It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6/2020 #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!

Coronavirus-CDCThis current experience of COVID-19 is utterly surreal. I am concerned about several loved ones, near and far, but I understand they are doing everything possible to stay away from the public. Like most everyone else, we’re just reading tons of information online about this novel virus and keeping our family at home as much as possible. One thing is for sure, it will be very interesting to read future “historical fiction” books that include the COVID-19 experience as part of the story, won’t it?

While I know most of us have access to plenty of e-books and audiobooks, I would love to hear about any brick and mortar libraries in your area that are doing pick-up orders once a week or libraries that are delivering. It’s impressive how multiple businesses are finding new ways to serve the public while keeping a safe distance. I’m very grateful to my college library for continuing to let me order ILL print books from other libraries. I just got another batch of 35+ ordered a week ago and I was excited when a lot of them arrived a couple days ago. The library quarantines the books for just a few days and then we still sanitize them the moment they reach our home. All in all, it’s been a great borrowing experience and I’ve been able to catch up on some wonderful picture books I missed over the last couple years. Nevertheless, with the increasing need for social distancing, I realize this option may not last much longer.

Thank you so much for visiting, today. Whether it’s a new or older title, I hope you find something of interest to add to your TBR list. And if you link-up through the kidlit #imwayr community, I’ll be around to see what you’ve been reading very soon.


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To Fly Among the Stars: A True
Story of the Women and Men Who
Tested to Become America’s First Astronauts
Rebecca Siegel
March 3, 2020
Scholastic Focus

This book was so engaging — all about America’s space program and the aviators who set its course. There’s amazing focus on how difficult it was for women to be involved with NASA, but also so many personal details about various people who came in and out of the picture over the years. Also, I didn’t realize this until after I finished the book, but Mercury 13’s story is told in a recent Netflix documentary and a play based on Cobb’s life, “They Promised Her the Moon.” So I hope to check that out very soon!

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 Only Black Girls in Town
Brandy Colbert
March 10, 2020
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I absolutely loved this debut middle-grade novel about Alberta and Edie — the only black girls in town. Edie is new to town after her mother purchased a bed and breakfast. When Edie decides to make her bedroom in the attic of her new home, she and Alberta find a whole pile of journals left behind by someone who passed years ago. While reading through the journals, they both simultaneously experience racism in their community while coming to terms with who they can count on. This was such a pleasant surprise! I would classify it as a historical fiction novel because of the focus on black history, including specific mentions of Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, etc. It also had a Parker Inheritance feel because of the dual stories occurring between the past and the present. Highly recommend for the upper middle grade reader in your life!

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.


3636 (1)

The Giver
(The Giver #1)
Lois Lowry
April 26, 1993
Houghton Mifflin

As I mentioned last week, this was a re-read because I wanted to share it with my five kiddos. All the kids stuck with it, respectfully listening and responding these last two weeks. However, I completely forgot the high vocabulary level of this book. Wow. I also forgot about the discussions of “stirrings,” which definitely became a family joke with my teens this month. LOL Anyway, we had wonderful discussions about sameness and how different governments throughout history have attempted to create sameness on various levels — some in very positive ways and some in highly questionable ways. Then we followed the conclusion of the book with watching the movie on Friday night.

AWARDS: Newbery Medal (1994), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children’s Literature (1994), Golden Duck Award for Young Adult (Hal Clement Award) (1994), Garden State Book Award for Teen Fiction Grades 6-8 (1996), Buckeye Children’s Book Award for Grade 6-8 (1997), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (1995), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Grade 6-9 (1995), Golden Sower Award for Young Adult (1995), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Grades 3-8 (1995), Soaring Eagle Book Award Nominee (1996), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Senior (1996), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nominee for Fiction (1993), New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award (1997), Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award (1997), William Allen White Children’s Book Award (1996), Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Nominee (1996), NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature Nominee (2013), Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for YA (1996), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (1996), Hea Lasteraamat (2010)

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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Froggy Builds a Snowman
Jonathan London
Frank Remkiewicz, illustrator
January 7, 2020
Viking Books for Young Readers

Today is the Winter Carnival and Froggy is super excited as it’s his first time to attend. But once it begins, Froggy is doing everything out of order. Eventually he gets with the program and enjoys a full day of snowy fun with all his animal friends. The day ends on a very happy note, full of smiles. The artwork in this book was created with watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Froggy-Builds-a-Snowman-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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Snow Much Fun!
Nancy Siscoe
Sabina Gibson, illustrator
October 29, 2019
Balzer + Bray

What really makes this book so fun is the artwork. It was created with photos of fabric animals, so it the 3D feel will be enticing to children. Berry, Ginger, and Willow are off to enjoy a snow day. They have a wonderful day sledding, ice-skating, building a snowman, and even making cookies. The following day they hang garlands, go skiing, and play some hockey. But before the day is over, they look outside and see new flurries beginning to fall — tomorrow will be another snow day! The artwork in this book was created with a mix of handmade props and photography. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Snow-Much-Fun-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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Hello Ninja (Netflix original)
N. D. Wilson
Forrest Dickison, illustrator
October 15, 2019 (orig. 2013)
HarperCollins

With vivid greenery, an ocean of blue, fluffy white blizzards, and fancy castles with crowned cats, Ninjas are busy hopping, chopping, dancing, prancing, dodging, and spinning. But all good things must come to an end when Ninjas need a good night of sleep. The artwork in this book was created with photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Hello-Ninja-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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Going Down Home With Daddy
Kelly Starling Lyons
Daniel Minter, illustrator
April 1, 2019
Peachtree Publishing Company

There’s no surprise that this book was a Caldecott Medal Nominee this past year. Stunning artwork will keep readers searching the page for context clues as the heartwarming text shares a story of the love of extended family. Reading this book is like being wrapped in a cozy-warm blanket as we read of road trips, hugs from Granny, an amazing dining room spread with so many comfort foods, going to church with family, family quilts, discussing history and ancestors, card games, and a final goodbye that leaves us hungering for the next family reunion. ❤

AWARDS: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2020)

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

Going-Down-Home-With-Daddy-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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Horse & Buggy Paint It Out!
Ethan Long
June 11, 2019
Holiday House

Horse and Buggy have very different approaches to painting. Horse doesn’t want a plan. He believes his artwork will materialize when it’s ready. Buggy, however, understands the importance of having a detailed plan of action before beginning. How will these two come to a mutual understanding? Or do they need to? The artwork in this book was created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Paint-It-Out-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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As Warm as the Sun
Kate McMullan
Jim McMullan, illustrator
August 13, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This lovely picture book is about a little French Bulldog named Toby who loves the warm spots in his home — the sunlight on the floor, the fireplace, the cozy lap of his owner. But one day a new little dog named Pinkie comes along and begins invading all his favorite spots. Toby hides in a cold corner all by himself until he learns that you can find warmth in a new friend. The artwork for this book was made with watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

As-Warm-As-The-Sun-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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Scribble Stones
Diane Alber
March 12, 2019
Diane Alber Art LLC

About a year ago I reviewed Splatter by Diane Alber and Scribble Stones is a similarly cute book about a boring gray stone trying to find his purpose and meaning. Eventually he encounters splatters and scribbles and, in an effort to help them solve their problem, he becomes beautifully decorated. Soon, other stones are lining up to bring happiness and fun everywhere they go.

One reason I appreciated this book is because we have a special group in Chadron called Chadrocks. People decorate and hide stones all over town. Then they take photos of what they find or what they hide so that someone else can find it. Perhaps you have something similar in your town? It’s a fun day to brighten the community and share our experiences on social media!

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

Scribble-Stones-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m just almost finished with my ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman — it’s a really fun read! And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein. It’s a lot to digest, but so very important (and eye-opening) for any parents of teens. I think I’ll start How to Walk Away by Katherine Center after enjoying Things You Save in a Fire over a month ago. And, as always, I also have a large stack of picture books to read this week. YAY!


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 107/200


What are YOU reading?

10 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6/2020 #imwayr

  1. I had The Only Black Girls in Town from the library but had to turn it back before reading, my loss! It’s on my list! No, our libraries are not offering any hard copies of books, but one can get the audios. I don’t need more books, though my list that I would love from the library is getting longer and longer! Love your snowy books. We have snow coming again next weekend (they say) after a week of warm weather! April continues the ups & downs. I loved Going Down Home With Daddy, reminds me of my own extended family getting together long ago. Have as good a week as you can, Shaye. And thanks for all!

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  2. I loved As Warm As the Sun, as well as The Only Black Girls in Town and To Fly Among the Stars. I’ve never gotten the appeal of The Giver, although the teachers at my school love it. I like Lowry, but Son was just… weird. Looks like you are surviving the pandemic pretty well, and it’s good that you are well stocked with things to read!

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  3. I am green with envy that you are still getting books. Our libraries are all shut down.
    I enjoyed The Giver and ended up eventually reading the entire series. I think it works better when you read them all together.
    I’ll be on the lookout for The Only Black Girls in Town and Scribble Stones. I love the idea of the Chadrocks. It sounds like a fun thing to do with toddlers while staying safe at home.

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  4. As Warm As the Sun looks adorable! Our public libraries are closed, but I’m grateful for borrowing library books through Overdrive, especially picture books. I put The Only Black Girls in Town on my TBR list, it sounds great and I’m a fan of Brandy Colbert’s other books. Have a great and safe week, Shaye!

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  5. Loved The Only Black Girls in Town! Definitely one to add to middle school shelves.
    I, too, wondered about future novels that will have this pandemic in it. It’s bound to happen, definitely not ready to read anything with it in it yet!!!
    Our libraries shut down so fast I didn’t even have a chance to get over and return books and check out what is on hold for me. We found out on March 13 that we would not be returning to school (at that time it was until April 6th, currently closed through April 30th… we’ll see what happens next!) and I got an email with 45 mins. notice that the library was also closing. Lots of kids without books right now….

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  6. Our library closed along with the schools. They’re subject to the Stay At Home orders of our state, but in addition to e-resources, they have been posting read aloud story time videos and other Learn At Home videos with different lessons in science, history, math, etc. I had a huge stack of picture books right before they closed, so that’s lasting me nicely. Oddly enough, it’s hard for me to settle down and focus on reading lately. I think by the time I’ve done everything to make sure everyone has what they needs, watched the latest press briefings, and exercised a little, I’m just exhausted. I find that my attention span is only good for sitcoms, so I’ve been watching the old sitcoms from the 70s and 80s on Netflix and Hulu. Anyway, I know we’ll get through this if we just stay calm and follow the directions for social distancing. Praying for you and your family. Stay healthy and safe!

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  7. The public library in my town is closed, and I haven’t heard anything about it opening anytime soon. I will have to check out The Only Black Girls in Town, that one sounded good, and I am adding a few of the picture books as well. Scribble Stones looked neat and I have read a number of N.D. Wilson’s novels, and was not aware he wrote picture books. I might have to check that out too. Thanks for the post!

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  8. I am so jealous that you can still get library books! Our libraries are digital only, which is fine for text but I much prefer graphic novels and picture books in print form. I will have to live vicariously through your rich descriptions!

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