IMWAYR: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, fellow readers!

In an attempt to be more organized about my reading this year, I’m trying something new (we’ll see how long this lasts). Each week I’ll read physical books, listen to an audiobook, and read a NetGalley book, and then share my thoughts. This week I’m still working on 2020 titles while diving into my already-growing 2021 TBR list.

NetGalley Reading: I finished Booked: The Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander, with art by Dawud Anyabwile. This dynamic duo already wowed me with The Crossover: Graphic Novel Adaptation in 2019 and now they are back to retell the story of soccer player, Nick Hall. I LOVED the story all over again and I can’t wait for students to see this one on January 4, 2022 (yes, we have to wait another year).

Physical Book of the Week: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Libro.fm Audiobook: Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts 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 each week.

IMWAYR: Three Book BirthdayS

I’m exhausted after a long “first day back to school” — but I’m lucky. I came home to Book Birthday celebrations! Happy Book Birthday, Kwame Alexander, Jerry Craft, and Kwame Mbalia!

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: Stay-at-Home Guidelines and Authors Who Help Us Deal

It’s been a rough start this week. Monday, Monday…we are still under stay-at-home orders and there’s lots of time to read, but I’ve also been stuck. Three authors have stuck with me so far, and have made reading time more comfortable in the discomfort of this COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Kwame Alexander is reading The Crossover aloud on Instagram Live each morning this week. Today we started with the first part of the book, where we meet “Filthy McNasty”, his twin brother, and his family. What an excellent book! Listening to Kwame read is making my re-read so much more fun. Kwame, we love you! Thanks for reading to us.

Jeff Zentner has generously given his time to read The Serpent King aloud every other night on Instagram Live. As a bonus, he gives insights and notes about his writing process, plus some music, and even jokes. I love laughing again. Hey! “Since we are all home anyway…why not?” Thanks for your time, Jeff!

One more author on my mind is Tomie DePaola. We lost a great literary genius and a really nice person today. RIP. We already miss you so much!

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.

Celebrate reading with your loved ones this week while you’re stuck at home. Wash your hands! Stay safe and healthy.

IMWAYR: New Book Birthdays!

It’s another big week for reading! Fall Reading is Fabulous this year!

I decided to focus on graphic novels this week, since they are getting a hit from teachers across the country (again). Reminder: READING GRAPHIC NOVELS IS READING! These are some good stories, too, so let the kids read! (Teachers, you can read them, too!) I also HAD to have Jacqueline Woodson’s new book, even though it’s an adult read. (Yes, sometimes I read adult books, especially when my author friends write them.)

 

 

 

 

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: Can’t Talk! Must Read!

With only one week until summer school, I’m reading like a bookworm! Here’s what’s up for this next week…

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (from last week’s list)

The Paris Project by Donna Gephart

Give and Take by Elly Swartz

Anthem by Deborah Wiles

(These three are publishing in October 2019. Preorder your copies now.)

 

 

My friends at #booksojourn passed these books to me. Do you think I can read all these in one week? I’m trying. I’m planning summer school experiences with inspiration from Kwame Alexander and Pam Allyn (and Monica Burns), too. Thanks for helping me out, friends!

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 I 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: Picture Books and Memoirs

I’m spending the week with my granddaughter and today we headed to The Brain Lair Bookstore to visit Kathy (the owner and my book buddy). “M” spied one of her favorite authors right away and said, “Hey! Look! We have How to Build a Sandcastle! How about we get It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk?” (We have that one already, thanks to our generous and amazing friend, Josh Funk. We also have Mission Defrostable, so we searched the shelves for something we don’t already own.)

We looked a little deeper and I found a title I knew she hadn’t seen before – Claymates by Dev Petty and the fabulous Lauren Eldridge. I said Dev Petty was the author who wrote I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, and “M” was convinced. She immediately opened her new book and started to read. Not only did we buy the book for her home, now we have to go buy some clay so we can make some “claymates” animals ourselves.

 

 

We returned home and I read How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, with art by Melissa Sweet, who dazzled us with her beautifully-created pages. It’s a touching poem Kwame wrote for his daughter; it’s neon pink and “clementine”-colored and makes you want to find a tree to sit under so you can read the rest of the day. There are so many surprises in this book — it’s so much fun to read, again and again! Don’t forget to discover the Author and Illustrator Notes and that back jacket flap with the biographies (hint: those glasses!).

During the week, I’ll share Lita Judge’s newest, Homes in the Wild: Where Baby Animals and Their Parents Live, with “M”. It’s wonderful and “M” loves animals, so I’m sure she’ll love this book. Animals build shelters – some hidden, some underground, some in trees, etc. The descriptions are perfect for older readers of picture books (middle school and up), reminding the reader of well-known animals’ homes and introducing new animals, too. Lita’s illustrations are beautiful, and her words entertain and inform, making this one of the best picture books of the year so far (according to me).

 

After the little one goes home, I will finish Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson and begin the ARC of Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes (due out October 8, 2019 from WordSong). I’m so happy that Kathy shared this ARC with me. I’ve been waiting a while to see it in person — I love everything my friend Nikki Grimes writes. The cover is brilliant! I am amazed that she wrote this memoir for us, and I have been following the news about this book for months. I already pre-ordered my copy, so I’ll get to savor it later, as well.

 

 

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 I 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: Re-reading and New Titles

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What a week! I spent time re-reading some titles and digging into new ones.

We are Grateful/Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell — This book is beautiful and I’m grateful to have it in my hands! I’m grateful for the ability to read and celebrate reading with my friends and family. I love learning about new places and people, and this hit the spot! Perfect for fall holiday season.

Booked by Kwame Alexander — This is still my favorite Kwame Alexander book, probably because of the cool librarian. My soccer students loved this one, too. Reading it aloud in class was the best!

Lu by Jason Reynolds — I just started this one (the fourth in the Track series). The cover is so inviting! “Sometimes you gotta jump anyway…” It’s the championships, but there’s a twist coming; I can see it now. Mr. Reynolds is famous for plot twists.

Just Like Rube Goldberg by Sarah Aronson (coming in 2019) — I’m lucky to be in the #booksojourn reading group, and Ms. Aronson allowed me to read this F & G (Folded and Gathered) book preview. She’s so sweet! Just look at the cover and be amazed! Rube Goldberg was quite the cartoonist and thinker. He “built” funky contraptions to complete everyday tasks. Do YOU know the only sanitary way to lick a postage stamp? Oh, Rube! How much fun is this? (LOTS of fun!)

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The 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 Jen 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.

Happy Book Birthday, Solo!

SOLObookcoverpic2017.jpgSolo is Kwame Alexander’s latest release (from Blink YA Books) and features Mary Rand Hess. These amazing authors expertly weave the story of Blade, a teen who would rather not be associated with his famous father, Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star. Blade’s girlfriend, Chapel, is the light in his life of darkness, but her parents forbid her to see Blade amid continued family drama. Blade finds that his life is not as it seems – is it worse? The one connection that the family shares is music – much music. “But not even the songs that flow through Blade’s soul are enough when he’s faced with two unimaginable realities…”

The music that connects Blade, his father, and the other intriguing characters in the book are the web that Alexander and Hess create to lead the reader (and Blade) from Hollywood to West Africa in search of life’s answers. Tracks from Lenny Kravitz, Metallica, U2 ,Van Halen, Aretha Franklin, and more all bring memories to carry the reader (and Blade) into the future. The story is a true hero’s journey through music and time. (Suggestion: Get the audio version!)

What I loved most about Solo is that it is written in Kwame’s famous novel-in-verse style, and adding Mary’s poetic contributions made my heart sing. The book features nostalgic hits and original music by Randy Preston, Alexander’s talented musical friend. The twists, turns, and surprises throughout the book made this a quick read, yet I revisited pages again and again. I downloaded the music to listen to as I traveled with Blade through my third read! I highly recommend Solo for any teen trying to find him/herself in the world, anyone who loves music, or anyone who loves a fantastic story line. (That means “Go Get This Title Now!”) “When the heart gets lost, let the music find you.”