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!
I JUST finished grading the last of my students’ semester portfolios, projects, presentations, and final exams only minutes before starting this blog post. It’s now after 10pm and I’m EXHAUSTED! But I’m glad to say that after today, I’m taking the spring semester off teaching college courses so I can focus more on family. YAY!
On to this week’s reading…
The Kiss Quotient
(The Kiss Quotient #1)
June 5, 2018
I’ve wanted to read The Kiss Quotient for quite a while, but about 10% into it I thought I was going to be deeply disappointed. One reason I avoid popular adult romance is the whole jump-in-bed-with-anyone-after-the-first-date behavior. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always felt sex should be a sign of closeness and sincere commitment, not just something you do at the end of a date. So I often struggle to relate. In any case, I admit that I’m glad I kept reading because they took an unexpected turn and I found myself quite engrossed in the development of the romantic relationship. The chapters switch focus between the two main characters. Michael’s family is Vietnamese and his father left the family in dire straights, so he took on a job as an escort. Stella is a math whiz with Aspergers whose mother is really pushing for her to get married and have babies, so she’s determined to understand how relationships and intimacy work.
The whole time I kept thinking The Kiss Quotient had a lot of similarities to Pretty Woman, but in reverse. If you read it, let me know if you agree! NOTE: This is an “own voices” novel, as Hoang was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2016. I love how she explains the everyday difficulties of Aspergers in a way that completely normalizes the syndrome.
The book has also been picked up by Lions Gate for film and TV rights, so I imagine we’ll be seeing this one on the big screen in the next couple years.
October 23, 2018
Simon & Schuster
Lu is the final installment of Jason Reynold’s middle grade “track” series. We get to know Lu as an only child who, SURPRISE, is expecting a baby sister. But HOW DID THIS HAPPEN since his birth was a sheer miracle. We learn that his father, Goose, used to sell drugs and so now he tries to help people straighten their lives out. Reynolds takes us deep into the lingering regret of the decision to deal — looking at the people those choices impacted and how the pain never fully goes away. We also get to know Lu’s mom as the artistic fruity mom who can barely make it a few feet before needing to vomit from morning sickness. And finally, we really see the track team come together in this one, work out differences as they bond in a way they haven’t yet. That ending just might leave tears on your cheeks. *sniff, sniff*
Over the last year, I’ve fallen in love with the four main characters from this series, feeling like I really know each one. And while they are all very special, I admit Sunny remains my favorite. I seriously cannot WAIT to see what Reynolds does next!
September 4, 2018
Neal Porter Books
This book was inspired by the author’s real life journey from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas. After becoming an immigrant, Morales’ mother in law brought her to the library and it opened up the whole world to her. The artwork is stunning — dream like! The back tell us the pictures were rendered with acrylic paint drawn on paper with ink and brushes and a nib pen that once belonged to Maurice Sendak. Yuyi Morales also photographed and scanned many things to include within her artwork. It’s truly a sight. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
One Snowy Night
M. Christina Butler
Tina Macnaughton, illustrator
May 1, 2013
This is an older title that my public library just acquired a few weeks ago. It’s the story of a hedgehog who receives a wooly hat as a gift. But after trying to wear it, he passes it on to a friend as a Christmas present. The hat ends up making the rounds among a number of critters before eventually finding its way back to hedgehog. This is a touch-and-feel book where the red hat is made of a soft velvet for little fingers to enjoy. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
I have a nice pile of YA and MG books on my shelf, but am just sooooo glad to be done grading that I can hardly think about what novel to start. I at least know the following picture books are in my line up for reading next week:
It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?