It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/29/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

Quick Update: We got our home appraisal back and it was high enough to give us the immediate equity to do everything we need to do on our new home. Furthermore, the seller’s agreed to replace the roof before closing. Whew! For now we pretty much just sit tight and wait for the new roof and all the paperwork to be completed. We should close on or before July 20th, so we’re down to the last three weeks. While we are all very excited, there’s also been some sadness about leaving this house. Even the kids have started mentioning how they’ll miss this place. It is the only home any of our children have ever known (our oldest was 2 when we moved in and she’ll turn 17 later this summer). In fact, some were even BORN in this home. So yeah, totally mixed emotions. Still, we look forward to finally being settled and having the space we’ve needed for a very long time.

Thank you for visiting, today! With all the house prep we’re still doing, I was only able to actually finish my picture books. Hopefully you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading wish list.


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Kat & Juju
Kataneh Vahdani
July 1, 2020
Two Lions

As part of the Amazon First Reads program, I picked up this little book last week. Kat is shy. She doesn’t know how to have a friend or how to be a friend. On her birthday, she inherits a new best friend who is very different from her. Over the course of their time together, she learns all about helping others until, at last, she finds her bravery. The illustrations are simply adorable. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Kat-and-Juju-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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Cezanne’s Parrot
Amy Guglielmo
Brett Helquist, illustrator
February 11, 2020
G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

This picture book biography shares the difficult experiences of Paul Cezanne, a French painter who wasn’t truly appreciated for a very long time. I pretty much knew nothing about Cezanne, so this was very educational for me. As is so often the experience of artists, Cezanne wasn’t sincerely appreciated until he learned to not worry about what others thought about his work. The humor in this story is found in Cezanne’s pet parrot, Bisou, who refuses to say ‘Cezanne is a great painter!’ Heehee! The back matter includes an Author’s Note, a bibliography, source notes, and a list of the paintings that were depicted in the story. The artwork for this book was done in oil on paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cezannes-Parrot-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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Cyclops of Central Park
Madelyn Rosenberg
Victoria Tentler-Krylov, illustrator
February 11, 2020
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

At first glance, the artwork in this book appeared far too busy for my tastes. But there’s a deep and important lesson in this story that made me better appreciate each crazy illustration. Cyclops lives in the Central Park cave with his flock of sheep. One sheep named Eugene has always been enamored by the world. And, sure enough, he goes missing. In the wild hunt to find his lost sheep, Cyclops finds a deeper appreciation for the world. It’s quite meaningful and there’s a sweetness that’s not to be missed! The artwork for this book was painted in watercolor and gouache, and completed with Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cyclops-of-Central-Park-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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Fry Bread:
A Native American Family Story
Kevin Noble Maillard
Juana Martinez-Neal, illustrator
October 22, 2019
Roaring Brook Press

I’ve been waiting for this one for a loooong while after seeing so many in my reading community talk about it. Fry Bread, a beloved Native American food, can be everything from something to detect with our senses (flavor, sound, color) to location (state, nation). It encompasses so much meaning, depending on who you ask. By the end, it makes the reader want to eat fry bread. So it’s a good thing that the author provides his own recipe with detailed directions. The artwork in this book is something to behold — plan to spend loads of time exploring the entire page as the details and facial expressions are extraordinary! Be sure to examine the back matter, which includes nine pages of detailed information, including an Author’s Note and references. The illustrations for this book were done in acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite on hand-textured paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Fry-Bread-SPREAD5

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.


42873951._SX318_The Upper Case:
Trouble in Capital City
(Private I #2)
Tara Lazar
Ross Macdonald, illustrator
October 15, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

What a clever little book! The story is written with a play on words. While younger emerging readers will enjoy hearing about upper/lower case letters they’re still learning about, older children will more easily appreciate all the little jokes along the way. This book is part of a series, but I was able to know what was going on even without having read book #1. The publisher doesn’t share how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:Upper-Case-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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Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival
Lindsay Moore
January 22, 2019
Greenwillow Books

Written in poetic text matched by gorgeous artwork on every page, this lovely picture book ends the same way it begins — with a polar bear that has learned how to hope and wait from its polar bear mother. The back matter includes a great deal more information about polar bears, the ringed seal, the walrus, the Greenland shark, the narwhal, and the bowhead whale. The full-colored art was rendered in graphite, watercolor, drawing inks, conte crayon, and color pencil. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Sea-Bear-SPREAD3

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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How Do You Do?
Larissa Theule
Gianna Marino, illustrator
January 15, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books 

What a perfect picture book for middle-of-summer reading:

The day was hot.
The day before had also been hot.
And the day before that.
And the day before that.

Yep. Pretty much what we’ve been experiencing, lately. But this book has a lovely message about how meeting someone new makes all the difference in the world. GREAT book for discussion! The illustrations for this book were created with gouache on watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

How-do-you-do-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.


25634503The Bureau of Misplaced Dads
Éric Veillé
Pauline Martin, illustrator
August 1, 2015
Kids Can Press

Awwww. This picture book about a child who misplaces his dad is super cute. Who knew there were so many dads who have been misplaced. Thankfully, this youngster finds his dad right where he left him. ❤ The illustrations remind me so much of books I read during my childhood. The artwork was rendered digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Bureau-misplaced-dads-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.


To Be Read:

It’s been a slow reading week, but I’m still working on Thunderhead and Just Mercy. Both are fantastic! I just wish I could drum up more reading time with all this cleaning and packing. 🙂

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 218/200
Big Book Summer 2020 Challenge — 2


What are YOU reading?

12 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/29/2020 #imwayr

  1. Alllll the cleaning and packing! It’s A LOT! We are down to our last 10 days and I am trying not to have a panic attack, LOL. I thought Just Mercy was fantastic–such a powerful and infuriating book. You read so many picture books this week and they all look amazing.

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  2. I understand about leaving your home, Shaye. When I moved into the city, I left our home of forty years. The nicest thing is that I love my new one & I imagine you all will, too, and will have the end of the summer to get to know it well! Best wishes! And thanks for visiting my other posts. I appreciate that! As for today, I loved Sea Bear and Fry Bread, & noted the others that are new to me. That Cyclops book sounds & looks very good. Thanks for taking time & enjoy the week, prepping, packing, purging – 3 Ps, right?

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  3. I’ve been wondering how your move was going. I’m glad to see that you are almost there. Congratulations and good luck!
    Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival has been on my want to read list for over a year. Looking at the cover and the illustrations reminded me why. Unfortunately my new library system doesn’t have a copy. I’ve put a hold on it anyway in hopes that it will become available and we will make a trip to the big city where I can pick it up! Thankfully Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is available here!

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  4. Congratulations on your progress toward moving into your new home! Kat & Juju looks incredibly sweet, and I agree, the art style of Fry Bread looks wonderful! I also loved all of the punctuation puns in the example pages from The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City. Thanks for the great post!

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  5. I can you also enjoy thinking of all of those great memories in your house as you pack. I totally understand how you would be having trouble finding time to read Thunderhead. When I read it, I needed to have a nice block of time in order to really get into it. I appreciate all the picture book reviews! I really enjoyed Fry Bread for the information and the details in the pictures. Juana Martinez Neal was able to include a lot of things that were based on her family and tell a story within the book. I have Sea Bear and The Upper Case on my list for next school year. I also liked the looks of The Bureau of Misplaced Dads, How Do You Do and others. Thanks for the great post!

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  6. I’m glad things are working out for your move. It looks like it was a good week with your picture books. I wish you all the best as you get ready to move.

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