Monday, July 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Bear Out There by Jacob Grant

This follow up to Bear's Scare is a sweet book about friendship. Spider likes the outdoors, but Bear prefers being cozy in his tidy house. Even though he'd rather spend the day inside, Bear helps Spider search for his lost kite. For Bear, the day goes from bad to worse, but he realizes the importance of being there for a friend even when the going gets tough. The illustrations are lovely and I don't think I've seen a more adorable spider in a picture book.

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

This is another beautiful book following the lives of the Three Rancheros who were introduced in Raymie Nightingale and revisited in Louisiana's Way. Four years after the events of Raymie Nightingale, Beverly is grieving over the loss of her dog and tired of her mother's drinking so she decides to leave home. Although she is convinced that she doesn't need anyone and can take care of herself, she slowly lets others into her lives and realizes the power of community and friendship. I loved the characters in this book and, as always with Kate DiCamillo's books, the writing is lovely. Thanks to Candlewick Press for a review copy of the book. It publishes in September.

More to the Story by Hena Khan

Jameela, who has a passion for journalism, write for her school newspaper, but feels that her ideas for stories never get heard. Life at home has it challenges for Jameela, as well, as her father is traveling a lot for work and her sister has been diagnosed with lymphoma. Hena Khan has written another heart-warming exploration of family. The way the characters relate to each other and navigate the challenges of school and home are true-to-life. The author's inspiration came from Little Women, a book she cherished as a child. The book publishes in September.

Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers by Anna James

Tilly lives with her grandparents and spends a lot of time in the bookstore connected to their house. She is enchanted with the adventures within books and prefers book characters over actual friends. Her own life takes an adventurous turn when she realizes she has the ability to wander through the pages of a book as if it was real life. As she strives to understand this new, magical ability, she learns more about herself including and who her parents are. This is an imaginative and fun read, but also one that will delight book lovers. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Monday, July 22, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze by Will Hillenbrand

Hugo realizes that a classmate, Barkley, is struggling to read a book to his class and decides to come to the rescue. He disappears without anyone noticing and reappears as his secret alter ego to put his superpowers to good use and give his classmate some advice to help him read. Hugo and Barkley give readers an empowering message about reading and the comic book-like format will appeal to many readers.

One Shoe Two Shoes by Caryl Hart

This is a concept book that appears to be about counting and shoes, but an adorable dog and some mischievous mice give the book a fun twist. Even though it's a concept book there is a loose story line with an ending that circles back to the beginning. There's a fun rhythm to the book and bold illustrations that will delight young readers. Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

The Curse of the Werepenguin by Allan Woodrow

Bolt is an orphan who would love nothing more than to be reunited with his family, but instead he's sent to Brugaria at the request of Baron Chordata. Brugaria, with its creepy penguins, is a mysterious and strange place and the Baron is not at all the father Bolt was hoping for. He's a twelve-year-old kid. An evil one who places a curse on Bolt. With the help of a bandit turned friend, Bolt sets out to reverse the curse and save Brugaria. The plot is ridiculous, but the humor is fantastic and it will appeal to kids who enjoy books that are a bit scary. Thanks to the publisher, I read an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in August.

Saving Fable (Talespinners) by Scott Reintgen

Indira travels to Fable where she hopes to be chosen as a Protagonist, but when her auditions go poorly she is assigned to the training for side characters. When odd occurrences happen, like her homework mysteriously disappearing, Indira becomes involved in an adventure to save Fable. This is a fun and imaginative adventure about a girl determined to the be hero of her story. The setting of Fable, which is a world that revolves around stories, is intriguing and will definitely capture the hearts of those with a passion for books. Thanks to Random House Kids for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reading copy. The book publishes in September.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Ollie encounters a woman about to throw a book in a river. Although she doesn't understand the woman's talk of a smiling man or the warning to avoid large spaces and stick to those that are small, Ollie steals the book. She becomes intrigued with the story, but when she takes a school trip to a farm, it turns out there's a mysterious connection between the book and real life. The trip becomes spooky after the bus breaks down on the way home and Ollie's watch alerts her to run. This is a ghost story, appropriately creepy and mysterious for middle grade readers. But, this isn't just a scary story as the book also explores Ollie's grief over losing her mother and friendship.

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

The sequel to Small Spaces, which publishes in August, is equally spooky, if not a tad bit more. This time, Ollie and her friends, Coco and Brian, travel to a Vermont ski resort where they get snowed in. When a ghost hunter arrives, the three friends learn about the history of the resort and the ghosts that haunt it. As the mystery of the resort unravels, Ollie, Coco, and Brian must work together to save themselves from the evil of ghosts and the ghost hunter who they thought they could trust. Just like the first book, this is kid horror at its best. I will definitely recommend the series to kids who want a spooky, spine-tingling read. Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy of the book.

Monday, July 15, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

I Am a Tiger by Karl Newson

A mouse declares he is a tiger. Other animals argue that he is not a tiger, but the mouse always has a clever response to convince them. His argument gets even more ridiculous when a tiger himself comes along. Mouse is a character with a lot of personality - he's both confident and funny. This is a really cute book with a subtle message about being whoever you want to be. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Truman by Jean Reidy

A sweet tortoise doesn't know where his owner has gone when she leaves for the day with a backpack and takes the number 11 bus, so he sets out across the living room in an attempt to follow her. Truman's determination and bravery will have readers rooting for him. The illustrations, especially those that show the tortoise's view of his surroundings, are wonderful. A charming story about first experiences, being brave, and the love between a child and her pet. 

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder

It's the beginning of summer, but all Leah has to look forward to are lonely days at home. Since her brother died in an accident, her friends are treating her differently and her parents barely pay attention to her. So, when Leah meets Jasper she is intrigued. The two quickly become friends, but Jasper's life is complicated and Leah becomes a part of her secret. This is a compelling read about loss and the power of friendship. Thanks to the publisher I received an advance reader's copy of the book. Look for this one is September.

My Life as An Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Having lived with her mother and grandfather in Alabama, Ebony-Grace has a hard time adjusting to life with her father in Harlem. Much about Harlem seems strange to her, so she copes by retreating into her imagination. Fitting in with friends is a challenge since they can't relate to her talk about outer space and space missions. Through the challenges of her summer in Harlem, Ebony-Grace grows and, as she does, she changes her outlook on her life. Growing up at the time this book was set, in the 1980s, I found the references to that time period interesting. Those who are fans of Star Trek will get even more of the references than I did. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book. It publishes in August.

Exploring According to Og the Frog by Betty G. Birney

The tales of Room 26, as seen through the perspective of a kind-hearted frog, continue in the second book in the Og the Frog series. Og learns about adventure and bravery all while making a positive impact on the students in his classroom. I like that the books in this series are on the shorter side which is what some readers need. Also, being a spin-off of the Humphrey series, there will be appeal for readers who enjoyed those.

Monday, July 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

This is one of those books that is so ridiculous it's funny. I imagine kids will love the humor in this book about a piranha whose taste in foods is very different from the other piranhas. There are also certain words that just make kids giggle and this book includes one of them.

We Are (Not) Friends by Anna Kang

The lastest follow-up to We Are (Not) Small explores friendship and what happens when a third friend comes along. This is a cute book that shows how two best friends can include a new friend. The illustrations are very humorous.

Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family) by Debbi Michiko Florence

Katia and her family, who have a dog named Ollie, provide a foster home for Truman while he waits for his forever home. Although Truman is very lovable, he gets himself into some puppy trouble. Katia immediately falls in love with him and is conflicted about how she'll feel when it's time to let him go. This short, illustrated chapter book for early readers has a positive message about caring for animals and shows what it's like to foster a pet. It's a sweet start to a series that will appeal especially to early readers who enjoy stories about animals and pets. Thanks to the publisher, I read an advance reader's copy. It publishes in August.

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf

This is a beautiful book about the power of friendship and acceptance. There's been an empty seat at the back of the classroom until one day a new boy arrives. When a group of students in the class realize he is a refugee from Syria and neither of his parents made it to London with him, they hatch a plan to help reunite them. This timely and touching story also has a bit of adventure and humor. Thanks to the publisher, Random House Children's Books, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy.

Monday, July 1, 2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.


Recent Reads...

I’m Trying to Love Math by Bethany Barton

The narrator of the book expresses his dislike of math which, he points out, is something he has in common with about 40% of Americans. A space alien tries to convince the narrator to like math more by explaining that math is a part of everyday things like baking, traveling, and making music. Those with a math phobia (like myself) may not be cured by the end of the book, but it’s an amusing look at math and numbers.

Linus: The Little Yellow Pencil by Scott Magoon

Linus wants to enter the art show, but he loses his enthusiasm and confidence when Ernie, his eraser, criticizes his work. Thanks to the advice of some pencil shavings, Linus puts his talents to use and, with Ernie’s help, creates a unique work of art. The illustrations are fabulous and there is a nice message message about having confidence in one’s abilities.

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Willems

The Pigeon does not want to go to school and tries his hardest to resist. In his dialogue about school, he expresses the same fears and anxieties that many students have felt upon starting school. Of course, the Pigeon is as funny as ever. This will be a perfect book to read to students at the beginning of the year whether they are fans of the Pigeon or just being introduced to him. The book publishes in July.

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj

When Karina's grandfather moves in with her family, he starts to tutor Chris, one of her neighbors and classmates. Although Karina and Chris never were never friends, they end up spending more time together. As the three are walking home from school one day, Karina's grandfather, an Indian American, is the victim of a hate crime. As Karina and Chris work through what happened, they decide to speak out. This book tells a relevant story about the importance of speaking out against hate and shows how one can make a difference in the world. Thanks to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for an advance reading copy. The book publishes in August.