It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/23/2019 #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!

For the next two weeks, my mom will be visiting and staying in our home. Then next Monday is actually my birthday. YAY! While we’re out painting the town red, I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done. But I’ll plan to at least post something, next week. 🙂 And aside from the craziness this week, I still hope to make it around to everyone’s blog throughout the next couple days!

I’ll keep this short, but today I’m sharing an ARC of How to Code a Rollercoaster by Josh Funk. This title will be released tomorrow, so be sure to check it out!


My Jasper June
Laurel Snyder
September 3rd 2019
Walden Pond Press

13-year-old Leah is feeling very alone. Her family lost her little brother just a year ago and nothing has felt normal with her parents since then. By chance, Leah meets another young girl named Jasper. They hit it off and have a fantastic time together, creating magical memories while carving out a hidden space that only they know about. But as Leah learns that June is homeless, it’s hard to know when to keep a secret and when it’s time to speak up. This is a heart wrenching story that’s sure to bring a lump to your throat and warmth to your heart! 

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.


A Swirl of Ocean
Melissa Sarno
August 6, 2019
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

What a lovely cover! ❤ What I didn’t know about this story before I began reading is that it includes a good deal of magical realism. 12-year-old Summer was found on the beach when she was only two years old. An intense investigation turned up no information, so Lindy took custody of Summer and raised her as her own. Ten years later, Summer is feeling all sorts of questions about her past — who is she really? Where did certain traits come from? Did no one miss her? One night Summer gets pulled into the ocean while swimming and ends up swallowing a lot of water. And after that experience, she begins having vivid dreams of a girl named Tink. It all feels so real to her and even coincides with events she discovers to have actually happened. So did she already know about these things or is she making it all up? It’s a charming and touching story of self-discovery and one of healing wounds from the past.

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.


24 Hours in Nowhere
Dusti Bowling
September 4, 2018
Sterling Children’s Books

This one is a re-read. Last year it may have been my very favorite read of 2018 — certainly in my top 5. In fact, I was given an ARC, but went ahead and bought a personal copy for my family as soon as it was released. This month it was a family read aloud and I LOVED  listening to the kids laugh and talk about the different characters, what they would do if they were in this situation, and learning the new vocabulary words that are presented in bold type every couple pages or so. The premise may sound boring, but the characters are so real and the intricate development of each relationships is heartwarming. Don’t take my word for it: 24 Hours in Nowhere received many glowing reviews, including STARRED reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and School Library Journal. This one will remain on our shelves as a very favorite! Feel free to read my original review 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 through Amazon HERE.


Red at the Bone
Jacqueline Woodson
September 17, 2019
Riverhead Books

Wow. I don’t want to share too much about this one because I knew nothing going in and it was an amazing experience! I would say the most important thing would be to know it’s written from five different perspectives, both in the past and the present. But the characters are all related and familiar with one another. The story has utterly beautiful prose and the narration of the audiobook was FANTASTIC (including Bahni Turpin, Shayna Small, Peter Francis Jame, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, and even Jacqueline Woodson). Highly recommend!

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.


Tara Westover
February 20, 2018
Random House

Educated is another title from my #MustReadin2019 list and, whoa, was it a whopper. Check out the list of rewards it received, below. In a nutshell, this is Tara Westover’s memoir of growing up in the mountains of Idaho within a family of extremist survivalists. Everything she was taught revolved around learning how to be self-sufficient AND being anti-government. Not only did she not have a birth certificate or any formal education (they claimed to homeschool, but they pretty much just used the kids to run the family business), but she was so secluded from the world that she’d never heard of the holocaust until she saw the word in a history textbook in college. After a most unusual and abusive upbringing, she left home and went on to receive a PhD while being estranged from her parents.

As I walked home carrying the heavy manuscript, I remembered attending one of Dr. Kerry’s lectures, which he had begun by writing, “Who writes history?” on the blackboard. I remembered how strange the question had seemed to me then. My idea of a historian was not human; it was of someone like my father, more prophet than man, whose visions of the past, like those of the future, could not be questioned, or even augmented. Now, as I passed through King’s College, in the shadow of the enormous chapel, my old diffidence seemed almost funny. Who writes history? I thought. I do.   

As I finished the book, I couldn’t help but look up the Westovers to see how their business is doing, today. I came upon many videos and article after article, including a response from the family attorney who says ‘Educated’ Should Be Read with a Grain of Salt. I also got caught up in reading responses from two of Tara’s siblings (who appear to be supportive of Tara while not completely dismissing their parents). I realize we’ll never 100% know the full story, but if even half of the memoir is true then it’s rather cringe-worthy.

AWARDS: Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography (2018), ALA Alex Award (2019), Wellcome Book Prize Nominee for Longlist (2019), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Autobiography (2018), Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir & Autobiography (2018), Audie Award for Best Female Narrator (2019), PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Nominee for Shortlist (2019), Reading Women Award for Nonfiction (2018)

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.


How to Code a Rollercoaster
(How to Code with Pearl & Pascal)
Josh Funk
Sara Palacios, illustrator
September 24, 2019
Viking / Penguin

Three of my kiddos are really into coding, so I’m delighted to keep up with the How to Code with Pear & Pascal series. In book #2, Pearl and Pascal are going to an amusement park where there are a number of rides like the ferris wheel, log fume, a train, a roller coaster, etc. Pearl starts out the day with only 10 tokens that must last the entire day. So, using the map, she and Pascal plan out how to have fun while waiting for the line to the Python Coaster to shorten. While reading the story, kids will learn what code is, what a variable is, how to create a loop, and how to use an if-then-else. When it finally comes time to ride the Python Coaster, Pearl and Pascal encounter an unexpected glitch in their plans and must quickly problem solve. But no worries, they use their sequencing skills to save the day! It’s so cute how Pascal takes some of Pearl’s instructions quite literally. For example, when Pearl says to “swing over to the Python Coaster,” Pascal literally hops on the swings. So be sure to watch for these funny little misunderstandings. The back matter has a section titled Pearl and Pascal’s Guide to Coding where the vocabulary is discussed in more detail, with references back to the story. My thanks to Edelweiss Plus and Viking / Penguin for the digital copy of this ARC so I could provide an honest review.

The illustrations in this book were rendered digitally in combination with gouache and acrylic paintings. Some pages have several different scenes back-to-back while others showcase one scene in a large page spread. I’ll provide one page spread from the ARC as an example of the artwork, 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:

As mentioned earlier, my mom will be in town the next two weeks. But I’m currently reading The Root of Magic with my children while listening to My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 223/250
#MustReadin2019 – 29/42


24 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/23/2019 #imwayr

  1. I know about Jasper June, still need to read 24 hours in nowhere. I get to see Jacqueline Woodson this coming Saturday & get the book! Will also get the new Josh Funk book, know it will be fun. Have fun with your mom, & Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow @ getting to see Jacqueline Woodson!! And 24 Hours is one of my all-time favorite middle grade books. Highly, highly recommend. Thanks for visiting, Linda! #superlateresponse


  2. I’ve been wanting to read both 24 Hours in Nowhere and Educated for a while – I need to get to them! And a new Jacqueline Woodson!! It sounds amazing – I so loved Brown Girl Dreaming.

    Enjoy your family visit and your birthday!! I definitely won’t be around next Monday – it’s our 30th anniversary!


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved both 24 Hours in Nowhere and Educated. I mean, I hate to say I ‘loved’ Educated because there are some pretty rough parts of it and it’s supposed to be a true account (at least from Tara’s perspective), but it’s so moving and has stuck with me — can’t stop thinking about it! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you had a wonderful 30th Anniversary! I turned 17 on the day you got married! 🙂


  3. I just picked up Red at the Bone from the library! Your review makes me want to start it tonight! A Swirl of Ocean has been in my pile for some time too, I can’t believe I haven’t gotten to it.
    Josh Funk books are so well loved at school. He’s always named a favorite author!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been mostly away the last two weeks, so I imagine you’ve already gotten to Red at the Bone and Swirl of Ocean by now. If not, I hope you love them both once you do!! I would have loved to have Josh Funk visit the elementary school when I still worked there — he seems like such a fun person IRL and I imagine the kids would have loved getting to meet him!


    1. It was like, just when you thought it was as bad as it could get, something even worse would happen. At times it read like a horror story. But it’s really stuck with me since I finished it. Thanks for dropping by, Earl!


  4. You’ve got so many good books on your table. I feel like I need to go request them all. I’m especially interested in Ice Cream Sandwich. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about these with us. You should have a lot to nominate for this year’s Cybils Awards when the nominations open up on October 1.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so excited about nominating books for Cybils Awards, but then nervous when I saw I could only nominate one per category. HOW do we choose?! LOL Thanks for swinging by, Deb!


    1. It’s a very tough read, but very well written. I’ve continued to think about it these last few weeks while watching interview videos and reading other articles/pages about the book. I hope you enjoy it! And thanks for swinging by, Briana!


  5. I’m glad you enjoyed Red at the Bone. I read it with my eyes, but might have to find and listen to it. What a cast of narrators! My Jasper June has been on my list ever since I read my first review of it. Educated is on my #MustReadNF list for this year. I don’t know if I will get to it since there are so many holds on all the library copies. What do you think it would be like as an audiobook?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read Educated as an audiobook and was really glad I did. There were some points that were very difficult and I felt such dread waiting for a scene to end, but I’m really glad I kept going. And Red at the Bone was fantastic as an audiobook — I especially love it when an author narrates their own work!


  6. I’m a fan of both Snyder and Woodson, so I’m glad to see your reviews. My book club is waiting for library lists to dwindle a bit before we put Educated on our list, but we are eager. Enjoy your time with your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Educated had a very long wait list. So waiting a bit might help if everyone doesn’t want to purchase the book. Thanks so much for the well wishes with my mom. We’ve had a fantastic visit and I can’t wait to do it again! ❤


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