“Picture Books are Perfect” – Review of I Am Every Good Thing

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James is the newest must-read picture book for middle school, and everyone else! This is a joyful celebration of all good things: gravity, moonbeams, cinnamon rolls, skateboarding, using a microscope, being polite, paper airplanes, swimming…and being human! I love the language — “I am a lightning round of questions…” reminds me of my former 6th grade students and my current grandchildren. The references to family, creativity, respect, worth, and love make this the feel-good book of the year.

Happy Book Birthday, Dusti Bowling!

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

Nora’s therapist asks, “What do you fear?” (Dying.) and “Are you likely to die in this situation?” (Yes.)

It’s been a year since Nora and her dad lost her mother in a violent, unprovoked event. Dad has been grieving by taking Nora out of school and avoiding people; Nora doesn’t want to deal with the questions, either, and has pushed away her best friend in the process. After a year, it’s time to start healing. Dad and Nora take the Jeep to the canyon, where the family spent their lives climbing and hiking — a favorite bonding activity. To move forward, Nora and Dad must come to understand “why,” avoiding the “what-ifs” of this new life. Nora writes in her notebook to capture what was, what is, and what might be in the future.

As the father/daughter team climb through the canyon, terrible things happen. When a flash flood smashes them against a wall and sweeps her father away, Nora is left alone to face the scorpions, snakes, and The Beast. Can she use what her therapist taught her (breathe, move, hope) to find her father again, or will the canyon take what is left of her family?

Dusti Bowling is a master of words in this gripping and suspenseful new middle-grade Southwest story. Students should study the character development, writing engaging scenes, figurative language, and poetry (I love haiku, too!). Any reader who loves outdoor adventures will love this book.

Happy Book Birthday, Dusti Bowling! I’m so happy to see this book out in the world!

IMWAYR: Reading for School and Home

I am reading for school and home purposes this week.

I finished…

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes. What joy! I recommend this for every reader, young and old! Amazing and inspiring!

Flamer by Mike Curato. FIRE! Flamer is going to win awards, I’m sure. Trigger warning: it’s a tough one, and has foul language. I think late middle school through adult MUST read this. Thank you for writing, Mike! We needed this story in our lives.

This week I will read…

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love, and Truth, edited by Wade Hudson

For school, I read…

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes and

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Both awesome stories — my students will be happy to receive these in their book boxes this week! Thank you to Scholastic for providing access to books for our middle schoolers.

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop with kidlit co-hosts Jennifer (at www.teachmentortexts.com) and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

 

IMWAYR: BIG Book Birthday Week!

This week is a BIG Book Birthday Week! I’m looking forward to so many new books that release on September 1, 2020. These are just some of the newly published books I will read…

   

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop with kidlit co-hosts Jennifer (at www.teachmentortexts.com) and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

 

IMWAYR: First Days of School Picture Books

I made it through the first few days of school (teachers are in the buildings while students are remote learning). I’m exhausted! I did manage to gather and re-read picture books for read alouds and mentor texts for this first quarter.

One special new book is Nana Akua Goes to School, written by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison. Grandparents Day is coming, and Zura wants to bring her Nana Akua to school. Zura is worried that her classmates won’t be able to accept the traditional tribal marks on Nana’s face, but Nana knows how to handle the situation. What happens that day is lovely! (No spoilers!) Read this one and share it with your class as you celebrate Grandparents Day this fall.

I’m getting ready for “Picture Books are Perfect for Middle School Writing Workshop” — what are your favorite mentor texts for writing in your middle school classroom? Share in the comments!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop with kidlit co-hosts Jennifer (at www.teachmentortexts.com) and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

IMWAYR: Several Ways to Read

There are several ways to read and last week I tried audiobooks. This week I’m hitting my NetGalley TBR list and revisiting a favorite character with a new story.

On NetGalley (Thank you for the approval, Delacorte Press.): The Assignment by Lisa M. Wiemer (due August 25, 2020).

According to the publisher’s description, The Assignment is based on real-life events of antisemitism in a community and follows the vein of the classic, The Wave by Todd Strasser (1981). I’m sure, as a teacher-librarian, I’ll find this gripping and powerful.

One of my favorite picture book authors is Ryan T. Higgins. He released another “Penelope” title and I can’t wait to share it with my granddaughter. We Will ROCK Our Classmates came out last week (Disney-Hyperion); this is another adventure after Penelope tried to eat classmates in the 2018 book, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. I hear it’s ROCKIN’!

It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

This meme follows a hosted readers group and 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 Jennifer Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts 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 – Becoming Muhammad Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson

Becoming Muhammad Ali is a long-awaited look at a legend, written by legends James Patterson and Kwame Alexander. Cassius Clay was young, charming, and funny, and his friends loved him. His family loved him. He loved himself! Full of swagger, Cassius seemed to succeed at anything he tried. Backing him up with words of wisdom and enough discipline to keep him humble, Momma Bird, Mr “Cash” Clay, and Granddaddy Herman made sure that Cassius was an upstanding citizen and at least a “B” student. As he grew stronger, Cassius became more sure of himself — walking into the path of famous boxers and trainers who would eventually lead him to “the greatest” career he could ever hope for.

“Lucky” (Lucius), Cassius’ best friend, tells the story to the reader, adding his own flair to the fire that was Chicago’s Golden Gloves championship boxing in the late 1950s and early 60s. Alternating with poems signaling Cassius’ voice, the story is also a series of flashbacks to those early days of the boy who would become “The Greatest” and most loved boxer of all time.

Patterson and Alexander are a perfect pair for this book, inspiring all sports fans – especially kids who believe in their own destinies. With historical notes and a bibliography, the life of young Muhammed Ali is here for a new generation of dreamers to read. This book is for middle grade readers up to adult. The publishing date for Becoming Muhammad Ali is set for October 5, 2020 by Hachette Book Group. Preorder this one now!

IMWAYR: “Summertime Fun” Reads

I’m listening to books in an attempt to jump on the audiobooks bandwagon. I still love my paper and binding books, and I’m not really into the audio format…yet, but these books were fun:

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

The setting is Indiana, so I had to see what was up. This story is about Liz, who is a black teen in richy-small-town Campbell, Indiana. Liz dreams of attending the elite Pennington College next year, but first she has to do the impossible: win the scholarship money offered to the prom’s king and queen. Prom is for spoiled brats and catty girls, though! Not for Liz. Will she be able to pull it off and live her dream?

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

Marva Sheridan is 18 and ready to vote for the first time. She’s spent time helping others to register, too, so when she runs into Duke Crenshaw (who is not registered), she skips school to help him. The Voting Booth is their day-in-a-book and it’s full of twists and turns: wrong precincts, a missing cat, and school and parent problems along the way. The message is serious — people need to be actively involved in their communities — but it’s fun to follow the two around and hope for a better world. (And…please VOTE in November!)

This week I’m reading…

My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee. I love Barbara’s middle school stories! She really knows the middle school dramatic friendships and writes fabulous families who need to heal, working together and helping each other. Mental health needs more attention, and taking care of yourself is NOT taboo!

30 People Who Changed the World, edited by Jean Reynolds. These essays are short and powerful, written by award-winning writers.

It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

This meme is 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: The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

Nora’s therapist asks, “What do you fear?” (Dying.) and “Are you likely to die in this situation?” (Yes.)

It’s been a year since Nora and her dad lost her mother in a violent, unprovoked event. Dad has been grieving by taking Nora out of school and avoiding people; Nora doesn’t want to deal with the questions, either, and has pushed away her best friend in the process. After a year, it’s time to start healing. Dad and Nora take the Jeep to the canyon, where the family spent their lives climbing and hiking — a favorite bonding activity. To move forward, Nora and Dad must come to understand “why,” avoiding the “what-ifs” of this new life. Nora writes in her notebook to capture what was, what is, and what might be in the future.

As the father/daughter team climb through the canyon, terrible things happen. When a flash flood smashes them against a wall and sweeps her father away, Nora is left alone to face the scorpions, snakes, and The Beast. Can she use what her therapist taught her (breathe, move, hope) to find her father again, or will the canyon take what is left of her family?

Dusti Bowling is a master of words in this gripping and suspenseful new middle-grade Southwest story. Students should study the character development, writing engaging scenes, figurative language, and poetry (I love haiku, too!). Any reader who loves outdoor adventures will love this book. Coming September 2020 from Little, Brown and Company.

Thank you to NetGalley for early access to this must-read for fall.

IMWAYR: It’s Break Time!

Summer is here! Warm weather, sunny days, and reading whatever I want. (I ALWAYS read whatever I want anyway, but this week I’m changing it up.)

I finished Free Lunch by Rex Ogle — WOW! Another 5-star read — This is Rex’s own story of being a middle school student on the free lunch program. Rex tells about his mom – how she embarrassed him when they went to grocery stores and restaurants – and how he dealt with cleaning, cooking, and taking care of his brother because his mom couldn’t handle life herself. The book also covers school friends who are actually bullies, not being able to play football, and teachers with prejudices against poor kids. It’s sad, funny, heart-wrenching, and hopeful, and it will make you want to be a better person.

I’m taking a break! This week I will read Wow, No Thank You. Essays by Samantha Irby. I’m looking forward to laughing and enjoying myself a little this week while my family is home with me.

It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

This meme is 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.