Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Short & Sweet by Josh Funk


Josh Funk is back with another Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast adventure, this time the two friends are feeling a little stale. Professor Biscotti has a contraption in his lab that will help to despoil them, but in an attempt to make them fresh again, they instead transform into little kids! Now it's a race against the clock for Professor Biscotti and Baron von Waffle to try to transform Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast back to their old selves.

I adore every picture book that Josh Funk creates, but I hold a special place in my heart for his Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast books. Not only is Josh one of the most effective and adept authors when it comes to rhyming picture books, which can get hokey really quickly, but this series speaks to the foodie in me loves his playful use of food in these stories. Phrases like the Fjords of Farfalle, Bran Canyon, and the Great Wall of Pine Nuts gave me a good chuckle (and made me a little bit hungry). 

But even better than his rhyming and clever use of foodie phrases, are his incredible book trailers which he created, recorded, and SANG himself. Yes, I think it's safe to say that Josh Funk is a jack of all picture book trades. 


Also watch the trailers from the previous books in the Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series:




Short & Sweet by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Published: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Sterling
Pages: 40
Genre/ Format: Picture Book
Audience: Primary
Disclosure: Digital copy of book provided by author


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, September 14, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-14-2020

                              
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 I read and loved:
Your Name Is a Song
Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
A beautiful book that is a reminder to everyone, teachers especially, that names are sacred and we must respect them enough to learn how to pronounce them.

A Journey Toward Hope
A Journey Toward Hope by Victor Hinojosa and Coert Vorhees, illustrated by Susan Guevara
A beautiful, heart-wrenching story about a group of children making the dangerous journey from Guatemala and El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States.

Currently Reading:
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Point-Less: An English Teacher's Guide to More Meaningful Grading

My Life in the Fish Tank


Currently reading with my ears:
Invisible Ghosts
Invisible Ghosts by Robin Schneider

Monday, September 7, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-7-2020


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.


Happy Labor Day! Since my last post at the end of July, a lot has happened. I have started school in person. I am now teaching 8th grade English again. And while I am grateful that I still have a job and I have an amazing class this year 1) I am grieving not being in the library this year and pray that this job shift is only temporary 2) I am extremely worried about being back in person, especially since I live and work in a college town.

But anyway. Here's what I've been up to reading-wise the past six weeks.
Say It Louder!: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy
Say It Louder! Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy by Tiffany D. Cross
Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. I loved Tiffany Cross's conviction in both her writing style and her narration of the audioibook.

Despite a media narrative that states otherwise, Black voters are not a monolith. And the criticism that they blindly vote for Democrats because there's some sort of unspoken rule in the Black community is incredibly disingenuous and lacks any sort of intellectual curiosity when it comes to Black America's motivations. The fact of the matter is, the Black community recognizes that all politics and systems in America seek to harm them in some way; they just choose to vote for the party that harms them the least. They are under no delusions that voting for Democrats is also not going to harm them in some way. They're just choosing the path of least resistance and least harm.

I love how Tiffany Cross provides readers (and listeners) with historical context and supplants that sense of intellectual curiosity that has been lacking in the media as to why Black America votes the way they do.

Cloud and Wallfish
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Berlin is my absolute favorite city in the entire world. The past and the present hold hands with each other in such interesting and seamless ways, and yet the city has a youthful energy that is almost palpable. So reading a book that takes place in East Berlin in 1989 just as the Iron Curtain is crumbling, it reminded me of all of that intrigue and beating pulse of the city.

Salma the Syrian Chef
Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron
Salma just moved to Vancouver, Canada from Syria as a refugee. Despite missing her home and her father back in Syria, Salma and her mom are building a community in their new home. But Salma still sees the sadness in her mother and wants to cheer her up. She decides to enlist the help of her new community and make one of her mother's favorite dishes, but not without a few problems along the way. This is a beautiful story that shows just how powerful and impactful a welcoming community can be that provides safety nets for people who are struggling or in danger.


Natsumi's Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston, illustrated by Nisa Saburi
An enchanting story of family, friendship, and summertime in Japan.

Izzy and Frank
Izzy and Frank by Katrina Lehman, illustrated by Sophie Beer
Izzy loves her lighthouse home and especially loves her seagull friend, Frank. But then she has to move away from the home and friend she loves to the big city and she is sure she'll never see Frank again. But then one day, Frank finds her and brings her memories of her old home.

How to Write a Story
How to Write a Story by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel
An excellent mentor text to use with students when doing any sort of fiction writing in class. I plan to use this when I do NaNoWriMo with my 8th graders.

That's Life!
That's Life! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
If this book had been written by a different author, it would have come off as hokey, didactic, and full of nothing but cliches and platitude. It's basically the picture book version of the Frank Sinatra song of the same name. But somehow the way Ame Dyckman does it, paired with Cori Doerrfeld's endearing illustrations, this book is an inspiring revelation.


Drawing on Walls: A story of Keith Haring by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Josh Cochran
An inspiring and heartfelt picture book biography of the artist Keith Haring. His work really takes me back to when I was a child/teen in the late 80s/early 90s because his work really was part of the cultural zeitgeist.

How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea
How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Ziyue Chen
A compelling account of women's suffrage in America 

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb!
Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker
Fighting Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed, was the first Black woman ever elected to Congress and the first woman to run for president. The fantastic biography, emphasizes all the ways Shirley Chisholm lived her life by doing.

Luci Soars
Luci Soars by Lulu Delacre
What if your shadow is what is keeping you rooted to the ground and preventing you from flying?


Currently Reading:
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Point-Less: An English Teacher's Guide to More Meaningful Grading

Monday, July 27, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-27-2020


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.



My anxiety has been sky high this past week. The thought of returning to school in a few weeks just makes me completely despondent. So, if you're feeling like me, I thought I would share with you a couple things I watched that are book-related that made me feel less anxious





Both The Baby-Sitters Club and Timmy Failure were exactly what I needed this past week. The character-driven stories and low-conflict plots were easy to watch and made me feel like I was wearing a comfortable pair of pajamas. I highly recommend both, but especially The Baby-Sitters Club. It has a lovely 90s aesthetic and nostalgia and yet it is updated for 2020 by including poignant feminist, identity, and social justice themes. I'm really hoping another season is in the works. 


Last week I finished reading:

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone 

I loved that the sequel to Dear Martin is told from Quan's perspective, a character we were introduced to in the first book, but made a lot of assumptions about. Dear Justyce gives him his own voice and his own story.


I also read and loved:

I Yoga You by Genevieve Santos
This is a beautiful rhyming board book that uses yoga poses to talk about the ways parents love their children.


Currently Reading:

Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe by Carole Boston Weatherford 



Currently Reading with My Ears:

Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think by David Litt

Monday, July 6, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-6-2020


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 I posted:

500 Episodes of Nuance and Hard Conversations


Last week I read and loved:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
A beautiful novel about family and grief. The audiobook reads like an extended spoken word poetry performance.


Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
Not just a poetry collection but a call to action


Currently Reading:

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Friday, July 3, 2020

500 Episodes of Nuance and Hard Conversations


Recently I reviewed the book I Think You're Wrong (But I'm listening) by the amazing women of the Pantsuit Politics podcast. Today is their 500th episode. It is by far my favorite podcast. It is the one that I listen to on the exact day that it drops in my feed without fail, and that is because podcast that has given me so much hope, peace, and calm in the midst of the contentious storm of American Politics. I have so often called them my Political Prozac that I'm thinking of trademarking the term. ;)

I talk about this podcast a lot both on social media and with the people I know and love. And that's because I cannot stress enough how they have changed me and made me a better citizen.

 And as much as I talk about my love for Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, I've never told anyone this story about what kind, gracious, and generous women they are. Back in 2018, serendipity caused Sara Kajder and me to get to present with Beth and Sarah at NCTE in Houston. When I mentioned in an offhanded comment on a Pantsuit Politics Instagram post in late 2017 that I was part of a presentation at NCTE that year in St. Louis with Sara and she had mentioned how she uses the podcast in her classroom to show her students how to disagree respectfully, Beth replied by saying that her mom, a former English teacher, was an NCTE member and actually sat next to Sara on a flight home from NCTE once. That led to Beth agreeing to have her and Sarah present with us the next year about ways to disagree respectfully in the classroom.


I've told the story of presenting with them at NCTE to many people. What I often leave out of the story is that even though Beth and Sarah had a brand new book coming out a few months after NCTE and I had assumed that their publisher would pay for their trip to Houston, Beth and Sarah actually paid their own way just to present with us. All because Beth knew what a valuable organization NCTE was for teachers and how much her mom loved and respected my dear colleague Sara Kajder. 

And so. What I'd like to attest is that Beth and Sarah don't just SEEM like the wonderful women they present themselves to be every week, they ARE those women. When you meet them in person, they are the exact same Beth & Sarah that you hear twice a week on their podcast (or maybe three times a week if you listen to their Nuanced Life podcast too).

So congrats on 500 episodes, Sarah and Beth! Here's to 5,000 more!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Follow Pantsuit Politics on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (their daily newsbrief on Instagram is top notch!). You can also support them on Patreon.

And also: subscribe to their podcast!

Monday, June 22, 2020

It's Monday! What are You Reading? 6-22-2020



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:

This is My America by Kim Johnson
Not only is this book an indictment on the criminal justice system in America and the myriad ways, both subtle and overt, that white supremacy harms BIPOC, but it is also a page-turning mystery that will leave readers satisfied at the end.


I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes by Gordon C. James
In a society that fears Black men and treats Black boys like adults, books that remind Black boys of their goodness are so important, and also, an unlearning that must happen for white children and adults who implicitly see Black boys and men as threats.

I hope in my lifetime a book like this won’t seem like a paradigm shift and instead will only be looked upon as a sweet, uplifting book for children.


Can I Give You a Squish? by Emily Neilson
If you’re looking for a book to talk with kids about the concept of consent that is instructive but not overly didactic, look no further than Can I Give You a Squish


First Day Critter Jitters by Jory John, illustrated by Liz Climo
A variety of animals express the various reasons they're nervous for the first day of school. This sweet story manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time.


Mayhem at the Museum by Luciano Lozano
The art comes to life in this wordless picture book about a girl who ho goes to an art museum and is disappointed when she sees the sign that says “do not touch the art” but soon realizes that the art touches you.


Currently reading:

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe by Carole Boston Weatherford 

Currently (still) reading with my ears:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo