Thursday, December 29, 2022

Favorite Books of 2022

A couple days ago I started to write a post with all of my favorite books of the year. And then I got super overwhelmed because there were so many. So I decided to just share one from each category: picture book, middle grade, young adult, and adult and let you know that if you want to know more of my favorite books from 2022, feel free to follow me on Goodreads.

Favorite picture book of 2022...
Gibberish by Young Vo
Gibberish tells the story of a young boy named Dat who is new to the English language and what that feels like to be the new kid at school who doesn't understand everyone. That story arc isn't new, but the way Young Vo tells it and illustrates it is unlike anything I've seen before. His use of black and white cartoonish illustrations for Dat's surroundings along with emojis for dialogue that he doesn't understand really immerses the reader into Dat's world of unknowing. As Dat becomes more attuned to the English-speaking world and begins understanding more, his surroundings become more colorful and less cartoonish.

This book is brilliant and so incredibly innovative... and it's really hard for me to say a book is innovative given the number of picture books I read every year. This book is still my top contender for the 2023 Caldecott medal.

Favorite Middle Grade of 2022...
Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd
Hummingbird is Natalie Lloyd's most personal and vulnerable book to date, as it is about a girl who has the same disability: osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. This book is about a young girl named Olive who has been homeschooled her whole life and convinces her mom to send her to the local public school despite her mom's fears over Olive's fragile body.

As with all of Natalie Lloyd's books, it is full of magical realism. There’s a teacher in the story that says a pen is a direct line to a person’s heart. Well, Natalie Lloyd’s pen draws a whole lot of lines to readers’ hearts.

Favorite YA of 2022...
The year is 1932 in Berlin and now that Hilde is eighteen, she must leave her orphanage and set out on her own. She quickly discovers, however, that finding a job is near impossible in these economically depressed times. But fate intervenes one night when she meets Rosa, who brings Hilde to Café Lila where she meets a cast of characters that soon become her chosen family.

As Berlin falls further and further into the authoritarian grip of the Nazis who are scapegoating Jews and the queer community, Hilde along with the employees and patrons of Café Lila continue to remain quietly hopeful and defiant... until trouble comes loudly knocking on their door.

Just as the title suggests, this YA historical fiction in verse by Kip Wilson is dazzling. Berlin is my favorite city on earth, mostly because there has always been a provocative, defiant, avant-garde, and counter-cultural energy about it. That was true in 2004 when I visited for the first time, and it was certainly true when this novel takes place.

But just as this book is a window into 1930s Germany, it's also an alarming mirror to societies, including American society, that allow idealogues and populists to rise to power.

Favorite Adult Book of 2022...
Just like Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking changed my life as it asked me to celebrate my introversion rather than admonish it, so too did Bittersweet change my life by bringing awareness to those of us walking the earth who have a tendency towards melancholy and why that’s actually a good thing.

I’ve never felt so seen and understood as when Cain talks about why people with bittersweet personalities find such joy and satisfaction listening to sad music… because longing is active. It moves us. It compels us. It makes us feel like a missing piece of your soul was just added to the puzzle that is your life. So the next time I sit down at the piano to play Moonlight Sonata and feel that sense of longing despite the fact that I’ve played it dozens of times before, or the next time I get chills listening to a song I love for the first time, I’ll remember why I continue to be moved by the bittersweet.

I was so enamored by this book that after I finished it, I went on a three day hyperfixation of playing and creating a playlist of bittersweet music.

What were your favorite books of 2022?

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

How to Speak Animal giveaway


Learn about the secret language of wild animals in this exciting and informative guide from the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat and How to Speak Dog.

We know animals can’t speak and express themselves in the same way as humans … but even the smallest and quietest animals have incredible ways of communicating with each other. With wildlife veterinarian expert Dr. Gabby Wild as a guide, How to Speak Animal helps kids understand how animals communicate through sound, body language, and behavior. It’s full of expert insights and real-life stories of humans exploring ways to “talk” to animals, from teaching great apes sign language to speaking “dolphin.” Packed with super-engaging animal photography that helps illustrate key concepts, this fascinating bookprofiles more than 60 different creatures―from birds to mammals to reptiles and more―and their amazing ways of communicating with each other.

If you’ve ever wondered why gorillas beat their chests and make hooting noises, what it means when chameleons change color, or why some elephants twist their trunks together, this is the book for you!


About the Authors

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DR. GABBY WILD earned her bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master’s of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

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AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children's book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family. 


  • Three (5) winners will receive a copy of How to Speak Animal
  • US only
  • Ends 12/18 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below

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