Today is the DAY! I’m super excited to hear the winners and honor books announced for the 2021 Youth Media Awards!! I’ve enjoyed checking out various mock award sites from the last couple months and it will sure be fun to see which of our beloved reads make the final list. A large part of me wishes there were many more winners for each category. There are so many wonderful books and there will always be some disappointment when this favorite or that favorite didn’t win or take an honor. However, that doesn’t diminish my excitement to hear the results as they are released. Thank you to all the readers and judges that make these yearly awards possible!
I was GOING to share that I’m giving myself until the end of January to get together my #MustReadin2021 list. However, I just checked the LINK-UP and it already says it ends in 6 days. That should light a fire under me! Surely the release of the Youth Media Awards will help me finish off my list!! 🙂 I missed not participating in 2020 and so I just need to carve out the time to get my post finished. If you have a list of books that you want to be sure to include in your “must” category for 2021, be sure to share you list and link up at A Day in the Life.
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 hope you’ll find something of interest here to add to your reading list.
Goodbye, Mr. Terupt
(Mr. Terupt #4)
December 1, 2020
I’ve loved following Mr. Terupt and the seven students (Jeffrey, Luke, Peter, Alexia, Anna, Jessica, and Danielle) from his old fifth grade class through books #1 to #3. There was a little bit of concern that this story might not be as meaningful, but those fears were completely unnecessary. The book begins with our learning that Mr. Terupt is moving away to be closer to his wife’s family. This is a shock to everyone. So to cope with the separation, they do two things: (1) create a time capsule to open at the end of the school year and (2) they create a bucket list of things to do before he’s gone. I could not get over the number of hilarious scenes, so masterfully written to make me laugh out loud — from experiences with a breast milk pump to a final gift left for Mr. Terupt, from Peter. 😂
While I’m not certain that this is the end to this series, it would certainly be a good one. This story ended on a high note with laughter and tears in those final pages. There was that lingering feeling that Mr. Terupt has been there for us all over the years — steady, strong, patient, and kind. And now I’m super excited for Buyea’s next middle grade novel, What Comes Next, coming out June 2021. My thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for providing me with an e-ARC so that I could share my honest review. Goodbye, Mr. Terupt is available now in bookstores, everywhere. My full review can be found HERE.
The Lion of Mars
Jennifer L. Holm
January 5, 2021
Random House Books for Young Readers
It’s March 5, 2091, and young Bell shares his experience of being raised on Mars. We learn that any time a new adult made the journey to Mars, they were required to bring an orphan with them to live among the Americans. Bell was such an orphan, but he now has a Mars family. Holm’s description of their living conditions, as well as the relationships between the children and adults, made this unputdownable. From their food production to their daily jobs to their view of Earth (as place they had no memory of) — I was completely enamored by the complexities found in such a small book. And there were emotional scenes that made it quite obvious that no matter where we live, we’re still human. We still love. We still get scared. And we still yearn for approval.
“Bell,” Sai said, “Trey told me what happened on the train. It was very, very brave of you to walk through the tunnel by yourself to get help.”
But he was wrong. I hadn’t been brave.
“I almost gave up. I was scared the whole time,” I confessed.
His eyes met mine and he nodded.
“That’s what bravery feels like,” he said.
I really enjoyed The Fourteenth Goldfish series a couple years ago, so I suppose it should be no surprise that Holm grabbed me, yet again, with The Lion of Mars. Is this not part of a planned series? Please tell me this isn’t the end!
We Are All Equal
Jonathan Bentley, illustrator
September 29, 2020
In this picture book, a variety of animals are compared and the verdict is they are all equal whether they are small or large, old or young, local or immigrant, fast or slow, pretty or ugly, and including a note that “We can get married, no love is denied” followed by what appears to be two doe. I especially appreciated the mention that parents aren’t worth more than their children – an idea often overlooked in society. Children will certainly come up with more human comparisons after reading this book, such as rich, popular, education, etc.
NOTE: This was published in the US in 2020, but was originally published in Australia in 2018.
You Are Awesome!
May 5, 2020
With only a few words on each page, this children’s book reminds very young readers they can be funny, smart, fast, calm, bold, kind, clever, silly, strong, loving, brave, creative, and helpful. Regardless of their strengths or personalities, they are awesome.
Now, this is precisely the type of nonfiction picture book (with a smidge of mystery) that will lure children into listening until the very last word. Clever Hans appeared to know the numerical answer to most anything he was asked. His owner (a former teacher) worked with him for four years and arranged shows (for FREE) so that people could come and admire Hans the way Mr. von Osten did. Multiple people examined Hans, deeming him legit. However, Mr. Oskar Pfungst examined Clever Hans in ways no one ever had before. He concluded that if the person asking the question didn’t know the answer, then Hans didn’t know the answer. Was Clever Hans psychic?! We humans give off signals that we may not even be aware of and it was believed, at least by Mr. Pfungst, that Clever Hans was picking up on these signals. In any case, what a brilliant horse! The back matter provides a bibliography, an Author’s Note (especially about how “double-blind” studies are important), and it showcases two black and white photos of the real Clever Hans along with Wilhelm von Osten and Oskar Pfungst. The illustrations were rendered with pencil, traditional screen printing, and digital color.
Clyde Likes to Slide
Larissa Marantz, illustrator
April 14, 2020
Toddler and preschool anxiety over playground equipment is real. For some children, even the smallest slides look terrifyingly BIG. But in this book, Clyde imagines all sorts of truly silly scenarios that could happen when he goes down the slide. Like, perhaps he could go too fast and be blasted into space. Or what if he goes so slow and everyone has gone home by the time he reaches the bottom? It could even start to rain while he’s on his way down, and he’d be washed away. Clyde takes a leap of faith and, thank goodness, discovers he really likes the slide. The hilarious pictures and exaggerated fears will have children in giggles – not only over Clyde’s fears, but perhaps some of their own.
The Little Ghost Who Lost Her Boo!
Raymond McGrath, illustrator
April 2, 2019
In rhyming text, we meet Little Ghost who has lost her “Boo!” She goes on an adventure through the forest and encounters a number of onomatopoeia that sound similar to her “Boo!” but don’t quite cut it. For example, she discovers a “Whoo!” and a “Coo!” and a “Moo!” but none of these sounds will work for Little Ghost. In the end, there’s audience participation when Little Ghost calls on the reader for help. This one will be a super cute read aloud for October! I’m not sure how the artwork was created, but some illustrated scenes were so pretty — full of nighttime colors that brought the pages to life. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:
I’ve read this series out of order since I originally started with book #2 (Soccer Expert). But you can’t go wrong starting with ANY of these books since they’re not dependent on one another. Max is an expert in a variety of areas and he’s eager to share all that he’s learned. I love Max’s “helpful” tips about grocery stores and all the humor spread throughout the pages. Max even has a map with a version of HIS preferred route (straight to the cookies) vs. his mom’s preferred route. With this handy book, any child is sure to survive even the more boring of trips to pick up groceries! 😉 The illustrations were created with gouache and colored pencil.
This month, the latest “Max Explains Everything” book has become a favorite for my six-year-old because it’s about PUPPIES!! She loves to read it before bedtime and she’s even made her own book patterned after this one (which she also has me read to her at bedtime). It’s especially great that children learn both the wonderful and the difficult parts of owning their own puppy. It’s a huge responsibility and loads of work, but so much fun. As always, the illustrations are just stinkin’ adorable. They were created with gouache and colored pencil on Arches watercolor paper, then digitally manipulated.
Ezra Jack Keats
Fellow book blogger, Linda of TeacherDance, recommended this picture book a few weeks back and I’m so grateful that we had a copy through our tri-college loan program. Apt. 3 is an apprehensive experience of sounds and smells as two young boys search their apartment complex to find the source of the music they hear. We discover a lot about the boys’ neighbors just by the smells and sounds coming from behind each door (or by what they find in the hallway outside the door). In the end, they discover a neighbor they know very little about and the encounter is a bit frightening at first. But in no time, they’re gaining empathy and appreciation. The copy I found is very old. In fact, the front cover had been rubbed so much that I hardly recognized the book cover on Goodreads. The beautiful illustrations look to be done with paint and collage.
To Be Read:
I have started reading The Root of Magic by Kathleen Benner Duble as a read aloud with my children, each day. We’re only to chapter 7, but we are ALL in to this story! And I’ve had to forfeit my night time reading these past two weeks which is the only reason I’m still working on Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I have a number of books on my shelf, several middle grade novels checked out through Overdrive, and a pile of picture books just arrived at my college library (that I still need to pick up), so we’ll see what all I can squeeze in this next week.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge: 40/200