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

Monday, May 25, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 5-25-2020


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 know I've been talking about the Walden Award a lot lately, and this post is no different. :) 

The 2020 Walden Award winners and finalists were featured on this month's ALAN Picks, so if you'd like to learn more about these wonderful books, check it outAlso, If you are a teacher, professor, or librarian and you love YA lit, consider applying for the 2021 Walden committee. The application deadline is June 5th. 


Last week I reviewed:

I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening): A Guide to Grace-filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers


I finished reading:

The Night Before Election Day by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer
I think had I read this book BEFORE the pandemic, it would have rang truer, but since election day is likely not to have the same excitement and joy that it has in previous years, it was almost painful to read this book today in May of 2020.


Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder
In this graphic memoir, Tyler Feder does a beautiful job of balancing both the raw reality of grieving her mother with moments of levity and humor. Her soft, muted color palate helps keep her storytelling gentle and non-threatening for those who might find themselves triggered by their own grief, yet still pulls no punches with taking readers on her journey of devastating loss.


Currently reading:

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time because the Cold War is my favorite era of history and Berlin is my favorite city in the world so I'm not sure what took me so long to read it, but since it's only $0.99 on Kindle right now, I couldn't resist reading and talking about this book. 


Currently (still) reading with my ears:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Finally Fulfilling a Book Club Dream

Over the years I have tried to get a couple in-person book clubs off the ground but they never materialized.

But then the pandemic happened.
 And everyone is stuck at home.
 Mindlessly scrolling social media.
 And getting in political fights with friends and family.

 So while I was having a weekly Zoom hangout with friends a few weeks ago, I brought up my favorite podcast Pantsuit Politics (as I am wont to do), and their book I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening). That got me thinking: what if I tried to get a virtual book club off the ground to try to bridge the topic of how to have hard conversations that revolve around politics. So I proposed a virtual book club as a way to help me feel productive and making a contribution to helping teach us all how to talk about politics better.

 I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book during the summer of 2018 because I had the good fortune of getting to present with Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland at NCTE in November of that year in a presentation we called Keep It Nuanced, Y'all: Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable in the Classroom and Beyond. I had been listening to their podcast since the summer of 2016 when nobody thought that Donald Trump could possibly become president, and I was so impressed how lovingly and respectfully they disagreed with each other, they quickly became my favorite podcast, to which I now refer to them as my "Political Prozac."

 While Beth and Sarah come at their views from two different ends of the political spectrum, new listeners might assume that they are always in agreement with each other, and have even been criticized for claiming to disagree politically but never actually disagreeing with each other. But the truth of the matter is, they disagree all the time. It's just we're so used to pundits yelling over each other on cable news that we're not used to hearing what respectful disagreement sounds like.

 I reread the finished copy in April/May 2020 for the aforementioned virtual book club. While I was proposing said book club to my friends and family on Facebook, Beth saw my post and offered to have her and Sarah join the discussion. I was stunned and honored and happily accepted. And last night, a group of women from all over the country, along with Beth and Sarah, talked about grace and nuance and how you get comfortable being uncomfortable. It was moving and cathartic and filled me with hope. A few of us have even agreed that it would be helpful to continue to "practice" having hard conversations and would like to meet again, maybe even regularly.

 So for those of you reading this post for whom politics is an uncomfortable subject, I'd like to leave you with these nuggets of wisdom that I found extremely valuable and most quotable from the book:






I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers
Published: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 205
Genre: Nonfiction/Politics
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Advance reader copy provided by publisher/purchased finished 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, May 18, 2020

It's Monday! What are you reading? 5-18-2020



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 had the pleasure of announcing ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. Go check out my post to find out who the winner is... 

2020 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner 
If you are a teacher, professor, or librarian and you love YA lit, consider applying for the 2021 Walden committee


Last week I finished reading:
 
On the Horizon by Lois Lowry
This book defies genre and format. It seems like a novel in verse, but it's not long enough to be a novel. It's also not a poetry collection because it still tells a story. It's hard to understand what this book is until you read the author's note at the end, which is a great reminder to always read the backmatter.

Currently (still) reading:

Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder


Currently reading with my ears:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo