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
NOTE: 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.
Big Papa and the Time Machine
Shane W. Evans, illustrator
January 14, 2020
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:
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:
I Do Not Like That Name
November 5, 2019
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:
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:
The Luckiest Snowball
September 10, 2019
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:
Odd Dog Out
August 25, 2016
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:
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:
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:
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