It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/24/2019 #imwayr

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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.

41154268With the Fire on High
Elizabeth Acevedo
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.

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 through Amazon HERE.

38185346Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Meg Medina
September 11, 2018
Candlewick Press

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)

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.

34907235Mae Among the Stars
Roda Ahmed
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:


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.

41824527Destination Moon
Seymour Simon
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!

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 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: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 157/200
#MustReadin2019 – 18/42


10 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/24/2019 #imwayr

    1. I was very happy with Merci Suarez! I don’t know why, but I wasn’t attracted to the cover. So it’s taken me some time to actually read the book. Really, really liked this one and hope my kiddos will, too! Thanks for dropping by!


  1. With the Fire on High is waiting for me to pick up from my local library. I just need to get the rest of my reading a bit under control first!
    I agree completely with your remarks here on Merci Suárez Changes Gears. I love the introduction of the grandfather with alzheime’s and how accepting the family is.
    Happy reading this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand on the attempt to get the reading under control. I’m struggling to squeeze in reading time this summer since we’re painting and clearing out our house to sell. I’m having to rely heavily on whatever audiobooks are available. I hope you enjoy With the First on High!!


  2. Ooh, another Acevedo title. The Poet X did not resonate with me all that much – but perhaps this one would. I have been aching to get my hands on Mae among the stars – but sadly we still don’t have it in our public libraries. Have a great reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing I was happy with on both The Poet X and With the Fire on High is that I listened to them as audiobooks and Acevedo actually narrated them. So all those subtle nuances in the telling of the story were part of the listening experience. I’m wondering if I would have enjoyed them as much if I didn’t get to hear Acevedo’s voice. In any case, I think I liked With the Fire on High even more than The Poet X. I’m guessing it was because Emoni had a little more softness, even though she was clearly very strong. Thanks for visiting, Myra!

      Liked by 1 person

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