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 💪, and I’m pleased to finally begin taking better care of myself. 💓
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.
September 1, 2020
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!
Erin Entrada Kelly
March 24, 2015
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)
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.
When Cloud Became a Cloud
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.
We Wait for the Sun
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.
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.
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.
Alex’s Good Fortune
December 29, 2020
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.
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.
Sometimes People March
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.
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!