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!
We’re still having our house painted while we pull weeds, plant new bushes/flowers, declutter our house, and CLEAN. It’s possible that we will have our house on the market by the first weekend of July — we’ll see! And yes, it was very nice to have an excuse to stop working on the house so I could sit down for a few minutes and briefly share what I’ve been reading this week. 🙂 Besides, I had some GREAT books to share and I’m looking forward to hearing what you’ve all been reading.
With the Fire on High
May 7, 2019
Emoni lost her mother as a baby and her father left when she was younger, but he still keeps in touch. She now lives with her grandma (her father’s mother) who is always there for her, no matter what. When Emoni was just 15, she became pregnant and she gave birth to her daughter. She’s worked hard to keep up her high school credits to graduate this year and she’s not going to blow it. In the meantime, the father of the baby is still in the picture, but not romantically. He’s dating other people, but he has created a rule about Emoni not bringing other boys/men around their child. That’s fine with Emoni because she has ZERO interest in dating.
Emoni has a real gift in cooking incredible foods that make people feel and remember things. Luckily, her high school starts a culinary arts class where students can take legitimate chef classes and work with professionals before traveling to Spain. But trouble begins to brew when a boy in her class takes an interest in Emoni. She doesn’t want anything to do with this guy and she’s certainly not afraid to let him know.
I was blown away by The Poet X and just as taken by With the Fire on High. There’s a natural rhythm to Acevedo’s words and a hearty feeling as they roll off your lips. But BEWARE that this book will make you want to either 1) cook or 2) eat. Unfortunately I wanted the later option (because who has time to clean the kitchen while you’re painting the house?!). In any case, Elizabeth Acevedo is an amazing writer and this will be an excellent addition to any YA collection.
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
September 11, 2018
Merci Suárez Changes Gears was on both my #MustReadin2019 and on my Newbery challenge list, and I’m happy to say I absolutely LOVED this book! Merci is making the jump from 5th grade to 6th grade, much like changing gears on her bike. She and her friends now change classes frequently, they have no recess, and boys are a thing. So she’s suddenly having to navigate a new world at school. But gears are changing at home, too. Her older brother, Roli, is about to leave for college, her aunt is needing her to babysit her twin cousins more often, and something‘s not right with her grandfather, Lolo. This had all the things I hope for in a good middle grade novel! I adored Merci’s honest young voice amidst all the awkward changes. I was happy to witness her close relationship with her family (why don’t we see this more often in #mglit?), and I was comforted by the knowledge that things would somehow be okay even though things aren’t always okay. This one will make you laugh AND cry. Such a beautiful book and I’m thrilled it took the Newbery Medal — well deserved, Meg Medina!
AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2019), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Young Readers’ Literature (2018), NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book (2019)
Mae Among the Stars
Stasia Burrington, illustrator
January 9, 2018
This picture book depicts an experience from the childhood of Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, who later became the first African American female astronaut. As a child, Mae shared her dream of becoming an astronaut with her classmates. However, she did not get the support she wanted from her elementary teacher (who thought she would be better suited as a nurse). Despite that negative experience, her mother and father gave Mae the driving mantra that motivated her to reach for her dreams:
“If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
While the actual story didn’t provide many details about Mae’s childhood, the back matters tells us that Mae enrolled at Stanford University at the age of 16 and received her MD from Cornell Medical College before applying to NASA in 1987. Her dreams were attained when she traveled on the shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. The artwork was created with ink and Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide just one page-spread as an example, below:
May 7, 2019
This was my last read of the week and I must say, it captivated me. My husband and I have been watching documentaries about space exploration and we’ve recently even watched two fictional series about missions to Mars. So my mind has been spinning with many details, already. Yet this nonfiction juvenile book gave me even more information than I’d previously learned. For example, I had no idea that Sputnik was only the size of a beach ball(!!!). And who knew Aldrin was the first to urinate on the moon? Also, after Armstrong and Aldrin rejoined Collins after their moonwalk, they took off their helmets and noticed a strange smell — it was moon dust that clung to their boots. This book is 56 pages of dates, names, facts, and even unusual information about the steps and stages leading up to “destination moon” (including the actual landing and a brief look into the future). Additionally, there are 51 original photos and illustrations spread throughout the book that match the textual information. The back matter includes a glossary, books and websites for further reading, a Race to Space timeline, and an Index. Make sure your science-loving learners have access to this new nonfiction book!
To Be Read:
Next week I plan to discuss All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, The Oceans Between the Stars by Kevin Emerson, There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach, and A is for Astronaut by Clayton Anderson.
Reading Challenge Updates: