It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/17/2019 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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 to share what you’ve been reading!

Our family is right in the middle of having the exterior of our house painted and WOW is it a disruption to our regular lives. I’m finding my personal schedule interrupted more often than normal, so I hope the next week will go more smoothly. The kids also seem more hyper than usual (primarily just excited to see the new paint color going on), so I just never know when I’ll be able to squeeze in some reading. This week I was able to finish The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane, Other Words for Home, Watership Down, and Charlie & Mouse Even Better. I look forward to hearing about what you’re reading!


35402204The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane
(Black Hollow Lane #1)
Julia Nobel
March 5, 2019
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Oooh, I really enjoyed this first book in a brand new series! Young Emmy lost her father on her third birthday and her “parenting expert” mother has shipped her off to Wellsworth boarding school when her work (in the US) gets incredibly busy. Emmy struggles to blend in and eventually stumbles upon a secret society and ancient artifacts that seem related to her personal family history. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I CAN say I flew through this story. I’ve heard some think this is a Harry Potter rip-off, but I wouldn’t go that far. There are definitely similar elements, especially considering the main character is attending a boarding school in England where there are mysteries and secrets. But there’s no magic (at least so far) and the story offers enough unique components to make it its own story. I believe Harry Potter fans will dive into the charming Wellsworth world and I’m excited to continue with the series when book #2 is released!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it at Amazon HERE.


41154293Other Words for Home
Jasmine Warga
May 7, 2019
Balzer + Bray

Each person I’m friends with on Goodreads who already read this book gave it 5 stars, so I was excited when it came available for check out. Told in verse, we learn that Jude’s family is in danger. She and her pregnant mother leave their home (and father and brother) in Syria and head to the United States to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. Once she enrolls in the local schools, Jude experiences America as a brand new Arab immigrant. Her accent, headscarf, and skin color may give her far more obstacles than many American children face, but she’s determined and optimistic.

Jude’s first impressions of America were quite insightful and I captured a number of quotes to remind me of the feelings I had while reading:

Clifton is filled with old, big houses. Aunt Michelle tells us that their house is over 100 years old and I can tell she is proud of this. But I’m not sure why. Everyone back home wants a new house, not an old one. When I ask mama about it, she says, “Americans don’t have much history, so they like things they think are old.”

“Hoping, I’m starting to think, might be the bravest thing a person can do.”

“I have learned Americans love to say “you know” and then stop talking. They force you to fill in the hard parts, the things they are not brave enough to say.”

I adored Jude’s voice and wisdom. More than once, she gave me an open window through which I considered my own thoughts and habits. 🙂 This is a very important addition to modern refugee reads! And since this was my first Jasmine Warga book, I’ll just add that it won’t be my last.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it at Amazon HERE.


76620Watership Down
Richard Adams
November 1972
Puffin Books & Penguin Books

Years ago, when my husband first told me about Watership Down, he said that it’s important to remember that this story isn’t really about rabbits — that it’s really about people. Richard Adams claims this isn’t an allegory and that it was simply a story he created to entertain his daughters on a long trip, but I find that very hard to believe. In Watership Down, he crafted a beautiful, intricate tale that highlights the value of friendship, courage, wisdom, perseverance, and teamwork. Through his narration, I experienced empathy even for the cruelest of rabbits, and I found myself nodding in agreement at the judgment of humankind and our treatment of the world. I’m relieved that I don’t have to write a synopsis for the book because this heroic tale was huge (and I would later kick myself for leaving out some important detail). I’m very pleased that I took this summer to read it! It was on my #MustReadin2019 list and now I can watch the new Netflix original Watership Down series with my 11 year old. If you aren’t familiar with the series, you can watch the trailer RIGHT HERE

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it at Amazon HERE.


39653605Charlie & Mouse Even Better
Laurel Snyder
Emily Hughes, illustrator
April 2, 2019
Chronicle Books

If you’ve loved the other books in the Charlie & Mouse, then I’d say you’re in for a treat with the latest addition to the series about two little brothers. Book #3 is focused on mom’s birthday — including picking out a present and resolving a cooking catastrophe. One thing we know for sure by the end of this book: Mom’s the best! It’s super cute and, of course, great for emergent readers who want simple text in chapter book format. The artwork was created by hand and with Photoshop. Here’s one page-spread as an example, below:

Charlie-and-Mouse-Even-Better

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it at Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

Next week I’ll discuss With the Fire on High, Destination Moon, Mae Among the Stars, and Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 154/200
#MustReadin2019 – 17/42


18 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/17/2019 #imwayr

  1. I love Charlie & Mouse! I need this one! Please let me know how the Watership Down Netflix movie/series is. I thought I had a copy of Watership Down but I can’t find it. I need to get it from the library because there is suddenly interest in my house as a read-aloud. Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you are at all interested in the audiobook format, you can check the MP3 out through the CPL Overdrive library (there are currently only 6 people on the wait list, which may go by quickly if others finish the book in less than 2 weeks and sometimes people even drop off the list). And Charlie & Mouse is just too cute!! I’m so pleased with all the recent emergent reader chapter books becoming available. We didn’t have much more than Dick and Jane in my city when I was a new reader!

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  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed Other Words for Home! It is one I loved too, and yes, I went and found other books by her at the library. Just need that infamous time to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, trying to find that time during a busy summer. I’m leaning on audiobooks for at least 50% of my reading since I can listen while doing yard work or while cleaning house. Soooo thankful for our Overdrive library!

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    1. This one really took me by surprise — in a WONDERFUL way. I hope you enjoy it, Laura! I’m struggling with my TBR because so many are library books and I have to pick which ones to return before I’m finished. 😦

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    1. I love books inspired by an author’s own children — and this is probably one reason why Charlie and Mouse hits home for so many parents (it’s so REAL). Just adore these characters! ❤

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    1. Completely agree on Other Words for Home — such a great read!! And I just noticed that Charlie & Mouse Even Better is now on Overdrive, so I’m thrilled that it will have a larger reach than the physical library. Thanks for dropping by, Lisa!

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  3. I remember trying to read Watership Down when I was in elementary school. It wound up being too thick and I didn’t understand it and so I wound up abandoning it. Maybe it’s time to give it another shot! Thanks for sharing and have a terrific week!

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    1. I don’t think I would have enjoyed Watership Down when I was in elementary school. In fact, I’m not even sure if I would have stuck with it when I was in middle school. It’s long and the writing is quite mature, in my opinion. I was shocked when my hubby told me how young he was when he read it the first time because I tried the first couple chapters with our 10 year old and I could tell much of it was too tedious for him to enjoy. But as an adult, I can thoroughly appreciate it. I’m excited to finish the Netflix series, now. Thanks for swinging by, Jana!

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  4. I loved Watership Down and enjoyed watching the miniseries with my teenaged sons last Christmas.

    It’s funny that people think a boarding school story is copying Harry Potter, when it struck me as firmly set in the GENRE of boarding school stories when it came out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are a number of boarding school stories out there, right? I guess it’s that both take place in England and both have a group of 3 misfits who are solving a potentially dangerous mystery. I could see a few similarities throughout, but there were PLENTY of differences. Can’t wait for book #2!

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  5. I’ve been meaning to read Watership Down for the looongest time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it – I know what you mean about finding it difficult to review chunksters. I wish I can get to the novel by next year. 🙂 Other Words For Home also looks awesome. 🙂 Have a great reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really helped me to put Watership Down on my “must read” list, this year. This is one I’ll probably read again in the future, but for now I’m excited to watch the Netflix series. And YES, Other Words For Home is fantastic. I hope you get to read and enjoy it, Myra!

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