My Reading Week #IMWAYR- April 12, 2021

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

 

WatercressWatercress by Andrea Wang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bittersweet story about family, the immigrant experience, wanting to fit in, and honoring the past. I love that there are these slice of life stories and I hope they find their audience.

Zonia's Rain ForestZonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the intent of the book. The message was great. I loved the backmatter material including a translation of the story in Asháninka. As for the execution of the story, it left me wanting a lot more.

It Isn't Rude to be NudeIt Isn’t Rude to be Nude by Rosie Haine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A celebration of body types. I enjoyed the positive message. There was a sentence I didn’t particularly care for but I’m glad there’s a book about this topic.

PeacePeace by Baptiste Paul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful in its simplicity.

My Name Is YoonMy Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful story about a Korean girl trying to fit in in her new school in America. She doesn’t want to write her name in English and ends up with a new name everyday until one day she discovers she can still be her old self in a new place.

Yoon and the Christmas MittenYoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize Yoon had more adventures. In this one, she learns about Christmas and tries to get her parents to celebrate but they say it’s not part of their Korean tradition. On one hand, I remember how we wanted to do just what everyone else did to fit in. On the other hand, certain things are forced upon us to the detriment of our individuality. I’m glad Yoon was able to get a taste of both worlds.

Yoon and the Jade BraceletYoon and the Jade Bracelet by Helen Recorvits
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hadn’t realized there were more Yoon books. In this one, a girl tries to pass off a jade bracelet that belonged to Yoon and her family. Even as an adult reading, this was giving me anxiety. I wish they had incorporated the actual Korean tale about a little girl and a tricky tiger into the story or even as backmatter material.

Cora Cooks PancitCora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What was the first mainstream picture book featuring a Filipino character that you read? For me, it may have been Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Lazo Gilmore with illustrations by Kristi Valiant, originally published in 2009. I first read it back in 2012. It’s so rare to find books with Filipino characters so I gobbled this one up! Recipe for pancit is included.

I recommend this a lot especially when customers tell me they’re Filipino because I know the importance of seeing oneself being represented in media. And I see lots of educators buying this when trying to diversify their collections.

The MatsThe Mats by Francisco Arcellana
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mats was an interesting find thanks to the library catalogue about the people we may have lost but will never forget. Very touching. It’s based on a short story first published in 1938!

The Library BusThe Library Bus by Bahram Rahman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love books about libraries and all the creative ways people have found to promote literacy and education especially for girls. I would have loved to have had more information about the first mobile library in Kabus this was inspired on. Luckily I was able to Google it.

Frankie Sparks and the Class PetFrankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazer Blakemore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this on audiobook. Enjoyable early chapter book series that focuses on STEM.

The Chupacabras of the Rio GrandeThe Chupacabras of the Rio Grande by Adam Gidwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun series for fans of The Wild Robot and the Dragonmasters books that can be enjoyed and understood without reading them in order or if any at all. Elliot has somehow involved himself in a secret society protecting mythical creatures and this time they are off to protect the chupacabras. I love that there’s plenty of fun and adventure but also an underlying message of inclusivity and there’s also a timeliness as this tackles building a wall and immigration.

The Galleons: PoemsThe Galleons: Poems by Rick Barot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For my Filipino Reads challenge and since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to spotlight The Galleons by Filipino poet Rick Barot. Even if poetry is not your cup of tea, I think you’ll get something out of this collection. Some are snapshots of everyday life. Some are unexpected. You can view all the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- April 5, 2021 / March Review

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Not to sound like a broken record but March was another tough month. Some days, I feel like I’m just going through the motions, just surviving. Yet, I also had a Happy Day which I’m grateful for. I didn’t meet all of my quarterly goals but I’m trying to remind myself that I did get some things done. And, I don’t want to use it too often as an excuse, but the pandemic has really taken its toll on all of us in ways that we probably won’t be able to pinpoint all of them. Then there’s the continuing and increasing Anti-Asian violence which is a lot to process. Plus, there were some high profiled deaths including Beverly Cleary’s that just added to the melancholy. I’m looking to getting vaccinated later this week and I hope that just signals that better days are ahead! So far this year, I’ve read 134 books. The breakdown is: 1- Adult novels 11- Adult non-fiction 8- Graphic novels 22- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52) 90- Picture Books and Board Books 2- Young Adult novels of which 39- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104) 12- Audio Books Now, for the book reviews…

UmbrellaUmbrella by Taro Yashima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers will fall in love with Momo (which means “peach” in Japanese) who can’t wait for a rainy day to use her new umbrella. This classic picture book is a perfect pair-along with Rain! by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson.

In My MosqueIn My Mosque by M.O. Yuksel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In My Mosque is a vibrant look into the world’s second largest religion. Readers are invited to learn about what happens inside these places of worship for Muslims which function as both sacred places to pray and centers to build community. Great backmatter material is included.

The Incredible Painting of Felix ClousseauThe Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful little story about an artist whose paintings have a mysterious quality to them which gets him in trouble and also makes him a hero.

Kenny & the Book of BeastsKenny & the Book of Beasts by Tony DiTerlizzi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wish I enjoyed this more since I really liked the first one and I wanted to have another series that would transport me to somewhere magical. But I felt this had too much “growing up” problems when I already have my own “grown up” problems to deal with. Despite that, it was nice to revisit these characters.

The Year of the DogThe Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this for awhile now since I love the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series and enjoyed most of her other books as well and am such a fan of the Book Friends Forever podcast. This was like getting to visit with old friends even though you may never have actually met in person. In addition to seeing how their friendship began and getting to read an entertaining story with Asian characters, I enjoyed the sort of behind the scenes glimpse of becoming a writer and where ideas come from.

Super Detectives (Simon and Chester Book #1)Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute graphic novel continuation of characters we first met in picture book formats. Young readers will enjoy the humor. I loved that I finally got back into a reading groove with the graphic novel continuations of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

Katara and the Pirate's Silver (Avatar: The Last Airbender, #0.5)Katara and the Pirate’s Silver by Faith Erin Hicks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed being able to dive back in the world of Avatar. Katara is such an incredible character so it was cool to see her have her own adventure. It made me wish the series didn’t end so soon!

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of The Legend of Korra series. I felt the pacing of the series was all wrong. And, it’s like when popular TV shows set in high school outgrow the original premise and they end up going to college and experiencing “real world” problems. It doesn’t appeal to me anymore. But I love they were able to have a strong LGBTQ+ main character! In Turf Wars, Korra must find a way to have the Human and Spirit Worlds exist in the same plain. But there are forces who will do anything to take advantage of this new situation. In Ruins of the Empire, democracy is at stake when an old foe threatens to ruin an upcoming election. A familiar face from the original makes an appearance which is a breath of fresh air. You can view all the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 29, 2021

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I have two books to spotlight for my monthly Filipino Reads feature- and they’re both kids books…

When Lola VisitsWhen Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not only is this a celebration of family but also of the Filipino culture as a girl looks forward to her grandma’s annual summertime visit from the Philippines and all the things they do together. The illustrations are gorgeous.

Mischief and Mayhem #1: Born to Be BadMischief and Mayhem #1: Born to Be Bad by Ken Lamug
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fans of Dog Man will enjoy this new series about a girl just trying to fit in and who decides to lean in on her misunderstood personality by becoming a villain.

My Antiracism Reading Spotlight for this month is…

Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caste is an eye-opening reading experience reframing American racism jn a way that may be more universally understood through the lens of the caste systems in India and during the Nazi regime. It is not an easy read because of all that has transpired and continues to happen to this day. For me, the lynching done by the dominant caste (which they also celebrated and marketed through the selling of postcards depicting scenes of these atrocities) are not really products of the past but have just taken on a new form via the police brutality- often recorded- that have killed many Black men- and despite evidence to the contrary, the perpetrators are hardly ever held accountable for their actions. It’s almost like a public warning of “This is what we can do since we are the ones in power.” Naturally it is not all police who do this but those who get away with it are usually those of the dominant caste.

Reading Caste during this time when a white gunman shot and killed 8 people in Atlanta was really chilling because even the fact he was captured alive when other suspects who have done far less- or even nothing at all- have been mistreated and/or killed- not to mention his hate crime was explained partly by him having a bad day- is unnerving.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the CountryThe Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember hearing this poem for the first time and how I was immediately taken in by the words and filled with a sense of promise and possibility- like listening to a sermon I had nothing but praise for- that I instantly put it on repeat. Reading a poem in one’s own voice as opposed to listening to the poet or a good orator is a different experience.

This was part of my Inaugural Poems Reading Challenge which you can read here: https://thechroniclesofachildrensbook…

Cycle CityCycle City by Alison Farrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love recommending this book for its cute story and the detailed illustrations. It’s like a great mix of Richard Scarry’s books and Where’s Waldo? and a celebration of cycling vehicles.

Bicycle BashBicycle Bash by Alison Farrell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun companion to Cycle City where readers can enjoy seek-and-find element of the story while also taking a trip through the history of cycling.

Someone Builds the DreamSomeone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A joyous celebration of teamwork. Spotlights those who may not get credit for a job well done.

3 2 1 Awesome!: 20 Fearless Women Who Dared to Be Different3 2 1 Awesome!: 20 Fearless Women Who Dared to Be Different by Eva Chen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun approach to introduce counting and mini biographies to the youngest readers as they countdown from twenty and learn about amazing women along the way.

Hello, World! MusicHello, World! Music by Jill McDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hello World! is a board book series that introduces the youngest readers to nature and science concepts. Colorful images and question prompts are mixed in with the story text. A fun introduction to musical instruments and the sounds they make.

Greystone Secrets #2: The DeceiversGreystone Secrets #2: The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The stakes are higher for the kids in this sequel. When everything and everyone aren’t what and who they seem, who can they trust? I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up.

The Bridge HomeThe Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the play on words of the title. I’m always attracted to siblings stories especially when they have to overcome their station in life whether they were born or brought into it. I love seeing people have triumphs despite the fact their main problems haven’t been solved. I wish I was more satisfied with the ending- maybe it brought up too many personal associations for me?- but it was still a powerful and affecting read!

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 15, 2021

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

I had my second Beautiful Happy Day of 2021. Those days usually involve the sun being out and not needing to wear a coat. And, then, there’s just lots of walking involved and just going wherever my feet takes me.

Also, it was the one-year anniversary of this pandemic and it weighed on everyone’s minds. So, it was great to be reminded that life can still be beautiful and happy.

I hope your lives have moments of wonder and whimsy and love and gratitude.
 
I just became a patron of the Book Friends Forever podcast. Grace Lin and Alvina Ling just celebrated their 100th episode and they read my question during their last segment! (It was also nice to hear a fellow IMWAYR blogger mentioned as they read her gratitude on air!) If you like kidlit and the Book World, consider becoming a patron as well. Let’s help them get 100 patrons!
 
Now for some book reviews…
 
Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted series started off with the picture book of the same name providing mini biographies of women who changed the world followed by She Persisted Around the World and She Persisted in Sports. Alexandra Boiger wonderfully illustrated these books.

And, now, readers are invited to get to know these trailblazing women better in a more in-depth format. There’ll be twelve books published throughout the year by different authors with new illustrations by Gillian Flint. Each book includes a “How You Can Persist” section with suggested activities perfect for the classroom!

She Persisted: Harriet TubmanShe Persisted: Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harriet Tubman’s story is like the stuff of legends- how she not only fought her entire life to be free but to ensure others were as well. She became a fearless and successful conductor of the Underground Railroad and then worked as a spy during the Civil War. Despite her heroism, the country she fought for refused to honor all her work while she was alive. Readers will be inspired by her courage and, hopefully, her story will be shared far and wide.

She Persisted: Claudette ColvinShe Persisted: Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Claudette Colvin may not be as familiar a name so it’s great a series like She Persisted can let people know about her. They will see how acts of resistance have a ripple effect when Claudette Colvin and, just a few months later, Rosa Parks both refused to give up their seats because of unfair and racist laws which would lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Young readers can look up at how a then fifteen-year0old saw injustice and fought against it.

She Persisted: Sally RideShe Persisted: Sally Ride by Atia Abawi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It wasn’t that long ago that women weren’t allowed to work certain jobs. But Sally Ride set out to prove that just because that was the case, it didn’t have to be that way. Through hard work and constantly having to prove her worth, she became the first American woman in space. And she made it her life mission to make sure young people- boys and girls- knew that science was for everyone.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race MassacreUnspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This should be in every school library because it’s mind-boggling the things we end up not learning about in school. Carole Boston Weatherford has managed to write about such a horrific incident in a way that’s accessible to young readers. May we seek out stories that have been hidden from the annals of history.

The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark ExpeditionThe Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Hasan Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A recent bust of York suddenly appeared in a nearby park here in Portland. And, since I was curious as to who it was and its significance, I was pleased that there was a picture book biography about him. This is another instance of someone whose significant contributions weren’t attributed to him because of the color of his skin. I’m glad people are learning about him now.

Our Skin: A First Conversation about RaceOur Skin: A First Conversation about Race by Megan Madison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book to bring up the topic about race to young kids. What I appreciated most about it is all the backmatter material to help facilitate the conversation which I’m sure some if not most adults find difficult.

The Tree in MeThe Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know how Corinna Luyken consistently puts out these amazing beautiful books that are perfect combinations of story (and message) and stunning illustrations. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this book once you get your hands on it.

The Old BoatThe Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful book from the Pumphrey brothers that celebrates family and the natural world we have to make sure we protect.

The Ramble Shamble ChildrenThe Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet story about siblings who learn they- and the house they live in- are perfect just the ramble shamble way they are. I think this would make a great early chapter book series. Lauren Castillo’s illustrations are lovely!

I Am Frida KahloI Am Frida Kahlo by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest installment in this wonderful inspiring series for kids. I’m sure readers will be enthralled by Frida’s life, creativity, and determination!

The Bruce Swap

The Bruce Swap by Ryan T. Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a case of mistaken identity when a relative of everyone’s lovable grump of a bear makes a surprise visit. The friends learn to be careful with what they wish for (unless its sandwiches) and that there can be a thing of too much fun.

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 8, 2021 / February Review

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Well, February wasn’t fun. As I mentioned in a previous post, we had a snowstorm in the middle of the month. Add to that the gray and rainy days, I think my mood was just down. It definitely negatively affected the positive habits I was trying to cultivate and I didn’t get to do a good amount of the goals I intended to do. But, I do have to constantly remind myself that this is not normal times and I can’t expect to always be on my A game.

The one habit I’m glad I’ve kept up with is my Morning Pages. With the premise of “Writers write” I can say I’m a writer without feeling like too much of an impostor. I’m hoping my creative juices will start flowing again instead of just me journaling whatever’s on my mind.

I’ve also kept up with Julia Cameron’s other exercise- going on Artist Dates. It goes hand in hand with my search for “Whimsy and Wonder.” Here’s a page of what’s caught the past two months. If I were tech savvy, each image would be linkable to a page that goes into detail of what it is. Maybe, someday…

Screenshot_2021-03-06 Facebook

When we’ve had sunny days, I’ve enjoyed taking a bag of books with me on my walks and donating to Little Free Libraries. I can’t wait for more consistent brighter days ahead!

So far this year, I’ve read 84 books. The breakdown is:
1- Adult novels
9- Adult non-fiction
2- Graphic novels
14- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
57- Picture Books and Board Books
1- Young Adult novels

of which
29- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
8- Audio Books

Now for some book reviews…

The ABCs of Black HistoryThe ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prepare for a poetic journey through the alphabet celebrating and commemorating important figures and moments in Black history and culture. The ABCs of Black History uses letters and verse to tell a diverse collection of stories, sometimes full of struggle and pain, other times joyful and triumphant. There is even a helpful glossary in the back of the book for those wanting to learn more. This powerful, vibrantly illustrated book is a must-have for every child’s bookshelf!

Sometimes People MarchSometimes People March by Tessa Allen


Sometimes People March is a wonderful introduction to activism and different movements that get people out on the streets to make a difference. A great way to broach the different topics mentioned in the book like the women’s suffrage movement and Black Lives Matter.

Big FeelingsBig Feelings by Alexandra Penfold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Big Feelings reunites the creators of All Are Welcome in another inclusive story of working together and working through emotions. Also tackles teamwork and perseverance in a gentle way. Dustjacket folds out as a poster featuring the diverse cast of characters.

I Am Every Good ThingI Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Am Every Good Thing is a fun celebration of Black Boy Joy with a super confident narrator whose charm exudes off the pages. So fresh and refreshing to see all the sides of someone and still see their intrinsic worth.

OonaOona by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oona is a dazzling under the sea adventure featuring a Black mermaid who must face her fears if she wants the treasure in the dark unknown. It has a great undercurrent for educators to talk about why there’s a lack of diversity even in a fantasy setting. Pair with Jerry Pinkney’s adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

I Talk Like a RiverI Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I Talk Like a River provides a powerfully honest insight of someone who stutters, how it cuts him off from others. It also mentions how he coped and adjusted with the help of his father. Great for helping students build empathy for those who are going through something they may not be familiar with.

I Will DanceI Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Inspired by an all-abilities, all-ages dance group, the author wrote I Will Dance about Eva, a girl with cerebral palsy who uses an electric wheelchair, who’s determined to dance. This picture book can be used to talk about people with disabilities and to broach the topic of ableism as well as our ever evolving language to be more inclusive.

G My Name Is Girl: A Song of Celebration from Argentina to ZambiaG My Name Is Girl: A Song of Celebration from Argentina to Zambia by Dawn Masi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet celebration of girlhood from all over the world. Different girls from different countries are represented with other females in their lives and what makes them unique. The illustrations are worth a longer look-over to see a connecting factor amongst them.

Lumber Jills: The Unsung Heroines of World War IILumber Jills: The Unsung Heroines of World War II by Alexandra Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lyrically told, this is the story of British girls who answered the call when their country needed their help! During World War II, there was a shortage of workers in the lumber industry to make the necessary items to help fight the war so thousands joined the Women’s Timber Corps despite having no prior experience but determined to learn and succeed, which they did! This camaraderie and dedication would inspire other women in different countries to do the same as it’s sure to inspire readers today to step up and make a difference!

The BatThe Bat by Elise Gravel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A disgusting yet delightful discovery, Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series introduces beginning readers to facts regarding certain familiar creatures. The humor and illustrations will appeal to kids and will want them to read more. Addicting for adults as well!

The Strangers (Greystone Secrets, #1)The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect for fans of Masterminds. When three kids who share the same name and birthdays as them get kidnapped, the Greystone kids find their worlds turned upside down. It’s an interesting premise and I’m glad I picked this up when the second book is already out and the third is on its way.

Can't Take That AwayCan’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a fellow Mariah Carey fan and aspiring writer inspired by her music as well, I want to shout out
Steven Salvatore for their debut young adult novel Can’t Take That Away about genderqueer teen Carey Parker who must find their voice to rise above the hate.

Despite (or in spite of?) being bullied for being different- even though they’re just who they are,- Carey auditions and gets the lead role in the school musical production of Wicked. But it might be curtains even before they take the stage when a teacher deems it inappropriate.

Readers will root for Carey and their friends as they fight against the injustices they’re facing. I love all the Mariah Carey references (even mentioning Mariah’s 500 hours of beauty school) and appreciate the playlist at the back of the book.

You can view all the books I’ve read on <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7247248-earl&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>my Goodreads page</a>.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 1, 2021

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

Does Earth Feel?: 14 Questions for HumansDoes Earth Feel?: 14 Questions for Humans by Marc Majewski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A meditative, contemplative picture book that encourages readers to think about their relationship with the planet.

Mars! Earthlings WelcomeMars! Earthlings Welcome by Stacy McAnulty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest installment in this fun and educational series. This time, readers learn more about Mars. I can’t wait to further explore the universe with the next books!

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He RescuedNicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, what a true hero Nicholas Winton was- and it was refreshing and rare to see someone who did so much good in the world because it was the right thing to do and not for fame or attention. And, if you’re like me, you’ll end up searching for the videos of him in his later life being surprised by some of the children he saved. Here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd-U0…

How Are You Feeling Board Book

How Are You Feeling Board Book by Mudpuppy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was absolutely charmed by this lift the flap board book. One of the more enjoyable books about feelings I’ve read in awhile.

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of UsOur Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo
  My rating: 3 of 5 stars

  Winnie the Pooh fans will find themselves charmed with Lauren Castillo’s new series about the loveable creatures of Hedge Hollow. When a storm separates Hedgehog from her best friend Mutty, it will take a lot of courage and a lot of friends to help them reunite!  

Skunk and Badger

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake
  My rating: 2 of 5 stars

  In a new series for fans of The Wind in the Willows comes a story of an unlikely friendship. When Skunk shows up at Badger’s doorstep, the latter’s whole world which was orderly and quiet and turned upside down. Will they be able to get along or will the appearance of too many chickens be too much for them?  

Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables, #1)Willa the Wisp by Jonathan Auxier
  My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  Readers looking for a beginning light-hearted (and big hearted!) fantasy will find their perfect book in this first installment of a new series. Auggie is tasked to take care of magical and one-of-a-kind creatures. When one of them needs help, he’ll do everything to save them. Full color illustrations.  

Sydney and Taylor Explore the Whole Wide WorldSydney and Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World by Jacqueline Davies
  My rating: 3 of 5 stars

  Get ready for an adventure with two best friends- a hedgehog named Taylor and a skunk named Sydney. They will travel to Places Unknown and hunt like the ferocious animals they are. Or, at least try to! The whole wide world can be a scary thing but with a good friend your side, anything is possible!

Song for a Whale

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A deaf girl ends up connecting with the story of a pod-less whale and she must come up with a plan to help him not be alone anymore.

I really didn’t expect to like this novel as much as I did but I kind of could relate to doing everything one can to find an elusive chanteuse no matter how crazy the things may be. (If anyone gets that reference, we should probably be friends.)

Even when some parts seemed very pat and convenient, I was invested in the story.

Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars Who Made America AmazingAwesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars Who Made America Amazing by Phil Amara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished this wonderful collection. I didn’t realize this was a Kickstarter first. The “comics” style illustration was really fun. I appreciated seeing Filipinos being represented! Now is the perfect time to read this.



There has been an increase in anti-Asian attacks recently. And, the elderly population seem to be the ones being targeted. We all need to do our part to stop this. Look out for one another. Support those affected. Educate others that it’s our differences that make us great and that different doesn’t mean inferior or less than.

If you’re in a position of privilege and consider yourself an ally and personally know anyone who may act in this kind of way, talk to them and see if you can figure out a way for them to change their point of view even if it takes a long time and even if it’s uncomfortable to have those kinds of conversations. Don’t let the people being victimized have to save themselves and expect them to help you help them at the same time.


The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and RomanceThe Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I’ve Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance by Matt Ortile
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally finished the book I wanted to spotlight for my #FilipinoReads this month.
The Groom Will Keep His Name is a collection of essays of growing up gay and Filipino in a country that punishes anyone who is Other. It is also about trying to find love and a place to belong. I enjoyed how he would sometimes start off with one topic but actually end up tackling another (but not in a complete tangent) written with insight and humor.

With lots of similarities between us, it was sometimes like reading through past journal entries. And while I liked the book because of that relatability, it’s the same reason I probably didn’t like it as much- because his experiences are more fun and interesting, and he’s younger, richer, and more popular, successful, and talented than I am. I’m only partly joking with my jealousy.

I learned about this book scrolling through a library website under the subject heading #Filipino. I wasn’t sure if I were actually going to read it but I’m glad I did.

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 22, 2021

New-2020-IMWAYR-Button
Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!
Well, I don’t know about you but we had lots of snow this past week. Despite having to close the bookstore for a few days and some physically exhausting walks to get to places, I’m grateful things weren’t as bad for me as I’ve seen and heard it was for others. I’m definitely thinking of them during these times.

What You Don't Know: A Story of Liberated ChildhoodWhat You Don’t Know: A Story of Liberated Childhood by Anastasia Higginbotham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anastasia Higginbotham delivers another winner in her collection of books about difficult but necessary conversations to have with kids. This time, she tackles coming to one’s own while trying to find a place that doesn’t seem to have space for them. Eye opening and powerful.

View all my reviews Don't Hug Doug (He Doesn't Like It)Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book to introduce the idea of physical consent to young readers. There’s definitely been a demand for these kinds of books so this is really appreciated. Pair with Will Ladybug Hug? by Hilary Leung.

I Am!: Affirmations for ResilienceI Am!: Affirmations for Resilience by Bela Barbosa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a special order from a customer that intrigued me so I had to read it. This would work not only as an introduction to what young readers may be feeling but also how to deal with them.

We're Better Together

We’re Better Together by Eileen Spinelli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a sucker for books about kindness and this encourages working together and helping one another. I hope it inspires readers of all ages to find ways they can create a better, kinder, and nicer world.

Shy WillowShy Willow by Cat Min
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute story about a shy rabbit who lives in an abandoned mailbox. When Willow receives an unexpected letter from a boy wanting to surprise his mom with a gift, she takes it upon herself to try and fulfill it. I love the endpapers on this one.

The Librarian's StoriesThe Librarian’s Stories by Lucy Falcone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Inspired by the Cellist of Sarajevo, this is a sweet story of finding light during dark times. A librarian decides to hold daily story times to bring moments of distraction and escape to residents of a war-torn town.

Review Notes

***= Liked It

****= Recommended

*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7247248-earl&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>my Goodreads page</a>.

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Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 15, 2021

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

CYBILS just announced their winners on Valentine’s Day. I loved being part of it again. Talking to the other readers in the nonfiction categories was really fun but also difficult since there were so many amazing books to decide from.

Screenshot_2021-02-14 Earl Dizon's ( earldizonwriter) profile on Instagram • 2,321 posts

Sato the RabbitSato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful whimsical picture book from Japan. I’m thrilled to see that this is an intended trilogy.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My antiracist book for this month is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

It focuses on the problems within the criminal justice system especially for BIPOC and the poor. It’ll definitely get you angry. I admit it’s scary to think how many people believe truly evil and racist things and the extent of what they’ll do to keep their sense of power and entitlement.

I’m intrigued about the film adaptation.

I ended up donating to the Equal Justice Initiative after finishing Just Mercy. https://eji.org/

My Agatha Christie obsession is in full force again. We’re getting lots of snow days here in Portland and I decided to have an Artist Date just reading through some books about and by her!

Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly (Hercule Poirot, #45.7)Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It seems I’m always saying I finally finished all of Agatha Christie’s bibliography but I’m always finding new ones I haven’t read yet. Of course, that’s a good problem to have! I finally gave in and bought a copy of this novella since it was hard to find. A “lost” story that was set aside and reworked into the novel Dead Man’s Folly. I loved seeing how her ideas worked and evolved.

Agatha Christie's Secret NotebooksAgatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks by John Curran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally read through the entirety of this book. Naturally, I read the sections containing the new short stories before. What prevented me from actually reading this was I thought this was going to be mostly reading through scanned pages of Agatha Christie’s notebooks which on one hand would have been fine but also very difficult if so since I can barely read my own writing sometimes. But John Curran has done a wonderful hob transcribing the notebooks and presenting them in a more logical and linear fashion.

What a treat to get into the mind of such a genius! No wonder so many people like myself are still so obsessed with Agatha Christie!

Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her NotebooksAgatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks by John Curran
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More from the mind of Agatha Christie! For some reason, this book dragged for me but I did enjoy the following: the rules of detection / detective writing section, the deleted scene from The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the short story “The Man Who Knew” which was an earlier version of “The Red Signal”, and a Miss Marple short story.

Clues to Christie: The Definitive Guide to Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Tommy & Tuppence and All of Agatha Christie's MysteriesClues to Christie: The Definitive Guide to Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Tommy & Tuppence and All of Agatha Christie’s Mysteries by Agatha Christie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An Agatha Christie expert gives a brief overview on the author’s life sharing three short stories. Definitely check The Secret Notebooks for a more in-depth look into Agatha’s brilliant mind. I did enjoy the curated book lists with quirky subjects.

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

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 8, 2021

New-2020-IMWAYR-Button
Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

Baby Young, Gifted, and Black: With a Mirror!Baby Young, Gifted, and Black: With a Mirror! by Jamia Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No one is too young to be introduced to exemplary human beings. I love board books with mirrors especially when it’s used to reflect the positive force they can be and the positive things they can do.

Time for KennyTime for Kenny by Brian Pinkney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun simple picture book that follows Kenny throughout the day. Divided into four sections, readers will see him interact with various members of his family. Great for fans of The Snowy Day, Ty’s Travels, and Ana & Andrew books.

There is a RainbowThere is a Rainbow by Theresa Trinder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet hopeful picture book set in covid times. It truly is amazing how humans can adapt during difficult times and still find ways to connect. And, really, I hope we can get through this sooner rather than later but that definitely means all of us have to do our parts. As someone wise and talented once said, “After every storm, if you look hard enough, a rainbow appears.”

Captain Tom Moore (Little People, BIG DREAMS)Captain Tom Moore by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Tom Moore is someone I wasn’t familiar with. And, oddly enough, I ended up reading this book just a few days after he passed away. Considering one of his most recent achievements was raising money for the NHS during the start of the pandemic, I was surprised by how quickly this book was made!

Alex's Good FortuneAlex’s Good Fortune by Benson Shum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun early reader that follows Alex celebrating Chinese New Year with her friend Ethan. Includes a glossary of Chinese phrases and their pronunciations as well as an introduction to the Chinese Zodiac.

 

The Boy Who Failed Show and TellThe Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talk about distracted reading, I didn’t realize this was a memoir until the last quarter of the book even though I read the back summary. I guess the cover threw me off. Still, I don’t know why I didn’t put the fact that the main character and the author’s name were one and the same together. And, because of this late realization, I didn’t realize this took place a few decades ago- and I thought that was a rather clever trick (even though it was just me not paying attention!) Other than that, I did enjoy this memoir. It had a great mix of humor and drama.

The Lion of MarsThe Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another example of me being distracted when reading this. I must have misread the summary so I was expecting other things to happen for quite awhile. But once I realized my mistake I was able to enjoy this novel even more. Kids will definitely enjoy reading about everyday normal life set in the future where people live in Mars colonies. I’m glad it never was about a super deadly virus targeting adults leaving kids to fend off for themselves that I originally thought! I hope to read more of these characters some day. Maybe the talented Jennifer L. Holm can just put out a book full of short stories featuring characters from her books so we could catch up with them again!

Hilo Book 7: Gina---The Girl Who Broke the WorldHilo Book 7: Gina—The Girl Who Broke the World by Judd Winick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another exciting installment that tackles ongoing grief and having to shoulder unasked for and unwanted responsibility. I’m curious as to where this arc will lead and how many more books there will be in the series.

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- February 1, 2021 / January 2021 Review

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

As much as we rejoiced that 2020 was finally over and we hoped that 2021 would be so much better, I think we knew deep down in our hearts that this year was pretty much going to be the same as last year- if not a bit worse since nothing was being done to improve things. It was like if an apartment complex was on fire and the people were trying to get out but others were blocking all the exits and the leader of their pack (who probably started the fire with his buddies in the first place) was selling ice cubes. Fortunately, the people next door called the fire department but, even then, they’re going to get affected. But, you don’t need me to be making political commentary.

On a personal note, my family suffered a huge loss as one of my uncles passed away earlier this month due to Covid related complications. I wish I can hug everyone affected but we live in a time and during a crisis that the normal acts of comfort aren’t permissible.

With things under my control, I did manage to get some things done as I tend to do in January, being high on goal setting and New Year Resolutions.

Some highlights…

I’ve been leaning into the identity of being a Writer with the basic premise that “Writers write.” While I work on my goals of finding an agent, getting published, etc., which ultimately is out of my hands after I do my part, I can fulfill my goal of being a writer by having it be part of my daily life. What’s been helping me with that is journaling every day as my Morning Pages ritual. Also, the annual Story Storm challenge has been great in generating ideas. A benefit from doing this has been willing to seek out and participate in other writerly pursuits like writing workshops. It’s still sometimes challenging, of course, to choose to write as opposed sleeping in some more or watching YouTube videos I’ve seen multiple times already. But day by day, page by page, as I’m sure people have said.

I rewrote all my manuscripts to familiarize myself with them again. And I wrote a new poem, “The Boy who Loved Birthdays” which I shared on my YouTube channel.

I also cooked some Filipino food- champorado (Filipino chocolate rice porridge) and longsilog which breaks down to “long” for Filipino longanisa (Filipino sausage), “si” for sinangag which is garlic fried rice, and “log” for itlog which is egg.

Plus, Mariah Carey bought back #MC30, a celebration of her 30-year career in the music industry. She even liked my tweet about it!

I was a recipient of other people’s kindness which I’m truly grateful for.

I’ve been doing good keeping up with my Artist Dates and World of Whimsy and Wonder challenges. I’ll probably do separate posts about them but some of them do overlap.

So far this year, I’ve read 41 books. The breakdown is:
0- Adult novels
4- Adult non-fiction
1- Graphic novels
8- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
28- Picture Books and Board Books
0- Young Adult novels

of which
18- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
2- Audio Books


Now, for the book reviews…

The Snail with the Right Heart: A True StoryThe Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolutely unique story based on real events from a popular blogger about a scientific discovery of a snail “with a different swirl.” (That quote is from me since I couldn’t recall how they described it on the book.) It manages to be a rumination on life and a love story. It starts out with a small discovery that casts a wide net. It’s a book to be experienced.

Over and Under the RainforestOver and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was delighted to see there was a new book in this fantastic nonfiction series. This time around, a girl and her uncle hike through the rainforest and discover the wildlife there. I have to admit it kind of freaked me out just thinking there were so many animals so close to these characters. But then I prefer enjoying nature looking out from the comfort and safety of inside a coffee shop. Readers are treated to more information about all the different animals that was encountered throughout the book.

Me & MamaMe & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Naturally with the recent announcements of the Youth Media Awards, I wanted to read up on the winners. This is a sweet story, perfect to read together with Ezra Jack Keat’s The Snowy Day, Linda Ashman’s Rain!, and Oge Mora’s Saturday.

Danbi Leads the School ParadeDanbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another YMA title. As someone who moved to the States from another country, this would have been a nice comforting book to have had. Perfect to read with Rosemary Well’s Yoko, Helen Recorvits’ My Name is Yoon, and Anne Sibley O’Brien’s I’m New Here.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to FreedomBox: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another YMA title… I love that Carole Boston Weatherford made sure to stick with a six-line structure (to represent a side of a box) for each of the poem. Including primary sources with the illustrations also made it unique. Perfect to read (to see how different writers approach the same subject) with Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine and (my favorite of the three) Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally M. Walker.

I also read the YMA book A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon.

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn BrooksExquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade


Readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s work will marvel at Gwendolyn Brooks’ life- how she found inspiration everywhere as a young girl to the celebrated woman she became. Lyrical text paired with lush illustrations make this a truly stand out picture book biography.

Milo Imagines the World

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The words… The art… The art within the art… The story… The undercurrents… The reveals… And the revelations… So much to love about this book!

Do not read the copyright page summary to fully experience the story.

I read this for my annual Everybody Reads Reading Challenge:

The Book of DelightsThe Book of Delights by Ross Gay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of essays was- for lack of a better word- delightful! I actually got to hear Ross Gay speak at a bookseller’s conference before this book came out and listening to it on audio book with him narrating it took me back to that time. Although subjective to his particular tastes and experiences, a lot of the readers can find themselves enjoying the things he writes about. Or thinking about why it may or may not be a delight in their lives. I enjoyed recommending this when it first came out (in 2019) as a balm for the dark and troubling times we were experiencing. Now, I can recommend it as a reminder to look for the light and for the delights in these difficult times and as a reminder also that better days are ahead if we just work together.

Murder on Balete Drive (Trese, #1)Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished the graphic novel Trese: Volume 1, Murder on Balete Drive. Fans of the TV shows Grimm and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and the graphic novel Watchmen will enjoy this supernatural crime series featuring creatures from Filipino mythology. I love that at the end of each issue (four in this collection), there’s a case file for the creatures encountered in the story.

Apparently, it’s been sort of an underground hit in the Philippines for many years now and not only did it finally get US distribution (via Ablaze Publishing) but it’ll be coming to Netflix as an animated series.

I already can’t wait to read more! Volume 2 of Trese comes out June 2, 2021.

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!