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!
It’s been a week of sweaty and dirty work at the Miller home. We’ve been moving things from our garage to storage and we’re doing as much decluttering as we can in the process. We’re replacing broken/ugly items around the house, touch-up painting where necessary, and cleaning, cleaning, CLEANING. And yet there’s still so much more work to be done. I’m exhausted as I type this post and I seriously lack time to say much about my reading. But I’m here. Oh, and I hope everyone has a Happy Father’s Day this coming weekend! Whew.
I’m going to take Sue’s advice and just share that I am participating in the 2020 Big Book Summer Challenge within my weekly #imwayr post. I believe this is my third summer to do this and I hope to wipe a few “big books” off my list. If you have several bigger books you’ve been meaning to get to, feel free to join us HERE. This week I finished my first two “big books”: A Place to Belong and Black Enough. And I started Thunderhead. YAY!
Thank you for visiting! I don’t have much time to blog, so these book shares will be very short and sweet, today.
A Place to Belong
Julia Kuo, illustrator
May 14, 2019
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
This story follows 12-year-old Hanako and her Japanese-American family as they are freed from Japanese internment camps and decide to return to Hiroshima after the United States dropped the atomic bomb. When they return, they have basically nothing, the children struggle with their Japanese, and they’re so very hungry. At least when they were in the internment camps, they were given food! It’s a thoughtful look at America as they attempt to weigh the positive and negative sides to our country’s role in WWII and their treatment of Japanese-Americans. I learned a great deal and hope this one will make it into many middle grade libraries in 2020. My only criticism might be that it’s a bit long for middle grade.
Black Enough: Stories of Being
Young & Black in America
Ibi Zoboi, Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth,
Dhonielle Clayton,Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles,
Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson, Justina Ireland,
Varian Johnson, Kekla Magoon, Tochi Onyebuchi,
Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Liara Tamani,
Renée Watson, Rita Williams-Garcia
January 8, 2019
Balzer + Bray
I thought this anthology was fantastic! Each story was unique and each shared a glimpse into the life of a black teen in America. There was very little to these stories that were stereotypical teen lives — there were details that drew me in and left me appreciating the character, but kinda feeling sad that each story wasn’t a full book all of its own so that I could see how the rest of their lives played out. That’s when I know an anthology is really good!
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots
February 11, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books
This is a really cute picture book that provides guidelines for children learning how to distinguish between fact and opinion. I liked that they even had a scenario where you have to “wait until we have more information” before being able to stay if a statement is a fact or opinion. Very cute illustrations and kids will be laughing through several scenes. The artwork was 100% created digitally using Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
The Tooth Fairy vs. the Easter Bunny
Jamie L.B. Deenihan
Erin Hunting, illustrator
February 11, 2020
Perhaps you’re already familiar with The Tooth Fairy vs. Santa (published last October)? Well, this is a continuation of the turf war between The Tooth Fairy and another magical being who serves children, each year. Young Veda loses her tooth the night before Easter and she writes a letter with a special request that will require the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny working together. But are they even capable of such a thing? The cute ending leaves the reader feeling there will be a sequel with yet another magical character. This book does not share how the artwork was created, but it appears to be digitally rendered. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Three Ways to Trap a Leprechaun
Vivienne To, illustrator
January 7, 2020
And while we’re on the topic of the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, might as well throw Leprechauns in the mix. LOL When I taught Kindergarten, I remember painting little green foot prints all around our room and leaving signs that Leprechauns had visited our classroom the night before St. Patrick’s Day. This would have been the perfect book to read the day before! Claire and her little brother Sam attempt to catch a Leprechaun multiple times in the same night. Will they finally be successful? The back matter has a two page spread all about how to catch a Leprechaun through research, design, having the right supplies, building, and patiently waiting. The book doesn’t share how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
I Am Just Right
March 19, 2019
An adorable little bunny shares the frustrations of getting bigger. He’s too big for his crib, his shirt, his shoes, etc. However, growing is nothing to fear because he’s just right in so many other ways. The artwork in this book was created with watercolor over pen and ink. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
What About Harry?
February 19, 2019
Sam and Harry are best friends, but when they begin to compare themselves to one another, Sam’s work is always better. Feeling deflated, Harry leaves in a huff. But over time, the two friends realize they are happier together. It’s a little busy, but I really loved this picture book and know it will speak to the hearts of young children caught in comparison mode. The artwork in this book was created with ink and Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
The Home Builders
Simona Mulazzani, illustrator
February 12, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books
What a beautiful picture book, showcasing the various types of habitats built by different forest creatures. In poetic text, we learn about the various types of homes that are built and when watch as each animal waits for the arrival of their babies. The illustrations allow the reader to see underground, into a bee’s hive, into nests, etc. as each home withstands a variety of weather/seasons. The artwork in this book was done in mixed media, including acrylic, colored pencil, and collage on paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
This was a fascinating picture book biography of Leonora Carrington. I’m not sure why I didn’t know anything about Carrington’s life before now, because she rubbed shoulders with many artists I do know of, including Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo. During her childhood she struggled to pay attaching in school and was even expelled from multiple schools. She also refused to choose a husband, despite her parent’s urging, but later married her greatest art teacher, Max Ernst. And when she dove into art, she enjoyed fantastical elements (influenced by surrealism). So very interesting! The back matter includes an Author’s Note, and Illustrator’s Note, and a Selected Bibliography. The artist used watercolor inks and gouache, layered with hard and soft pencil crayons. I’ll provide one past spread to serve as an example, below:
First Laugh–Welcome, Baby!
Rose Ann Tahe
Nancy Bo Flood
Jonathan Nelson, illustrator
August 4, 2018
Others in our #imwayr community have shared this book and so I was thrilled when it became available through my public library. The First Laugh Celebration is a Navajo tradition that welcomes a baby into the family and clan. This book shows a Navajo family watching and waiting through all the yawns, smiles, and scowls until a young baby finally laughs. Sooo precious! ❤ I was sad to read that author Rose Ann Tahe became suddenly ill and passed away in the final weeks before the printing of this book. But I’m grateful that the family pushed to fulfill Tahe’s wishes and share this story with the world. The back matter includes Author’s Notes, an Illustrator’s Note, and a great deal of information about the Navajo First Laugh celebration, as well as infant celebrations from other cultures. The illustrations are drawn with pencils and finished with ballpoint pen and Photoshop. I’ll provide one past spread, below:
To Be Read:
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 200/200 — time to increase my goal…
Big Book Summer 2020 Challenge — 2