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!
Our whole family saw Frozen II yesterday afternoon and really enjoyed it — my 5 year old was on the edge of her seat the entire time. In fact, the entire theater was FULL of young children at the matinee and the giggles were just so wonderful! Now I feel like I can officially kickstart the holiday season. So with a fresh layer of snow on our streets, today I’ll be hand addressing long distance holiday cards, baking/decorating some cookies, and tonight we’ll finally be getting the tree up and decorated. On my reading front, I’m in the home stretch for finishing my #MustReadin2019 list. I hope to only end up with 2-3 books to roll over to next year’s list, but it’s sure going to be tough to find much reading time in December. In any case, thank you for visiting today. I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading wish list!
September 17, 2019
Last week I read books #1 and #2 of Telgemeier’s memoirs, so this week I was excited to get to book #3. What makes this book so great is the important discussion of anxiety and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Like, I know this isn’t the most comfortable topic to talk about with kids, but Telgemeier’s graphic novel uses both sorrow and humor to express how realistic and painful these issues are. And with a society of highly anxious tweens, pre-teens, and teenagers, it’s NECESSARY. I really wish this book has been around when my oldest was in middle school because she had a strong fear of vomiting and I know it would have been quite comforting to have a mirror to peak into. My 14-year-old finished this series last week and I’m now passing it on to another of my offspring. It’s a great series, no matter your age!
The Year We Fell From Space
October 15, 2019
Arthur A. Levine Books
This book is not getting nearly the attention it deserves, in my opinion. It’s primarily about how divorce impacts an entire family. But Liberty is so clever and her coping mechanisms are fascinating. Everyone in the family is in pain. There are a lot of tears, but I appreciated that there were no flat characters. The relationships are realistic and everyone makes fairly normal mistakes. The word “space” in the title is a metaphor for belonging. And when a child loses their sense of belonging, they may face a number of issues ranging from depression to bullying at school. Another interesting tidbit about the story is that the journal entries go all the way up to October 2, 2019 — less than two weeks from the publication of this book, which I thought was pretty cool. There’s an Author’s Note about apps and other online resources related to mental health as well as about stars and constellations. It was very difficult to put this one down. Highly recommend!!
Children of Virtue and Vengeance
(Legacy of Orïsha #2)
December 3, 2019
Henry Holt and Co.
While I cannot say much about the plot line of this second book without spoiling the series for newcomers, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are a lot more characters in book #2, but it’s okay if you cannot keep them all straight. The storyline resides mostly with the individuals you won’t forget. I laughed, punched my fist into the air, and definitely cried. Hard. And just when I needed some comic relief, out came this perfect quote:
“Next time let’s fall for a pair of siblings that don’t come with a crown.”
It’s important to note that Adeyemi wrote this series in response to the large number of blacks being subjected to police brutality in the U.S. — to explore ongoing oppression and to bring the issue of racism and fear to the forefront. And you do feel this perspective between the two battling sides throughout book #1 and book #2. While it’s said to be an all black cast, the magi/diviners are called maggots and are constantly put down while the nobles/royal family are the highest in all of Orïsha. But the story grows out of the fact that one individual from the royal family left home to become an ally to the magi and help them regain their magical powers. In an interview with HuffPost, the “white allies” angle of the storyline was discussed:
asked: The book also chronicles people who begin as antagonists but evolve into something else. Many may read about some of these antagonists and relate them to white allies. Are you making an argument about these allies as well?
Adeyemi: It’s frustrating that a lot of times black people have to find a way to be the bigger people, but I was like, “Logistically, you can’t shut out white people who want to help.” Because we’re still the minority. Even if we all mobilize — even if we all register to vote — even if we were efficient — even if we didn’t have Kanye running around doing what he’s doing — even if we were all together, we still wouldn’t have enough. So we have to include other people. With Zélie and Amari, I wanted to show that. Amari wants to do the right thing, but she has to learn how to do the right thing and how to be the support system she wants to be. And Zélie doesn’t want Amari’s help at all, but she needs to learn that she can’t do it on her own. (You can read the full interview HERE.)
I was AMAZED by the cover art. It was even more beautiful when I held the book in my hands. I stopped, often, just to gaze at Zélie. She’s so fierce and so strong. However, it bothers me that the cover of book #1 was so different — pretty much 2D vs. 3D. I’m not sure if that was done on purpose, but they don’t look like they’re part of the same series. Aaaanyway, I’ve said enough here to give a small taste without spoiling anything. I’ll look forward to reading what others think of this series. I’m completely invested and will anxiously await book #3.
NOTE: After the big social media altercation between Tomi Adeyemi and Nora Roberts over similar book titles, it’s important to note the words “blood and bone” have appeared in MANY book titles over the years. Just do a quick book search in Goodreads and you’ll be bombarded with books you probably weren’t familiar with before now. I’m glad the two eventually worked out their issues, but we can hopefully all be reminded that book titles cannot be plagiarized.
You Make Me Happy
Alison Brown, illustrator
January 15, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This is a sweet picture book about a special friendship between Fox and Porcupine. In rhyming text we see how life is full of surprises, more sunshine, precious hugs, and laughter when these two are together. It’s aimed toward younger elementary grades, but any age would enjoy the loving sentiment. This would make a neat gift for that special someone whether it be a birthday, Valentine’s Day, etc.
The artwork in this book was created with acrylic paint and colored pencil. Each page features a new page spread with such variation in background colors. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
My daughter asked me to read The Fault in Our Stars and I’m liking it, so far! I’ll also be reading an ARC of I, Cosmo since it will be released very soon. And I just barely started Shine! on audiobook, so I hope to finish that this week, too.