Monday, August 10, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.10.2020

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.

Last Week's Adventures

Chapter books that will take you away in some out of this world adventures here!

Picture Books

Hello, Little One: A Monarch Butterfly Story: A Monarch Butterfly Story
Hello, Little One
written by Zeena M. Pliska
illustrated by Fiona Halliday
This is such a beautiful butterfly.  Told by a young caterpillar who meets a beautiful butterfly.  The caterpillar is envious of the way the butterfly can fly off and see so many wonderful sights - all the caterpillar can see is green, green leaves of the milkweed plant it is on.  However, over time, both the caterpillar and butterfly change and move on to new journeys.  
Yes, it's a life cycle story, but I love the voices this one gives to the story.

Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Like the Moon Loves the Sky
written by Hena Khan
illustrated by Saffa Khan
Beautiful story about the wishes from a mother to her child, with a special Muslim blessing, "inshallah".  Don't miss the author's note at the beginning of the story.

A Little Space for Me
A Little Space for Me
by Jennifer Gray Olson
This might be just the book to read this fall to let readers know that it's ok to feel like sometime you just want a little space to yourself.
A young girl feels overwhelmed in her house - too many people, too loud, too messy.  She needs to find some space to think and breathe and dream.

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
written by Zetta Elliott
illustrated by Noa Denmon
I wonder when Zetta Elliott wrote this poem?  We know it takes awhile for books to be published so you can't help but wonder when was this written?  Because it's timely now, or is it too late now?  For how long have we needed this book?  For how long are we going to need this book?
I can't imagine what it feels like to be a Black child right now.  The many feelings that are probably buried within them, not being comfortable to be on display.  This book is going to speak to many.  Make sure this is a book you have and read this school year.

Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper
Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper
by Miri Leshem-Pelly
This might be a fun book to use at the start of the school year, especially for everyone who is starting remote.  I have seen a lot of discussions on social media about "rules" for remote learning.  Just like in this story, the characters come together to figure out their rules.
Penny is a brightly colored drawn girl, but she lives on a plain piece of paper.  She goes to visit other kinds of papers - newspaper, graph paper, wrapping paper, coloring book pages - but learns they all have rules to follow.  She gets an idea to invite them to her plain piece of paper and form their own rules.
Publishes Aug. 25th

Huddle Up! Cuddle Up!
Huddle Up! Cuddle Up!
written by Bethany Hegedus
illustrated by Mike Deas
A new bedtime story for the football families out there!  
No boring ready for bedtime routines with this family - it's all about making the final touchdown (getting into bed).  With unnecessary "ruff"ness from the dog, a field goal kick with slippers, and getting rid of helmet heads in the bath, this book will delight football fanatics!
Publishes Aug. 25th

Graphic Novel

by Kayla Miller
This is the third graphic novel in the "Olive" series and it may be my favorite.  Without take a good look at the cover, I thought it was going to be about acting... when it's about getting actively involved in school issues.  
There is an election coming up for two grade level representatives for the student council.  Olive decides to get actively involved when she sees things that are happening at school that she wants to change.  The first is when she finds out there were kids who did not get to attend the grade level field trip because they could not afford the cost.
But, Olive is running against some of her friends in this election.  How can she stay friends and make  difference at school?

Middle Grade

In Your Shoes
In Your Shoes
by Donna Gephart
I've seen so many positive reviews of this story.  Although I've owned it since its release day, I have put off reading it.  I made sure to add it to my mustread list for this year.
The main story is good.  Flawed characters that you can't help but feel for.  I really enjoyed Tate, the blue-haired body builder girl!  Randall has severe asthma but that doesn't stop him from wise cracking every chance he gets.  Amy and Miles both have personal losses that made me tear up.  I enjoyed reading about their friendship and even their middle school romances.
But.  And this is why I put off reading this book for so long.  One of the characters, Amy, has a limb length discrepancy and wears a shoe lift.  For those of you who don't know me or have maybe just recently found my blog, my 15yo daughter has a limb length discrepancy.  So we have a very intimate understanding of this physical disability.  She has gone through four limb lengthening procedures and many other minor ones in between.  When she goes through a limb lengthening, we stay in West Palm Beach, FL for 3-4 months.  We're usually there with many other families who are going through their own limb deformity surgeries.  We've seen many reasons why a person may have a limb length discrepancy.  But in our experience, we've never seen someone who has that and is hoping the short bone grows and catches up to the other one... which is what the character says.  Amy has a 2cm (about 1in.) discrepancy.  She's very self conscious about this.  She sometimes wears a shoe lift, sometimes she wears an insert inside her shoe.  Friends, my daughter has a 7 inch shoe lift.  It was harder for me to have too much sympathy for her when the kids I've seen go through a lot of work, a lot of pain, to get to a 1in discrepancy....  Speaking of lifts, there is an exact science, and math, to figure out the size of the lift and it's difficult to find a place to make them.  Usually it's done through medical personal.  At the end of the book Miles gives Amy a pair of bowling shoes and adds a lift to it.  That part was so unrealistic, I laughed out loud.
There are more things I noticed but I'm going to stop.  Here's the thing.  I'm not sure why the author gave the character this physical disability.  It was not needed in the story, this character already had quite a few other things going on.  If you don't really understand the disability, why even add it?  Of course, my experience and the experiences of the people I know, can be different.  Maybe the author knows someone who had Amy's kind of experience.  For me, there were just so many things that seemed off, it distracted me from the story.  Nor would I want another reader to read this and think they understand limb length discrepancies after reading Amy's story.

Three Keys (Front Desk #2)
Three Keys
by Kelly Yang
Kelly Yang is on fire.  I've read her two published books, now this one, and they are all equally amazing.  The way she writes about a subject that is close to her heart, and is able to bring it to life in a fictionalized story that is so so so well done.
Three Keys continues Mia's story (although if you hadn't read Front Desk it could be understood on its own) and the what it was like being an immigrant in California in the mid-1990s.  That's when an extremely racist man was running for governor, along with a Proposition that would be voted on in the election.  Prop 187 would make it unlawful for "illegal" immigrant children to attend public school.  Mia and her friends learn how to be activists and fight not only against this law but other important events that happen in the story.
I wondered where the title came from and it takes awhile to learn.  I'm not going to write it here, I want you to find out the meaning on your own.  I'll just say, I love it!
Preorder multiple copies - if you have kids who read Front Desk, you'll need many books!  Publishes Sept. 15th.

Currently Reading

Letters from Cuba
Letters From Cuba
written by Ruth Behar

How to Be an Antiracist
How to be an Antiracist
by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Today is #PB10for10 Day!  Here is my post.  Be sure to follow the hashtag on social media!

I return to school next week.  With this year being radically different from any other year, I'm giving myself the grace to say it's ok to take a blogging break.  I assume I will return at some point in September, but we'll see how it all goes!  Stay well, reading friends!


  1. I just ordered Three Keys from Scholastic Book Clubs and hoping it arrives this week. Hope the start of your school year goes well! I think self-care is going to be an important part of this upcoming year!

  2. What good points about In Your Shoes. Oddly, I had forgotten all about the limb length discrepancy, but you're right that it wasn't necessary. I do have a friend with a one inch discrepancy due to a sledding accident that fractured a growth plate, and he doesn't even have any lifts, just does some exercises to help with pain. I'd be interested to know if Gephart knew someone like Amy. Did like Letters from Cuba!

  3. These books sound great! I read Parachutes by Kelly Yang at your suggestion, and it was amazing, so I should read Front Desk and Three Keys! I'm glad you enjoyed Act—I loved the first book, Click, but I didn't like Camp, so I've been hesitant to read Act. It's a shame that In Your Shoes just throws in a disability without any tact or even accurate information. Thank you for the great post! (And enjoy your blogging break and return to school!)

  4. I'm sure I will enjoy Three Keys, Michele, and I understand your issues with In Your Shoes, at least a little. I have a niece with Cerebral Palsy & there are so many assumptions made about her. Everyone is different & even with my niece & my limited knowledge, I would not write about her experience as universal. I'm enjoying your sharing of the chapter books, good ones that will fit my younger granddaughter.

  5. I'm excited to read about Act. I have enjoyed the others in Kayla Miller's series so as soon as I saw this I scooted over to my library site and put a hold on it.
    I appreciated reading your comments about In Your Shoes. It's good to hear about problematic issues in books.
    I'm excited about Kelly Yang's new book although I still have to read Parachutes.
    Thanks for sharing these books.

  6. I particularly enjoyed your thoughts on In Your Shoes and Three Keys. I also loved what you wrote about the voice in Hello, Little One, I am adding that one. Always great to read your thoughts, but enjoy your break!

  7. Loved Front Desk, so I'm looking forward to Three Keys & her YA.

    So sorry about your frustration with In Your Shoes.It sounds like it was more of a plot device than anything else. Sounds like something that you should write about, since you know it so intimately <3

    Thanks for all of the other recs--so much to catch up on!!