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!
This week we celebrated my youngest’s 6th birthday! ❤ I must say I was so relieved that I had been slowly picking up special gifts for her since Christmas because there wasn’t much time to think about presents and cake or even wrapping paper with the city practically shutting down everything except the essentials. We already do a huge once-per-month shopping trip for our staples, but we double-checked everything and made sure our pantry was stocked enough to not have to go shopping for a while. Living in a very secluded, small college town means everyone from far and wide visits our two grocery stores: Walmart and Safeway. So the aisles held mostly barren shelves almost immediately while townspeople were simultaneously preparing for a blizzard on Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, we all made it through and I was even able to read my latest stack of picture books and squeeze in just one survival novel before the weekend came to an abrupt halt. Whew!
Thank you for visiting, today! Along with our regular weekly reading, I’m excited to be sharing a soon-to-be published picture book called Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia. Whether it’s a brand new book or an older title, I hope you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
April 1, 2020
Young Lali appears to be a creative, free-range spirit who loves nature and talking with the birds. One day she finds a loose feather in a field and attempts to discover the owner. But it’s not rooster’s or crow’s or peacock’s or hen’s or duck’s or blue jay’s feather. All their feathers serve very unique purposes just for them. Still, Lali finds incredible value in her feather. For example, it can write in the sand. It can sweep a deck. It can fan a fire. Or it can tickle unsuspecting family members. After a day of experimental play, a gust of wind sadly carries Lali’s feather away and her bird friends must help her find it. However, just wait until you see what she finds next.
The ending showcases the fact that we can find value in just about anything if we are open-minded and look more closely at our seemingly worthless possessions. Lalai’s Feather is an excellent, light-hearted picture book that can be employed to open a deeper discussion about first impressions and even gratitude. My thanks to Netgalley and Peachtree Publishing Company for providing me with an e-ARC so that I could give my honest review. This title will be published on April 1st!
The colorful artwork in this book was rendered digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
J. L. Esplin
February 11, 2020
First, I have to say that this was an especially interesting read to take on during the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing. The Lockwood brothers, John and Stew, have been trained by their father to survive just about anything. They’ve stockpiled everything from generators to food to large tanks of water on their isolated Nevada ranch in the event of a long lasting emergency. And wouldn’t you know, the electricity goes out when they least expect it — right after their father heads out of town, leaving his two sons to look after their home. Thank goodness they have nothing to worry about since their father was the only “crazy” who made sure they’d be good and ready for losing all power and connection to the outside world. But what happens when a group of rowdy men break into their home in the middle of the night, holding the boys at gunpoint while they take everything of value, including the very medicine needed to keep the younger Lockwood brother alive? Oooh, this one kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.
Pokko and the Drum
October 1, 2019
Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Any parent who has raised a beginning band student will understand the frustrations of those early off-pitch, out-of-beat home practice sessions that are tolerated until their children become accomplished musicians. Well, Pokko’s tale is exactly that scenario. The noise from her drumming is so unbearable that her father sends her outside to play her drum. But as they say, practice makes perfect. The watercolors in this book are so lovely. And with the oranges, greens, browns, and yellow watercolors, this book sometimes had the feel of retro picture books that I grew up reading. This story will be especially helpful for any younger siblings of middle school or high school band students. 🙂
The illustrations for the book were rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. 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.
A Quieter Story
July 9, 2019
Margaret Ferguson Books
This cute little picture book is of a young girl who is writing a story about a kitten. No, scratch that — a tiger! At every turn of her story, her cat must interject and make the story more adventurous. But when her story gets a little too frightening for her sweet kitty, she decides it’s time to tone it down a bit. Hence, “a quieter story.” This one will certainly make young readers laugh!
The artwork was created with mixed media: watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, block print, and Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
July 2, 2019
In only a few words, readers will feel the highs and lows of their very first day of school. Sometimes we feel soooo big when we’re old enough to start something brand new. Other times, we feel NOT so big when overwhelm kicks in. This book could be great for the beginning kindergartener in your life or the soon-to-be college student. All the feels, right here!
The artwork was created with Holbein Acryla gouache paint on hot press watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Bear Came Along
Richard T. Morris
LeUyen Pham, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
This gem of a book is so adorable! Sometimes we have no idea what can happen until we just jump in and try something. With hilarious artwork, we see how Bear, Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck will weather the unexpected storm together. Be sure to check out the lovely Author’s Note in the back about diverse personalities bringing balance in unexpected situations. I would say this book is particularly perfect for what we’re currently experiencing with COVID-19, but just without the social distancing. LOL
AWARDS: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2020)
The illustrations in this book were created in watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot-press illustration board. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
Be ready for an adventure across the United States in this poetic book about all the different homes we find for plants, animals, and people. The artwork is so pretty and colorful as the words are a celebration of our National Parks. In the Author’s Note, Evan Turk shares that his father worked for as a Park Service employee for more than forty years!
The illustrations for this book were rendered in pastel on black paper. I’ll provide on page spread to serve as an example, below:
Welcome to Morningtown
Blake Liliane Hellman
Steven Henry, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
What a sweet, simple book all about the joys of a young bear and his mother waking up and getting started in a new day. The pictures remind me of books I read when I was a child — so innocent and comforting. In the end, everyone is up… except for one. Can you guess who?
The artwork for this book was created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
You Are A Gift To The World
Dona Turner, illustrator
April 12, 2011
This picture book has two different titles, depending on which end you start from. If you start from one side, it’s The World is a Gift to You, which celebrates the beautiful gifts of the world, ranging from plants to animals to mountains. From the other side it’s You Are a Gift to the World, which celebrates the beauty of the young child. It’s called a flip-sided book that never ends. One side appears to be a daughter and her mother and the other side a different young girl and her father.
I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
I’m currently re-reading The Giver as a read aloud to the kiddos and I’m reading an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman. And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 89/200