It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/8/2021 #imwayr

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We’ve had a pretty good week as we received a verbal offer on our old house. We were considering taking it off the market since we’re in the middle of a pandemic (plus snow!) and rent it out since sooooo many people have asked to rent it. Then BOOM, we suddenly got a new crop of serious lookers in January. A new family looked at it on Saturday, then again on Sunday, then they made an offer on Tuesday. We signed the paperwork on Friday and the buyers plan to sign it TODAY! There are a few interested back-up families who are waiting to see if the financing on this contract falls through, so we’re pretty pleased. Aaanywho, with the craziness of real estate transactions and Superbowl home prep (having company over), I’m forced to make this week’s #imwayr post brief.

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! Hopefully you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


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A Wish in the Dark
Christina Soontornvat
March 24, 2020
Candlewick Press

A Wish in the Dark was a Newbery medal nominee this year and I was pleased to get it through Overdrive. 🙂 The story focused on three main characters (Pong, Somkit, and Nok) while balancing between opposites: light and dark, the rulers and the imprisoned, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the granting of larger blessings or smaller blessings. There seemed to be philosophical questions around every corner and at times it felt a tad slow for a middle grade novel. Therefore, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this one until I got to the final quarter of the book when things began to come together beautifully, and I was quite moved. Very thought provoking. Congratulations to Christina Soontornvat for this Newbery honor. I’m still amazed that she took TWO this year!

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. (e-book is currently $4.99)


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King and the Dragonflies
Kacen Callender
February 4, 2020
Scholastic Press

Twelve-year-old King still listens to his brother, Khalid, even though he recently passed away. In fact, Khalid is now a dragonfly – and nobody knows this except for King. He wishes he could tell his ex-best friend Sandy Sanders, but before his death, Khalid told him not to hang around with Sandy (after he overheard him confess that he liked boys). Nevertheless, through a strange turn of events, King comes face to face with Sandy and must find a way to protect him while the whole town is out looking for him. With a cast of diverse characters, this story brings up a lot of important questions about racism, homophobia, child abuse, and friendship. I adore King’s parents and just want to cheer out loud when fictional parents can express such empathy even while having deep uncertainty. We need more parents like this in real life!

Awards: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2020), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2020), Coretta Scott King Award Nominee for Author (2021)

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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From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Janae Marks
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

I completely fell in love with this debut novel about a young girl named Zoe who longs to learn more about her incarcerated father. Her mother doesn’t want her to have anything to do with him since he is in prison for murder. But he’s still her biological father and she feels like she should give him a chance. There’s a lot of yummy baking, an investigation to conduct, a broken friendship in need of mending, and I’m so happy to learn a bit about the Innocence Project. I don’t want to say too much and accidentally spoil the story, but it was a very well-rounded, edge-of-your-seat story that I would be happy to hand off to my tween kiddos.

Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2020), Four Starred Reviews

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 Root of Magic
Kathleen Benner Duble
June 11, 2019
Delacorte Press

I started reading it with my kiddos last year, but then when we began packing to move, we completely lost our place. So we started all over again at the end of January 2021. That cover has always been so inviting to me, but the story lured us in immediately, keeping the kids guessing on a big town secret that was slowly revealed.

Twelve-year-old Willow knows her parents are struggling to get along, but they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure her little brother, Wisp, gets the medical attention he needs. Some days are better than others, but he’s very sick and they don’t know what to do next. One night while Willow, Wisp, and their mom are returning home from Willow’s hockey game, their car goes over the edge of a secluded bridge. They are rescued just before the car falls to its doom, and when they enter the tiny village of Kismet, things begin to get eery.  The good news is that Wisp seems to be feeling better. In fact, Willow’s mom is in a much happier mood, too. The only problem is, Willow gets the feeling they may never leave Kismet? The story is mysterious and magical with lots of good discussion about fate and free will. It was a very successful read aloud and the writing was quite beautiful and touching. ❤  My thanks to Nicole at Bluestocking Thinking for hosting the giveaway of this book (Yay, I won!!). I’m happy to recommend it!

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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Good Morning Zoom:

A Parody
Lindsay Rechler
Juen Park, illustrator
October 6, 2020
Philomel Books

I was very skeptical of this one because for a long, long time, we read Goodnight Moon with our children before bedtime. I didn’t want someone coming along to profit off the famous title by making fun of this past year. But they seem to have done a wonderful job of capturing the original feeling of the book while including the pandemic twists many of us have faced. From iPads to zoom to mom wearing the same comfy clothes day after day… I’m sure many can relate!

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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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What We’ll Build:
Plans for our Together Future
Oliver Jeffers
October 6, 2020
Philomel Book

This sweet picture book was inspired by the birth of the author’s daughter. It’s a fantastical picture book about the hopes and dreams he has for the time they’ll spend together one day. 💕

What-Well-Build-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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Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog
Amy Sohn
Orna Le Pape
Libby VanderPloeg, illustrator
April 7, 2020
Dial Books

This is the story of a dog that goes missing. It was apparently inspired by a true Brooklyn story of a neighbor helping to look for the beloved pet. Personally, I felt it was very wordy and busy for a children’s picture book. However, most dog owners would sympathize with the terror experienced by a missing fur baby. The artwork for this book was created digitally.

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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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The Moon Keeper
Zosienka
March 10, 2020
HarperCollins

This is a sweet, gentle book about the moon cycle. Emile is given the task of being the new moon keeper, but when he discovers the moon is shrinking each night, he knows he might have a serious problem on his hands. Love the night time artwork in this story. The artist used gouache paints and color pencils to create the illustrations for this book. They are really beautiful!

Moon-Keeper-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:

I am just a little over halfway through All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat. If I’m being honest, I’m frustrated that I’m not reading it RIGHT NOW. It’s very captivating! And we just started reading The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette as our read aloud. We are just a couple chapters in and, for those of you who’ve already read this one, my son now wants a jean jacket to pin buttons on. ❤️

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Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge:  58/200
#MustReadin2021: 5/49


What are YOU reading?

22 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/8/2021 #imwayr

    1. I’ve noticed the same thing with middle grade books, Karen. Many are thoroughly enjoyed by adult readers, but I do wonder how many middle grade student would stick with it. Thanks for visiting, this week!

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  1. Congratulations on the house sale, Shaye. I hope everything goes smoothly! And thanks for some of these books new to me, like The Moon Keeper. I enjoyed A Wish in The Dark and All Thirteen very much, have King and The Dragonflies but still need to read it. Ha, there are many parodies of Goodnight Moon, but I didn’t know about Goodnight Zoom – of course there is! Have a great week all the way to Valentines’ Day!

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  2. This is a very impressive list of books today Shaye! The only one I didn’t have on my want to read list was The Root of Magic. I went to see which of these my library might have, but only added them to my for later shelf. I had a hard time with A Wish In the Dark. Like you, I appreciated the ending much more than the beginning.

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    1. A Wish in the Dark was pretty complex and lengthy for a middle grade novel. I definitely enjoyed it as an adult, but I realize a number of middle graders won’t stick with it until the end. Perhaps that will make it a good read aloud or audiobook. The writing in The Root of Magic was really beautiful at times. It made me want to hunt down her other books to see what else I might be missing! Thanks for visiting, Cheriee.

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    1. I hadn’t heard nearly as much about Zoe as the other two, but it really blew me away. LOVE the twists and turns, the family relationships, the resolution of the main friendship. It was packed with such beauty! Thanks so much for visiting, Michele.

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    1. Yes, yes — such great stories to compare. I’m glad that Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative AND The Innocence Project both exist. However, I am so saddened by the innocent who are released from prison (after years and years) and who cannot find their way back into normal society. They are forever changed. 😦 Thank you for swinging by, Earl!

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  3. Fingers crossed that your house buyers sign!!! I definitely get that sense of wanting to stop blogging and start reading, but I’m glad you took the time to tell us about these neat books! It really is impressive that Christina Soontornvat garnered two Newbery Honors, but it sounds like she deserved it. King and the Dragonflies and From the Desk of Zoe Washington both sound excellent as well, and Good Morning Zoom sounds painfully relatable! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the well wishes! We did get a signed contract, so now we wait on the rest of the lender’s work. I’m sure there will be an appraisal and an inspection and then waiting and waiting on the buyer’s financing to come through. Thankfully, we also have more people waiting in the wing, 2-3 other families who have expressed serious interest and who must now waiting to see if this deal falls through before they can make an offer. YAY! Can you imagine being Christina Soontornvat?! I mean, WOW!! Thanks for swinging by this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As usual, I’m super late this week, but I’ve been sneaking looks at your goodreads page. I’m really looking forward to The Desk of Zoe Washington and to A Wish in the Dark. Good luck with your house!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had so many late weeks in recent weeks. I have all the good intentions on Monday morning and then my “to do” list gets in the way. Plus there’s always… squirrel! I was quite surprised by Zoe Washington. It’s one of those books that I wanted to read in one sitting – very engaging! Thanks for visiting, Beth.

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