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 running late this week, but should be able to slip in to the #imwayr link-up just in time. If you made it to this post, thanks so much for visiting!
January 7, 2020
Crown Books for Young Readers
I absolutely, positively loved Nic Stone’s Dear Martin. Additionally, I was mesmerized by her short story in Snow in Love (an anthology of four short stories) — it was clearly the best one of the book. And I appreciated what she was doing in Odd One Out, even if I wasn’t my favorite type of story. So it was a no-brainer to pick up her middle grade debut this week: Clean Getaway. Eleven-year-old William (AKA “Scoob-a-Doob”) is a young black boy and his G’ma is white. One day he’s taken on an unexpected road trip with G’ma. As they travel through important historical places (ex: Medgar Evers home in Jackson, Mississippi), William learns about the Green Book which was used back in the day to keep black traveler’s safe. Along the way, he picks up bits and pieces from G’ma’s past, including the story of how his grandfather ended up in jail. However, he begins to wonder if G’ma is losing her mind and if he might be in real danger after having lost all contact with his father. This story addresses multiple topics ranging from biracial families to being a single parent to segregation to incarceration and to aging parents. I’ll look forward to seeing its impact on middle graders, everywhere!
August 20, 1998
This week, I finished reading Holes as a read aloud with all five of my kiddos. It was what my 11 year old wanted to read since they loved 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling — both titles have a similar setting and a few things in common. It was a HIT!! Stanley Yelnats is sent to a make-shift juvenile detention center digging holes at Camp Green Lake, which is in the middle of nowhere. As he works with the misfits in his group, they begin to uncover the real reason they’re tasked with digging hole after hole. (SPOILER: It ain’t to prepare the soil for gardening). Filled with mystery, adventure, and friendship, Holes will definitely remain a favorite in my family. We finished reading it on Friday and then watched the movie for our weekly family pizza movie night. I’m thinking we’ll start Scar Island later this month. I read it a couple years back and think it might work well just after reading Holes — yet another young boy being held in a detention center.
G. Brian Karas, illustrator
September 11, 2018
I was entranced by this “night in the life of” story about a young boy who goes with his father to his night job. There was something that felt so cozy about peeking in on these two:
On Friday nights, when the sun goes down, I snap the clips shut on Dad’s lunch box and climb onto the back of his bike. We zoom over the darkening bay, riding the dusky highway.
The story engages the reader with the sounds, sights, tastes, and even the temperatures experienced during the night. I love the writing and the artwork — really want a copy of this one for my personal home library! The illustrations were done in mixed media. I’ll provide on page spread as an example, below:
What a lovely nonfiction picture book about the life of Pura Belpré. With Spanish words and phrases woven into the English text, we see her dedication for planting story seeds (just like Johnny Appleseed did). She shares stories she grew up listening to and eventually has them printed so they can be shared again and again. I so enjoyed the details of the artwork. And the back matter includes a wonderful author’s note, a bibliography, and more. The artist used Adobe Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
What a Cold Needs
Chris Sheban, illustrator
February 12, 2019
Neal Porter Books
This book would be a perfect gift for so many in our community who are currently under the weather with the flu. What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch do YOU like when you have a cold? Perhaps warm socks, a kiss on the forehead, soft music, and a nice book would help any reader feel some comfort. The story will bring up many ideas to consider. And the ending has a slight twist that might bring a few giggles from young readers, too! The artwork was created using watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
This nonfiction biography is about the work of Gloria Steinem that kickstarted the women’s lib movement. She was/is diligent and never gave up hope on a future where life would offer equal opportunities to women. The back matter contains an author’s note, an illustrator’s note, a timeline, and a bibliography. The artwork in this book was created with black sumi ink, gouache, and watercolor on paper, and then digitally composited in Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
How to Two
March 19, 2019
While this might initially be viewed as a simple counting book, there’s much more going on here story-wise. “How to one” is just one boy sliding down a playground slide by himself. Then “how to two” is two children on a seesaw together. On and on the story goes until it reaches 10 and starts back over at “how to one” when the young boy who started the book heads home to read with his mother. Similar to a wordless picture book, readers can discuss all sorts of things happening within each page spread. The story may take different directions as every reader interprets the thoughts and feelings of each character. Such fun! The artwork in this book was done with watercolors, ink, and colored pencils on paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 41/200