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)
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, 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)
Cynthia Leitich Smith
October 9, 2018
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.
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)
I Can Only Draw Worms
January 26, 2017
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:
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.