It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/25/2019 #imwayr

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!

I’m super excited about Thanksgiving. We did all our grocery shopping (except for fresh items) a couple weeks back and so we’re ready to rock-and-roll! It’s my favorite holiday, especially because our focus is on family and friendships/neighbors and what we’re all thankful for — and games and food and movies and time-off-work. We also usually TRY to get a professional family photo taken over the weekend, but I have yet to set an appointment. Ugh! In any case, if you’re celebrating the holiday, I hope it’s a wonderful time of togetherness.

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading wish list!


The Queen of Nothing
(The Folk of the Air #3)
Holly Black
November 19, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I just never know about release day deliveries since I live in a secluded area, so I was thrilled when this book arrived on Tuesday afternoon. So after I got the kiddos to bed, I watched a little TV with hubby and then told him I would be up very late reading. I made snacks a little before midnight and, between my re-read of The Wicked King and The Queen of Nothing, I didn’t stop reading until after 7AM. I can’t even remember the last time I stayed up all night long reading (and I’ll say it’s much harder to do at my age than it was back when I was in college or graduate school). For those who haven’t yet read this series, I can’t say much of anything without spoiling earlier books. However, I think this one was my favorite of the three–they got better with each one. OHHH, and if you’re purchasing The Queen of Nothing, keep in mind that the B&N special edition of book #3 includes “letters from Cardan”. Since I bought the Amazon edition, another book blogger friend sent me images of the letters and I immediately placed my copy up for sale and ordered the B&N edition — reading those letters really hit me in the gut AFTER having finished the book. Ooof! By the way, for a limited time you can download the audiobook of The Cruel Prince (book #1), narrated by Caitlin Kelly, from Chirp for only $4.99.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through IndieBound HERE.
If you want the Barnes & Noble special edition (which includes letters from Cardan), you may find that HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


Look Both Ways: A Tale
Told in Ten Blocks
Jason Reynolds
Narrated by:
Jason Reynolds, Heather Alicia Simms,
Chris Chalk, Bahni Turpin, Adenrele
Ojo, Kevin R. Free, J. D. Jackson,
Guy Lockard, January LaVoy, David Sadzin
October 8, 2019
Atheneum & Simon Schuster Audio

This book is a set of ten separate short stories, but the characters are connected — living just blocks from one another and going to the same school (Latimer Middle School). I listened to the audiobook which featured some amazing narrators (mentioned, above). While it wasn’t my favorite of Reynold’s books, I did enjoy each story and felt like I really got to know the characters in a brief segment of time.

AWARDS: National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature (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.


Hearts Unbroken
Cynthia Leitich Smith
October 9, 2018
Candlewick Press

This book is another of my #MustReadin2019 selections and this week was the perfect time to read this book since there was a lot of discussion about Halloween and Thanksgiving and all things autumn. The story begins with Louise Wolfe, a Muscogee (Creek) girl, breaking up with her popular boyfriend when he says some disrespectful things about Native Americans. Then we jump to the start of the following school year where she is a senior and her little brother, Hughie, is a freshman. She joins the school journalism team while her brother auditions for and wins a role in the school production of The Wizard of Oz as the Tin Man.

As I’m attempting to summarize, I’m realizing just how much territory this book covered in only 300 pages: racism, bullying, journalism issues, vandalism, school politics, and even romance. With super short chapters (sometimes only 2 pages) it’s a fast read, with many different characters, and lots of diversity. The vocabulary is quite simple for a YA novel (after finishing Black’s Folk of the Air series earlier in the week, this one honestly felt more like middle grade reading). Nevertheless, there was still some cursing and very open discussion of sexual activity. I hear and understand why so many readers have disliked portions of this book, but I can’t deny that, in the end, I enjoyed it and felt the story was well worth my time.

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.


Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop:
The Sanitation Strike of 1968
Alice Faye Duncan
R. Gregory Christie, illustrator
September 11, 2018
Calkins Creek

This picture book shares the details of the Sanitation Strike, which was just one incident in the overall context of civil rights movement. In 1968, two African American sanitation workers died due to unsafe equipment. At the time, all sanitation workers survived on “starvation pay” and Mayor Loeb denied their demands for higher pay. That’s when 1,300 workers deserted their jobs and marched through downtown Memphis. Within a couple weeks the streets became nasty and many in the community bean to feel the pain of no income. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to the community and raised awareness, nationwide. But it wasn’t long before 4,000 soldiers with tanks were dispatched to parole the streets of Memphis. Before the major march Dr. King planned could occur, he was shot on the balcony of a Memphis motel on April 4, 1968. Days later, Coretta Scott King flew to Memphis to carry out her husband’s plans. She, along with 40,000 people marched in silence. It was a very somber day, but the strike officially ended on April 16, 1968.

“So much was won.
So much was lost.
Freedom is never free.”

The book is text heavy for a picture book, but serves as a good historical account told from someone who remembers the experience — a Memphis teacher named Lorraine (who was a child at the time of the march). The artwork in this book was painted with Acryla Gouache. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:


AWARDS: Coretta Scott King Award Nominee for Illustrator (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.

31340715I Can Only Draw Worms
Will Mabbitt
January 26, 2017
Penguin Workshop

This picture book was the highlight of my younger children’s reading week. It’s so simple, but too funny! My kids kept re-reading it — even trying to tell the worms apart (counting lines in their bodies, etc.). So although it is touted as a counting book, it’s served as the point of great discussion in the Miller family. I mean, could worms wear glasses? And if you cut one in half, does it really become two worms or only two half-worms? In black, white, yellow, and hot pink, author and illustrator Will Mabbitt has captured the joy and laughter of my children. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of his 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:

I’m currently doing a re-read of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi in preparation for the release of book #2, next week. I also have a large stack of picture books I’m digging into, including Hum and Swish by Matt Myers, Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, and Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman.

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 274/300
#MustReadin2019 – 34/42

16 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/25/2019 #imwayr

    1. I’ve wanted to read Black forever — we even own The Spiderwick Chronicles and they just sat on our shelves for years, collecting dust. But I really enjoyed this series and look forward to reading more of her work. Thank you for visiting, Astrid!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh no, I didn’t know Tomi Adeyemi’s next one is coming out! How will I finish Toll & read that one. Whew! I have noted the Holly Black series. It must be wonderful if you stayed up all night, Shaye! I have Hearts Unbroken, want to get to it sometime! And I know I’ll love Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop. It’s on my list, too! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adeyemi’s sequel was supposed to come out earlier this year — that’s why I put it on my #MustReadin2019 list. But then they moved it back to December and I was worried about squeezing it in. But I see it’s about 100 shorter than book #1. So HOPEFULLY I can squeeze that much into my December reading. LOL I hope The Toll is excellent! I just checked out Thunderhead and it’s driving me crazy that I still have a few books ahead of it. Eeeek!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m finding it difficult to read, this holiday. With two storms/blizzards rolling in this week, school was cancelled at noon on Monday (instead of only having Thursday and Friday off, which was the original plan). Being trapped mostly indoors, we’ve played games, watched movies, cooked a whole bunch (obviously), and we’ve had much to clean up each day. LOL But I can hardly complain — togetherness is so wonderful!


    1. Hahahahaha! Well, if I could just manipulate the members of my family the way I can manipulate book covers, I’d be SET. Taking a family photo with five children is always so much work (especially trying to get everyone to smile). I think I’m breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it. And those portrait studio rooms are always soooo cramped and hot. Hopefully it’ll all work out. Thanks for dropping by, Karen!


  2. I have had this Holly Black series on my list to read for ages and ages. It sounds like I better had them to my mustread list for next year! In the mean time I”m waiting for Look Both Ways to become available from my library. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sure would like to squeeze in more Holly Black next year, so I’ll have to see what other series she’s written that look good. Hope you get your hands on Look Both Ways! Thank you for visiting and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Cheriee!


  3. I really need to read The Cruel Prince. I’ve heard such great things about the trilogy. Glad you enjoyed it! I know what you mean, though, it’s rare that I can stay up all night reading! I Can Only Draw Worms sounds like something my daughter would enjoy! I’ll have to look for a copy. Have a great week, and happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All-nighters are so tough these days. I did it many times with each of my children when they were young, but the older I get, the harder it is. The entire next two days I feel like a ZOMBIE! lol And oh yes, I imagine your little one will love I Can Only Draw Worms. Such a simple concept, but it spun beautifully. Happy Thanksgiving, Wendi!


  4. Thanks for the audio recommendation — I needed a new one! You have lots of great ones on your TBR pile and you mentioned one I need to find in my stacks. I love it and haven’t used it in awhile – Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop:The Sanitation Strike of 1968 Have a great Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t start getting into audiobooks until maybe two years ago and I now love having at least three waiting for me. I find that I get so much work done around my house. LOL And YES to Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop — such a fantastic book. Thank you for swinging by, Clare!


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