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!
The House That Lou Built
June 12, 2018
I was thrilled to get my hands on this darling story. Lou is a 7th grader who is half-Filipino and half-Caucasian. She lost her father when she was just a baby, but she has an extremely supportive family living in close proximity. Because her mother is struggling financially, she is considering accepting a job in Washington state that would pay for Lou’s future college costs. However, this would take them far from their family and friends. So Lou concocts a plan to keep her mom from taking the offer. Her plan involves confronting the local tax office and building a “tiny house” on the property her dad left behind for her. This is an addictive and exciting story right up until the sweet ending!
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
May 1, 2018
I happened to grab this book when I found it available on Overdrive. Once I started it, I couldn’t help but to finish it in the same morning. 12-year-old Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning when she was 8 years old. The strike rewired her brain, making her a mathematical savant (mixed with OCD). Due to her educational and emotional needs, Lucy has been homeschooled up until now. But her grandmother has requested she complete one year of public school before entering college. At her new school, she and her classmates are tasked with finding a community need and filling it. Lucy and two of her classmates, Windy and Levi, choose a no-kill pet re-homing organization where they using mathematical formulas to solve their biggest adoption problems. The relationships in this book (between Lucy and her grandmother, her uncle, her classmates, and her teacher) are very realistic and even endearing. The Middle School interactions showcase the fact that everyone faces hardships — even the most popular of kids struggle with SOMETHING. This was an incredibly engaging story that I happily recommend!
The Problim Children
Júlia Sardà, illustrator
February 6, 2018
This is the story of the seven Problim siblings, each born on a different day of the week: Sundae (Sunday), Mona (Monday), Toot (Tuesday), the twins Wendell (Wednesday) and Thea (Thursday), Frida (Friday), and Sal (Saturday). Their parents are brilliant archaeologists who have raised their children to be independent, open-minded, and free-range learners. This means that while mom and dad are away on an important dig, their children are unschooled, solving problems on their own with only their oldest sibling (Sundae, age 16) left in charge at home. The story begins with the destruction of their home. Uh oh! But soon after, they discover that their grandfather left his home to the seven children. So the children load up and travel to their grandfather’s town to show proof of deed ownership. Luckily, they interrupt the start of an auction for the home and they’re granted 21 days to live there before they must either (1) prove their ownership by birth certificate (which were destroyed with their house), or (2) have their parents arrive to claim them. In the meantime, they discover a mystery involving hidden treasure and clues their grandfather left behind for them. It’s an incredibly unique and mysterious story. If you’re accustomed to straight-forward reads, I suggest you try not to overthink anything in the first few chapters. Once I resolved to simply go with it, this story was quite fun! 🙂 Aaaand it looks like book #2 is scheduled to come out in February 2019.
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
Oin Leng, illustrator
January 23, 2018
This is a sweet picture book biography of Jane Austen. It begins with her younger years, providing interesting details about her experiences, and goes all the way through her death. In the back there’s a two-paged spread timeline of her life and three more pages outlining her six beloved books. Also included is a page with a list of online sources and books that were used in the author’s research on Jane Austen. The artwork was created with ink and watercolor. I’ll provide two page-spreads to give a little taste of what you have to look forward to:
Peter H. Reynolds
March 28, 2017
My friend and neighbor loaned me this book several weeks ago and I stored it away in a “safe” place — so safe that it was too easy to forget I still had it until this week! 🙂 But what a beautiful book about hoping, dreaming, creating, and being original, even when you’re feeling forced to do what others want you to do. In the back of the book, Peter H. Reynolds says:
“I’m a dreamer. Always have been. Not all grown-ups were happy with my dreaming — my ZigZaggy brain — but I was lucky some were. And my parents, well, they let me be me — loved me — and things worked out pretty well.” -Peter
There are so many pages full of bold artwork, along with Reynold’s encouraging hand-penned text. However, I can only share two spreads to arguably fit within copyright restrictions. If you haven’t already found this one in your library, hopefully you can snag a copy for the special young readers in your life!
To Be Read:
I’ll continue with my long YA book this week: An Ember in the Ashes. I got so caught up in the other three middle grade reads this week that I just started Ember last night (Sunday). And I’ll admit, part of me wanted to stay up all night reading! I’m also drawn to The Boy, The Bird and The Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods. It sounds unique and interesting so I’m going to try to squeeze that into my reading time, this week.