and a dog pees in the puddle. But in the end, puddle is quite happy for the way he mirrors the beautiful colors around him. With bright, bold artwork and onomatopoeia, this book will make excellent discussion for young readers.

Watercolor and gouache paint on paper were used to prepare the full-color art. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Puddle-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I just got a new pile of picture books to read this week and I’m also looking forward to finishing The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner and New Kid by Jerry Craft.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 49/200