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What Are You Reading? (136) #IMWAYR – March 1, 2015

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my review for:

 Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating bookish moments in my life. Read my reviews for:

-Reading Resolutions: February Update

I’m holding a Book Drive through this site if anyone is interested. Click here for more information.

Home by Carson Ellis

Home by Carson Ellis


[***] Beautiful illustrations of what a home is and means to everyone. I enjoyed the touch of whimsy in this picture book.

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky


[***] A super cute book about an owl who is ostracized for being different, namely for loving poetry. Great for compassion and poetry units. I appreciated that the verses recited in the picture book were identified at the end.

Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist

Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist


[**] Cute story about friendship. If the actual story is not as strong, the illustrations are too adorable to pass up.

Galaxy Zack: Hello, NebulonGalaxy Zack: Hello, Nebulon by Ray O’Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun beginning chapter book with easy-to-read text and illustrations on every page. Even though Zack if from the future, travels in outer space, and interacts with aliens, his situations are very relatable which is another one of its appealing factors.

View all my reviews

The Way to Stay in DestinyThe Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Theo and his uncle, whom he barely knows, move to Destiny, Florida at the tail end of the school year in 1974. It’s not easy for either of them but a surprise friendship with a girl who loves baseball as much as he does and clandestine opportunities to play piano makes Theo thinks this could be home. Conflict arises when the uncle thinks they should move elsewhere. Atypical characters with plenty of heart and humor make this a delightful read.

View all my reviews

must-read-2015-logo

The Residue YearsThe Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like the characters.

I just couldn’t.

I read this as part of my (Multnomah County Library) Everybody Reads challenge. I’ve never disliked a title they had chosen before until now. What makes me sad is how disappointing this book was! The only part I liked was all the Portland references.

I have nothing against books that depict life for what it is (both good and bad, wonderful and horrible) but books need to do more than that- provide some new insight or something.

But, because of my surprisingly strong dislike of it, I can’t wait to hear what others think!

View all my reviews

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

I have an audio book I want to finish this week. Plus, I want to start Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan and The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds.

Have a great reading week!

 

Reading Resolutions: February Update

With so many Reading Challenges out there, I figured keeping a monthly update on the ones I’m participating in will be a great way to keep track of my progress!

Off the Shelf 2015 Goal: 10 books- 1 more book read this month for a total of 2; Click on my To Be Read 2015 post for review.

Diverse Books Goal: 52 books- 10 more books read this month for a total of 21;
-Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
-Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

-This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Kristyna Litten
-Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan

-Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day by Pat Mora, Illustrated by Rafael López
-Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
-Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Nonfiction Picture Book 2015 Goal: 104 books- 8 more books read this month for a total of 20; Read reviews here, here, here, and here.

To Be Read 2015/ Must Read in 2015- 7 more books read this month for a total of 18; Click on link to see which ones I’ve read!

I added one book to My Most Favorite Favorites:
-Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal

Reading Snapshot
110 Books Read in 2015
4 Adult Fiction
1 Adult Non-Fiction
3 Graphic Novels
29 Middle Readers
68 Picture Books
5 Young Adult

Readings & Literary Events
-An Evening of Shakespeare- I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on Shakespeare. I don’t think I’ll even be able to hold a conversation about him. I know of him and of his works. The only play I’ve really seen of his were two different productions of Hamlet.

But I decided to attend this event which was part lecture and part screening of Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS. And it was fun to be a in room full of Shakespeare fans and hearing their thoughts and stories. One of the presenters even said, “Shakespeare saved my life (when I was thirteen.)”

I came away with a new appreciation of Shakespeare and theater in general.

How are your Reading Resolutions going?

 

Celebrate This Week- February 27, 2015

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating bookish moments in my life.

I had forgotten to mention it the other week but I had a great conversation over coffee about Christopher Pike with a regular bookstore customer. It was a blast to talk about our favorite author and the books of his that have inspired us to be writers!

***

This past Wednesday, we had our Family Book Club. We discussed Charles de Lint’s The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. It’s always fun to listen to how passionate the young readers get about the books we talk about. I love it when parents also end up participating and giving their input.

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Newford)The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like to think of The Cats of Tanglewood Forest as a mix between The Chronicles of Narnia and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

I had thought this would have been a much darker story than it actually was. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Lillian definitely has spunk. Charles de Lint created a great heroine and surrounded her with equally memorable characters. There were plenty of mystery and magic to go around.

I appreciated the Native American folk tale aspect of it as well. That’s not something I read about a lot.

Enchanting!

View all my reviews

A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess

A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess

I also read the short story it was based on- A Circle of Cats. It basically had the same plot of a girl being turned into kitten to save her life. It was definitely interesting to see the differences between the two.

***

I went to an open house for a local non-profit last week. I learned many things. I had seen an empty bookshelf at their offices and I thought there’s definitely something missing. I met with one of the staff yesterday and I will be helping them build a library. I will share some more details about it soon since I’m very excited about this!

***

My Video Pick of the week is this scene from the Parks and Recreation series finale. I loved Leslie Knope’s enthusiasm and optimism and she knew that she wouldn’t have been where she’s at without the help of others. “Go find your team…”

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #60

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Little Melba and Her Big TromboneLittle Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Music has always been a part of Melba’s life ever since she was young. And she wasn’t going to let her size limit her dreams. Little Melba and her big trombone would eventually make music all over the world. This fantastic picture book biography captures her story with perfect accompanying illustrations.

View all my reviews
[We Need Diverse Books]

 

What Are You Reading? (135) #IMWAYR – February 22, 2015

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my reviews for:

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating teachers. Read my review for:

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill


I got a kick seeing Pickles the fire cat as a friend of Jenny’s so I ended up reading this picture book in addition to Jenny and the Cat Club. Also divided into shorter stories but for the “I Can Read” audience, it’s amusing to see the animals interacting with their human friends- they don’t talk to one another in the same language but understand what the other is saying regardless.

A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant by Paul Gude

A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant by Paul Gude


Fans of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie looking for longer tales will delight in the antics of these two friends who despite their differences are there for one another.

 Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Zachariah OHara

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Zachariah OHara


A hilarious book about siblings! A wolf cub is adopted into a bunny family. While Dot’s parents find him oh-so-adorable, she’s sure he’s going to eat them all once he gets bigger!

I Am the Wolf...and Here I Come! by Bénédicte Guettier

I Am the Wolf…and Here I Come! by Bénédicte Guettier


This board book is rather dark but super funny. A wolf gets himself ready to eat the reader!

Mr. Squirrel & the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser

Mr. Squirrel & the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser


A cheese wheel is mistaken for the moon in this hilarious tale about a squirrel and his friends trying to get it back up where it belongs. The illustrations are superb!

Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen

Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen


A cute story about an unlikely friendship. I’m glad it wasn’t another one of those books where a creature befriends a bird only to mysteriously lose him or her during wintertime and then is surprised when it comes back in the spring.

Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories about Jenny LinskyJenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky by Esther Averill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a book I’d only heard about since working at the bookstore. It’s been super popular which is surprising considering it is a much older title. This collection of stories features mild-mannered feline Jenny Linsky and her friends. Perfect for young readers and read-alouds.

View all my reviews

MastermindsMasterminds by Gordon Korman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s something screwy in Serenity, New Mexico.

Everything should be perfect. In fact, it is. There’s no crime, no poverty, nothing bad to speak of at all in this small town.

But five kids will learn a devastating secret that will change their lives forever in this fast-paced, exhilarating first book in a new trilogy.

Offering various points of views, the picture is completed piece by piece. Boys and girls will find something to enjoy in this adventure story.

It’ll be criminal to miss out on such an exciting read!

(Aside from some questionable vocal choices, the audio book was very good.)

View all my reviews

must-read-2015-logo

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess


Expect reviews for this book later this week.

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- February 20, 2015

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating teachers.

I just finished reading Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree.

Fish In A TreeFish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ally has spent her entire school years with a secret- she can’t read. She’s found rather creative ways to avoid doing assignments or reading out loud in class. But things are getting more difficult with increased taunting from her classmates.

It’s going to take a new teacher to see that she needs help. Fortunately, this comes in the form of Mr. Daniels who realizes that Ally has dyslexia. It gives her hope that she isn’t stupid as she’s been starting to believe.

I love Mr. Daniels’ interactions with all the students. He really took the time (and went out of his way) to accommodate their individual personalities. Not to say the other teachers were bad for not noticing what was going on but sometimes it takes new eyes to provide new insights.

View all my reviews

It got me to thinking about the teachers I’ve had. While I can’t remember all their names, they’ve definitely made an impact in my life.

-Elementary school- 3rd grade: We had to recite a poem in front of the class. Not only was I shy but English wasn’t my first language so I definitely did not want to do it. But Mrs. Gonzales managed to be both understanding and encouraging at the same time. It was an Emily Dickinson poem- maybe about snow- and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

-Elementary school- 5th grade: Mr. Revicky was one of my first teachers who joked around with us students and seemed like a friend but was still a teacher. He didn’t mind if he made a mistake- and welcomed corrections.

-Middle school- 7th grade: Ms. Hernandez was the first person who made me believe I could be a writer. It is an exhilarating feeling to have someone think you’re special. Plus, she introduced me to Anne Shirley of Green Gables!

My Video Pick of the Week is a teacher getting down with his students!

What or who are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #59

nfpb2015

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African AmericansHeart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A creative look at African American roles in the shaping of our country told through a fictional character’s perspective. Basing it on historical events and personal family accounts, the narrative comes alive. And, each of the oil painting illustrations are visual masterpieces. Amazing!

View all my reviews

 
 
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