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.

IMWAYR: Slowing Down for Summer

I’m slowing down this week to enjoy some summer weather. This week I finished…

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Wow! This novel-in-verse is about two teenage girls from different places on the globe who share a father. A plane crash brings Camino (from the Dominican Republic) and Yahaira (from New York City) and their families together in a way neither of them expect, or necessarily want. Now each family has to deal with Papi/Father’s death and all the fallout that comes from knowing the biggest secret he never told. Elizabeth Acevedo has a way with words — I don’t know how else to explain the beautiful language that reveals such a sad story. A Five-Star summer read!

Up next…

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle

I’ve had this book for a while, and I kept choosing other titles from my TBR list, but now it’s time for Rex’s story of poverty in America. I’m ready for the heartbreak, I think. I do love true-story titles.

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.

Seven Clues to Home – Happy Book Birthday!

It’s finally here! Happy Book Birthday to Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin!

Joy and Lukas had been friends ever since second grade, when Mr. Carter told each student with a summer birthday to stand up and be recognized before the end of the school year. “August…How weird is that? What are the chances?” (p.15) Lukas loved math, so he tried to figure out the chances. Joy played along. As time moved along, the two became closer, literally living in next-door apartment buildings. They studied math together, solved puzzles and riddles, and Lukas set up an elaborate scavenger hunt for Joy to figure out each year on her birthday. Even though Lukas had a troubled older brother, Joy hung out with him while her parents cautiously watched. Her own family was a little difficult, with a sort-of-snobby-but-caring older sister and two younger siblings who needed lots of attention. So Joy and Lukas were the perfect pair — together for all time. Until Lukas died on Joy’s twelfth birthday.

A year later, Joy strums her beautiful red birthday guitar and thinks about Lukas. She thinks about his troubled older brother – how people warned her about “that family.” She knew none of it was true. As she celebrates her birthday, she thinks about her friend who will not celebrate this year. She thinks, “If I don’t tell the stories – of cupcakes and scavenger hunts and holes in the sand – they will be lost forever.” (p.11) She must tell the story of her friend, Lukas, the story that’s true. She decides to open the envelope that held the first clue to the scavenger hunt Lukas set up for her a year earlier. Before his death. Before he could reveal the one thing that he never could during his lifetime. Now, Joy has to keep the birthday tradition alive. She has to find the next clue.

Seven Clues to Home is the story of Joy and Lukas: their friendship, their families, and their last scavenger hunt. Told in alternating chapters, Joy tells the story of the hunt in present time while Lukas tells his story of setting up the hunt the year before, and how the clues would lead to his biggest secret, finally revealed. Although it’s a story about grief and loss, it’s also a friendship story, a family story, and a town’s story of sticking together in the best and worst of times.

I love Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin. Separately, their writing is intriguing, interesting, inspiring. When they collaborate…wow! Make sure you don’t miss Seven Clues to Home, out today from Alfred A Knopf Books. Start your summer with this 5-Star book.

IMWAYR: PD Review – We Got This!

We Got This. I’m re-reading Cornelius Minor’s book to add to my anti-racist reading challenge. When I read this book the first time, I read through the lens of a teacher. Now I’m reading the book through the lens of learning to be anti-racist. What a powerful book! If you haven’t seen this one yet, pick it up!

Check out my Bookshop. I will be reading these books as I move forward, and I look forward to discussing the titles with others. (Please note: This Bookshop Anti-Racist Reading List starts with MY reading, and is in no way an exhaustive list. It’s where I start. Join me!)

www.bookshop.org/shop/readingteacherwrites

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.

IMWAYR: My Anti-Racist Reading List

I spent the afternoon pondering where to start–choosing 50 books to share with friends and colleagues as I move towards anti-racism. Reading, speaking, writing…I must do better for my fellow humans.

Check out my Bookshop. I will be reading these books as I move forward, and I look forward to discussing the titles with others. (Please note: This Bookshop Anti-Racist Reading List starts with MY reading, and is in no way an exhaustive list. It’s where I start. Join me!)

www.bookshop.org/shop/readingteacherwrites

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.

IMWAYR: Happy Memorial Day!

To all those who fight and fought to keep us free, THANK YOU! Today I remember grandfathers, my father-in-law, uncles, cousins, and friends who serve and who served.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wrapping up the virtual school year, so I’ll be busy this week, but I have two books pulled aside:

A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker: Sabotage by Shelley Johannes

 

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.

IMWAYR: Professional Development Titles

Thanks to Heinemann Publishing’s fabulous Teacher Appreciation sale, I was able to add some professional development books to my library last week. Now I can share with my school friends AND add to my own learning. Thank you for your generosity, Heinemann!

Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris

Focus Lessons: How Photography Enhances the Teaching of Writing by Ralph Fletcher

Story Matters: Teaching Teens to Use the Tools of Narrative to Argue and Inform by Liz Prather

The Artful Read-Aloud: 10 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and Transform Learning by Rebecca Bellingham

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.