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!
Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s author visit was fantastic! I’m sure our campus center ballroom was a smaller venue than he’s accustomed to, but our students and faculty just ate him up. It’s always inspirational to learn about the effort it takes to get your foot in the door, but as we all learn from reading Hey, Kiddo, Krosoczka had additional trials along the way. It was a wonderful experience to meet him face-to-face and see his live presentation. He’s an entertaining speaker, but also 100% down to earth. Hopefully Elisabeth will share a little bit of her unexpected adventure while picking him up from the airport and driving him over 100 miles to our school! LOL Don’t forget, his audiobook edition of Hey, Kiddo is now available HERE! There are multiple narrators, including some of the people in the book who actually narrate their own lines.
I’ve had an enjoyable week of reading four middle grade novels and some fun Halloween-ish picture books with the kids. Thank you for visiting and I hope you’ll find something to add to your wish list!
Weird Little Robots
Corinna Luyken, illustrator
October 1, 2019
This is a cute younger middle grade magical realism story about a 9-year-old girl named Penny Rose who just moved to a new town. She’s not great at making friends and she enjoys creating little robots out of anything she finds (pencil sharpener, a pair of dentures, etc.). She wants friends more than anything, but somehow her little robots fill that need in the meantime. Little does she know that her neighbor, Lark, does the same thing with bird houses — piecing them together with odds and ends. So when the two meet up one day, they really hit it off. However, friendships are complicated, especially when secret science clubs and new friends get stirred into the mix. I listened to the audiobook, but hopefully I can track down a print book soon to get to see Luyken’s illustrations!
Beverly, Right Here
(Three Rancheros #3)
September 24, 2019
Beverly, Right Here is the third book in the Three Rancheros series that began with Raymie Nightingale and continued with Louisiana’s Way Home. This leg of the tale begins with Beverly’s dog, Buddy, dying. She is full of grief and feels the need to run away (she never really felt cared for at home, anyway). So at 14-years-old, she leaves town, finds a new place to stay, and gets a job at a fish restaurant. And miraculously, she finds someone willing to take her in, practically no questions asked. While some of the scenarios seem highly unlikely, Kate DiCamillo can create these side characters in each new town who are complete with backstories and feelings and unique personalities. This addition to the trilogy definitely felt more mature than the others and I had to keep reminding myself that she was only 14 years old. Beverly is clearly very independent and somewhat fearless, but while there’s a thin thread of hope throughout the story, there’s also deep sadness.
The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue
(The Vanderbeekers #3)
Karina Yan Glaser
September 17, 2019
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
If you haven’t yet met the Vanderbeeker family from Harlem, there’s no time like the present. This biracial, generous, and close-knit family is still living in their beloved brownstone on 141st Street and they are met with a new family catastrophe along with a new mystery to solve. Mama’s baking business is taking off and her home-based kitchen must pass inspected. But also, WHY do homeless animals keep showing up on their doorstep? There’s so much to love about this series, but what I adore most about these books are the relationships, especially within the family. Kids make mistakes and they calmly work it out. I’m just so touched and astounded by the patience and empathy and am always willing to revisit 141st Street. And apparently there’s a fourth book planned for release in 2020, so YAY!
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
August 9, 2016
Algonquin Young Readers
This book!! Just sitting here thinking about the reading experience brings tears to my eyes. Why did I wait so long? Young Luna lies at the center of this story. When her grandmother discovers she has very powerful magic, she creates a spell to lock it up until her 13th birthday, giving her time to prepare her young mind.
“She needs to be educated. She needs to know the contents of those books, there. She needs to understand the movements of the stars and the origins of the universe and the requirements of kindness. She needs to know mathematics and poetry. She must ask questions. She must seek to understand. She must understand the laws of cause and effect and unintended consequences. She must learn compassion and curiosity and awe. All of these things. We have to instruct her, Glerk. All three of us. It is a great responsibility.”
There’s a swamp beast, a dragon, a sorrow eater, a yearly sacrifice of a baby, a poet, witches, magical boots, a grieving mother, and a brave boy. This is a must read and will likely be a re-read for me. Five stars!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2017), Locus Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Book (2017), Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee (2018), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (2018), Andre Norton Award Nominee (2016)
NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book (2017)
Creepy Pair of Underwear!
(Creepy Carrots #2)
Peter Brown, illustrator
August 15, 2017
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
We read some fun Halloween-ish books with the kids this week, including Creepy Carrots! and this sequel: Creepy Pair of Underwear! Jasper is no longer haunted by carrots, but now he cannot get rid of his creepy pair of underwear. Will he finally be a peace if he find a way to end them forever? You’ll have to read on to find out! The illustrations for this book were rendered in pencil on paper and then digitally composited and colored. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
AWARDS: Monarch Award (2019)
Los Gatos Black on Halloween
Yuyi Morales, illustrator
August 22, 2006
Henry Holt and Company
This book is a lovely Halloween poem intermixing English and Spanish. Using context clues, young readers can easily figure out what each Spanish word means. For example, las brujas ride on broomsticks and los muertos come out of their coffins. Yuyi Morales’s illustrations are intricate and haunting. I’ll provide one example, below:
AWARDS: Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award (2008), Pura Belpré Award for Illustration (2008)
July 19, 2011
Roaring Brook Press
“A promise made under a full moon cannot be broken.”
I checked out this older title since it seemed Halloween-ish and also because we recently put our dog down and I thought maybe it would provide some conversation or comfort. It initially appeared to be primarily a sentimental book about a boy and his beloved dog who promises to always be with him, but it turned out to be funny for kids when the skeletons get involved. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite Eric Rohmann book (for example: human skeletons want to eat living humans), but it was worth the silly laugh during this season.
To Be Read:
Today my husband is leaving town for a conference, so it’ll probably feel like a looooong week of single parenting. Not sure if I’ll get much personal reading done, so I hesitate to commit to anything specific. However, I have some titles I should probably re-read in preparation for new books being released in the series very soon (such as Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi and The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black). Also, I definitely need to look over my #MustReadin2019 list — I still have 11 titles to attempt in less than 2 months. Eeeek!
Reading Challenge Updates:
I surpassed my reading goal of 250 books this year, so I’m bumping my goal up to 300, today.