My Reading Week #IMWAYR- September 21, 2020

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

You can watch Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews on my YouTube channel.

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I’ll be posting there every Sunday and Wednesday.

This week’s IMWAYR is dedicated to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ll be sharing the kid’s books about her that I’ve read.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her MarkI Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great picture book biography about someone who I didn’t know much about until I became a fan of her outspokenness- and I admit the Saturday Night Live Kate McKinnon sketches. This tells the story of a girl who grew up disagreeing- not to be a contrarian but to challenge outdated ideas. As a woman, she still speaks her mind and gives voice to those who need it.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. InequalityRuth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great example why 2017 is the year of nonfiction picture books.*

Presented as a case trial (including exhibits), readers get to know the obstacles RBG faced to get a higher education and to be taken seriously in her profession as a woman-and her mother. Nevertheless, she persisted. Her intelligence, work ethic, and moral compass made her not only a champion of human rights but an icon, as well. A glossary and author’s note is included in the back.

The illustrations- even the endpapers- are gorgeous. Readers will come away enjoying a great true story, learn some things, be visually taken, and will want to share this with others.

*At least, in my opinion!

No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader GinsburgNo Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Kathleen Krull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After having already read a couple Ruth Bader Ginsburg picture book biographies before, I still managed to learn some new things with this one. I’ve enjoyed seeing which parts of her life have become mainstays and which ones are elaborated upon. This includes a timeline and 10 stand out cases she’s been a part of!

I’m definitely interested in reading more book about her!

Expected publication: February 27th

I Look Up To... Ruth Bader GinsburgI Look Up To… Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Anna Membrino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I Look Up To… is a new very basic introductory biography board book series alternating between simple facts about the subject and quotes from them. This one focuses on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Quick bite-sized portions of inspiration.

Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Doreen Rappaport’s Big Words biography series adds another title. This time features the one and only Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You can’t really go wrong with this combination.

Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg?Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg? by Patricia Brennan Demuth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, I decided to read this after her passing. But, in a way, I’m glad I did because I was reminded of what an amazing person she was and all that she stood for.

Mourn the loss of an exemplary human being. Celebrate her life and legacy. Share her story with others, especially the younger generations who may not have known who she was, what she stood for, and all the trailblazing she did. Rest in peace, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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- September 14, 2020

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

You can watch Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews on my YouTube channel.

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I’ll be posting there every Sunday and Wednesday.

Here are a couple videos showcasing some #blackboyjoy books:
Ty’s Travels by Kelly Starling Lyons with illustrations by Nina Mata

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes with illustrations by Gordon C. James
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Evelyn del Rey Is Moving AwayEvelyn del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daniela’s best friend is moving away. They try and make the most of their last day together which isn’t hard because they have so much fun together. Unfortunately, too soon, Evelyn and her family have to go and it’s a bittersweet goodbye between two best friends. The illustrations are as evocative as the text.

Framed! (Framed #1)Framed! by James Ponti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A couple customers had special ordered this book and I was curious about it. I keep forgetting how much I enjoy mysteries and I was instantly hooked on this series which is a cross between Gordon Korman’s Masterminds and Marcia Wells’ Eddie Red Undercover.

TOAST is the Theory Of All Small Things and what 12-year-old Florian uses to become a secret FBI agent. With his Sherlockian observations, he becomes entangled in an international art heist. A super fun series readers will end up wanting to nab the next two books as soon as they’re done!

Vanished! (Framed #2)Vanished! by James Ponti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Florian and his best friend Margaret end up going undercover in a posh middle school where someone has been pulling pranks. Are they just fun and harmless shenanigans or is something sinister going on? Readers will enjoy this next adventure.

Trapped! (Framed #3)Trapped! by James Ponti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been hooked on this series. I’d been listening to them as audio books and I was tempted to finish it by reading a physical copy but decided to wait a few days until I got my hands- and ears!- on the audio book.

In the final installment, the stakes are high for the TOAST team as Florian and Margaret’s FBI handler gets framed for a crime involving rare books and a long ago crime of his. Everything builds up to this.

I’m bummed I won’t be following in on any more of their adventures!

The Boy in the Black SuitThe Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had tried listening to the audiobook of this when it first came out since I was a fan of Jason Reynolds even way back then but for some reason I didn’t get into. Now that I plan to read all his books that I hadn’t yet as part of my National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature reading challenge, I picked it up again. And this time I made it through and enjoyed it.

This coming-of-age story- or, I guess, a coming to terms story- has Matt trying to navigate a life without his mom and what it does to him and his dad. He ends up working at a funeral home as it draws him in. Soon, he finds himself falling in love with a girl who’s had her fair share of loss.

Sad but hopeful. Funny yet poignant. It’s quite a beautiful story.

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- August 31, 2020 / August 2020 Review

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

You can watch Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews on my YouTube channel.

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I’ll be posting there every Sunday and Wednesday.

August was pretty tough with my depression playing a huge role for most of the month. And, sometimes, we just need to ride it out and, hopefully, it, too, shall pass. With that being said, I think it would be helpful if I had a sort of self-care kit to make it more bearable.

Here are some things that made August less sucky for me:

Howard, the Howard Ashman documentary on Disney+.

What a brilliant man who helped jumpstart Disney’s renaissance with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Tragically, his life was cut short due to HIV/AIDS complications. His genius will continue on, though. And I think he will only become more famous as time goes on.

-I FaceTimed with my mom and my grandma for my mom’s birthday. It was great to see them looking happy and healthy.

-All the continued #MC30 musical releases for Mariah Carey’s 30th anniversary celebration.
meaning of mc

I’m looking forward to reading her memoir The Memoir of Mariah Carey publishing on September 29th and listening to her upcoming album The Rarities available October 2nd.

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Plus, we got a new single, Save the Day!

So far this year, I’ve read 327 books. The breakdown is:
8- Adult novels
12- Adult non-fiction
22- Graphic novels
49- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
224- Picture Books and Board Books
12- Young Adult novels

of which
85- Nonfiction Pictures (Goal: 104)
40- Audio Books

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After giving this a second try, I have to say I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to high schoolers and older. Full of fun pop culture references that even I got even though I wouldn’t call myself a gamer nor have I watched most of the 80’s films mentioned here.

I listened to the audiobook and Wil Wheaton did a great job although there were a few moments of long silences that were a bit distracting.

I do have to say that the romance was getting annoying, predictable, exhausting, and trite by the final quarter of the book.

I’m curious about the film and hesitantly excited about the sequel since the latter doesn’t have a premise yet.

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- August 24, 2020

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

You can watch Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews on my YouTube channel.

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I’ll be posting there every Sunday and Wednesday.

Usually, I posts my nonfiction reviews on Wednesdays as part of the #nfpb meme but I figured I’d share some today.

First of all, I’ve been on a Little People, Big Dreams reading binge.

Little People, Big Dreams is a picture book biography series imported from Spain. They’re a perfect way to introduce young readers to girls who dreamed and became outstanding women in different fields. Later titles have incorporated males into the mix.

It’s always cool to read about a person you already know, especially if their life story is told well. But it’s been great to read about people who haven’t been written about as much or who you’re meeting for the first time, especially if the author manages to capture what makes them or their contributions special.

Another factor to consider is the illustration style since it varies.

The books include a timeline and photos.

I have a completist mindset so I always want to read the next one in the series. With quarantine, it was a bit difficult to get access to later titles. Fortunately, one of my libraries has reopened for curbside pick-up so I was able to get pretty caught up.

As of this post, there have been 44 biographies since the series launch. Here are the titles I’ve read, five of which aren’t pictured.

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There are also board book versions of some of the titles. Naturally, you can’t expect to get lots of information from these abridged editions- and that’s probably not their intention- but they are very quick introductions to people they may want to read more about when they’re older!

Here are the ones I’ve read recently, the first five were rereads from when they were initially released. I had decided I wouldn’t read the board book editions since there were so many titles to keep track of but then I changed my mind because we had them in the store and I figured I might as well.

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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- August 3, 2020 / July 2020 Review

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

You can watch Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews on my YouTube channel.

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I’ll be posting there every Sunday and Wednesday.

A highlight of July was meeting up with friends for Kidlit Quarantine Book Club for Adults via Zoom.

Screenshot_2020-05-29 Earl Dizon ( earldizonwriter) • Instagram photos and videos

We discussed From the Desk of Zoey Washington by Janae Marks. You can watch my review here.

The next KidLit Quarantine Book Club for Adults pick is Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros. We’ll meet Thursday, August 13th at 6pm. (New time!)

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I decided to continue cooking a Filipino dish a month after taking last quarter off. I made arroz caldo (or aroskaldo) which is a kind of rice porridge comfort food, flavored with garlic and ginger. I topped it with a hard boiled egg and scallions. As usual, I didn’t put enough liquid or broth but, at least, the rice was flavorful.

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It was also my eight-year anniversary at work.

I first heard about civil rights hero Congressman John Roberts Lewis after reading his graphic novel memoir, March. I have been inspired ever since by his willingness to cause good trouble during bad times. I was comforted by the fact there were people like him fighting for what’s right and what’s decent. So it was with shock and sadness that I read of his passing. May we mourn his loss and celebrate his life. Let us cause good trouble as I’m sure he would want us to do.

I watched the wonderful documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble. It’s available to rent. You can watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/z_oEkOdIXdo

I also included a list of books by and about John Lewis. Shop online supporting independent bookstores here: https://bookshop.org/books?keywords=John+Lewis

There’s also a petition to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Rep. John Lewis. Add your name here: https://johnlewisbridge.com/

And, remember to vote this upcoming election. Register or your check your status here: https://www.vote.org/

Get into some good trouble!

So far this year, I’ve read 254 books. The breakdown is:
7- Adult novels
12- Adult non-fiction
22- Graphic novels
42- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
164- Picture Books and Board Books
7- Young Adult novels

of which
40- Nonfiction Pictures (Goal: 104)
23- Audio Books

And, now for book reviews…

Three Keys (Front Desk, #2)Three Keys by Kelly Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy for work awhile back, I was hesitant to actually read Three Keys since I loved Front Desk so much. But I needn’t have worried because Kelly Yang delivered an equally engaging story with this one.

The stakes are definitely higher but Mia Tang is determined to rise above them. Readers will be cheering her along as she makes sure her voice is heard against the injustices she and the people she cares about are faced with.

I was surprised by the complexity of the characters and how certain stories played out. I can’t wait until the book is released in September so people can experience it for themselves!

When You Trap a TigerWhen You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers who love stories within stories will want to take a bite out of When You Trap a Tiger. Real life problems and Korean folktales are interwoven together in a captivating tale about a shy girl and her family who have to move in with her eccentric Halmoni (grandmother) and the sudden mysterious sightings of a might-or-might-not-be real tiger.

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon, #2)The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The artwork and storytelling style reminds me a lot of Studio Ghibli. But Katie O’Neill manages to make something unique as well. I like that she always incorporates LGBTQ elements into her story but she doesn’t make a big deal out of it. I really enjoyed The Tea Dragon Society so was pleasantly surprised there was this follow up, really more of a companion, with the next and final one being a direct continuation of the first.

Aquicorn CoveAquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The artwork and storytelling style reminds me a lot of Studio Ghibli- and Ponyo, for this one. But Katie O’Neill manages to make something unique as well. I like that she always incorporates LGBTQ elements into her story but she doesn’t make a big deal out of it. And in this one she also has a strong message of taking care of our environment, especially our oceans.

Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a rollercoaster of a read! At first, I was excited to see what all the buzz was about with this book, which sometimes has the effect of me not wanting to read a book. Then, it seemed a bit too fanfictiony and pandering but that could be my distaste of good-looking people having problems. I was annoyed that the characters had flaws that weren’t flaws at all- like the main character was short in the sense that he’s average height and his love interest was taller than him. Plus, as a gay man, I had other issues with some of the other depictions. I was tempted to give up after reading some of the negative reviews but I’m actually glad I stuck with it. If there was going to be another predictable rom-com novel, at least it featured gay characters, and they need these kinds of stories, too.

I listened to the audiobook and Ramon de Ocampo did a great job.

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- July 20, 2020

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

Recent Posts:
-I updated my Bookstores and Libraries Visited blog so you can now read all of my library hopping adventures throughout the years.
-Don’t forget to check my YouTube channel for Earl’s Live One-Take KidLit Book Reviews.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Simonverse, #1)Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started listening to this first as an audio book but I couldn’t get into it. I then picked it up again as a physical book after all the buzz it’s been getting.

It was an enjoyable read with fortune cookie life insights here and there.

As I may have written in my other reviews before, I don’t really like teenage angst books and I’m particularly wary when it has LGBT characters. Sometimes their experiences (as with this novel) result in me feeling less connected rather than glad there’s a character representing my lifestyle.

lovesimon
This movie was a big deal, being the first time a major Hollywood studio would film a teen romcom with a gay main character. While it was cliche in the ways that genre tends to be, it was still great to have this kind of representation on the big screen and in the mainstream. Although the fact it’s 2018 and this is the first time it’s happening is mind-boggling. Emotional, funny, and heartwarming.

lovevictor
Despite my seemingly lukewarm responses to the “Simonverse” so far, I appreciate that these kinds of stories are being told. I was really excited for this series and to see some diversity in casting and financial situations. It was definitely binge-worthy. My only complaint was that it felt drawn out. I was hoping we’d get to the real issue earlier on in the series and the rest of the season would be the aftermath but that wasn’t the case. I’ll definitely watch a second season if there is one. After watching Love, Victor, it did make me want to revisit Becky Albertalli’s other books in the series.

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ended up watching Hulu’s Love, Victor (a series sequel to the movie Love, Simon based on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and afterwards I decided to go back to Creekwood High to read the rest of Becky Albertalli’s novels.

I really enjoyed Leah’s voice. It was fresh and it was funny. I think I would have enjoyed this more if it focused less on typical high school crushes and more on the coming of age aspect of senior year.

The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse #2)The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised that the book I wanted to read the least in the Simonverse series would be the one I probably enjoyed the most.

I think it had to do with the fact the main character stayed likeable throughout.

Love, Creekwood (Simonverse, #3.5)Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t even know if this novella’s existence when I got into my recent Becky Albertalli binge-reading kick. After 3 books, a movie, and a series, this was a nice graduation of sorts to Creekwood and its students- at least, the ones from the Simonverse.

I listened to the audiobook version of this but I recommend reading it instead unless you like listening to email addresses being read aloud- and there are lots of email threads.

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- July 13, 2020 / Reading the Rainbow BINGO Reading Challenge 2020 Recap

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

This week I wanted to recap my Reading the Rainbow BINGO Reading Challenge 2020.

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I ended up reading a couple of Becky Albertalli’s books for this challenge and you’ll be able to read those next week.

Most of the kidlit titles that helped me fill my board can be found in the following video reviews.

Video Reviews:

The online event I ended up using for this challenge was the book club meeting for the following book!

The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in PicturesThe Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures by Noelle Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Noelle Stevenson since Nimona. This chronicles her drive to create graphic novels while going through rather personal stuff that would eventually cause burn out. But it also tells the story of a resilient spirit that can rise out of the ashes to lead a happy life.

Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid: A Baopu CollectionEverything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection by Yao Xiao

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wish I enjoyed this more. I was really looking forward to reading about the experiences of a queer Chinese immigrant. While there were a few spreads that was insightful, the whole thing lacked depth.

On Earth We're Briefly GorgeousOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Butterflies. Mothers. Fireproof. Grandmas. Milk. White hair. Stories. Ox tails. Mood rings. Soldiers. Flowers. Grandfathers. Tiger Woods. Memories. Nail salons. Phantom limbs. Tobacco fields. Apologies. First loves. Peaches. Chopin. Pizza bites. Exchanged truths. Colors. Gravity. Beauty. Replications. Commas. Placentas. Coca Cola. Veal. Stop signs. Buffalo. Green apple. Purple flowers. Funerals. Tables. Stories. Mother and son.

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and FamilyBoy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley

A memoir that details a young man’s experience trying to figure out how he can exist in a world where he’s raised in a religious family and have feelings for other men. He undergoes ex-gay conversion therapy but realizes the cost to fit in may be too much to live with. Such a sad story that fortunately had a good ending but scary and frustrating that there are people who still fall for this life-damaging practice.

The House in the Cerulean SeaThe House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Change comes when people want enough.”

Adding this to my most favorite favorites list. Magical and romantic. A fun and heartwarming fantasy celebrating acceptance of one another’s differences with a gay love story at its core and the Antichrist thrown in for good measure. It’s like if Harry Potter was written by Jasper Fforde.

Sister Outsider: Essays and SpeechesSister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An important book to read at any time but particularly now.

Privileged people need to pick up a copy and start getting uncomfortable if they want to contribute to long lasting and positive change. And Audrey Lorde will do just that with her smart and insightful views on racism, sexism, and homophobia (just to name a few topics).

It may be a bit discouraging to read the same problems is as present now as it was back then but this is also a jolt to keep fighting the injustices.

Don't Call Us DeadDon’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t know what to expect coming into this poetry collection but I’m glad it showed up on my Google search. Very powerful. Very personal. Smart and funny. A great mix of topics ranging from racism, being black, being queer, being HIV positive. It’s about death and life, love, lust, dying, but ultimately living. I highly recommend getting your hands on “Dear White America.” Read it. Listen to it. Watch it.

I listened to this as an audiobook which is kind of weird in the sense that sometimes it took me awhile to realize that we’ve moved on to a different poem. And also, sometimes the poem’s form and format is lost as an audio (like a blackout poem)- although there was an interesting poem that was read that had some sort of effect (like overlapping background vocals) that I’m curious to see the poem written down.

I listened to the Making Gay History podcast- or at least some episodes particularly the special Stonewall 50 season.

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The issue I became interested in was conversion therapy. After reading Boy Erased (review above), I watched the movie. You can watch the trailer below:

And, the GLAAD Media Award 2019 winner (this year’s was cancelled due to Covid-19) for Outstanding TV Journalism- Newsmagazine was “Conversion Therapy: God Only Knows” from CBS Sunday Morning. You can watch it here:

I also watched VICE’s Living through Gay Conversion Therapy episode which I’m including here:

And, at the last minute, I ended up watching all the GLAAS Media Awards 2020 nominees for Outstanding Digital Journalism- Video or Multimedia. It included Refinary29’s “The Life Threatening Dangers Of Gay Conversion Therapy”.

Once again, I’m really glad I did this. It really challenged me to read even more outside the box of what I normally would.

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

#NFPB2020- July 8, 2020

nfpb2020

thetalk

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth
Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

Description
Perfect for readers of Flying Lessons & Other Stories, in this collection award-winning creators of books for children and young adults share stories and images that are filled with love, acceptance, truth, peace, and an assurance that there can be hope for a better tomorrow. So, let’s talk. Published in partnership with Just Us Books.

In the powerful follow-up to We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, thirty diverse and award-winning authors and illustrators capture frank discussions about racism, identity, and self-esteem. Here is an invitation to all families to be advocates and allies for change.

Featured contributors: Selina Alko, Tracey Baptiste, Derrick Barnes, Natacha Bustos, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Ra l Col n, Adam Gidwitz, Nikki Grimes, Rudy Gutierrez, April Harrison, Wade Hudson, Gordon C. James, Minh L , E. B. Lewis, Grace Lin, Torrey Maldonado, Meg Medina, Christopher Myers, Daniel Nayeri, Zeke Pe a, Peter H. Reynolds, Erin K. Robinson, Traci Sorell, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, MaryBeth Timothy, Duncan Tonatiuh, Ren e Watson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Sharon Dennis Wyeth

You can watch my review of the book here:

The book will be published on August 11, 2020. You can pre-order it now on Bookshop.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 6, 2020 / June 2020 Review

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

I can’t believe 2020 is halfway done. A part of me thinks, “Good riddance.” Hopefully, better times will be ahead but it looks like it’ll come later rather than sooner.

And, despite these difficult times, there were some bright spots. I loved getting to watch my nephew’s high school graduation even remotely. I’m so proud of him.

We all know June started off tumultuously and I felt overwhelmed with all the things I should do to help out and wondering what good will it do. But I told myself that I can only do what I can do and it will make a difference when grouped together with others doing their part.

One of the things I did, even though it’s unrelated to the Black Lives Matter movement, was to donate blood. I had put it off partly because of the quarantine but I decided it was pretty safe to do it now.

Screenshot_2020-07-03 Earl Dizon ( earldizonwriter) • Instagram photos and videos

I also went to a BLM march. I was conflicted about attending it because of social distancing issues but I was starting to hate myself standing by the sidelines during all these historical moments- and in my life in general. I know it’s a bit of a dramatic statement and I hope that makes some sense. I’m glad I went and I hope the momentum continues.

Screenshot_2020-07-03 Earl Dizon ( earldizonwriter) • Instagram photos and videos(1)

You can click on any images of the murals- the first two are new and the last one has been around- and they’ll lead to different organizations that I ended up donating to.

Screenshot_2020-07-03 Earl Dizon ( earldizonwriter) • Instagram photos and videos(2)

June was also Pride month and was the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march which was held a year after the Stonewall riots. I remember Pride weekend 2011, I was eating lunch somewhere and saw the parade going by and I ached to be out there. But I was still ashamed of who I was. Then the next year, I came out. In 2016, I walked in my first Pride parade with a couple friends. That was just a few days after the Pulse mass shooting. And this year, there’s no Pride parade because of the pandemic. Some people are marching against racial injustice. From that night in Stonewall 51 years ago to the streets of today- not to mention all the other times in history, people have been fighting to be treated equally, to be seen and loved for who they are. Pride was- and is- a protest.

I’ll have another post recapping my Reading the Rainbow BINGO challenge next week.

I sent out more query letters for one of my picture book manuscripts and even applied for a We Need Diverse Books Walter Grant.

So far this year, I’ve read 198 books. The breakdown is:
6- Adult novels
11- Adult non-fiction
17- Graphic novels
31- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
127- Picture Books and Board Books
6- Young Adult novels

of which
40- Nonfiction Pictures (Goal: 104)
23- Audio Books

I also folded Soul Boxes again since I had some extra paper lying around. And, someone from the cruise I went to last year with other volunteers said she was inspired to fold boxes after hearing me talk about it so I figured I should do my part.

And, my KidLit Quarantine Book Club met in June to discuss Rick by Alex Gino. You can watch my book review here:

Now for some book reviews:

This video:
Child of Galaxies by Blake Nuto with illustrations by Charlotte Ager
My Footprints by Bao Phi with illustrations by Basia Tran

This video:
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott wih illustrations by Geneva B.

The Dragon Thief (Dragons in a Bag, #2)The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I couldn’t wait to start reading this sequel to Dragons in a Bag. With more characters and more danger, readers are sure to enjoy seeing if or how the stolen dragon is reunited with its siblings. I love the world Zetta Elliot has created and can’t wait to read more of Jax’s adventures!

A Flicker of CourageA Flicker of Courage by Deb Caletti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this as an audiobook and was absolutely caught up in it. It would be a wonderful read-aloud harkening back to an old-fashioned adventure fantasy story. But if I were to make a more modern comparison, it reminded me of The Tale of Desperaux, a lighter and less scary Stranger Things, and a dash of Dangerous Book for Boys or Daring Book for Girls.

It involves four kids, a dog, a brother turned lizard, a tyrant, a sea captain, and a beautiful librarian. It’s a battle between good and evil. And, hopefully, the second installment is being worked on since I can’t wait to read more.

Apparently, the physical copy has illustrations so I should grab a copy to look at them.

Sister Outsider: Essays and SpeechesSister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An important book to read at any time but particularly now.

Privileged people need to pick up a copy and start getting uncomfortable if they want to contribute to long lasting and positive change. And Audrey Lorde will do just that with her smart and insightful views on racism, sexism, and homophobia (just to name a few topics).

It may be a bit discouraging to read the same problems is as present now as it was back then but this is also a jolt to keep fighting the injustices.

The Fire Next TimeThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this and admittedly I didn’t know much about it coming into it. I thought this was a collection of essays but it was actually just two works. The first is a short letter to his nephew on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The second, which is the rest of the book, is about his faith and the racial injustice in the US. Both are powerful in their own ways that reveals a cold hard look at the realities of his time- and sadly our time as well.

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- June 29, 2020/ Review: The Monkey and the Turtle

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

Recent Posts:
#NFPB2020- June 24, 2020
My Coast to Coast Vacation Revisited

The Monkey and the Turtle: A Philippine Folk Tale
Written by José Rizal
Illustrated by José Rizal
Digitally enhanced by Auri Asuncion Yambao and Mary Grace Asuncion

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I was pleased and excited that Tahanan Books, a Filipino publisher had a satellite office in Seattle, Washington. I couldn’t resist getting some titles to add to my library.

One of the books I bought was The Monkey and the Turtle, a Philippine folk tale retold- and apparently illustrated- by José Rizal. I only knew him as a Philippine national hero who wrote novels- his most famous being Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)– that criticized the Spanish rule over the Filipinos.

You can watch my review here:

My ignorance is in full show since I didn’t even realize he spoke English. Tagalog and Spanish, sure, and maybe some Latin, but English didn’t cross my mind at all.

His version of the story was an excerpt from the 1889 article “Two Eastern Fables” (Trübner’s Oriental Record) which he compared two similar folk tales- one from Japan and one from the Philippines. It’s actually a pretty fascinating read.

This retelling is considered to be the formal beginning of Philippine children’s literature. So, of course, I had to have it!

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I’ll review the other books I bought on future posts.

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!