Monday, August 29, 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 Big Slide by Daniel Kirk

Throughout the spring and summer Little Pup visits the park with his mother and really wants to go down the big slide, but is too afraid. Little Pup is determined and finds a way to overcome his fear. This is a very sweet book with a lovely message. 

Just Like Jesse Owens by Andrew Young and Paula Young Shelton and illustrated by Gordon C. James

Growing up in the 1930s in New Orleans, Andrew experienced the segregation and racism of the time including hearing neighbors chant in support of Hitler. When Andrew asks his father about Hitler, his father explains racism and encourages his son to be his best self. Andrew is further inspired when his father takes him to the theatre where they watch highlights of Jesse Owens winning gold medals during the 1936 Olympics in Germany. This is an empowering story that also provides a glimpse into history.

The Monster on the Bus by Josh Lieb and illustrated by Hannah Marks

This is an amusing spin on "The Wheels on the Bus." When things get out of control on the bus to school, Angelique and Cassius must take control and set it right again. The imaginative story and silly illustrations will give kids a laugh.

Ballet Bruce (A World of Reading) by Ryan T. Higgins

The geese want to do ballet so Bruce goes back and forth to town multiple times on his motorcycle for ballet shoes, dance pants, and tutus. As tired and cranky as Bruce is, his attempts to appease the geese are charming. Although the geese never partake in any ballet, there is lots of humor. 

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat and illustrated by Joanna Cacao

This is a wonderful memoir in graphic novel format.  The author based the book on her story of trying out for the cheerleading squad in middle school. The book explores friendship, identity, and belonging. I think this book will appeal to many middle grade readers especially those who enjoy realistic graphic novels about characters navigating the ups and downs of growing up. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in September. 

Nothing is Little by Carmella Van Vleet

Felix lives with his mother and stepdad and is soon to have a little sister which he is not thrilled about. He has never known his biological dad and whenever he asks his mom about him she refuses to provide any information. When he finds out that his dad was short like him he decides to investigate. This is a heartfelt story about family. The detective work that Felix is involved in with the Forensic Science Club that he joins was interesting, too.

Adult Reading Recommendations

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda

The Swell by Allie Reynolds

Both of these were quick reads in the thriller/suspense genre. They each had interesting mysteries and atmospheric settings that I loved. The Last to Vanish is about a small town where several hikers have disappeared over a span of about twenty-five years. Most of the book takes place in an inn in the mountains near the Appalachian Trail. The Swell takes place on a secluded beach in Australia which seems like a surfer's paradise. For a group of surfers their trip turns sinister as their secrets begin to be revealed.


  1. A new Bruce book is fun to see, Lisa. I love the idea of the Jesse Owens book along with The Tryout. I shared a new picture book by Christina Soontornvat today, one I hadn't heard of. The Tryout sounds just right. Thanks, and have a good week!

  2. Like Linda B, I was excited to see this new Bruce book. I'm also keen to read the Tryout and Nothing is Little.

  3. What a great set of books, Lisa! I made note of The Tryout, because the chance to (a) try Christina Soontornvat's books for the first time and (b) fit in another graphic novel sounds amazing to me! I also made note of Just Like Jesse Owens. Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

  4. All of these books look really good. I enjoyed Ballet Bruce, and I read it as an ARC so I am really happy that you reminded me about it. I have to buy it. I might have forgotten. Thanks so much, I am also adding Just Like Jesse Owens and The Tryout to my plans. Have a great week, thanks for the post.

  5. Great selections! The Monster on the Bus has captured my attention. It looks like it will be a super fun read aloud! -Amy (Mother Goose Librarian).