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’m posting pretty late this week. So for anyone who happens to read this week: I’m beyond exhausted. And I’m so sorry that I haven’t made it around to everyone’s posts from last week. I’m usually committed to checking in with everyone who links up, so this has been a very odd week. Preparing a home that’s been lived in for over 14 years by two adults and five children is NO laughing matter. I spent weeks, plus the last two nights in a row pulling almost all-nighters cleaning, painting, and packing while my children slept. I even piled up every book I have checked out and returned them to the local libraries, except for one — because I was so worried that I might pack a library book. Eeeek! So, aside from the fact that we’re still cleaning and painting and preparing for a (hopeful) big move this summer, I have far fewer books on hand than normal. We’re not out of the woods on our home purchase. Things have become rather complicated on the financial end and we’re still waiting on the appraisal on our home, so we could still be in for a huge disappointment by this week’s end. But I just wanted to thank everyone for your support and optimism on behalf of our family.
If you dropped by this week, thank you for visiting! I hope you find something to add to your ‘to be read’ list. And, as always, please feel free to share what you’ve been reading, in the comments.
How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
August 13, 2019
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, now. So I finally used an Audible credit and listened to Ibram X. Kendi’s narration while I cleaned and packed last week. Anything I say cannot truly do this book justice, so I thought I’d just share a couple quotes:
What’s the problem with being ‘not racist?’ It is a claim that signifies neutrality. ‘I am not a racist. But neither am I aggressively against racism.’ But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist,’ it is antiracist… The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.
The construct of ‘race neutrality’ actually feeds white nationalists’ victimhood by positing the notion that any policy protecting or advancing non-white Americans toward equity is reverse discrimination.
This book was fascination, painful, and hopeful. I enjoyed how Kendi went back and forth between his personal history/experiences and major historical information full of facts and shocking statistics that I fear too many are not familiar with. I cannot recommend it enough!
This was yet another book I’ve been wanting to read. And without much time to read with my eyes, I was excited when it became available as an audiobook on Overdrive. I especially enjoy it when an author narrates their own work — the vocal inflection is meaning, all on its own. So, I’ll share yet another quote to help frame the types of truth shared in this book:
The foundation of courage is vulnerability. The ability to navigate uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. It takes courage to open ourselves up to joy. In fact, as I’ve written in other books, I believe joy is probably the most vulnerable emotion we experience. We’re afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel it, we’ll get blind sighted by disaster or disappointment. That’s why in moments of real joy, many of us dress rehearsal tragedy. We see our child leave for prom and all we can think is car crash. We get excited about an upcoming vacation and we start thinking hurricane. We try to beat our vulnerability to the punch by imagining the worst or by feeling nothing in hopes that the other shoe won’t drop. I call it foreboding joy. The only way to combat foreboding joy is gratitude. Across the years, the men and women who could most fully lean into joy were those who practiced gratitude. In those vulnerable moments of individual or collective joy, we need to practice gratitude.
Whoa. Right? I still need to read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly (which I own), but this one was fantastic and I heartily recommend!
The World Needs More Purple People
Daniel Wiseman, illustrator
June 2, 2020
Random House Books for Young Readers
I’m so grateful to my friend, Lauren, for making sure I get my hands on some books that aren’t available at our local libraries. She dropped this one off last week and it’s super cute. I loved the message of what it means to be purple. And trust me, you WANT to be a purple person if you aren’t already! I couldn’t find a note on how Wiseman created the art, but I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
Peter H. Reynolds
March 3, 2020
Another find by Lauren, who shares my love of Peter H. Reynolds! Be You! is an encouraging picture book that dares every one of us to be ourselves — to concentrate on learning and growing, being adventurous, kind, persistent, brave, and patient. The message is timeless and Reynolds artwork is simply lovely, as always. While the book doesn’t share how the illustrations were created, I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
I was four years old when Jimmy Carter became president, so I don’t remember much from his presidency. But this little picture book was very helpful in describing his childhood, his move into politics, his humanitarian efforts, and his eventual award of the Nobel Peace Prize. The back matter includes a detailed Author’s Note followed by an extensive three-paged timeline, bibliography, and online resources. The artist used Corel Painter to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
How to Catch a Dragon
Andy Elkerton, illustrator
November 5, 2019
Written in rhyming text with adorable digitally painted artwork, a group of young children are chasing down a dragon. The story is set in China during the Chinese New Year and would make a fun fictional read while studying the holiday. The back matter includes a two paged spread of the poetic text written in three languages. The art was first sketched , then painted digitally with brushes designed by the artist. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Making spending choices is hard! Sonny is looking through his allowance jar and comparing it to all that he wants to buy. Should he continue to save his three carrots until he has 100 carrots to buy the big item he wants? Or should he buy something smaller with his three carrots? In the end, he makes a choice that was just right for him. What a great way for children to think about their own financial decisions! The illustrations were drawn with HB pencil on Mylar film and then digitally colored.
Not Your Nest!
Andrea Tsurumi, illustrator
March 5, 2019
Poor little yellow bird. He keeps taking his time to design a nest, collect the sticks, and build it just the way he likes it. But then an animal takes it over when he’s ready to make himself at home. Apparently, the wild can be an unsettling place to home build, because this happens to him again and again. Fear not, in the end everyone has a better understanding of what they need when little yellow bird is finally at home! The artwork for this book was inked with pencil and colored digitally.
Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish
Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator
February 12, 2019
G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
As the title suggests, these are the ten rules of making a birthday wish. Most rules have exceptions, though. For example, you should have balloons, unless you are a rhinoceros or swordfish. And most people celebrate every year. …unless their life cycle is only a week or one day long. Then they should celebrate immediately. HAHA! The illustrations were done in pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, and pastel.
The Babysitter from Another Planet
February 12, 2019
Neal Porter Books
With only a few words per page, this picture book shares the story of a brother and sister who encountered a babysitter from another planet when their mom and dad went out to the movies. This babysitter can do everything a human babysitter can do and MORE, including making the children float through the house. The artwork was created using digital techniques.
To Be Read:
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 210/200
Big Book Summer 2020 Challenge — 2