It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/8/2021 #imwayr

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This has felt like the never ending week as we’re having several things happening on our old house (which we HOPE will close before Easter). We had new handrails installed, a new water heater installed, finished both inspections and appraisals, and tomorrow the roofers are starting on a new roof while someone else will begin changing out an outside faucet. So I’ve already struggled to find time to get online to begin with. However, after witnessing just a smidge of the responses to the Dr. Seuss Enterprises announcement, I didn’t WANT to get back on my Facebook page. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I’m beyond baffled over the backlash I’ve seen across my social media feed, calling this decision “cancel culture” and even claiming this was President Biden’s doing. 🙄 No, these six books were not banned, they were retired. No, a political party is not censoring Dr. Seuss. And yes, there are still piles and piles of other Dr. Seuss books that will continue to be published as usual. Nevertheless, buyers are flocking to Amazon to buy up whatever Dr. Seuss books they can find (the claim is that many fear they’ll all be going out of print). Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I suppose we should all rejoice in the fact that more children’s books will find their way into young reader’s hands!

On a completely different note… If it’s still true that you’ve formed a new habit after 21 days, then I officially have a new work out habit. After this morning’s working I have kept to my new workout routine for three whole weeks! 🥳  I’ve generally been doing my strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays while I do my aerobics on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sundays are my day of rest (but I reserve the right to take a long walk on Sunday evenings). I’m resting a little better, sloooowly feeling stronger đź’Ş, and I’m pleased to finally begin taking better care of myself. đź’“

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


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Scritch Scratch
Lindsay Currie
September 1, 2020
Sourcebooks

Never would I have guessed that I would end this “spooky” book (tagged as horror, paranormal, ghosts, etc.) feeling such a sense of peace. This fictional ghost story is placed right on top of a truly tragic historical event that took place in Chicago over 100 years ago. I had to stop in the middle of this book to look up more details about the actual event and I fear some of the photos from the around the Internet will haunt me the rest of my life. Despite that, this was such a well-rounded story with friendship issues to resolve, sibling bonding, healthy parent-child relationships (I always look for these), the combination of paranormal and science, a mystery to solve, and just a smidge of romantic feelings revealed. So while the real life tragic event was truly horrific, and there were some seriously frightening moments in the book, the ending of Scritch Scratch left me feeling hopeful and comforted. 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.


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Blackbird Fly
Erin Entrada Kelly
March 24, 2015
Greenwillow Books

My thanks to Libro.fm for providing this title to me as an educator. The print copy has been out for a while, but I’m grateful that the audiobook is now available. Twelve-year-old Apple feels so different from all her friends — trying to balance between her Filipino mom thinking she’s “too American” to her feeling not American enough when comparing her home life to her friends’ lives. When a group of boys at school make a Dog Log (list of “ugly” girls), Apple discovers she’s in the top 5. But it makes her take a look at the other girls who are near the top of the list, as well. That’s when Apple begins to realize she’s been enabling one of her friends to bully others. She might not have been saying the mean things, but by remaining silent she was supporting the behaviors. Her new friend, Evan, really stole the show in this book. He really shook things up being so confident, but also understanding.

I jotted down a few quotes I want to remember from this one:

  • “When you say something out loud, it makes it a big truth. Best to keep it in your mind and keep it small.”
  • “The music switched tempo and I heard a laugh from far away. It was a happy laugh, like someone had just told a hilarious joke. Not a mean one. I wish I was standing next to that person, whoever it was.”
  • “Sometimes, when you have pain, that’s what you have to do — just keep playing until it goes away.”
  • “I wasn’t mean like Alyssa, but I’d stood there silently. In some ways, maybe that’s worse.”
  • “She tried to say more, but the crowd swallowed her up and she disappeared into it. I realized that’s how she’d always be, going where the crowd goes and then getting lost.”

In this story, Apple comes full circle, eventually realizing the value in traits that others deem worthless — from the foods she eats to the friends who keep her company. I truly hope everyone finds a friend like Evan. He’s such a decent human being (and not afraid to stick up for others). He turned my “like” of this story to my “love” of this story!

Aaaaaand since so much of this story centers around Apple learning to play Blackbird — I can’t share my reaction to this book without also sharing a link to my daughter, at age 16, playing Blackbird. She has a “musician” page on Facebook, so feel free to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/braylamiller/videos/3135598406496558

AWARDS: SCBWI Golden Kite Award, CYBILS Award Nominee, Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Children Honor (2015), Best Children’s Books of the Year (Bank Street College of Education)

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
Check out the Bookstore Link purchase by Libro.fm (which supports your local book stores) HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


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Trouble
Katherine Battersby
February 23, 2021
Viking Books for Young Readers

This cute picture book shows what too often happens in our human world when we have preconceived notions of one another. A large bear moves next door and Squirrel is certain he is TROUBLE with a capital ‘T.’ That is… until Squirrel meets Bear face-to-face and learns how very wrong it was to make judgments. The illustrations for this book were rendered in pencil, photography, and digital media.

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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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When Cloud Became a Cloud
Rob Hodgson
February 9, 2021
Rise X Penguin Workshop

This adorable early chapter book walks through the stages of the water cycle in 9 chapters, beginning with the formation of a Cloud. The artwork is sometimes in big page spreads and sometimes in graphic novel style. I liked that this picture book addressed not only rain, but also snow and the formation of fog. It was quite entertaining and will make a great addition to any children’s or school library whether it is read for pleasure or part of a study of the water cycle. The art was created with traditional media and an iPad, then assembled in Photoshop.

When-Cloud-Became-a-Cloud-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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We Wait for the Sun
Katie McCabe
Raissa Figueroar, illustrator
February 9, 2021
Roaring Brook Press

This is a beautiful biography picture book documenting a single experience Dovey Mae Johnson Rountree had with her grandmother while out picking berries early in the morning, before the sunrise. The artwork is stunning! The back matter includes an Author Note that explained that during her years of knowing Rountree, she learned that “…no relationship in her vast experience went more to the core of her soul than the one she had with her grandmother.” The back matter also includes more information about Dovey Mae Johnson Roundtree and her grandmother Rachel Millis Bryant Graham, a Timeline, a Bibliography, and five black and white photos. The illustrations in this book were created digitally.

We-Wait-For-the-Sun-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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Opening the Road: 
Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book
Keila V. Dawson
Alleanna Harris, illustrator
January 26, 2021
Beaming Books

This picture book biography is a great introduction to Victor Hugo Green, the author of the original Green Book that helped guide Black travelers to safe stores, gas stations, hotels, etc. As a postal worker, he worked his way around his route, gathering information from the people he encountered. He published his first Green Book in 1936 that covered only New York City with only 10 pages of information. However, when people began buying his book, they asked if he’d do the same thing for other states. Over the years he requested information from over two thousand Black postal workers across the country to create future Green Books that helped Black travelers going anywhere in the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico. The back matter includes an Author’s Note, Timeline, Selected Bibliography, and Quotes.

Opening-the-Road-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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I Am Not a Penguin:
A Pangolin’s Lament
Liz Wong
January 19, 2021
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Wow, did I learn a lot in this humorous nonfiction picture book all about pangolins! They have many qualities that are similar to various other animals like anteaters, snakes, armadillos, and more, but they are still pangolins. Poor Pangolin can’t seem to get his audience to stop comparing him to other animals. There’s an adorable little twist at the end that will have kids giggling! The back matter has a list of eight “facts” about pangolins. Really fascinating creatures! The artwork for this book was created with gouache on watercolor paper.

I-am-not-a-Penguin-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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Alex’s Good Fortune
Benson Shum
December 29, 2020
Penguin Workshop

In this early reader, young Alex is excited to Chinese New Year. She’s especially glad to get to share her favorite traditions with her best friend, Ethan, as they clean up, decorate, and make delicious foods. The back matter include an introduction to Chinese Zodiac as well as several Chinese New Year’s wishes with pronunciations.

Alexs-Good-Fortune-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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Elevator Bird
Sarah Williamson
November 24, 2020
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

At first glance, this colorful picture book appeared to be a nonfiction book on how a hotel operates — particularly all the many hands needed to make it a success. However, just a few pages in we learn that Elevator Bird feels something is missing. So the rest of the team comes together and works hard to make his dream a reality, in secret. The illustrations for this book were created using gouache paint and pastels.

Elevator-Bird-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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Sometimes People March
Tessa Allen
September 1, 2020
Balzer + Bray

I love that this book starts small with little ants marching together as a team, but ends with a huge gathering of humans working together for a common cause. Many examples are showcased of people organizing and conducting marches for a variety of causes. And throughout the talking and planning, the message reflects how much stronger we are when we work together. The back matter highlights 25 causes that humans have marched for in the past. The artist used ink and watercolor to create the illustrations for this book.

Sometimes-People-March-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 still reading The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste with the kids each morning, I’m just about finished with Amina’s Song by Hena Khan, and I just started listening to Root Magic by Eden Royce. I’m looking forward to another great reading week!

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Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge:  116/365
#MustReadIn2021: 11/49


What are YOU reading?

9 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/8/2021 #imwayr

    1. I really loved the cover of Blackbird Fly and am so glad the story was just as beautiful! And yes, informative and entertaining is a great description for When Cloud Became a Cloud. I hope you have a wonderful week, too, Lisa!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So many books that sound great here, Shaye. I loved Scritch Scratch, glad you did, too! I somehow have missed Blackbird Fly, but put it on my list to remind me. And I’ve bookmarked the picture books, too. We Wait for the Sun & Trouble, among others, sound great. Best wishes in getting all those house things completed. And I understand or really don’t understand, the outrage about the Seuss books. However, it seems typical that some will lie to divert attention. We have already had people at the bookstore asking if we have any Seuss books – crazy. And no, we do not! Have a good week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was such a joy to read Scritch Scratch. I love it when a book surprises us like that! Yes, I’m just stunned over the outrage. I was reading post after post and feeling downright sick — even witnessing Christians telling people to “go to H___” if they supported the halted printing of those six books. (Though not a single mention of anyone going back to re-read them with new eyes). Maybe this will finally be the thing to push me over the edge to deactivate my FB account for a while. I could certainly use more peace and quiet. Thanks for visiting, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in agreement with you, Shaye. No one, especially President Biden, is cancelling Dr. Seuss! My daughter’s school just celebrated Seuss Week, so I’d say that his legacy is still going strong!

    Anyway, what an amazing reading week you had! I loved Blackbird Fly. Scritch Scratch, When Cloud Became a Cloud, and Alex’s Good Fortune all look like books my family would enjoy! Alex’s Good Fortune will especially be a great resource to have – we celebrate Chinese New Year, but some of the traditions and reasons why go over my young daughter’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous collection of books today Shaye! I already had Opening the Road on my list. Alas my library doesn’t have it. I first learned about the Green Book in a MG novel (can’t remember the name.) Anyway, reading about it here sent me off to see if Canada had anything like it. (We didn’t but were included in the American one around 1947) It was fascinating to read about the resorts that were established.
    The right getting their knickers in a knot about cancel culture is such a farce. Have you seen that cartoon by M. Wuerker titled Cancel Culture: The First 500 Years? It is brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congrats on your new exercise routine! Also, good luck with all of your house repairs as you get ready to close! We just had a new washing machine put in today because our old one has basically been broken for almost 2 years of its 3-year lifespan—as one example, it used so much electricity when the agitator moved that the lights in our house would flicker, almost imperceptibly, to the rhythm. Sigh!

    Anyway, Scratch Scratch sounds really good—I love that the ending is hopeful instead of dark. Blackbird Fly also sounds great—I’m always impressed by how consistently people like Erin Entrada Kelly’s books! I need to get some of them read. We Wait for the Sun and Opening the Road also sound great, and the art for Alex’s Good Fortune is adorable! Thanks for the great post!

    Like

  5. Just when I thought I had a good workout habit established, cold weather came in and I threw it out the window. I’m trying now to start taking walks again, and hope to move those back to runs.

    I read Blackbird Fly about five years ago and liked it but not as much as you; I wonder if I had a kid going through some of the same issues. I find that I like books better if they are more distant from the problems of my own life (or really, the problems I worry about with my kids). So now I’m avoiding books about college students!

    Like

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