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!
Not much time to chat this week, due to Mother’s Day festivities. But I’m excited to share that my family surprised me with a used iPad to replace my failing iPad mini. I use it to read a lot of my Netgalley and Kindle books, but lately the mini hasn’t been sleeping or waking properly. In fact, it hasn’t been allowing me to change apps without restarting the device. So I’m grateful to have a new (and hopefully better functioning) iPad. Bring on the e-books! 😀
Thank you for visiting, today! Please feel free to share any great reads you’ve encountered this past week, in the comments. And whether it’s a new book or an older title, I hope you find something of interest in this post to add to your reading wish list.
The One and Only Bob
(The One and Only Ivan #2)
May 5, 2020
2013 Newbery Medal winner The One and Only Ivan stole my heart, so I was super excited when The One and Only Bob was available this week through Overdrive audiobooks. Narrated by Danny DeVito, this story is told by Ivan’s little canine friend, Bob. I won’t spoil the details of the story, except to say that I love how this one spends some wonderful time examining courage and regrets.
“I was afraid. A coward. There’s a certain freedom that comes with owning your faults.”
But there are also important lessons in forgiveness — forgiveness of others AND especially of one’s self. I still think book #1 is my favorite, but I wish I’d re-read it just before starting this one. Kids will definitely connect with Bob and be excited to learn more about what’s going on with Ivan and Ruby.
If These Wings Could Fly
March 3, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books
**SOBS** When I got just a few chapters into this book, I couldn’t help but think WHY AM I NOT HEARING MORE ABOUT KYRIE MCCAULEY?! Well duh. It looks like this is her YA debut! I was really hoping to find a good YA novel to complete my week and this book was pretty much perfection for me. TRIGGER: Domestic violence. (But I deeply appreciate how the abuser is given a layered presence. While you may feel hatred toward the abuse, the story examines where it stems from. So powerful.)
The book spans four months — the first chapter begins on September 2nd and the final chapter begins on January 1st. Some favorite quotes:
“When the legacy is anger, the inheritance is fear.”
“Sometimes I really wish he were just mean through and through. Evil is easy to hate. But broken. Broken can love and be loved.”
I love how the main character notices that someone else’s dad has “a version of loud that isn’t angry.” Oooof.
Also important to know is the fact that there’s a bit of magical realism in this book, but it doesn’t completely dominate the story. It could even be attributed to the mental confusion experienced by victims of domestic abuse (but I personally don’t think that’s the case). No spoilers here, but I will say that if I never much liked crows before, I kinda do now. So wise. So instinctive. So protective. I look forward to seeing what others in our reading community think!!
March 19, 2019
I can tell you, for sure, that this isn’t a book I would have chosen to read all on my own after reading the synopsis. I feel uncomfortable reading about deceit and I wasn’t sure what angle the story would take on psychic mediums. All that said, I’m glad I took a chance because this was a good read.
CJ (Caraway June) is being raised by her Aunt Nic, who just happens to be a famous medium. CJ knows that her mother died when she was little, but Aunt Nic sometimes intercedes and lets CJ’s mother talk to her. CJ completely believes in her aunt’s abilities and sees “spirit” as a powerful being. However, one day she and her new friend, Jax, meet a surprise visitor who shares details about her aunt that threaten to unravel all CJ has ever believed in. This one is a quick read and there’s lots to discuss about family relationships, anxiety, and spiritual beliefs.
The Bear and the Star
Lola M. Schaefer
Bethanne Andersen, illustrator
September 24, 2019
This poetic story has a Christmas-y feeling as there’s snow, a new star, the people in the story seems to be wearing a lot of read and green, and everyone is hoping for peace. This is a soothing read with calming illustrations that will work especially well as a bedtime tale for young listeners. Oil paints on gessoed Arches printmaking paper were used to prepare the full-color art. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
When a Tiger Comes to Dinner
April 9, 2019
Balzer + Bray
Let’s get one thing straight: There’s lots to learn about tigers before you invite one to dinner. Like, how do you say hello? What will the tiger want to eat? What games does a tiger like to play? It’s a good thing that mouse has an expert book on how to impress a tiger. Surely there will be no surprises, right? 🙂 The front and back matter doesn’t say how the artwork was created, but it appears to be rendered digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Dragons Get Colds Too
Charles Santoso, illustrator
February 12, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
In this funny picture book, we’re given steps #1 through #7 on how to care for a dragon when it gets sick. Each step is followed by a “fact” and a “tip.” Hilarious brightly-colored illustrations accompany each step, including full page spreads between each step which showcase just how difficult the task will be. Sometimes “how to” books make any task seem so easy, and children will most definitely pick up on the humor and the comparison to caring for a sick young child. The artwork for this book was created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
The Bell Rang
James E. Ransome
January 15, 2019
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Written in stanzas, The Bell Rang is a gorgeous picture book that shares a week in the life of a young female slave. It begins on Monday as the bell rings. Each day, after the bell rings, daddy gathers wood and mama cooks. Then her parents go off to work on the plantation while she goes with the “young’uns” to Miss Sarah Mae’s. Thursday is different, however, because her brother is missing. Ben risked his life for freedom and all the family can do is wait and cry and pray that he made it to safety. Not knowing is heartbreaking, yet hopeful. The last page simply ends with “Monday…” but there’s a bird flying away, seemingly indicating freedom for Ben. An Author’s Note talks about what it was like when a slave ran for freedom and how slave owners encouraged family ties to suppress running.
AWARDS: Coretta Scott King Book Award Nominee for Illustrator (2020), A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019, ALA Notable Children’s Books (2020)
The beautiful illustrations for this book were rendered in acrylics. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
The Book in the Book in the Book
Simon Bailly, illustrator
January 8, 2019
What a fantastically entertaining little book. The story is exactly as the title indicates — a book in a book in a book. With repetitive text, each story has an identical storyline with a young boy named Thomas, but the illustrations make them all quite unique because of the setting. And in each story, a boy named Thomas eventually finds a new book to open. On the last page we see him walking away and a book is left in the sand. This one would be great for a discussing the power of illustrations, or how the setting can change the feeling of the book, or whether Thomas ever found a book to begin with — could it all have just been a dream? There are no notes on the artwork, but I’ll provide one page spread to show how the second book is found, below:
This is one of the most fascinating picture book biographies I’ve read. Ernest Everett Just faced a number of difficulties early on, including the death of his father at age four, severe lasting impact of typhoid fever (meaning losing the ability to read), the death of his mother before college, attending Dartmouth College while working to pay his tuition while also sending money back home to support his siblings, and simply making his way in the world of academia as a black man during years of dreaded segregation. Nevertheless, his contributions to science were ground breaking, particularly in regards to his discoveries of the egg cell. This book needs to be in every school and public library! My one disappointment would be that there were no dates or years found within the book, but this certainly wouldn’t deter me from sharing with young readers. The illustrations in this book were created using pencil, paper, and Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
Harriet Gets Carried Away
March 6, 2018
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Harriet is a lot like my youngest. She likes to wear costumes all the time. And in this quirky little picture book, she goes to the store in a penguin costume to buy party hats for her party, but ends up leaving with some real life penguins. And let’s just say you’ll never guess how Harriet makes it back home. What a crazy experience! The illustrations for this book were rendered in Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
To Be Read:
This week I plan to finish up an ARC of The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington. It takes place not far from where I live, so that’s kinda cool! I also started listening to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. Acevedo is one of the narrators and so I knew I’d enjoy her narration style after enjoying the audiobook of With the Fire on High! I really hope to start When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson before the end of the week — I’ve heard such great things. I’m also currently waiting for a new batch of 30+ picture books to arrive through ILL, so that should be fun!
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 150/200