Friday, June 11, 2021

Cover Reveal for Make Way for Fenway series - 6.11.21

Have you ever finished a book and it brings a smile to your face because you know you're going to have a long list of readers who will want to read it?  That's what happened to me when I finished Victoria Coe's Fenway and Hattie book... and consequently all of the books in the series!  A story told from the perspective of a dog - a dog that is fun and easy to love, which makes it even more enjoyable to read!  Fenway has a limitless love for his girl, Hattie, and protects her from all evil, including those pesky squirrels!  Readers love learning his names for objects and people and love seeing the world through his eyes.  Every book in the series has been a hit for readers and it's a series I even encourage grownups to read to their younger readers because everyone falls for Fenway!

Fenway and Hattie (Fenway and Hattie, #1)   Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang (Fenway and Hattie, #2)  Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks (Fenway and Hattie #3)  Fenway and Hattie in the Wild (Fenway and Hattie #4)

Now we have another reason to fall in love with Fenway because readers are going to grow up with Fenway!  A few months ago, Victoria announced that we would be getting more Fenway stories, but this time in a different format - in a chapter book series called Make Way for Fenway.  There are already four books planned, the first two releasing on March 22, 2022.

What is the difference between the two series?  The Make Way for Fenway series is considered a "chapter book", which usually means it's shorter than its middle grade counterpart.  The Fenway chapter book series will have 5,000 words in a book and feature 10 chapters and about 85 pages.  There will be full page illustrations featured throughout the book.  In comparison, the middle grade (original) series, has about 30,000-35,000 words in a book, about 20-22 chapters, and double the page amount!  What is so exciting is readers will be able to grow with Fenway.  They can first fall in love with him in the chapter books and eventually grow to reading more adventures in the middle grade stories.  The best thing about series is readers become familiar with a character and setting and it's not something new to figure out each time.  This gives readers a sense of security and they can focus on other parts of the story.  It's so important for growing readers to have series that support them.  I am so happy that Fenway is going to be a character and series that can provide that stability for readers!

Even more exciting is I have the first two covers to share with you!  But before we get to the covers, here's a little more about the first two books.

Book one: Fenway and the Bone Thieves

There's nothing better than a brand-new bone!
And nothing worse than sneaky squirrels trying to steal it!  But Fenway is smarter than those squirrels and he finds the perfect place to hide his bone.
The only problem is, the hiding place might be too hard for Fenway to find, too!

Book two:  Fenway and the Frisbee Trick

Fenway is ready to learn a new trick!
When Fenway sees a dog leap into the air and catch a Frisbee, he wants to do it, too.
But catching a Frisbee is harder than it looks.
Good thing Fenway is willing to keep trying, and that he can impress everyone with a special trick of his own!


Are you ready to see the covers?  Well, actually, before I share them, I want to share a conversation I recently had with Victoria and the illustrator of the chapter book series, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.

VJC: Thank you for hosting us, Mrs. Knott! As you know, I’m a faithful reader of your blog. I love your passion for championing new books, especially chapter books and the #road2reading challenge.

 

JL-V: Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I look forward to sharing the new Fenway books with everyone. 

 

MK: What was the idea behind these new stories, Victoria?

 

VJC: The core of the stories is Fenway and the squirrels. In each book, Fenway wants something and then blames the squirrels when things go wrong (spoiler alert: lots of things go wrong!). I had a lot of fun coming up with the different scenarios. Squirrels really can be sneaky!

 

MK: Victoria, how did you react when you heard that Joanne was chosen as the illustrator for this series?

 

VJC: I was over the moon! I follow her on Instagram and I love her work. I knew she’d bring a lively spirit to the characters and stories. I literally couldn’t wait to see what she’d come up with. And boy, her illustrations were definitely worth the wait!

 

MK: Joanne, what about this character and these stories captured your imagination?

 

JL-V: Victoria’s stories are hilarious, fun and fresh. I love that it was from a dog’s point of view which made it easy to fall in love with Fenway’s feisty temperament but cute personality. I’ve always wanted to illustrate a dog book and the day the publishers told me I would be the illustrator, it was like an early birthday gift for me. 

 

MK: They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we all know that people do - especially kids. What was the cover illustration process like, Joanne? How did you decide what to depict on these covers? How did you zero in on just the right images, feelings, and energy?

 

JL-V: I based the cover on the personality of a young puppy. Just like my kids at that age,  he is innocent, carefree, very focused especially when he wants something yet unaware of all the havoc it may cause or the evil villains waiting for him around the corner.  

 

MK: What was your favorite thing about illustrating Fenway, Joanne? Which parts of his personality can you most relate to?

 

JL-V: I love illustrating Fenway’s expressions especially when he is being overly dramatic.  I can definitely relate to his wild imagination, persistence, and also fierce loyalty to those he loves. I also love illustrating the squirrels as well.  They are a bunch of rambunctious rascals who keep Fenway on his toes which makes it very funny to illustrate. 

 

MK: The Fenway and Hattie middle grade series is more than five years old. Victoria, I’m wondering what’s it like to see your characters illustrated after all that time?

 

VJC: It's hard to describe. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember reading chapter books and feeling that exhilaration whenever I came to an illustration. Those images were like magic to me. Seeing my own scenes come to life through Joanne’s art brings me right back to those feelings. Her illustrations make me fall in love with my own characters all over again.

 

MK: Joanne, how do you determine which bits of each chapter to illustrate? How do you imagine young readers reacting to the pictures?

 

JL-V:  Together with the editor and art director, we share our ideas and thoughts from each chapter.  Sometimes I have too many ideas from one scenario and will sketch them out and share them with the publisher.  It helps to have another person look at them from a distance since I tend to get attached to the illustrations and want to do them all.  There are different moments in the story where I would find myself laughing out loud or cheering Fenway on when he is feeling a little down or upset.  These are the moments when I want to illustrate how I feel when I’m reading from Fenway’s point of view. 

 

MK: What’s next for each of you?

 

VJC: I’m waiting for revision notes for Book 3 in this series (Coming Oct 2022), and I hope to finish writing the 4th book (Spring 2023) this summer. 

 

JL-V: Currently I’m working out the sketches for Book 2 and have two more Fenway Books after. I really can’t wait to read Books 3 and 4 and see what’s in store. If they’re as good as the first two, it’s going to be a total blast illustrating them. I’m having such a great time with Fenway and his friends, I feel like I’m part of his life thanks to Victoria and Putnam Young Readers.



Ok, I suppose I've lead you on for enough time!  If you made it this far, you definitely deserve to see these covers!  Without further ado.......



     

From the publisher:
This new series, starring the rambunctious Jack Russell terrier from Victoria J. Coe’s Fenway and Hattie middle grade books, will debut in Spring 2022 from Putnam Young Readers. With an easy reading level and lively illustrations, emerging readers will be eager to get their paws on the Make Way for Fenway! chapter books.


Aren't you in love with the books already?  Huge thank you to Victoria and Joanne for stopping by.  I'm honored Victoria allowed me to do this cover reveal.  I can't wait to have the actual books in my hands!  March 2022 isn't too far away, right??


More about author, Victoria Coe:
Victoria J. Coe’s books for middle grade readers include the Global Read Aloud, Amazon Teacher’s Pick, and One School, One Book favorite Fenway and Hattie as well as three Fenway and Hattie sequels and the historical adventure Ezra and the Mouse: The Search for Lafayette (September 2021). Make Way for Fenway! is her first chapter book series. Connect with her online at victoriajcoe.com and on twitter and Instagram @victoriajcoe.





More about illustrator, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff:
Joanne Lew Vriethoff is an award-winning illustrator of over 50 picture, chapter and middle grade books. Some of her latest books include How To Wear A Sari, You’ll Find Me, Too Sticky, The Invisible Web (Invisible String Series), and You are Never Alone. She has also illustrated middle grade books such as The Dancing Pancake, Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli. Make Way for Fenway! is her first dog chapter book series. You can find her on joannelewvriethoff.com and on twitter and Instagram @joannelewvriethoff.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

#road2reading - new graphic novel/chapter books for newly independent readers - 6.10.21



It is so exciting for a young reader to be holding a chapter book in their hands.  It's a right of passage, a new step, in their journey as a reader.  I am so glad to see publishers paying attention to these readers and making sure there are chapter books that are just for them.  Chapters with engaging stories that support the readers but give them a longer story to hold on to and enjoy.  Here are some newly published books you'll want for your readers.

Fitz and Cleo by Jonathan Stutzman
Fitz and Cleo
written by Jonathan Stutzman 
illustrated by Heather Fox
This new graphic novel/early chapter book series is going to be a hit with readers.  In this first book, brother and sister ghosts, Fitz and Cleo, meet their newly adopted/found cat, Mister Boo.  While Cleo loves their new cat, Fitz and Mister Boo have a love/hate relationship, which of course ends up making us laugh.  Quick chapters that make you laugh will keep readers coming back for more!

Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli
Baloney and Friends: Going Up!
by Greg Pizzoli
I forgot about how much Baloney and friends make me laugh.  This one did too.  Told in quick chapters that make you laugh, fans of Elephant and Piggie and Narwhal and Jelly will love this series.  
I love how Pizzoli colors his talk bubbles to correspond with the character's color.  It makes it so easy for young readers to follow who is doing the talking.

Extraordinary Warren's World by Sarah Dillard
Extraordinary Warren's World
by Sarah Dillard
Simon and Schuster have combined some books into a long graphic novel/chapter book series.  Warren is a chick who decides ordinary routines are not for him, he wants more than that.  But when he does to explore, he ends up meeting Millard the rat (who is waiting on his next meal) and Egg (literally an egg).  Between dodging and escaping his new enemy and helping Egg learn the ways of the world, Warren ends up being a bit extraordinary.

Snail's Silly Adventures by Mary Peterson
Snail's Silly Adventures
by Mary Peterson
Another combo of books, this one is about Snail and his adventures with his best pal, Ladybug.  I have found these stories to make kids giggle because there is some bodily function (throwing up) that always gets a laugh or an "ewwww"... both keep kids reading!


And some chapter books :

Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate
Doggo and Pupper
written by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by Charlie Alder
Cat and Dog fans will love meeting this threesome.  Doggo and Cat have their routine, but when Pupper comes, things start to change... or maybe it's Pupper who needs to change.  After being sent to charm school to learn some calming behaviors, Pupper returns as a new puppy!  It's up to Doggo to make sure Pupper remembers who he really is and make sure he's happy.


The Middle Kid by Steven  Weinberg
The Middle Kid
by Steven Weinberg
This is probably the longest in the round-up.  Partly autobiographical, this is the story of a day in the life of a middle kid.  While I'm not a middle kid, I think those that are will definitely relate to the story!  


It's summer and that means here at #road2reading it's time for Chapter Book Summer!  Get ready for the series to begin in July!



And ready for more summer fun?  Be sure to stop by tomorrow because I have an amazing cover reveal for you.  Here's a hint!


Fenway and Hattie (Fenway and Hattie, #1)

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - meet someone new! - 6.09.21

I think picture book biographies are a great way to meet new people!  There are so many stories of people who are new to me.  Here are some new people I've recently "met"!


Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call by Claudia Friddell
Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators
written by Claudia Friddell
illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
I've just recently been reading some books of women codebreakers in the two great wars, but this one focuses on the women who answered the call - the switchboard calls during WWI.  Grace Banker was at the forefront of this, manning the boards and organizing the ladies who took calls from soldiers - during the fight and just trying to make a call - as well as transfer secret codes!  All the while, being in a wartime environment with bombs and explosives going off around her!  
Lots of information is included in the backmatter about the important work Grace and her "Hello Girls" did to help during the War!

Headstrong Hallie! by Aimee Bissonette
Headstrong Hallie! The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female "Fire Guard"
written by Aimée Bissonette
illustrated by David Hohn
I really enjoyed meeting Hallie. She was headstrong in that she knew what she wanted and didn't let the word "no" stop her.  She loved the forests that were all around her and it devastated her when forest fires ate up the trees and threatened the wildlife that lived within them.  After years of applying for jobs with the Forest Service, they finally said yes.  She became the first female fire lookout at the Eddy Gulch Lookout Station in California.  It was really interesting to see where she lived, how she lived, and how much she loved this job.

Try It! by Mara Rockliff
Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat
written by Mara Rockliff
illustrated by Giselle Potter
Tomatoes, potatoes, apples, bananas.  They have been staples of markets and stores for a long time.  And if it weren't for Frieda Caplan, that may still be our choices!  After working at a market as a bookkeeper, she moved into sales and decided to introduce some new produce.  Kiwis, baby carrots, spaghetti squash, sugar snap peas, and passion fruit might still be relatively unknown if not for Frieda.  In addition to carrying the new produce, she would even give customers ideas for how to use them in recipes!  

A Thousand Glass Flowers by Evan Turk
A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead
by Evan Turk
Had we not had the mighty Marietta who pushed through gender barriers to become a master of glass, we would not have the beautiful and colorful rosetta beads that are often seen in necklaces.  Marietta lived in Italy during the Renaissance when women rarely left the home.  However her father saw her passion and taught her the fine art of glass blowing.  Her brothers and Marietta carried on their father's work after his passing and Marietta became known for her beautiful work.
I really enjoyed the backmatter where Turk includes information about how he tried glass blowing and some of the places he went to recreate the art and get the right feeling for his illustrations.


I hope you met someone new today! I bet you'll have a reader that wants to learn more about one of these amazing women!

Monday, June 7, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.07.21

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.


I took last week off from blogging!  For the Memorial Day holiday I was excited to relax and just get some things done inside and outside of the house.  Then it was the last two days of school!  I was able to find some solid reading time over the Memorial Day weekend and I'm looking forward to continuing it now that summer is here!  Let summer reading officially begin!

Picture Books

Training Day     Tag Team
El Toro and Friends:  Training Day and Tag Team
by Raúl the Third
colors by Elaine Bay
Readers may already be familiar with some of the characters from the new series "El Toro and Friends" from Raul the Third's ¡Vamos! series.  This series is being marketed towards the Elephant and Piggie crowd - in a similar size and length - and while it may not have the same humor, it does have very likable characters.  The stories are a bit longer in word length, but I love the inclusion of Spanish sentences and traditions and scenes found in Mexico.  I hope to see this series continue!  It's a must have for K-3 libraries.

Memory Jars
Memory Jars
by Vera Brosgol
We've all had that feeling - loving something so much that we just want to bottle it up and keep it forever.  That's exactly what Freda does in the story but then figures out, when it's bottled up, you don't get to experience it and the joy that something special brings.

Coquí in the City
Coquí in the City
by Nomar Perez
Drawing upon his own experiences from when he was 10, Perez writes about immigrating to a new home, but remembering and treasuring the things you love about your native country.

Sunrise Summer
Sunrise Summer
written by Matthew Swanson
illustrated by Robbi Behr
Partly autobiographical, this story is about how a family travels to a remote area of Alaska each summer to catch and sell salmon.  It was fascinating to read, and not at all what I expected!  In the story, the oldest sibling is of the age where she can help in the preparation and catching of the salmon.  Loosely based on the illustrator's experience from when she was younger, there is additional information in the backmatter that further explains that the author and illustrator's family has continued this tradition.  


Middle Grade

The Shape of Thunder
The Shape of Thunder
by Jasmine Warga
Wow wow wow!  Warga's ability to write about such a sensitive topic without it being about that topic and make it deep and compelling!  Just amazing.  This book is about friendship during the very center of grief and whether it can heal or not.  It's about healing and trying to find a way to change events that hurt our very core.  What it's not about is a school shooting.  It's the aftermath of one, but Warga focuses on family, friendship, identity, grief, and hope.  So well done.

Sisters of the Neversea
Sisters of the Neversea
written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
By now, you should know that most version of Peter Pan are problematic.  I grew up with the Disney version and I still enjoy the ride at the Magic Kingdom.  But when as I watch it now I realize a lot of it is just wrong.
Cynthia Leitich Smith's book, as part of her new imprint Heartdrum from Harper Collins, sets out to change a lot of these wrongs, including shining a light on the mischief maker and head racist himself, the character of Peter Pan.  Set in today's world, this modern retelling is so enjoyable and I loved the way Smith wove the familiar story with today's younger generation and their better understanding of the world around them.
Just a heads up, this story is great for kids in third grade and up, but does have numerous ways the word "ass" is used - jackass, silly ass... it didn't really add to the story, wish the language hadn't been used!
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for the e-galley.

The Best Worst Summer
The Best Worst Summer
by Elizabeth Eulberg
Having grown up in the 80s and having a huge crush on Joey McIntyre from NKOTB made me really really like reading this book!  The 80s references were rad!  Of course, to our readers they are all ancient and old, but it will make this book really fun to talk about with readers.
Told in dual storylines, one taking place in 1989 and one in the present day, the universal themes of friendship, family, and racism are familiar regardless of the decade.  Perfect MG to kick off my summer reading!


Young Adult

Every Body Looking
Every Body Looking
by Candice Iloh
This novel in verse captures that feeling of finally coming into your own identity and figuring out who you want to be, instead of who the grown-ups around you want you to be.
Well written, but a slow story.  I did like how it bounced back and forth between the main character's, Ada, ages.  Ada finally starts to come into her own by the end of the book and that's exactly when I wanted more!
This was one of my May #mustreadin2021 books.

A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers, #3)
A Vow So Bold and Deadly
by Brigid Kemmerer
If you have not read this trilogy, change that now.  I remember receiving an ARC of the first book and slowly reading it while working out.  It was a take on the Beauty and the Beast story.  I liked it, but really fell in love with it towards the end.  Loved the second book and loved loved loved this last one.  I enjoyed how the present day characters fell into the fairy tale setting and brought a dose of reality.  The stories remain pretty chaste until this last book, and even then the romantic scenes are pretty mild.  Always good to have a YA feeling story for older MG readers.

Currently Reading

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
The Gilded Ones
by Namina Forna
I am about 2/3 of the way done with this one and I can tell you it's EXCELLENT!!  The world building, the plot, the characters!  So well done!


I've been giving myself some binge reading time the last three days.  While I know that won't happen everyday of summer vacation, I am hoping it continues!  I have such a stack to get through this summer!  Happy reading to all!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - learning about germs and the coronavirus - 5.19.21

Germs.  We probably know more about germs than we have ever wanted to.  But young readers might have a lot of questions about germs, what they do, and how illnesses can be prevented.  Here are some books that will help answer some questions!


Germs Up Close by Sara   Levine
Germs Up Close
by Sara Levine
This book is a great place to start talking about germs and learning more about them.  The book breaks them down into four types of germs that cause illnesses.  The photographs show what these germs look like under a microscope.  Levine breaks each of them down and explains what they are, the bad parts and even good parts about them, and details some of the more well known versions of those germs.  Included at the end when discussing viruses is COVID-19.  Levine also gives ways to prevent germs from spreading, including mask wearing and vaccinations.

June Almeida, Virus Detective! by Suzanne Slade
June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus
written by Suzanne Slade
illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
While COVID-19 is new to us, the coronavirus is not new at all.  Many of may remember the SARS virus that was a concern in the early 2000s.  However, coronavirus was actually first discovered in 1964, by a woman!  
Slade lays out the life of June Almeida and her love for science from when she was a young girl.  We learn how her plans to study were sidelined, yet she was able to follow her passion and find work that would allow her to fuel her love of science.  And thank goodness it did because the work she did  from 1947 to the 1980s is making an impact today.

A Shot in the Arm! by Don  Brown
Shot in the Arm!
by Don Brown
This is part of the "Big Ideas That Changed the World" series and it couldn't be published at a better time.  Of course the info about the COVID-19 vaccine is already out of date in this book, the important part is understanding the history of vaccines.  This graphic novel takes a look at where vaccines originated, and what is interesting is you can see where some of the science from those original vaccines are still used today!  Definitely a book you'll want in a grade 3-8 library!


Coming soon!  I'm looking forward to:

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America's Doctor
Dr. Fauci:  How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America's Doctor
written by Kate Messner
illustrated by Alexandra Bye
publishing June 29th


And a book I reviewed earlier, post here:

The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine
The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine
written by Linda Elovitz Marshall
illustrated by Lisa Anchin

Monday, May 24, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.24.21

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.




Picture Books

Daisy
Daisy
by Jessixa Bagley
This sweet book is perfect for your identity, central theme, friendship collections.
Daisy is teased because she doesn't have the perfect flower name and as a result, tends to keep her head down and not look for interactions.  But she does find treasures - treasures that may be unwanted to others but look beautiful in her eyes.  And then one day, new treasures show up at her secret hiding place.  Who knows Daisy enough that they are leaving special things for her to find?  Readers who look at the illustrations very carefully may just find that secret friend!

My First Day
My First Day
written by Phùng Nguyên Quang
illustrated by Huynh Kim Liên
Gorgeous illustrations and story about a boy going on a journey by himself.  His destination is unknown for the majority of the story.  This story could be used to talk about going on a journey, traveling on your own and growing up.  Pair with Camp Tiger or other books that show kids traveling to places differently than we do in the United States.

Tiny Kitty, Big City
Tiny Kitty, Big City
by Tim Miller
Told in sparse text and full spread layouts, readers will follow along with a kitty who resides in a big city.  Tiny kitty has ups and downs in this big city and lots of feelings - good and bad.  But it has a heartwarming end that will be very satisfying for readers.  Be sure to see the jacket flap where it tells this story is based on some real life kitty rescuing!

Blue Floats Away
Blue Floats Away
written by Travis Jonker
illustrated by Grant Snider
So much is packed into this story.  Blue lives a contented life as an ice berg, connected with his mom and dad.  But when he is separated from them (hello, global warming), Blue discovers that while change can be new and unknown, there is sometimes a lot to learn when having new experiences.  With a minor lesson with the water cycle and backmatter that gives a brief background on global warming, this book has a lot to discuss!

Home is in Between
Home is In Between
written by Mitali Perkins
illustrated by Lavanya Naidu
I imagine there are many immigrant children who feel exactly like young Shanti.  Wanting to keep her identity from the country she was born in, but wanting to learn and adapt as many American traditions as possible, leaves her feeling in between.  A mirror and window book (Sims-Bishop) for many readers.

Our Little Kitchen
Our Little Kitchen
by Jillian Tamaki
A small moments story about one day in a community kitchen that feeds a meal, once a week, to people in the community.  The food that is used is locally grown or donated, and readers see how a meal is put together when you work with what you have.  Don't miss the author's note at the end that sheds light on her experience.

Wanda's Words Got Stuck
Wanda's Words Got Stuck
written by Lucy Rowland
illustrated by Paula Bowles
Wanda the Witch would rather be quiet, simply because her words get stuck.  She wants to be brave and talk to her classmates, but somehow her words don't some out.  But with a new friendship, Wanda finds her words come to her when she needs them most of all.
Thank you to Candlewick for the review copy.  

Middle Grade

Not All Heroes
Not All Heroes
by Josephine Cameron
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan for the e-galley.
Reading digitally is funny for me.  I find it hard to get attached to characters and really fall into the story.  When I am able to do that, I know it's a book that I would have loved even more had I read a bound copy.  That was the case for this story.  I loved meeting Zinnia and finding out what was going to happen to her.  Zinnia is a kid dealing with grief as her family navigates life without her little brother.  Zinnia has trouble fitting in at school but she's about to get some relief because her nineteen-year-old aunt is coming for a stay and Zinnia is very close with Aunt Willow.  Things start to look up when Willow arrives as they both get to know the family who lives above them.  They turn out to be Real Life Superheroes and Willow and Zinnia find themselves a part of the group quickly.  
This book is about friendship and identity, family and healing, and learning what a hero is really all about.
While this is a character driven novel, there are some exciting plot sections that give it a boost of action.  I think this story will draw a lot of readers to it!

Paper Heart
Paper Heart
by Cat Patrick
I loved reading Tornado Brain last year and was excited to find out there was going to be a companion novel.  This time it's told by Tess, Frankie's twin sister (Frankie was the narrator of Tornado Brain).  While it's helpful to have read the first book, this is considered a companion novel so it is it's own separate story, but I do think having some background is helpful.
The story takes place not too long after the end of the events in Tornado Brain.  Tess is going away with her aunt's family to Wyoming.  It's a welcome break from being home after Colette's death and she gets to attend an art camp.  However, Colette had visited the cabin with Tess and family in a previous summer, so there are still a lot of memories that Tess has to wade through.  She also has a lot of anxiety, not only about the death of her friend, but about who she is and where she fits in with her family.  Tess has an inner voice that the reader gets to hear and we understand how her grief and anxiety are taking hold of her and it becomes a very tough summer to get through.  But with new friends and a sometimes surprising ally in her older cousin, Tess grows as a character.
I think I actually enjoyed this one even more than Tornado Brain.  I can't put my finger on why, but I'm glad to see that the next book is even stronger than the first!
Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for the review copy.

Currently Reading

Every Body Looking
Every Body Looking
by Candice Iloh
This is from my #mustread list for the month of May.  I have two books on the list for this month so I guess I need to get reading!


Seven more days of school.  I can see a tiny sliver of light.  Much to do before we get to the end, but I'm definitely ready to relax and clear my head before the next school year!