It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/19/2020 #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!

We’ve had the most gorgeous autumn in western Nebraska! The colors are so vibrant and yet the temps have been surprisingly warm. Then this weekend we had a nice little snow, completely covering all grass and topping cars with a thick blanket of white. We are also so happy that we got our new-to-us piano moved in last weekend and on Thursday our new washer and dryer arrived. This place is starting to feel more and more like HOME! ❤

In celebratory news, today is my hubby’s birthday! Last night he requested biscuits and gravy, sausage and eggs for supper. Then today he will be taking off work a couple hours early and we’re all looking forward to homemade nachos, cake, ice cream, and two football games this evening. YAY! Sadly, I had a mishap with his birthday gift because I was trying to keep it super secret. I participate in a national survey program that gives me points each month. So here’s how the surprise was supposed to work:

  1. Convert my survey award points to three digital Mastercards,
  2. Convert the digital Mastercards to Paypal,
  3. Use Paypal to purchase three Ebay gift cards,
  4. Combine Ebay gift cards with other Paypal source to secretly purchase big surprise for hubby.
  5. Sit back and watch my mastermind plan play out beautifully!!!!

I, unfortunately, got stalled at purchasing the Ebay cards which landed me on the phone with customer service for a while (only to discover it’s actually a glitch in their system that will hopefully be worked out before my husband’s next birthday). It looks like I’ll be printing out a photo of this year’s gift. LOL

On to books… It’s been a great reading week! I’ll be sharing three middle grade novels that were published in the last couple months along with a new pile of 2020 picture books. Hopefully you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


49397817Hatch: A Novel
(The Overthrow #2)
Kenneth Oppel
September 15, 2020
HarperCollins

My thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins, and Kenneth Oppel for providing me with a digital ARC so that I could write an honest review. As I shared back in April, this series has been an incredible match for what we’re currently experiencing in real life with Covid-19. Book #1, Bloom, seemed almost prophetic when I first read it as the US blames China, there’s no toilet paper, and people begin wearing masks. Nevertheless, this series is definitely science fiction with the alien element to it. Strange plants appeared practically overnight and they couldn’t be killed. As the death toll increases, Anaya, Petra, and Seth appear to be the key to the planet’s survival.

Then book #2, Hatch, pulled me much deeper into the fictional world as we learn that this trio, with their unique abilities, are not alone. There are more like them. In fact, they quickly discover they can communicate telepathically, which is unusually personal and intimate with elements of smell and color. As we’d expect, the government realizes these children might not be 100% human, so they take them into custody to study. But one thing is for certain, even behind several feet of cement or buried in a deep bunker, there’s nowhere safe on Earth with so many things hatching.

I cannot spoil the storyline, but just do yourself a favor and go purchase the first two books of this series. The third book will be released this spring and it’s going to be a very difficult wait! Talk about a cliffhanger… Hurry up May 4th!

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


53033829._SX318_SY475_Three Keys
(Front Desk #2)
Kelly Yang
Sunny Lu, narrator
September 15, 2020
Scholastic

I’ll admit I was a tad worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Front Desk, but there was really nothing to fear. Yang is an incredible writer and these characters are so well developed (and downright lovable). Three Keys starts off where Front Desk left off. This book in the series seemed even more of a historical fiction because much of it was based on the controversial ballot initiative in California known as Proposition 187, which would boot all children of undocumented immigrants out of public schools. To remain spoiler-free, I can’t share much more (especially if you haven’t read Front Desk, yet). However, I love the fact that in this heartfelt story, children are assured that the term illegal alien is an incorrect description of a person. Because humans aren’t illegal. And they’re not aliens. When one of Mia’s friends is asked about what it’s like to be undocumented, she shares: “It’s like being a pencil when everyone else is a pen. You worry you can be erased any time.” 

The Author’s Note at the end is an absolute must read! Kelly Yang was only 10 years in 1994, but she well remembers the anger and rampant racism during Prop 187. One in four California residents were Latino, so every non-white child in California faced undocumented assumptions on a regular basis. This section is packed full of facts and statistics, including what’s taken place since Donald J. Trump took office while Mexicans were labeled as criminals and immigrant children were separated from their parents. Furthermore, the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants with no prior criminal records has actually tripled over the last three years and immigration arrests have gone up 40%. Sadly, Trump also rescinded the DACA program, leaving an estimated 700,000 immigrant children in limbo. Highly recommend this series!

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.


49189485Letters from Cuba
Ruth Behar
August 25, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

Whoa. I am on a roll with deep and meaningful historical fiction books this week. Don’t be fooled by that adorable, cozy cover, though. I wasn’t fully prepared for the depth of emotion and fear in this story. Twelve year old Esther is a Jew living in Poland on the eve of World War II. In an effort to get the family to safety, her father heads for Cuba to prepare a safe home for his whole family. It takes him three years to raise enough funds to transport just one of his children to be with him in Cuba. He chooses Esther, which turns out to be the right choice. Because she is able to use her amazing skills to raise far more money than her father ever could.

While this story isn’t a constant upbeat story of glitter and rainbows, the sun shines through at the most crucial times, highlighting the value of community and hope. The reader is given wonderful insight into Jewish customs and beliefs while sharing how Esther and her father give themselves grace on which religious practices to follow to perfection and which can be altered considering their new home. There’s a wonderfully detailed author’s note at the end where we hear about Ruth Behar’s grandmother (who this story was actually based on). We also learn that Behar is a cultural anthropologist. She mentioned Letters from Rifka written by Karen Hesse as a book that helped inspire her to write Letters from Cuba. So I’m definitely adding that title to my list. This was a wonderful book and I’m happy to recommend!

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.


48727535._SX318_A Perfect Day
Sarah S. Brannen
July 20, 2020
Philomel Books

This book had me laughing out loud. It’s a story with few words, but so much feeling. The bird sees a perfect day. The crab sees all the imperfections. Then after an unexpected life-threatening scare, the two decide they can agree to disagree because they have a friend with which to share the perfectly imperfect day. The artwork was done in watercolor on 300 lb Arches Bright White cold press paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

A-Perfect-Day-SPREAD

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


53103436._SX318_SY475_Danbi Leads the School Parade
Anna Kim
July 7, 2020
Viking Books for Young Readers

What a sweet, sweet picture book about the first day of school for a young Korean American child named Danbi. She doesn’t know English yet, she feels like everyone is staring at her, she didn’t know how to write the English alphabet, she didn’t know the dances or games, and her lunch was so different from everyone else’s. In the end, music and a parade save the day and she begins making a new friend. The artwork is so lovely and highly detailed. The author’s note is very special as it shares the experiences of Anna Kim on her first day of school in America. When her nieces were born, she hoped to find some books with characters with whom they could identify. Thus began the birth of this book. I cannot see how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one page spread, below:

Danbi-Leads-the-School-Parade-SPREAD

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


53104590._SX318_SY475_Finding François: A Story about
the Healing Power of Friendship
Gus Gordon
July 7, 2020
Dial Books

In soft watercolor illustrations, this picture book begins with Alice Bonnet, a young girl who lives with her wealthy grandmother in France. However, Alice is lonely and wishes she had a young friend to talk to. One day she tosses a glass bottle into the river with a note hidden inside. And thus begins a long distance message-by-bottle friendship with François, a young boy who lives far, far away in a lighthouse with his father. When Alice eventually faces the loss of someone she loves, a year goes by without communication with François and he begins to wonder if she’s forgotten him. However, little does he know that a grand plan is being concocted — he will not be disappointed. It’s a somewhat unusual story and might be a great segue to a unit on penpals. The illustrations for this book were created using watercolor, pencils, and old found papers from a wide variety of sources. I’ll provide one page spread, below:

Finding-Francois-SPREAD

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


52195834._SX318_SY475_National Regular Average
Ordinary Day
Lisa Katzenberger
Barbara Bakos, illustrator
June 23, 2020
Penguin Workshop

Ahhh, the long summer days where children’s can so easily become bored. Peter and Devin have fallen into a rut where every day is pretty much the same thing: action figures, shooting hoops, and building blocks. Peter discovers that he is super bored, so he goes on a quest, of sorts, to find all of the unique holidays to rate on a scale of 1 to 10. Until one day when he discovers there’s no holiday. NONE! What will Peter do? In the end, every day can be fun when you have friends with which to share it. There’s no explanation on how the artwork was created. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

National-Regular-Average-SPREAD

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


52119209._SX318_SY475_

Mayhem at the Museum:
A Book in Pictures
Luciano Lozano
June 16, 2020
Penguin Workshop

I adore wordless picture books, so I was delighted to find Mayhem at the Museum through our Inter-college loan option. Humorous pictures depict a young girl’s class taking a field trip while the paintings and statues come to life, interacting with the children by giving them hats, flowers, fruit, a guitar. At the end they leave the museum empty-handed, but clearly full of joy. The only words in the entire book are on a red sign just near the opening of the museum. At the beginning of the book it says “No Touching the Art” and at the end it says “The Art Touches You.” I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the artwork, below:

Mayhem-at-the-Museum-SPREAD

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


52031625._SX318_SY475_Can I Give You a Squish?
Emily Neilson
June 9, 2020
Dial Books

Personally, I always enjoy a close squish with my littles. But would my next door neighbor like a squish? What about the postal employee who drops off my mail? Can I squish my dentist? Perhaps not everyone wants to be greeted with a squish and it’s always helpful to ask before touching someone. With adorable illustrations, this young merman learns this important lesson so that everyone in his area of the ocean will feel appreciated while not being touched in ways that make them feel uncomfortable. The artwork in this picture book was created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Can-I-Give-You-a-Squish-SPREAD

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


52650103._SX318_Runaway Signs
Joan Holub
Alison Farrell, illustrator
June 2, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

Hey, signs are people, too! Right? Well, these feisty signs are about to test that theory when they take a day off from work to run around the city and even visit an amusement park. It doesn’t take long before the entire city is utterly confused, driving backward on one way streets, not knowing where to cross the street, and being clueless about how fast to drive. Will these road signs ever be able to safely leave their posts, again? 🙂 These cute and colorful illustrations were done in gouache and ink. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Runaway-Signs-SPREAD

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


49219863._SX318_SY475_I’m Trying to Love Rocks
Bethany Barton
June 2, 2020
Viking Books for Young Readers

Apparently this book narrator has a whole lot to learn about rocks. Because they’ve gotten the idea that rocks are boring. Watch how this adorable science-loving child patiently schools the narrator on the great variety of rocks that can be found in the world and all their many purposes and uses. The artwork in this book was created using Higgins inks on paper, Photoshop CC, and Rebelle 3. The main text was lettered with hand-carved bamboo calligraphy pens and ink. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the illustrations, below:

Im-Trying-to-Like-Rocks-SPREAD

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


52565391._SX318_When the Storm Comes
Linda Ashman
Taeeun Yoo, illustrator
May 26, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

I may be weird in the fact that I love storms. When the winds begin to blow and the sky darkens, I get excited when all my chickies (and sometimes their friends) run home to safety. Maybe we’ll start the fire or bake something or play some games or make some popcorn and watch a movie (if the electricity is still working). In any case, this entire picture books is about preparing for an impending storm, the things we do while we wait out the storm, and then the community clean-up efforts afterward. The soft, comforting illustrations for this book were created using digital and pencil drawings. I’ll provide one page spread with some great onomatopoeia as an example, below:

When-the-Storm-Comes-SPREAD

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


53002409._SX318_SY475_Piglette
Katelyn Aronson
Eva Byrne, illustrator
May 26, 2020
Viking Books for Young Readers

Sweet, little Piglette was the seventh child in her country family. She seemed unusual to her family with her curiosity and need to explore. One day she packed up and parted for Paris where she did all the fancy things she couldn’t do in the country. But eventually, she knew she had to return home to be with her beloved family. Of course, Piglette discovered a way to have the best of both worlds to entertain both her city friends and her country family. Very cute!

There are lots of “p” words in this book, so it would be a nice addition to any Kindergarten unit on the letter P. This one may also be a cute book to add to your list of “graduation gift” ideas since it’s about venturing out into the world, but always returning home. I see no explanation for how the artwork was created. However, I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Piglette-SPREAD

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


To Be Read:

This week I have a gigantic pile of president, election, and vote picture books to peruse. I am also currently reading the YA book Dear Justyce by Nic Stone, which is the second book to the Dear Martin series. I’m right in the middle of Cities in Layers: Six Famous Cities through Time by Philip Steele and illustrated by Andrés Lozano (which I won in September from a giveaway Linda hosted at TeacherDance). And I hope to start A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge:  290/300


What are YOU reading?

11 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/19/2020 #imwayr

  1. Sorry to hear about the birthday tech stuff. Now I guess he’ll have something great to look forward to! This year! And glad to hear your house is fast becoming home! I loved A Place at The Table & hope you do, too, Shaye. The other chapter books are all on my list. If only I had more time. But really there are so many wonderful books out now to read & love. As for the picture books, I noted some & all look lovely. I like the idea of “When The Storm Comes”. We have snow coming Sunday, so I’ll be preparing. I know about Trying to Love Rocks, liked I’m Trying to Love Spiders very much. Ah, so many fun ones. Thanks, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I sure hope Colorado gets covered in loads of snow — enough to put out these horrific fires. We got quite a bit overnight and it’s still coming down, but I’m not sure about the fire areas of CO. Anyway, Hopefully all this snow will give me more time to snuggle up and read. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to read Bloom and Hatch, (Kenneth Oppel is Canadian!) but I don’t do scary well. Thanks to your review here, I’ve dug up some courage and ordered Bloom from my library. It’s on my MustRead list for this year so… Front Desk and Letters From Cuba are also on my list. The former is available as an audiobook so I will look forward to that while I am busy with all my projects.
    I’m so happy with all the picture and chapter books with Korean characters for my two sweet half Korean granddaughters to read!
    You sure have shared a wonderful collection of picture books! I am most interested in I’m Trying to Love Rocks because my grandson adored Old Rock.
    So glad to read that you are settling into your new home. We feel comfortable here except that we are living in the middle of renovations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid I’m going to have to read everything Oppel has written because I’m really enjoying this series. The home we purchased just happened to have just about everything we needed (outside of an egress window in one of the basement bedrooms) and so we were able to avoid renovations. However, there was another space we almost purchased that would need heavy, heavy renovations – like adding bathrooms and new floors and closets in every bedroom. It would have been months and months of work and people trekking in and out. Now that we’re covered in snow and sorta trapped inside, I’m so glad we’re not living in the middle of a construction zone. Whew! Thanks for dropping by, Cheriee!

      Like

  3. I want to read the Cuba book, maybe as soon as I get on top of my Cybils reading. And I spent a lot of time on the Layered Cities book, and really wished I could summon up my younger son at about age 8 to help me find all the little numbers. (I suspect he’d be less patient with me now)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, Beth — loved Letters from Cuba!! It’s been a strange week and I haven’t yet finished Cities in Layers. But after looking more at it, I see it’s not really a “read in a day” kind of book. YES on finding all the little numbers!! Seems like something to enjoy over a long period of time and learn new things on every page. So I’m going to give myself some time to sink into it. Thanks for dropping by!

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  4. Happy belated birthday to your husband, and sorry that your plan got derailed! These books sound excellent! I read Kelly Yang’s YA book Parachutes and loved it, so I’m sure Three Keys is excellent as well! I also read Ruth Behar’s first book, Lucky Broken Girl, so I should look at Letters from Cuba as well! The picture books you discuss look wonderful as well, especially Finding François! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read BLOOM and looking forward to HATCH! I just bought THREE KEYS and am looking forward to catching up with Mia. You shared a lot of great picture books. I loved A PERFECT DAY and RUNAWAY SIGNS.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lots of wonderful books here! I still need to find Can I Give You a Squish?
    I think 2020 is the year of best laid plans. We’ve had a few, here’s what’s coming kind of gifts!

    Like

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