Monday, July 27, 2020

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...


Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

With his long wings, Bernard is not like other birds at all. Bernard is disappointed he can't fly until he hears an orangutan crying and he realizes that his wings can be of use. This is a sweet story with fun illustrations about embracing one's differences.

Smug Seagull by Maddie Frost

A very smug seagull is proud of how well he can swipe snacks from humans on the beach until he meets a crab who has some talented skills of his own. I read this aloud to a few classes of students before school closed for the year and they found it really amusing. Living on the coast, my students know how pesky seagulls can be. They also enjoyed drawing the seagull along with the author in this video.

The Very Last Leaf by Step Wade and illustrated by Jennifer Davison

Lance, a leaf on a Cottonwood tree, is a very good student, but he is worried about his final exam which involves falling from his tree. He tries to make excuses so he can stay on the tree, but comes to realize that he must be brave and take the leap. This is a very cute story about believing in oneself and facing one's fears. Readers will also learn some information about trees.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michael Goade

This poetic picture book honors the Indigenous Peoples who have taken action to protect our Earth's water and encourages others to do the same. This is a gorgeous book about ancestry, community, and the environment.

Crabapple Trouble by Kaeti Vandorn

Callaway is very anxious about the upcoming Summertime Fair at which there will be a produce competition since she doesn't think the crabapples are an adequate size. With the help of a fairy and a friend, Callaway enjoys the fair much more than she thought she would. This is a sweet graphic novel about problem-solving and working together. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in August.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes

This is a historical graphic novel about a teen traveling in time and learning about her family’s experience in a Japanese-American internment camp. It's an important and insightful read. It will not only inform young readers about this dark time in U.S. history, but may also inspire readers to take action to make change.

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

This is a beautiful and timely story about friendship, standing up for others, and cooking. The book alternates between the perspectives of two sixth-graders who are each navigating family challenges and grappling with identity and belonging. I think this is a book middle grade readers will enjoy reading, but it will also spark meaningful conversation. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. The book publishes in August.

Grown-Up Summer Reading Recommendations


 
Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I love how a really great historical fiction book can transport me to a different time and place. I enjoyed both of these. The Book of Lost Names by Kristen Harmel is a moving story of courage and compassion about a young woman who becomes a forger during WWII. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy. The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton is about three different women and how their lives intersect during the hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935. Both are engaging reads.

Monday, July 20, 2020

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...

Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison and illustrated by Brianne Farley

LouAnn has made a dozen doughnuts for herself, but guests repeatedly show up at her door with an appetite for the tasty treat. She's willing to share and isn't left with any for herself until her guests realize their mistake. LouAnn, even when she roars, and all the other woodland characters are endearing. Both the text and illustrations are humorous.

Here and Now by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale

This book is a calming and gentle reminder to be present in the here and now. Based on a poem the author wrote, the book is written to guide young readers in meditation.

'Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis and illustrated by Kenard Pak

I was not aware of the kalo plant and its importance to the Hawaiian people until reading this book. Written in the cumulative style of "The House That Jack Built", the book gives insight into Hawaiian culture and celebrates family. There's an informative author's note at the end and the illustrations are gorgeous.

Pizza and Taco: Who's the Best by Stephen Shaskan

Pizza and Taco are best friends who get into an argument about who is the best. This is a humorous chapter book written in graphic novel style for early readers. Kids will love the silliness and the food-based characters.

Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson

Kerry is on his way home with medicine that will save his parents, but he gets lost. With the help of the Knight of the Forest, Kerry is on a journey to get home that includes facing evil. This is a very adventurous graphic novel.

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This is a powerful, but hard to read middle grade novel. It is about two sisters in foster care dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse. This story drew me in from the first paragraph and I loved the characters, especially Della, who is endearing, courageous, and humorous. Honest, heart-wrenching, and hopeful, this is one of those books that I finished and could not stop thinking about. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Grown-Up Summer Reading Recommendation


The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper

This is an insightful and beautiful memoir by an African American emergency room physician in which she shares stories of healing others and the journey she took to heal herself.

Monday, July 13, 2020

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...


Finding Françoise: A Story About the Healing Power of Friendship by Gus Gordon

This is a charming story about a chance friendship and the power of that friendship to heal a hurting heart. There are many delightful details in the illustrations. After reading this book once I reread to notice more about the illustrations and I think young readers will do the same. Thanks to the publisher for sharing a review copy with my book review group, #BookExcursion.

Lift by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat

A girl always pushes the elevator button until, to the delight of her parents, her brother
takes over the task. Upset with her brother, the girl imagines her own elevator button which takes her on magical journeys. This is a sweet story about imagination and siblings. Written in graphic novel style, the artwork is amazing.

Monsters 101 by Cale Atkinson

This book has everything you've ever wanted to know about monsters and more! Like the author's previous book, Unicorns 101, it's clever and amusing. Once they reach the end of the book, readers earn a diploma and the honorary title of Monster Scientist. Thanks to Random House Kids for providing my book review group with a review copy. This book publishes in August.

A Perfect Day by Sarah S. Brannen

A sweet friendship develops between a sea gull and a crab even though they disagree about whether it's truly a perfect day. The illustrations are lovely and one two-page spread will surprise and delight readers.

Raising Lumie by Joan Bauer

Olive's dad has died, she is in the care of a stepsister she barely knows, and is now living in a new town. She wants a dog more than anything, but it's not something her stepsister is willing to take on. When Olive learns of an opportunity to train a puppy to be a guide dog for the blind, she jumps at the chance. This is a heart-warming story about coping with loss and, also, gives insight into the process of raising a guide dog. Olive is a charming character with a good sense of humor and lots of grit.

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love, & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis

This is a powerful anthology that includes stories, poems, letters, and other writing pieces by authors sharing their personal experiences related to systemic racism and the lessons they have learned. It's personal, honest, and empowering. The list of authors and illustrators who have contributed to this book is amazing. This is a book that should be shared and discussed widely. Thanks to the publisher for a digital review copy. The book publishes in August.

Grown-Up Summer Reading Recommendation


We Came Here to Shine by by Susie Orman Schnall

This was one of the complimentary audiobooks offered in the month of June through Libro.fm's ALC (Audio Listening Copy) Program for educators. It's a historical fiction novel set in 1939 during the New York World's Fair. It's a story of friendship that explores the inequalities women faced at the time. I loved the characters of Vivi and Max and was captivated by the details of the Worlds' Fair.

Monday, July 6, 2020

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 Ocean Calls by Tina Cho and illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Dayeon's grandmother is a haenyeo, a diver seeking treasures from the sea near Jeju Island in South Korea. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo, too, but is afraid of not being able to breath underwater and of the sharks. With her grandmother's help she faces her fears and discovers the beauty of the ocean. This is a beautiful story about the bonds between a child and grandparent and facing one's fears. The artwork is stunning and the information at the end explains more about the haenyeo tradition. Thanks to the publisher for sharing a review copy with my book review group. The book publishes in August.

The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts by Trudy Ludwig

One girl reaches out to comfort another girl who is sad after an argument and this leads to a chain reaction that brings a community together. This is a sweet story about the importance of small acts of kindness and the difference one person can make. The illustrations are really interesting, too. This book will be useful for starting discussions with students about kindness and how to treat others. Thanks to Random House for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes in August.

Soaked! by Abi Cushman

Bear is very grumpy because of the rain, but he finds some unexpected fun thanks to his friends and a hula hoop. All the animals have lots of personality and make a rainy day seem like a delight. Even those not a fan of wet weather (me) will want to splash in the rain after reading this book.

The Magic Eraser (Locker 37 #1) by Aaron Starmer

This is an imaginative and humorous new series. There is lots that will appeal to kids including the over-the-top plot line and the illustrations. The second book, publishing at the same time, is The Rewindable Clock. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino lives in the the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York City. When their Papi dies in an airplane crash they learn of his secrets and each other's existence. This is a beautiful story, written in verse, about the friendship and hope that grows out of grief and loss.

Grown-Up Summer Reading Recommendations

If you are looking for a grown-up read to add to your summer reading list, these are two books, both with island settings, that I enjoyed recently.

My Kind of People by Lisa Duffy

Set off the coast of Massachusetts, this book is about a ten-year-old who has been recently orphaned and left in the care of a family friend and the secrets of a small, tight-knit island community.

The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman

Two families are vacationing together off the coast of South Carolina. From the beginning of the book, the reader knows one of them has died tragically. Lots of suspense in this one.