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 hope everyone is hanging in there whether you’re on full lockdown or simply social distancing. My husband came home ill on Friday, April 3rd. After a couple days with on/off fever, he called our public health district for phone evaluation and they said they wouldn’t be testing at this time (we had a very limited number of tests, locally). He’s not to return to work until he has no symptoms for a full 72 hours. Given the sheer possibility that he’s infected with COVID-19, he’s been strictly quarantined in an upstairs bedroom for over a week. I know he so badly wants to come downstairs or go outside, but we’re waiting it out and keeping an eye out for any developing respiratory issues (which has not been a problem, so far). At least he has a big screen TV in his room, good internet service, and me bringing him anything he needs throughout the day. We’ve all had our fair share of weekly Zoom meetings (work, church, youth group), loads of Marco Polos, and more hand-held device usage and social media than is probably healthy. But this is completely new territory, so we are giving ourselves a little grace.
Thank you so much for visiting today. It’s been a sincere struggle to stay focused on my reading amidst new community protocols and uncertainty. In fact, I only finished about half my normal weekly reading load. Nevertheless, what I did finish was very enjoyable. I was pleased when Netgalley approved my request for an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer earlier this spring, so I’ll be sharing this new title, today. Whether it’s a brand new title or an older one, I hope you find something of interest here to add to your wish list!
Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer
April 1, 2020
My thanks to Netgalley and Capstone Editions for providing an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. Twelve-year-old Micah McKinney and her father recently moved to the other side of town where she must start over with new friends, a quickly developing body, and without her beloved mom. She’s just about to start seventh grade and, due to an unfortunate incident with her previous best friends, she will no longer be playing her favorite sport: soccer. In an adorable meet cute, Micah develops a bond with a group of three boys who all seem to vie for her attention. But what happens when her new life and old life collide just when Micah McKinney least expects it?
I especially appreciate the father/child relationship we see between Micah and her father. He’s not perfect, nor completely healed from losing his wife, but he deeply cares about his daughter and attempts to interact in meaningful ways (where too many other fictional fathers fail). I also enjoyed the depth of character development with each of the boys in the group of friends. In the beginning there’s one boy who is so unnerving and thoughtless, but we get to watch him mature and become one of Micah’s greatest allies. Unfortunately, the “mean girls” Micah encounters are just that — mean. But they’re countered by a cast of kind, generous, down-to-earth female friendships that make middle school relationships worth finding and working on. There are also some encounters with older young adults and other parents that highlight the importance of developing adult/child relationships to meet needs that can’t always be fulfilled by parents (especially if you only have one).
At the end, Chapman shares how this book began as a classroom writing exercise with her students, but eventually bloomed into a full-blown story that allowed her to use her personal experiences of losing her own mother. In this way, it’s an important #ownvoices book that brings fresh understanding to such a devastating parental loss. But there’s plenty of funny, lighthearted moments mixed into this story, making it a perfect upper-middle grade read.
Unless I’m mistaken, this is Nina Chapman’s debut middle grade novel. I’m very happy to recommend it and I’ll look forward to following any of her future work.
How to Walk Away
May 15, 2018
St. Martin’s Press
After enjoying Things You Save in a Fire, I knew I had to read another Katherine Center book. And she didn’t let me down! Margaret Jacobsen does everything right. She worked very hard to get the right degree, the dream job, and the perfect fiancé. But on the very night she gets the marriage proposal she’s wanted for so long, tragedy strikes, landing Margaret in the hospital with terrible burns and severe spinal cord damage. Margaret cannot walk! The story shares painful family dynamics, shocking secrets, uncomfortable recovery experiences, and yes, even romance. This book was very difficult to “walk away” from until I finished it. 🙂
AWARDS: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2018)
World So Wide
Kate Alizadeh, illustrator
March 1, 2020
My sincere thanks to Laura of Beagles and Books, Two Lions, and Amazon Publishing for offering this book as a giveaway last month. I was thrilled to win and am now excited to share this book with my readers (and my own children!).
Somewhere in the world
the world so far
the world so wide
someone is the youngest person alive.
And so begins the gorgeous picture book celebrating the beginning of life and all that a child will see, hear, smell, touch, and do in their lifetime. In the end, the baby comes full circle, eventually witnessing the birth of his own baby. What a perfect book to share with anyone, young or old, in your life. It would make a wonderful gift for the birth of a new baby or for a child going off into the world (maybe graduation). I love it so much and am giddy to have a copy for my home!
The lovely artwork in this book was created digitally and features a culturally diverse family with both indoor and outdoor scenery. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
October 10, 2019
For everyone who got to this book before I did, you were right. It’s so incredibly warm and lovely! I must have a copy of my very own. I need to buy it for my mom for Mother’s Day — or any day, really. And I need to read it, individually, with each of my children. The artwork and hand penned writing are such a cozy combination. There’s no real story to speak of, so you can start anywhere in the book to feel inspired. It’s mostly filled with questions and concerns that children have, followed by simple, comforting responses. It’s definitely reminiscent of well-loved characters like Winnie the Pooh. I’m feeling all the feels, here. NOTE: The only difficulty I had a few times was reading the text. But I was always able to figure it out, in the end.
AWARDS: Barnes & Noble Book of the Year
Check out the following video of Charlie Mackesy talking about the creation of his book:
Currently Reading/To Be Read:
I’m currently right in the middle of listening to When We Were Vikings by David MacDonald. Through Overdrive library, I just got access to The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead, Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, and If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley. I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein– fantastic information!! And another set of 10 picture books just arrived via ILL through my college library, so I’m also looking forward to picking those up later today. Let’s see how many of these new titles I can knock out this week.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 111/200