Monday, January 10, 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

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López  

The creators of The Day You Begin have given us another beautiful story with an empowering message. Listening to their grandmother's advice, two siblings use their imaginations to lift themselves out of their current situation. In the note at the end of the book, Jacqueline Woodson tells about her inspiration for the book and includes these powerful words, "Sometimes the first step toward change is closing our eyes, taking a breath, and imagining a different way." 

J.D. and the Hair Show Showdown by J. Dillard and illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts

Eight-year-old J.D. the Kid Barber is off to Atlanta with his mom for the Beauty Brothers Hair Expo. As in the previous books in the series, J.D. shows what's possible when following one's passion.

Secret of the Storm by Beth McMullen

This fantasy adventure is also a meaningful story of friendship and having the courage to be oneself and do the right thing. After two schoolmates, Cassie and Joe, find a kitten in a dumpster after an unusual storm they team up to solve a mystery. It's an engaging read and I think readers will be eager for the follow-up. Thanks to the author for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reviewer copy. The book publishes in March.

Adult Reading Recommendation 

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

I was captivated by this book and I think it will end up being one of my top favorites of 2022. Two estranged siblings are brought together after their mother's death. Through a recording their mother has left, the siblings learn about their family's secret past. This multigenerational story alternates between the present and the 1960s and is set in the Caribbean, America, and Britain. The family drama and the mystery of the mother's life had me hooked, but it's also beautiful and moving and an exploration of many themes including loyalty, resilience, and identity. The book publishes in February.


  1. Oh there you are with the Black Cake doesn't publish until February review, lol! Looking forward to reading it. I'll probably preorder it, sounds like a book my mom and sister would enjoy reading too. I am looking forward to all of the other books you mentioned too. I have the JD one, but the others are in my soon list!

  2. After reading Michele's comment, and your review, now I am interested in Black Cake. I have the Woodson book, will read it soon. I put Secret Storm on my list. Thanks, Lisa!

  3. I added The Year We Learned to Fly after someone else reviewed it today. I adore Jacqueline Woodson and The Day You Begin. I haven't read any of the J.D. books, but they look delightful!

  4. What a wonderful set of books, Lisa! I have The Year We Learned to Fly on my list, since I adored The Day You Begin. The J.D. series isn't one I have seen before, but it sounds great, as does Secret of the Storm! And Black Cake sounds like such a powerful read—and it's wonderful that you're already thinking it will be a favorite of the year! Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

  5. I need to read the J.D. series. It's been on my TBR and I know kids who would really enjoy it. Thanks for the review to remind me!