IMWAYR: Various Titles Until Winter Break

This is a busy week at school with concerts, doctor’s appointments, and programs leading up to winter break. I’m trying to read as much as I can of the titles on my TBR list (To Be Read) so I can get through until vacation. This week I read…

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell

I love this progressive tale of a family who waits for a loved one to come back from war. Based on true accounts of WWII pilot Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat and other female Cherokee pilots who risked their lives far from home. Fabulous read!

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes (due March, 2020. Cover not revealed.)

Donte is Trey’s black brother. Confused. Multiracial. Bullied. Arrested. When Donte is arrested at his mostly white prep school, he tries to tell his story (he didn’t do anything!), but no one is listening. Even Trey, his lighter-skinned older brother asked, “What did you do?” Donte knows who the real culprit is…and needs to find a way to get revenge.

But revenge isn’t the easiest thing for Donte. He’ll have to train, become an athlete, and keep his cool. Good thing there’s someone in town who can help – a former Olympian fencer who works at the Boys and Girls Club. Learning to fence could be the way Donte gets back at everyone…and finds himself.

This is a perfect middle grade novel and a needed voice for all of us.

Up Next…

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead (due April, 2020)

White Bird by R.J. Palacio

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Book PREview: All of a Sudden and Forever by Chris Barton

I was reading some new Net Galley titles tonight, and I came across Chris Barton’s upcoming, All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing (due February 2020). I felt compelled to write, since the Oklahoma City bombing happened while I was in labor with my second daughter. I remember watching the news story unfold between ice chips and contractions almost 25 years ago; now this book captures the day to be remembered in a creative picture book.

This book is a lovely way to honor those affected by the events of April 19,1995. These words by Barton are perfect (especially repeating “not all at once,” to reinforce that healing takes time) and Nicole Xu’s faceless-and-yet-totally-descriptive characters add so much to the story of the Survivor Tree. I hope every child gets a chance to read this book and learn more about how to take care of each other in this world, especially after tragedy.

Add this book to your preorder list now. Share the story. Feel the love.

IMWAYR: Post-NCTE Reading

I’ve been reading articles and posts from the attendees of #NCTE19 and my mind is full of thoughts, reflections, and joy. I’ve also read…

Clean Getaway, by Nic Stone (due to publish January 7, 2020).

I just love Scoob and his G’ma! This duo take off in G’ma’s Winnebago (she sold her house!) and travel to places in G’Pop’s old Green Book that G’ma was never allowed to go to. Scoob’s on punishment for a school “issue” and left his phone on the table when he left home (on purpose?) so Dad won’t be able to ask questions, and G’ma’s got some secrets of her own. You’re going to want to read this adventure story with a purpose. Preorder it now.

I’m currently reading…

Jackpot, by Nic Stone.

I haven’t actually started this one yet, but I love Nic Stone’s books, and I’m sure this one will be fabulous, too. I was going to start it tonight, but I got sidetracked by…

the loss of Andrew Clements. RIP, Mr. Clements. Thank you for keeping me reading as a child and as an adult teacher. Frindle and Lunch Money were read-aloud favorites in 5th grade. I’m so sad. I’ll be rereading these two titles this week to remember a great writer.

 

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

IMWAYR: Gifts

I’m spending this week with books I received as gifts and giveaways. Thank you to Kathy at The Brain Lair Bookstore and Jennifer LaGarde, librarian extraordinarie. I appreciate your generosity!

I finished Stargazing by Jen Wang (see my review from yesterday) and Thirteen Doorways: Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (audio on Libro.fm).

This week I have The Year We Fell From Space by Amy Sarig King and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery. The title is the best, don’t you think? It’s my nonfiction fix — I haven’t read nonfiction for a while.

Next week I travel to NCTE’s Annual Conference, so I’m not sure what I’ll read next. I look forward to seeing many of my literacy friends again.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

 

Book Review: Stargazing by Jen Wang

“Moon is everything Christine isn’t.” The back cover describes this new middle grade graphic novel to a tee. When you’re young, you naturally compare yourself to the people around you, and that’s exactly what happens in this book. Christine is reluctant to meet Moon, the new girl across the street. Their parents get along and want the kids to be friends, but Moon is sort of…different…okay, weird. At school, Moon is known as “the girl who fights” – a rumor started after people ask where she came from, what is she doing here?

Soon enough, though, Christine becomes friends with Moon. As neighbors, they start with the convenience of being the same age and sharing Chinese food and culture. Moon’s interesting and fun; she loves dancing to K-Pop music and is a talented artist. The girls spend lots of time together and Christine feels like a new person around Moon – not the stuffy “do-your-homework-and-get-all-As” student of the past. But hanging around with Moon also leads to other observations, starting with stargazing. Moon says she belongs among the stars, and sees celestial beings telling her that she isn’t from Earth. (Well, that’s…interesting.)

Christine also notices that Moon sometimes “spaces out,” and this leads to events at school and at a birthday party that may be dangerous for the friendship, and for Moon’s well-being. When Moon gets into another fight, her world changes drastically. Now the fun-loving, dancing, happy Moon is not. Can Christine be the friend that Moon needs, or will the friendship end in disaster?

Why I Loved This Book: I loved Stargazing because this story is parallel to any young person’s life in school and with friends. Feeling (and being) weird, insecure, and out of this world are issues everyone faces at one point or another, and Christine and Moon’s stories are not unlike our own.

Why You Should Read Stargazing: This is an important book about friendships, families, and life issues. It’s also an easy-to-share graphic novel that friends and families can read together. Christine and Moon will help you to understand life better and hope for more dancing days to come.

My rating: ****

Recommended for ages 8 and up. Published by First Second, 2019.

IMWAYR: Catching Up and Moving Forward

I’m still listening to Thirteen Doorways: Wolves Behind Them All, by Laura Ruby. I need to drive more, apparently.

I still need to read The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I didn’t sit down to savor the book as I planned last week.

My “Battle of the Books” students and I are reading Code Talker by Jospeh Bruchac this week. We meet on Tuesdays to read and discuss the 20 books on our school corporation’s “Battle” list. I love how the students work together this year!

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Book Review: Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me (Due April, 2020)

Gae Polisner’s new novel, Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me, is due in April 2020 from Wednesday Books, but you should pre-order this now.

JL Markham’s teen years seem typical, and yet this main character grabs the reader’s attention and holds on for dear life. In Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me, JL’s stories surround her butterfly habitat, her family struggles, and her relationship with Max Gordon, who she hopes will take her away from all the high school drama when he graduates and moves to California. She’s packed and ready to leave as soon as Max is. He’s sort of a roughneck with a cool ride, but he’s also intelligent and cares for JL. Right?

JL’s mother has dissociative disorder and depression, which provides a major conflict for JL — a mother who lives alternate realities, wearing revealing kimonos around the house and writing letters to a dead author (enter Jack Kerouac). Dad took another stint with his out-of-town business and left JL and Mom in the best possible position he could, financially anyway. Mom doesn’t deal well most days, but she sees Dr. Marsdan faithfully so that she might get better sooner than later. JL’s “best friend forever,” Aubrey Andersson, now has new friends, Niccole and Meghan (think “Mean Girls”), so JL wraps her energy into raising beautiful butterflies in the solace and safety of her bedroom. She even learned to fix one’s broken wing by watching a video. Butterflies are stronger than we humans think, and they provide a safe and stable environment for JL in an otherwise cruel world. As for Max, he’s invested, he’s all in, he’s there for JL every step of the way. Right?

What happens when childhood friendships end, but adult life has yet to begin? What’s next for 15-year-old JL? Will she be caged in – stuck in the past, or fly away to a bright future?

Why I Loved This Book: I loved Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me for the references to strong girls who are intelligent and can live life on their own (even if they don’t know how yet), for how the characters made me feel (reliving my own high school days), and for the twists and turns that the alternating timelines led me through. I wanted to smack JL’s friends and hug her at the same time, letting her know that life works out, eventually.

Why You Should Pre-Order Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me: You’ll want to learn more about raising butterflies (it’s fascinating!). You’ll want to scream at Aubrey. You’ll want to yell at Dad over JL’s phone. You’ll want to hug Mom and tell her everything will be okay. You’ll want to help Max see the love that is standing there, waiting for him. And you’ll want to encourage JL to live her best life, leaving her past behind. This book is remarkable. Gae Polisner has done it again. Add it to your list now, and be ready to read in 2020.

My Rating: *****