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 must admit that one major reason for being a little late to the #imwayr link-up, this week, is because I became thoroughly engrossed in a new book I hadn’t even planned on starting for another week or so. Don’t you just love it when that happens? There’s something so thrilling about being able to put the world on hold simply because you don’t want to put your book down. We love to see this happen with our children and students, but it’s equally as exciting when it happens for adults. ❤
It’s been another great week of reading. Our tri-college system has a large pile of 2019 picture books I haven’t yet read, so I’m slowly working my way through those. And today I’m excited to be reviewing The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner, which was published earlier this month. Whether it’s a new or older title you come across today, I hope you’ll find something you can add to your future reading list.
The Eye of Ra
February 1, 2020
Crescent Vista Press
Heads-up, middle grade readers! Here’s a new historical fiction full of action, adventure, family, and friendships! John and his sister, Sarah, are devastated to discover their family will soon be moving from their beloved home in Colorado to a new city in Maryland. Before the big move, they’re out hiking the land near their home when they come across an interesting symbol inside a cave. After rubbing their fingers over the lines in the symbol, there’s a bright flash and they are suddenly surrounded by sand. Where and WHEN in the world are they? It appears they’ve landed right smack dab in the middle of ancient Egypt. And thus begins an unforgettable adventure that no one in their right mind will EVER believe!
While some readers are comparing this book to The Magic Treehouse, it was definitely more mature and filled with interesting research and rich details. There were comparisons between Ancient Egypt and modern day America that are well worth discussion, such as how the days were filled with real work just to stay alive (gathering water, growing crops, building your own fire for cooking, etc.) versus having a life of convenience, today. Furthermore, in ancient Egypt only the wealthy boys went to school — if you were poor or a girl, it wasn’t a priority. I also appreciated how John and Sarah discovered they couldn’t possibly explain light bulbs or ice or television or airplanes without having to teach through many layers of science, first. It was easiest and more practical to simply call it magic.
“John opened his mouth to teach Zach about filaments and Thomas Edison and electricity, but it seemed like too much to explain. Every invention built on something else before it.”
I really enjoyed this book and hope the series will continue. I also hope to cook the Tilapia Barley Stew recipe, available in the back, as it is said to be one used by the ancient Egyptians (like the characters we meet in this book).
My sincere thanks to Ben Gartner for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. This book is available in both paperback and as an e-book and it was published earlier this month. I’m happy to recommend it!
You can add The Eye of Ra 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.
Also, check out Ben Gartner‘s author website HERE.
Middle School Bites
Mark Fearing, illustrator
February 4, 2020
This lighthearted audiobook was just what I needed after a difficult week of real life events. Middle schooler, Tom, is experiencing some unique feelings and cravings. He’s constantly hungry, he can see well in the dark, and he accidentally howls right in the middle of class. Could it be that he’s a Vam-Wolf-Zom? I mean, there was that weird bite he never identified. The narration was great in this one and I’ll definitely keep going if this series continues!
Mini Rabbit is Not Lost
October 8, 2019
HarperCollins Children’s Books
Mini Rabbit has one thing on his mind: cake. His mother’s cake, to be exact. But before his mother can make cake, he has to find some berries. He travels far and wide to find berries for the cake and eventually isn’t sure where he is. Thankfully, the smell of cake brings him back to his senses and he find his way back home. But is he hungry for cake anymore?
I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find out how the artwork was created because I really liked it and wanted to know more about it. At times you can see a canvas look. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Just in Case You Want to Fly
Christian Robinson, illustrator
October 8, 2019
Neal Porter Books
This is a great bedtime read-aloud! While not really a story, it has fun rhyming text and collage pictures worth talking about with young children. But this also would make a beautiful gift for someone going on a long trip or leaving home for college as it discusses all the important things to take with you and ends with a map with an “x” so they can find their way home, again.
The artwork for this book was made with paint and collage. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
The Love Letter
Anika Aldamuy Denise
Lucy Ruth Cummins, illustrator
October 8, 2019
This one is such an adorable story of how your entire attitude can be changed when you think someone loves you. In the end of this one, three friends come together and realize how lucky they are to have one another. Not just a great book for around Valentine’s Day, but a good read for the entire year!
The artwork was created with Navah Wolfe’s old-timey typewriter, gouache, brush marker, colored pencil, and ink wash. Then the illustrations were finished digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Roar Like a Dandelion
Sergio Ruzzier, illustrator
October 1, 2019
This new little Krauss alphabet book uses each new letter of the alphabet to represented a verb, such as: Act like a…, Dance with a…, Fall like…, etc. The soft colored pictures depict primarily animals and bugs doing the actions.
The artist used pen & ink and watercolor to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Be Who You Are
Ben Rumback, illustrator
November 23, 2010
I recently heard about this book and was pleased to see it was available through my college. It begins with a young boy named Nick who, after a lot of consideration, decides he isn’t a boy and makes slow changes to become “Hope.” His parents are patient and understanding, even making sure to find a good doctor for their child to speak with while making this decision. Obviously, this book provides a framework for transgender discussion as so many children are going through this process, today. I found it especially interesting how the book switches from referring to the child as he/his/him to she/hers/her once the decision is made. And it also discusses how it can sometimes be difficult for friends and family members to remember a name change, to change from being a brother to a sister, and to use the proper pronouns.
The artwork is clearly not intended to be the focus of this book. It’s simple with a variety of pastel circles serving as backgrounds in each drawing.
To Be Read:
As I mentioned earlier this month, I am re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children (seemed like a good follow-up to Holes) and I have some Netgalley e-ARCs I need to share this month, including Help Wanted, Must Love Books. I also need to finish New Kid by Jerry Craft, which just didn’t happen this week due to other obligations. However, my priority over the next few weeks will be some adolescent/teen books my husband and I recently purchased to read and discuss with our teenagers in 2020 that cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. So I’ll begin with Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 56/200