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’m posting a day late this week because we had a bad stomach bug hit our home over the weekend. Ugh! I went to bed on Sunday and was in bed all day Monday. So far it has hit four out of seven people in our family. I suppose we now wait to see if the other three are free and clear. Fingers-crossed!
In other news, Hubby has been out of town all this past week, visiting his parents in Texas and picking up our daughter’s new-to-her 2001 Subaru Forester from my brother and his wife. Before he drove it 1,000 miles from Texas to Nebraska, they had it washed, waxed, and detailed for her. She is SUPER excited to turn 16 later this summer and begin driving herself around. Me, however… I’m feeling all the feels. Because I just gave birth to her yesterday!! But I’m so happy for her to have an easy way to get around town, now (since we have been a one car family for many years).
So… what have I been reading?
Planet Earth is Blue
May 14, 2019
Wendy Lamb Books
This is a touching story told from the perspective of 12-year-old Nova, who is autistic and non-verbal. She has been in foster care for many years and is currently hanging on to a promise made by her older sister, Bridget, that they will be together again for the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. No matter what.
One of the most amazing parts of this book is being gifted with the internal feelings of Nova as she experiences mistreatment and misdiagnosis time and again. It takes the love of an an attentive foster family to release her from the confines of a broken system. I was especially looking forward to a story written around the launch of the space shuttle Challenger (which I remember quite well) with a lead character who was the age I was at the time of the launch. But what I gleaned from this story was so much more. Highly recommend!
Naomis Too is on my #MustReadin2019 list. So after reviewing Two Naomis in April, I was very happy when book #2 became available through my Overdrive library in May. YAY!
Now living in “the yellow house,” Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are attending school together and attempting to navigate their new blended and racially-mixed family. Let me just start by saying: There’s a whole lot to unpack in this one. But there’s lots of helpful and important dialogue about race and perceptions.
“Words and language matter. Would you use the term gypped? Indian giver? People say ‘that’s ghetto’ to mean something negative. Think about ‘off the rez.’ What does that really mean?”
These are the kinds of conversation that adults should be having, so I’m delighted to see it addressed in a middle grade book. I’m also happy to see a white parent take responsibility for having not properly prepared their child to interact with children from different races and to recognize their own privilege.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned about the first step to checking my privilege,” Tom says. “It starts with listening.”
Throughout this story I found soooo many references to other books and I highlighted 53 items on my kindle. So yeah, this is one I’d like to read and discuss with my own children. I hope it makes it into many schools and libraries around the world!
Peter H. Reynolds
February 26, 2019
Another wonderful picture book by Peter Reynolds! In this one, everyone must heed the call to “say something” in order to make the world a better place. Maybe you will say something with music or with your art or with your words, but everyone mustn’t waste the opportunity to make positive changes. This book makes me so happy! I was finally able to purchase a copy for my dear friend, Lauren, who never fails to say something when it matters most.
Polly Dunbar, illustrator
January 3, 2019
My sincere thanks to Rebecca Herzog of Sloth Reads for offering this book as a giveaway, last month. I’m so happy to have won!
Both hedgehog and a tortoise want a hug. But the hedgehog is too prickly and the tortoise is too hard. Once you read this book going one direction you get to flip it over and read it from the other end. Such a cute story that teams up two unlikely cuddlers who both get what they want most.
I’ll provide one example of the sweet artwork, below:
The Donkey Egg
Susan Stevens Crummel
February 19, 2019
HMH Books for Young Readers
I first met Susan Stevens Crummel back in 2002 when I was teaching 2nd grade in Texas. She spoke in our school library and, afterward, signed my copies of My Big Dog and Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! on that day. So how COOL that she (and her sister) are still publishing beloved picture books in 2019!
In The Donkey Egg, fox has tricked bear into buying his donkey egg. Bear sits on the egg, keeping it warm and preparing it for hatching until one day when it rolls away and smashes open. What he finds inside is not what he expected, but he discovers a way to use it to get what he really wanted. In the end, it’s a cute story of “making lemonade out of lemons.” Every few pages of the story is a boxed-off section for “Did You Know?” with interesting mathematical and scientific facts that relate to the story.
Some people may say this is a sequel to Tops and Bottom, but whether it is or not, we at least see the same characters. The adorable illustrations in this book were done in mixed media. I’ll provide one example, below: