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!
Maybe He Just Likes You
October 1, 2019
Seventh grader, Mila, is experiencing unwanted attention by a group of boys in her middle school. They bump up against her, ask for hugs, subtly rub by her backside, and giggle or high-five with each other after each incident. She begins feeling nervous about going places and sensitive to the clothing she owns — even choosing to wear the same sweater a few times each week because its the one that covers her developing body, best. What makes matters worse is that a female friend of hers seems to think Mila is overreacting and doesn’t give her the support she really needs. She’s scared to report the contact and comments because the person she would have to talk to is also the basketball coach (so she fears he’ll automatically take the boy’s side since they’re basketball players). Barbara Dee writes so sensitively, revealing all the awkward feelings puberty brings and the fear of having no adult to trust. And the book was almost 90% finished before the phrase “sexual harassment” even came up. Before that time, Mila didn’t know how to describe the behavior. I’m so happy this book exists. There aren’t nearly enough middle grade books written on this topic.
The Hundred-Year Barn
Kenard Pak, illustrator
September 17, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books
Ah, this book is sure to make one long for a better sense of community:
The hundred-year barn was built one summer in our meadow with a small stream running through.
It was built by townspeople:
fathers and daughters,
mothers and sons,
grandmothers and grandfathers,
Written from the point of view of the son whose father built the barn, he takes the reader through the process of building the barn, how it was used over the years, and we discover he’s a grown man by the last few pages. And much to his surprise, something that was once lost during the building of the barn is finally found. ❤ The artist used watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and digital media to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:
September 17, 2019
Ramsey’s grandma sees her grandson’s drawing of an octopus and it puts her in the mood to make some octopus stew. So off to the store they go to pick out an octopus to cook. But they’re certainly in for a shock when they get back home and begin cooking up their octopus. Then, right smack dab in the middle of the picture book, there’s a four-paged spread that lets us in on the fact that this is a fantastical story being shared with Ramsey’s family, after the fact. At the end, in an Author’s note, Velasquez shares more about his family’s gatherings where they would tell stories or play music for one another. He also shares that his family spoke non-standard Spanish at home, which is reflected in the English and Spanish usage in this story. The illustrations were painted in oil on Fabriano 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper. I’ll provide one example, below:
This beautiful picture book focuses on the events surrounding Martin Luther King’s speech on the National Mall during the march on Washington, August 28th, 1963. There were so many tidbits in these memories and it surprised me to learn of how many people attempted to influence his famous speech. I also wasn’t aware that most people don’t believe he intended to use his memorized “I Have a Dream” segment (which he had used several times, before, but not with as much national attention — primarily from white America). The seven pages of back matter are well worth the read, including a lengthy Author’s Note, Artist’s Note, a full page about the Willard Hotel Advisors, information on other voices and speakers for the march, sources, and a selected bibliography.
The artwork for this book was made using graphite, color pencil, watercolor, and collage on Arches watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Let’s Scare Bear
July 9, 2019
This cute little tale is based on a classical Rokugo story that is traditionally performed onstage by a storyteller. Based on the cover, it appears that bear is scared. However, we quickly learn that bear isn’t scared of sharp teeth, sticky webs, a coiling snake, or being yelled at. Nope, he says Manju cake could very well be his downfall. Children will definitely enjoy this surprise ending!
The artwork in this book was created with mixed media. I’ll provide one example, below:
Bear Out There
June 4, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Bear does not like to go outside with a filthy ground, itchy plants, or pesky bugs. But his friend, Spider, needs help finding his kite after it flies away. This is a sweet story of friendship and the importance of persistence. If we don’t give up, we’ll often be successful! The artwork in this book was made with charcoal, crayon, and ink and then colored digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
This precious keepsake book will be enjoyed by everyone from preschool through their wisdom years. It’s an illustrated collection of Mary Engelbreit’s favorite quotes. For example:
“Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.” -Mother Teresa
“The only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance.” -Oprah Winfrey
“We must not allow fear to stand in our way.” -Nelson Mandela
Some are just so adorable that I want poster-sized copies to frame for my walls. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Chris Raschka, illustrator
March 26, 2019
When you’re trudging through the rain, do you ever take a moment to consider what the puddles think of you? Well, that’s precisely what this picture book makes us ponder. Puddle has low self-esteem, wondering if his sisters and brothers are better than him. A seagull swoops by, sneakers splash through, and a dog pees in the puddle. But in the end, puddle is quite happy for the way he mirrors the beautiful colors around him. With bright, bold artwork and onomatopoeia, this book will make excellent discussion for young readers.
Watercolor and gouache paint on paper were used to prepare the full-color art. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 49/200