It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/18/2018 #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!

House That Lou Built_jkt_3p.inddThe House That Lou Built
Mae Respicio
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!

Miscalculations-of-Lightning-GirlThe Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
Stacy McAnulty
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!

Problim-ChildrenThe Problim Children
Natalie Lloyd
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-AustenOrdinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
Deborah Hopkinson
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:


Happy-DreamerHappy Dreamer
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.


Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!

29 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/18/2018 #imwayr

  1. Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is fantastic. Middle grade readers will be able to relate to the challenges the characters face while navigating school life. The Problim Children is very unique. I’m looking forward to the second and finding out more about what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A picture book biography of Jane Austen AND it’s by Deborah Hopkinson? Yes please! So excited for this one. All three of those middle grades are new to me and sound wonderful. I don’t even know which one to try to get to first. Maybe Miscalculations? I see it’s available for me on audio, and I’m on the road today…. (And needing a break from my current audiobook, The Nature Fix, which is excellent, but I need a break to process all I’m learning!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elisabeth, since I’m responding SO LATE, I was glad to see you were able to read Miscalculations (and that you liked it!). I had to inter-college loan the Jane Austen book from Wayne State, but it was well worth the wait!


  3. The House That Lou Built sounds good, and a new title to me, Shaye. I loved the Jane Austen picture book, a nice one to introduce her to younger readers and to those who already love her, a good background they may not know. Lightning Girl is on my list already, will try to get to it soon! Thanks for all!


    1. Well, maybe you have by now (since I’m responding so late). LOL It looked interesting to me so I grabbed it up off Overdrive. Such a fun, quirky, magical story. I also tend to enjoy stories that show children who possess the intellect to work together and succeed (for the most part), even without adults telling them what to do every step of the way. Clearly, this is one of those stories…


  4. You and I have the same taste for I loved Lightning Girl, Problim Children, the House that Lou Built, and Happy Dreamer. I need to read the Jane Austen picture book since I have read all her novels. Thank goodness for summer vacation! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am looking forward to reading The House That Lou Built! Love everything by Natalie Lloyd and really enjoyed Lightning Girl. Happy reading this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl sounded familiar, and then when I went to see if my library had a copy, I discovered I have a hold on it already!
    I enjoyed The Problim Children too, although I hated that it didn’t end. I am ok with sequels, but I want the main problem in the existing book to end satisfyingly and this one didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very unique book — magical, kinda dark, but also has a lot of childhood silliness. I’m looking forward to some resolution of things from book #1 since we were kinda left hanging.


  7. Your comment on our blog about how the voice on an audiobook can taint your reaction to the text resonated with us. That happens to us and we often have different opinions based on our reactions to the voice. Thanks for sharing these titles – all of these middle-grade novels are new to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is true on the audiobook voice! And I have to say I adore middle grade novels. They always seem to deal with the same basic relationship problems that adults have. Plus, it’s just fun to read books alongside my own children. 🙂


  8. I am excited to read The House That Lou Built. I love the cover of The Boy, The Bird and The Coffin. I have no idea what the book is about but I would read it just off that cover 🤩. Totally guilty of judging a book by it’s cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lightning Girl & Lou are both MG books I really want to read!
    And I love Peter Reynolds so much!
    And I think with Natalie Lloyd books, going with it is the best way to go 🙂

    Happy reading this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a copy of The Problim Children and for some reason haven’t read it yet. Sounds fun. I am also going to check out The Miscalculation of Lightning Girl… having recently read OCDaniel I am curious how they will compare. I enjoyed most of Ember in the Ashes but there was one fairly major issue I had with it, might have just been the mood I was in at the time. I will have to stop next week and see what you think of it. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still have to read OCDaniel. That will be a fun comparison! Now that I’ve finished Ember and Torch, I’m really curious about what part of Ember bothered you. I ordered Reaper, so that should arrive by this weekend. What have I gotten myself into?! LOL


  11. Oh wow! Another Fil-American middle grade novel that I didn’t know about! I will definitely be on the lookout for that one. Another book club friend has just posted above The Miscalculation of Lightning Girl – she was all praises with the way the narrative is cleverly put together as well. Wonderful middle grade reads! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so excited about all the recent #ownvoices books coming out!! And I’d say Miscalculations is probably in my top 5 so far for 2018. REALLY liked that one. Sorry I’m responding sooo late (like 2 weeks LOL). For some reason I left comments unanswered the last two weeks, so I’m on a mission to catch up today. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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