Monday, July 12, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.12.21

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

A political figure you will want to meet

Do you know readers who love Magic Tree House?  Here are some more chapter books to introduce to those readers!

This MG book is going to be a hit this fall!  Make sure you have copies of Secondhand Dogs for your readers!  Learn more about the book here.

Picture Books

America, My Love, America, My Heart
America My Love, America My Heart
by Daria Peoples-Riley
I am often looking for books that can help discuss the civil unrest in our country with young readers.  This book is a really good entryway into a discussion.

How to Apologize
How to Apologize
written by David LaRochelle
illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Oh, I like this one!  Giving tips like being sincere, making a plan so you don't repeat a mistake, as well as what a not-so-sincere apology looks like.  A good book to use at the beginning of the school year!

Amira's Picture Day
Amira's Picture Day
written by Reem Faruqi
illustrated by Fahmida Azim
It's Eid!  A day of celebration, good food, and friends and family.  But it's also picture day for Amira and she really wants to take part in both Eid and picture day.
A book you'll want for your holiday collection.  I like that it has information about Eid and traditions, but also celebrates those things kids just want to do!

30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag
30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag
written by Amanda Davis
illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
This is such an amazing story, and one I didn't know anything about.  I do remember the flag that was hung near the site of the fallen towers, but I didn't know there was a story about it after it was taken down.  I love the narrative Davis wrote and the illustrations by Comport are spot on.  The backmatter is so informative, you'll really want to make sure you make the time to read all of it to readers, as well.  This is a must have book.

Bella's Recipe for Success
Bella's Recipe for Disaster Success
written by Ana Siqueira
illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez
I think it's important to talk to our young readers about persevering and having determination when working towards a goal.  Too often I see kids who frustrate so easily when something doesn't work correctly the first time.  Here's a book to share with readers!
Young Bella sees her brother and sister being successful at things but she doesn't feel like she has something she is really good at.  She decides to learn how to make polvorones with dulce de leche with her Abuela.  However, things don't go exactly how she wants them to and ends up having to make batch after batch.  While she's doing that, she eventually sees her sister and brother having trouble with the things they are good at, too.  Bella eventually finds success and it's all the more "sweet" since she worked so hard!
Spanish is sprinkled throughout the storyline.  I know my Spanish speakers are always so happy to see their language in books that are in libraries!  I was surprised there was not a Spanish glossary at the end, but non-Spanish speaking readers will be able to use context clues to figure out almost every word.  However, the recipe for the delicious cookies Bella makes is included in the book!
Thank you to author Ana Siqueira for the review copy!

Unspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
written by Carole Boston Weatherford
illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Wow.  This book is as powerful as everyone is saying.  I never heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre until this book, and that is wrong and I guess not surprising at this point.
Use this book to teach and discuss:
  • history!  I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this event is still not in most history books...
  • kids today need to understand they systemic racism that has been taking place in our country for centuries.  This is not something new.  This has been occurring for a very very long time.

Middle Grade

Ophie's Ghosts
Ophie's Ghosts
by Justina Ireland
A historical fiction that is rich in accuracy of the injustices of African Americans in our country is married with a chilling ghost story that will want you reading in the daylight!  It's unique and fun and fascinating.
It is the 1920s and Ophie is surviving the tragedy that is the loss of her father and home.  She also has come to realize that she has the gift of sight and is able to see and communicate with ghosts.  Her mother and her have moved north to Pittsburgh and are now working in a manor as housekeepers and for Ophie, caretaker to the very old matron of the home.  Having to deal with the racist old Mrs. Caruthers as well as trying to figure out how to deal with all of the ghosts that also reside in the home is confusing.  But with the guidance of her aunt, Ophie learns more about the ghosts and why she should leave them alone.  But when a very friendly ghost befriends Ophie, she can't help but get involved and try to solve the mystery of the ghost's death.
With some chapters being told by a variety of narrators that are important settings to the story, the reader learns a lot about what it was like growing up as an African American girl in the time of Jim Crow laws.... and will be entertained by a fascinating ghost story!

Young Adult

Off the Record
Off the Record
by Camryn Garrett
Woah, what powerful story!  Rooted in the #MeToo movement, this book uses the teen perspective to explore what the hard decision to speak up when it's easier to look away.
Josie is a budding journalist, the youngest of three sisters, has anxiety and body issues (she'll tell you she's fat but she's trying to be more positive), and has just won a major contest to report on an up-and-coming actor for a major magazine.  Josie and her appointed guardian/sister are about to go on a multi-city tour and follow along the cast and crew for a movie that is about to premier.  Josie is doing the lead article on the actor who is about her age and Josie is about to fall for him.  But... it gets complicated.  A major film director has been sexually preying on his leading actresses and they've had enough.  Will Josie be the one to write the exposé that lets the world know, or will she be silenced?  
Beautifully written!

Currently Reading

The Mending Summer
The Mending Summer
by Ali Standish
I love all of Ali's books and I've been looking forward to this one for awhile!

Happy July reading!


  1. Great selections. Bella’s Recipe for Success is on my TBR pile. The underlying message about perseverance reminds me of two other books in the chapter book and young MG genres. One is about a boy from a family of geniuses: Nick Newton Is Not A Genius by S.E.M. Ishida. The other is about a girl who starts a business: Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash by Amberly Kristen Clowe. (Teeny Sweeney also includes an apology element in its theme.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reading selections.

  2. I don't know the story of the flag either, so I'll have to read 30,000 stitches. Unspeakable sounds powerful. I'm really disappointed my library system doesn't have a copy.

  3. Wow—so many good books today! America My Love, America My Heart and Amira's Picture Day both sound wonderful—I just checked, and Libby for my library doesn't have them, but I'll keep an eye out in case they get added. Unspeakable was definitely a great read, and I'm glad you had the chance to try it! And Off the Record sounds like such a powerful novel—I'll try to get a copy as soon as I can. Thanks so much for the great post!

  4. So many powerful texts here ... Unspeakable was a go to text for me this spring. Also LOVED Amira's Picture Day -have you read Reem Faruqi latest book in verse - Unsettled. So good! I also have not read 30,000 stitches - thank for highlighting it!

  5. Thanks for the heads up about Off the Record. I'm glad you enjoyed Ophie's Ghosts. The only reason I knew about The Tulsa Race Massacre before reading Unspeakable, is because I read Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson when it first came out. That sent me off to learn more.

  6. Unspeakable was so good and so important. I definitely need to order a copy for my library.

  7. These all look great! Ophie's Ghost has been on my radar and I can't wait to check it out.

  8. Lots of really great looking books. I think most educators are looking for books like Bella's Recipe for Success. I have been thinking about Ophie's Ghost for a while. I haven't read Ali Standish's books yet, but I have a couple on my list. Hope to check out some of your others soon too. Have a great week!