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!
On top of the regular fast-paced life of a family with five children, we had a bit of a rough weekend after losing our next door neighbor quite suddenly on Friday (an adopted grandparent for our children since their blood relatives all live a thousand miles away). Then we had a music competition that our 15-year-old daughter (our oldest) attended on Sunday. Her song was Travelin’ Soldier which, if you aren’t familiar with it already, tells the story of how a teenage girl exchanges letters with a Vietnam soldier. It ends with the discovery that her soldier has died in the war. And ahhhhh the feels. I’ll pop a video of her performance, below, if you’d like to take a looksy. But oh how the music and lyrics of the chorus always pulls at my heartstrings:
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him, they told her
Waiting for the love of a travelin’ soldier
Our love will never end
Waiting for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says a soldier’s coming home
So… what have I been reading? It’s now 8:45 on Monday morning and I have a 10 dentist appointment, so I’ll be making this blog post short and linking up with the group super late.
The Wicked King
(The Folk of the Air #2)
January 8, 2019
Little, Brown and Company
Last week I read The Cruel Prince and I just had to keep going with The Wicked King, this week. With the enormous Holly Black fandom, I felt that reading this series was a “must” if I was going to keep my finger on the heartbeat of YA fantasy, this year. This Faerie world offers an action-packed fantasy full of family issues, magical elements, revealed secrets, plenty of deaths, and it’s topped off with a bit of slowly building romance. If you plan to read this trilogy then you can’t really hear about much beyond book #1, but I can say that I appreciate the multiple layers of the main character: Jude. She must think through everything to stay one step ahead of the Folk since they have powers that she does not. She proves the mind is a powerful weapon and that past tragedy can make one stronger that imaginable. And she’s not bad with a sword, either. This one ends on a shocking cliffhanger, leaving me eagerly anticipating next January’s release of book #3.
The Lost Sisters
(The Folk of the Air #1.5)
October 2, 2018
I didn’t know about this little novella (book 1.5) until I was finished with book #2, so I went back this week and quickly finished it. It’s very short and it ultimately just felt like one long list of excuses from Taryn, Jude’s twin sister. As I said on Goodreads, it seemed more like a #sorrynotsorry letter — leaving most people’s feelings unchanged over the events of books 1 and 2. If you decide to read this trilogy, you should probably include this one in between the first and second installment.
The Prince and the Dressmaker
February 13, 2018
Prince Sebastian does not want to feel limited by being a boy. He has been keeping a deep secret about his desire to wear dresses and travel in public. I enjoyed witnessing his developing friendship with his dressmaker, Frances. But when it comes down the choice of either (1) keeping his secret, thereby hurting Francis’ future as a designer OR (2) revealing his true self and freeing Francis for a lifetime of grand success, he realizes he must live with the consequences whatever decision he makes. It’s an important graphic novel on character, love, and acceptance.
Awards: Harvey Awards for Best Children or Young Adult Book AND nominated for Book of the Year (2018), Prix du Festival d’Angoulême for Prix jeunesse (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2018), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Nominee (2020)
The Friendship War
January 8, 2019
Random House Books for Young Readers
6th grader, Grace, spends the summer with her grandfather not long after her grandmother has passed away. Her grandfather has decided to purchase an old building and she discovers a bunch of old buttons left behind on the property. At this point, the story shifts to her home/school life back with her parents where her grandfather has shipped the boxes and boxes (and boxes) of buttons she found. As she returns to school to share some of her buttons with her classmates, a crazy fad is born and things get a little ugly. Grace begins to rethink her “best friendship” with a girl named Ellie as she discovers things she really doesn’t like about her. When we are friends with someone, do we have to accept everything about them? What if the negative aspects of their character impacts how others see US? Lots of important questions happening in this one, and it inspired a great conversation with my daughter on adolescent friendships.
July 21, 2015
I wanted to read Crush, which is book #3 of this series. So I’m starting with the first in the series. Penelope (AKA Peppi) Torres is new to her school and she’s following two cardinal rules for success: (1) Don’t get noticed by mean kids and (2) Seek out groups with similar interests. But after bumping into Jaime Thompson and being called “nerder girlfriend,” she shoves Jaime to the floor and takes off running. The remainder of the book she is regretting her decision and attempting to work up the nerve to apologize and make things right. All along, Peppi and Jaime are in rival school clubs, which only makes things more awkward. I enjoyed the adorable artwork — could Jaime be any more precious? I already have book #2 (Brave) on order.
Awards: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (2017), Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominee for Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) (2016), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Nominee (2018)
January 8, 2019
This lovely picture book shares a powerful message with very simple black, white, and yellow drawings. Using only a few words per page, Luyken provides light, dark, and shadows to demonstrate the feelings of the heart. There are hidden heart shapes found within the illustrations (tops of flowers, puddles, clouds, trees) that will be fun for children to find. I couldn’t wait to share this one with my husband when I read it. He really, really loved it, pointing out meaningful elements. I think we may need to get a copy for our home library.
The illustrations in this book were created with a printmaking process called monotype, using water-based inks and pencil. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:
To Be Read
Both of my kindle e-readers had issues this week, so I couldn’t get my e-books to come up. All was well by Saturday evening, but that means I’m still finishing Up For Air this week. What I’ve read of it so far is really good. I’ve also checked out Angry Cookie, Because, and I’m hoping to finish Shout as an audiobook.