Pages

Monday, July 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...


Leila, the Perfect Witch by Flavia Z. Drago

Leila has many talents and trophies, but has yet to showcase her baking skills. Now that she is old enough, she decides to enter the Witchy Cake-off. Although many in her family are expert bakers, Leila has a difficult time. Her witchy sisters, who have culinary skills and advice for overcoming an obstacle, help her out. Leila shows great determination and learns that having fun and being with family is what makes someone a winner. This is a charming book with detailed, whimsical illustrations. Gustavo from the author's previous book even makes an appearance. 

Poo-Dunit? A Forest Floor Mystery by Katelyn Aronson and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

This book has lots of kid appeal. Kids are going to giggle and shriek with delighted disgust as they follow mouse on her quest to find out who left the poo outside her house. The backmatter at the end adds a little bit of science to the fun. 

 

Blippo & Beep and Blippo & Beep: I Feel Funny by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Joey Ellis

Blippo and Beep are two silly robots who know the true meaning of friendship. This is an amusing series for early readers. The stories are told through illustrations and dialogue which make them an option for readers who like books similar to the Elephant & Piggie series.

Butt Sandwich & Tree by Wesley King

This is a great story about a kid who is neurodiverse and the relationship he has with his brother. When Green tries out for basketball, to make his brother happy, and is accused of a theft, Cedar is determined for them to prove someone else did it. There is lots of action on the basketball court and the mystery that Green and Cedar work to solve is interesting. Thanks to the publisher for an advance reviewer copy. The book publishes in August. 

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Bree has moved to Florida with her dad where she is starting a new middle school. She really wants to take the Math Puzzles elective, but because it's full she ends up in Swim 101. Pools are among the things Bree doesn't like and she also does not know how to swim. After a rocky start, Bree gets help from a neighbor, learns how to swim, and makes it onto the swim team. This is a fantastic graphic novel about friendship, teamwork, and perseverance. 

Adult Reading Recommendations


Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley

I needed a warm and joyful book recently and this hit the mark. Seven people become a part of each other's lives because they commute on the same train. Loved the characters and the story. I also enjoyed the author's previous book, The Authenticity Project, and hope she writes more. 

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Hannah found her roommate, April, dead in their dorm during her first year at Oxford. She provided testimony that helped to convict a porter at Oxford, but now ten years later, she is questioning whether he actually committed the crime. Th story alternates between what happened before April's death and what happened after. The mystery was intriguing and Ruth Ware's writing is atmospheric.

Monday, June 27, 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...


Bug on a Rug by Sophia Gholz and illustrated by Susan Batori

This is a really fun rhyming book about a bug, a pug, and a slug with a message about friendship and getting along. There is some clever word play that adds to the fun. It will make an entertaining read aloud.

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama by Loree Griffin Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

This nonfiction picture book will make a great addition to a collection of books about bees. It's a fascinating and informative story about how a swarm of honeybees was moved to a safer location. In addition to the story of the rescue, the author has interspersed additional facts related to bee removal. The backmatter of the book which includes an interview with the bee rescuer, a glossary, and an author's note give further insight. 

Mommy's Hometown by Hope Lin and illustrated by Jaime Kim

A boy has heard all about his mother's hometown in Korea, but when they go to visit the village has been replaced by a city. In spite of the differences, the boy and his mom make connections between the past and the present. This is a sweet story about home, family, and creating memories.  

Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo

Sue wants to join her friends at her a sleepover camp at the end of the summer, but her mother will not allow her to go. While on a month-long trip to visit family in Honduras, Sue's mother plans a surprise quincea├▒era for her, in spite of the fact that Sue has already made it clear that she doesn't want one. This is a sweet story about a teenager struggling to fit in and manage the expectations of those around her. The relationship between Sue and her abuelita is endearing. Readers of graphic novels about growing up will enjoy this one. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Monday, June 20, 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 Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

MJ's mom gives her a tiara for her first day of kindergarten and tells her what she needs to do to be Queen of Kindergarten. With confidence and joy, MJ fulfills her role as queen and has a perfect first day. This is a lovely follow-up to The King of Kindergarten.

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini and illustrated by Sawyer Cloud

An informative picture book about the history of Juneteenth. It's on the longer side for a picture book, but the author has done a great job providing details about the holiday.

Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster by Zoraida C├│rdova

This is a fun and action-packed fantasy about magical creatures and family. Valentina is missing her old life before her father died when her family used to be monster protectors. When she convinces her siblings to help her find the egg of a mythical creature what starts off as the worst summer becomes the greatest. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExucursion, with a review copy. The book publishes this month. 

Adult Reading Recommendation


The Nurse's Secret by Amanda Skenandore

This is historical fiction with a mystery and a bit of romance. It's set in the 1880's in New York and is based on the story of the first nursing school in the United States.

Monday, June 13, 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 Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Qin Leng

Three siblings spend the day at the beach making a sandcastle. They show perseverance and resilience each time their sandcastle gets demolished and they set out to rebuild. The illustrations in this wordless picture book are detailed and capture the delight of a beach day. 

Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Hyewon Yum

Luli and the others in her class don't speak English and all play by themselves. When Luli brings tea to class one day, the children find a common connection in spite of their language differences. This is an incredibly sweet story. The author has included information about tea drinking in each of the countries represented in the book. 

Piglet Comes Home by Melissa Shapiro and illustrated by Ellie Snowdon

Based on a true story, a tiny, pink dog who is both deaf and blind finds a forever home. The six other dogs who live with Piglet help him feel warm and safe and he helps them when they find themselves in a scary situation. More information about the real-life Piglet and how his story helps to encourage kindness, empathy, and resilience can be found at the Piglet Mindset website.

The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Leo Espinosa

On a city block in Brooklyn, kids spend the summer having fun, enjoying their freedom, and believing anything is possible. Although I grew up in a small town rather than a city, this book reminded me of my childhood when my siblings and neighborhood friends pretty much spent the entire summer outside. This book is full of summer joy.

Monday, June 6, 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...


Kesar and the Lullaby Birds by Aditi Oza and illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta

Kesar's sister will not fall asleep at night in spite of her family's efforts to get her to do so. When Kesar's ba visits, she shares a story that gives Kesar an idea to help her sister sleep. Set in the Rann of Kutch, this book gives insight into Indian culture. The author's note at the end provides more information about the setting and the folk art and craft that inspired the story. This is a sweet story about sisters with beautiful illustrations. Thanks to the publisher, Yali Books, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Poopsie by Hannah E. Harrison

Poopsie is an indoor cat who spends her time sleeping, eating, and looking fluffy until the narrator of the book urges her to go outside and have an adventure. The narrator guides Poopsie out of her yard and right into a jungle filled with danger including crocodiles, snakes, and tigers. Even in the face of fear, Poopsie shows the narrator how daring and adventurous she really is. This is a clever and humorous story.

The Do-Over by Jennifer Torres

Twins, Raquel and Lucinda, live with their mother, but when the pandemic begins they all go to stay with their father. Even though their father has a new girlfriend who is also living with him, the sisters want their parents to have a do-over and get back together. This is a heartwarming story about sisters and blended families. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group with an advanced reader's copy. 

Adult Reading Recommendation


The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

Similar to the author's previous book, The Last Flight, this is one I couldn't put down. The book alternates between the perspective of two women, one a con artist, and both having been betrayed by others. It's a story of lies, deceit, and revenge that kept me wanting to know how everything tied together. An interesting tidbit about the author is that she is a fifth grade teacher (in this interview with Maria Shriver, she talks about the challenges of being a teacher right now). I am amazed that she can find the time and energy to teach and write novels!

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.