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!
Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson, February 14, 2017.
It’s 2213 and the sun in our solar system is dying, soon to become a supernova. Earth has already been devoured by the expanding star and humankind took all they could carry to Mars to set up camp and begin looking for a new solar system that can sustain human life. As the title suggests, this book primarily covers their last day living on Mars as we get to know Liam, his closest friend Phoebe, and a little bit about their families. This is a very action-packed book with many twists and turns. Who knew so much could take place in such a short amount of time? I don’t normally read much science fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s full of marvels and mysteries that kept me guessing. The story really stretched my brain a bit to think about what could be reality for the human race, one day. I plan to read the brand new sequel, The Oceans Between Stars, as soon as I can slip it into my reading schedule.
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, February 14, 2017.
I knew this one would be hard hitting. The story follows Jade who is one of the only black students attending a pricey private high school, on scholarship. She’s an artist who pieces together extravagant murals to showcase her thoughts and feelings about life. While she often goes hungry and worries over finances, her mom is teaching her to take advantage of every opportunity she can, including getting a shot at a full scholarship to college. Over the course of the school year, Jade learns about the importance of friendships, about speaking up even when she’s nervous, and about ongoing (often camouflaged) racism that too often goes unacknowledged:
I don’t know what’s worse. Being mistreated because of the color of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened.
The story is also about the proverbial “village” where children are nurtured by a variety of adults in the community. Jade struggles to find balance between the wealthy world she desires and the one she was born into. She may need help in achieving her future goals, but she doesn’t want to be seen as “that girl” by someone pitying her or making rash judgments about the kind of person she must be, based solely on her upbringing. Piecing Me Together is a 2018 Newbery honor book and a Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner. I can’t say enough about it — it’s definitely worth picking up, if you haven’t read it already.
Granted by John David Anderson, February 13, 2018.
After reading Posted, I knew I would be reading more of Anderson’s books. Honestly, the cover of Granted caught my attention from the very start, and so it’s one of the few books I purchased right away. Granted was NOTHING like Posted, but it was quite delightful for very different reasons.
A wish is many things. It’s apprehension and anticipation. It is lucky coins and dandelion fluff and rainbows stretching to forever. It is loves-mes after loves-me-nots and a pile of plucked flower petals at your feet. It’s purple bikes and getting picked first and a passing grade in math. It’s the marvelous and the miraculous. It’s hunger and heartache. A wish is something extraordinary that you never hoped to have. Or something very ordinary that most people take for granted.
In this story, we learn a number of things about fairies and wishes, such as: how do fairies get their names, what types of jobs do they have, which human wishes count, and how does a wish actually get granted. We also learn about following rules and about when rules might need to be broken. I couldn’t put the book down for the entire second half, which is saying a lot when you have five children running around you. There’s so much love and imagination stuffed into the story. And seriously, who would expect a precocious little fairy to need to sing Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train to escape certain death? HAHA!
I also appreciated the start to Anderson’s acknowledgements:
When I was younger I wished on many coins and candles to be a published writer. Though I don’t doubt that luck, serendipity, and perhaps even meddling fairies were factors in making that wish come true, fulfilling that dream has required the hard work and dedication of many humans as well…
Mouse by Zebo Ludvicek Published: November 21, 2017
This was one of my favorite children’s books from this week! Mouse meets the letter “M” as he shares his cherry. The letter “M” morphs through several letters of the alphabet as they experience snack time, nap time, thunderstorms with lightening, and more. They ultimately discover the importance of friendship after their experiences. It’s such a darling children’s book and probably especially helpful for emergent readers. The adorable illustrations are rendered in digital mixed media.
To Be Read:
I have some family projects going on this week, so I’m only going to commit to one novel this week: Children of Blood and Bone. It looks really good. I’ll also plan to read Cinnamon and King of the Sky. Both look very intriguing — not your typical #kidlit. I’m excited! 🙂
Have a great reading week, everyone!