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!
My mom flew back home last Wednesday after a wonderful two-week visit and then we left for Denver on Friday for a fall family vacation (11th through the 15th). We had a nice drive down and are currently enjoying our long weekend of hotel living and visiting favorite attractions. I’ll share two family photos from Saturday and Sunday:
As I’m blogging from our hotel room today (with FIVE children in tow), I’ll mostly hit the highlights. Nevertheless, I hope you find something new to add to your wish list. Thanks for visiting!
Frankly in Love
(Frankly in Love #1)
September 10, 2019
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
I checked out this audiobook on a whim because I kept hearing the title pop up in my book reviewing circles. Frank Li (AKA Frankly) is a senior in high school. He’s Korean-American and his parents only want him to date another Korean. Nevertheless, he falls head over heels for a white girl at his school and must find a way to keep their relationship a secret. He and his life long Korean friend, Joy, decide to pretend-date each other while they go out with their respective non-Korean mates. BUT… there’s so much more to this story than Korean-American identity and fake dating and I found myself really enjoying the story. I appreciated how Frank Li discussed his first sexual experience as being quite meaningful (contrary to how it’s often portrayed by teen males in pop culture). And there’s some excellent exploration of racism in this story. I will definitely look forward to book #2 being released in 2020.
Margaret Peterson Haddix
September 24, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books
This title became available through my Overdrive library last week and it looked to have just enough spooky elements to work well for a pre-Halloween read. It was full of mystery and suspense and was just right for the upper middle grade audience. Marin is new to town. While exploring the woods behind her house, she sees some older teenagers who suddenly disappear into thin air. That’s when Marin discovers that her new neighbor, Charley, has also been watching the teenagers. She learns that he calls them Remarkables and that he believes what they are seeing are images from the past. Charley intends to find a way in so that he can change the future. But Marin is not so sure that’s the best idea.
“…the present and the future are the only things you can do anything about. You can have a good future because the past is over. All you can do is learn from it.”
There’s a lot packed into this story ranging from friendship to bullies to depression to drug addiction to family relationships and some deep thoughts on time-travel and how it would change the future. It seemed a slightly more mature middle grade novel and will be especially great for a middle grader who appreciates the murky complications of relationship with both friends and family.
This book is a humorous tale created with well-known story time characters. Goblin and Troll are on a mission to find the rudest child so they can have them for dinner. As they run into different characters along the way, they aren’t fully satisfied until they meet Goldilocks. So rude! Look for the fun twist ending to this one. 🙂 The illustrations were rendered in ink and colored digitally. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:
Noodleheads Find Something Fishy
Tedd Arnold, author/illustrator
September 4, 2018
This is book #3 in the Noodlehead series and Mac and Mac are at it again, misunderstanding or misinterpreting everything left and right. But emerging and reluctant readers will enjoy giggling through the word play and idioms in these graphic novel episodes. I mean, how in the world can these gullible characters could be outsmarted by a FISH!? The back matter includes plenty of information about the folklore inspiration which will especially interest more than just children. The artwork was rendered digitally using Photoshop software. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
I somehow missed the first two books in this series of cautionary tales, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate book #3. Magnolia is determined to start her own circus in the library after reading a sign that says, “You can do ANYTHING at the library.” But time after time, she runs into problems with various components of her circus. Young children will enjoy the catastrophes and can discuss what the sign actually means in the context of the library. The illustrations for this book were digitally drawn in Adobe Photoshop and then painted in Corel Painter using a Monoprice tablet. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
February 27, 2018 (US edition)
This little story is told in both words and with color. Blip is constantly connected to her computer until one day when she experiences a blackout. That’s when she must encounter the outside world. The colors change from black and white to full color when she experiences friendships, adventure, and obvious joy. That’s when, heartbreakingly, she must return home. Some say it’s a little heavy-handed on the message, which I can understand. Still, the message is obvious and sometimes necessary — get off your device and explore the outside world (of course, the same thing has been said of bookworms). This could at least be a good discussion-starter on healthy balance. I’ll provide one example of the artwork, below:
The Patchwork Bike
Maxine Beneba Clarke
Van T. Rudd, illustrator
September 11, 2018 (US Edition)
This was my favorite new picture book read of the week. The artwork and message are absolutely fantastic! It’s about three children living in a village with mud-for-walls houses. They laugh and shriek and climb trees and use all sorts of odds and ends to create a bike. The creativity and joy are so very apparent. And all the artwork was created on recycled cardboard!
Some of my very best memories from childhood are of times when I created something out of nothing. I remember building a go-cart from odds and ends we found in our friends trash pile. And I recall building forts out of wood and nails found in a construction scrap pile. So today when my middle child constantly asks if we can go by the lumber yard and dig through their excess pile (always with their permission), I try to go whenever possible. Because that’s where some of the best memories begin!
Back matter includes both an author’s note about the inspiration for this story and an illustrator’s note about the artwork. You don’t want to miss either one — they will both provide an opportunity for discussion with children about poverty, play, and even about Black Lives Matter (which is connected to one of the illustrations with a police car). The artwork in this book was done in acrylic on recycled cardboard. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
AWARDS: Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee for Highly Commended (2019), Crichton Award (2017)
This week I enjoyed re-reading some favorite picture book with my mom while she was in town. She loved them all and was already talking about purchasing at least one of them after she gets back home!