It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/2020 #imwayr

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!


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Birdie and Me
J.M.M. Nuanez
February 18, 2020
Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Young Readers

This tenderhearted story is of Jack and Birdie, two siblings who recently lost their mother. Jack is the mature older sister, always seeking to protect her little brother. And this is especially important since Birdie tends to be bullied due to his creative, colorful clothing. After their mother dies they are sent to live with their Uncle Carl, who loves them deeply. But one day his ability to properly care for them is questioned and they’re eventually sent to live with their Uncle Patrick. They know practically nothing about Patrick, except how gruff he seems. But sometimes it’s important to peel back the emotional “onion layers” and see more than what’s visible on the surface. This is a story that addresses a wide variety of family dynamics, including questions about transgender behaviors and feelings. It also addresses bullying, regrets, and mental health. I would anticipate mostly older middle graders or younger mature middle grade readers to appreciate this emotional story, but there’s plenty here for the YA crowd to discuss, as well.

You can add it 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.


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New Kid
(New Kid #1)
Jerry Craft
February 5, 2019
Quill Tree Books

I’m SO happy to finally get my hands on the 2020 Newbery Medal winner. What a refreshing read! Jordan Banks is a brand new 7th grader to Riverdale Academy Day School. He’s not accustomed to the realities of an upscale prep school. The story line has some outright hilarious moments of surprise laughter, but those moments are matched by equal feelings of hurt due to micro aggressions from students and faculty. Craft showcases numerous experiences of bias due to Jordan’s skin color and socioeconomic status. At the same time, Jordan is met with kind-hearted students who he initially assumed were stuck up or racist due to their deep pockets or seemingly inappropriate gifts they gave him. But in the end, every reader will take away some very important lessons in love and empathy. ❤

AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2020), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2020), Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2019)

You can add it 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.


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Home in the Woods
Eliza Wheeler
October 1, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books

I deeply enjoyed this story of the author’s real life ancestors during the Great Depression. Her grandmother was named Marvel and she had seven siblings. After her father died, they moved into a little abandoned house in the middle of the woods and lived off whatever they could. They hunted, fished, gardened, picked berries, canned their food, chopped fire wood, and even made up their own games. By the end of the book, they’ve made it through the seasons of summer through spring (with all the highs and lows that each season brings). And now the abandoned house doesn’t feel so cold and empty like it did when they arrived. The artwork is gorgeous and the story makes me long for simpler times. I’m reminded of how grateful I am for the skills I was taught, like canning, sewing, crocheting — all dying arts these days, it seems. In the Author’s Note, Eliza Wheeler tells us more about the stories her grandmother passed down and encourages readers to gather stories from that generation and share them with the world, before it’s too late. I want a copy of this book in my home!

The illustrations in this book were created with dip pens, India ink, watercolors, acrylics, and pastel pencils. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Home-in-the-Woods-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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No One Likes a Fart
Zoë Foster Blake
November 19, 2019
Penguin Workshop

So, um, apparently dad farted and little “Fart” has a personality of his own. lol Fart travels the whole town, smelling up the place and looking for acceptance. At last, he finally finds someone just as socially awkward as he is and they go off together, hand in hand, smelling up the town together. This one is sure to get a lot of laughter from a classroom full of children. I know MY children giggled like crazy! 🙂

I couldn’t find details on how the artwork was created. However, I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect:

No-One-Likes-a-Fart-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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The Heart of a Whale
Anna Pignataro
January 28, 2020
Philomel Books

This was such a sweet story of loneliness. Whale sings a beautiful song that speaks volumes to all sea creatures, but in the end he longs for companionship. Will anyone be able to fill whale’s empty heart? Yes, I do believe so. Packed with lovely musical metaphors that speak of drumbeats, orchestras, lullabies, sonatas, and symphonies, this quiet book with pastel water-colored artwork and poetic lyrics will showcase the power of friendship and the comfort of finally being heard.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the illustrations, below:

Heart-of-a-Whale-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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In a Jar
Deborah Marcero
January 21, 2020
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

This book is truly one to be experienced to appreciate. Llewellyn and Evelyn meet one day while Llewellyn is out filling his jar with things he loved. After that day, they continue to collect items together — not just objects, but fantastical items like rainbows and the wind. Their adventures follow the seasons of the year through autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Then one day, Evelyn’s family moves away. But they continue to send jarred items to one another. At the very end, it’s autumn and Llewellyn sets out to collect a new batch of items to send to Evelyn when he runs into yet another young rabbit named Max. And luckily, he brought an extra jar along. I didn’t think I would love this book when I saw the cover, but I was won over very quickly. Such sweet messages of friendship and the wonder of childhood. If only we could capture all the feelings and keep them stored away in jars!

The artwork in this book was done in pencil, watercolor, ink, and digital media. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

In-a-Jar-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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The Secret Garden of
George Washington Carver

Gene Barretta
Frank Morrison, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This is a wonderful picture book biography of George Washington Carver. It showcases his curiosity and love for nature from his earliest days after being born into slavery in 1864. He tended a secret garden and learned an incredible amount of knowledge from diligent trial and error. He learned how to sew, make dyes, create medicine from plants and leaves. At the age of 12, he moved away from his childhood home and traveled through several states, continuing to learn about art and agriculture. He was the first Black man to graduate from Iowa Agricultural College and he went on to teach agriculture at Tuskegee Institute. On the very last page of this book we’re left with a final thought, which appeared to be his mantra: “Regard Nature. Revere Nature. Respect Nature.” The back matter includes a timeline of Carver’s life, along with a bibliography and selections for further reading.

The artist used oil on illustration board to create the illustrations for this book. It was so difficult to pick just one page spread to share because there’s so much beautiful artwork to see in this book. The details are stunning! But here’s just one example, below. I love his expressions and look at those lovely flower petals along the bottom of the page:

Secret-Garden-George-Washington-Carver-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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Tomorrow I’ll be Kind
Jessica Hische
January 14, 2020
Penguin Workshop

This book will make a fantastic bedtime reading book as a child thinks of all the good things he wants to do the following day. In brightly colored illustrations and full-paged words, we read about how a child wants to be helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful, and kind. Great ending thoughts just before it’s time to sleep!

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Tomorrow-ill-be-kind-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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Honey, the Dog Who
Saved Abe Lincoln
Shari Swanson
Chuck Groenink, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

Raise your hand if you knew the story of how a dog saved Abe Lincoln’s life. I sure didn’t! Abe found Honey while walking home one day. He’d broken his leg and so Abe created a splint to help the bone grow back together. He ended up keeping the dog and they had wonderful adventures together. One day, they explore a dark cave together where Abe became lodged between two boulders. Practically his whole town goes out looking for him, but it’s Honey who leads them all to his beloved boy. The back matter includes a lengthy timeline of Abe’s experiences (especially focusing on his love for animals, including his time with Honey). There’s also an Author’s Note that shares where this story came from as well as mentioning that Abe Lincoln filled the White House with various animals when he was president.

The artist used Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Honey-Abe-Lincoln-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


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The Cool Bean
(Bad Seed #3)
Jory John
Pete Oswald, illustrator
December 3, 2019
HarperCollins

Following Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s previous books in this series, The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, book #3 is about The Cool Bean. Sometimes friendships drift apart and you might not feel like you’re quite as special as you once were to past friends. But the most important lesson from this book is that being cool is about more than looking the part and hanging with the right people. It’s about having empathy and lending a helping hand when someone needs it.

The artist used scanned watercolor textures and digital paint to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cool-Bean-SPREAD

You can add it 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.


To Be Read:

I’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children. We hope to finish that up this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I plan to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’ve begun with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 72/200


22 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/2020 #imwayr

  1. Lot’s of great books here. I love The New Kid and can’t wait until the sequel comes out. Birdie and Me sounds very interesting. I’ll have to find that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love reading about the Carver book, sounds so nice. There are several you shared that I loved, too, Shaye, like In A Jar & Home in the Woods, of course, New Kid. And I’m glad to note a few I haven’t read yet, like Honey and Birdie and Me. Thanks very much for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sat down to read Home in the Woods to my youngest, but she wouldn’t let me — she wanted to read it. That’s when I realized that it has some hefty vocabulary for a 5 or 6 year old. But I enjoyed it so very much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really appreciate that you show a page of the picture books and talk about the art. I wish details about the illustrations were more readily available. I loved tHome in the Woods and New Kid and have heard of some of these others. Thanks for the introduction to the rest. I really need to catch up on Jory John’s series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cheriee. I really like getting to showcase one page spread of the picture books, but sometimes it’s hard to pick which one when they’re all so beautiful. LOL

      Like

  4. You’ve got a great list this week! I just ordered Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln from my library. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy Honey!! I love hearing these real life stories from the childhood of our big historical figures. And I also appreciate when authors include a note on how they came up on the story — helps authenticate it. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Jana!

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  5. No One Likes a Fart looks like a book both my kids will enjoy, and the pages you showed made me chuckle as well. Birdie and Me also sounds like a great book. Have a lovely reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the respect given to a young child trying to discover if they’re trans — and not feeling rushed. It’s a hefty topic, for sure. But with so much attention on this, I’m glad children will have some reading material over it and perhaps have a character they can relate to!

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  6. Such wonderful books this week!!! How can anyone read the Fart book without laughing?? I brought that to a book exchange and it was well received, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Even the title will bring on the giggles. Books are so much more open about body function topics, these days. We didn’t have that when I was growing up. LOL Thanks for dropping by, Michele!

      Like

    1. It was was a great reading week! Now we’re just waiting for all our libraries to close down and severely limit my access to good books. *Sniff, sniff* But we also appreciate the sincere efforts to keep everyone safe.

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    1. Awww, thank you so much Emma. I agree on the house in the woods — would love to go off-grid for a summer (assuming we weren’t in a life-threatening situation, of course). Thanks for swinging by!

      Like

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