It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/09/2018 #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 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:

RaymieNightingaleRaymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo
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.

Louisianas-Way-HomeLouisiana’s Way Home
Kate DiCamillo
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-Nowhere24 Hours in Nowhere
Dusti Bowling
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).

WhenJessieCameAcrosstheSeaWhen Jessie Came Across the Sea
Amy Hest
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-DucksThe Other Ducks
Ellen Yeomans
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!

34 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/09/2018 #imwayr

  1. I am so glad that you also enjoyed 24 Hours in Nowhere, I think it will be another big hit for Dusti Bowling. I am hoping to get a copy of Louisiana’s Way Home next year. The first book wasn’t a big hit with kids at my school (I was a bit surprised) so I haven’t been in a hurry but I do want to read it. I appreciated your review of The Other Ducks, I may pick that one up too, thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t wait to get a copy of Dusti Bowling’s new book. I loved Cactus and it was a huge hit with all of my students. I didn’t know Raymie had a sequel. I didn’t connect to the first book as much as I was expecting too but it sounds like I’ll enjoy this one more. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually didn’t know Louisiana’s Way Home was the second book, so that’s why I had to hurry and find Raymie. Too funny! And I was the same with Cactus. I really connect with Bowling’s characters and writing. Can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeves, next!


  3. I’m so glad to hear about 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling. I certainly loved “Insignificant Events”. I also have Louisiana’s Way Home, will try to get to it soon. Thanks for sharing The Other Ducks, a new one to me. And so are the Zora books. Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t WAIT for 24 Hours in Nowhere after Insignificant Events. Just love her writing style!! And the first Zora book has been very enjoyable. I’m excited about book #2, this week. Thanks for visiting, Linda!


  4. I’d love to hear how you like Zora & Me! I have mixed feelings about historical fiction w/ real historical figures in them, but am curious. I’m also really interested in the new middle grade Betty Before X, which I hope to get to soon. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had my eye on Betty Before X, too. Will be interested to see what they did with that one. But this week I finished the first Zora book and I adored the middle grade friendship and the exploration of race relations in the post-Civil War era. I’ll start book #2 this week. Thanks for stopping by, Ari!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 24 Hours in Nowhere was on my to read list, but after reading your review here, I feel like I must get a copy and read it now! I’m also looking forward to Louisiana’s Way Home, although Raymie wasn’t my favourite book. I’m so glad you enjoyed When Jessie Came Across the Sea. Isn’t the artwork just stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ramie wasn’t my favorite book, either. And I wouldn’t place Louisiana in my top tier for this year, but it was definitely an improvement (in my opinion). I struggle with middle grade books where the adults and parents are oblivious to children’s needs. And YES on When Jessie Came Across the Sea. So very beautiful!!


    1. Oh, it DEFINITELY raised questions. Knowing the story took place in the 70s is the only way I could see the events being even remotely realistic. But I hear exactly where you’re coming from…


  6. I loved 24 Hours in Nowhere. I read it in about 24 hours and while I was in AZ… but not in a cave, ha! I’ve got Louisiana too, looking forward to reading it. I’ve heard so many wonderful things already!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 24 Hours in Nowhere really spoke to my heart. I can’t wait to read it aloud with my children. I have to wait another week as my daughter is doing a camp all week. But the exploration of each character’s lives and the investigation of their friendships was done so beautifully. I’m looking forward to re-reading it just as soon as possible!


    1. I tell you what, the covers really ARE important. Aren’t they?! I missed reading Raymie before this summer, so I guess I never got to see the original cover. LOL I’ll have to look it up. Thanks for swinging by, Hallie!


    1. Oh good!! As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I struggle with middle grade books where the parents/teachers/adults are oblivious to children’s needs. So on that front, Louisiana takes an important step by including at least one or two good, genuine, caring adults. It just helps me sleep better at night. 😉


  7. Oh, yeah, we know all about the Sturgis rally! I keep forgetting you live in SD 🙂 My husband has family there, in the Black Hills. His aunt used to live right in Hill City which fills up with motorcycles in the weeks before the rally. We usually visited a bit earlier, in late June, but a few years, we were there later when the bikers started coming into town. It’s a big deal!

    I really want to read Raymie Nightingale – love all of DiCamillo’s novels but don’t read them as much now that our sons are grown. I’ve heard this one is really good – and the sequel, too.

    So sorry to hear about your son’s arm 😦 Casts and summer are a real bummer. We tended more toward stitches, staples, and glue with our boys!

    Enjoy your books this week & stay cool!

    2018 Big Book Summer Challenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree on Sturgis — it’s so huge, they can’t even get a proper count of attendees from year to year. We’ve been told about people who ship over specialized bikes from the UK in early in June or July, ride around the black hills all summer, and then ship it back in late August. Can’t even imagine that cost of something like that! Feeling pretty sorry for our little bub and his cast. However, we’ve started walking a neighbor’s two large dogs in the mornings because she just broke BOTH wrists and has casts on both. She also lives completely alone — needs help dressing, can’t answer her phone, etc. So that’s helped put things in perspective for our guy. LOL Hope you’re staying cool, too, Sue!


  8. I am in the process of reading Louisiana and just love her voice. I think it’s because I still hear her voice from listening to the audio of Raymie Nightingale. Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When Jessie Came Across the Sea is a personal favourite – we were very lucky to have PJ Lynch as our Keynote Speaker here in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content last year. He was awesome as a speaker. Loved seeing all your Kate DiCamillo reads – it’s good to read books from the same author sometimes to have a feel of the writing style, narrative, etc. The researcher in me wants to study all her texts someday! 🙂 Sadly, aside from Flora and Ulysses, I haven’t read much of her books yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How neat that you got to meet PJ Lynch! That artwork is absolutely stunning!! And I agree on getting to study a number of books from the same author, back to back. That would be fun to do a just DiCamillo narrative study! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved Raymie, but I LOVED Louisiana 🙂
    I didn’t know either picture book–thank you for introducing me!
    Zora has been on my TBR for a while–I need to finally get to it! And I just got Dusti’s newest–I look forward to it.

    Happy reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I adored 24 Hours and I just want everyone to love it the way I do. There are some books like that, you know, where you just WANT everyone to agree. This is one. LOL


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