It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/2/2019 #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!

We had two big winter storms roll in this past week, so the college cancelled all classes at noon on Monday, giving us pretty much the entire week off together. The second storm didn’t hit until Friday evening. And that one was a true blizzard with lots of snow and winds up to 75mph. Some in our area were without power for a long time — sleeping in front of their fire places, etc.

Between the two storms, we managed to take a quick trip up to South Dakota on Wednesday and get a family picture taken. If you don’t have a handful of children, then you cannot truly appreciate the difficulty of getting just one decent photo per year — eyes all open, pleasant expressions, everyone looking the right direction, etc. We’ve laughed and laughed over some shots, but we thankfully got one that we were able to use for our holiday cards. Also, I’ve pretty much been wearing my glasses full time the last couple years, so this is the first family portrait I’ve ever taken while wearing glasses. I feel like I should get a prize or something. 🙂

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

Thank you for visiting my blog, today. It’s been another great week of reading, so I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading wish list! I can’t wait to make the #imwayr rounds and see what everyone else is up to!

34728667Children of Blood and Bone
(Legacy of Orïsha #1)
Tomi Adeyemi
March 6, 2018
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

This was a re-read as I prepare for the release of book #2, tomorrow. But I’m pretty sure I picked up a lot more this time through. This series is a young adult epic fantasy with roots in West Africa. In book #1, we witness two groups of people within Orïsha who are constantly at odds: the maji (those with magical abilities) and the nobles (elite kosidán). Told from multiple viewpoints, we learn about the inner lives of four main characters (from both sides of the proverbial fence). It’s a brutal tale with a great deal of bloodshed and a smidge of romance. After this re-read, and without spoiling anything, I’m particularly anxious to see what ended up happening to Inan (Prince of Orïsha) since it wasn’t 100% clear. There’s lots of speculation and discussion across the series fandom, but I suppose we’ll see soon enough.

AWARDS: Locus Award Nominee for First Novel (2019), William C. Morris YA Debut Award Nominee (2019), Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year (2019), British Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Newcomer (Sydney J. Bounds Award) (2019), Lincoln Award Nominee (2020), Andre Norton Award (2018), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Young Readers’ Literature (2018), Goodreads Choice Award for Debut Author and Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2018), Dragon Award for Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel (2018), Nommo Award Nominee for Best Novel (The Ilube Award) (2019), Lodestar 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.


All the Impossible Things
Lindsay Lackey
September 3, 2019
Roaring Brook Press

This is another one of those “why have I not heard more about this book” moments. Because, while this was Lackey’s debut novel, it was quite good and discussed an important topic that is often overlooked in middle grade literature. Ruby (AKA Red) is being moved from one foster home to another one. She knows not to get her hopes up — her life is what it is and she’ll never feel settled. But her backstory is quite painful and we have constant flashback memories to explain why her mom is in jail and why her grandmother can no longer take care of her. Oof! So hard. 😦

I adored Red’s new foster family, but as things began to unravel, I felt her despair deeply — such an utter sense of loss to feel like you belong nowhere. This is key for helping young readers gain important empathy. Oh and Red’s new best friend is Marvin and he’s simply fantastic. There’s also a magical realism element to this story. And what might be most appealing to the middle grade audience is the fact that some of the adults just roll with it like there’s nothing unusual about having special powers. I’m happy to recommend!

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.


(Smile #1)
Raina Telgemeier
February 1, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness. I laughed out loud over Telgemeier’s memoir. I never wore braces. I wanted them, desperately, because almost ALL my friends had them and I thought they were so pretty with silver earrings and silver necklaces — oh, and those pretty colorful rubber bands they sometimes wore… Adorbs! But my dentist said my teeth were perfectly straight and that there was no need to visit an orthodontist. Well, if only I’d heard Raina Telgemeier’s story when I was begging for wires and cement on my teeth!! Telgemeier said she has told this painful 4 1/2 year story, repeatedly, to many people over the years before deciding she needed to record it as a graphic memoir. I’m so glad she did! My 14-year-old son was reading it along with me and we both LOVED it!

AWARDS: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (2012), Iowa Children’s Choice Award (2012), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2010), Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Publication for Teens (2011), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee (2010), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (2013)

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.


(Smile #2)
Raina Telgemeier
August 26, 2014

And the laughter continued with book #2. Too many hilarious scenes that only siblings can understand. Telgemeier captured the jumbled mess of love/hate feelings between sisters, along with the awkward experiences of a lengthy road trip while visiting long distance family. I am excited to start Guts, next!

AWARDS: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist (2015), Prix Bédélys Jeunesse (2014), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2014)

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.


Hum and Swish
Matt Myers
June 11, 2019
Neal Porter Books

Just look at that gorgeous cover! The artwork in this book is so lovely, you’ll want to spend lots of time looking over every inch of each page. The story is about young Jamie, enjoying the swish of the ocean while she hums. She’s working on some project, but she’s in no rush to finish her creation. People keep stopping by to comment or ask questions and she finds their interruptions annoying. Eventually, she finds a like-minded companion who doesn’t interrupt her work and who understands her contemplative process. There’s so much to discuss with young children while reading this one. ❤

The illustrations are fantastic and I especially enjoyed the depiction of all the different people who stop by to admire Jamie’s work. The artwork was created with acrylic and oil paint. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, 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.


Under My Hijab
Hena Khan
Aaliya Jaleel, illustrator
January 22, 2019
Lee & Low Books

This is an important picture book that brings to light one aspect of the Muslim faith: the hijab. The young girl in this story showcases six different women in her life who wear the hijab in their own way. But they each take it off their heads when they’re in the comfort of their homes. The back matter explains a little more about the Islam faith and the wearing of the hijab, including the fact that the author of this book chooses not to wear a hijab due to her personal interpretation of Islamic religious requirements. This book is a wonderful mirror/window for young readers! The artwork in this book was rendered in Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide one example, 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.


Carl and the Meaning of Life
Deborah Freedman
April 2, 2019
Viking Books for Young Readers

An earthworm named Carl is trying to discover why he does what he does. Every day it’s the same thing: tunneling, digesting, casting, and changing the soil. But WHY? In the end, he discovers that every creature has an important job. If he stops what he’s doing, everyone suffers. This little book showcases how we are all connected and depending on one another to do our part. It would especially be a great read to share around Earth Day or while studying the environment. The sweet illustrations in this book were made with pencil, watercolor, and bits of colored pencil, and assembled in photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, 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 starting my week off with You Make Me Happy by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Alison Brown and Guts by Raina Telgemeier.

NOTE: The Volumes App is offering Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for FREE today (12/2) through Wednesday (12/4). I just downloaded my copy this morning, so I know it’s working. With the new movie out this winter, you might want to grab this audiobook deal while it lasts.

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2019 – 281/300
#MustReadin2019 – 34/42

10 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/2/2019 #imwayr

  1. Enjoy ‘Guts’, love every one of Raina Telgemeier’s books, as does my granddaughter! I’ve read all the books you shared this time, Shaye, am really looking forward to the next ‘Blood & Bone’ book. I love your family pics. They did turn out wonderfully! Have a great week digging out. Our streets are nearly clear & it’s supposed to be warmer here!


  2. Love your family photos Shaye! It looks like you had a fabulous reading week. Carl and the Meaning of Life was already on my list, but after reading your review, I put a hold on it from my library. I adored Children of Blood and Bone but will probably wait for the summer to read the sequel.


  3. Your family picture looks terrific! I’m glad you were able to get everyone together between storms. Raina Telgemeier’s books were always popular with my fifth graders. So much so, I could never get my hands on them to read them! I read Drama, but I really need to get ahold of the other ones and read them. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Stay warm!


  4. I only have two kids, but I understand the struggle to get just one good family picture! And your family pictures are terrific! I’d like to get a copy of Hum and Swish for my daughter for Christmas, it sounds just up her alley. Have a great reading week.


  5. I love the Raina Telgemeier memoirs, though I have to say that some of the teeth scenes made me a little squeamish!! Very pleased to discover that my library has a couple of these picture books that I haven’t read! We’re starting to have a little bit of cabin fever here. Hoping to get out today though they’re still out clearing the roads! Loved the family photos. Glad you were able to sneak up to Rapid between the storms!


  6. I have also enjoyed Raina’s graphic novels and as a librarian, I never seem to have enough. Today, a young guy in grade 4 signed out Guts, and one of his female classmates looked at him and then at me with a “Is this really happening?” kind of looks. I told her it happens all the time, and it is great. She thought it was a “girl” book. It’s not.
    I also really loved Carl. I finally got my own copy after borrowing from my wife’s library. Thanks for the excellent post, you have me thinking I still need to read Children of Blood and Bone, although I am tempted to wait until the series is a little more complete.


  7. Gorgeous family photos! Lovely! The glasses add a layer of panache, really. 🙂
    Lovelovelove Raina Telgemeier. You may want to also check out her Ghosts and Drama. 🙂
    I’ve been meaning to read my review copy of Children of Blood and Bone for the longest time. Hopefully, soon. 🙂


  8. First of all, love the family photos!
    Next, so many wonderful books on your list this week! I have heard wonderful things about Wonderful Things, and I do own it so just need to read it now! I have Children of Blood and Bone and have owned it for a long time now but I just haven’t gotten to it. Own the second one too…. Contemplating putting them on a mustread list for next year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s