It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/21/2020 #imwayr

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!

Upcoming Releases: There are always books I’m looking forward to being released, but two very big series have releases in October and I’ve been anticipating both for a looooong time: (1) Return of the Thief (The Queen’s Thief #6) by Megan Whalen Turner, which is due for publication October 6th, and (2) Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #6) by Jessica Townsend, which is due for publication in the U.S. on October 27th. So if you are looking for an excellent series to jump into before the next book is released, these are both very engaging series with excellent world building, memorable characters, and complex relationships.

Thank you for visiting, today! This week I’ll be sharing one YA book, two middle grade novels, and six picture books. I hope you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading wish list!


51457347Millionaires for the Month
Stacy McAnulty
September 1, 2020
Random House Books for Young Readers

My thanks to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is the story of an unlikely friendship forged by a twenty-dollar bill. Benji is fairly wealthy, he’s the tallest kid in his class, and quite outspoke. Felix, on the other hand, is small, quiet, and his single-mom obviously struggles, financially. Happenstance places both boys in the right place at the right time to be thrown into a game of spending millions in free cash. The catch is, they have to spend over $5,000,000.00 in 30 days or they lose it all. Oh, and did I mention there are a number of rules they must follow. For example, no real estate, no jewelry, no art, and whatever they buy must be used by the boys (so no gifts for others). Easy peasy, right? WRONG! Because they cannot tell a soul about the challenge. Just imagine being the parents of THESE boys as they burn through millions in mere WEEKS!

While I admit I wasn’t enamored by the cover art, the story was captivating right up to the end. I believe the book will make an excellent middle grade read aloud – kids will be talking in class, in hallways, at lunch, and after school as they come up with ways THEY would have made the challenge work, despite the strict rules. But there’s more to this story than money and math. The family relationships and management of an unusual friendship are both insightful and touching. McAnulty writes so well for this audience! And be sure to check out the math information and charts available in the back matter.

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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Something to Say
Lisa Moore Ramée
Bre Indigo, illustrator
Sisi A. Johnson, Narrator
July 14, 2020
Balzer + Bray

For such a short middle grade novel, this one addressed several deep topics. Eleven-year-old Jenae thinks she possesses the power to do things to others without even touching them. She is certain she’s the reason her brother is injured, the reason her grandfather is ill, and she’s even sure her powers will allow her to manipulate her teacher into not giving an assignment she hates. But ultimately, the story isn’t really about a magical gift at all. It’s a story of family love and devotion, a story of fear and vulnerability, and a story that encourages the reader to look at all sides of an issue before holding so tightly to only one opinion. I adore Jenae’s friend, Aubrey. He’s this sweet, devoted, and yet awkward new kid who has latched onto Jenae. He is doing everything in his power to be kind, supportive, and inclusive. But Jenae won’t have it. Many young readers will identify with her fear of being truly seen — and the fear of rejection. And personally, as a performer who has suffered from stage fright more times than I care to admit, Lisa Moore Ramée nailed the emotional and physical exhaustion of confronting those horrific situations. My thanks to Libro.fm for providing me this audiobook so that I could review it on my blog.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it through Book Links HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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The Toll
(Arc of a Scythe #3)
Neal Shusterman
November 5, 2019
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

People are vessels. They hold whatever is poured into them.”

Indeed they do. Oh my goodness, how can this series already be OVER?! At 625 pages, I feared this final book would feel like climbing a mountain. Simultaneously, I hoped it would be a momentous climax because the series was outstanding. Of course, I cannot share any of the details without spoiling books #1 and #2, but there were so many twists and turns. I was really invested in some of these characters (and happy to say goodbye to others). Also, I am completely jealous of IMWAYR host Kellee getting to meet Neal Shusterman this year. I may or may not have had tears in my eyes when I read about that author visit last March. Over the last year I’ve enjoyed Dry and the whole Scythe series. What Shusterman deliciousness shall I begin, next? I’m considering his Unwind series, so if you have any experience with it, please sound off in the comments.

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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The Very Last Leaf
Stef Wade
Jennifer Davison, illustrator
August 1, 2020
Capstone Editions

Fall is my favorite season of the year. As the weather begins to cool down and the colors change, I look forward to so many yearly traditions. So The Very Last Leaf was a welcomed book to my monthly stack. Lance Cottonwood is a leaf, standing proud and determined while all the other leaves let go and fall to the ground. This one brave act is the final thing he must be graded on in leaf school. Everyone does it, it’s totally natural, but he’s not having it. There’s an internal emotional struggle before he finally gives in. And, of course, the bigger discussion here is the fear of death. Whether children will make that connection without discussion, I’m not sure. But there was a scattering of scientific vocabulary (photosynthesis, deciduous, etc.) in the story that would also lend this text as a good companion for the study of life cycles. My thanks to Netgalley and Capstone Editions for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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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I Am Brown
Ashok K. Bankerax
Sandhya Prabhat, illustrator
March 3, 2020
Lantana Publishing

This cute picture features Black children of various sizes, cultures, families in each page spread — celebrating their accomplishments, foods, homes, clothing, etc.  No two “brown” children are exactly alike in each page spread. The point being that each child is unique and amazing, just as they are. I’ll share one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

I-Am-Brown-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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The Shark Report
(Benny McGee and the Shark #1)
Derek Anderson
February 4th 2020
Penguin Workshop

Benny’s class is studying sharks and it has made him very fearful of swimming in the ocean. His assignment is to write about sharks, but he’s in for a surprise because a shark follows him home from his trip to the beach. It doesn’t take long before Benny realizes that sharks are pretty friendly and that he has nothing to fear, after all. He spends the day playing with the shark, which he names Mr. Chompers. However, he’s having so much fun that he forgets to write his shark report. Oops! I won’t spoil the ending, but at on the final page it says “coming soon…” so I’ll be looking for book #2 before too long.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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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Lizzie Demands a Seat!:
Elizabeth Jennings Fights
for Streetcar Rights
Beth Anderson
E.B. Lewis, illustrator
January 7, 2020
Calkins Creek

In 1854, twenty-four year old Lizzie Jennings was kicked off a streetcar, illegally. The rules were that Black people could ride the regular streetcars as long as no Whites objected. She’d been born free and was a respectable school teacher. And no one objected to her riding. After her dismissal, a white man ran up to her and gave her his contact information in case she wanted him to testify on her behalf. And on February 22, 1855, her court case, Jennings v. Third Avenue Railroad Company, was heard and won. It was the first recorded court case won in the fight for equal rights on public transportation — 100 years before the well-known Rosa Parks encounter.  The back matter provides far more details, including the fact that her attorney, Chester A. Arthur, went on to become the 21st President of the United States. In addition to the Author’s Note, there’s also a Bibliography, and an Artist’s Note. The soft illustrations for this book were done in watercolor on hot-press paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Lizzie-Demands-a-Seat-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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Max the Brave
Max Series, Book 1
Ed Vere
E.B. Lewis, illustrator
June 5, 2014
Calkins Creek

I’ve not had the pleasure of reading any of the Max books until this week. This is such a great series for allowing the reader to know and understand something that the main character does not. It will get children giggling since they know exactly who Mouse is, even when Max overlooks Mouse. The artwork is very simplistic, but quite expressive and funny. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

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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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Max at Night
Max Series, Book 2
Ed Vere
E.B. Lewis, illustrator
January 7, 2020
Calkins Creek

I bet children everywhere are loving this one before bedtime! Max has done everything he’s supposed to do before bedtime and now he just needs to say goodnight to everyone. But where is Moon? So simple, but so effective. I’ll share one page spread as an example, below:

Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 4.11.28 PM

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:

This week I would like to start Hatch by Kenneth Oppel, which is book #2 of the Overthrower series. And with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to honor her memory this week I’m reading Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality and I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. I also have No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on ILL order, so hopefully that will come in before the weekend.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 248/250


What are YOU reading?


12 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/21/2020 #imwayr

  1. Hi Shaye!

    Have you seen the movie Brewster’s Millions with Richard Pryor? Sounds like almost the exact same premise as Millionaires for a Month, except it’s an 80’s movie for adults.

    Thanks for the shares. Hope your move is feeling even more settled now. 🙂

    Best, Ben

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! I remember the movie. I cannot remember if I watched the whole thing or perhaps passed in and out of the living room as my parents watched. And I now see that Penguin Randomhouse referred to this book as “How to Steal a Dog meets Brewster’s Millions,” but the similarities didn’t even occur to me while I was reading — probably because of all the middle grade happenings and that the point of the $5 million sum was based on “penny doubled” math (since the boys said $20 was like merely a penny to billionaire Laura Friendly — she was, in essence, teaching them a lesson on the value of a penny if you keep doubling it every day for 30 days). It seemed more like a punishment than anything. lol And we’re still settling in, but every week is better. My husband is an unpacking, sorting, cleaning mastermind. I’d be in super big trouble if he wasn’t here to remind me to focus on just one thing at a time (rather than the whole house, which is still overwhelming). Thanks for visiting, Ben!

      Like

  2. Millionaires for a Month is a new one to me, Shaye & I don’t remember the movie referred to by Ben. Hmm, will see if I can research it a bit more. I see you finished The Toll. Yes, lots of giveaways if you share the whole plot. I loved reading them & Dry, etc. I also enjoyed Something to Say & have her next one, but still haven’t read it. So much going on! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed both A Good Kind of Trouble and Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramée, so I’ll look forward to learning about her next one. I’m still somewhat out of the loop on what’s coming up, each month. Every week is better. Just takes time. Thank you so much for visiting, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These books sound fantastic! I’m hoping to read Something to Say soon—it sounds excellent! And I can totally relate to wanting to meet a few certain authors. Lizzie Demands a Seat sounds excellent—I had no idea about this event at all! (Also, I completely forgot Chester A. Arthur was one of the US presidents.) I hope you enjoy the RBG books, and thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I trust Stacy McAnulty enough to follow here anyway, and I liked so many of your picture books.

    ANd thanks for reminding me to preorder the next Thief of Attolia book.I’ve been carefully not thinking about when it comes out because I want it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I understand what you mean about not thinking about it too early. In fact, Turner’s series has been delayed (at least twice, if I remember correctly) and it’s so hard to face that disappointment. Now that we’re getting so close to release date, surely they won’t postpone it again. And I feel the same way about McAnulty’s writing. I’ll read it all! Thanks for visiting, Beth.

      Like

  5. Sounds like some great books for you this week! Millionaires for the month sounds like a very unique and intriguing premise – fun!

    And I have STILL not read any of the Scythe books despite being a HUGE Schusterman fan! So many good books and never enough time …

    Hope you are enjoying your books this week, Shaye (I am late, as usual) –

    Sue

    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

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