Monday, January 14, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.14.19

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.


Goodness, where does time go?  This is my first IMWAYR post since November!  It's not that I haven't been reading, it's that I'm trying this new thing, called balance.  Call it my one little word, a goal, what I'm striving for... it's what I'm focusing on this year.  It started by the end of last year.  Too much to do, too much on the plate, too much stress.  I decided to slow down and really focus on what must get done.  Getting more sleep is a priority.  Not stressing about smaller things.  Finding time to do the things that are stress relievers, whether it's a longer workout or some reading time.  For example, I really wanted this post to get done last Sunday.  But in order for that to happen, I would've stayed up another hour after my goal bedtime.  So, I got sleep but no blog post.  I'm working on it....

During my blogging hiatus, I did not stop reading.  In fact, I was reading more than ever!  Today's post is all about what is coming.  Lots of great reading coming in 2019!

Last Week's Adventures

Maybe not last week so much, but here are some more recent blog posts you might have missed!

I love the "Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters" series.  This post celebrates the last book in the series with a giveaway and some questions for the characters!

My #mustreadin2018 final update

My #mustreadin2019 list

More about my word for the year - balance


2019 Middle Grade

Lizzie Flying Solo
Lizzie Flying Solo
by Nanci Turner Steveson
What is normal?  Who decides what normal is?  Big questions for a middle school audience but that is exactly what our character, Lizzie, has to figure out when her life is turned upside down.  With a father in jail for something that Lizzie herself doesn't quite understand and having to move and live in a temporary shelter, Lizzie slowly figures out the importance of family and friends and what "normal" means.  With therapy coming in the way of hard work in a stable and getting comfort from animals, Lizzie learns that flying solo doesn't always mean by yourself.  Beautiful heart-print story.
Publishes April 16th
review copy from Edelweiss

The Bridge Home
The Bridge Home 
by Padma Venkatraman
I think this was the first 2019 book I knew would be going on my 2019 Long List Mock Newbery list!
Absolutely beautiful storytelling in this middle grade book!  Four homeless children find friendship, and possibly a family, on the streets of India.  With themes of survival and trust at the forefront of this novel, it encourages readers to question their own beliefs and think about what they would do in the same situation.  I appreciated this window into a world that is unfamiliar to me, yet one that made me feel so deeply.  This is a book that will stay in your heart long after you close the cover.
Publishes Feb. 5th

Shouting at the Rain
Shouting at the Rain
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
We had to wait a few years for Lynda Mullaly Hunt's next book, but it was worth the wait!  Full of lines that stick to you and the heart print story that Hunt is known for, characters Delsie and Ronan will quickly become friends you want in your own life!  
What I loved about meeting these two characters is they both come to us with stories that have shaped who they are, but don't make them who they are.... we find out they are both so much more than they even knew they could be.  While their back stories slowly unfold their way to us, we also see their potential.  It's a joy to watch both characters grow throughout the story.
There are two authors who write lines that I just want to hold close to my heart - Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Natalie Lloyd.  Here is one from Lynda's upcoming book that I just want to hug (please note they come from the ARC, changes could occur in the final copy):

"I think that when I look at Olive from now on, I'll see a lot of different things.  Like instead of just a plain scoop of cold ice cream, a scoop with some chocolate chips hidden inside." pg. 180 ARC
Publishes May 7th

Up for Air
Up for Air
by Laurie Morrison
Yay, a book that has competitive swimming in it!  Not a sport that gets much publicity, it was really fun finding pieces of this sport that speaks to me - yes, I know what it's like to find the rhythm of your stroke and just let it calm you.  That feeling once you're in the water and everything feels all right with the world.  So glad this sport gets to shine in this story!
And the story - it will resonate with a lot of teens - that hard line of staying young and wanting to grow up.  I think tweens are going to relate to the main character, Annabelle, as she figures out who she is - as a teammate, a friend and family member.
Publishes May 7th

Over the Moon
Over the Moon
by Natalie Lloyd
Natalie Lloyd is the QUEEN of beginning lines.  When the first line sticks to you like glue, you know you're in for an amazing story.
This is one of those books.
I feel like this book puts Natalie over the edge as far as being an amazing writer.  In this book, she creates a world that feels familiar, yet is this dystopian world where there is conflict and only the "higher ups" can survive.  This book has this "Hunger Game" feel to it with a lower caste system and having to send children to work in bad working conditions, without the whole kid-killing-kid thing....  And then Lloyd brings in this little piece of magic that provides promise and friendship.
A beautiful story that I can't wait to get into the hands of readers.
Here's some lines that I just love (please note they come from the ARC, changes could occur in the final copy):
“It’s easy to stand beside someone when the world is safe, when you’re both sure-footed on solid ground.  But I believe there are only a handful of people who make you feel like you could ride out a storm cloud. Face the darkest night.  Battle a monster. Withstand the Dust. Survive anything. Who make you feel brave and wanted, simply because they’re right there with you.” pg 152 ARC
Publishes March 26th

Where the Heart Is
Where the Heart Is
by Jo Knowles
A story that is needed right now - not too many books that are published about losing your home and having to downsize.  This year we have at least two about this social issue (Nanci Turner Steveson's Lizzie Flying Solo).  
In Knowles' story, the family is in danger of losing their house, the only house that main character, Rachel knows.  And while that seems to be the big thing Rachel is losing, she is also torn as she tries to figure out who she is inside.  She knows her best friend that she has known for years, Micah, feels more for her than what Rachel can give back.  Because Rachel doesn't know if she can ever feel that way about him, much less any boy.  
A beautiful coming of age story, a book that is about staying true to yourself and the importance of family, is one that will feel comfortable for readers.
Publishes April 2nd

A Sprinkle of Spirits (Love Sugar Magic, #2)
Love Sugar Magic 2: A Sprinkle of Spirits
by Anna Meriano
I really enjoyed the first book in this series.  It's one of those books I felt like never really got as much love as it should have.  I love the emphasis on family, the family history of brujas and how it is integrated into the family's magic.  I think the character of Leo is relatable for readers - she wants things that are considered "too old" for her and she gets into some trouble.
This second book in the series continues all of the fun, but fleshes out the idea of family and friends as family even more.
I used the first book as a #FirstChapterFriday book before Winter Break and it is currently making the rounds of a class.  So glad to see it being read!  Looking forward to sharing this next one with those readers!
Publishes Feb. 5th
review copy from Edelweiss

The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter (Mad Wolf's Daughter #2)
The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter
by Diane Magras
I absolutely loved reading more about Drest - this wee lass has a special place in my heart.  She knows who she is and what she stands for and she's not afraid to stand up for what is right, even when it goes against some tough people... like her Da for one!
Drest has so many qualities that I hope for young women today.  Her stories are ones I'll be book talking for a long time because I feel like she has something to tell the world and in such a fun way - there's nothing like some sword fighting in a location like Scotland!
Publishes March 5th


Graphic Novel

New Kid
The New Kid
by Jerry Craft
Love this upcoming graphic novel that explores race and the ways it explores the idea of being not only the new kid at school, but also when you of the few people of color at a school.  The quiet ways people make comments and assumptions because of your race are expertly explored in this graphic novel that is perfect for the upper middle grade audience.
Publishes Feb. 5th

Young Adult

On the Come Up
On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
I think the impact of The Hate U Give has been so powerful.  It's brought a tough topic for white people to converse about to the forefront of conversation.  That book was brilliant, in my eyes.  So how does the sophomore book go.... is it going to be the same?  Something different?  Not as strong?
Goodness, this book is everything - it is strong, it is different, it is the same.  So much love.  
I love that it takes place in the same setting, Garden Heights.  The Garden Disciples and the King Lords are in there.  There is reference to Starr and Khalil.
I love that this is yet another relevant book, but....
I love that it's different from The Hate U Give.
This book shows me not only what a talented author Angie Thomas is, but also shows me Thomas has phenomenal command of words.... just wait until you see the words she lays down.
Publishes Feb. 5th... and can I just say I've had this book on preorder since Feb. 15th of last year.  Cannot wait to own this book!

Internment
Internment 
by Samira Ahmed
I grew up learning about concentration camps and Hitler's desire to wipe out the Jewish population.  It wasn't until I was a teacher did I learn about the Japanese American internment camps during World War II.  And as we enter into the fourth week of a government shut down because our president is throwing a temper tantrum about finding more ways to denounce immigrants/refugees, I guess a book like this is possible.  What should not be classified as being realistic fiction, is getting closer and closer to it. 
Layla Amin and her family, along with many other Muslim Americans are forced to enter an internment camp where they are monitored and policed by not only government officials, but also fellow Muslims who have denounced the religion and agreed to comply.  Why are they living there?  Because on a simple census form they were honest about their religion.  
Outlandish premise?  I don't think so.
A book that should be put into the hands of all young adult readers and talked about in classes.
Publishes March 19th
review copy from Edelweiss

Shout
Shout
by Laurie Halse Anderson
A companion to her award winning young adult novel, Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson has given us a memoir written in verse that gives readers background and a platform to find your voice and shout your truth.  
I don't think you have to have read Speak to appreciate this novel, but it will certainly make you go find it!
Publishes March 12th

That's it for now!  Can't believe all of the great books we'll have to put in hands of readers this year.  Looking forward to more 2019 stories!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - Flight of the Bluebird by Kara LaReau 1.10.19


All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers 
at the start of their independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.


It's always hard to say goodbye to a series, but at least the Bland Sisters are flying out with their most {unintentional} action packed adventure yet!

I hope you have gone along on some of their earlier adventures - on the Jolly Roger with some female pirates or solving a mystery on the Uncanny Express!  Never a dull moment with these sisters, even though they prefer things to be on the much more quiet and bland side.


The Jolly Regina (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #1)          The Uncanny Express (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters #2)

This third and final adventure (and my favorite), finds the girls on a high flying adventure to Egypt!  Between mummies, scarabs and fighting off multiple villains, these girls don't have a bland moment to themselves!  The adventure really is nonstop - it's their craziest adventure yet!





Summary:

Fasten your seat belts for some unexpected turbulence ahead, as Jaundice and Kale Bland are back for their final unintentional adventure! Now that they’ve returned from the Uncanny Valley to find their home in Dullsville in absolute shambles, the sisters are rescued by high-flying aviatrix Beatrix Airdale. This time, they’re jetting off (literally) to Egypt to uncover the mysteries of a magical scarab.  By way of Casablanca and after foiling multiple attacks along the way (thanks to Jaundice’s nautical knot-tying skills and Kale’s super-sleuth powers of observation), the Bland Sisters are reunited with their parents. But it turns out that Mom and Dad aren’t as bland—or as “Bland”—as Jaundice and Kale remember. Thanks to their mother’s old archeology notebook, the Bland Sisters uncover their parents’ real identities and help them achieve victory in one final, family-filled adventure.


I was thrilled to have Kara LaReau stop by the blog.  She offered to pass along some questions I had to the girls, Kale and Jaundice.  I had some questions that only the girls could answer.  I hope you find the questions and answers something you can share with your readers!  Thanks to Kara for helping us out!


1.  Jaundice - we know you're fond of the pockets on your smock.  You've kept all kinds of things in them.... what is something readers might be surprised to find in your pockets that we might not have ever heard about in a book?

Jaundice: I have a pocketful of sand from our trip to Luxor, Egypt. Every time I reach in, it reminds me of our trip.
Kale: Just remember to empty it before you put it into the wash. I’M the one who does the
laundry.

2.  In this third book, you both learn some surprising things about yourselves.  How did you feel learning new things - since that goes beyond the predictable!

Kale: We’ve actually learned that in life, it’s predictable that things will be unpredictable. So nothing comes as a surprise to us anymore.
Jaundice: Though it was pretty surprising when we learned that our mother—
Kale: Shh, no spoilers!

3.  Kale, you learned quite a bit in this third adventure by reading a book.  What reading advice would you offer young readers?

Kale: I love reading, because it allows you to have adventures without putting yourself in actual peril. Also, you can end up learning things, like how to outwit pirates, or how to solve mysteries on a train, or how to fly a plane…just in case any of those skills come in handy.
Jaundice: You never know.

4.  Girls, you've now traveled, had adventures and helped solve mysteries.  What was your favorite and what could you have done without?

Jaundice: The adventure we’re on right now is our favorite. Maybe it’s because it’s our final adventure.
Kale: Well, it’s not exactly our “final” adventure…
Jaundice: I thought you said no spoilers!

5.  Ship, train, airplane - best way to travel?


Kale: That’s easy. Any way to travel is best—
Jaundice: —as long as we’re together.
Kale (nodding): Jaundice is right.
Jaundice: I almost always am.


More about author, Kara LaReau:


Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. She is the author of picture books such as UGLY FISH, illustrated by Scott Magoon, and Good Night Little Monsters, illustrated by Brian Won; an award-winning chapter book series called The Infamous Ratsos, illustrated by Matt Myers; and a middle-grade trilogy called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, illustrated by Jen Hill.  Kara lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and son and their cat.


Don't miss The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters.  It's available now!  

Looking for a copy to add to your library?  Kara has graciously donated a signed copy for me to give away to a reader.  Signup below, giveaway is open to teachers and librarians in the United States.  Winner will be notified on Thursday, January 17th.