It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/16/2019 #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!

In bookish news:

Did you hear that Jessica Townsend signed with Hachette Children’s Group for three more Nevermoor books in the series (she has plots written for a total of nine)? I missed the original announcement, but now I can hardly contain my excitement!!

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus publishes TOMORROW! Aven is now a high schooler and suddenly has 2,300 new kids in her life. I LOVED this one and  I admit I’m hoping this series will continue! You can read my review HERE.

This week on my blog:

On to my reading for the week…


Chad Morris
Shelly Brown
October 2, 2018
Shadow Mountain

Wow. I’m surprised I’ve not heard more about this book. 13-year-old Flint has been nicknamed “Squint” due to a degenerative eye disease that keeps him from seeing clearly. He’s an artist who loves drawing and is feverishly working to finish his comic book for an upcoming competition. Accustomed to being rejected by the popular crow, Flint is surprised when a new girl named McKell strikes up a conversation and asks for Flint’s help with a project. Can he trust her not to abandon the friendship once she has what she needs? Awww. I just loved Flint’s (AKA “Squint”) voice, the things he learned, and the relationships he developed. Such a touching story including accepting challenges, facing terminal illness, and dealing with painful loss. It’s also worth noting this was co-written by husband/wife team — and they’ve written other novels together (including Mustaches for Maddie, which is now going on my TBR list as it’s based on their own real -life daughter’s experience with a brain tumor).

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.


Sorry For Your Loss
Jessie Ann Foley
June 4, 2019

Pup Flanagan is a junior in high school. He’s the youngest of eight children and had a special connection with his older brother, Patrick. Back when Patrick died of meningitis while away at college, Pup joined a bereavement group where he became attached to a girl named Izzy (who also lost her brother). But after years of being best friends with Izzy, her failure to return his romantic feelings leaves him even more lost than usual. Pup realizes he has no future plans and he is basically failing his art class. That’s when his teacher hands him a camera and asks him to try out photography. And it’s through his camera lens that he begins to see his family in a whole new light.

Granted, these are honest teen characters in a world of hurt, so I can understand the frustrated sarcasm shared while grieving. However, I initially felt a tad uncomfortable with the practice of making fun of people who say “sorry for your loss.” In my experience of loss, it was better when someone acknowledged the hurt instead of just tip-toeing around me. Yet the point remains: Engage with someone who’s in the midst of loss — don’t just say the words and disconnect. That discomfort aside, this was a very honest portrayal of a family in the aftermath of unexpected loss. It was painful and moving and well worth the read.

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.


Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom
from Young Children at School
Carla Shalaby
March 7, 2017
The New Press

I don’t know where to start with this one. I took so many photographs of pages I loved that it became laughable because I found something important on every stinkin’ page. To avoid breaking copyright law, I really just need to buy a copy of the book to keep at home so I can highlight and make notes and return to the soothing pages whenever I feel the need. Troublemakers is about community and love and fear and listening and rest and connection and sooooo much more. I’m not going to try to summarize, but please feel free to read the Goodreads synopsis and grab a copy at your earliest convenience. If you’re an educator… or if you have children… or if you know ANY PEOPLE AT ALL… READ. THIS. BOOK. I couldn’t stop thinking about these case studies. In fact, I was in bed in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, just thinking about the children in this book. I could see some of their personality traits in my classrooms of yesteryear, so it really hit home for me. I wish all education majors would read and discuss this book before entering the classroom!

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.


Anthony Horowitz
September 4, 2000

Stormbreaker was another book on my #MustReadin2019 list. The Alex Rider series is wildly popular around the world with 14 novels in the series, some prequels, and some additional supplementary books on the market. And now I know why the fandom is so large among teens, tweens, and young adults. Alex is only 14 years old when he loses his uncle, Ian Rider (who just so happens to be his only guardian). Shortly after his uncle’s death, Alex discovers his uncle was a legit spy. This realization turns his world upside down. And, as luck would have it, Alex is now lured into the business to help finish what Uncle Ian started. This was very fast-paced and hard to put down. I read some chapters and listened to others on audiobook and one thing I found interesting was the obvious differences between the audiobook and the book. For example, in one they said “hairdresser” while in the other it said “oral hygienist.” Or the person would answer “no” in one book while saying “of course” in another. Or it was “two weeks” in one edition, but “eleven days” in another. There were numerous differences and entire sentences or sections eliminated from one edition, so it was interesting to see how the story had been edited over the years. In any case, it was an exciting adventure and I’ll continue with the series.

AWARDS: South Carolina Book Award for Junior Book Award (2005), Iowa Teen Award (2005), California Young Readers Medal for Young Adult (2005), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (2004)

My dad passed away very unexpectedly on August 31st of 2012 and about a week or two before his passing, he and my mom took a vacation to the Texas coast to relax with my aunt and uncle at their beach house. It was during that trip that my dad and mom began reading the Alex Rider series. Mom said that dad was flying through the books and she could barely keep up. After the funeral, my mom sent me back home to Nebraska with the series. Then this year, my 14 year old son said I HAVE to read them because he loves them so much. So this week was a good beginning. I just HAD to share this photo because I’m so tickled that my uncle captured them reading the first two books (my mom is allergic to the sun if you’re wondering why she’s wearing long-sleeves and pants on a hot summer day – lol). I miss my dad so much, but it brings me some comfort to be enjoying books that he enjoyed. ❤


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.


The House at the End of the Road
Kari Rust
September 17, 2019

This is a delightful picture book that is in graphic-novel style in some page spreads. Told from the perspective of a young girl, she explains what happened when she, her brother Patrick, and their cousin Robert visited their Grandma’s house one summer. The three cousins went on a bike ride and wound up at what appeared to be an old abandoned house. But after snooping around a bit, they saw a GHOST! Ahhhhh! They run back home to their grandmother only to discover it wasn’t a ghost, but one of Grandma’s former teachers, Mr. Peterson. When Grandma takes them back to the house, they quickly discover that appearances can be very deceiving. Not only is Mr. Peterson not angry at them for trespassing, but he’s a delightful person and they decide to return to his home again and again. The story is a little bit sad at one point, but the ending is precious and hopeful.

I can’t wait to see the final format of the book because the artwork in the ARC is just wonderful. I loved looking at the finer details, like the decor and patterns in Grandma’s kitchen and living room, the odds and ends in Mr. Peterson’s basement and attic, and the various scenes of the house from the outside. I’ll provide one page-spread from the ARC as an example, below. My sincere thanks to Netgalley and Owlkids for giving me an ARC of this book so that I could provide an honest review. This book publishes TOMORROW!

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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.


Tree of Wonder: The Many
Marvelous Lives of a
Rainforest Tree
Kate Messner
Simona Mulazzani, illustrator
August 11, 2015
Chronicle Books

This beautiful picture book focuses on just 10 species of “marvelous lives” that make their home in one Almendro Tree. Toward the left of each page, young readers will find a brief explanation of the animal in larger font while on the right side of the page there’s a lengthier section in smaller font that provides more details and vocabulary for older readers. And as you turn each page, the number of each animal/insect doubles! In the back matter, Messner has provided more information on The Almendro Tree along with websites to groups and organizations that serve to protect the interests of the tree and the lives that thrive on it. Also included are some fun math problems, books for further reading, and information on a documentary to watch. Thanks to Aaron of Wriggling Bookworms for mentioning this book, last week. I was glad to find it in our library.

The artwork in this book was created with acrylic and pencil on paper. I noticed that the pictures in this book are mostly darker, making the reader feel as though they are really are in the rainforest, hiding under a dense canopy. I’ll provide 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 through Amazon HERE.

To Be Read:

I reviewed an ARC of 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling last year and immediately purchased a hardcover copy for my own home. It’s our current family read aloud and the kids are loving it so much, they hardly let me stop. In these first three days, we’re averaging about 45 pages a day, so I’ll need to pick another novel real aloud midweek. I’m also hoping to finish Educated by Tara Westover, this week.

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Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 217/250
#MustReadin2019 – 28/42

22 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/16/2019 #imwayr

  1. I added the House at the End of the Road to my list – the illustrations look great! Trying to type through my tears as your story of your dad touched my heart. Dispositions are caught not taught – the power of reading with, to, and in front of kids is so powerful. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww. I’m so glad to share (and so happy I had that special photo — which I’d TOTALLY forgotten about until I began writing my blog post). And The House at the End of the Road really grew on me and I loved the message at the end! Thanks for dropping by, Clare!


    1. Lee has Troublemakers on his “must read” list and I really just need to purchase a copy for our home. And I was seriously taking notes and quotes from every page. It was ridiculous how much meaning I found. MUST OWN! YES on sharing with Ed majors. I know that cover may not be very inviting for them, but oh how important the inside will be! Thanks for visiting, Elisabeth!


  2. Oh, Shaye, I’m sorry to hear about your dad, but it is a wonderful memory, too. I imagine Horowitz would love to hear about this special time reading those books! As for the rest of what you shared, I know of some, but have added most to my list. My oldest granddaughter is so excited about Guts & 24 Hours to Nowhere! I am, too! Thanks for the House At The End of The Road, sounds and looks terrific. Have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We just finished 24 Hours in Nowhere yesterday and I think it was even better the second time through. Lots of laughter and a few tears — so glad I got to share it with my kiddos! And thank you for your sweet comments on my dad. I’m thrilled to have that photo. We had no idea we would be burying him a few weeks later, so all my uncle’s photos from that trip are precious to me! Thanks for dropping in, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Shaye, I totally understand about your father (and so sorry for your loss). My dad passed away when I was 21, and I keep a copy of Lonesome Dove on my bookshelf because it was his favorite.

    You also made my day with the news about more Nevermoor books! I love the series, and nine books is amazing!! Yay!

    Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sooooo crazy about Nevermoor. I have a hard time believing she’s as young as she is because the writing is so refined. I cannot WAIT for Hollowpox!! And your comments on your dad make me want to read Lonesome Dove. Going to have to grab a copy. Thanks for visiting, Wendi!


  4. Thank you for sharing your story about your dad and mom. I think it’s really neat the books have tied 3 generations of readers together.
    I need to get to Troublemakers. It’s sitting on my nightstand….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true about tying three generations, Michele! I believe it actually started with one of my brothers who passed the books on to my parents. Then they read them and passed them on to me. But then my oldest son started reading book #1 before I could. So we’re all spreading around the Alex Rider love. LOL And YES on Troublemakers — I have no doubt you’ll love it! Thanks for swinging by!


  5. It took me a bit to get over my excitement about the Nevermoor series! Then I returned to normal (as normal as I get) and continued to read your post.
    It’s always so challenging to say the right thing when someone is grieving. I’m not even sure that anything helps, but agree that just acknowledging it helps. Squint sounds like an intense read! I’ve just finished reading The House at the End of the Road and will have a review done by next week. I couldn’t help but wonder about that cousin and why he spends so much time and Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m laughing at your comment about getting over the Nevermoor excitement. I’m right there with you!! My grandparents and my mom used to live in Australia and they still have friends there, so I’m tempted to request they purchase Hollowpox and overnight a copy to me (since they’ll get it the month before we will). But I’ll probably just end up waiting with everyone else. And I can see that about the cousin in The House at the End of the Road. I was worried about him in the beginning because of how embarrassed and guilty he seemed before they went back to the house. But everything seemed much more lighthearted as the book progressed. This one really grew on me! Thanks for visiting in, Cheriee!


    1. I was just surprised by the lack of advertising on Squint. The story is so precious and will probably be in my top 10 middle grade reads of this year. And I just finished Educated. WOW what a book. I couldn’t help but to go around reading articles about the Westover family and watching videos about the family. My goodness! Thanks for swinging by, Lisa!


  6. Thanks for sharing the story and photo of your parents. Very touching.
    You shared a lot of really great books too! The Troublemakers is something I should take a look at. Squint as well, I remember hearing lots of good things about Mustaches for Maddie but missed out on that one too. I The House at the End of the Road looks interesting too.
    I fear that I will never get to read Momentous Events, I just checked on my pre-order and it still hasn’t shipped. Sigh! We had a run of girls reading 24 Hours in Nowhere last school year and the copy ended up going “missing”. In this year’s class, there are already several boys who have it on their list and are upset that I only have the one copy (the second copy that I have personally bought) in my classroom. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Aaron, I really hope you get your copy of Momentous Events. I enjoyed it so much and am excited to see what the rest of our community thinks of it. We just finished 24 Hours in Nowhere and I’ve continued to say it was even better the second time through since I was sharing it with my children. There was laughter and a few tears (primarily from me), but they LOVED it and we finished in 5 days. I love it when they keep begging for me to read longer!! Thanks for visiting, Aaron!


  7. What a lot of great books! I miss reading out loud to my family.

    At the car repair shop today I head a man reading out loud with expression and skill but he seemed to be alone with his book. I didn’t have the nerve to cross the room to see what was going on; I can only guess he was reading over his phone to his family. Or maybe the book was so good he couldn’t keep quiet? It was a huge waiting room so he wasn’t bothering anyone (or at least not more than the annoying TVs at each corner).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, I wonder what was going on with the man who seemed to be reading aloud over the phone!! I can’t help but hope that he really was reading to his family or child. How cool! My children are loving read alouds and I only wish I had done them more through the years. We finished 24 Hours in Nowhere yesterday and started The Root of Magic, today. At only page 21, I can already tell this one is a bit more somber. I need to shaking things up every once in a while and do a slower story back-to-back with a fast paced story. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by, Beth!


  8. I haven’t read any of your books this week. I still need to crack open Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus. I really need to settle down and get busy reading! Even though fall is upon us, it still feels like summer and I haven’t really gotten into curl up with a book mode. I guess the cold weather will be here before you know it and I’ll have time to dive into these books. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It still feels like summer here, too. It’s so strange because we often have snow before the end of September and the leaves should be more colorful by now, too. My mom is flying in on Wednesday and she may be disappointed to see it’s the same temperature here that it is in Texas. So strange! Also, I think you’ll LOVE Momentous Events. I love that Aven has crossed into high school and her concerns are definitely for that age group. Thanks for swinging by, Jana!


  9. Wow, so many great-sounding books here! And I’m so jealous of your reading time with your kids – we read aloud with our sons until they were in their teens!! We all enjoyed it so much, and I really miss those times together, so cherish them…and go ahead and read another chapter when they beg for it!

    I could also relate to your story about your dad – sharing a love of reading, missing him, and connecting with him still through books. It’s the same with my dad, who died in 2015. I miss him SO much – especially trading books, talking books, and picking out books for him as gifts. He was a huge Stephen King fan, and we inherited most of his collection of Stephen Kind hardcovers (he always bought them as soon as they were released), plus a bunch of Dean Koontz. We have an entire bookcase in our bedroom filled with his books, and my husband and I both love to read a book that we know he enjoyed, too.

    Alex Rider is still around? I remember my son enjoying this books when he was a teen (he’s 25 now!). We probably still have some around, too (my son is a bit of a hoarder, especially when it comes to books) – I should give them a try myself.

    Enjoy your books this week –


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so touched to hear about your sharing your love of reading with your father. And I’m sorry to hear about you losing him. It’s been 7 years for me and I still break down in tears from time to time. Some days it feels so fresh. And YES on Alex Rider. In fact, Horowitz just came out with a new book last month! So it looks like I have some serious catching up to do! Thank you for dropping by, Sue!


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