Sunday, September 2, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-3-18



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 reviewed:

How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, Illustrated by Hatem Aly
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino


I finished reading:

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker: Incognito by Shelley Johannes
Beatrice Zinker always has the best intentions but sometimes she doesn’t stop to think how her actions might be received by others. As her kind gestures get her into a wee bit of trouble, she must use her superhero ninja skills to get herself out of a few pickles. What I love about this series is that the conflicts seem silly to adults, but after hanging around second and third graders the past few years, Beatrice Zinker’s antics seem totally plausible.


The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
Aaaaagh! Whyyyyy do YA series books these days have to always end in cliffhangers?


Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza
You don't know what you got till it's gone. I felt completely bereft while reading this. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
A Perfect read aloud for the first week of school 


The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
I had a hard time reading this through all the tears, but it's one of the most beautiful and palpable, but ultimately hopeful, books about grief I have ever read.


Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
A poetic memoir of Juan Felipe Herrera, born to humble farmworkers who eventually became the poet laureate of the United States.


A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
Beautiful story and illustrations that celebrates the Asian Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.


Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
Mr. Panda is such a lovable curmudgeon.


Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
I love that Kate Schatz is continuing with her Rad Women series this time focusing on young women, some not even teenagers, and how they've made a difference in their communities, their country, and the world. I especially love that the focus of this book, though not exclusively, is on young girls who are still living and making a difference.

Currently reading with my eyes and ears:

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle
Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

ARC review: You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino

Jillian is experiencing growing pains in the form of life lessons. Her new baby sister was born deaf and she is dealing with some racial tensions in her family as well as in a newly forming friendship.

While this is a book written for kids, Gino is very open that it "is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States," as they stated in the author's note at the end.

The part of the book that especially spoke to me was the tension-filled Thanksgiving dinner where Jilly is saddened to learn that some of her family members are racist. That was such a palpable moment in the story.

If I had one criticism of the book is that it's as subtle as a sledgehammer in addressing political issues, to the point where it feels a bit didactic in places. But the book has lovable characters and its greatest strength is that it models the necessity for white people to talk about race and in order to do that, we need to get uncomfortable and recognize that we're going to screw up. But doing and saying nothing speaks just as loudly as saying something offensive. 


You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 256
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: Advance reader copy provided by publisher


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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Matilda Macaroni is an adventurous eater. But she certainly doesn't get that from her parents.

While her parents only eat things like chicken nuggets, pizza, mac and cheese, and sugary cereal, Matilda would much prefer to eat quiche, jambalaya, miso soup, and sushi. Since she can't get those things from her parents, she resorts to making meals for her more sophisticated palate with her grandmother and babysitter.

When Matilda offers to make her parents a very safe meal of hamburgers and fries for dinner, even that starts off on shaky ground. Will Matilda convince her parents to branch out and try new things?

While this book definitely exaggerates a role reversal of the usual scenario of kids being picky eaters, How to Feed Your Parents is a good conversation starter for parents to have with their kids about healthy food habits and learning to turn on their sense of curiosity rather than fear when it comes to new flavors. As a recovering picky eater, I think had my parents taught me about food from a young age by letting me help with dinner and showing me to have a respect for where food comes from, I might not have been so distrustful of what was being put in front of me at the kitchen table. As a result, I didn't start branching out my food palate until I was in college, sticking to a diet very similar to Matilda's parents.

So for me, the takeaway of this book is: teach your kids about food from a very young age and make it fun and interesting for them to try new things.


How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Published: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Sterling
Pages: 40
Genre/Format: Picture book
Audience: Primary
Disclosure: Finished copy provided by publisher

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, August 6, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-6-18


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:

Good Rosie by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss
A sweet tale of a dog named Rosie who lives a quiet, routine life with her owner George. One day George decides to change their routine and go to the dog park instead of their daily walk and what results is the awkwardness of making new friends. 

Just like with many of DiCamillo's books, Good Rosie doesn't hit you over the head with a grandiose plot or an obvious lesson. Instead, its quiet simplicity makes you think and just enjoy a good story.


Hide and Seek by Anthony Browne
Cy and Poppy go play hide and seek in the woods to distract themselves from how sad they feel that their dog Goldie is missing. Readers will soon discover there is more to the title than just two kids playing hide and seek.


Currently reading:

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker: Incognito by Shelley Johannes
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino


Currently reading with my ears:

The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi

Monday, July 30, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-30-18


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 we announced  ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists. This week, WE HAVE A WINNER! 
Being part of this committee is a true labor of YA lit love. 


Last week I finished reading:

Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives by Jennifer Buehler
In this book, Dr. Jennifer Buehler writes of the myriad ways that teachers can use YA lit in their pedagogy, not just as a supplement, but as examplar texts. This book includes explanations for how YA lit is complex, ways to assess the reading of YA in the classroom, and talking points for the naysayers who don't think YA should be taught instead of the classics (AKA, old dead white guys).


(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen
Jensen's first anthology about feminism blew me away and was visually stunning. This book about mental health is equally as engaging, visually appealing, and important. Add this to your YA nonfiction collection in October.


Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery
If you haven’t watched Mac Barnett’s TED talk, do that before you read this book; The absurdity will make more sense. Absurdity that includes, the Queen of England, stolen Crown Jewels, the queen’s corgis, the Mona Lisa, and the KGB. A great new transitional chapter book series for students in grades 2&3.


Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings by Naseem Hrab, illustrated by Josh Holinaty
Ira Crumb’s chin wibbles and the tears fall when his friends and classmates choose to play tag over his preferred hide and seek. A sweet story about allowing grace for yourself when you’re feeling sad.

Monday, July 23, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-23-18



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'm excited that at noon EST, the finalists for ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award will be announced. Check back on my Twitter or Instagram for the finalist announcement later today. 


Last week I finished reading:


Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement and More by Mallika Chopra
While this isn't a book I would recommend to read on your own because it's hard to meditate and read at the same time, a teacher wanting to adopt mindfulness meditation in their classroom, this could read the meditations aloud.


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

A Drop of the Sea by Ingrid Chabbert, illustrated by Raul Nieto Guridi
A young boy who lives with his great grandmother goes in a journey to find the ocean to bring some of it back to her since that is the only dream she has not fulfilled in her life.


I Got a Chicken for My Birthday by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne
Ana asked her abuela for tickets to an amusement park for her birthday but instead she got a chicken. Her disappointment may not last long, however when she sees what the chicken is planning in their backyard.


Just Being Jackie by Margaret Cardillo, illustrated by Julia Denos
Jacqueline Kennedy is the closest thing to American Royalty we have ever had. She was more than just an accessory on the president’s arm. When they traveled abroad, her conversation and diplomacy was often preferred over that of her husband. She might have appeared to be the perfect politician’s wife, always standing by her man, but she had a mind and career of her own and she brought all of her intellect and social prowess to her role as First Lady. I enjoyed learning more about Jackie in this well-written, breezily illustrated biography of one of the most beloved First Ladies in American history.


Doll-E 1.0 by Shanda McCloskey
In a book that initially seems like it’s going to be another criticism of “kids these days” and their addiction to technology, Shanda McCloskey instead turns it into a tale of a young girl with some kick-ass coding chops.


Jerome By Heart by Thomas Scotto, illustrated by Olivier Tallec
A beautiful story about two boys who are best friends and aren’t afraid to express their affection for each other.


Idea Jar by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Deb Pilutti
“It’s important to create stories for your ideas or else your ideas get rowdy... when it’s part of a story, an idea is happy.”

A great mentor text to use with students about doing something with all those gathered ideas we store away in notebooks, jars, or even our heads.

Currently (still) reading:

Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives by Jennifer Buehler

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-9-18


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 finished reading:

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
This book. It is so beautiful and important. I can’t believe the tenderness and love with which Krosoczka handles his incredibly difficult childhood. The nuance in his perspective on his mom’s addiction and grandparents’ alcoholism is something I hope everyone takes away from reading this graphic memoir. Humans are flawed and complex. Love them anyway. Pre-order this if you teach middle school or high school. In the mean time, watch Krosoczka's TED Talk, which is basically this book but in TED Talk form.


Rebound by Kwame Alexander
The prequel to the Newbery-award-winning The Crossover, we now get to read the story of Chuck Bell, father of Josh and JB, main characters of The Crossover. This book was good, but nothing will ever beat the magic and swag of the first book. 

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation edited by Maureen Johnson
Wonderful compilation of essays, interviews, poems, and stories of resistance


Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
I liked the idea of this book more than the execution. There was a lot of good information but you had to sift through a lot of the anecdotes and self-indulgence to get to the meat of the book. I still recommend it for people who want to try mindfulness meditation, just know you’re likely going to be doing some skimming.


Picture books that stood out in the pile:


What is Chasing Duck?
There's a Pest in the Garden
My Friends Make Me Happy
My Toothbrush is Missing by Jan Thomas
An adorable new early reader series that will speak to the heart and humor of Elephant and Piggie fans. Just like The Pigeon is hiding somewhere in all of the Elephant and Piggie books, this series' shtick is that each book mentions a turnip completely out of left field.


Currently reading:

Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives by Jennifer Buehler