It’s already Monday, again?! My goodness, the weeks are flying by. But I’m always glad to meet up with my reading peeps! 📚 We have only 10 weeks left in 2021, so I’m going to be working hard to hits my goals with my #MustReadin2021 list over the next couple months. Wish me luck! This week I’ll be sharing a graphic novel memoir, a middle grade memoir, a middle grade nonfiction book, and a pile of autumn/Halloween picture books. I really look forward to seeing what everyone has been reading this week. Unfortunately, I got a very late start this Monday, so I’ll be making my rounds to the link-ups later this evening.
If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome! Today is Monday, and I regularly participate in a weekly #IMWAYR meme. 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!
Gene Luen Yang
March 17, 2020
This graphic novel was such a pleasant surprise. I love that it was both a memoir and a history of basketball all wrapped in one giant book. Yang has been teaching mathematics at Bishop O’Dowd High School when he decides to meet up the head basketball coach and document an entire basketball season. He practically knows nothing about basketball in the beginning, so he shares all that he learns about the inner workings of basketball, about the history of the sport, about the individual players, and about about the history of Bishop O’Dowd High School. Throughout the story, he addresses the difficulty of having family time while nurturing two careers. He also talks a bit about racism, taking risks, making difficult choices in life, and the importance of stepping out. And there are fun discussions of the super hero comics he’s read and that he’s currently working on while simultaneously writing this book. There are a number of times Yang shares the touchy topics and the difficult decisions he had to make even on what to include in this memoir. It was an all-round delightful read that I am so thrilled I got to finally experience!
This was another book I placed on my #MustReadin2021 list and I’m so tickled to finally get to it. In the 90s when I first began teaching Kindergarten, one of my students had a craniofacial syndrome. Since the kids in her class knew her from a young age (and were with her almost every day, all year), I don’t recall there ever being surprised looks or questions in my classroom. She was just one of many students in our school. At the time, I recall hearing the ongoing faculty discussions about the various surgeries she’d already endured as well as those she had lined up in her future. And during one of the discussions, someone mentioned that she’d eventually look “normal” and that, someday, people would have no idea of all the surgeries she endured during her childhood. Flash forward to 2014 when my adorable, funny, and confident nephew was unexpectedly born with a craniofacial syndrome that would also require a number of surgeries. So I truly appreciated that this book showcased how these surgeries weren’t typically to make someone look normal, but that they’re usually about necessary functions of the body from breathing to eating to digestion to vision to hearing. Nathaniel Newman’s voice is sometimes funny and sarcastic, but he also has an amazing capacity for empathy toward people who don’t understand what they’re asking or how off-base they are in their remarks.
The book Wonder by R.J. Palacio is discussed, as well as the relationship they built with her over the years. I didn’t know that Palacio specifically requested Nathaniel audition for the role of Auggie and that for a long time he was referred to as “the Wonder boy.” While the movie producers went with an accomplished actor, Jacob Tremblay, the whole family agrees that Wonder really helped their interaction with the community and they are grateful for how it opened up better understanding and dialogue. If you are not yet familiar with the Newman family and their experiences, I am happy to recommend this book that can be read with a young child. Here’s a brief video clip about some of their experiences:
My husband read the adult version of this same book and so I also grabbed up the audiobook “young people” version. This little book gave a good taste of what’s happening in the world of astrophysics without overburdening the reader. I like that Tyson shared that there are so many unanswerable questions and how important it is to be able to say “I don’t know.” He also took the time to introduce astrophysicists that many do not know of who contributed greatly to the field, such as Vera Rubin and Margaret Burbidge. The discussion of dark matter and dark energy are of special interest since there are still so many questions surrounding them. Additionally the cosmic perspective was very thought-provoking. A funny portion was about how various parts of astrophysics has been inappropriately used in comic books and movies, but he was very good spirited about this – including his sharing of how he’s portraying things accurately in the comics he’s currently writing/advising on. Very compact, but quite helpful for me.
July 20, 2021
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader
Awww. 🙁 This poor, spooky, lonely little house isn’t getting any buyers. It tries to change itself to attract a new buyer to turn the “house” into a “home.” But eventually the house realizes it just needs to be itself to attract the right people. The illustrations in this book were made in Photoshop.
Lucy Ruth Cummins
July 20, 2021
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
The Dracula family goes to the zoo on a Saturday. What could go wrong? Thankfully, the “mix-up” works itself out and readers still got to enjoy the entire zoo. A fun little read for around Halloween. The illustrations were rendered in gouache and colored pencil, and finished with digital line.
Little Bat in Night School
June 29, 2021
I love Brian Lies artwork and so this book was such a joy to experience. Little Bat is going off to school and he definitely has a fun experience with other nocturnal animals. The illustrations in this book were done with acrylic and watercolor paints and colored pencil on Strathmore paper.
Little Ghoul Goes to School
June 15, 2021
Balzer + Bray
Little ghoul doesn’t want a normal day of school, so when she goes to bed and dreams up how the day she’s disappointed. Never fear, the school librarian will come to her rescue! The artist used ink on paper and digitally colored in Adobe Photoshop to create the illustrations for this book.
There’s a Witch in Your Book
Greg Abbott, illustrator
September 17, 2020
In this interactive book, we meet a witch and a narrator who requires the reader poke, wipe, and swoosh messes made during the story. At the very end, we’re told to have a fun sleepover – so might be a fun way to start off a night of fun. The book does not share how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one example below:
(Fright Club #1)
August 11, 2015
It’s the night before Halloween and Vladimir the vampire has called one last Fright Club meeting to make sure everyone’s ready for Operation Kiddie Scare. But when innocent looking bunnies, butterflies, and turtles attempt to join the team, they’re refused membership because they’re not scary. But are they?? The artwork was created with graphite pencil on Strathmore drawing paper, then scanned the colored digitally.
September 1, 2000
Blue Sky Press
What a cute read for before a pumpkin patch visit. This story begins in a pumpkin patch with a child picking out a pumpkin then shows where many pumpkins end up. The last page wishes the reader a Happy Halloween! I just love the font used in this book and the lovely, fall-colored illustrations were done in Designer’s Gouache watercolor Strathmore 500 Bristol paper.
Currently Reading/To Be Read: