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!
My, it has been quite a week due to illness around here. I suppose with a big family, you have to expect the dominoes to fall. So far just three of us, thank goodness! In any case, I’m posting four days late. So if anyone happens to stop by late in the week, I hope you’ll find at least something of interest to add to your reading list.
July 21, 2020
My thanks to Libro.fm for providing me with a complimentary audiobook of Brother’s Keeper. This historical fiction novel explored the realities of families living in Korea during the Korean war. There’s a great deal of fear in this Communist community. Citizens are not allowed to speak their mind. And if anyone suspects you do not agree with your leaders, you’ll be executed. Sora Pak is a big sister who must give up school to help take care of the family while her parents tend a farm. Young boys are to be educated, but girls are a different story. Their value lies in cooking and caring for the home. Sora is bitter about this view of young girls, but there’s really nothing she feels she can do. As the war escalates, friends of the family decide to attempt an escape, leaving the Pak family looking as though they knew of the plans and did not turn them in. So Sora’s family must hide her father for a period of time. As the political climate continues to worsten, it appears the best option for their family is to flee their mountain village and head for Busan. However, when Sora and her little brother Young get separated from their parents, they soon discover they will have to get to Busan on their own.
This book did an excellent job of showcasing cultural expectations in Korean families of the 1950s while also sharing the realities of this horrific war. The story is very dark at times, but also powerful. And there’s an author’s note explaining the story was loosely based on her own mother’s experiences in Korea. She shares that 3-4 million lives were lost and that, while there was eventually a cease fire, there has been no victory for either side for more than 60 years. This story was written for the middle grade audience, nevertheless I think this novel would be an equally wonderful read for adults who know little about the Korean War.
A Story about Afiya
Anna Cunha, illustrator
April 7, 2020
Afiya has only one dress and that’s all she needs. Wherever she goes, her white dress records the memories of her adventures. The beautiful artwork was created using mixed media, and completed digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
March 3, 2020
Katherine Tegen Book
This lifecycle picture book is black-and-white and accented only with robin’s egg blue, throughout. From beginning to end, we get to witness two robins as they build a nest and eventually raise four baby robins. There’s an Author’s Note at the end that shares more about American Robins. The artist used Micron pens and acrylic paints to create this lovely artwork. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
The Bold, Brave Bunny
Chow Hon Lam, illustrator
February 11, 2020
Perhaps children from larger families will especially appreciate this book about a bunny named Teetu who needs a break from his burrow full of so many bunnies. He heads out to explore the great wild and to record his journey in a book. But it’s not long before he begin to miss his family and he’s so very happy to find them, again. The artwork really makes this book! The artist used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Hooray for You
April 2, 2019
With bright and cheery artwork, this book is all about celebrating everyone’s unique qualities. I appreciate that the story includes people of different abilities and from various cultures. I could not find a note on how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
What If?: What Makes You
Different Makes You Amazing!
February 5, 2019
This cute little book is a splash of color with big bold fonts, intended to highlight the importance of uniqueness. In rhyming text, we see page after page of truly unique animals. For example, there’s a puppy with two difference colored eyes and an extremely tall giraffe. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example of the artwork and message, below:
You’re Just What I Need
Julia Noonan, illustrator
January 22, 2019
My youngest has very strong opinions about book covers. There are some books I sit down to read with her and she outright refuses for the simple fact that the cover just isn’t attractive to her. Sadly, that was the case with this book, for some reason. But as soon as she saw me flipping through the pages on my own, and wow’ing over the message, she said she’d like to read it with me. It’s a sweet story of a mother playing a game with her child — the youngster is hiding under a bundle of covers and the mother is pretending to not know what is under the covers. CUTE! While this story was recently republished, I saw that the original publication date was from 1998. The illustrations make me feel all warm and cuddly. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example of the artwork, below:
Inky the Octopus
David Leonard, illustrator
April 3, 2018
In cute rhyming text, the picture book shares the actual story of Inky’s real-life aquatic escape! The back matter tells more of the story of the escape, including details about other odd octopuses and an “Are You Squidding Me?!” page followed by a bibliography. I’ll provide a one page spread as an example, along with a video clip of how an octopus can squeeze through a tiny hole.
My Best Friend Is a Dragon:
A Lift-The-Flap Book
May 26, 2020
I picked up this little board book for my youngest since she loves dragons. There’s nothing particularly deep about it, just a little rhyming poem with bright, cheery illustrations and flip-up flaps to continue the text on each page. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
My thanks to Becky Herzog of Sloth Reads for the four books, above. I won them in a giveaway and have enjoyed reading them with my daughter. Each book takes the lyrics of a well-known song and creates illustrations to go with them. My favorite of the book was We’re Not Gonna Take It, written as babies speaking out to their controlling parents. So Cute!
I’ll link to all four titles on Goodreads, below:
To Be Read:
I am still working on Hatch, book #2 of the Overthrow series by Kenneth Oppel. It’s so good, but I’m just lacking time to sit and read right now. I’m also planning to finish reading the stack of Ruth Bader Ginsburg picture books I’ve acquired over the last three weeks.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020: 268/300