It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/25/2019 #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!

What have I been reading?

40206380The Bridge Home
Padma Venkatraman
February 5, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books
Imprint of Penguin Random House

The Bridge Home shares the journey of Viji and Rukku, two young sisters who take to the streets of India after facing abuse in their own home. It’s a difficult read due to the heartache they experience along the way, but there’s also such beautiful writing of the close bond of these sisters (and bonds made with other homeless children). Their pain is so deeply felt as they miss their mother, face hunger, lack necessary health care, and yearn for an education. Padma Venkatraman wrote this book after numerous interviews with adults and children in India. It’s this type of story that not only encourages empathy for those in such dire situations (and thankfulness for what we have), but it also causes the reader to question what makes up a family. I highly recommend The Bridge Home — a touching and important read for 2019!

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

40221339The Lost Girl
Anne Ursu
February 12, 2019
Walden Pond Press

Iris and Lark are twins, heading into the fifth grade. They may be identical, but they’re not the same. Lark is the artistic dreamer, while Iris is more practical. But they are the very best of friends and have always been together. This is the first year they will be placed in different classes and they are NOT happy about this turn of events. Iris has always been the caretaker of Lark, protecting her from those who don’t understand her. So she is especially worried about how Lark, the sensitive, creative, dreamer, will manage on her own:

School wasn’t about being creative. It was about doing what you were told. Most kids learn that by fifth grade, but Lark had not.

Both girls learn a lot about themselves throughout this story as they find their own path and pod, but they also learn some important things about one another. I carried a lump in my throat through some especially difficult passages and felt a constant hint of magic, throughout. This one will be so hard to keep on the shelves!

I won my copy of this book through a giveaway on Teach Mentor Texts. So thank you to Jen Vincent and Walden Pond Press for sending this one out, right away!

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

38720939A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Tahereh Mafi
October 16, 2018

This story begins in the fall of 2002, just one year after the fateful events of 9/11. Shirin is a 16-year-old Muslim high school student who has faced her fair share of racism over the years. So when she meets Ocean (a wealthy, white boy) in one of her classes, and he seems genuinely interested in learning more about her, she’s skeptical of his motivation.

I trusted no one anymore. I was so raw from repeated exposure to cruelty that now even the most minor abrasions left a mark. The checkout lady at the grocery store would be rude to me. And her simple unkindness would unnerve me for the rest of the day. Because I never know. I had no way of knowing. Are you racist or are you just having a bad day? I could no longer distinguish people from monsters. I looked out at the world around me and no longer saw nuance. I saw nothing but the potential for pain and the subsequent need to protect myself, constantly.

As Sharin develops a friendship with Ocean, it’s clear there are some feelings of romance there. But whether or not Sharin will allow this to develop further is unknown. She, understandably, seems to hold everyone at arm’s length. Meanwhile, Ocean thinks everyone sees the world the way he does and that she should have nothing to fear.

…it was so hard for Ocean to stomach that the world was filled with such awful people. I tried to tell him that the bigots and the racists had always been here. And he said he’d honestly never seen them like this. That he never thought they could be like this. And I said, “Yes, I know. That’s how privilege works.” He was stunned.

If I could write this entire review with quotes, I would. 🙂 I found the story very meaningful — especially for me, due to some experiences my school faced in the aftermath of 9/11. Oh, and… the title of this book is a definition. I totally missed that until right as I finished the book (but it’s pretty cool, now that I know!).

I hope this one makes it into many high schools, public libraries, and college libraries to offer a window/mirror for those who need it, most. I’ve wanted to check out Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series for a long time, now. And after this experience I think I’ll bump it up on my list!

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

40988975Happy Birthday from the
Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle
February 5, 2019
World of Eric Carle
An Imprint of Penguin Random House

My 4-year-old’s birthday is in three weeks, so it is the perfect time to read this new birthday book with her. This one is filled with Eric Carle’s expected bright, colorful artwork and you can find the Very Hungry Caterpillar crawling throughout the page spreads of flowers, presents, dancing, and cake. The 24-paged book is very small — easy to slip into a purse (and a perfect birthday gift for any little reader in your life).


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

40584981Fake News:
 Separating Truth from Fiction
Michael Miller
January 1, 2019
Twenty-First Century Books
Imprint of Lerner Publishing Group

I had high hopes for this book. Since 2007, I’ve taught an information literacy college course for K-12 teachers and education majors. After reading the book introduction and blurbs, I considered this a potential textbook to equip them with for use in their classrooms. Nevertheless, I was disappointed. That’s not to say there weren’t some important sections with useful data. It’s just that at times it came across as judgmental and openly partisan.


Heavily debated, multi-facet political topics were briefly mentioned as real world examples, but they lacked any depth or meaningful discussion from more than one position. Given the title, I expected there to be some political slant–I guess I just didn’t expect it to be so obvious. With many parents accusing schools of indoctrinating their children with political beliefs, I think this book might cause some undue tension. I definitely want to encourage our K-12 students to listen, debate, and problem-solve with one another, while also carefully examining their sources of information. But for the time being, I think we’ll continue to use multiple online sources to teach this topic.

To Be Read:

This week I’ll begin with The Book of Boy, The Swish of the Curtain (Blue Door #1), A Little Chicken, and Misunderstood Shark.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 48/200
#MustReadin2019 – 8/42

20 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/25/2019 #imwayr

  1. I’m going to try to get to The Lost Girl this week & I have A Very Large Expanse of Sea on my list, hoping to read someday! I loved The Bridge Home as you probably know, heartbreaking story! Thanks for sharing the new Hungry Caterpillar. What fun to have it for your daughter’s birthday! Have a great week, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All such wonderful books! I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on The Lost Girl. I’ll need to re-read Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar before we leave on our birthday trip, this week. It would be a nice little treat just before we get loaded up in the car (the kids don’t care too much for that 2-hour drive). Thanks for dropping in, Linda!


  2. I was pleased to discover this morning that A Very Large Expanse of Sea is also on my #MustRead list. Love it when I make progress there! I brought Bridge Home with me while traveling last week and planned to read it but ended up with that free copy of Another Brooklyn and reading that instead. But I will definitely get to Bridge Home soon. I am looking forward to The Lost Girl. I have never read any of Anne Ursu’s books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know all about starting another book instead of what I planned. And YAY on discovering you’ve read another #MustRead title!! I’m new to Ursu’s books, too. I’ll have to try out more of them in the coming year!


  3. A Very Large Expanse of Sea Has now been added to my list! The rest are already there. It’s too bad about Fake New. I agree that we desperately need resources to help us navigate our way towards truth. When I am working with students (and adults) I tell them that the Quakers believe that God only gives everyone a bit of the truth and the only way to understand a situation is to listen to everyone share their bit of it. All too often what gets declared truth is predicated on who has the most power, and all those other voices are shut down. Of course it’s entirely different when individuals and organizations out right lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow. I love what you said about everyone being given a bit of the truth. What a beautiful thought. There are times when I completely disagree with a friend over something that I feel I have all the “facts” on, but if I listen to their POV, I can usually grasp something important to let me better comprehend another side of the issue. If nothing else, I’ve learned over the years that few things are black and white. And there are some real surprises in the various shades of gray. Thanks for swinging by, Cheriee!


  4. I love that whole new generation of kids is falling in love with Eric Carle’s artwork and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Some things just last through the years. I loved Misunderstood Shark and hope you do, too. The news reporter reminds me of Les Nesman from WKRP in Cincinnati and this book is just a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing these awesome books and have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree on some things lasting through the years! YES! And I sure hope I can get my hands on the newer Misunderstood Shark. Our library says they have it, but I’ve been on the “hold” list forever, it seems. Thanks so much for dropping in, Jana!


    1. The Lost Girl is probably a mixed bag, but I really enjoyed the relationships and the lessons learned. There’s a point where I was surprised — where it seemed things changed abruptly. I know not everyone may appreciate the way it was done, so I’ll be interested in your take. Thanks so much for visiting, Michele!


  5. I think I’ll skip the Fake News book. Thanks for the excellent review. I am really looking forward to the Anne Ursu book. I’m going to go see her in St. Paul this weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have seen ‘The Bridge Home’ so many times already and need to go get it so I can read it too.. and both The Lost Girl and ‘Very Large Expanse..’ sound really interesting.. TBR adds all,, and I missed adding my monday reads to the linky this time so do check out my recent Magic Monday post for the same

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s