It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/22/2018 #imwayr

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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!


Barbara O’Connor
August 28, 2018
Farrar Straus Giroux

Meet Mavis Jeeter, an almost 11 year old whose mother has taken on a wide variety of jobs for years. At the beginning of Wonderland, Mavis’ mom has taken a new job as housekeeper for the Tully family. And as luck would have it, the Tully family has a daughter who is the same age as Mavis!

Rose Tully is a shy worry wart who does seem to fit in anywhere. Her closest friend is Mr. Duffy, the gatekeeper of their community. But after the loss of Mr. Duffy’s beloved dog, he is extremely depressed and unreliable. Thanks to the arrival of Mavis, the two girls can now concoct and carry out their brilliant plans to brighten Mr. Duffy’s spirits and hopefully even save his job.

A great adventure awaits in this one, for sure! While there was more sadness than I anticipated, it was an important multi-layered story that will encourage discussion about family expectations, dependable friendships, aging, loss/grief, and income disparity.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.


You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P.
Alex Gino
September 25, 2018
Scholastic Press

Like most 7th graders, Jilly P. thinks she has most things in life figured out. But as a white, straight, hearing young adult, she must soon come to grips with the fact that she’s incredibly privileged. Jilly is given the opportunity to learn a lot about life by bearing witness to the oppression her friends and family experience by simply being black or by living in a same-sex marriage or by being born deaf.

I was pleased to see this story address microaggression in a very helpful way, including unintentional discrimination. For example, Jilly’s aunt is black and she gently guides her to better understand the oppression and pain she experiences daily, even when the comments weren’t intended to be hurtful. This allows Jilly to consider her personal responsibility in future racist encounters. In an Author’s Note at the end, Gino says:

“In a world in which so many books are unconsciously written for white audiences, this book is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States.”

This book is nothing if not ambitious, addressing a number of diversity issues and responsibilities our youth face. However, I was impressed with the coverage of the deaf community. I’ve had friends in high school and college who were deaf (who gifted me with my unique name sign), I enjoyed years of attending church services where everything was in sign (no audible sound), and my foreign language in college was ASL. Sadly, this culture is too often misunderstood and, most definitely, underrepresented in children’s and young adult literature. I’m pleased when I see this title like this making their way into the kid lit world!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Torrey Maldonado
September 4, 2018
Nancy Paulsen Books

Growing up in New York City, 6th grade Bryan knows what is “tight” for him, in a good way — no drama and reading about super heroes in his comics. He’s a pretty chill kid who has never been in a fight and is obviously very close to his mom. Nevertheless, when he bumps into the wrong kind of friends and finds himself constantly in compromising situations, that gets him “tight” in a whole different way — wound up and feeling crazy. Now he must juggle secrets, question his friendships, and confront an almost uncontrollable rage.

Tight will be an excellent path to discussing friendships, competition, parental relationships, and conflict resolution. There’s also a lot of dialogue about comic book heroes, which will resonate with a large number of middle grade and YA readers. NOTE: Super heroes are discussed at length. And if I recall correctly, there is also a discussion of someone pulling up Luke Cage on TV. I’ve not read any of the Luke Cage books, but I thought it worth mentioning that the recent Netflix version is intended for adult viewers, only.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Groundwood Logos SpineThey Say Blue
Jillian Tamaki
March 1, 2018
Groundwood Books

In prose that could arguably be poetic at times, a young girl notices all the colors in her world. She describes the sky, water, clouds, flowers, and even her hair. The artwork is just lovely — so imaginative and varied between pages. The illustrations were made with a combination of acrylic paint on watercolor paper and photoshop. I’ll provide two page spreads, below:


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

2969618Old MacNoah Had an Ark
Sally Lloyd-Jones
Jill Newton, illustrator
January 8, 2008
HarperCollins Publishers

This is an older title that I found this week as my music class is gearing up to go through piles and piles of musical children’s literature. This book is exactly what it sound like: the song from Old MacDonald that’s been altered for Noah. I expected it to be the same old, same old. However, the pages brought the humorous reality of that many animals being stuffed together for so long on the same boat. So I’ll have to share one page-spread that kinda made me giggle. I mean seriously, it would have been rough after a while. But we don’t really talk about that, do we? LOL


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

To Be Read:

I didn’t get in as much reading time as I had hoped to last week, so I’ll finally start Grenade this week. YAY! I am also excited to read two new ARCs that will be published in November. I still have a huge pile of music-related picture books, so I’ll be sharing some of those over the coming two months.


17 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/22/2018 #imwayr

  1. I did love They Say Blue & shared another “Blue” this week. All the other books are new to me, Shaye, except Wonderland which I still need to read! So many books. . . Jilly P. sounds very good & I am looking forward to Grenade, too! Thanks for every bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tight sounds like it might be a good read-aloud for us! (New to me as well). They Say Blue didn’t work for me. I’m going to have to reread before Caldecott season to try to figure out why. I love Barbara O’Connor and am looking forward to Wonderland.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many great books on your blog this week. We loved George and can’t wait to read Alex Gino’s newest book. Do you think You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P is appropriate for students in grades 5 and 6 or is it YA? Barbara O’Connor is one of our favorite authors so we will definitely grab a copy of Wonderland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry I’m just now commenting. For New Years, I’m going back through and making sure I respond to any comments I missed during this CRAZY fall semester. By now, you’ve probably already read this novel, but just in case you haven’t, I would say it’s a middle grade novel. But the conversations on microaggression could use some adult guidance for kids around 5th grade. Otherwise, as far as I can remember it would definitely be appropriate for middle school and maybe a tad younger. 🙂 #superlateresponse


  4. I just finished reading Jilly P and loved it so much. I loved that it focused on how it’s not a marginalized person’s job to teach privileged people how to not be racist or discriminatory. This will be such an important read for kids

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need to read Wonderland very soon!
    I loved Jilly P too. My niece is deaf and has cochlear implants. I’m glad there will be books she can see herself within. I also really appreciated it from a parent point of view. My daughter has had some major surgeries and many people have let us know their opinion about what we should do for her medically. I related to that part of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am almost finished Wonderland. I’m loving the characters (well not the mothers so much)
    To be honest, we need a book like You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P. for a lot of the adults I know!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the sound of the first few books you talked about. The first one would be a good read for my 6th grader but it’s hard to get her library books because she’s busy reading classroom library books. The second book looks like a really good one. I like the issues it addresses as well as the third read.
    Kudos to you on taking care of five littles on your own. I only got two and I’m tired from the tennis season and carpool. We mamas sure know how to hold down the fort, yeah? My husband travels about every other month but only for a few days. He’s gone for work every day anyways so I’m usually the main parent but it helps that they’re older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow on your hubby traveling every other month. YIKES! My main difficulty is bedtime. Hubby is outstanding with the kids — reading with each of them while we trade off taking different ones to bed and snuggling with them while they drift off to sleep. He always spends time with each of our children as they get ready for bed and they REALLY feel it when he’s gone. #superlateresponse

      Liked by 1 person

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