Monday, January 25, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1.25.21

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.

Last Week's Adventures

Find out what it's like to work inside the White House!  It's truly fascinating!

Picture Books

The Snow Dancer
The Snow Dancer
written by Addie Boswell
illustrated by Mercè López
There is something so peaceful after a fresh fallen snow.  When the snow is unbroken by tracks or footprints.  (Please keep in mind I am speaking about looking at a picture, not looking at real snow outside my window.  I never admire that snow)  
Our young dancer has just woken up to snow and a snow day.  It's quiet, no one has been out yet, and the snow is ready for her dancer's lines and designs.  
But then everyone else comes out and instead of peaceful turns and dips, it's snowball fights and sledding, and the peaceful snow is interrupted.  Except one small friend has noticed the dancer and together they continue their dance.

One Girl
One Girl
written by Andrea Beaty
illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
What a perfect author/illustrator pairing for this book!  A story about the power of education and reading featuring illustrations of a young girl who receives a book that is a shooting star.  The power this book gives the young girl, who appears to be living and going to school in a more poverty stricken country, is shown in the illustrations as she gains knowledge, in both the science and arts!  
In the author's note, Beaty details the importance of an education and how many people, many are females, who do not have access to books and education.  A couple of educational alliances are mentioned in the note for further information.

Tiara's Hat Parade
Tiara's Hat Parade
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
"Some people let hats wear them.  But others - they can wear a hat."  Lyons includes these statements in her author's note and they really made me think about them.  I am not someone who wears a hat well and I have found myself jealous of those who can.  
Tiara's mother is a local milliner who has found herself out of business because another company can made hats cheaper.  Tiara's mom goes back to work as an art teacher, but Tiara can see how much her mom misses creating hats.  To give her some joy, Tiara comes up with a special surprise.
It's a very sweet story and I love how Lyons explains the importance of hat creating in the African American culture.

Bedtime Bonnet
Bedtime Bonnet
written by Nancy Redd
illustrated by Nneka Myers
Definitely a book you want in your library to share the culture and traditions of Black hair care.  I like that this one focuses on nighttime routines.

Middle Grade

One Jar of Magic
One Jar of Magic
by Corey Ann Haydu
Make sure you pay attention to this one!  It is by far, my favorite of Haydu's.  A touching book, with important and layered ideas.  This would make an excellent book club selection for 5th grade and up.  This book may be tricky for younger readers because of the heavy symbolism that is used, however advanced readers will be able to pick up on it.  In a town where magic is celebrated more than anything else, those who have a lot of it are revered, and the more jars you're able to collect on the special New Year's Day celebration, the better you are.  For the rest of the year you can use your magic for anything - un-burning your cooked meal, making a rainbow, or even making yourself taller.
Rose has always known she was meant for magic because she is her father's "Little Luck".  Even when she questions it herself, she knows she will do great things when it's her turn to finally catch magic on New Year's Day.  It's embedded into her mind and even psyche as he father constantly reminds her that she'll be better than everyone else at catching magic.  It rubs off on her relationships with friends as her self-confidence is not always well received.
However, when New Year's Day comes and Rose only catches one jar of magic, she begins to question everything she has been told.  And once she starts, she begins seeing things as they are instead of through a magical perception.  And her father's "quirks" are finally seen as the abuse they have always been.
Haydu's ability to write a story about heavy topics such as abuse and the cost of having it all (materialism?) into a story for young readers is a gift.  I think the conversations and understandings that middle grade readers will bring will astound you.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley.  Publishes Feb. 9th.

Currently Reading

A Promised Land
A Promised Land
by Barack Obama
This is my #mustreadin2021 book for Jan-April.  If you have followed my #mustread post, you know that I choose one book each month (at least) that have been in my piles and I want to read.  This book is rather lengthy, so rather than attack it in one month, I'm spreading it out.  Plus my sister is reading it too and we're going to hold monthly (virtual) meetings to discuss!  I got through Parts one and two so far.  I know it's available as an audio and President Obama reads it (and I do love his voice), but I'm not one who does well with listening, I need the print version!

The Dragon Warrior (The Dragon Warrior, #1)
The Dragon Warrior
by Katie Zhao
I made very little progress in this book, so no dragon post just yet.  It ended up being a busier week than I thought it would be!

Hope January is treating you well and you're getting some reading in :)


  1. I'm intrigued with One Girl. We have it in the store so maybe I should read it.

  2. When I had a long commute, I enjoyed listening to audio books, but now, mostly at home, I get too distracted. It's a good idea to read the Obama book in parts. It is long! It is one of the few new books we order for the bookstore & it sells fast! Thanks for these new books, will look for One Jar of Magic, sounds nice. Thanks, Michele!

  3. Haydu's books have not done well with my readers, so I may pass on this one. It was definitely an innovative way to handle the topic of abuse.

  4. One Jar of Magic is on my must read list. Hope to get to it over the weekend. One Girl sounds great!

  5. One Jar of Magic is on my must read list. Hope to get to it over the weekend. One Girl sounds great!

  6. These books sound great, especially Tiara's Hat Parade and Bedtime Bonnet! One Jar of Magic also sounds beautiful—what excellent messages! Thanks for the wonderful post, and good luck with your reading!

  7. I am not the kind of person who can wear hats either, but I do love real snow. I haven't read anything by Corey Ann Haydu yet, but have added One Jar of Magic to my list. I've also added The Snow Dancer and One Girl. Thanks for the heads up about these books.

  8. Love your reading week! I'm making sure to add One Girl and Bedtime Bonnet to my TBR list. A Promised Land is on my #MustReadin2021 list, so I'm looking forward to getting a copy of that soon. Thanks for all these shares, Michele!