Pages

Monday, May 23, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Abuelita and Me by Leonarda Carranza and illustrated by Rafael Mayani

The narrator of this picture book enjoys the fun times she has with her Abuelita when they are inside, but is upset and confused by the ways that her Abuelita is mistreated when they go out. Showing a child's experience with racism, this is a powerful story.

Catch That Dog! by Will Taylor

Joanie finds a stray poodle and convinces her parents to let her keep him. Unbeknownst to her, the poodle is famous and has been dognapped. The book was inspired by the true life story of Masterpiece, known as the world's most valuable dog, who mysteriously vanished. This is sweet, fun, and adventurous story about the friendship and love between a girl and her poodle. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in June.

Friends Fur-Ever (Must Love Pets #1) by Saadia Faruqi

Imaan has not been able to convince her mom to let her get a dog. With two of her friends, she decides to start a pet-sitting business to prove that she is responsible and caring. When Imaan starts caring for her neighbor's dog, Sir Teddy, she realizes that pet-sitting comes with challenges. This is a sweet story that pet lovers will adore. Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy. The book publishes this month.

What is Juneteenth? by Kirsti Jewel and illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

Part of the What Was? series, this book provides the history related to Juneteenth as well as insight into how the holiday is celebrated today. Very informative.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside by Kari Percival

A group of kids plant seeds, take care of a garden, observe living creatures, and watch their plants grow. Written in a question and answer format this book is informative, but it's really sweet, too. The illustrations are lovely. A great introduction to gardening for young children.

Out of a Jar by Deborah Marcero

Llewellyn is very uncomfortable with his feelings and puts them all into jars. When he runs out of room for his feelings, he learns there is a better way to handle them. This is a lovely book to help students learn about emotions and to add to a collection of books to foster social-emotional learning. 

Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino

Two nonbinary seventh-graders are working on a school project which leads them to learn about Alice Austen, one of the first woman photographers, and queer history. It's a fun and sweet book that also explores community, friendship, and chosen family. Thanks to the publisher for sharing an advanced reader's copy with my book review group, #BookExcursion. The book publishes in June. 

Adult Reading Recommendations


Such Big Dreams by Reema Patel

This is a heart-wrenching, but compelling story of resilience. Rakhi is a character who readers will root for as she overcomes obstacles to make a life for herself now that she is no longer living on the streets. The insight into life in modern day Mumbai and the class system was eye-opening. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


People are Wild by Margaux Meganck 

This picture books provides an animal perspective on what people are like. Animal young learn that people are wild while the animal young teach their parents that people are also similar to them in many ways. This is a fun book with a message about the importance of respecting animals.

Tiny Dino by Deborah Freedman

A bird explains to its animal friends that it is in fact a dinosaur. The animals don't believe it until a crocodile shows up and it becomes clear that dinosaurs do still roam the earth. The book is mostly written in dialogue with some facts interspersed throughout. The author's note explains further the connection between birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs. An amusing and informative picture book. 

The Summer of June by Jamie Sumner

Twelve-year-old June and her mother have recently moved to Nashville. As summer starts, June is thinking a lot about her anxiety and how she can overcome it. She spends a lot of time at the library where her mother works and she meets a boy her age there, but the idea of forming a friendship with him causes more anxious feelings. As June navigates relationships she learns about self-acceptance. Many readers will be able to relate to June and appreciate knowing that others experience anxiety, too. Thanks to the publisher for an advanced reader's copy. The book publishes in May.

Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

Worser is a seventh-grader who doesn't socialize much with others, but loves words. His mother loved them, too, but now that she's had a stroke she is unable to share in the joy of words with him. His aunt, who he doesn't get along with, has moved in to help take care of both of them. While Worser tries to adjust to his new family situation, he finds comfort in spending time at a used bookstore. When he becomes involved in an after school club, his love of words helps him connect with others. His new friends help out when there is a problem with a bookstore, but Worser's actions go a little too far. Both the vocabulary and wordplay throughout the book and Worser's journey of change make this an engaging read.

Adult Reading Recommendation


Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

This book reminded me about how much I've learned about history by being a reader of historical fiction. The author was inspired to write this story by events in our history that were horrific, but also not very well known. It explores a heavy topic, but it's eye-opening and poignant and powerful. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


A Blue Kind of Day by Rachel Tomlinson and illustrated by Tori-Jay Mordey

Coen is having a day filled with gloominess, making him feel so heavy that he can't get out of bed. His parents and sister try to cheer him up, but they can't get him to laugh or smile. When they surround him with warmth and give him time, Coen reaches out for their support. This poignant book explores a young child's depression in a realistic and sensitive manner. The author includes a note at the end with information about how to support children who are experiencing emotional distress.

Abdul's Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Tiffany Rose

Abdul loves to tell stories, but has difficulty writing them down. An author visits the class and shows Abdul his messy notebook and explains that it includes many imperfections. Abdul is inspired to write without worrying about his mistakes. This is an empowering story about finding confidence and navigating learning challenges.

Solitary Animals: Introverts of the Wild by Joshua David Stein and illustrated by Dominque Ramsey

There are many animals that gather in groups, but others, like the octopus and eagle, prefer to live their lives on their own. Whether social or solitary, each creature has an important place in the world. This poetic book is also informative and includes back matter that provides additional information about solitary animals. 

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

Charley's brother, Greg, who has been preoccupied with his own life lately, has promised to take her and her friend out for milkshakes. Although he's been told not to drive his mother's boyfriend's very fancy and valuable Mustang while they are away, he insists on taking it anyway. When the car gets towed, Charley and her brother unknowingly become entangled in an evil plot. With new and old friends, they have a night of adventure that becomes about more than just getting back the car. This is a fun and adventurous book with heart.

Adult Reading Recommendation


Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

On the day Laura's apartment burns down she finds herself in a bookstore where one of the employees offers her a room in the house she is living. Laura moves in and not only gets a new place to live, but also a few new friends. She also becomes enamored with a very good-looking housemate. Laura's new experiences lead her on a journey of self-discovery and love. The characters are all super charming. I wouldn't mind moving into Laura's boarding house myself! If you've read the author's previous book, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, you'll recognize Nina and the bookstore. This is a fun, light read that is quirky and sweet. Thanks to the publisher for a digital review copy. The book publishes in May.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Daddy Speaks Love by Leah Henderson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

This is a beautiful celebration of fathers and the ways that they guide, encourage, and inspire. The illustrations are gorgeous and the author's note about the inspiration for the book is powerful. 

I'm Not Scared, You're Scared! by Seth Meyers and illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr.

Bear is easily scared, but his friend Rabbit is not. Bear finds ways to avoid his fears when he reluctantly joins Rabbit for an adventure. When his friend needs his help, he focuses on courage rather than fear to save the day. This is a silly and sweet adventure about facing one's fears, bravery, and friendship. Although I'm not a big fan of books written by celebrities, I found this one delightful.

This is a School by John Schu and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison

The words and illustrations of this book capture the message that schools are communities that foster learning, inclusivity, and joy. It's a lovely book.

Doggo and Pupper Save the World by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Charlie Alder

In the second book in the Doggo and Pupper series, Pupper wants to be a hero, but believes he needs to be braver and worry less to do so. When he finds himself in a situation where his help is needed, Pupper shows that being kind can be a heroic act. Early readers will enjoy the short chapters and the fun illustrations. 

Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno and illustrated by Courtney Lovett
Seventh-grader, Maggie, is trying to find her passion so she joins several school clubs. She's also dealing with family changes and trying to convince her mom to allow her to have a cellphone. This book is fun, heartfelt, and relatable. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advanced reader's copy. The book publishes in May.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads....


Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Tonya Engel

This is a biography of Claudette Colvin whose actions were pivotal to the changes that came about due to the Montgomery bus boycott and an inspirational story about how a small act can lead to big change. The book's cause effect structure is interesting and impactful. 

With Lots of Love by Jenny Torres Sanchez and illustrated by André Ceolin

Rocio now lives in America, but misses her old home and the family she left behind, especially Abuela. This is a beautiful story about moving to a new place that shows how love and connection is possible even when there is distance between family members.

Just Harriet by Elana K. Arnold

Harriet is very unhappy that she has to spend the summer at her grandmother's bed-and-breakfast on Marble Island while her pregnant mother is on bed rest. When Harriet finds an antique key she has a mystery to solve and her summer becomes more interesting. Harriet is endearing and the setting is lovely. 

The Wreck at Ada's Reef (The Swallowtail Legacy #1) by Michael D. Beil and illustrated by Torborg Davern

This is another book taking place on an island and involving a mystery. Lark is part of a blended family and dealing with the loss of a parent. While vacationing on Swallowtail Island off Lake Erie, she assists in an investigation of a mysterious boat crash that happened decades earlier. This is an engaging mystery that explores family and the challenges of adjusting to change.

Adult Reading Recommendations


French Braid by Anne Tyler

I've read various novels by Anne Tyler throughout the years and this one, being her twenty-fourth, does not disappoint. It is an insightful exploration of family and the ways in which events can shape one's life. It tells the story of the Garrett family throughout the decades, from the 1950s to the present. Although the they have their own idiosyncrasies and quirks, they are also an ordinary family and one that begins to feel familiar. Thought-provoking and touching. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

Owl dreams of becoming a knight. Although Owl is small, he works hard and is assigned Knight Night Watch. When he finds himself face-to-face with a dragon, Owl's cleverness, kindness, and bravery help protect the castle. Owl is an endearing character and the book has a sweet message about following one's dreams.

Tía Fortuna's New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey by Ruth Behar and illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Estrella's aunt must leave the Miami home she has lived in for many years since fleeing Cuba after the revolution in 1959. Estrella is sad her aunt must move, but learns the meaning of home. The note at the end gives insight into the author's family history and that of Sephardic Jews. A very touching story.

Waiting for Mama by Gianna Marino

Written from the perspective of a baby penguin, this is a sweet story about the beginning of the creature's life and also a celebration of family. The illustrations are gorgeous. 

Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire and illustrated by David Litchfield 

Cress's father left one night and did not return. Now her rabbit family must move to an apartment in an oak tree where there are other forest creatures who can look after the children while Mama collects food. They meet new neighbors and make friends, but must also navigate the dangers of the forest. This is a charming, adventurous tale about family, friendship, and courage. 

Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee

Maizy, and her mother, are visiting Last Chance, Minnesota where her grandparents live. Maizy misses L.A., but she gets to know her grandparents better and learns about her family history from her Opa. The story within a story gave insight into the history of Chinese immigrants while the present day story described Maizy's experience with racism in the small community. This is a heartfelt story.

Adult Reading Recommendation


The Secrets We Share by Edwin Hill

This is an intriguing and twisty murder mystery/detective novel. I read it in about a day when I was on vacation a few weeks ago at the beach. It's written in dual timelines, the 1990s and present, each including lots of drama and secrets. Living in Massachusetts, I enjoy that the setting of this book, as well as the author's previous books, is Boston. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


I Am Golden by Eva Chen and illustrated by Sophie Diao

The message of this book is wonderful. The lyrical text addresses a child, reminding her to embrace who she is and celebrate her culture. The author's note which includes information about why she wrote the book is powerful. 

I'll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca and illustrated by Sara Palacios

This is a heart-warming story about the relationship between a girl in America and her grandmother in India. During their visits to see each other, they form a bond even though they don’t speak the same language. The illustrations are gorgeous. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. It publishes this month.

The Peach Pit (The Great Peach Experiement #2) by Erin Soderberg Downing

The very charming Peach family is back for their second adventure. In this story, they are turning an old, run-down mansion into a bed-and-breakfast. It's both fun and sweet. Thanks to the author for sharing an advance reader's copy of the book. It publishes in April.

Adult Reading Recommendation


The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh

This is another adult novel that makes my favorites of 2022 list. The title of this one makes it sound like it could be a traditional love story/romance book, but it definitely is not. It's more a combination of a domestic drama and mystery. I love books in which someone is hiding a secret and the secret at the core of this book is not what I was expecting. With the unexpected twists and turns, it was a compelling read.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs, Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries by Tiffany Rose

The narrator of this book writes a letter to readers expressing her love of books and her desire to read books with characters who look like her. This is a lovely book about the power of books and the need for stories which allow readers to see themselves.

First Notes of Spring by Jessica Kulekjian and illustrated by Jennifer Bower

Winter is ending and Juniper is ready to join the First Notes of Spring musicians, but Mr. Moose declares that spring will not bloom because her music is too wild. Juniper comes across other animals in the forest and together they make their own kind of music. This is a cute story with fun illustrations that show winter changing to spring. Readers will want to make music along with the characters.

Drive It! Fix It! (Racing Ace #1) by Larry Dane Brimner and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

This is another great addition to the Acorn line of books which early readers love. Ace built a car herself and is determined to race it and win. Ace is a fun and inspirational character. The illustrations are really sweet. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in April.

Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall

Pilar Ramirez's family left the Dominican Republic, while it was under the control of dictator Rafael Trujillo, to live in Chicago and she wants to know more about that history including why her Mami's cousin, Natasha, disappeared. When her sister arranges for Pilar to meet with a professor who may be able to provide her with information, Pilar is mysteriously transported to the island of Zafa where she hopes she can find Natasha. This book has action, magic, insight into Dominican myths, and a brave heroine.