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!
This week I finally finished my final post for my #MustReadin2019, so if you’d like to see my final tally toward my 2019 goal, check that post out HERE. Is there a #MustReadin2020 community meeting up, this year?
It’s been a stressful week and I think we’re only in for more stress in the coming weeks. We thought we would be making an offer on a house today, but something came up last minute and we now might have to wait for more information. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back when house hunting.
ETA: Today is an exciting day as we watch the live coverage of the ALA Youth Media Awards!! If you want to keep up with the results, check updates out HERE.
I hope you’ve had a great week of reading! Here’s what I was able to finish…
September 4, 2018
Simon Schuster Books for Young Reader
After reading Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” earlier this month, I really wanted to see how this historical fiction novel of the same experience, compared. From the perspective of one of the young survivors of the ship, this novel in verse was quite satisfying. There were many details shared between the two books, but this one felt far more personal since the reader is allowed inside the mind of thirteen-year-old Ken Sparks. It was devastating to sit in the lifeboat with this crew and feel the sense of hopelessness, day after day. The storyline was more emotional for me than Torpedoed, for sure. Highly recommend!
Black Girl Unlimited:
The Remarkable Story of
a Teenage Wizard
January 14, 2020
Henry Holt & Company
Oh, my. This one is so powerful and yet quite painful. It deals directly with depression, sexual violence, racism, sexism, poverty, and so much more. I read that it is part autobiographical intermixed with magical realism. But I think it’s something that has to be experienced (by the YA and adult crowd) to understand how hard-hitting the storyline is. There’s such gravity and sincerity found within the two mother/daughter relationships.
Many people have called my mother strong–relatives, neighbors, friends, teachers. Those same people have called me strong, too. They have said wizards are unbreakable, but I’m not sure anymore. They call us warriors because we survive it and they call us strong because it doesn’t topple us. They call us magic because we manage to make miracles out of it. “Wow! Look at her take it all! She’s so strong!” But for us, it’s not a victory. It’s a blood bath. What happens after the blood bath, when we finally fall?
I am always so pleased when an audiobook is read by the author, as is the case with Black Girl Unlimited. The inflection in the narration provided such depth — including the Acknowledgements section where Brown’s voice was just on the edge of breaking into sobs as she named friends and family members who’d touched, inspired, and supported her. Yes, even then I cried.
Pat Zietlow Miller
Patrice Barton, illustrator
February 5, 2019
In rhyming text, this inspiring picture book encourages children to change the world, regardless of their personality type or interests. Everyone can make a difference by solving problems and sharing their gifts with the world. The soft, soothing illustrations are absolutely stunning and change enough between page spreads to keep the reader looking from face to face after each page turn. I also appreciate the fact that the artwork showcases diverse characters ranging from young to old and including a variety of ethnicities. The only thing I did not see among the 86 individuals illustrated was a child with a noticeable disability. However, I’d say this book is one of my very favorite picture book reads from 2019! Beautiful!
The illustrations in this book were created with pencil sketches and mixed media, assembled and painted digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Has Stacy McAnulty written a bad children’s book? I think not. This is book #2 of the Max Explains Everything series. Max has been playing soccer for three whole weeks, so he kinda knows a lot about the game. He definitely knows about cleats and shin guards and how to stretch and how to tell who the ref is. But when it comes to actually playing the game, Max is noticeably distracted by ladybugs, posing for the camera, the clouds, the birds, Jose’s haircut, a loose dog, and even his own fingers! Max Explains Everything: Soccer Expert is an adorable little book that will be enjoyed by young and old, including any new soccer players in your life!
The illustrations in this book were created with gouache and colored pencil on Arches watercolor paper, then digitally manipulated. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
February 26, 2019
Bird Watch is a lovely watercolor-based picture book that gives children something to look for on each page. Whether they’re hunting for sparrows or spying the stripy tailed wrens, they’ll be using their counting and i-spy skills. The back matter includes much more about birds and birding, so don’t forget to turn past the last page of the story!
The full-color art in this book was created with watercolor paints and collages. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
This Little Piggy
January 8, 2019
This picture book chronicles the mishaps of one very messy kid who made a promise to clean up their mess. But when the child seeks out a dog to help, it doesn’t work out. The goat can’t help, either. And not even an elephant can help. Ah, what about this little piggy? With a surprise ending in store for young readers, we all learn that perhaps it’s best to learn to clean up your own mess!
The artwork in this book was done in watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, milk and cereal crumbs on 300 lb. Lanaquarelle hot press paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Just Like My Brother
April 30, 2019
Viking Books for Young Readers
Awww! The sweet little giraffe in this picture book ADORES her big brother. He’s tall and spotted and fast and he’s very, very brave. In the end, she must consider the fact that she also has many of the same qualities that she admires in her big brother. ❤ These images are absolutely adorable!
The book doesn’t share how the artwork was created, but it looks like some pages with watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
I’m currently listening to A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (and translated by Henning Koch) on audiobook. I hope to finish reading at ARC of Chirp by Kate Messner and I plan to start reading an ARC of The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 26/200