Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Niki Nakayama: A Chef's Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak and Debbie Michiko Florence, illustrated by Yuko Jones


Niki Nakayama grew up in Los Angeles in a traditional Japanese family. As a child she loved creating her own recipes and trying new foods.  When she expressed a desire to go to culinary school and become a chef, she was told she was too small and delicate to work in a restaurant kitchen. It seemed like people at every turn were telling her that a woman couldn't be a professional chef. 

Not only did Niki prove the doubters wrong about her ability to stand toe-to-toe with the best Japanese sushi chefs, she eventually decided to fulfill her ultimate dream of becoming a kaiseki chef, which is a type of cuisine that focuses on quality ingredients, technique, and story-telling. 

This picture book biography is a feast for the senses. As I read the book I became more and more intrigued by the idea of kaiseki and even sought out the episode of Chef's Table that Nakayama was featured on so I could learn more about her and the type of cuisine in which she specializes. If you have a budding chef in your life or just want to learn more about badass women busting glass ceilings, I highly recommend this wonderful book. 


Niki Nakayama: A Chef's Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak and Debbie Michiko Florence, illustrated by Yuko Jones
Published: September 14, 2021
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 40
Genre: Picture book biography
Audience: Primary/middle grade
Disclosure: Library Copy
If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Monday, October 18, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-18-21



I
t's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Hi friends! Over on TikTok, I am having fun making book and dog-related content. Sometimes at the same time:

@bibliophilebeth

“I see you have tacos (and dragons). I too, enjoy tacos.” –Hazel Grace ##StudentSectionSauce ##tacos ##fyp ##foryoupage ##booktok ##frenchiesoftiktok

♬ Taco Dragon Tango - Puppy Songs


Last week I had the honor of participating in the blog your for Anne Ursu's new book The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy



I also recently read and enjoyed:
Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen, illustrated by Aaron Becker
Recently there have been quite a few picture books to come out about the 9/11 Survivor Tree, so it takes a lot to make each one stand out. With this book, what stands out is when the single turn of a page makes you gasp and leave you speechless, you know you've experienced something special.


Let Me Fix You a Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Elizabeth Lilly
A heartfelt and nostalgic celebration of family, diversity, and food


Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
A mouth-watering book about food, family, and tradition


Every Cake Has a Story by Christina Tosi, illustrated by Emily Balsley
I love that Christina Tosi of MILK BAR wrote a children's book about expanding your palate beyond just plain old vanilla cake. Not only did this book make me hungry, but it made me want to order a cake from MILK BAR as soon as humanly possible.


There's a Ghost in This House by Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers ingeniously uses vellum throughout this book as a way to overlay pages so that, in a brilliant use of dramatic irony, the reader sees the ghosts but the main character does not. I can’t wait to read this one to my students.


Currently reading: 

One Life: Young Readers Edition by Megan Rapinoe






Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Blog Tour: The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu

 Today is the publication date for Anne Ursu's beautiful new novel The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy. Thank you to Walden Pond Press and HarperCollins for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy.  

I am going to let you in on a little secret, dear reader. I normally have a major aversion to fantasy novels. I prefer reading books in this world because I know how to navigate it and fantasy always seems like so much work to me. We all have our biases as readers, right? However, I always make an exception to Anne Ursu's novels because I know that despite the fantasy world she has built, she is  making a social commentary on the world in which we are currently living. And The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy is no different. Like Ursu's previous novels, this book deals with themes of feminism and girl power, this time with a particular focus on women and girls who have to follow along with the leadership of mediocre men (and women who want proximity to power) who gaslight them.

About the Book:

If no one notices Marya Lupu, it’s likely because of her brother, Luka. And that’s because of what everyone knows: Luka is destined to become a sorcerer.

The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city, but that doesn’t matter. Every young boy born in Illyria may possess the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread. For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrible mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupus receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy — a mysterious school for wayward young girls. Girls like Marya.

Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she’s never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country’s powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself — things that threaten the precarious balance upon which their country is built.

About the Author:

Anne Ursu is the author of the acclaimed novels The Lost Girl, Breadcrumbs, and The Real Boy, which was longlisted for the National Book Award. The recipient of a McKnight Fellowship Award in Children’s Literature, Anne is also a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Minneapolis with her family and an ever-growing number of cats. You can visit her online at www.anneursu.com.


PRAISE FOR THE TROUBLED GIRLS OF DRAGOMIR ACADEMY

A wonderful and inspiring feminist fantasy.” – Kirkus

"An accessible, timely school story with a rather Transylvanian flavor to its fantasy setting. Ursu explores girls’ conditioning in timidity and shame in a male-dominated world and, ultimately, envisions a hopeful, female-determined future of magical ability." - Horn Book Magazine

“A suspenseful tale woven with secrets and magic, with a gasp-worthy twist at the end, The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy is everything I love about fantasy. Spell-binding.” - Christina Soontornvat, Newbery Honor-winning author of A Wish in the Dark

“Anne Ursu practices her own brand of sorcery—the ability to craft wondrous, magical stories that are unlike anything you’ve ever read. Another extraordinary tale from a remarkably talented author.” - Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe

"A thoughtful and incisive story of lies told to control people and the complicated girls who ask questions, push back, and keep fighting." - Tui Sutherland, New York Times-bestselling author of the Wings of Fire series

“It’s no secret that Anne Ursu is a gifted storyteller. The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy is intricately plotted and compulsively readable, with characters who will stay with you long after you stop reading. I could not put it down.” - Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound

"The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy manages the particular magic of being both a true fantasy novel and a clear-eyed reflection of the here-and-now. Bighearted, generous, and outstandingly original, this is a story only Anne Ursu could write."- Elana K. Arnold, award-winning author of The House That Wasn't There


Here are two upcoming virtual author events with Anne Ursu:

Tuesday October 13, 2021 at 7 pm CT Anne will launch her book in a virtual conversation with Laura Ruby, hosted by the RED BALLOON BOOKSHOP in St. Paul Minnesota.Click here for more information. We hope you will join us!

October 26, 2021 at 6 pm CT Anne will be in conversation with Kelly Barnhill, hosted by WILD RUMPUS BOOKS in Minneapolis.Please click here for more information. We hope you will join us then as well!


BLOG TOUR STOPS

October 12 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

                     Unleashing Readers

October 13 Read Wonder

October 14 Nerdy Book Club

October 15 A Library Mama

October 16 Maria’s Mélange

October 17 By Singing Light

October 18 Bluestocking Thinking

October 20 Insatiable Readers

Monday, September 27, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-27-21

It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at 
Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Hi friends! Over on TikTok this week, I was busy making some fun book-related videos:

@bibliophilebeth

But also, I’m gonna interrogate you about your likes and dislikes cuz I got lots of recommendations but we’re gonna need to narrow it down ##booktok

♬ Its What I Do by teezeesounds - teezeesounds

@bibliophilebeth

When you have to replenish book displays after 7th grade leaves ##happylibrarian ##librariansoftiktok ##schoollibrarian ##booktok

♬ Happy - Pharrell Williams

Last week I read and enjoyed:

When We Make It by Elizabet Velasquez
Fans of Elizabeth Acevedo will devour this novel in verse by Elisabet Velasquez. This is the story of Sarai and the daily struggles of living in poverty in Brooklyn as the child of first generation Puerto Ricans. The writing in this novel in verse is beautiful; I particularly love that Velasquez uses Spanglish throughout the narrative, but doesn't feel compelled to translate for her monolingual readers, choosing instead to ask them to use context clues or to seek the translations on their own. While the writing was beautiful and kept me turning pages, the story is a difficult read and one that felt short on hope, which is ultimately why it took me longer to read this book than it typically does for a novel in verse. Sarai's family situation -- an emotionally distant mother in addition to their dire financial situation-- is one that many young (and not-so-young) readers will certainly identify with, but doesn't make it any less difficult to read about. I chalk this up to a book that is a necessary but difficult read.


Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A stunning tribute to Nina Simone. The writing is engaging while the pictures draw you in and beg you to pore over them and ask questions. I could totally see a Caldecott sticker on this in January.


Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Geneva Bowers

A book filled with all kinds of Black Girl Magic as a young girl admires all the ways her hair is adaptable as it is styled by her mama.

Kids love reading about poop. And this book pairs poop with a water-borne disease epidemic that is certain to make this an interesting and timely read for kids.


War by Jose Jorge and Andrea Letria
With both spare text and illustrations, and each page a new metaphor for war, this book will get (older) kids thinking about the toll and cost of war and lead to fruitful discussions.


Currently reading:

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu


Currently reading with my ears: 

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

Monday, September 20, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-20-21

It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at 
Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

I recently read and loved:
When I See Red by Britta Teckentrup
A book that reflects on the importance of embracing anger as a healthy emotion when it is worked through in healthy ways. I love that the message of this book is that no longer should women and girls show only pleasant emotions, but that anger is helpful and can even make you powerful.


Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth, illustrated Romina Galotta
The story this book is based on was featured on NPR's This American life. If you love libraries and librarians, this book will make you tear up.


Change Sings by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long
Amanda Gorman writes a moving testament to inclusivity and embracing change. This beautiful story begins with one young girl playing her song with just a guitar, and as the story progresses, many different faces, voices, and instruments join her as a reminder that our diversity is what makes us great.


A Song of Frutas by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sara Palacios
A young girl helps her grandfather sell fruit when she visits him in Cuba. Don't miss the author's note at the end which gives great background on what inspired the author to write the book in Spanglish from the travel restrictions that families must endure as a result of our strained relationship with Cuba.


Sharice's Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids & Nancy L. Mays, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshing Pawis-Steckley
A wonderful and engaging picture book biography of one of the first Native American women to be elected to Congress.


Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall
When a young boy pesters his parents for a cat, they finally give in, but are disappointed that the cat they bring home and name Max is a “negative cat.” So the family considers sending him back to the shelter, until the young boy discovers something special and redeeming about Max…


Currently reading:

When We Make It by Elizabet Velasquez


Currently reading with my ears:

When You Ask Me Where I'm Going by Jasmin Kaur

Monday, August 30, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-30-21

 


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at 
Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Last week was the start of the school year and I began year 15 back in the library:
@bibliophilebeth

Tomorrow starts year 15 of teachcing and I’m back in my happy place ##schollibrary ##schoollibrarian ##booktok ##kidlit

♬ I Love Your Smile - Shanice

I also got some amazing books that arrived on my front porch:


@bibliophilebeth

Book mail from Prestel ##booktok ##kidlit ##booktalk ##picturebooks

♬ Blackbird - Acoustic Guitar Revival

@bibliophilebeth

Today’s bookmail ##booktok ##bookmail ##bookmailisthebestmail ##schoollibrarian

♬ Wii Shop Channel - McTweet

And this was by far the best bookmail that arrived last week:
@bibliophilebeth

I got an amazing shipment from @penguinrandomhouse today – a brand new picture book from Amanda Gorman

♬ Send Me on My Way - Guy Meets Girl

Amanda Gorman writes a moving testament to inclusivity and embracing change. This beautiful story begins with one young girl playing her song with just a guitar, and as the story progresses, many different faces, voices, and instruments join her as a reminder that our diversity is what makes us great.

Currently (still) reading: 


Currently (still) reading with my ears:
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi


One last thing: I posted this last week, but it deserves another mention... if you are a teacher or librarian and have created an Amazon wishlilst for your classroom that is filled with books, I would encourage you to see if your local independent bookstore (if you have one) has a wishlist feature on their website and create one with them. While I am an Amazon affiliate, I also recognize the importance of supporting independent bookstores and so I created a wishlist on my local indie's website, Nicola's Books. Nicola's has been a fixture in my community and has hosted many wonderful author events over the years. Not to mention they are a five minute drive from my house, so I can get the books I need in less time than it would take for Amazon Prime to deliver it to my house. 

Anyway, that's just a thought. I know not everyone has a local independent bookstore in their community.  

Monday, August 23, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-23-21


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at 
Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Hello, friends! I hope you all are safe and healthy as another pandemic school year begins. I'm excited to be back in the library this year, as I went back to teaching 8th grade English last year out of necessity. 

Here's what I've been up to in my reading the past few weeks:

TikTok Book Talks:

A picture book biography of Bob Ross
@bibliophilebeth

If you’re ever looking for a biography of Bob Ross, you can thank me (my student, actually) later. ##foryoupage ##fyp ##happylittletrees ##bobross ##kidlit

♬ Comical and a little silly carefree music(831995) - Etsuo Kawasaki


I recently read and enjoyed:
The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin
Eugene (Yevgeny) Yelchin grew up under the oppressive communist regime in Soviet Russia and this is his memoir of his childhood growing up in a communal apartment with one of his neighbors being an informant to the KGB and the pressure his parents put on him to have a talent that would eventually help give his family some upward mobility.


When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, illustrated by Aaron Asis
A young girl's grandmother (lola) visits from the Philippines and she thinks about all the ways she knows it's summer, particularly the way summer smells. A wonderful mentor text to use with students about sensory writing.


Isobel Adds It Up by Kristy Everington, illustrated by A.G. Ford
Isobel loves math and loves doing her homework, but her new noisy neighbors are making that difficult for her. So one day she decides you can catch more flies with honey and sends them a letter. What she discovers next soon surprises her...

A lovely and fun story about the power of dealing with conflict head-on.


Not Little by Maya Myers, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Dot may be small and have a small name but she's not little. One day she meets a new student in her class who may be even smaller than her. Sam gets picked on by another student and she decides she will have none of that...


Currently reading: 


Currently reading with my ears:
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi


One last thing: if you are a teacher or librarian and have created an Amazon wishlilst for your classroom that is filled with books, I would encourage you to see if your local independent bookstore (if you have one) has a wishlist feature on their website and create one with them. While I am an Amazon affiliate, I also recognize the importance of supporting independent bookstores and so I created a wishlist on my local indie's website, Nicola's Books. Nicola's has been a fixture in my community and has hosted many wonderful author events over the years. Not to mention they are a five minute drive from my house, so I can get the books I need in less time than it would take for Amazon Prime to deliver it to my house. 

Anyway, that's just a thought. I know not everyone has a local independent bookstore in their community.