It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/4/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

teacher-apple-TAWHappy Teacher Appreciation Week, everyone! As we all know, this semester has thrown so many of our teachers for a loop — it’s been a learning curve for some more than others, but it’s a beautiful sight to see so many teachers, students, and parents pulling through together.

On a personal note, it’s been a pretty great week for our family. If you missed my belated post last week, you’ll be happy to know that hubby is settling back into work quite nicely after being on lockdown in a teeny-tiny upstairs bedroom for three weeks. Whew! I cannot tell you how much we’ve appreciated all the well wishes from the #imwayr community during his healing. ❤

Thank you for visiting, today. This Monday I’ll be sharing two new middle grade novels, both just published in March. One is a sci-fi set on planet Mars and the other is a contemporary realistic fiction set in Los Angeles. I’m also working my way through my remaining picture books from the last year, so I’ll share another eight that were published in 2019. Please feel free to share any great reads you’ve encountered this past week, in the comments. And whether it’s a new book or an older title, I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading wish list.


43721094

In the Red
Christopher Swiedler
March 24, 2020
HarperCollins

Michael Prasad failed his space suit certification due to what appeared to be a panic attack. Now he’s on a secret mission to pass it once and for all, without his parent’s knowledge. However, when he sneaks into a new testing group, he quickly discovers that he’s in the “advanced” testing group. The instructor is quite impressed with his high level of STEM skills as he shows up the older kids in his group. This means he is now in a position to pass not only the basic level, but the advanced levels. What will his parents think of THAT?! But what happens when there’s a shocking planetary accident that kills a number of adults and leaves Michel and his best friend, Lilith, on death’s doorstep? Filled with mathematics, science, and technology, this book and fast-paced storyline will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I deeply appreciated the parent relationship in this one. And there’s just a tinge of romance for coming-of-age tweens, but nothing remotely heavy. There’s also quite a bit of anxiety discussion, which is so important for today’s adolescents who are constantly under pressure, both online and in-real-life. I’m not sure if this will be a stand-alone novel or if it’s the beginning of a new series, but I’ll be interested to see what Swiedler has up his sleeve, next!

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.


40986512

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
Jessica Kim
March 17, 2020
Kokila

Yumi Chung’s greatest desire is to become a stand-up comedian. But her Korean-American parents have sacrificed everything to send her to a special private school in order to get her into a top-notch university in hopes that she’ll become a lawyer or go to med school like her “perfect” older sister. While her parents face severe financial troubles at their family-owned restaurant, they are informed that Yumi can continue to attend her private school on scholarship if she scores high on an exam. So she’s being sent to specialized tutoring all summer long. Yumi really doesn’t want to continue to attend her school. She doesn’t feel like she fits in and there are constant microaggressions she faces as a non-white student. However, she attends her tutoring sessions and plans to do as well as possible on the exam. By completely accident, Yumi happens upon a comedy camp taking place as a local theatre. When she pops her head in to see what’s going on, she is mistaken for another enrollee who didn’t show up. She plays the part perfectly and becomes Kay Nakamura at camp, but remains Yumi Chung at her tutoring group. As would be expected, her friends from both places eventually meet in a single space and Yumi’s lies begin to unravel. How will she explain this without everything falling apart?

The heart of this story is about taking a risk to do what you love doing. But in the story we discover (and understand) how hard Yumi’s parents have worked to keep their family business running and WHY they’ve sacrificed everything in hopes that Yumi’s life will be devoid of a financial stress. Being a stand-up comedian means a lack of financial security, so they’re only trying to look out for her. There are a number of comedic moments throughout the story, but I just loved the thoughts about second chances and the cozy, feel-good ending. ❤ I’m more than happy to recommend this book!

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.


40594590._SX318_

You’re Missing It!
Brady Smith
Tiffani Thiessen
April 30, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books

WARNING: Before reading this book, make sure you’re ready to walk-the-talk. Because as cute and hilarious as the artwork is, the message is hard-hitting. One of my very favorite movie scenes is from Hook, starring Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. There’s a point at which Peter’s wife, Moira, takes his cell phone and flings it out the window in frustration. She gives one of the most heart-wrenching speeches that ends with “...and you are missing it.” Check out this 1-minute clip, below:

So as I blink the wetness from my eyes, this book is the story of a little boy who goes to the park with his father. Everything is so bright, cheery, and colorful as the boy sees EVERYTHING happening all around him — there are birds, squirrels, dogs, flowers, butterflies, other kids, and even other distracted parents. While the boy marvels at the world all around him, including an escaped purple rhinoceros, his dad is MISSING. IT. ALL. …because he can’t look away from his phone. It becomes almost obnoxiously silly to see all that he’s missing. Thankfully, the dad eventually realizes what’s going on before it’s too late. Nevertheless, on the final page we’re left with yet another child running along, trying to get her mom’s attention (since she’s on her phone). The illustrations were done with a #2 pencil, an eraser, a Faber-Castell artist pen, and watercolors. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Youre-Missing-It-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.


43270318._SX318_

It Began with a Page:
How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
Kyo Maclear
Julie Morstad, illustrator
October 8, 2019
HarperCollins

From a very young age, Gyo Fujikawa loved to fill pages with her artwork. One of her teachers in high school found a way to get her through art school and she was eventually hired by the Walt Disney’s studio in New York (to work on promotional work for the movie Fantasia). This picture book biography shares one of her lowest points in life, when Roosevelt signed an Executive Order sending all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to internment camps, including Fujikawa’s family. 😦 But we also witness one of her highest points when she wrote and illustrated a children’s book called Babies which included multiracial characters on the same page. At first the publishers said “NO!” and explained that white Americans would be very unhappy about having white babies illustrated alongside black and brown babies, but Fujikawa persisted and was successful in publication. She went on to create more than 50 children’s books before her death in 1998.

You don’t want to miss the back matter which includes black and white photos from Gyo’s family, a timeline of important happenings from 1908 to 1998, an author and illustrator’s note with more information about Gyo’s life, a selected bibliography, and sources used in the writing of this book. The artwork in this book was created with liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

It-Began-with-a-page-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.


37811063._SX318_

Mulan: The Legend
of the Woman Warrior
Faye-Lynn Wu
Joy Ang, illustrator
September 10, 2019
Harpercollins 

This is the well-known Chinese folktale of Mulan, the brave, young woman who chose to join the emperor’s army in place of her aging father. She fought fiercely for twelve long years before leading her troop back to the emperor’s palace as a victorious commander. She was offered an appointment to the high court, but ask if she could instead return to her beloved family. The illustrations in this picture book were created by Joy Ang. The front and back do not share how the artwork was created, but I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Mulan-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.


39873414._SX318_

Get Me Out of This Book!:
Rules & Tools for Being Brave
Kalli Dakos
Deborah Cholette
Sara Infante, Illustrator
June 11th 2019
Holiday House

Max is a bookmark who is more than terrified of scary images he gets trapped with inside of books. He attends Bookmark School where he learns the rules and tools to help him handle his fears. He discovers that breathing deeply and using good thoughts can get him out of just about any bind. That said, this book might be a nice way to begin a discussion on facing fears or even on childhood anxiety. Oh, and watch out for the cute little twist at the end of the story.

The artwork in this book was created with mixed media. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Get-Me-Out-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.


40653244._SX318_

Grandpa Cacao:
A Tale of Chocolate,
from Farm to Family
Elizabeth Zunon
May 21, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

In this sweet little story, a mother heads off to pick up a birthday treat for her daughter while the young girl and her father bake a chocolate birthday cake. As they mix and bake the cake, her father tells her all about Grandpa Cacao and how they can only enjoy chocolate because of farmers like him. We learn about the family’s origins in the Ivory Coast, the hard work out in the hot fields, how Grandpa Cacao selected the perfectly ripe fruit, how the village worked together to harvest and protect the dried cocoa beans, and how they sold them off for chocolate making. The surprise ending is especially meaningful after the family history lesson. The back matter includes four pages with far more information about the cacao trade (including exploitation of children), the science, history, and even a chocolate celebration cake recipe.

The artwork in this book was created with oil paint and collage with screen print. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Grandpa-Cacao-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.


39948012._SX318_

And the Bullfrogs Sing:
A Life Cycle Begins
David L. Harrison
Kate Cosgrove, illustrator
May 21, 2019
Holiday House

Last week I enjoyed reviewing Caterpillar and Bean, a new picture book that combined the life cycles of a butterfly and a bean plant, and that book would pair nicely with And the Bullfrogs Sing which is about the life cycle of a bullfrog. The book cycles through two years as we learn about the male bullfrog’s song, how the female lays her eggs, how tadpoles hatch, how they survive through the cold winter, and what must happen before they become full grown bullfrogs. The back matter includes more information about bullfrogs, including a selected bibliography.

The artwork in this book was created with pencils and digital tools. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

And-the-bullfrogs-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.


41554342

The Boy and the Bear
Peter Stein
May 14, 2019
Holiday House 

In rhyming text, we watch while a boy and his bear are bombarded by many new and exciting things to take with them. When it becomes too much to handle, the boy realized the bear is all he really wanted all along. The boys facial expressions showcase a wide variety of feelings, so in the back pages they offer a two pages where children can match the feelings with the face while discussing emotions. The story could also be used to introduce the topic of consumerism (or what to do if you discover a random blimp losing stuffed animals – lol).

The artwork for this book was created with graphite and digital color. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Boy-and-the-Bear-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.


41543561._SX318_

Birds of a Feather: Bowerbirds and Me
Susan L. Roth
May 14, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This is a very creative nonfiction picture book where the author, Susan L. Roth, compares her artwork compositions to the work of a bowerbird. They’re both collectors, they like beauty, every composition is different, they use similar tools, they love colors, and more. Each spread is so beautiful and keeps the reader entertained by everything going on across the page. The back matter provides many more details about bowerbirds, about how they work, about how Roth works, and all their similarities. There’s also a selected bibliography and full color photo of a Male Satin Bowerbird and it’s creative work.

The artwork for this book was created as collages with assorted papers, fabric, wires, threads, pipe cleaners, beads, ribbons, and more, especially those that are bright blue. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Birds-of-a-Feather-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’m looking forward to beginning Far Away by Lisa Graff, this week. And I’m so happy to have received at ARC of The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington, which will be published on May 19th. If I have enough time this week, I will also start If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Family Snapshot:

More long term reads for me are: Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman, and The One Year Book of Devotionals #1 for Kids by Children’s Bible Hour (daily read with the kids, all year).

Hubby, during quarantine, read: The Wisdom of Menopause by Christine Northrup, MD, The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, MD (a re-read), The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez. He’s now working on The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Phaedo by Plato, and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Brayla (16) is reading Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein (per our request — excellent parent/teen discussion material) and Lucky in Love by Kasie West (but it is feeling too predictable, so this may be her first DNF of 2020).

Brandon (14) is reading It by Stephen King and The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu.

Brighton (12) is reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Briston (9) is reading Stargazing by Jan Wang and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey.

Breena (6) just started reading The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Chúcaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay, and Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. But she dabbles and can be found reading pretty much any book she finds around the house.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 140/200


What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/27/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

Bree-Ukulele-4-25-20It’s been a very nice few days with sunny skies, high temps, and just a few spring showers. We’ve been hanging out at the state park a bit and have started back on our daily walks. Our youngest just turned six in March and for her birthday she got a baby blue ukulele from her big sister, so she’s been serenading all of us over the last few weeks. ❤

OH!! And hubby came out of quarantine on Saturday. YAY! As you’ll recall, he came home from work with a terrible headache on Friday, April 3rd, and after beginning to run a fever and experience other cold symptoms, he called our public health district and tightly quarantined upstairs in our bedroom on Sunday, April 5th. So his complete seclusion lasted just one day shy of three weeks. We are so glad to have him back in (mostly) working order and today is his first official day back in the office.

In other news, my mom sent us a set of seven beautiful face masks made by her seamstress friend in Texas. Our younger kiddos rarely leave the home right now (except to play outside, riding bikes/scooters), but with the current requirement to wear a mask in public spaces, these are especially helpful for those of us who either work outside of the home or run errands. Then my brother-in-law in Seattle surprised us with another set of seven masks with special themes that were specifically selected for each member of our family (for example, unicorns for our youngest, LEGOs for our 9 year old, etc.). They are so darling!

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Thank you for visiting, today! Whether it’s a new title, or an older one, I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading list. (NOTE: I’m going to try doing what a few others in the #imwayr community do and briefly share what the rest of my family is reading. Depending on how this goes the first couple weeks, I may move that section to only once-per-month. For now, I’ll call it “Family Snapshot” and it can be found at the very bottom of my posts.)


51079435

The Space Between Lost and Found
Sandy Stark-McGinnis
April 28, 2020
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

My thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing me an Advance Reading Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Sadly, my family is well acquainted with the emotional fallout due to Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, we’ve not experienced the devastation of early onset Alzheimer’s disease (meaning a patient under the age of 65 — many people when they’re in their 40s and 50s). Cassie is not yet a teenager and yet she and her mom have practically reversed their familial roles — she must now take care of her mom when her dad is not around. This means setting aside her love of soccer (and possibly her best friend) so that she can focus on what’s most important. Cassie’s biggest hope is that one day, hopefully very soon, her mom will remember her name. Why can’t she just say it?

There are threads of memories that continue to come back to Cassie — from before her mom began to lose her memory. They’d visit the beach, her mother enjoyed dancing to Cindi Lauper’s music, and her parents were so very happy and in love. Therefore, when we jump back to the present, witnessing Cassie’s mom experience this degenerative illness, it leaves us feeling helpless. There’s a very real lack of control when you never know if you’ll be remembered or how your loved one will react in different situations. The pain was even more evident as Cassie and her father slowly realize they must move forward, almost as if her mother had died. However, it was so beautifully written and it’s definitely an underrepresented topic in middle grade literature. This title will publish on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, so be sure to order a copy!

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.


52727145._SX318_SY475_

The Water Bears
Kim Baker
April 21, 2020
Wendy Lamb Books

What a deceiving cover… At first glance, it makes me think of a cutsie childhood story. But this book was anything but childish. Thirteen-year-old Newt Gomez recently survived a bear attack. He’s struggled with the memory of the attack, but he doesn’t want to be known only as “the boy who survived a bear attack.” Lately, he’s been wanting to leave his quirky Murphy Island to live with his abuela on the mainland as he enters seventh grade. He keeps pushing the issue of changing schools with his parents, but they’re just not very supportive. When Newt unexpectedly encounters a bear statue that grants wishes, he knows what his one wish will be. That is… until the bear is stolen and it looks like he missed his chance. With typical school relationship issues, a mythological creature on the loose, a potential non-existent friend named Izzy, extended family relationship ups and downs, a mother’s secrets uncovered, and Latinx representation, there’s so much more going on in this book than I can fit into one little paragraph. But it was a very quick and engaging read.

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.


52668960._SX318_SY475_

What Lane?
Torrey Maldonado
April 14, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

As a biracial kid, Stephen is confronted with the fact that he’s living in two worlds. However, he doesn’t fully fit into either one the way he wants to. While his friends are sometimes blind to the realities, he’s hit, head on, by social injustices and the very real understanding of white privilege. And he tries, many times, to figure out which “lane” he belongs in. The best summary of this book can be found in this quote:

“I need to wake up more of my white friends so they see prejudice is real. They can fix that in their lane.”

It’s wonderfully executed in less than 150 pages — I hope this one makes its way into may school and public libraries 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.


52516178

Wink
Rob Harrell
Michael Crouch, Narrator
Marc Thompson, Narrator
March 31, 2020
Dial Books

I’ll admit that I wasn’t really attracted to the cover, but wow did this story surprise me. In short, this book shares the very raw experiences of living with a rare eye cancer. Ross has already lost his mom to cancer and now he is facing slowly losing his vision. At the same time, he’s looking for some life-changing epiphany — in middle school. And if there’s one big truth about middle school, it’s that kids can be so cruel. There’s also a classmate named Sarah who “smells like sunshine and joy” and always appears so sweet. But the silver lining in Ross’s life is his best friend, Gabby — and trust me when I say that everyone needs a “Gabby.” She brought fireworks to this story in a way nothing else could have.

By the time I got barely halfway through the story, I had to stop to look up Rob Harrell to see what else he’s written SO THAT I COULD READ IT! He had me sobbing halfway through. It’s so gut-wrenching and yet simultaneously beautifully written and narrated. And ultimately what Ross discovers is that even the worst of kids need friendship and acceptance. You really never know what someone else is living through…  NOTE: On the audiobook there are these AWESOME comic episodes with cool music, sound effects, and wacky narration. I’m more than happy to recommend this title. Please fill your school, public, and home libraries with copies of Wink!

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.


Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Captain Underpants
Dav Pilkey

I don’t know how many books of this series I’ve read with my kids, nor how many times I’ve read each one. I believe it all started when I was teaching 1st and 2nd grades in Texas around 2000-2002. My students loved Captain Underpants and the stories got many reluctant readers to happily pick up a book. I later bought the series for my two first born kiddos (who are now 14 and 16 year olds) when they were much younger and our beat up copies have made the rounds, over the years. The books contain lots of toilet humor, but overall they are quite clever and include some high-level vocabulary for young readers. This month I’ve been reading these aloud with my 9-year-old and we’ve both laughed quite a bit!

You can read more about the whole series on Goodreads HERE.


43269386._SX318_

Saturday
Oge Mora
October 22, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Ava and her mother have all sorts of wonderful plans for their Saturday. It’s the best day of the week because mother doesn’t go to work. Yet things don’t always go as planned, and this is certainly the case on this particular Saturday. Storytime at the library is canceled, their hairdos are ruined by a car splash, the park is too loud, and they miss the puppet theatre they were so excited to attend. Ultimately, they’re faced with the understanding that Saturdays are special primarily because they get to spend them together. I love the message in this one and I adore Mora’s collaged illustrations! The back matter shares that the collages for this book were created with acrylic paint, china markers, patterned paper, and old-book clippings. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Saturday-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.


35926982

Reading Beauty
Deborah Underwood
Meg Hunt, illustrator
September 24, 2019
Chronicle Books

In Reading Beauty, we have another fractured fairy (from the creators of Interstellar Cinderella). On her fifteenth birthday, avid reader Princess Lex has all her books taken away by her parents. They explain that they must do this because of the curse of a fairy who said Lex would be cursed by a paper cut when she was fifteen. Faced with a life devoid of books, Lex knows she must confront the wicked fairy and demand she lift the curse. Will she save the day or make matters worse? The brightly colored illustrations in this book were rendered in brush and ink, pastel, marker, and graphite, and colored digitally. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Reading-Beauty-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.


7775818._SX318_

Nighttime Symphony
Timbaland
Christopher Myers, illustrator
Kaa Illustrations, illustrations
May 28, 2019 (org. 10/12/10)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The whole world becomes music for a young boy as he prepares to go to sleep, at night — raindrops tap a steady beat, trees dance, radios sing, the wind howls, while umbrellas become turntables that DJs can spin. The entire musical symphony takes place at nighttime. And when morning breaks, they discover the storm was just a lullaby. This one is perfect for reading at bedtime, for obvious reasons. The illustrations for this book were digitally rendered. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of what to expect, below:

NIghttime-Symphony-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.


41554345._SX318_

Field Trip to the Moon
John L. Hare
May 14, 2019
Margaret Ferguson Books

I really enjoyed the life found in the shadows of a mostly gray/white pallet. In this wordless picture book a school bus-looking yellow rocket ship takes a class on a field trip to the moon. The faceless children travel the dusty terrain of the moon while one child finds a cozy spot to sit and draw planet Earth. But what happens when the rocket ship leaves the moon without said child? You won’t want to miss this cute ending!! The artwork for this book was created with acrylic paint. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Field-Trip-to-the-Moon-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.


41189579._SX318_

Caterpillar and Bean:
A First Science Storybook
(First Science Storybooks)
Martin Jenkins
Hannah Tolson, illustrator
April 2, 2019
Candlewick Press

When I taught the younger grades in elementary school, we enjoyed units on life cycles — both for plants and insects. And this book is a perfect combination featuring a plant and a butterfly cycling through life. I liked the color combination of mostly greens/blues with orange/reds. And at the very end, there’s a section on how to grow your own bean plant. I’m sure looking forward to seeing the beautiful butterflies, this year, and this book will be an excellent share for that experience! The illustrations were done in mixed media. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Caterpillar-and-Bean-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.


7833075

Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow:
a Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix
Gary Golio
Javaka Steptoe, illustrator
October 4, 2010
Clarion Books

I’ve actually had this book in my stack for a looooong time. I picked it up to use in my Music for the Elementary Teacher college course for education majors, last year. In fact, it appears one of my students lost the first copy of it, so the college purchase another copy for our use. So I’m glad to finally get to share it on my blog, today. As would be expected by the title, this is a picture book biography of Jimi Hendrix. It begins with young Jimmy in 1956 in Seattle, Washington during a thunderstorm. He hears music in everything around him. A child on his block sounds like a clarinet. A truck engine backfiring sounds like a bass drum. And his neighbor’s rake sounded like a snare drum against the sidewalk. Jimmy even saw colors with every sound he heard. He was elated when his dad purchased their neighbor’s guitar for $5, and he practiced many hours on his own to figure out how to play before joining a local band. His greatest excitement seemed to be when he discovered all of the sounds he could make through a guitar amplifier when he plugged in an electric guitar. He then could use his guitar to make a wide assortment of sounds (a rainbow of sounds) that he’s most known for, today.

Don’t let nobody turn you off from your own thoughts and dreams. -Jimi Hendrix

The artwork in this book was created in mixed media. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Jimi-Sounds-Like-a-Rainbow-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:

Some of my Overdrive/Libby books lapsed. Ugh. But I just got my hands on Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim and In the Red by Christopher Swiedler, so I’m looking forward to starting those this week. And I am excited to have It Began With a Page by Kyo Maclear. Then we’ll see what else I can squeeze in.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Family Snapshot:

In addition to my regular TBR books, listed above… more long term reads for me are: Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman, and The One Year Book of Devotionals #1 for Kids by Children’s Bible Hour (daily read with the kids, all year).

Hubby, during quarantine, read: The Wisdom of Menopause by Christine Northrup, MD, The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, MD (a re-read), The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez. He’s now working on The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Phaedo by Plato, and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Brayla (16) is reading Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein (per our request — excellent discussion material) and Lucky in Love by Kasie West (but it is feeling too predictable, so this may be her first DNF of 2020).

Brandon (14) is reading It by Stephen King and The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu.

Brighton (12) is reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Briston (9) is reading Stargazing by Jan Wang and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey.

Breena (6) just started reading The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Chúcaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay, and Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. But she dabbles and can be found reading pretty much any novel she discovers sitting around the house (including MY novels. No joke.).


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 130/200


What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/20/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

We’ve really appreciated your sweet comments and prayers during this time of my husband’s illness and quarantine. He has stayed locked away for over two weeks and is still feeling a bit stir crazy, but he appears to be past the worrisome cold/flu symptoms for over 24 hours, now (and he hasn’t had a fever in over a week). If all goes according to as planned, he’ll be able to able to rejoin the world before this weekend. YAY!

Thank you so much for visiting, today. This week I’m sharing a number of books that were published over the last two months. I hope you find something of interest to add to your reading “wish” list. I look forward to making the rounds to see what is on your bookshelf!


50215833._SX318_SY475_

Bloom
(The Overthrow #1)
Kenneth Oppel
March 10, 2020
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

A+ for creep factor!! Bloom is the first book in a trilogy (book #2 should be released in September). The story centers around three teens: Anaya, Petra, and Seth. Each of them have unusual traits which come into play once their nation discovers they are under attack. The invasion comes in the form of rain. But how and why, I can’t exactly say without spoiling the story. It’s a very hard-to-put-down sci-fi that I believe will be quite popular. Another interesting tidbit to know —  much of this story mimics what we’re experiencing right now with COVID-19:  the US blames China, there’s no toilet paper in the bathrooms, the Ministry wants to handle investigation, the government declares a state of emergency, there are worries about food production and world reserves, the southern hemisphere isn’t hit as bad, people are stocking up on grocery items, they’re wearing masks in the stores, the hospitals are overloaded, the economy is failing, and eventually school is cancelled. It was weird thinking about how this book was written well before we knew anything about COVID-19! Anyway, I will definitely show up for book #2! This was my first Kenneth Oppel read, but now I really want to pick up some of his older work. Very well written and addictive!

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.


52988445._SX318_SY475_

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
Kate O’Shaughnessy
March 3, 2020
Knopf Books for Young Readers

This was an audiobook “read” this week that was a last-minute impulse-grab. It was beautifully narrated by Catherine Taber and, at only 6 1/2 hours, it’s a very quick listen. Maybelle was raised as an only child in a single-parent home. She’s fascinated with recording interesting sounds and she collects/records them on special occasions, sorta like keeping a diary. Her mom is a singer-songwriter and has always been a bit secretive about Maybelle’s father. Maybelle never met him, but she knows his voice so well because she heard it on a voice mail recording (and listened to it over and over and over). So imagine her shock when she hears that same voice on the radio one day. She continues to listen to her dad’s radio program and discovers her dad’s radio station is doing a music/singing competition in Nashville. Could she actually meet her real father without her mom knowing? And next thing we know, she’s loaded up and on her way to Nashville with her commanding next-door neighbor and an annoying boy from school tagging along. This road trip was my favorite part of the story because she gets to know her two travel mates in a way that never would have happened by just living next door to them. Over time, they learn more about the past. And they collectively pave a better road for each of their futures. It’s written with sooo much heart — highly recommend for middle grade readers!

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.


44900082

The List of Things That Will Not Change
Rebecca Stead
April 7, 2020
Wendy Lamb Books

I sure kicked my week off with some intense, realistic fiction novels. The List of Things That Will Not Change follows 10-year-old Bea through the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. They reassured her that they would always love her and she was given a green notebook that she could use to write down everything that will NOT change. But the truth is, there are many things that will change. For example, her father is remarrying. And the man he is marrying has a daughter Bea’s age. She has always wanted a sister, so she’s elated. Nevertheless, the transition is awkward — how does her mom feel about her dad remarrying? And will Bea’s new sister even like her? Rebecca Stead addresses so many important issues in this book, including homophobia, the complications of having two different homes, and the normalization of therapy.

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.


52507955._SX318_SY475_

Efrén Divided
Ernesto Cisneros
March 31, 2020
Quill Tree Books

Raw and gripping. Seventh-grader Efrén Nava has his hands full when his mother is suddenly deported. She always made sure everyone looked their best (always bathed, having perfectly pressed clothing, etc.). So the entire family is suddenly in limbo and struggling to survive while figuring out how to be reunited. Efrén’s best friend, David, is running for office at his school, but so is their classmate, Jennifer. And Efrén is faced with the fact that Jennifer will make a great leader because she’s organized and passionate about important real issues. Does he stick by his best friend or support who will be the best leader? In the meantime, Efrén’s father raised the money needed to transport his mother back. But the journey through Tijuana, to get Efrén’s mom the money, will be incredibly dangerous. Will all this be worth it in the end? I mean, after all, their country is more concerned with eggs being cage-free than they are people being cage-free.

This is a very emotional read, but important for developing empathy — both a mirror and a window. Ernesto Cisneros shares, on Goodreads, that he wrote this book for his daughter: “…so she could see that people of color, people of Mexican descent, are worth writing and reading about. I wanted her to see her world depicted in a book.”

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.


46221973._SY475_

When We Were Vikings
Andrew David MacDonald
January 28, 2020
Gallery/Scout Press

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this book the last few months, so I picked it up without knowing much about it. I saw some readers referring to it as young adult and/or coming of age, therefore I was a little caught off-guard when it was so much more “adult” than I expected. Twenty-one year old Zelda was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and she’s completely obsessed with Vikings. She’ll stop at nothing to protect her tribe. After the death of their mother, Zelda and Gert moved in with an abusive uncle. But now the two of them live together, alone, and they’ve adopted strict rules that make Zelda’s life easier to manage. Gert’s life has been anything, but easy. Thankfully, he was awarded a scholarship for college after writing an essay about his life with Zelda. So when Zelda discovers that Gert is failing out of his classes and has resorted to inappropriate methods of income, she takes matters into her own hands to get their tribe back on track. The story explores Zelda’s relationship with her boyfriend, Marxy, as they plan to have sex for the first time. And we see the inner workings of her therapy sessions, as well as the community center where she interacts with other adults with developmental delays. Zelda is a courageous young woman in this story. And while I honestly struggled to connect with her in the beginning, I admit I cried through the ending.

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.


44675328._SX318_

Cave Dada
Brandon Reese
March 31, 2020
Chronicle Books

In only a few words, this darling picture book reveals that bedtime woes stem all the way back to the Stone Age when little ones tried every trick in the book to extend the routine. Cava Dada’s baby doesn’t want a rattle, or blanky, or a rock-a-baba. But he does want a 2-ton bedtime story. And one of the funniest parts of the story is when Cave Dada is exhausted and finally says: “Dada feel cry too”! LOL The back matter tells us that Brandon Reese used his own experiences as inspiration for this story. The illustrations were rendered in colored pencil, gouache, and Adobe Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cave-Dada-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.


44675326._SX318_

The Next President:
The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten
Future of America’s Presidents
by Kate Messner
Adam Rex
March 24, 2020
Chronicle Books

This is one of the more creative nonfiction picture books I’ve ever read. And what an important time to read it — just as the US is gearing up for another presidential election. The Goodreads synopsis explains: “When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine. When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone.” This presentation format helps highlight the fact that each of our presidents were normal humans, just like each child reading the book. I really, really like how Messner presented the information by years and I think it will resonate with children. Back matter includes more Presidential information and includes an extensive Bibliography. A must have for any children’s library!

The illustrations in this book were rendered digitally. I’ll provide a couple spreads to serve as examples of what to expect, below:

Next-President-SPREAD1

Next-President-SPREAD2

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.


51201873._SX318_SY475_

Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Hena Khan
Saffa Khan, illustrator
March 10, 2020
Chronicle Books

Written in rhyming text, the sweet book shares the love and hopes of a mother for her child(ren). Each page showcases something the child feels, has done, or what she hopes they will do, from planting gardens to expressing gratitude. The word “inshallah” is repeated throughout this book and in an Author’s Note we are told this Arabic for “if God wills it.” The author shares: The phrase “inshallah” is something I say throughout my day when making any plan or wishing anything for the future… The illustrations in this book were primarily rendered digitally, with ink for strokes and texture. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Like-the-Moon-Loves-the-Sky-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’m currently reading an advance readers copy of The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis, which is schedule to be published on April 28th. I’m still in the middle of Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein. Very important information — highly recommend at this point, but I won’t fully review until I’ve finished it. And I’m also hoping to start both Wink by Rob Harrell and The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington, due to be published May 19th.

2020-4-20-TBR

I also have A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat, Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley sitting on my virtual bookshelf. So they’re next on my list if some extra time clears up over the coming week.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 119/200


What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/13/2020 #imwayr

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!

2020-4-10-ZOOMb
14-year-old in Zoom meeting

I hope everyone is hanging in there whether you’re on full lockdown or simply social distancing. My husband came home ill on Friday, April 3rd. After a couple days with on/off fever, he called our public health district for phone evaluation and they said they wouldn’t be testing at this time (we had a very limited number of tests, locally). He’s not to return to work until he has no symptoms for a full 72 hours. Given the sheer possibility that he’s infected with COVID-19, he’s been strictly quarantined in an upstairs bedroom for over a week. I know he so badly wants to come downstairs or go outside, but we’re waiting it out and keeping an eye out for any developing respiratory issues (which has not been a problem, so far). At least he has a big screen TV in his room, good internet service, and me bringing him anything he needs throughout the day. We’ve all had our fair share of weekly Zoom meetings (work, church, youth group), loads of Marco Polos, and more hand-held device usage and social media than is probably healthy. But this is completely new territory, so we are giving ourselves a little grace. 

Thank you so much for visiting today. It’s been a sincere struggle to stay focused on my reading amidst new community protocols and uncertainty. In fact, I only finished about half my normal weekly reading load. Nevertheless, what I did finish was very enjoyable. I was pleased when Netgalley approved my request for an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer earlier this spring, so I’ll be sharing this new title, today.  Whether it’s a brand new title or an older one, I hope you find something of interest here to add to your wish list!


51148323._SX318_SY475_

Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer
Nina Chapman
April 1, 2020
Capstone Editions

My thanks to Netgalley and Capstone Editions for providing an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. Twelve-year-old Micah McKinney and her father recently moved to the other side of town where she must start over with new friends, a quickly developing body, and without her beloved mom. She’s just about to start seventh grade and, due to an unfortunate incident with her previous best friends, she will no longer be playing her favorite sport: soccer. In an adorable meet cute, Micah develops a bond with a group of three boys who all seem to vie for her attention. But what happens when her new life and old life collide just when Micah McKinney least expects it?

I especially appreciate the father/child relationship we see between Micah and her father. He’s not perfect, nor completely healed from losing his wife, but he deeply cares about his daughter and attempts to interact in meaningful ways (where too many other fictional fathers fail). I also enjoyed the depth of character development with each of the boys in the group of friends. In the beginning there’s one boy who is so unnerving and thoughtless, but we get to watch him mature and become one of Micah’s greatest allies. Unfortunately, the “mean girls” Micah encounters are just that — mean. But they’re countered by a cast of kind, generous, down-to-earth female friendships that make middle school relationships worth finding and working on. There are also some encounters with older young adults and other parents that highlight the importance of developing adult/child relationships to meet needs that can’t always be fulfilled by parents (especially if you only have one).

At the end, Chapman shares how this book began as a classroom writing exercise with her students, but eventually bloomed into a full-blown story that allowed her to use her personal experiences of losing her own mother. In this way, it’s an important #ownvoices book that brings fresh understanding to such a devastating parental loss. But there’s plenty of funny, lighthearted moments mixed into this story, making it a perfect upper-middle grade read.

Unless I’m mistaken, this is Nina Chapman’s debut middle grade novel. I’m very happy to recommend it and I’ll look forward to following any of her future work.

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.


36249638

How to Walk Away
Katherine Center
May 15, 2018
St. Martin’s Press

After enjoying Things You Save in a Fire, I knew I had to read another Katherine Center book. And she didn’t let me down! Margaret Jacobsen does everything right. She worked very hard to get the right degree, the dream job, and the perfect fiancé. But on the very night she gets the marriage proposal she’s wanted for so long, tragedy strikes, landing Margaret in the hospital with terrible burns and severe spinal cord damage. Margaret cannot walk! The story shares painful family dynamics, shocking secrets, uncomfortable recovery experiences, and yes, even romance. This book was very difficult to “walk away” from until I finished it. 🙂

AWARDS: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2018)

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.


49422470._SX318_SY475_

World So Wide
Alison McGhee
Kate Alizadeh, illustrator
March 1, 2020
Two Lions

My sincere thanks to Laura of Beagles and Books, Two Lions, and Amazon Publishing for offering this book as a giveaway last month. I was thrilled to win and am now excited to share this book with my readers (and my own children!).

Somewhere in the world
the world so far
the world so wide
someone is the youngest person alive.

And so begins the gorgeous picture book celebrating the beginning of life and all that a child will see, hear, smell, touch, and do in their lifetime. In the end, the baby comes full circle, eventually witnessing the birth of his own baby. What a perfect book to share with anyone, young or old, in your life. It would make a wonderful gift for the birth of a new baby or for a child going off into the world (maybe graduation). I love it so much and am giddy to have a copy for my home!

The lovely artwork in this book was created digitally and features a culturally diverse family with both indoor and outdoor scenery. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

World-So-Wide-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.


43708884._SX318_

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Charlie Mackesy
October 10, 2019
Ebury Press

For everyone who got to this book before I did, you were right. It’s so incredibly warm and lovely! I must have a copy of my very own. I need to buy it for my mom for Mother’s Day — or any day, really. And I need to read it, individually, with each of my children. The artwork and hand penned writing are such a cozy combination. There’s no real story to speak of, so you can start anywhere in the book to feel inspired. It’s mostly filled with questions and concerns that children have, followed by simple, comforting responses. It’s definitely reminiscent of well-loved characters like Winnie the Pooh. I’m feeling all the feels, here. NOTE: The only difficulty I had a few times was reading the text. But I was always able to figure it out, in the end.

AWARDS: Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

Check out the following video of Charlie Mackesy talking about the creation of his book:

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.


Currently Reading/To Be Read:

I’m currently right in the middle of listening to When We Were Vikings by David MacDonald. Through Overdrive library, I just got access to The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead, Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, and If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley. I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein– fantastic information!! And another set of 10 picture books just arrived via ILL through my college library, so I’m also looking forward to picking those up later today. Let’s see how many of these new titles I can knock out this week.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 111/200


.

What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6/2020 #imwayr

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!

Coronavirus-CDCThis current experience of COVID-19 is utterly surreal. I am concerned about several loved ones, near and far, but I understand they are doing everything possible to stay away from the public. Like most everyone else, we’re just reading tons of information online about this novel virus and keeping our family at home as much as possible. One thing is for sure, it will be very interesting to read future “historical fiction” books that include the COVID-19 experience as part of the story, won’t it?

While I know most of us have access to plenty of e-books and audiobooks, I would love to hear about any brick and mortar libraries in your area that are doing pick-up orders once a week or libraries that are delivering. It’s impressive how multiple businesses are finding new ways to serve the public while keeping a safe distance. I’m very grateful to my college library for continuing to let me order ILL print books from other libraries. I just got another batch of 35+ ordered a week ago and I was excited when a lot of them arrived a couple days ago. The library quarantines the books for just a few days and then we still sanitize them the moment they reach our home. All in all, it’s been a great borrowing experience and I’ve been able to catch up on some wonderful picture books I missed over the last couple years. Nevertheless, with the increasing need for social distancing, I realize this option may not last much longer.

Thank you so much for visiting, today. Whether it’s a new or older title, I hope you find something of interest to add to your TBR list. And if you link-up through the kidlit #imwayr community, I’ll be around to see what you’ve been reading very soon.


44575049

To Fly Among the Stars: A True
Story of the Women and Men Who
Tested to Become America’s First Astronauts
Rebecca Siegel
March 3, 2020
Scholastic Focus

This book was so engaging — all about America’s space program and the aviators who set its course. There’s amazing focus on how difficult it was for women to be involved with NASA, but also so many personal details about various people who came in and out of the picture over the years. Also, I didn’t realize this until after I finished the book, but Mercury 13’s story is told in a recent Netflix documentary and a play based on Cobb’s life, “They Promised Her the Moon.” So I hope to check that out very soon!

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.


51197397._SX318_SY475_

The Only Black Girls in Town
Brandy Colbert
March 10, 2020
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I absolutely loved this debut middle-grade novel about Alberta and Edie — the only black girls in town. Edie is new to town after her mother purchased a bed and breakfast. When Edie decides to make her bedroom in the attic of her new home, she and Alberta find a whole pile of journals left behind by someone who passed years ago. While reading through the journals, they both simultaneously experience racism in their community while coming to terms with who they can count on. This was such a pleasant surprise! I would classify it as a historical fiction novel because of the focus on black history, including specific mentions of Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, etc. It also had a Parker Inheritance feel because of the dual stories occurring between the past and the present. Highly recommend for the upper middle grade reader in your life!

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.


3636 (1)

The Giver
(The Giver #1)
Lois Lowry
April 26, 1993
Houghton Mifflin

As I mentioned last week, this was a re-read because I wanted to share it with my five kiddos. All the kids stuck with it, respectfully listening and responding these last two weeks. However, I completely forgot the high vocabulary level of this book. Wow. I also forgot about the discussions of “stirrings,” which definitely became a family joke with my teens this month. LOL Anyway, we had wonderful discussions about sameness and how different governments throughout history have attempted to create sameness on various levels — some in very positive ways and some in highly questionable ways. Then we followed the conclusion of the book with watching the movie on Friday night.

AWARDS: Newbery Medal (1994), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children’s Literature (1994), Golden Duck Award for Young Adult (Hal Clement Award) (1994), Garden State Book Award for Teen Fiction Grades 6-8 (1996), Buckeye Children’s Book Award for Grade 6-8 (1997), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (1995), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Grade 6-9 (1995), Golden Sower Award for Young Adult (1995), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Grades 3-8 (1995), Soaring Eagle Book Award Nominee (1996), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Senior (1996), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nominee for Fiction (1993), New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award (1997), Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award (1997), William Allen White Children’s Book Award (1996), Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Nominee (1996), NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature Nominee (2013), Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for YA (1996), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (1996), Hea Lasteraamat (2010)

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.


49867279._SX318_SY475_

Froggy Builds a Snowman
Jonathan London
Frank Remkiewicz, illustrator
January 7, 2020
Viking Books for Young Readers

Today is the Winter Carnival and Froggy is super excited as it’s his first time to attend. But once it begins, Froggy is doing everything out of order. Eventually he gets with the program and enjoys a full day of snowy fun with all his animal friends. The day ends on a very happy note, full of smiles. The artwork in this book was created with watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Froggy-Builds-a-Snowman-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.


43801583._SX318_

Snow Much Fun!
Nancy Siscoe
Sabina Gibson, illustrator
October 29, 2019
Balzer + Bray

What really makes this book so fun is the artwork. It was created with photos of fabric animals, so it the 3D feel will be enticing to children. Berry, Ginger, and Willow are off to enjoy a snow day. They have a wonderful day sledding, ice-skating, building a snowman, and even making cookies. The following day they hang garlands, go skiing, and play some hockey. But before the day is over, they look outside and see new flurries beginning to fall — tomorrow will be another snow day! The artwork in this book was created with a mix of handmade props and photography. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Snow-Much-Fun-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.


51aXLbl-01L._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_

Hello Ninja (Netflix original)
N. D. Wilson
Forrest Dickison, illustrator
October 15, 2019 (orig. 2013)
HarperCollins

With vivid greenery, an ocean of blue, fluffy white blizzards, and fancy castles with crowned cats, Ninjas are busy hopping, chopping, dancing, prancing, dodging, and spinning. But all good things must come to an end when Ninjas need a good night of sleep. The artwork in this book was created with photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Hello-Ninja-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.


40685673._SX318_

Going Down Home With Daddy
Kelly Starling Lyons
Daniel Minter, illustrator
April 1, 2019
Peachtree Publishing Company

There’s no surprise that this book was a Caldecott Medal Nominee this past year. Stunning artwork will keep readers searching the page for context clues as the heartwarming text shares a story of the love of extended family. Reading this book is like being wrapped in a cozy-warm blanket as we read of road trips, hugs from Granny, an amazing dining room spread with so many comfort foods, going to church with family, family quilts, discussing history and ancestors, card games, and a final goodbye that leaves us hungering for the next family reunion. ❤

AWARDS: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2020)

The illustrations in this book were created in acrylic wash. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Going-Down-Home-With-Daddy-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.


42042208._SX318_

Horse & Buggy Paint It Out!
Ethan Long
June 11, 2019
Holiday House

Horse and Buggy have very different approaches to painting. Horse doesn’t want a plan. He believes his artwork will materialize when it’s ready. Buggy, however, understands the importance of having a detailed plan of action before beginning. How will these two come to a mutual understanding? Or do they need to? The artwork in this book was created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Paint-It-Out-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.


42479360._SX318_

As Warm as the Sun
Kate McMullan
Jim McMullan, illustrator
August 13, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This lovely picture book is about a little French Bulldog named Toby who loves the warm spots in his home — the sunlight on the floor, the fireplace, the cozy lap of his owner. But one day a new little dog named Pinkie comes along and begins invading all his favorite spots. Toby hides in a cold corner all by himself until he learns that you can find warmth in a new friend. The artwork for this book was made with watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

As-Warm-As-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.


44429343._SX318_

Scribble Stones
Diane Alber
March 12, 2019
Diane Alber Art LLC

About a year ago I reviewed Splatter by Diane Alber and Scribble Stones is a similarly cute book about a boring gray stone trying to find his purpose and meaning. Eventually he encounters splatters and scribbles and, in an effort to help them solve their problem, he becomes beautifully decorated. Soon, other stones are lining up to bring happiness and fun everywhere they go.

One reason I appreciated this book is because we have a special group in Chadron called Chadrocks. People decorate and hide stones all over town. Then they take photos of what they find or what they hide so that someone else can find it. Perhaps you have something similar in your town? It’s a fun day to brighten the community and share our experiences on social media!

The artist used liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Scribble-Stones-SPREAD

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
You may also choose to purchase it through Amazon HERE.


To Be Read:

I’m just almost finished with my ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman — it’s a really fun read! And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein. It’s a lot to digest, but so very important (and eye-opening) for any parents of teens. I think I’ll start How to Walk Away by Katherine Center after enjoying Things You Save in a Fire over a month ago. And, as always, I also have a large stack of picture books to read this week. YAY!


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 107/200


What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

We celebrated another family birthday this week — our middle son turned 12! And let me just say that we shocked his socks off with a brand new Apple Watch (Series 3). He’s been asking for one for at least two years, now. They’ve been so out of our price range, but we were able to pull one of the older models off this year. He had NO IDEA what was coming, so it was such fun to watch him be utterly speechless. LOL

49360778NOTE: Last month I reviewed an ARC of The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner (at THIS LINK). This is an exciting middle grade historical fiction based on ancient Egypt. Does “filled with interesting research and rich details” ring a bell? Yeah? Well, Ben Gartner dropped me an email last week to tell me that, in the midst of all cancelled school and social distancing, he’s decided to make the e-book format of his book FREE. That’s right, until April 1st, (so for today and tomorrow, only) you can get a FREE e-copy of The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner. At the link you can choose whether you’d like to read it with Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, and more. Be sure to take advantage of this deal and enjoy! 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting, today. For the first time in the history of my book blogging, I did not finish any of the lengthier middle grade, YA, or adult nonfiction books I’m currently reading. This has nothing to do with how great my selections have been — I suppose we’ve just had more distractions than usual, this week. Nevertheless, I did get to some great new picture books that I’m excited to share. Whether it’s a new or older title, I hope you find something of interest to add to your TBR list.


45169357._SX318_

Big Papa and the Time Machine
Daniel Bernstrom
Shane W. Evans, illustrator
January 14, 2020
HarperCollins

This is a tender-hearted story about the love between a grandfather (AKA Papa) and his grandson, who doesn’t want to go to school. Papa takes him back through time, showing him moments where bravery was necessary in order to move forward.

There’s an author’s note in the back about Daniel Bernstrom’s childhood of growing up adopted and not knowing about his history. He didn’t meet his grandfather until he was eighteen — that’s when he learned about his African American story. There’s also an illustrator’s note about the challenges of interpreting this story of time travel in artwork. The artist used patience, skill, mixed media, pen, alkyd paint, and digital media tools to create the illustrations in this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Big-Papa-and-the-Time-Machine-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.


49575001._SX318_SY475_

The President of the Jungle
André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro,
Paula Desgualdo, Pedro Markun
January 7, 2020
Nancy Paulsen Books

Is everyone gearing up to discuss the election process? Well, The President of the Jungle would be an age-appropriate addition for a young child’s curriculum. Lion is king of the jungle and he only really cares about himself. The other animals of the jungle want their interests to be considered, as well, so they decide to hold an election to see who will be the best leader for everyone. With humorous artwork, complete with debates and selfies, this story will make a lasting impact. There’s also a glossary of election terms in the very back.

The illustrations were made by mixing hundreds of paper cutouts and loose pencil and charcoal doodles, and then coloring them digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

President-of-the-Jungle-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.


43208918._SX318_

I Do Not Like That Name
Erin McGill
November 5, 2019
Greenwillow Books  

Herb and Sophie decide to adopt an elephant. But they never imagined the difficulty in selecting an appropriate name for their elephant. This is a story about identity. It would be a nice way to kickstart a discussion of names and families.

Cut paper, ink, and gouache were used to prepare the full-color art. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

I-Do-Not-Like-That-Name

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.


43615789._SX318_

Wintercake
Lynne Rae Perkins
October 15, 2019
Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)

I’ve heard a great deal about this book, so I was so happy to see it was available in our tri-college system. I won’t spoil it by telling the whole story, but it’s a tale of forgetfulness, false judgments, going the extra mile, looking out for one another, and building friendships. I just wish I’d gotten the ingredients, ahead of time, to make a wintercake! 🙂

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find how Perkins created the artwork. However, I’ll provide one page of beautiful artwork as an example of what to expect, below:

Wintercake-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.


43347894._SX318_

The Luckiest Snowball
Elliot Kreloff
September 10, 2019
Holiday House

My goodness, what an adorable picture book recounting the seasons in the life of a snowball named Larry. He spends most of his life in the freezer, watching different types of foods being stored and eaten. It’s a very interesting take on a seasons book. And if any book will have children singing “In Summer” from the movie Frozen or “Frosty the Snowman” from caroling time, it’s this one!

The artwork for this book was created as digital collages. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Luckiest-Snowball-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.


30762074._SX318_

Odd Dog Out
Rob Biddulph
August 25, 2016
HarperCollins

This cute picture book is written in rhyming lines about the odd dog out — a dog that isn’t like everyone else. After leaving and trying out a new place, he quickly learns that every place has an odd dog out. He learns an important lesson on standing out and being proud of who you are! It will be a wonderful addition to discussions on identity and unique characteristics.

The artist used pencil, some paper, a scanner, Photoshop CS5, a Wacom Tablet, and a Cintiq 6D Art Pen to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:

Odd-Dog-Out-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.


43999127

Thurgood
Jonah Winter
Bryan Collier, illustrator
September 3, 2019
Schwartz & Wade Books

I imagine many people know Thurgood Marshall as being the first black justice on the Supreme Court, but there were many other things that happened in his lifetime. This picture book attempts to bring his experiences to life from his childhood on up. He was loud, he liked to joke, and he didn’t mind standing up for himself. But over time he learned the importance of carefully changing laws and making lasting differences for everyone. The Author’s Note explains that there’s no way to fit the importance of Thurgood’s work into one 40-paged children’s book. It goes on to share a few more important details that children should know about his life.

The artwork in this book was rendered in watercolor and collage. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Thurgood-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.


46259967._SX318_

On Wings of Words
The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Berne
Becca Stadtlander, illustrator
February 18, 2020
Chronicle Books

What a stunning picture book autobiography of Emily Dickinson! While younger children will appreciate the artwork, this book will also be adored by older learners and adults. Lines of her poetry are shared throughout the pages and the soft watercolor artwork perfectly matches the feelings she expressed and the struggles she faced while attempting to come to terms with all the unanswerable questions. The back matter shares more about her poetry along with books by and about Emily Dickinson.

The artwork was created with gouache and watercolor. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

On-Wings-of-Words-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.


Currently Reading:

I’m still currently re-reading The Giver as a read aloud to the five kiddos. We’re just about half way through, so things are really picking up in the storyline. I’m also finishing up an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman — really enjoying this one, so far. And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, which is completely stunning and important for any parents of teen girls (or boys). I’ve set Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli on the back-burner all week only because I started listening to To Fly Among the Stars by Rebecca Siegel (which is beautifully narrated by Saskia Maarleveld) and I really got caught up in it. I also have a large pile of picture books that just came in via ILL at our college library, so we will be working our way through those this week, as well.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 96/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/23/2020 #imwayr

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!

This week we celebrated my youngest’s 6th birthday! ❤ I must say I was so relieved that I had been slowly picking up special gifts for her since Christmas because there wasn’t much time to think about presents and cake or even wrapping paper with the city practically shutting down everything except the essentials. We already do a huge once-per-month shopping trip for our staples, but we double-checked everything and made sure our pantry was stocked enough to not have to go shopping for a while. Living in a very secluded, small college town means everyone from far and wide visits our two grocery stores: Walmart and Safeway. So the aisles held mostly barren shelves almost immediately while townspeople were simultaneously preparing for a blizzard on Thursday and Friday. Nevertheless, we all made it through and I was even able to read my latest stack of picture books and squeeze in just one survival novel before the weekend came to an abrupt halt. Whew!

Thank you for visiting, today! Along with our regular weekly reading, I’m excited to be sharing a soon-to-be published picture book called Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia. Whether it’s a brand new book or an older title, I hope you’ll find something of interest to add to your reading list.


51iDLalaisFeather

Lali’s Feather
Farhana Zia
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
April 1, 2020
Peachtree Publishing

Young Lali appears to be a creative, free-range spirit who loves nature and talking with the birds. One day she finds a loose feather in a field and attempts to discover the owner. But it’s not rooster’s or crow’s or peacock’s or hen’s or duck’s or blue jay’s feather. All their feathers serve very unique purposes just for them. Still, Lali finds incredible value in her feather. For example, it can write in the sand. It can sweep a deck. It can fan a fire. Or it can tickle unsuspecting family members. After a day of experimental play, a gust of wind sadly carries Lali’s feather away and her bird friends must help her find it. However, just wait until you see what she finds next.

The ending showcases the fact that we can find value in just about anything if we are open-minded and look more closely at our seemingly worthless possessions. Lalai’s Feather is an excellent, light-hearted picture book that can be employed to open a deeper discussion about first impressions and even gratitude. My thanks to Netgalley and Peachtree Publishing Company for providing me with an e-ARC so that I could give my honest review. This title will be published on April 1st!

The colorful artwork in this book was rendered digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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.


45043854

96 Miles
J. L. Esplin
February 11, 2020
Starscape

First, I have to say that this was an especially interesting read to take on during the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing. The Lockwood brothers, John and Stew, have been trained by their father to survive just about anything. They’ve stockpiled everything from generators to food to large tanks of water on their isolated Nevada ranch in the event of a long lasting emergency. And wouldn’t you know, the electricity goes out when they least expect it — right after their father heads out of town, leaving his two sons to look after their home. Thank goodness they have nothing to worry about since their father was the only “crazy” who made sure they’d be good and ready for losing all power and connection to the outside world. But what happens when a group of rowdy men break into their home in the middle of the night, holding the boys at gunpoint while they take everything of value, including the very medicine needed to keep the younger Lockwood brother alive? Oooh, this one kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

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.


43822059._SX318_

Pokko and the Drum
Matthew Forsythe
October 1, 2019
Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Any parent who has raised a beginning band student will understand the frustrations of those early off-pitch, out-of-beat home practice sessions that are tolerated until their children become accomplished musicians. Well, Pokko’s tale is exactly that scenario. The noise from her drumming is so unbearable that her father sends her outside to play her drum. But as they say, practice makes perfect. The watercolors in this book are so lovely. And with the oranges, greens, browns, and yellow watercolors, this book sometimes had the feel of retro picture books that I grew up reading. This story will be especially helpful for any younger siblings of middle school or high school band students. 🙂

The illustrations for the book were rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Pokko-and-the-Drum-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.


42054794._SX318_

A Quieter Story
Liza Woodruff
July 9, 2019
Margaret Ferguson Books

This cute little picture book is of a young girl who is writing a story about a kitten. No, scratch that — a tiger! At every turn of her story, her cat must interject and make the story more adventurous. But when her story gets a little too frightening for her sweet kitty, she decides it’s time to tone it down a bit. Hence, “a quieter story.” This one will certainly make young readers laugh!

The artwork was created with mixed media: watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, block print, and Photoshop. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

A-Quieter-Story-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.


40653190._SX318_

So Big!
Mike Wohnoutka
July 2, 2019
Bloomsbury

In only a few words, readers will feel the highs and lows of their very first day of school. Sometimes we feel soooo big when we’re old enough to start something brand new. Other times, we feel NOT so big when overwhelm kicks in. This book could be great for the beginning kindergartener in your life or the soon-to-be college student. All the feels, right here!

The artwork was created with Holbein Acryla gouache paint on hot press watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

So-Big-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.


41859657

Bear Came Along
Richard T. Morris
LeUyen Pham, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

This gem of a book is so adorable! Sometimes we have no idea what can happen until we just jump in and try something. With hilarious artwork, we see how Bear, Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck will weather the unexpected storm together. Be sure to check out the lovely Author’s Note in the back about diverse personalities bringing balance in unexpected situations. I would say this book is particularly perfect for what we’re currently experiencing with COVID-19, but just without the social distancing. LOL

AWARDS: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2020)

The illustrations in this book were created in watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot-press illustration board. I’ll provide one page spread to serve as an example, below:

Bear-Came-Along-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.


42202034._SX318_

You Are Home: An Ode
to the National Parks
Evan Turk
June 4, 2019
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Be ready for an adventure across the United States in this poetic book about all the different homes we find for plants, animals, and people. The artwork is so pretty and colorful as the words are a celebration of our National Parks. In the Author’s Note, Evan Turk shares that his  father worked for as a Park Service employee for more than forty years!

The illustrations for this book were rendered in pastel on black paper. I’ll provide on page spread to serve as an example, below:

You-Are-Home-National-Parks-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.


41080755._SX318_

Welcome to Morningtown
Blake Liliane Hellman
Steven Henry, illustrator
June 4, 2019
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

What a sweet, simple book all about the joys of a young bear and his mother waking up and getting started in a new day. The pictures remind me of books I read when I was a child — so innocent and comforting. In the end, everyone is up… except for one. Can you guess who?

The artwork for this book was created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Welcome-to-Morningtown-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.


10737611

You Are A Gift To The World
Laura Duksta
Dona Turner, illustrator
April 12, 2011
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

This picture book has two different titles, depending on which end you start from. If you start from one side, it’s The World is a Gift to You, which celebrates the beautiful gifts of the world, ranging from plants to animals to mountains. From the other side it’s You Are a Gift to the World, which celebrates the beauty of the young child. It’s called a flip-sided book that never ends. One side appears to be a daughter and her mother and the other side a different young girl and her father.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

You-Are-a-Gift-to-the-World-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’m currently re-reading The Giver as a read aloud to the kiddos and I’m reading an ARC of Micah McKinney and the Boys of Summer by Nina Chapman. And I’m still working on Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 89/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/2020 #imwayr

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!

What a wild week between toilet paper outages, business closings, schools canceling face-to-face classes, all sorts of online conversations over what to do and what misinformation is running wild, and, oh yeah, we also had a surprise snow storm (and another one on the way). As we collectively attempt to flatten the curve of this pandemic, I’m having to make myself take lengthy breaks from social media and COVID-19 tracking apps every so often just to sit and “be” with my family. We’ve been nestled in here at home with our five kiddos over the weekend, enjoying good food, movies, and books, but now that it’s Monday, hubby and my oldest have to continue going to work (hubby as a college administrator and our oldest daughter as a server/host at a restaurant). So I’m grateful, today, to have the #imwayr link-up so I can stay blissfully distracted, catching up with everyone’s weekly reading!

By the way, If you’re looking for extra non-book home activities to do with restless children this month, there’s a very long (and still growing) list of virtual museums, virtual e-learning, and various online collections at http://mcn.edu/a-guide-to-virtual-museum-resources.

Thank you for visiting, today! Whether it’s an older or a newer title, I hope you can find something to add to your reading list. 🙂


45730582

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Leslie Connor
February 25, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This story was quite amazing. I wish I had better words, but it just completely caught me by surprise. I checked it out on a whim (it was not on my TBR list) and even with a surprise snowstorm and coronavirus and schools and businesses being closed down, I felt like I was cozied up in a soft, warm blanket of love by the time I finished. So much devastating loss, but then healing and bonding and love and strength by the end. Thirteen-year-old Lydia was extremely close to her mom before her death. Now she has to come to terms with moving in with her Aunt Brat, her wife, Eileen, and Elloroy, the elderly gentleman who owns the home they’ll be living in. This unusual family hits a few bumps along the way, but there’s so much they face and grow through, together. And if you have a soft place in your heart for dogs and other animals, then you will find yourself right at home with this story.

Note: I tend to judge books by their cover, without even realizing it. However, now that I’m on the other side of this story, I can definitely say I have a much deeper appreciation for the artwork on the front of the book.

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.


30255004._SY475_

Scar Island
Dan Gemeinhart
January 3, 2017
Scholastic Press

This one was a re-read that I did with my five children over the last three weeks. And I dare say I enjoyed it even more the second time. Jonathan Grisby is sent to Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys for a crime we don’t learn much about until later in the story. In a freak accident, all adults are struck by lightning and the boys must navigate life on their own, unexpectedly. It gets dark and scarier and it was honestly hard for me to stop reading it to the kids, every day. I love the goodness of Jonathan as he attempts to punish himself for things he cannot change. And by the end, we can all empathize more with the biggest bully of the group. While catalogued as a middle grade novel, there’s harsher language than I’m accustomed to for this level (damn it, pissed off, hell, etc.) as well as violence and frightening bullying. But I had fun narrating all the voices and my kids really seemed to enjoy it. At the end, my oldest asked if I owned any of Gemeinhart’s other books, so I handed off The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise to her. 🙂

Now to decide on a new read aloud. So many choices. I’m leaning toward The Giver, but hoping it’s not too scary for my 9 and 5 year old. It’s been so long since I last read it, so I’m not certain. Anyway, feel free to suggest a new read aloud for my whole gang, in the comments.

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.


45730139._SX318_

Snail Crossing
Corey R. Tabor
February 4, 2020
Balzer + Bray

This super cute picture book is about a snail who is determined, but also kind. While he has his eye set on the cabbages across the road, he takes time to entertain guests. And you just never know when humbleness and kindness will pay off.

The artist used pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, and ink, assembled digitally, to create the illustrations in this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Snail-Crossing-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.


42123852._SX318_

One Hug
Katrina Moore
Julia Woolf, illustrator
December 10, 2019
Katherine Tegen Books

What an adorable book, featuring a Chinese American family who loves to snuggle. With rhyming text, we see all the ways they choose to hug one another, including with their extended family. The final page is of them snuggled up in bed — the perfect story to read before bedtime.

The artist used ArtPrint printers ink by Seawhite of Brighton and Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

One-Hug-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.


43884143._SX318_

Everybody Says Meow
Constance Lombardo
November 5, 2019
HarperCollins

This hilarious picture book features cats who just KNOW that everyone is supposed to say “Meow.” But it doesn’t take long before they realize that not everyone knows the rules. And some rules are meant to be bent. Nevertheless, just wait for the twist ending where everyone is a bit surprised!

The artist used pen, ink, and watercolor to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Everybody-Says-Meow-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.


43671847._SX318_

Frank and Bean
Jamie Michalak
Bob Kolar, illustrator
October 8, 2019
Candlewick Press

In this early chapter book, we meet Frank (hot dog) who is the calmer character of the two, but will be heard yelling, “Good gravy!” on certain occasions. Bean is rambunctious and completely unpredictable. And together, this duo is quite a funny match. I liked that the book ended with them heading off to sleep. Yet another good book to read at bed time. I’m assuming this is going to be a series, but I didn’t verify this. If you happen to know, please mention it in the comments.

The illustrations for this book were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Frank-and-Bean-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.


43347898._SX318_

Dinosaur Feathers
Dennis Nolan
September 24, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This nonfiction picture book features rhyming text with pronunciation keys for difficult dinosaur names. The story takes us through their life on earth, their death, then follows with what we believe to be their descendants, today: flamingos, parakeets, chickens, and so many different types of birds. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and will keep young children engaged as the text is read aloud. This would be a great addition to any classroom study of dinosaurs!

The artwork for this book was made with transparent watercolor on watercolor paper. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Dinosaur-Feathers-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.


42729274._SY475_

Stop! Bot!
James Yang
July 23, 2019
Viking Books for Young Readers

Awww. A young child is so excited to have a bot. But then his bot floats up and gets stuck in what appears to be a large apartment building. Everyone has a plan for getting the bot back down, but ultimately it’s a simple trick of distractions. There’s a funny little surprise ending, too! The cheery, colorful illustrations are bright and inviting, however, I could not find out how they were created. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Stop-Bot-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’m currently listening to 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin, still reading Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein, and I also may try to squeeze in Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, since my daughter really wants us to watch the movie, which was just released on Disney Plus last Friday.

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 80/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/2020 #imwayr

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!


27225958._SY475_

Birdie and Me
J.M.M. Nuanez
February 18, 2020
Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Young Readers

This tenderhearted story is of Jack and Birdie, two siblings who recently lost their mother. Jack is the mature older sister, always seeking to protect her little brother. And this is especially important since Birdie tends to be bullied due to his creative, colorful clothing. After their mother dies they are sent to live with their Uncle Carl, who loves them deeply. But one day his ability to properly care for them is questioned and they’re eventually sent to live with their Uncle Patrick. They know practically nothing about Patrick, except how gruff he seems. But sometimes it’s important to peel back the emotional “onion layers” and see more than what’s visible on the surface. This is a story that addresses a wide variety of family dynamics, including questions about transgender behaviors and feelings. It also addresses bullying, regrets, and mental health. I would anticipate mostly older middle graders or younger mature middle grade readers to appreciate this emotional story, but there’s plenty here for the YA crowd to discuss, as well.

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.


39893619

New Kid
(New Kid #1)
Jerry Craft
February 5, 2019
Quill Tree Books

I’m SO happy to finally get my hands on the 2020 Newbery Medal winner. What a refreshing read! Jordan Banks is a brand new 7th grader to Riverdale Academy Day School. He’s not accustomed to the realities of an upscale prep school. The story line has some outright hilarious moments of surprise laughter, but those moments are matched by equal feelings of hurt due to micro aggressions from students and faculty. Craft showcases numerous experiences of bias due to Jordan’s skin color and socioeconomic status. At the same time, Jordan is met with kind-hearted students who he initially assumed were stuck up or racist due to their deep pockets or seemingly inappropriate gifts they gave him. But in the end, every reader will take away some very important lessons in love and empathy. ❤

AWARDS: Newbery Medal (2020), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2020), Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2019)

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.


43581896._SX318_

Home in the Woods
Eliza Wheeler
October 1, 2019
Nancy Paulsen Books

I deeply enjoyed this story of the author’s real life ancestors during the Great Depression. Her grandmother was named Marvel and she had seven siblings. After her father died, they moved into a little abandoned house in the middle of the woods and lived off whatever they could. They hunted, fished, gardened, picked berries, canned their food, chopped fire wood, and even made up their own games. By the end of the book, they’ve made it through the seasons of summer through spring (with all the highs and lows that each season brings). And now the abandoned house doesn’t feel so cold and empty like it did when they arrived. The artwork is gorgeous and the story makes me long for simpler times. I’m reminded of how grateful I am for the skills I was taught, like canning, sewing, crocheting — all dying arts these days, it seems. In the Author’s Note, Eliza Wheeler tells us more about the stories her grandmother passed down and encourages readers to gather stories from that generation and share them with the world, before it’s too late. I want a copy of this book in my home!

The illustrations in this book were created with dip pens, India ink, watercolors, acrylics, and pastel pencils. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Home-in-the-Woods-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.


45417977._SX318_

No One Likes a Fart
Zoë Foster Blake
November 19, 2019
Penguin Workshop

So, um, apparently dad farted and little “Fart” has a personality of his own. lol Fart travels the whole town, smelling up the place and looking for acceptance. At last, he finally finds someone just as socially awkward as he is and they go off together, hand in hand, smelling up the town together. This one is sure to get a lot of laughter from a classroom full of children. I know MY children giggled like crazy! 🙂

I couldn’t find details on how the artwork was created. However, I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect:

No-One-Likes-a-Fart-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.


41054785._SX318_

The Heart of a Whale
Anna Pignataro
January 28, 2020
Philomel Books

This was such a sweet story of loneliness. Whale sings a beautiful song that speaks volumes to all sea creatures, but in the end he longs for companionship. Will anyone be able to fill whale’s empty heart? Yes, I do believe so. Packed with lovely musical metaphors that speak of drumbeats, orchestras, lullabies, sonatas, and symphonies, this quiet book with pastel water-colored artwork and poetic lyrics will showcase the power of friendship and the comfort of finally being heard.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the illustrations, below:

Heart-of-a-Whale-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.


44672344

In a Jar
Deborah Marcero
January 21, 2020
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

This book is truly one to be experienced to appreciate. Llewellyn and Evelyn meet one day while Llewellyn is out filling his jar with things he loved. After that day, they continue to collect items together — not just objects, but fantastical items like rainbows and the wind. Their adventures follow the seasons of the year through autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Then one day, Evelyn’s family moves away. But they continue to send jarred items to one another. At the very end, it’s autumn and Llewellyn sets out to collect a new batch of items to send to Evelyn when he runs into yet another young rabbit named Max. And luckily, he brought an extra jar along. I didn’t think I would love this book when I saw the cover, but I was won over very quickly. Such sweet messages of friendship and the wonder of childhood. If only we could capture all the feelings and keep them stored away in jars!

The artwork in this book was done in pencil, watercolor, ink, and digital media. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

In-a-Jar-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.


45169520

The Secret Garden of
George Washington Carver

Gene Barretta
Frank Morrison, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

This is a wonderful picture book biography of George Washington Carver. It showcases his curiosity and love for nature from his earliest days after being born into slavery in 1864. He tended a secret garden and learned an incredible amount of knowledge from diligent trial and error. He learned how to sew, make dyes, create medicine from plants and leaves. At the age of 12, he moved away from his childhood home and traveled through several states, continuing to learn about art and agriculture. He was the first Black man to graduate from Iowa Agricultural College and he went on to teach agriculture at Tuskegee Institute. On the very last page of this book we’re left with a final thought, which appeared to be his mantra: “Regard Nature. Revere Nature. Respect Nature.” The back matter includes a timeline of Carver’s life, along with a bibliography and selections for further reading.

The artist used oil on illustration board to create the illustrations for this book. It was so difficult to pick just one page spread to share because there’s so much beautiful artwork to see in this book. The details are stunning! But here’s just one example, below. I love his expressions and look at those lovely flower petals along the bottom of the page:

Secret-Garden-George-Washington-Carver-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.


44802964._SX318_

Tomorrow I’ll be Kind
Jessica Hische
January 14, 2020
Penguin Workshop

This book will make a fantastic bedtime reading book as a child thinks of all the good things he wants to do the following day. In brightly colored illustrations and full-paged words, we read about how a child wants to be helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, grateful, and kind. Great ending thoughts just before it’s time to sleep!

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Tomorrow-ill-be-kind-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.


45169401._SX318_

Honey, the Dog Who
Saved Abe Lincoln
Shari Swanson
Chuck Groenink, illustrator
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books

Raise your hand if you knew the story of how a dog saved Abe Lincoln’s life. I sure didn’t! Abe found Honey while walking home one day. He’d broken his leg and so Abe created a splint to help the bone grow back together. He ended up keeping the dog and they had wonderful adventures together. One day, they explore a dark cave together where Abe became lodged between two boulders. Practically his whole town goes out looking for him, but it’s Honey who leads them all to his beloved boy. The back matter includes a lengthy timeline of Abe’s experiences (especially focusing on his love for animals, including his time with Honey). There’s also an Author’s Note that shares where this story came from as well as mentioning that Abe Lincoln filled the White House with various animals when he was president.

The artist used Photoshop to create the digital illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Honey-Abe-Lincoln-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.


45730161._SX318_

The Cool Bean
(Bad Seed #3)
Jory John
Pete Oswald, illustrator
December 3, 2019
HarperCollins

Following Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s previous books in this series, The Bad Seed and The Good Egg, book #3 is about The Cool Bean. Sometimes friendships drift apart and you might not feel like you’re quite as special as you once were to past friends. But the most important lesson from this book is that being cool is about more than looking the part and hanging with the right people. It’s about having empathy and lending a helping hand when someone needs it.

The artist used scanned watercolor textures and digital paint to create the illustrations for this book. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Cool-Bean-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’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children. We hope to finish that up this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I plan to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’ve begun with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 72/200


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/2/2020 #imwayr

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

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!

49360778I posted last week’s #imwayr post a few days late, so I wanted to mention that I reviewed The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner. You can learn more about that new middle grade historical fiction series RIGHT HERE in case it is new to you.

This week I decided to have some fun reading different Why? picture books I rounded up from our local libraries. I’m also reviewing Help Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson and Courtney Dawson, which is being published TODAY. In any case, whether it’s a new book or an older title, I hope you find something to add to your reading list.


50746908._SX318_SY475_

Help Wanted, Must Love Books
Janet Sumner Johnson
Courtney Dawson, illustrator
March 2, 2020
Capstone

Young Shailey is in a rough situation. Her bedtime story reader is not working out, so she fires him. That is, she fires her dad! She creates a sign for the position and a number of fairytale characters apply, but none of them are quite what she needs. In the end, Shailey is in for a big surprise when the final applicant shows up and ends up being perfect for the job. In the end, we’re all reminded of the importance of prioritizing those we love and showing up when it matters most.

At the conclusion of the story, there are a couple pages of ADORABLE resumes from Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Tinkerbell, and The Frog Prince. So make sure to keep turning the page to enjoy the details from each applicant. This will be such a great book to read with your youngster at bedtime!

The sweet, soft artwork showcases many pastels and I loved exploring the details in each illustration. The page spread, below, comes from the ARC, so it may be altered in the final print. But I hoped to provide an example of the adorable art you can expect:

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Thank you NetGalley and Capstone for sending me an advanced copy so I could provide an honest review.

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.


43520694

Beginners Welcome
Cindy Baldwin
February 11, 2020
Quill Tree Books

This is such a beautiful, heart strings book full of love, loss, vulnerability, and friendship. Annie Lee’s daddy died just a few months ago. He was never a planner because he lived in the moment. So Annie and her mother are left with only a tiny insurance policy while they can barely make ends meet. Annie Lee makes a new friend at school and their friendship blossoms into something quite beautiful. Annie begins sneaking away to the mall across town to take private piano lessons with an elderly gentleman willing to teach for free. But as so often is the case, secrets can damage so many people in their wake. I love that this story shares so much heartache, but also offers much-needed resolution. Just lovely!

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.


41150382

Things You Save in a Fire
Katherine Center
August 13, 2019
St. Martin’s Press

It was nice to squeeze some adult literature into my reading week with Things You Save in a Fire. The story was fast-paced and a nice mixture of firehouse and fire fighting information, facing past abuse, mother-daughter bonding, feminism, and yes, even romance. I enjoyed this one enough that I immediately put a hold on How to Walk Away.

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.


42453554._SX318_

Why?
Adam Rex
Claire Keane, illustrator
October 1, 2019
Chronicle Books

In this story, a little girl helps a super villain uncover the root to his problems with one simple word: Why? Parts of this one are hysterical as we discover the villain has daddy issues. The book ends with a cute twist where the main character finally says something other than “Why?”

The illustrations were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Why-Adam-Rex-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.


42479359._SX318_

Why?
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
August 13, 2019
Neal Porter Books

This is a sweet little picture book with bear and rabbit. Rabbit is full of “why?” questions and bear attempts to answer every one. Until one time when he says “I don’t know why. Sometimes I just don’t know why!” Children can look at each illustration and attempt to figure out what rabbit’s complete question would have been. Such a precious story with heart warming artwork.

The illustrations in this book were made using watercolors. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:

Why-Laura-Seeger-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.


8150334

Why?
Richard Torrey
April 27, 2010
Balzer + Bray

This picture book has a mixture of happy, sad, and hilarious situations where a younger brother persists with so many “why?” questions. “Why do feet stink?” “Why doesn’t hair hurt when you cut it?” One of my favorite pages is where he asks “Why is it always your turn?” when it’s an illustration of his brother getting to use the TV remote. But on the mirror page he asks, “Why is it always my turn?” when the illustration shows him having to take the trash out. Very cute picture book and I really love the expressive pictures in this one.

I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the artwork in this picture book:

Why-Richard-Torrey-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.


1358459._SX318_

Why?
Lindsay Camp
Tony Ross, illustrator
January 1, 1998
Putnam Juvenile

This picture book flips back and forth between narrative prose and graphic novel squares with speech bubbles. Young Lily asks “Why?” to almost everything that happens with her father. It’s incredibly annoying, but he continues to answer her every question. Then one day a space ship lands while they’re playing at the park and Lily successfully convinces the Thargon aliens that their plans to destroy earth is not in everyone’s best interest. She does this with one simple word: Why? With humorous crayon-like artwork, the funny little story ends with her father better appreciating his daughter’s curious nature.

I don’t think it was quite as common to share how picture book artwork was created back in the 90s, so I can’t be sure if it was drawn with crayons or just made to look like it. In any case, I’ll share one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:

Why-Lindsay-Camp-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’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children (a good follow-up to Holes with unique boys’ detention centers). I also just got a copy of the picture book Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler to read this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I recently purchased to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’m beginning with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. I also hope to finish New Kid by Jerry Craft. I’m really enjoying it, so far!

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com


Reading Challenge Updates: 

Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 63/200