My Reading Week #IMWAYR- December 2, 2019/ November Update

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

Recent Posts:

I’ve been in a blogging slump lately but I’ve been doing some things.

Portland holds its Book Festival in November. I attended some fun kidlit events the night before.

One of my favorite times of the year is when the “giving season” comes. I attended a kick off party for Portland’s “Give!Guide” campaign.

I also finished one of my commitments as a member of the PNBA Book Awards Committee. You can see our shortlist titles here with the winners being announced in January. If you need book recommendations, definitely check this list out.

Of course, boxes of books keep coming since I’m part of CYBILS again. This time I’m reading through Elementary and Middle Grade Nonfiction books.

I gave one of my other blogs a minor facelift. You can check out Bookstores and Libraries Visited here.

I’m at 287.75 hours of volunteering for the year so far which is great considering my original goal was 200 hours and that was an increase of previous years’ average. It’ll be nice to hit 300 by the end of the year.

There was a volunteer appreciation party earlier this month where we played glow-in-the-dark miniature golf. That was super fun!

I completed my goal of folding a cumulative total of 2000- with 2002!- boxes for the Soul Box Project.

I’m up to 552 books read for 2019.

Reading Challenges Update:
-Nonfiction Picture Books- 120 out of 104
-Middle Grade & Early Chapter- 52 out of 104 (I’m glad I met at least 50% of this goal because I was really being overambitious.

And, now for some book reviews…

Review Notes
***= Liked It
****= Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

I’m looking forward to the new year since I love goal planning. I have to remind myself we still have a month left to complete this year’s goals!

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While not book or volunteering related but a source of happiness and inspiration for me is that Mariah Carey rereleased her Merry Christmas album to celebrate its 25th anniversary. I am hoping that this year, she will get the recognition she deserves by having “All I Want for Christmas is You” reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. So, stream and buy the song throughout the season!

Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY

New Video with Unreleased Footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_aiaYkcSDo

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

#NFPB2019- November 27, 2019

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Samuel Morse, That's Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse CodeSamuel Morse, That’s Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code by Tracy Nelson Maurer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With rhythmic text, readers will enjoy this nonfiction picture book about Samuel Morse, his life, his attempts to be a famous artist, and his eventual dedication to creating a way of communicating that may seem foreign in this technological age.

The Women Who Caught The Babies: A Story of African American MidwivesThe Women Who Caught The Babies: A Story of African American Midwives by Eloise Greenfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poems tell the tale of African American midwives with stunning illustrations. Includes an introduction that goes into details of its history and importance.

MothMoth by Isabel Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How can you not be drawn to the beautiful color? I was surprised by the topic to be honest. But it was interesting to see the theory of natural selection play out and how much of a role we have in it.

Science Comics: Skyscrapers: The Heights of EngineeringScience Comics: Skyscrapers: The Heights of Engineering by John Kerschbaum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. Naturally I like some titles more than others. This was one of the better ones. The superhero guides were fun and helped me digest all the fascinating facts about everything involved in building buildings.

Mary Blair's Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney LegendsMary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney Legends by Amy Novesky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I first came across the name Mary Blair watching DVD special features on older Disney films. I would be astounded by her art usually used during concept and storyboarding stages rather than in the final products which was a shame because they were beautiful. And I’ve seen some of the stories being rereleased using her illustrations. There have been a slew of nonfiction picture books about her these past few years and I’m glad. I love the art used in this book.

Physics Animated!Physics Animated! by Tyler Jorden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun interactive board book that explains Newton’s three laws of physics.

Hello, World! Arctic AnimalsHello, World! Arctic Animals by Jill McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hello World! is a board book series that introduces the youngest readers to nature and science concepts. Colorful images and simple text let’s them explore animals of the arctic.

Hello, World! PetsHello, World! Pets by Jill McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hello World! is a board book series that introduces the youngest readers to nature and science concepts. Colorful images and simple text let’s them explore the world of pets with fun prompts to imitate them.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- November 25, 2019

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

Recent Posts:
October Update

This showed up on my social media feed. It’s the podcast of The Two Princes from Gimlet Media. It’s a seven-episode LGBTQ fantasy adventure about a prince who goes off to save his kingdom from a mysterious dark menace. And along the way he meets a rival prince that creates a different kind of battle within himself. now.

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I know it’s not a book but it’s like a star studded audiobook dramatization with Kevin Christopher Neal writing and featuring an all-star cast. All episodes of Season 1 are available to listen to wherever you listen to your podcasts. Season 2 is set to drop off in December. Have any of you listened to this podcast yet?

Fry Bread: A Native American Family StoryFry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great picture book to have and to read during National American Indian Heritage Month, especially as an alternative to problematic older books about Thanksgiving. The story centers around a Native American family and the celebration around the making and consumption of fry bread. The backmatter is rich with additional information.

The Princess in Black and the Bathtime BattleThe Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I didn’t think I would like this latest installment because it felt different from the others but as the story progressed, I was reminded why I love recommending this series. I’m very excited about what the future adventures will be about.

New KidNew Kid by Jerry Craft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, I kept putting off reading this graphic novel despite all the positive things I heard about it and that lots of the kids I talked to really liked it as well. I loved and appreciated the micro-aggressions that Jerry Craft brought up. Racism is not just one thing. It’s a series of things designed to (just to give an example) devalue someone based on their race and, in this case, the color of their skin.

I’d also been reading short stories here and there including the new one by Alexander McCall Smith featuring Precious Ramotswe when you sign up for his newsletter- (I can’t even recall the title and I hate how I can’t find the other short stories featuring her because I’m obsessive like that.)-, a new “spooky” Agatha Christie tale “The Wife of Kenite” included in the latest anthology “The Last Seance”, the additional pages for Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales Alamo All-Stars Bigger & Badder Edition, and “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde which was recommended by a customer.

Review Notes
***= Liked It
****= Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- November 4, 2019/ October Update

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

Recent Posts:
My Seattle Vacation
My Bookish Seattle Vacation
17th Ever Library Hop: Seattle Carnegie Libraries Edition

October has been crazy busy. Once I got back from my cruise, it was non-stop work and volunteering. So much so, I needed to take another mini-getaway to not go crazy. Unfortunately, it’s the same old thing once I got back. I really need to find better balance in my life especially when I want to do so many things before the year ends.

I’m at 262.5 hours of volunteering for the year so far. A fun event I helped out with was PlayDate put on by Mutlnomah County Library‘s Every Child in partnership with East County Health Dept/Gresham WIC. We basically set up an indoor playground and gave out books.

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I’m still at 1777 boxes for the Soul Box Project so that’s something I want to work on to reach my goal of 2000 boxes.

For the past eight Halloweens, I had been helping “The Book Lady” give out books to trick or treaters in her neighborhood. It’s my favorite time of the year. She’s been doing this for over two decades. I’ve loved hearing kids run up and say, “This is the book house.” And it’s great when kids return year after year to add another book to their library. It’s these kinds of wonderful people who do nice things for other out of the goodness of their hearts that brings me joy.

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I’m up to 526 books read for 2019.

Reading Challenges Update:
-Nonfiction Picture Books- 109 out of 104
-Middle Grade & Early Chapter- 50 out of 104 (I may have overshot my expectations with this one. Plus I had other reading challenges that kind of took away from it.)

And, now for some book reviews…

Kiki and Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of FriendshipKiki and Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship by Marie Kondō

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was super cute and a great way to introduce kids to the fun of tidying up.

Giovanni’s RoomGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this and I’m glad I finally did because it’s become one of my favorite favorites. The writing is superb immediately drawing you into the story. And even though you know how it’s going to turn out, James Baldwin has created something so alive that you think it might somehow change.

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic MemoirI Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I liked this graphic novel memoir more because it’s about growing up mixed race in America but it didn’t really grip me.

Review Notes
***= Liked It
****= Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

My favorite podcast to listen to is Grace Lin and Alvina Ling’s Book Friends Forever.

BFF_logo1

On their most recent episode- Episode #35-, they answered my question about what they thought of Amazon.com. I really appreciated their thoughts. I should really do a post about why even though I think we should avoid the monopolizing, nonpaying of taxes, and undervaluing local businesses corporation, I find it almost unavoidable- I copy/paste my reviews from Goodreads, after all- because of its convenience. Until then, listen to that episode and feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Seattle Vacation

I recently went back to Seattle for a quick getaway.

It had been a busy couple of weeks at work and I needed a bit of a rest. But I’ve never been good in going away and not doing anything. In fact, my first day in Seattle, I went on one of my library hops.

Aside from all the bookish parts of my Seattle vacation, I also took the time to explore more of the city I hadn’t before. I enjoyed walking around the University of Washington campus. (OK, fine. I got lost looking for its library so I ended up walking a lot.)

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I also finally saw the infamous Fremont Troll!

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I stayed at the Hostelling International Seattle at the American Hotel in the Chinatown-International District again. I was glad to be on the bottom bunk this time around because I’m getting too old to be climbing up ladders just to lay down.

There was a Filipino bakery- Hood Famous Cafe + Bar– just around the corner where I definitely got my ube fix on.

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I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was such a strong Filipino cultural legacy in Seattle. I’d been meaning to check out Dr. Jose P. Rizal Park which was close to the hostel so I finally went. It was quite an ordeal to get there since I got lost. What was supposed to be half an hour walk turned out to be twice as long! And, a bird pooped on me.

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The bridge adjacent was also named after the national hero of the Philippines. It provided a spectacular view of the city!

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Afterwards, I took the bus to Tukwila where there was a Filipino restaurant I wanted to try. Jollibee is the McDonald’s of the Philippines with locations popping up all over the world.

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After a quick lunch and a visit to a couple of bookstores and a library at the mall, I went to explore Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood where they had rainbow crosswalks!

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Of course, I was drawn to Volunteer Park with its name. (Apparently, it was called that for the people who volunteered to fight during the 1898 Spanish-American War.) For someone who doesn’t really like nature, I love enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. And there was definitely lots to appreciate here.

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I enjoyed climbing up the Volunteer Park water tower. Naturally, with my vertigo, it was difficult coming down.

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I met up with a friend for dinner at a Filipino walk-up/takeout window- Jeepney.

Then, we headed to the Capitol Hill Branch. Late Night Tales at the Library was basically an after-hours spooky story time for grown-ups part of Booktoberfest and LitCrawl. It was a fun and festive way to end my second day in Seattle.

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My last day had me taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the ferry was. And the views of Seattle were amazing.

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I walked a bit of the Waterfront Park Trail before it started to rain. Luckily, I brought an umbrella!

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Some art on Bainbridge Island, on the trail and heading back to Seattle…

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When I travel, I also love visiting places that inspire and encourage kindness and change. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is that in Seattle. Their current exhibit- We the Future: Young Leaders of Social Change– was inspiring. There were lots of interactive elements to engage visitors.

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By the Space Needle, there was a Peace Garden.

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In Denny Park, Seattle’s oldest park, was a labyrinth, which, of course, I walked.

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Some other sights…

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I met up with my friend one last time for dinner before I headed back to Portland. Writing this recap post, I can’t believe how much I managed to cram in in such a short time!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 28, 2019

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

Recent Posts:
#NFPB2019- October 16, 2019
17th Ever Library Hop: Seattle Carnegie Libraries Edition– I recently went back to Seattle for a quick getaway. I’ll write more about it soon but this is just a quick recap of some of the libraries I visited.

My favorite podcast to listen to is Grace Lin and Alvina Ling’s Book Friends Forever.

BFF_logo1

On their most recent episode- Episode #35-, they answered my question about what they thought of Amazon.com. I really appreciated their thoughts. I should really do a post about why even though I think we should avoid the monopolizing, nonpaying of taxes, and undervaluing local businesses corporation, I find it almost unavoidable- I copy/paste my reviews from Goodreads, after all- because of its convenience. Until then, listen to that episode and feel free to share your thoughts with me.

The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital CityThe Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City by Tara Lazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful with a capital D. Readers who love punny humor will LOL through this mystery of the missing capital letters.

Sunny Day: A Celebration of Sesame StreetSunny Day: A Celebration of Sesame Street by Joe Raposo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The classic theme song from the beloved children’s television program is brought to life by many of today’s most talented illustrators in time for the show’s fifty-year anniversary.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (The Questioneers Book 4)Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist’s classmate Sofia Valdez as she takes on city hall to set up a park on the landfill site that injured her Abuelo.

Small in the CitySmall in the City by Sydney Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been getting a lot of positive reviews and I finally read it. This would be a good example of a picture book to not read the summary before experiencing the story. It’s amazing what Sydney Smith was able to accomplish with this.

Come Next SeasonCome Next Season by Kim Norman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a year in the lives of two kids as they savor each season and anticipate all the possibilities of what comes next. Beautiful illustrations pair well with the lyrical text.

Review Notes
***= Liked It
****= Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

#NFPB2019- October 16, 2019

nfpb2019

Hedy Lamarr's Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant InventorHedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An utterly fascinating nonfiction picture book about an actress who also invented a safety protocol that we still use today with our current technology.

What Miss Mitchell SawWhat Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley  Barrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This gorgeous picture book tells the story of someone I didn’t know before but am glad I do now. Readers will be inspired to look up at the stars after learning about Maria Mitchell and her accomplishments.

Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to VoteBold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Kirsten Gillibrand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another compilation of amazing women with a focus on those who fought for women’s right to vote. Maria Kalman’s art makes this book even more special.

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is BornNine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda  Paul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book to have to learn about the miracle of life. Jason Chin’s illustrations perfectly complements Miranda Paul’s text- both the storyline of a family expecting a new member and the nonfiction element.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!