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!
As I mentioned last week, I’ll have a lot less reading time with summer in full force. But I did slip in a little this week. We’re heading up into South Dakota for a family trip early Monday morning, so I’ll keep this super short. If I don’t find a good Internet connection while on the road, I may be around to visit everyone’s #IMWAYR blogs a day or two late.
How It Feels to Float
May 7, 2019
May is Mental Health Month and this young adult contemporary novel definitely addresses this topic alongside grief/loss, questioning sexuality, and friendship/family relationships. It was such a deeply sad story, but there were also moments of utter beauty. Biz lost her father when she was six years old, but he still speaks to her daily. Additionally, Biz discovers that her photographs speak to her, telling her the details of the people in each image. Things are very frustrating at school and she loses her best friend right in the middle of everything. It seems the stress of one thing after the other was too much for Biz to process, emotionally.
I’ll admit there was a time or two when I was a little confused over whether Biz was in a memory or if she was in real life. I had to back up a couple paragraphs to make sure I understood what was happenings. Considering the topic, perhaps this feeling was all intentional. But one of the best parts of this book (for me) was the friendship Biz makes with an elderly woman named Sylvia. Their interaction was just darling and quite comforting when all else felt confusing.
“The world is full of strange wonders, darling.
Maybe you’re just lucky enough to see them.”
Biz had a very good therapist who was considerate and optimistic, even when things looked bleak. And I was relieved to be left with such hope, in the end. This is one story that will encourage a good bit of discussion on mental illness and therapy among the older teenage crowd.
I purchased this novella several months back and placed it on my #MustReadin2019 list. It was another suggestion of Elisabeth’s and it DID NOT disappoint! Self-named Murderbot is a cyborg of sorts, who has been hired on contract to aid and defend a group of scientists on a planetary mission. As narrator, he is a pessimist who rolls his eyes, snorts, and prefers TV shows to real humans. Yet he’s also a shy introvert who doesn’t like to show all his cards. He knows his job and does it quite well (even though we quickly learn he’s hacked the system and gone rogue). While exploring this specific planet, they discover discrepancies that do not make any sense unless someone purposefully sabotaged their data. I cannot WAIT to start book #2: Artificial Condition. Looks like I may have to buy it, though, since the series is not available at my library. Boo!
AWARDS: Hugo Award for Best Novella (2018), Nebula Award for Best Novella (2017), Locus Award for Best Novella (2018), Philip K. Dick Award Nominee (2018), ALA Alex Award (2018), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction (2017)
This is the story of Edwin Binney’s invention of the Crayola Crayon. He had invented a number of things before his wife, Alice (a former schoolteacher), encouraged him to create a new form of crayons. As is to be expected from a nonfiction book, there’s more text than most picture books. At the very end there’s a detailed 10-step spread describing how crayons are made, today, followed by more information on Edwin Binney and sources of information for children who want to learn more. The illustrations were created with charcoal crayon, gouache, and digital color. I’ll provide one example, below:
Dan Santat, illustrator
April 24, 2018
Roaring Brook Press
Dude! is an almost wordless picture book, using only the word “dude” as verbal expression. Children can use the punctuation, capitalization, coloring, and context clues in the story to figure out how the word was meant in each new scene. It’s quite interesting to think of how many synonyms “dude” can conjure, depending on the activity. I did not find information on how the colorful artwork was created, but I’ll provide one example, below:
AWARDS: CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards Nominee for Talk (2019)
We’ve been watching a lot about NASA and flights to the moon (as well as the MARS series by National Geographic of a fictitious mission in 2033 – whoa!). So I’m so glad to see that Hidden Figures (after the famous adult novel and movie) has been created in picture book format for children. The focus is primarily on Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. However, there are important historical elements that highlight the racism and sexism these women faced, including segregation. The book ends with a timeline of events from 1903 to 1969 followed by 4 pages of biographical data and a glossary. I was very happy to see this title finally make it in our public library. I didn’t see notes on how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide on page-spread example:
AWARDS: Coretta Scott King Award Nominee for Illustrator (2019), NAACP Image Award Nominee for Children (2019)