Monday, April 26, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.26.21

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

This book is perfect to get young readers thinking about what they can do to help the environment.

Picture Books

Our Skin: A First Conversation about Race
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race
written by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli
illustrated by Isabel Roxas
A very necessary book.  This is a book that will span the ages.  I wish it to be mandatory and repeated reading from birth to age three, so when littles start school, this would be a known concept.  This book provides a fantastic starting point for the discussion of race and some of the many facets that surround the topic.  I liked that there are even more conversation points in the backmatter for further discussions.
Currently available as a board book, it will publish in picture book format at the end of May.

Keeping the City Going
Keeping the City Going
by Brian Floca
This book publishes tomorrow and it's a gorgeous dedication to all of the essential workers that kept our cities and towns going during the early days of the pandemic.  It's interesting to read this book and think about how far we've come from the early days.  While COVID is still here, we have learned to live with it more.  Grateful for all of the essential workers who helped us survive those early months!

Please Don't Read This Book
Please Don't Read This Book!
written by Deanna Kizis
illustrated by Sam Boughton
I love interactive books and this one is going to have kids giggling and wanting an immediate reread.  Perfect for young readers.

Even the Smallest Will Grow
Even the Smallest Will Grow
by Lita Judge
Our young friends are always in such a rush to grow, even as we tell them to slow down!
Judge reminds the youngest readers that all living things grow with time. 
I admire Judge's writing because she goes from writing amazing nonfiction information to lyrical poetry to beautiful stories.  Between her words and her art, she is an amazing creator!
This book would make a beautiful gift.

Middle Grade

It Doesn't Take a Genius
It Doesn't Take a Genius
written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Black Boy Joy goes to camp!  I really enjoyed reading this book that celebrates the young African American generation and showcases their many talents while teaching them about important historical events and people that have paved the way for African Americans today.
Emmett really wants to go to Camp DuBois, even though his friends say it's a "bougie" camp.  Not because of its stellar reputation.  Not because of the amazing offerings it has.  It's because the older brother E idolizes, Luke, is going to be there.  What better opportunity to hang out with his big bro?  E quietly makes it into camp and it ends up being a surprise that Luke is not exactly happy about.  That will change when they get there, right?  Before E knows is, he's making friends, learning a lot about his heritage and his identity.  But, his big bro is too busy working and has zero time left for E.  Maybe camp isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I really enjoyed this story about identity.  Rhuday-Perkovich does a fantastic job weaving in hard conversations but at the same time giving readers an understanding of Black identity.  A must have story for middle grade libraries!

Young Adult

Love Is a Revolution
Love is a Revolution
by Renée Watson
I enjoyed this story!  I liked that Nala had a strong identity as far as loving your body and looks, but was very insecure about who she was on the inside!  
The problem I had with the character is her story arc had one of my pet peeves - a character who keeps telling lies that you know is going to create a big blow up at the end.  This is not a unique problem, but it also didn't have a unique ending to it.  Characters that continuously lie just annoy me because you know where their story is headed.
While this was a romantic story, it was very watered down so it could be handed off to upper middle schoolers who are looking for older characters.

Adult Novel

A Promised Land
A Promised Land
by Barack Obama
This book finally moved over to my completed side!  I started it in January and divided it up by parts to read each month.  Sometimes it was a mad dash to get it done by the end of the month, but it certainly helped dividing and conquering!
This book was fascinating, but mostly boring.  I am definitely not someone who will ever get into politics!  But it certainly gave me a new perspective and understanding to events in our history.  The last chapter was the most interesting as it gave details about the capture and end of Osama Bin Laden.
I will probably get book 2, but I'm glad for the break between reading the two!

Currently Reading

Firekeeper's Daughter
The Firekeeper's Daughter
by Angeline Boulley
Still reading this one.  Didn't get a whole lot read this week in this book because I was busy finishing the other three I was also reading!  I'm about 150 pages into it and it's very good so far.

Happy Reading!


  1. I laughed when I read that you thought A Promised Land was boring. I feel the same way about politics! I have to get to Love is a Revolution. It's in my stack. Have a great week!

  2. Love is a Revolution is perfect for upper middle grade readers, and I loved all of the details about the city!

  3. I have The Firekeeper's Daughter, wishing I had time to read it now! Maybe next week? I hope to get Keeping the City Going also soon and It Doesn't Take A Genius, too. There are lots of good books coming out! Have a great week, Michele!

  4. Can't wait to read Keeping the City Going. Thanks for the book reviews.

  5. What a great set of books! All the picture books you mention look excellent, especially Our Skin! I've seen a ton of praise for It Doesn't Take a Genius, and it sounds excellent! Love is a Revolution sounds good as well, though I agree about protagonists who always lie—books basically taught me never to lie when I was little, because it always ends exactly the same way (with chaos)! Thanks so much for the great post!

  6. Thanks for the heads up about Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race. I just ordered it for one of my grandbabies birthday. I just picked up Love is a Revolution from the library. Now I'm a bit worried about reading it.