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 have a few touristy events coming up in our area which will drive thousands across our roads through July and August. Mount Rushmore is always hopping (especially around 4th of July) and this week also begins Fur Trade Days, usually complete with a carnival and traveling circus. And have you ever heard of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally? Let’s just say it’ll be one big motorcycle rumble here in about 3 to 4 weeks. Otherwise, all summer long our area is crawling with people visiting Crazy Horse, Wounded Knee, Fort Robinson, Devil’s Tower, and numerous other local historical locations and monuments.
In other news, our oldest son fell while roller blading a week ago and broke two different bones in his arm. So the poor kid is not longer able to swim (or roller blade, obviously) for the next three months. I guess that leaves more time for READING. Yippee!! Furthermore, it looks like we’re facing several days of 100-ish degree temps this week — even more reason to kick back in the air conditioning and hit our reading stacks. 🙂 Aaaand speaking of reading, here’s what I’ve been up to:
April 12, 2016
I decided to kick off my reading week with Raymie Nightingale (since I was already planning to read Louisiana’s Way Home). Raymie Clarke, Louisiana Elefante, and Beverly Tapinski are three girls from broken homes who have very different personalities. They are brought together through baton lessons. Raymie is taking lessons because her father recently left her mom and ran away with a dental hygenist. Her hope is to learn to twirl so she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant. That would land her picture in the paper and, surely, her father would see it and come back home after realizing what he left behind. Louisiana wants to learn to twirl so she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant and use the money to get her beloved cat back from the pound. Beverly is already an accomplished twirler, but she doesn’t care to win a pageant. She hopes to sabotage the whole competition. The book, overall, has an air of melancholy for three young girls with seemingly crazy, abusive, overwhelmed, or completely oblivious caretakers. Through their rather unusual adventures they eventually learn to support and depend on one another, lovingly referring to themselves as the three Rancheros.
Louisiana’s Way Home
October 2, 2018
This story picks up two years after Raymie Nightingale with Lousiana’s grandma dragging her out of Florida in the middle of the night, leaving behind Raymie and Beverly (presumably forever). But they quickly hit one obstacle after another and land in a motel where Lousiana meets a young boy with a crow. There’s a lot going on in this story with a variety of interesting characters. One thing I was pleased to see was Louisiana encountering a couple healthy adults who truly care about HER and want to help her do whatever she needs to do. I definitely enjoyed Lousiana’s Way Home more than Raymie Nightingale and the final pages to this story brought me to tears. Thanks to Candlewick Press, I received an e-ARC of this book. I will post a full review before publication date (and after I have the publisher’s approval for the quotes I’ve selected).
24 Hours in Nowhere
September 4, 2018
WOW! This book, y’all. 24 Hours in Nowhere will definitely be a contender for my favorite Middle Grade book of 2018. Gus is a rather bright 13 year old, stuck in Nowhere, Arizona. When a friend, Rossi Scott, gives up her beloved motorcycle to save Gus from having to eat a horrible cactus, he feels compelled to do whatever he can to win it back — including entering the dangerous mines (filled with mystery, myths, and HOPEFULLY treasure). Over the next 24 hours, four different people enter the mines and must work together and trust one another if they hope to get back out alive. Throughout their dangerous trials, they discover just how much they have in common. 24 Hours in Nowhere addresses so many societal issues at once: bullying, sexism, racism, incarceration, abandonment, and income disparity. Bowling’s ability to effortlessly weave complicated lives into a cohesive story line is stunning. She creates such well-rounded, relatable characters. I loved each of them — laughing and crying throughout their stories and treasure hunting adventure. Once I finished this book, I turned to my husband and said we would be buying a home copy of this book and reading it with our five children. Dusti Bowling is a legit storyteller. I hope she has a mountain of books planned in her future because I plan to read every last one of them! (Thanks to Sterling Publishing, I was provided an e-ARC of this book. I will post a full review before publication, after I have the publisher’s approval for select quotes).
When Jessie Came Across the Sea
P.J. Lynch, illustrator
November 3, 1997
Jessie lives with her grandmother in eastern Europe, learning how to sew while she teaches her grandmother to read. One day, their small village rabbi gives his ticket to Jessie so she can travel to America — the Promised Land where the streets are made of gold. After making it through the long trip by boat, and befriending another young man on her boat, she finally lands at Ellis Island and gets checked in. But once she gets settled into her new life, it becomes obvious that America is not perfect and does not have streets of gold. 🙂 The gorgeous artwork was done in watercolor and gouache. I’ll provide two spreads, below (but I’m removing some text to avoid spoiling the ending).
The Other Ducks
Chris Sheban, illustrator
May 1, 2018
This Duck and That Duck are learning about life from day to day. They learn about forming a line, how to swim, and eventually they learn to fly. But the biggest surprise was discovering the “other ducks” when they looked down into the water. By the end of the story, they eventually meet REAL other ducks so they could finally form a REAL line. It’s a cute little story that could be used when discussing the cycle of life. The artwork was created using watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite. Here’s one example:
To Be Read:
This week I’m reading the first two installments of this historical fiction series, based on stories from Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood:
Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!