It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/4/19 #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!

2019-10-28-Hey-KiddoJarrett 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
Carolyn Crimi
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!

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.


Beverly, Right Here
(Three Rancheros #3)
Kate DiCamillo
September 24, 2019
Candlewick Press

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.

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 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!

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 Girl Who Drank the Moon
Kelly Barnhill
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)

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.


Creepy Pair of Underwear!
(Creepy Carrots #2)
Aaron Reynolds
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)

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.


Los Gatos Black on Halloween
Marisa Montes
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)

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.


Bone Dog
Eric Rohmann
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.


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.

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.

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 254/300
#MustReadin2019 – 31/42

18 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/4/19 #imwayr

  1. The author visit with Jarrett K. Krosoczka sounds incredible! Hey, Kiddo was a great book. I am also 100% in agreement about Beverly, Right Here. There’s so much sadness in that book. It’s quite a different book than the first two in the series, those seemed much more hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely the saddest book of the three — each character in the story seemed to carry such a heavy load, too. I also wasn’t sure on the relationship between Beverly and Elmer. Was it friendship or partially romance? Lots to discuss there if only I had a book club. LOL Thank you for dropping by, Wendi!


    1. I can’t say enough about The Girl Who Drank the Moon — I fell into this story and didn’t want to come out. Just WOW! And I’m so happy to hear there will be another Vanderbeeker book, next year! I wonder if they’ll keep going after that. Thanks for visiting, Stacy!


    1. Louisiana was just such a likable character, even if dishonesty grates on me. She could somehow always use gullibility to her advantage and still come off as truly sweet natured. Thank you for swinging by my blog!


  2. Ha! I finally made it over here! It’s been crazy hectic lately 🙂

    Wow!! You got to meet Jarrett – so cool! Sounds like a great visit and a wonderful talk – I would love to hear him speak. Loved his book. One of the highlights of last year’s Nonfiction November for me.

    I have fallen behind on Kate DiCamillo books since my sons grew up, but I miss them – I need to catch up!

    Enjoy your books this week –


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a delightful speaker! And I agree on Hey, Kiddo — a highlight of my reading. I’m looking forward to listening to the audiobook rendition since he attempted to get some of the actual people from his past to narrate, like past teachers, his childhood friend’s family, etc. I imagine it will be wonderful! Thank you for visiting, Sue!


  3. Congratulations on meeting your goal already & adding more, too! I don’t know Los Gatos Black on Halloween, marked it to be sure to have for next year. I’ve read and loved all your other books except the Vanderbeekers one. I read their first adventure & just haven’t made time for others, probably should. It’s just the time as you know. It is wonderful that you met and hosted with Jarrett K. Krosoczka. Hey! Kiddo is a favorite this year. Thanks for all, Shaye. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t remember who in the #imwayr community brought up Los Gatos Black on Halloween in the last month (maybe Myra?), but I immediately put in a request for it when I read about it. I was surprised I hadn’t come across us until today. Hope you can find a copy for next Halloween. But yes, I completely have that pesky time issue. LOL Thank you for visiting, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, yes… a good author visit is so inspiring! It’s important to hear about the trials and errors. And what I really heard from Krosoczka’s talk, aside from how he composes his artwork and writing, was that persistence and optimism were his most important tools. He just kept on going, contacting publishers and pushing his work. It just takes one person to recognize your talent and get your foot in the door. But it’s always a delight when a big-named author makes their way out to our little neck of the woods. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, Deb!


  4. I still need to read the Robots book and the next Kate DiCamillo. Have copies of both…
    I also want to read the Tomi Adeyemi book! It’s been in my stack a LONG time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you decide to read Tomi Adeyemi, I highly recommend the audiobook. Bahni Turpin is the narrator and she has a world of voices and dialects that bring this story to life. I currently have a hold on it in hopes that I can re-listen to it before book #2 is released. Thanks for swinging by, Michele!


  5. Someone else talked about Weird Little Robots this week and now I must get a copy to read. I loved Creepy Underwear and Bone Dog. Los Gatos Black on Halloween is new to me. I misplaced my notes on Beverly, Right Here, so I reread it. I swear it was even better the second time!
    I adored The Girl Who Drank the Moon and am so glad you found time to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am still basking in the glow of The Girl Who Drank the Moon!! What a journey that was — not sure I’m ready to recover. Weird Little Robots is a super quick read and will be great for the younger section of middle grade readers (since the characters are only 9). But there’s lots up for discussion, there. Thank you for visiting, Cheriee!


  6. You have read some great books this year. Creepy Pair of Underwear is a student favorite and I always read it this time of the year. I just love the Vanderbeekers and am anxiously awaiting Book 4.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Creepy Carrots! and Creepy Pair of Underwear! are both so very cute and FUNNY! Plus, kids just like saying underwear. I may have to find some green glow-in-the-dark underwear for Christmas. LOL And I am also very excited about the Vanderbeeker book #4. They feel like family! Thanks for swinging by, Laura.


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