Monday, January 2, 2023

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 Send a Hug by Hayley Rocco and illustrated by John Rocco

Artie wants to give her grandma a hug, but she lives too far away so she sends one in a letter. Inspired by the author's childhood, when letter writing was a common form of communication, readers will be introduced to the magic of sending a hug through the mail. This is an ode to the old-fashioned letter, as well as a touching story about the love between a child and her grandma. 

Picture Day Jitters (The Jitters Series) by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love

Mrs. Hartwell's class is not having their class picture taken until the end of the day. They try to keep tidy the entire day and Mrs. Hartwell steps in to fix whatever goes wrong. They may not be so tidy by picture time, but they still get a perfect picture. A relatable book for teachers and students.

Snow Horses: A First Night Story by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Micha Archer

Tim and Tom, two Percheron horses, pull their sleigh, along with their driver, Jenny, through the snowy town celebrating the last night of the year. Both children and adults enjoy the magic of the horse-drawn sleigh. This is a beautiful story about welcoming the New Year that celebrates community.

A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling and illustrated by Dung Ho

Ren is excited that it's time to celebrate Lunar New Year. As her family prepares she is told she is too little to help, but when her brother arrives that changes. This is a joyous book about family and celebration. 

The Totally Not Wicked Stepmother by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Neha Rawat

The narrator of this book knows all about wicked stepmothers from fairytales and when she meets hers is very suspicious. Unlike the stepmothers of those popular tales, this one is not forcing chores on anyone or handing out poisonous apples, but is there to save the day. This is a very sweet story with a positive message about stepparents and blended families.

The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold

Rio is sent to live with his grandmother in California while his mother, still in London, is receiving treatment at a hospital. He does not like being separated from his mother, but her learns about her love of whales, especially one known as White Beak, and he becomes interested as well. He meets a new friend on the beach and she introduces him to the wonders of whale-watching and he realizes he has a special skill that proves useful when a whale needs help. This is a touching story about friendship, adventure, and the connection between humans and animals.

Adult Reading Recommendations

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

This was one of the last novels I read in 2022, but definitely not the least. I would say it's in my list of top favorites from the year. The story follows Wanda who was born during a devastating hurricane in Florida. It's a beautifully written story of survival and resilience and also one about climate change as the author has imagined a future in which the state is battered by storms and becomes drastically altered. Although fiction, it made me think about whether the situation, as it was imagined, could become a reality.

Locust Lane by Stephen Amidon

On Locust Lane, in a wealthy suburb of Boston, a young woman is found murdered. The investigation into her murder involves three teenage friends who go to high school together. The story is told from varying perspectives including the parents of the teenagers and the victim. This was an interesting story about the lengths parents will go to in order to protect their children. It also explores privilege and wealth. It's more of a domestic drama than a thriller or mystery, but I still wanted to keep reading to find out who was guilty. 


  1. Happy New Year, Lisa! I bookmarked Picture Day Jitters, know it will be a fun book to read to students on that day. It was a big one for my students every year. Thanks for sharing Snow Horses, sounds lovely, & the two adult books. The 60 Minutes piece last night about climate change was frightening, connects to The Light Pirate.

  2. Happy new year! A Sweet New Year for Ren is on my TBR since I like both of the creators.

  3. Happy New Year. Straight away I added How to Send a Hug to my list. I adore books about intergenerational relationships. The Light Pirate sounds both fascinating and important. I recently finished Two Degrees by Alan Gratz. Given that most of that is already happening, it is terrifying to think about what the world will be like in another decade.

  4. I'm adding books to my TBR list now! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!