Tag Archives: Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (3/8/2021-3/14/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Board Books:

Picture Books:

Readers:

Graphic Novels:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: As you can tell from the covers above, ALL the books are coming in now. I’m determined to get as many of them back out the door as quickly as I can before, I hope, at some point, I can leave the house again and do…something. LOTS of really great books this week, so make sure to stop by on Tuesdays for short reviews of some of these titles!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 50 Books Read This Week
    • 26 Books with Main Characters of Diverse Backgrounds (52%)
    • 17 Books by Authors or Diverse Backgrounds (34%)
    • 15 Books by Own Voices Authors (30%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:

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Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant (biography)
Gr. 2-4. Learn about the life of the extraordinary Elgin Baylor, an incredible and innovative basketball player that helped shape the NBA and combatted racism with a one-man protest after not being permitted to stay in any hotels or eat in any restaurants in the segregated south.

Wow, this was a particularly stellar picture book biography! Great artwork and a well-framed story with high appeal.

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Fair and Square by Heather Ayris Burnell (reader)
Gr. 1-2. Another excellent Unicorn and Yeti beginning reader. I can’t get enough of these–the vocabulary and simple sentence structure are on point, the illustrations are adorable, and the stories even teach simple concepts. This title focuses on shapes, being creative in your own way, and different ways to think about fair and equal.

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Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez (teen)
Gr. 8+. Camila doesn’t just love fútbol–she is good at playing. Not just good, incredible. On the field, she is La Furia, destined to leave Argentina and play on an international team. But in Argentina, women are not expected to play sports. A few years ago it would have been illegal for her to play at all. Now, she plays in secret, tiptoeing around her abusive, short-tempered father. But when Camila has a chance to play in a game where her ability could catch the eye of a coach, she needs her parents’ permission. How can she make her dream happen?

This one was a little too long for me. I liked the moments of action. Surprisingly to me, this included the futbol games. But most everything in between practices and games felt like it drug on. While Camila’s story at home felt like a strong arc, her romance with Diego felt a bit predictable, down to the end result. I see a definite audience for this strong, feminist story, but I don’t think I am it. I will still be recommending this, but I may not be personally looking for a sequel.

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If You’re Scary and You Know It! by Carole Gerber (board book)
Toddler-PreS. A “spooky” version of the song If You’re Happy and You Know It. The illustrations are cute and appropriate, with the only reference to Halloween in the last spread’s Trick or Treat–which could be skipped if this was to be adapted for a holiday-less storytime.

The author does a great job reimagining the tune, though I wish the lyrics were as repetitious as the original song. Generally, kids seem to like to sing along to books like these, and that simply isn’t the structure here. While the verses keep to the beat and tune, almost every line in each lyric is different. The first and last lines of each verse do end with clear actions, good for an energetic crowd.

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Never Touch a Snake! by Rosie Greening (board book)
Baby-Toddler. Always a fan of these sensory board books. This book’s internal story showcases animals as circus performers (clown, acrobat, etc.). Not my favorite, but the sensory elements and bright illustrations still work well for the intended age.

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Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak by Roy Henry Vickers (board book)
Baby-Toddler. A gorgeous board book with lightly textured illustrations by Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers. Rhythmic text emphasizes the sounds found on the West Coast of Canada: thunder booming, big waves crashing, paddles swooshing, ravens squawking, orcas squeaking, and more. Add this one to your board book collection.

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Slime for Dinner by Geronimo Stilton and Tom Angleberger (graphic novel)
Gr. 2-4. Lots of laughs and bad puns as Geronimo Stilton’s adventures continue in the Tom Angleberger graphic novel adaptation. Geronimo and friends are invited to a mystery dinner at Cacklefur Castle, competing to win a special trip. Geronimo doesn’t want to go to the dinner, and he really doesn’t want to win, but Thea pulls him into the spooky (and slimy!) fun, especially when the fake-mystery turns into a quest for a family heirloom that was really stolen.

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A Thousand White Butterflies by Jessica Betancourt-Perez (picture book)
Gr. K-1. Isabella, her Mama, and her Abuelita just moved from Colombia to the United States. Her Papa, and all her friends, are back home. Isabella is nervous but a little excited for her first day at her new school–when her very first day is cancelled due to too much snow.

A sweet first-day-of-school story filled with lots of emotions and an adorable start to a new friendship. Plenty of Spanish words interspersed throughout with a glossary in the back. A great addition to your library collection.

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Wheels by Sally Sutton (picture book)
Toddler-PreS. “Wheels go fast. Wheels go slow. Shout what’s coming if you know!” Read a hint and use the pictures to guess what vehicle is coming next.

Oh that was fun! A definite storytime read, though this is sorely lacking in diverse characters. Some words don’t entirely align with words most commonly used in the U.S. — words like “motorbike” for motorcycle. The repetition will make this a winner in a toddler or preschool program though!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (3/1/2021-3/7/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books & Readers:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: Shipping delays brought 15 boxes of newly ordered children’s books to my library, all at once, so there are a bunch of titles that I finally got to read this week! And more to come next week.

Also…I have something to ask this week. And I’m just going to push through the awkward and the “should I mention it at all?” and just do the asking already: My name is on the ALSC ballot for the 2023 Caldecott Committee! If you are a children’s librarian, and you aren’t a member of ALSC, it is a phenomenal organization that has helped me grow as a librarian and connect to other professionals in this field. If you are a member of ALSC, make sure to vote! No matter who you vote for, this is your chance to impact the direction of the organization, particularly with those important votes for President Elect and the ALSC Board of Directors. There are some really phenomenal people on the ballot this year in every category. If you happen to have an extra vote for me in the Caldecott section I’d really appreciate it–Caldecott is THE DREAM–but really, vote regardless.

Make sure to stop by on Tuesdays for short reviews of some of these titles!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 25 Books Read This Week
    • 11 Books with Diverse Main Character (44%)
    • 10 Books by Diverse Authors (40%)
    • 8 Books by Own Voices Authors (32%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:

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Blades of Freedom by Nathan Hale (graphic novel) (nonfiction)
Gr. 4-5. Framed around the sale of the Louisiana Purchase, the newest Nathan Hale title really explores the Haitian Revolution.

I liked this book a lot, though I don’t think the connection to the Louisiana Purchase was needed. Perhaps the author was trying to make a more direct connection to American history, but I think this book series is popular enough that the initial tropes don’t need to be followed as strictly. It does all tie together eventually, but I would have rather this book focused entirely on the Haitian people instead of suddenly tossing Thomas Jefferson into the narrative at the end.

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The Challenger Disaster by Pranas T. Naujokaitis (graphic novel) (nonfiction)
Gr. 4-5. Learn about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986 through the eyes of school children living on a space station above Mars 400 years in the future.

This was enjoyable and approachable for kids with no background knowledge. Following a similar format to First Second’s popular Science Comics, this took a complicated and tragic situation and made it understandable and interesting for young readers. This is my second History Comics graphic novel, and I learned more from this one (and was engaged more in this one) than the Great Chicago Fire title. I was a bit confused about the computer system the kids were using–the holograms of the dead astronauts seemed to know about their lives, about the kids’ lives in the future, but not always about their own deaths, which felt odd.

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Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (teen)
Gr. 9+. We meet Maverick Carter before Starr is born–before Starr is conceived in fact. Maverick is trying to figure out high school while hanging out with his favorite cousin and dealing on the side for the King Lords. What he doesn’t expect is Iesha–the girlfriend of one his close friends–to get pregnant soon after they have sex. It was just one time, surely the baby can’t be his–but it is. And not just that, but on the day the paternity results come in, Iesha and her mom skip out on Maverick, leaving him with a squirming, adorable, poop-filled infant.

Maverick knows this baby is his responsibility, and he is willing to put in the work to do his best to take care of baby Seven while helping his mom stay afloat. He doesn’t want his child to grow up without a father, so he takes his chance to get out of drug dealing. But things are never that simple, and after the murder of a loved one and the possibility of a second baby on the way, Maverick has to grow up and make some hard decisions fast.

This was amazing, as expected. So much character development, and I really want more of this story, Maverick’s story. No THUG knowledge necessary to enjoy this, though there are a few call backs that fans of the first book will appreciate. This particular line sticks with me: “Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?…it can roll away from the tree. It simply needs a little push.”

Everything Angie Thomas writes is phenomenal, but I feel like I can hear the progression in her writing from THUG to On the Come Up to Concrete Rose–and I’m thrilled to see what will come next.

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Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai
Gr. 3-4. Henry Khoo is done being treated like a baby. He doesn’t need a chaperone, and he is going to prove it by flying halfway around the world to Singapore all by himself. Since his family has decided to cancel their summer trip, Henry is going to make the journey alone without anyone’s knowledge. He’s prepared: he is just old enough to fly alone, he knows the steps to get through the airport, and he even has an alibi to keep him covered until his plane lands. But everything goes wrong when he realizes that he knows someone on the flight–and not just any someone, but the very person that knows he is the creator of an anonymous gossip website about students at his school. Will Henry make it to Singapore in one piece? Or will his nemesis end his adventures early?

This was fun, though I think I missed a lot by listening to this. I didn’t see any of the illustrations, and there were definitely moments I was confused. Henry is full of energy, and while this does translate well over audio, it sometimes feels a little all over the place. However, I think this is a fun, diverse readalike for fans of Wimpy Kid, Terrible Two, and other fast, funny books.

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Oona by Kelly DiPucchio (picture book)
Gr. PreS-K. Adorable mermaid Oona loves collecting things. Sometimes her adventures lead her to trouble, but that doesn’t stop her from pursuing her biggest find yet: a shiny gold crown stuck at the bottom of a dark rift.

Absolutely gorgeous illustrations that complement the story while adding more details. And I absolutely cannot get over Otto the Otter companion, or how after finally getting the crown, it most obviously belongs around Otto’s stomach. How else could you wear it? Like so many other reviewers have said, more Black mermaids please.

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The Ridiculous and Wonderful Rainbow Hat by Aaron Starmer
Gr. 3-4. Locker 37 adventures continue at Hopewell Elementary School. This time, fourth grader Riley needs help pulling off the most epic prank ever: dropping 10,000 ping pong balls from the ceiling ducts above the gym during the upcoming juggling-filled assembly. Locker 37 provides Riley with a magical hat that creates Riley clones. Surely a never-ending number of Riley’s can pull off such an elaborate prank?

More Locker 37 shenanigans. This series is a great readalike for fans of the 13-Story Treehouse, Terrible Two, and other tales filled with lost of humor and wry adventures. Quick pacing and a lot of action will appeal to reluctant readers.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (2/22/2021-2/28/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books & Readers:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: More books! I loved Concrete Rose, and there is some good stuff here, though really I am just extra tired this week. Vacations that I knew weren’t happening were officially cancelled, and I think that has left me a bit out of sorts. I’ve got some great books stacked up that I am looking forward to reading the next few weeks–so hopefully lots of great titles and reviews to highlight here soon. (Also, this week is the WandaVision finale. So, let’s be honest, that is where my head is.)

Make sure to stop by on Tuesdays for short reviews of some of these titles!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 14 Books Read This Week
    • 7 Books with Diverse Main Character (50%)
    • 4 Books by Diverse Authors (29%)
    • 4 Books by Own Voices Authors (29%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:

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Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon (teen)
Gr. 9+. Liliana Cruz knows she won’t fit in at the white school her parents want her to go to. She didn’t even know her parents sent in an application for her–she just got called to the principal’s office one day and told she was accepted into the METCO program and would now be bussed to a different school with more funding. Liliana is sure she won’t go, but when she finds out that her dad ran off again, she finds herself accepting to make her mom happy.

Liliana is one of only a few kids of color at her new school, and she doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. The other METCO kids laugh at her, and the white kids ignore her–well, all of them except for one really cute boy. Liliana is sure she will drop out of this program and just go back to her old school, but then she learns that her dad isn’t off doing his own thing–he got deported, and he can’t come home because he is undocumented. Suddenly, her classmates and teachers racist remarks sting more than ever before, and Liliana decides she is done making everyone else comfortable at her own expense.

Fantastic! Liliana’s journey of self-discovery felt real. While there was a lot going on, it all felt genuine–from the at home struggles to the micro and macro aggressions at school. Powerful, enjoyable, and an easy one to recommend.

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When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
Gr. 4-6. Lily, her mother, and her older sister Sam move in with Lily’s sick grandmother. As they drive into town, a giant, magical tiger from one of her Halmoni’s stories arrives–a tiger only Lily can see. Halmoni tells Lily that a long time ago she stole something important from the tigers, and now the tigers want it back. Lily manages to talk to one of the tigers, and it offers her a deal: return the stories that Halmoni stole, and the tigers will return Halmoni’s health. Lily knows she has to take the tiger up on its bargain–but tigers are known for not quite telling the truth. And can quiet, invisible Lily ever really be brave enough to trick a tiger?

This was beautiful and brimming with strong feelings of love and family, weaving together culture and magical realism in a quiet but yet still suspenseful fashion. The depth of the side characters really stands out to me–Halmoni’s journey towards acceptance, Sam’s fear of being left behind, Ricky’s want for a real friend who gets it, and Lily’s mom in particular, trying to hold everyone together. I see why this won the Newbery

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (2/15/2021-2/21/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books & Readers:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: Not too many books this week–still waiting for that big pile from Baker & Taylor to be delivered. I might start using a family member’s card to request titles that I know have been published for a while from other libraries. Bring on the books! Currently listening to and enjoying Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas.

Make sure to stop by on Tuesdays for short reviews of some of these titles!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 14 Books Read This Week
    • 8 Books with Diverse Main Character (57%)
    • 4 Books by Diverse Authors (29%)
    • 4 Books by Own Voices Authors (29%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:

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The Coldfire Curse (Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly Book 1) by Jordan Quinn (graphic novel)
Gr. 1-3. Enter the kingdom of Wrenly in this dragon-filled graphic novel. Young Ruskin loves his life as the pet of the prince of Wrenly, but when another young dragon, Cinder, tells him that it is his destiny to save the kingdom, Ruskin reluctantly agrees to help. He wants to do his part–he just isn’t so sure he is the dragon everyone has been waiting for.

This was fun! I struggled with some of the other Little Simon graphic novels, but this felt fresh, with a good plot, interesting characters, and a simple enough story and vocabulary to still appeal to first and second graders. Dragons are always in demand, so this series will not struggle for readers.

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Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison (picture book)
Gr. PreS – Gr. 2. Doug just doesn’t like hugs. No particular reason–he just doesn’t like them. And that is okay. But how do you know if someone is like Doug and doesn’t like hugs? You ask!

I see you Doug. I feel seen by you Doug. Some people love hugs and some people don’t, and I am so glad to see a book that says this is okay. A great starting conversation about consent.

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Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho (picture book)
Gr. PreS – Gr. 2. A young East Asian girl notices her eyes look different than her friends’ eyes. Instead of being big and round, her eyes kiss in the corners. But her eyes are just as special–they are her mother’s eyes, her Amah’s eyes, and her Mei Mei’s eyes–they are powerful and wonderful and beautiful.

A lovely, gorgeously illustrated book with lyrical, perfectly paced text. A must-read and recommend book that needs to be on your shelves.

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Gr. 4-5. Zoe Washington just wants to succeed at her new baking internship, so she can audition for the cooking show, Kids Bake Challenge. But her priorities shift when she checks the mail on her twelfth birthday and discovers a letter from her birth dad–someone she has never met because he has been in prison for murder. Zoe doesn’t know what to think, but eventually she decides to write back. She discovers a kind man who wants to get to know her–and who says he is innocent. How is that possible? Aren’t people who go to prison guilty? And if he is innocent–what is Zoe going to do about it?

I feel like everyone I know has read this book already and rightfully so–it was a delightful read. Zoe is such an honest character, feeling genuinely 12, trying to balance her knowledge that she is not a kid anymore with her nerves about lying and sneaking around behind her parents’ backs (for a good cause!). Author Marks also touches on prejudice and racism, particularly in the legal system, in a way that would easily lend itself to discussion and research in a classroom. A great read for fans of Three Keys, A Good Kind of Trouble, or The True Definition of Neva Beane.

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Give It a Try, Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi (beginning reader)
Gr. 1-2. Yasmin is back for more fun! This collects four beginning reader book into a longer chapter book: Yasmin the Librarian, Yasmin the Scientist, Yasmin the Recycler, and Yasmin the Singer.

Yasmin the Librarian: Yasmin is so excited to help in the library this week that she even brings in her favorite book from home to share with the librarian. But when her book goes missing, Yasmin has to quickly retrace her steps to track it down. Bonus points for showing a Black librarian.

Yasmin the Scientist: Yasmin has to make a project for the science fair, but sometimes science can get a bit too messy for Yasmin. Can she make her project work before the deadline?

Yasmin the Recycler: Yasmin’s school is starting a new recycling program! Yasmin is excited to help, but her classmates don’t seem to care. How can she make them just as excited as she is?

Yasmin the Singer: Yasmin gets to attend a very special party! Everyone is dressed super fancy, and suddenly Yasmin feels shy. Can she move past her nerves and let her singing voice shine?

As always, Yasmin’s adventures are sure to delight. More please!

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A Map to the Sun by Sloane Leong (graphic novel)
Gr. 7+.Luna returns to Ren’s life, acting like Luna didn’t just vanish after one amazing summer years ago. This isn’t just Ren and Luna’s story–soon five girls, Ren, Luna, Jetta, Neil, and So-Young, are brought together due to a common goal: making their new women’s high school basketball team a success.

This one meanders a bit, touching on many tough issues including self harm, death, toxic family relationships, racism, drug addiction, and more. The coloring sometimes added to the story, but other times made characters or plot points fade into the background (intentional, I’m sure, but it left me having to super-focus to keep up).

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Milo Imagines the World by Christian Robinson (picture book)
Gr. K-2. During a long subway ride, young Milo draws pictures of the imagined lives of his fellow riders. Milo is sure the boy who got on with his dad is off on a grand, fancy adventure, but when that boy gets off at Milo’s stop and heads to the same place as Milo, Milo begins to realize that maybe other people’s lives aren’t what we assume.

A powerful book about assumptions that makes you think about what we presume about others–and how little we really know about them.

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Pup Detectives by Felx Gumpaw
Rider Woofson and his team of sleuths are on the case to discover the conniving Lunchtime Bandit. Can they solve the case?

Super Turbo by Edgar J. Powers
Super Turbo, the pet in Classroom C at Sunnyview Elementary, teams up with other class pets to make a formidable superhero team that saves the school from evil.

I wasn’t thrilled with these, though I am wondering if I am struggling more with the direction of Little Simon graphic novel line than these particular novels. I’m glad to see more graphic novels for younger students, but this felt like it was filling off a checkmark of tropes that are deemed “popular” with kids rather than writing a fun, original, engaging novel. I’ve enjoyed other more recent graphic novels for young kids more, including Pizza and Taco, Beak and Ally, and Pea Bee and Jay. It feels like this might be aiming for Dog Man fans, but the humor in Max Meow, InvestiGators, and even Agent Moose does a better job for that audience.

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A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy (picture book)
Gr. PreS-2. Gabo is so excited for the snow, but he doesn’t have all of the clothes and toys the other kids from his new school have. His socks aren’t wool, and his shoes aren’t waterproof, but his Mami helps him figure out ways to make what they have stretch. But, even once he is outside, Gabo still doesn’t have a sled of his own. Can someone in his neighborhood help?

A fun, family-filled book that touches on childhood shyness and socio-economic realities while telling a story of a boy who just wants to play in the snow. An adorable winning book that begs to be snuggled with on a cold winter day

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Time for Kenny by Brian Pinkney (picture book)
Gr. Toddler-PreS. Follow Kenny’s adventures in four simple, repetitive stories as Kenny gets dressed, Kenny defeats the vacuum cleaner, Kenny learns to play soccer, and Kenny eventually heads to bed.

Short and simple, but this one stands out in its simplicity and vibrant illustrations. Looking forward to more like this.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

We participate in the blog trend of Monday posts about what we have read during the last week (2/8/2021-2/14/2021).

Annamarie’s Reading

Picture Books:

Readers:

Graphic Novels:

Everything Else:

Rambling Thoughts: I got a good sized stack of picture books this week, so a lot of reading to record here. I’m hoping to tackle more of the chapter books that have been sitting around gathering dust–essentially I’ve only been listening to audiobooks of chapter books for a while now, and it has been a bit sluggish getting back into reading something longer. But then I turn around and look at the big (virtual) stack of eaudiobooks I have checked out and well…I need three weeks to catch up on reading. Which I may have someday soon since I can’t go on a trip anywhere, and I am approaching my vacation day capacity at work. We shall see… but in the meantime I am really enjoying listening to Newbery winner When you Trap a Tiger. More on that title next week!

Make sure to stop by on Tuesdays for short reviews of some of these titles!

Reading by the Numbers:

  • 43 Books Read This Week
    • 24 Books with Diverse Main Character (56%)
    • 15 Books by Diverse Authors (35%)
    • 14 Books by Own Voices Authors (33%)

Favorites of the Week:

Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:

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For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
Gr. 5-7. Makeda loves her family, but she doesn’t always know if she fits in. Makeda is Black, and she was adopted by a white family as a baby–and her family members don’t always seem to understand some of Makeda’s questions. When her family moves to New Mexico, Makeda leaves behind her best friend, and the only girl she has ever met who is just like her. Makeda can’t seem to make friends at her new school, and her mom’s moods seem to change every day. Her dad isn’t around much anymore, and her sister is too busy–can Makeda hold everything together?

There are so many layers to this one–it touches on different particulars than many of the recent upper elementary realistic fiction reads focusing on racism and/or social justice. The own voices exploration into Makeda’s life as a Black girl adopted into a white family is wonderful, with the added layer of Makeda’s mom’s mental health. The mental health storyline does seem to get pretty heavy fairly quickly–moving beyond mood swings to depression and attempted suicide in what feels like just a few pages (it isn’t that fast, but the story moves quickly). I wish some elements of that storyline were own voices too–overall there is a lot happening here with these two very strong storylines (plus additional smaller plot points).

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Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit
Gr. 4-6. Vivy wants to pitch on her local baseball team, just like her hero, Major League pitcher VJ Capello. After one of his games, he taught her how to throw a special knuckleball pitch, and Vivy has been practicing. But, Vivy is a girl, she has autism, and her mom is very protective of Vivy and Vivy’s activities. Everyone wants her to try softball, but Vivy knows you can only throw a knuckeball with a baseball. Vivy doesn’t think her dream will ever come true when two incredible things happen: a local Little League coach spots her throwing with her brother and invites her to join his team. And legendary VJ Capello actually responds to Vivy’s fan letter. Soon, Vivy is pitching on a real team, while also making friends with her hero through their letters.

THIS BOOK! Vivy is a wonderful, fleshed-out character, made so much more real because this is an own voices autism novel. I don’t like sports or sports books, and by all definitions I should have not enjoyed this–but I loved it. The dynamic between Vivy and VJ is fantastic and such a great example of a positive adult relationship outside of your immediate family. Vivy’s choices always feel honest, as do her emotions, frustrations, and passion for pitching. I’ll never understand the joy some people find in watching or playing sports, but I can understand Vivy’s passion, determination, and love for all things baseball. Buy this for your library and book talk it to everyone.

*I do wish the audiobook had been recorded by an own voices narrator.

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I Love You, Baby Burrito by Angela Dominguez (picture book)
Gr. Baby-Toddler. Adorable story following a family bringing their new baby home. Includes Spanish words throughout, with a glossary on the back end papers. Encourages some body part identification that would be useful in a storytime setting.

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Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan (picture book)
Gr. K-1. Carol Olivia misses her parents, but she loves her Mama Rose. While Carol Olivia would love if they could all live together, Mama Rose is everything Carol Olivia needs–kind, strict when needed, and, of course, full of love.

I’m not sure how this one slipped past me last year, but it is a wonderful story with a non-traditional caregiver. A must for your collection.

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This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various
Gr. 8+. A collection of short stories, told by Indigenous creators, chronicling the last 150 years. Some are stories passed down from generation to generation, reading as magical realism, others are rooted in Canadian historical movements and protests, and another ends with a time-travel-filled look into the future. Particular to communities across Canada.

This was fascinating, though I struggled with it a bit, in the way I struggle with many anthologies. Some of these stories held my interest more than others, but I think that was much more my passing interest at the time than anything to be said for the strength of one story over the next. The connecting timelines and history held this one together for me–particularly the returned focus to the idea that for the last few hundred years–since Contact–while much of the world would claim humanity has “flourished”, Native people have literally lived through an apocalypse–of their land, their people, their culture, their civilization. Indigenous people have been trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.