I can hardly believe it’s already March. This month is my 6-year-old’s and my 12-year-old’s birthdays, so we have a bunch of planning to do and at least one slumber party to prepare for. I’m also looking forward to the North Texas Teen Book Festival March 5 – 6! As many already know, I grew up in Texas, where I taught for two elementary school districts and finished library school in North Texas before moving to Nebraska. So this festival combines my love of books with my former stomping grounds. Yeehaw!
If you’re a new visitor today, WELCOME! On Mondays, I participate in a weekly meme sharing what the kids and I have been reading. 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! It’s been a great week of books, so hopefully you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.
Intertribal Stories for Kids
Cynthia Leitich Smith, Joseph Bruchac, Art Coulson
Christine Day, Eric Gansworth, Dawn Quigley
Carole Lindstrom, Rebecca Roanhorse, David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers, Kim Rogers, Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell, Tim Tingle, Erika T. Wurth, Brian Young
February 9, 2021
This wonderful collection of short stories is a must for school, children’s, and young adult libraries! Each story centers on Native American traditions and they are interconnected through themes, locations, and the same stories were sometimes even shared from two different perspectives on the same scene. I enjoyed this book as an audiobook and was quite pleased with the content and variety of narrators. Happy to recommend!! NOTE: I’m grateful to Libro.fm for making this available as an ALC for me as an educator. Please support local bookstores by purchasing this title through Bookstore Link HERE.
This has been our family read aloud the last week and a half, in preparation for watching the movie on Friday evening. I loved it the first time I read it — so much so that I gave it 5 stars. However, last week I was talking with Elisabeth Ellington (my friend, work colleague, and book blogger of The Dirigible Plum) and sharing my surprise with this second reading experience. Because it took well over 1/2 way through the book for the kids to get invested — more like 3/4 of the way through. I know that admitting this is total sacrilege in the Kidlitosphere, but each day as I began reading, we would only get a few pages in before they’d be like, “Can we stop now?” 🥺😭 I guess I’d forgotten how much of the story takes place inside Flora’s or Ulysses’s head, how much the dialogue jumps around, and that some of the vocabulary is advanced for younger readers/listeners. Everything felt so tedious, even to me! Yet, we made it through, together, and planned our weekly “family pizza movie night” around Flora & Ulysses on Disney+. In fact, we even bought sardines (which they’d never tried before) and fancy crackers to eat toward the end of the movie, only to discover that scene wasn’t even in the movie. While there were a few complaints or questions over differences between the book and movie (especially from our 15-year-old), I think the kids enjoyed the movie, overall. And the next morning, my six-year-old picked up the book and started reading it from the beginning all on her own. I suppose that’s a pretty good sign. 😊 (Seriously though, was anyone else surprised at how much of the original story was altered in the movie? No? Just me?).
AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2014), National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature (2013), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Grades 3-6 (2015), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Nominee (2015), Alabama Library Association Children’s Book of the Year Nominee for 4-5 (2014)
I loved this little board book full of affirmations that target specific feelings a child may be having, such as fear, jealousy, anger, guilt, impatience, etc. I appreciate the scenarios provided and the explanation of what to do with your hands and voice to help you move forward. The very last page talks about feelings, about how they’re not forever, about how breathing helps, and it concludes with “…when you say the words that you know are true, you feel those, too!” I can see how this book would benefit not only children, but adults as well. The soothing artwork was created with woodblock printing inks and composed in Photoshop.
I Have Ants in my Pants
Carrie Hartman, illustrator
August 27, 2020
National Center for Youth Issues
This great little story is about Louis, a child who simply cannot sit still. He’s constantly wiggling around in class, in the cafeteria, and even at the movie theater. People keep telling him that he has ants in his pants which ends up being more alarming than anything. But in the end, he’s given tools to help him prepare for situations where he will need to sit still and focus for long periods of time. For example, he learns the wiggle dance, he learns to give himself some personal space when he’s in a large group of people, he uses a “focus squishy,” etc. It was so cute how Louis later noticed another child having the same issues and he was able to give him a heads-up on what ants in your pants meant. The back matter includes a section of tips that can be useful in a classroom situation to help young children learn to sit still and listen to lessons.
Good Night, Little Engine
Jill Howarth, illustrator
June 23, 2020
Grosset & Dunlap
In rhyming text, Little Engine cannot sleep at night. When she wanders outside the roundhouse, she comes across a little lost birdie. In a rush, Little Engine tries to help birdie find his nest all around the yard, to no avail. But when Little Engine brings birdie into the roundhouse to rest with her until dawn, he is finally reunited with his family. That when Little Engine can finally get some sleep. But not before the trains acknowledge, “We knew we could” as a nod to the original, beloved train story, The Little Engine that Could from 1930.
(Clyde the Hippo)
Larissa Marantz, illustrator
June 9, 2020
I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read of the Clyde the Hippo series, so it’s no surprise that this one was equally as satisfying. Clyde comes back to school after a long break and begins hearing about all the cool things his classmates did while they were away. His break wasn’t nearly as adventurous, so he makes up something to tell them on the spot. When they demand proof of his experience, he tries to cover it up before admitting the truth. You can’t help but empathize with Clyde as he comes clean. Thankfully, it’s a super sweet ending and the illustrations are just so stinkin’ adorable!
Sorry (Really Sorry)
Harry Bliss, illustrator
April 7, 2020
This is a story of the emotional domino effect experienced when one person takes out their frustrations on someone else. Cow starts off in a terrible mood and kicks mud into Duck’s face. Aaaand, of course, Duck has to take out her frustration on another unsuspecting farm animal. And so it goes… However, I’m proud to say that after several animals fall victim to the chain reaction, it is Dog who finally puts an end to it all and begins talking reason. Are we surprised? 😊 The lovely artwork was done in black India ink and watercolor.
A Teacher is the Greatest Gift
E. B. Cobbler
Sarah Jennings, illustrator
March 10, 2020
This book was clearly made to be a gift to a favorite teacher in a child’s life. In the first couple pages, there’s a place that begins with: I love my teacher _____ because: followed by a cute space to write a short letter. Then the remainder of the book is all about what makes a teacher the greatest gift. Teachers are a flame, bridge, compass, an open book, and so on. Beautiful sentiments and very sweet artwork! The artist used pencil, charcoal, and Adobe Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book.
Hop Little Bunnies
Laura Hughes, illustrator
February 7, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
In rhyming, repetitive text, this bedtime book rounds the farm, waking each group of animals who have slept until NOON — bunnies, lambs, chicks, kittens, and ducklings! Every other page spread had liftable flaps watch the animals go from sleeping to waking up. Finally at the end of the book, the animals have been up playing all day long. And now it’s time to sing them a happy bedtime song so they can go back to sleep. The artwork was created with watercolors and ink.
To Be Read:
I will be finishing Amina’s Song by Hena Khan later this week and I still need to pick out a book to read aloud with the kids (I like to show them a few options and let them vote). I honestly have no idea what else I’ll start on my own. I am surrounded by wonderful books — from the public library, my college library, on Overdrive, from Netgalley, and a bunch I already own. So I should probably spend some time organizing my piles. The good news is that I have a lot to choose from.