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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 22, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my reviews celebrating Jim Henson.

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating you and your power to do good.

A Piece of HomeA Piece of Home by Jeri Watts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An ordinary boy in Korea finds himself struggling in his new home in the United States. What I appreciated about this picture book that it tackled how his younger sister was adjusting (in this case, not adjusting) to their new lives. Their grandma, at least, is there to help her even though she’s struggling herself. But who’s there to help him? A great story for anyone with students trying to fit in.
View all my reviews

Molly and Pim and the Millions of StarsMolly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had no desire of reading this but I’m so glad I did. It was immediately engaging. This would make for a great read-aloud reminiscent of The Secret Garden. It celebrates family, friendship, and individuality.

Molly’s mother has accidentally turned herself into a tree. She feels she can’t turn to her best friend for help because she’s too practical and might not believe Molly. The only person she can turn to seems to be the odd boy in school- Pim. Together, they’ll have to find the right magic to make turn everything back to normal. But is normal something Molly wants?

Nature and pet lovers will enjoy this whimsical tale from Australia!
View all my reviews

Bera the One-Headed TrollBera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fans of Luke Pearson’s Hilda series will enjoy Bera’s adventures. This unlikely heroine suddenly finds herself in charge of a human baby. Full of folklore, Eric Orchard created a rich fantastic world that readers will want to visit again and again. I enjoyed the darker overtones. The art is so lush.
View all my reviews

Princess Princess Ever AfterPrincess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Honestly, I thought this was going to be hokey. But the story was intriguing and the relationship between the two characters was organic. It didn’t seem forced. I would love to read more of their adventures. A fun graphic novel adventure that celebrates individuality.
View all my reviews

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this for a book club that didn’t happen because of the crazy weather we’ve been having. It reminded me a bit of Forrest Gump but with walking instead of running.

A retired man decides to walk up the UK to visit a friend he hasn’t seen in decades. It triggers memories from his childhood and his failing marriage. As readers accompanying him, we learn more about what prompts him to go on this uncharacteristic trek. We meet the various people he meets along the way.

While at times frustrating, the story manages to squeeze in some surprises. While reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder what would I be willing to walk for?
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

#CelebrateLU- January 20, 2017

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 winter has had me feeling cold. Not just because of the extreme weather we’ve been having here in Portland- although that has been a factor. Truth be told, this sense of isolation (and desolation) begun with the election aftermath and it grown ever since then.

The hope of rebuilding relations and continuing to make America great has been replaced with trying to weave human decency back into the fabric of our lives, to make sure this country remains one we can be proud of.

I’m glad the inauguration happened the same week we observed Martin Luther King, Jr. His dream “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” continues to be something we should all work towards.

It gives me hope that there are so many people everywhere (not just in Portland and not just in the US) that are coming together to make sure their voices are heard. They are saying that they will not just stand by when others- sadly, some people in power- have deemed it acceptable that the … rights … aren’t for every citizen but only to those select groups and demographics who look like them, think like them, and are in the same tax bracket as them.

indivisibleguidecover

Whether it’s through grass roots activism (read the Indivisible Guide and take action), individual motivation to do right (follow Wall of Us for suggestions) or national movements (like the Women’s March), thank you for standing up for what’s right.

So, this week, I’m celebrating you and your power to do good.

As for my part, I’ve refocused my dedication to volunteering. I have a weekly shift with the Multnomah County Library. And, I’m always on the look out for more opportunities to do good. I encourage you to do the same.

I’ve also donated to a couple of organizations I felt are doing their parts- the ACLU and the HRC.

ghostlight

Last night, I went to one of my local theaters- Portland Center Stage- since they were participating in a nationwide kickoff event to launch The Ghostlight Project. “Inspired by the tradition of leaving a “ghost light” on in a darkened theater, artists and communities will make or renew a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone–regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability,  age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. ”

What are celebrating this week?

What have you been doing on your own or with your family and friends or seeing in your community that is focused on inclusivity and community?

What organizations have you been supporting through volunteering and/or donating?

During these difficult and stressful times, surround yourselves with the people you love. Find your team to do the most good you can in the world. Take the steps to be fight for what’s right. March. March on.

 

#NFPB2017- January 18, 2017

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This week, I’m spotlighting Jim Henson.

Who Was Jim Henson?Who Was Jim Henson? by Joan Holub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jim Henson is one of my Creative Icon idols. It’s great to learn more about his life and what led to him sharing his talents with the world. It’s a shame his life ended way too soon but the world has surely been more fun with him having been in it.
View all my reviews

I Am Jim HensonI Am Jim Henson by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m so glad I read this. I love this series and I love Jim Henson. This biography just showcases the fact that not only was he creative but what a positive person he was. His personality and philosophy showed in his work and I think that’s why they have such a timeless appeal to them.
View all my reviews

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with PuppetsJim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets by Kathleen Krull
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I consider Jim Henson as one of world’s top Creative Geniuses. I was familiar with the Muppets but it was only a few years ago that I actually watched the movies featuring Kermit and the gang. I also became fascinated with “The Guy Who Played with Puppets.” I loved that the boy who loved telling stories went against what was practical by society’s standards and pursued his passion. In turn, he was able to make so many people happy- and will continue to do so long into the future!

View all my reviews

 

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 15, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my reviews for:

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

EggEgg by Kevin Henkes
The pastel color pallet scream springtime in this adorable picture book about four eggs that hatch into 3 birds and a… Well, that’s a surprise. Great for beginning readers. I don’t know why they don’t release this as a board book simultaneously with the hardcover format.
View all my reviews

XO, OX: A Love StoryXO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m quite smitten with this picture book. I loved how Ox is so undeterred by Gazelle’s lack of interest in him.
View all my reviews

Have You Seen My Trumpet?Have You Seen My Trumpet? by Michaël Escoffier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I didn’t realize this was part of their Word-Play trilogy. I wish I could have enjoyed this one more.
View all my reviews

This is My Book!This is My Book! by Mark Pett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’ve been hesitant about picking this up for some reason. And I just realized why I’ve been so drawn to it- I love Mark Pett’s other books. In this one, his storytelling is interrupted by a panda. A playful look at the creative process and different kinds of books. The feature that really got to me was the blank book included to encourage readers to write and/or draw their own book!
View all my reviews

When an Elephant Falls in LoveWhen an Elephant Falls in Love by Davide Cali
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m a fan of Davide Cali’s “excuses” books illustrated by Benjamin Chaud (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School…, I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…). With this picture book, he explains what a love struck elephant does in his smitten state of mind. Perceptive readers will enjoy finding the yellow bird on every page. A cute “hidden” illustration can be found under the dustjacket which should be checked out after finishing the story!
View all my reviews

My Kite is Stuck! and Other StoriesMy Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories by Salina Yoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Duck, Duck Porcupine gang’s back with three more stories sure to entertain fans of Elephant & Piggie. I appreciated the fact that Salina Yoon was able to put fresh spins in what could have been dangerously predictable plots.
View all my reviews

Book Uncle and MeBook Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
At first I thought this was a picture book so I was surprised when I downloaded the e-book and it was a beginning chapter book. But by then I was already hooked by the premise of a voracious reader who’s trying to save a lending library run by Book Uncle. Set in India during election year, this proved to be a fun read great for relatable situations of having problems with friends and trying to figure out what one child can do to make a difference.

Thanks to Randomly Reading blog for sharing their review of this book. I wouldn’t have heard about it if not for that!
View all my reviews

The Red Shoes and Other TalesThe Red Shoes and Other Tales by Metaphrog
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Absolutely delightfully gruesome as the Grimm fairy tales should be. Includes and equally creepy original story.
View all my reviews

mustreadin2017

And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you want brilliance in whodunit- or in storytelling in general- look no further than the Queen of Mystery’s classic caper!
View all my reviews

The Regatta Mystery and Other StoriesThe Regatta Mystery and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’ve said it before but I’m not really a fan of Agatha Christie’s short stories- unless they feature Hercule Poirot, which makes them slightly tolerable- especially if they feature the other detectives I don’t care of like Parker Pyne (which there are two) and Miss Marple (which thankfully there’s only one).
View all my reviews

One Trick PonyOne Trick Pony by Nathan Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In a future where digital devices and electrical machines (including robots) are confiscated by insect-like creatures called Pipers (associated somehow to the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairy tale), a group of kids are separated from their caravan when they uncover a treasure trove of circuitry currency (including a robot pony) and starts a life and death chase that will lead these adventurers into unexpected places.

I read an ARC of this upcoming graphic novel. I think the fact I was reading an unfinished version actually added to the excitement for me. I can’t wait to check out the finished product.
View all my reviews

Masterminds: Payback (Masterminds, #3)Masterminds: Payback by Gordon Korman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of my favorite current series for middle grade, Gordon Korman offers the conclusion to Masterminds. With a few more surprises up his sleeves, he manages to wrap things up in a way that, while it may not be perfect, will satisfy its fans.
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

#CelebrateLU- January 13, 2017

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 Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. stands for so many things to so many people- kindness, compassion, equality, love, peace, change, and community just to name a few.

I wanted to spotlight some books about this great human being.

Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece)Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs by Angela Farris Watkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Angela Farris Watkins shares her uncle’s guiding principles with accompanying moments showcasing each one. A good leader is made even greater by being a living example of his beliefs. This beautiful (both in message and style) picture book does just that. Great for early elementary and younger to learn about a man who wanted to change the world through love and peaceful protests.
View all my reviews

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Who Was/Is…? series continues to impress me with their accessible and informative biographies.

After recently reading multiple books about Martin Luther King, Jr., I never realized how much he fought against hate and injustice through love and nonviolence. That’s quite a feat and very admirable.

With the current chaos that’s happening, I also see how valuable it is to look into the past of how change can be done successfully. His actions and his words are inspiring but we are still very far from making his dream a reality.
View all my reviews

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Moments in MLK Jr.’s life are paired with big words that helped shape his beliefs and that he shared with others. Beautiful collage illustrations add to the appeal of this picture book as well as insightful author and illustrator’s notes and a brief timeline. While not comprehensive, this definitely is a must-have.
View all my reviews

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ordinary People Change World is a new biographical picture book series from Brad Meltzer, best known as a bestselling author of adult thrillers. Positive and inspiring for preschoolers. Christopher Eliopoulos’ cute illustrations just add another layer of appeal!

As the series progresses, I think the books just become better. Even when reading about someone familiar (Martin Luther King, Jr.), I learned something new and can’t help but being amazed by the person I’m reading about. And, when I’m reading about someone new (Helen Keller), I want to learn more.
View all my reviews

Martin Luther King and The Montgomery StoryMartin Luther King and The Montgomery Story by Fellowship of Reconciliation
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was thrilled to find a copy of this comic online after hearing about it as being an inspiration to tell John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir trilogy March. I loved that it makes what they’re doing- and why- accessible to readers especially to a young audience.
View all my reviews

What Was the March on Washington?What Was the March on Washington? by Kathleen Krull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An absolutely inspiring read that’s a must-have for any library.

It introduces readers to this important event in American history and human decency. What I appreciated was that it went into detail about the actual program and some of the speeches that were made.

Again, certain figures were mentioned like Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, who I want to read more about.
View all my reviews

Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her SongMartin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Talk about the power of words! Whether sung or spoken, the right words can inspire us to do great things. This was a great mash-up of two people who worked towards a more united world until their dying days. Biographies and a timeline follows. Brian Pinkney also shares his motivation and approaches with the book’s illustrations.
View all my reviews

I Have a DreamI Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s been awhile since I read his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety. It’s as moving and powerful now as ever before. This book with Kadir Nelson’s lush illustrations is a great example of how picture books are sometimes works of art.
View all my reviews

As Good as AnybodyAs Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There have been lots of picture books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and I enjoyed this one because it featured another important person who fought for human rights. They lead different lives but marched together to battle injustice for all. I love Raul Colon’s illustrations.
View all my reviews

Of course, I have to include March on this list.

Read my reviews of these graphic novels here.

I’m glad that people can celebrate his legacy not only through having a day off but using that time to volunteer. MLK, Jr. Day has also become a Day of Service to many communities. Sometimes, that day becomes the whole weekend.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 8, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– I invite any of you who already read nonfiction picture books- or want to challenge themselves to read more- to participate in this community! Encourage yourself- and others, especially kids- to read more biographies in 2017! Get inspired with their stories. Think about your own narrative and the impact you can have on people and the world.
Must Read in 2017– Which books by Michael Chabon and Ann Patchett should I read? What #mglit sequels should I add?
-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating celebrations.

Wolf in the SnowWolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A warm comforting read perfect for a snuggly story time these cold winter nights!

In two parallel stories involving a girl and wolf cub, they get separated from their tribes and find one another during a snow storm. A friendship is formed and acts of kindness are received and given in this sweet picture book.
View all my reviews

Be Boy BuzzBe Boy Buzz by bell hooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
With bell hook’s lyrical text and Chris Raschka’s fluid illustrations, boyhood is celebrated from the loud and active moments to the quiet and still times and everything in between
View all my reviews

Happy to Be Nappy (Board Book) Happy to Be NappyHappy to Be Nappy (Board Book) Happy to Be Nappy by bell hooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
With bell hook’s lyrical text and Chris Raschka’s fluid illustrations, an exuberant African American girl celebrates her hair.
View all my reviews

Love from The Very Hungry CaterpillarLove from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sweet book for Eric Carle and the Very Hungry Caterpillar fans.
View all my reviews

A Greyhound, a GroundhogA Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Cute illustrations. Maybe I actually need to hear this being read aloud and to see people’s reactions to it for me to have any kind of reaction to it.
View all my reviews

All Creatures Great and SmallAll Creatures Great and Small by Naoko Stoop
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoy Naoko Stoop’s illustrations. This makes for a great gift for people who love this religious hymn.
View all my reviews

Love Is Patient, Love Is KindLove Is Patient, Love Is Kind by Naoko Stoop
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoy Naoko Stoop’s illustrations. And this is one of my favorite quotes. Usually recited during weddings, this version makes it focus on friendship.
View all my reviews

Love Is Patient, Love Is KindLove Is Patient, Love Is Kind by Naoko Stoop
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoy Naoko Stoop’s illustrations. And this is one of my favorite quotes. Usually recited during weddings, this version makes it focus on friendship.
View all my reviews

The Owl and the Pussy-catThe Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I guess I was going to end up reading this beloved poem eventually. My only other exposure to it besides seeing the different versions at bookstores and libraries was that there seems to be lots of YouTube videos of young kids reciting it from memory. I can’t say I was particularly fond of this.
View all my reviews

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-catThe Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I thought this was a new release which made me read it and the original in the first place. But because I didn’t like the original, I also didn’t like this one. Unnecessary sequels always make me sad.
View all my reviews

The Sweetest SoundThe Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book lover Cadence Jolly has the gift of song but doesn’t let anyone hear her because she has a fear of speaking (or singing) in front of people. But an internet video of her singing has gone viral and makes her question whether she’s ready to step into the spotlight or not.

I happened upon this book by chance and immediately felt like a book I should be reading because the character’s middle name is Mariah, after the best singer in the world, and who’s the inspiration not only to the main character and the author but as well as this reader!

Each chapter is named after a Mariah Carey song so it would be a great playlist to listen to while reading the book.

An interesting depiction of a small town and a church community and complicated family dynamics.
View all my reviews

The Laramie Project: Ten Years LaterThe Laramie Project: Ten Years Later by Moisés Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this epilogue to the original play because it felt more like a psychological study of a town. It felt timely how people want to move on from a horrific situation (which is understandable, of course, but it also tends to make them forget and repeat their mistakes) or how certain people will try to rationalize or normalize their horrific actions.
View all my reviews

mustreadin2017

Murder is EasyMurder is Easy by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was more 2.5 stars.

Even though I was wrong about who the murderer was, I still felt it was predictable. The red herrings were obviously red herrings. The main character wasn’t likable and not very smart- and not in an endearing way.

And, I can’t stand anything were relationships are so fragile that people are willing to cheat all for the name of “love.”
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

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#CelebrateLU- January 6, 2017

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 celebrations.

nye

For New Year’s Eve, a nearby library held a wonderful event to ring in 2017. Beaverton City Library’s Loud in the Library was a fundraiser for the Beaverton Library Foundation. And they definitely put the fun in fundraiser. There was a dance hall, laser tag, mini-golf, bingo, games galore, and food and drinks for everyone. It all lead up to a festive balloon “book drop”! I was super impressed and I love telling others about how much I enjoyed myself. I hope it’ll be a new tradition.

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Speaking of traditions, I went out with a couple of my friends for Vietnamese food on New Year’s Day. We’d been doing this for four out of the last five years. I can’t help but encourage others to keep up or create traditions to help solidify companionship and community. (Of course, if a certain tradition is causing you stress or driving you crazy, figure out why and either change the circumstances or end it altogether.)

boba

Here’s to a new year! May it be spent with family and friends. May it be full of love and fun times and moments that make us stronger together!

What are you celebrating this week?