It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/15/2019 #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!

Brayla-newspaper-4-10-19.pngI want to thank everyone for your sweet comments on my daughter’s guitar/singing performance that I embedded in my post, last week. After the show that Sunday, we had a blizzard hit on Wednesday that closed all our schools and many businesses for 3 days (4/10 to 4/12), but we slipped out of the house in the middle of the storm to grab up a couple print copies of the local newspaper story for her scrapbook. It’s quite fulfilling watching children find and explore their many passions in life!

It’s Monday! What am I reading? Well, to tell you the truth, I am mostly reading with my ears (audiobooks), presently. I had a mishap with my glasses while shoveling snow from our PREVIOUS blizzard in April. One of my lenses popped out and couldn’t be found in the piles of snow (WHY was I even wearing them out there?!). I’ve been using my old reading glasses over the last three weeks and it’s been no fun at all. They estimated a cost of $105 to replace just one plain plastic lens with no coatings or anything. That was simply out of the question right now. BUT! I’m happy to report that after most of the snow melted, we found the lens sitting right in our driveway. I still need to have it thoroughly cleaned and reattached, but that should take no time at all (and will be FREE!!). I’m feeling pretty lucky right now! On to my reading week…

35887567On the Come Up
Angie Thomas
February 5, 2019
Balzer + Bray

Sixteen-year-old Bri has had a pretty rough life. She lost her father when she was only 4 years old, and her mother was strung out on drugs for a very long time, requiring Bri and her older brother, Trey, to live with their grandparents. Before Bri’s father died, he was becoming a rap star in the community. So as Bri begins to show her rapping talent and strength, she is constantly compared to her father. But she is definitely her own person – not wanting to ride on anyone’s coattails!

Bri’s and Trey’s mom hates the fact that her past life with drugs has held everyone back. It destroyed her relationship with their grandparents and makes it nearly impossible to get a job anywhere. Who wants to hire a past drug addict? And yet, Trey has done everything “right” from the beginning. He went to college, got the degree, and still ended up back at home, delivering pizzas just to help his mom and Bri make ends meet. Nevertheless, he has a hefty college loan payment to make each month and so they still experience hunger and the loss of electricity, even when they’re scraping everything they can together every single month. There are times when everything feels so hopeless, but that’s such an important point to the story — to witness just how miraculous it is to get “on the come up” in this life.

On the Come Up tackles a number of issues, including: sexism, racism (including racial profiling within a high school), economic inequality, gang activity, gun control (including guns in the schools), gossip/rumors, and more. NOTE: While not a sequel, this story does appear to take place in the same community as The Hate You Give, and some passages allude to things that took place there in the past. In fact, I kept waiting to hear Starr’s name (but it doesn’t happen — sorry!). This story, however, is quite different from THUG and will be a sobering window for many of our youth who cannot yet wrap their minds around the multiple obstacles Bri’s family faces, every day.

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

Laurie Halse Anderson
March 12, 2019
Penguin Young Readers Group

I am beyond happy that I took the time to listen to this audiobook, actually narrated by Laurie Halse Anderson. How was it? It was painful, liberating, fierce, comforting, peaceful, and… so very inspiring. Shout is a free verse poetry memoir that provides a strong narrative, even referring back to Speak, at times. It’s absolutely stunning to hear about Anderson’s personal life/family experiences, as painful as they were, and see such wisdom in her current reflection. I don’t know why I never read Speak, but I definitely will after this experience. It’s books like this that make me want to write. Or better yet, to SHOUT!

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

Mo Willems
Amber Ren, illustrator
March 5, 2019
Hyperion Books for Children

This is a lovely picture book about chance happenings in our lives as well as cause and effect. In this story, it starts with the “BECAUSE” that inspired the composers of the beautiful music, then later the “BECAUSE” that inspired the orchestra members to learn to play and to come together, and so on. So many people and events play a valuable role in an ultimate performance of brilliant music. And then that performance goes on to be the “BECAUSE” behind another great achievement and achiever.

There’s usually a domino effect in our lives that can be traced back to something or someone (or many someones) long ago who impacted our lives. Perhaps, with children, this story will inspire them to be looking out for their own “BECAUSE.”

Of the many touching parts of this book, I adored the author’s dedication “To the memory of Charles M. Schulz, my BECAUSE.” Ahhh, the feels. Furthermore, I’m always delighted to add one more music picture book to my list for my “teaching music in the elementary classroom” college course. I’ll provide one page-spread, below:


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

40915495Angry Cookie
Laura Dockrill
Maria Karipidou, illustrator
March 12, 2019
Walker Books US
A Division of Candlewick Press

PLEASE BE AWARE: Angry Cookie has experienced several very unfortunate events, back-to-back, in the last day. So please understand, you’re meeting Angry Cookie at a low point. A very low point. But if you make it to the end of the book, Angry Cookie discovers that you hung in there, even when confronted with a grumpy, mean, moany, sulky, horrid, and angry cookie. The book showcases the fact that sometimes the best thing we can do is listen patiently while our friends heal from a rough patch. (Angry Cookie is not identified as male or female, but Angry Cookie goes to a barber for a haircut and has a roommate named Barbra who is referred to as “her”.)

The humorous artwork in this book was created digitally. Here’s one example:


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

40537394William Wakes Up
Linda Ashman
Chuck Groenink, illustrator
February 5, 2019

This book is a sequel to William’s Winter Nap, published in 2017. Both books showcase rhyming text and the counting of animals. In book #1, more animals are added to the bed for a long winter nap. However, in book #2, the animals are subtracted from the bed, one at a time, AND in a different order than they were added in the first book. Furthermore, there’s one sneaky animal who might be pretending to be asleep while all the others take care of the work.

This story could be used with children to supplement a discussion of hibernation, the start of spring, addition/subtraction, the importance of everyone lending a helping hand, or even comparing/discussing the change-up in order of animals between the two books. The softly colored artwork was created with pencils and Photoshop. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:


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

40796124Arrr, Mustache Baby!
Mustache Baby series
Bridget Heos
Joy Ang, illustrator
March 5, 2019
Clarion Books
Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In this new installment of the Mustache Baby series, Baby Billy and Baby Javier sail across the seven seas (or the community swimming pool) to find treasure. During their adventure, things go awry and they end up becoming mean-spirited PIRATES! Toward the end, we read: “AVAST! The pirates were caught and forced to stand trial!” MEANING, their parents pulled them from the water and placed them in separate timeouts for naps. In the end, everyone is playing happily together again and all is well.

The artwork in this book was created digitally. I’ll provide one spread as an example, below:


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’m excited to be finishing Up For Air, this week. It’s due for publication in May and has been an enjoyable read, thus far. I am planning to start on Two Naomis before I read Naomis Too, which is on my #MustReadin2019 list. I also picked up a colorful picture book named Splatter from our local public library and I am slowly working my way through Who Wrote the Bible? with my husband. He’s read the original, repeatedly, for a Literature of the Bible course he teaches at our college. Now he’s re-reading this one with me (an updated edition). This will probably take a few weeks for me to digest because it covers a great deal of information.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

What are YOU reading?

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 97/200
#MustReadin2019 – 12/42

11 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/15/2019 #imwayr

  1. I have Shout and On the Come Up. They’ll need to be next, especially after reading your reviews, Shaye. I shared Because today, too, a wonderful new one from Willems. So glad you found that lens, luck shining on you! Have a wonderful week!


  2. I finally picked up On the Come Up in hard copy. I’m hoping to get to it soon! Unfortunately at this time there is no sign of Because or Angry Cookie. I guess this means I might have time to catch up on everything I have checked out already!


  3. I enjoyed your reviews of Shout and On the Come Up, they are part of a big YA on my radar list that gets completely forgotten about until summer. I also enjoyed reading Because a few weeks ago, and am looking forward to purchasing it once my Book Fair is over and I have funding again. I gave a copy to a pre-service teacher which is hard for a book hoarder but the right thing to do.
    I enjoyed the last three PBs you have here, and they are new to me, so thanks for another great post!


  4. Hooray for finding your lens! I need to replace my glasses but I’ve been dragging my feet because of the cost. Those look like good books, and a great shared read with your husband.


  5. On the Come Up and Because have been some of my favorite 2019 books. Because took me by surprise, I really didn’t have any expectations for it. It definitely surpassed them! I liked that On the Come Up was in the same setting, but was definitely its own story.


  6. Yay for your daughter! I have Shout on my shelf right now. I will likely read it soon though I know it may not be easy. It sounds like a great week of reading. Have a fun week.


  7. I have been reading so many great things about Because – and I can’t wait to find it in our libraries. My daughter enjoyed THUG, so I have a feeling she will enjoy reading On The Come Up as well. That is a gorgeous photo of your daughter in the papers. You must be so proud! 🙂 Hugs.


  8. Up For Air was one I wanted to like more than I did. Definitely purchasing, but I think I wanted more swimming. And hooray for the lens turning up. I destroyed a pair of glasses by accidentally kneeling on them this summer– the bright spot was that I didn’t have to tell my mom what I had done! Benefit of being old!


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