It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/21/2018 #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!

We had a WONDERFUL family camp out this week! The weather was perfect, allowing us to hike, fish, paddle boat, play some basketball, wade in the creek, and roast nightly s’mores. When it became dark, we stayed up late (usually well after midnight) playing board games, giggling and snacking like crazy. I’m so glad we had such fun, bonding experiences this week! I’m convinced that everyone needs a little R & R.

Miller Kids at Camp

Even though we were very busy with family activities, I was able to squeeze in the following books. I hope you’ll find them as enjoyable as I did!

Wendy Mass &
Rebecca Stead
May 1, 2018

What a precious story! This is a tale of friendship, remembering who we are (or were), and finding our home. Livy is 10 years old. She is visiting her grandmother in Australia after being away for 5 whole years. After entering the bedroom closet, Livy finds Bob, a green creature who has been waiting for her since she last visited Australia. And he appears to be dressed in a chicken suit! As they become reacquainted, Bob discovers that this Livy definitely isn’t the same girl he knew 5 years ago. But together they must piece together many clues and experiences to figure out what they both have forgotten. It’s an incredibly unique, endearing, and hope-filled tale that kept me interested, page after page (I also kept wondering which parts Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead contributed).

The-Last-EndlingThe Last (Endling #1)
Katherine Applegate
May 1, 2018

Byx is a female dairne. Dairnes are talking dog-like creatures who walk upright, have pouches on their bellies, and who can always decipher whether someone is telling the truth. Unfortunately, dairnes are often hunted by humans for their thick, soft fur. In this elaborate fantasy world, a number of creatures may look like earth animals, but they can talk and think as well as (if not better than) humans. In book #1 of the Endling series, a band of creatures come together and embark on a long and dangerous journey to discover whether Byx is truly an Endling, the last of her kind.

After we ate, I lay on my back and watched the stars stake out homes in the endless sky. I felt strangely at ease, lulled into a comforting place without questions. For long minutes, I didn’t dwell on my past or fret about my future. I didn’t ask if I would ever again look into the eyes of another dairne. I just listened to the steady pulse of cricket song, throbbing like the earth’s own heartbeat.

While this is a suspenseful adventure with surprises around most corners, it also offers an occasional critique of humans — how we treat one another, how we treat animals, and the motivation behind our beliefs and decisions.

There are many scholars, but few seekers after truth. Humans believe the things that make them feel safe. They care little for difficult facts.

I didn’t want to put this one down, but since it’s about 400 pages long (and I was on a family camping trip) it took me four days to read it. I know the Endling is marketed as a middle grade series, but at times I think this reads more like a YA book (torture, cracking bones, spraying blood, burning flesh, and long descriptive passages of new villages they enter on their journey). But I predict many middle graders and high schoolers will be reaching for this one over the summer. I definitely enjoyed the story line and writing. And now I begin the long wait for book #2.

Dazzle-ShipsDazzle Ships: World War I and
the Art of Confusion
Christ Barton
Victo Ngai (illustrator)
September 1, 2017

This nonfiction picture book is the story of “dazzle ships” and how they were used during World War I. We learn about the issues the British Empire was experiencing due to U-boats (German submarines) and the various solutions that were dreamed up to avoid more sinking boats. Dazzle boats were a unique way of camouflaging ships to disguise their precise location and traveling direction. This made it more difficult for U-boats to determine where to send a torpedo from far away.


There’s an important Author’s Note in the back discussing nonfiction research. Barton mentioned famous people who were not included in the book, provided a timeline of WWI, and briefly discussed the very little we know of the women who were part of these dazzle ships. Several black and white photos are included along with a bibliography for further reading. While Victo Ngai (the illustrator) is already a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and Society of Illustrators NY Gold Medalist, this is her debut picture book. The artwork in this book was created using mixed analog and digital media.

What an interesting piece of history this is! These tidbits are what help bring alive history lessons — we see past humans grappling with and solving problems. Even older students would find this fascinating. Dazzle Ships is a 2018 NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book and a junior library guild selection.

Her-Right-FootHer Right Foot
Dave Eggers
Shawn Harris (illustrator)
September 19, 2017

Her Right Foot is a nonfiction picture book story of the the Statue of Liberty. In over 100 pages it covers the original concept, the design, the final creation, and even explains how it started out brown in color and slowly turned green. The primary focus of the second half is about the meaning of the statue’s right foot (^^as seen on the cover of the book):

We know that around her feet are chains. They are broken chains, implying that she has freed herself from bondage. We know that Bartholdi wanted us to know this. He wanted us to see the chains. People have talked about the chains.

But few talk about the foot that is so obviously in mid-stride. About the fact that her entire right leg is in mid-stride. What does this mean? What does this mean that we often forget about this right foot, this right leg?

The artwork was rendered in construction paper and India ink. Here are three spreads as an example:


In the back, the author provides his research sources, a section for “further reading,” and some real photographs from the Statue of Liberty. I really enjoyed this book and imagine it will be quite useful in schools everywhere. While it’s historical and even humorous in places, it can also be viewed as a call to action — for children to be aware of how this nation is created from immigrants and how we can still be a refuge for those seeking protection. Her Right Foot is a Junior Library Guild selection for 2018 and also an NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book.

To Be Read:

I’m admittedly chomping (champing?) at the bit to start The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1). Since it’s over 450 pages, I’m going to make this my main commitment for the week. Anything else I get to read will just be icing on the cake!


Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!


26 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/21/2018 #imwayr

    1. Yes! They were both wonderful and quite unique. I have to say that I don’t know what I would do without the Overdrive library (or it’s partner, the Libby app). They purchase new titles, regularly, for patrons to borrow. While I prefer real books, I’ve adapted enough to ebooks so that we weekly reading is roughly half and half. Thanks for stopping by, Aaron!


    1. Oh wow. I read the prologue and chapter one and I’m hooked. Going to have to carve out some good reading time this week so I can see what happens to Morrigan. Great to “see” you, Lisa! I’m looking forward to visiting everyone else’s blogs later today, too. This group miraculously helps me grow (and prune) my TBR list. ❤️


  1. I really loved Her Right Foot (and his earlier nonfiction PB, This Bridge Will Not Be Gray.) Just got his new middle-grade from the library this week. We shall see if I get to it, because I have a lot checked out right now. I’m eager to read Bob. Rebecca Stead is one of my favorite authors, though I don’t think I’ve read anything by Wendy Mass. So glad you had such a wonderful camping trip! It sounds like a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her Right Foot is so timely — that reminder that the Statue of Liberty was an immigrant, too! And I’m sooo understanding the checking-out-more-than-I-can-read thing. I don’t mean to be. Never intend to not get to every last thing on my shelves. But two weeks ago I had to go in and ask special permission to re-check some books out beyond the normal extended time period. And I’m happy to report, I finally finished them! Woohoo. Bob was a very unique story and I am still interested in how Mass and Stead actually teamed up over this. Like, who had the original idea and who added in the details and who… I mean, two award-winning authors. They must be incredibly close. We DID have a great time! I’m almost ready to head back out — just after we finish these 20 million loads of laundry. Maybe we’ll drag you guys out there one day. 😉


  2. I loved Bob & now have given it to my granddaughter, too. And Dazzle Ships was beautiful & a great story. Looking forward to Endling, didn’t know it was going to be a series! And thanks for introducing Nevermoor, a new one to me! Love seeing the pics of your kids. Camping is lots of fun! Thanks, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I love that you’re enjoying sharing books with your granddaughter! I find such joy in sharing books with my kiddos. My oldest daughter and son are both at the middle grade and YA levels, so the literature I review is right up their alley. I just started Nevermoor and am hooked! I’ve read glowing reviews and was so excited when it came available on our Overdrive library. Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I really hope you enjoy them! I’ve only read the prologue and chapter one to Nevermoor, but I’m already into it. I can’t wait for a good stretch of time to soak it all in. Thanks for swinging by, Stacy!


    1. Wonderful, Jeanie! They were both really great picture books and will be interesting for young readers, too. I look forward to following your #BookaDay challenge this summer. Thank you so much for stopping in!


  3. So glad to hear you had such a good time camping!! I was worried about you and your trip because it was cool and rainy here for 5 days straight! Glad the weather was so great where you are 🙂 And you got to read, too!

    I could really use a camping trip about now – it’s been a busy, stressful month!

    Enjoy your books this week –


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, that’s so sweet! It rained our first night when we arrived, but it really just helped cool things down a bit. Then the day after we left, the camp had flash flooding and I’m told it was pretty bad. I’m feeling quite pleased that we got there and left at the perfect time. Thanks for checking in this week, Sue. I enjoy keeping an eye on your weekly reads!


  4. Love the two nonfiction books you shared! Some of my favorites from last year.
    I started reading The Endling on my kindle app through Edelweiss. I have a really hard time falling into my reading when it’s digital and this one was even harder. I didn’t want to ruin the book so I stopped reading it. I’m on hold for it at the library. If I love it, I’ll buy it, but I’ve held off for now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand. I seem to go through phases with e-books. Lately I’ve been reading more of them because it’s one of the only ways I can get my hands on new books without buying them. But oh how I love the feel texture, shape, smell, and weight of a real book. 🙂 I think it’s wise to put it down and wait on the library. I hope that makes a difference for you because it’s quite an adventurous story. Thanks for visiting, Michele, and have a wonderful reading week!


  5. I need to read Bob and Endling!! I love the authors so so so so so much!
    Dazzle Ships is such a beautiful book! And I just ordered Her Right Foot!

    Happy reading this week 🙂

    And P.S. I love hearing about your family adventures! And I love the camping story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so excited to hear you have Her Right Foot on the way. It’s such a neat book and especially unique since it’s 100+ pages. Thanks for the comments on the family adventures. I enjoy sharing tidbits when they fit. 🙂 Thanks for swinging by, Kellee. Hope it’s a great reading week!


  6. Bob is still on my TBR! Each review I read makes me want to move it up in my stack. I loved The Endling! While lengthy, I loved the world that Katherine Applegate created and agree it will be a great summer read. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob was very special. And a SUPER fast read, too! But I could not have even ventured to guess how it would end at the halfway point. It all felt so mysterious. I hope you enjoy it! And YES on Endling — lengthy, but totally worth it. Thanks for stopping by, Laura!


  7. I’ve been waiting and waiting for BOB. I’ve heard it is on it’s way to me, and I am so excited! I’m very glad to hear that it is worth the hype. Thanks for your positive energy. You made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I certainly enjoyed it! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there are some sweet moments of nostalgia — like preteen kids admitting to still liking to “play” (even though they’re practically grownup), etc. Mass and Stead really capture that childlike innocence, wonder, and mystery. And I’m still DYING to find out what brought these authors together on this project. Maybe I’ll happen along an interview soon. 🙂 Have a wonderful week, Ricki, and thanks for stopping by!


  8. I really am intrigued by Endling – it sounds like a fascinating fantasy read, and there is something about the cover that reminds me of The NeverEnding Story with that giant, highly sentient dog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, I can see that. And Byx’s head does kinda resemble Falkor’s (the luckdragon that had a dog-like head) on the cover! Same fur coloring and adventure fantasy with sentient animals. It’s great to “see” you, Myra!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Camping and reading — my favorite vacation as a kid. I dodge it as an adult since I’d be responsible for the cooking and I can barely manage that with a kitchen.

    The author combo alone makes me want to pick Bob up. Looks like you had a great reading week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was a wonderful book week and I *highly* recommend BOB! I should also clarify on the camping, this definitely wasn’t rustic tent camping. We had a neat little cabin with a cute lil’ kitchen. We call it our “family cabin” since we rent it once every couple years. And thankfully hubby does a ton of the camping cooking. Woohoo! Thanks for stopping in, ejmam. Have a wonderful reading week!


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