It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/2020 #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!

What a wild week between toilet paper outages, business closings, schools canceling face-to-face classes, all sorts of online conversations over what to do and what misinformation is running wild, and, oh yeah, we also had a surprise snow storm (and another one on the way). As we collectively attempt to flatten the curve of this pandemic, I’m having to make myself take lengthy breaks from social media and COVID-19 tracking apps every so often just to sit and “be” with my family. We’ve been nestled in here at home with our five kiddos over the weekend, enjoying good food, movies, and books, but now that it’s Monday, hubby and my oldest have to continue going to work (hubby as a college administrator and our oldest daughter as a server/host at a restaurant). So I’m grateful, today, to have the #imwayr link-up so I can stay blissfully distracted, catching up with everyone’s weekly reading!

By the way, If you’re looking for extra non-book home activities to do with restless children this month, there’s a very long (and still growing) list of virtual museums, virtual e-learning, and various online collections at

Thank you for visiting, today! Whether it’s an older or a newer title, I hope you can find something to add to your reading list. 🙂


A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Leslie Connor
February 25, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This story was quite amazing. I wish I had better words, but it just completely caught me by surprise. I checked it out on a whim (it was not on my TBR list) and even with a surprise snowstorm and coronavirus and schools and businesses being closed down, I felt like I was cozied up in a soft, warm blanket of love by the time I finished. So much devastating loss, but then healing and bonding and love and strength by the end. Thirteen-year-old Lydia was extremely close to her mom before her death. Now she has to come to terms with moving in with her Aunt Brat, her wife, Eileen, and Elloroy, the elderly gentleman who owns the home they’ll be living in. This unusual family hits a few bumps along the way, but there’s so much they face and grow through, together. And if you have a soft place in your heart for dogs and other animals, then you will find yourself right at home with this story.

Note: I tend to judge books by their cover, without even realizing it. However, now that I’m on the other side of this story, I can definitely say I have a much deeper appreciation for the artwork on the front of the book.

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.


Scar Island
Dan Gemeinhart
January 3, 2017
Scholastic Press

This one was a re-read that I did with my five children over the last three weeks. And I dare say I enjoyed it even more the second time. Jonathan Grisby is sent to Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys for a crime we don’t learn much about until later in the story. In a freak accident, all adults are struck by lightning and the boys must navigate life on their own, unexpectedly. It gets dark and scarier and it was honestly hard for me to stop reading it to the kids, every day. I love the goodness of Jonathan as he attempts to punish himself for things he cannot change. And by the end, we can all empathize more with the biggest bully of the group. While catalogued as a middle grade novel, there’s harsher language than I’m accustomed to for this level (damn it, pissed off, hell, etc.) as well as violence and frightening bullying. But I had fun narrating all the voices and my kids really seemed to enjoy it. At the end, my oldest asked if I owned any of Gemeinhart’s other books, so I handed off The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise to her. 🙂

Now to decide on a new read aloud. So many choices. I’m leaning toward The Giver, but hoping it’s not too scary for my 9 and 5 year old. It’s been so long since I last read it, so I’m not certain. Anyway, feel free to suggest a new read aloud for my whole gang, in the comments.

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.


Snail Crossing
Corey R. Tabor
February 4, 2020
Balzer + Bray

This super cute picture book is about a snail who is determined, but also kind. While he has his eye set on the cabbages across the road, he takes time to entertain guests. And you just never know when humbleness and kindness will pay off.

The artist used pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, and ink, assembled digitally, to create the illustrations in this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:


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.


One Hug
Katrina Moore
Julia Woolf, illustrator
December 10, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books

What an adorable book, featuring a Chinese American family who loves to snuggle. With rhyming text, we see all the ways they choose to hug one another, including with their extended family. The final page is of them snuggled up in bed — the perfect story to read before bedtime.

The artist used ArtPrint printers ink by Seawhite of Brighton and Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:


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.


Everybody Says Meow
Constance Lombardo
November 5, 2019

This hilarious picture book features cats who just KNOW that everyone is supposed to say “Meow.” But it doesn’t take long before they realize that not everyone knows the rules. And some rules are meant to be bent. Nevertheless, just wait for the twist ending where everyone is a bit surprised!

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


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.


Frank and Bean
Jamie Michalak
Bob Kolar, illustrator
October 8, 2019
Candlewick Press

In this early chapter book, we meet Frank (hot dog) who is the calmer character of the two, but will be heard yelling, “Good gravy!” on certain occasions. Bean is rambunctious and completely unpredictable. And together, this duo is quite a funny match. I liked that the book ended with them heading off to sleep. Yet another good book to read at bed time. I’m assuming this is going to be a series, but I didn’t verify this. If you happen to know, please mention it in the comments.

The illustrations for this book were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:


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.


Dinosaur Feathers
Dennis Nolan
September 24, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This nonfiction picture book features rhyming text with pronunciation keys for difficult dinosaur names. The story takes us through their life on earth, their death, then follows with what we believe to be their descendants, today: flamingos, parakeets, chickens, and so many different types of birds. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and will keep young children engaged as the text is read aloud. This would be a great addition to any classroom study of dinosaurs!

The artwork for this book was made with transparent watercolor on watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:


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.


Stop! Bot!
James Yang
July 23, 2019
Viking Books for Young Readers

Awww. A young child is so excited to have a bot. But then his bot floats up and gets stuck in what appears to be a large apartment building. Everyone has a plan for getting the bot back down, but ultimately it’s a simple trick of distractions. There’s a funny little surprise ending, too! The cheery, colorful illustrations are bright and inviting, however, I could not find out how they were created. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:


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 currently listening to 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin, still reading Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein, and I also may try to squeeze in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, since my daughter really wants us to watch the movie, which was just released on Disney Plus last Friday.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 80/200

20 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/2020 #imwayr

  1. You’re right, what a weird week! The kids are home here too, and I’m rushing to plan preschool lessons so the littlest doesn’t distract the biggest while he does his online school work. A Home For Goddesses and Dogs sounds like a wonderful book! That might be my reading choice this week – I’ve been so scattered and anxious, I haven’t gotten much reading done lately. Hoping your family stays safe and healthy, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you on being scattered and anxious. I mean, I’m normally home. I even teach most courses from home when I take on courses from the college. But everything feels so electric and I’m having trouble focusing on my books. I enjoy reading aloud to the kids and I’m listening to some good audiobooks. Otherwise, squeezing in novels has become increasingly difficult. Thanks for visiting, Wendi!


  2. You shared a lot of picture books new to me, Shaye, now on my list. Frank and Bean looks so cute! And I certainly noted A Home for Goddesses and Dogs after your rave review. Hope you and your family remain safe during this tough time. And Happy Reading too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it when a books surprises me. That’s exactly what happened with A Home for Goddesses and Dogs. The cover didn’t initially impress me and I just needed something to dig into. This one certainly fit the bill and I deeply enjoyed it. Thank you for swinging by, Linda!


  3. Hi Shaye, I have A Home for Goddesses and Dogs on my list because it’s by Leslie Connor. I have loved everything she writes. All these picture books look wonderful, but I am especially interested in Frank and Bean. What a hilarious title!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The funny things is, it didn’t even occur to me that this book was written by Leslie Connor until well after I started it. Then when I realized she was the author I was like, “Oh, but of course!” I adored her The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle last year. Thanks for visiting, Cheriee!


  4. So many good books that I have been meaning to read! I just received Snail Crossing from First Book and haven’t actually read yet but no excuse now because I have plenty of time with school closed. And of course, A Home for Goddesses and Dogs is definitely another book on my TBR list.

    Stay safe Shaye and enjoy time with your family. As hard as it is to wrap my head around the magnitude of this virus, I am grateful for my husband, my Bella, my home, plenty of food, and of course time to read. Glad we can all stay connected through our love for books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, am so grateful we can stay connected through out love for books, Laura. I think grateful has greatly increased over the course of this month. Any time we begin to feel anxious I have to just take a look around me and see how blessed we are. I’ve talked with the kids about what it was like in 1918 and the inability to communicate with others (or find many good books!!). We still have the world at our fingertips, today. ❤


  5. Oh, hey, I just requested Home for Goddesses and Dogs on audio! I LOVED Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor – I remember listening to it in the car on the way home from a trip and crying so hard I almost got in an accident reaching for the box of Kleenex! ha ha Always a good sign 🙂

    Scar Island was good, too, though not my favorite Gemeinhart – he’s such a great MG writer! I still need to read Coyote Sunrise…oooh! I have that one on audio, too – I think that will be next up!

    Enjoy your books this week & good luck with being isolated with your kids! ha ha Mine are past the “need to entertain them” age in their 20’s but we’re struggling to get through to them on the importance of isolating…sigh…


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading Home for Goddesses and Dogs has made me realize I need to read Waiting for Normal. It slipped past my radar, so I must hunt down a copy. And I totally agree on Gemeinhart!! What an outstanding middle grade author! Thanks for visiting, Sue!


    1. Our public library closed a couple weeks ago, but I discovered that I can still use our college library and even ILL tons of books. The college sent students home to do online learning the remainder of the semester, but the library is still open for the few stragglers who live nearby and need internet access. I think I requested over 30 books over the last week. So I’m hoping that’ll keep me busy for a while. They’re quarantining each shipment of books for a few days and then we wipe them down when we bring them into our homes. It’s probably just a matter of days before they close it to the public, so I’m taking advantage while I can! Hope you enjoy A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, Lisa!


  6. Lots of really great books to help us through these strange times. I also really enjoyed Scar Island, even though it is so very different from his other books in some ways. I hope your oldest enjoys Coyote Sunrise as well. I am hoping to get a copy of Snail Crossing once things normalize a bit and we are back at school (actually, my budget was already taken and I have to wait for next year, most likely). Stop Bot, Dinosaur Feathers and Frank and Bean are ones I haven’t had a chance to look at yet, but I probably will add them too. Thanks for the great post, enjoy your family time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The kids really enjoyed Scar Island!! And my oldest started Coyote Sunrise, but then stopped when it started snowing again. She said she needs to save this book until it’s nicer weather. For now, she wants to read a wintry book because it’s difficult to read a book about summertime when she can’t go outside. LOL I hope you’re able to get your hands on some of the picture books you haven’t read yet. Thanks for visiting, Aaron!


  7. Thanks for pointing out all these great books! A Home for Goddesses and Dogs sounds both sad and very sweet; also, speaking of the cover, it is great! The picture books you mention all sound neat as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suddenly seem to be squeezing in more picture books as our college system received a huge back of new titles, so it’s been a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy A Home for Goddesses and Dogs!


    1. Since I can still ILL books through our college system, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. But I imagine they’ll be closing that sucker down soon. I’ve started looking for titles on Overdrive/Libby and seeing what’s available on Netgalley, but it’s just not the same when I don’t get the hold a picture book. Boo! Thanks for visiting, Beth!


  8. I liked Stop! Bot! but didn’t love it. I thought it was an interesting choice for Geisel. We had Frank and Bean on our Mock Geisel and the kids enjoyed it.
    Loved A Home for Goddesses and Dogs. So well done.
    Stay healthy!! Our restaurants closed as of Monday night and our malls are closing tonight. Every day is something new…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how wonderful that Frank and Bean made it to your Mock Geisel list. And I totally agree on Goddesses and Dogs — can’t say just how much I loved this one. My daughter is still on the schedule to wait tables at a local restaurant, but she’s been called off about 75% of the time. In fact, last week I took her to work one day and she texted me not 5 minutes later to come back and pick her up. It’s just nearly dead, there. I wish they’d close down altogether, but I understand this is extremely hard on restaurants who have so much overhead expense that they need to have some form of income or they’ll sink. Ugh. Anyway, thanks for swinging by, Michele!


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