My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 10, 2020

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!

One of the things I wanted to do this year was to get more comfortable with my speaking skills. That’s why I started my Live One-Take Book Reviews. And, another thing I wanted to do was share more of my works online.

For World Read Aloud Day, even though I was a day late, I decided to share a poem I wrote, “The Boy who Loved Books”, which I plan to work on adding illustrations to give as thank you cards to donors to my upcoming book drive. You can watch the video here:

Recent Posts:
January 2020 Review

I’ll be posting two more video reviews this week so keep an eye out for those.

The Old TruckThe Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful new picture book by the Pumphrey brothers inspired by the strong women in their lives. This tells the intertwining tales of an old truck and a young girl as they grow and dream together.

Story BoatStory Boat by Kyo Maclear

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. At first I thought it was going to be writing and storytelling but it’s actually a look into the migrant experience through the lens of hope and creativity.

In a JarIn a Jar by Deborah Marcero

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful and enchanting about two new friends who collect all sorts of things like rainbows and sunsets. But what happens when one of them moves away? How can they continue collecting the wonders of the world and will their friendship last?

Swim Swim SinkSwim Swim Sink by Jenn Harney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun for story time. It’s a rhyming picture book following three recently hatched ducklings learning how to swim. But the story goes awry when one of them can’t. Readers will enjoy the creative solutions the ducking comes up with.

Snail CrossingSnail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why did the snail cross the road- or at least try to? To get to the other side where the cabbage patch was, of course. But will slow and steady win the race or will it be an escar-stop? Despite my attempt at humor with that joke, this is a cute story worth reading.

One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely
 Organized for GoodOne Year to an Organized Life: From Your
Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good
by Regina Leeds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must have checked out and browsed this book at least a few times since it was released. And I think it’s only now listening to the audiobook that I actually finished. It’s good to have in the background as you clean and you’ll probably pick up some good pointers here and there.

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!

January 2020 Review

January always seems more promising than it usually is with the ringing in of a new year and our minds full of resolutions to better ourselves. That usually leads to a hangover (thankfully, not me) and feeling overwhelmed by all the things we need and want to do (unfortunately, me.)

January was mostly me being in a funk. The weather (gray days and constant rain) had something to do with it. Plus, I’ve just been constantly tired maybe due to poor food choices and not getting enough sleep. And there was that whole thing of me asking, “What’s the point of all this?” (In the sense of whether or not what I was doing was actually making my life any better. Fortunately, it wasn’t coming from a darker place.)

But I’m happy to say that I am getting pumped up again to get things done. In fact, looking back it’s not like I was wasting away the past month.

As I mentioned during my Looking Forward in 2020 post, my word of the year is VISION.

2020goals

For my 20 in 2020 goals:

*I started filming my live book reviews.

*I renewed my SCBWI membership.

*I completed another year of StoryStorm.

I cooked Sopas for my Filipino dish a month challenge. Sopas is a a creamy chicken soup full of veggies. The recipe I looked up suggested adding hot dog- and I used Vienna sausages instead- but I would skip that next time.

Even though I’ve made this before, there was still some ordeals. The pot I bought was too small so there was almost a situation of the soup overflowing all over the stove. Plus I had to make a back up batch of the elbow macaroni since there wasn’t enough room. and I think I was using two different recipes- one that served 4 people, the other 8- so some of the ingredients were off.

My roommate had some and he didn’t throw up so that’s a good sign. He is on his way to see a doctor but that was an appointment set up way beforehand.

I served mine with pan de sal, a Filipino bread roll which despite its Spanish translation of “bread of salt”, is actually a bit sweet.

sopas

*I bought all the books for my Penguin Classics Filipino Books challenge. I’m glad that they included these five works from Filipino authors. I’ve only read one of the novelsNoli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal- so I’m looking forward to reading the others.

Have you read any of these books? What other Filipino authors and books would you recommend?

*I received a generous grant from someone who encourages others to pursue their creative dreams. I’m so grateful for this act of kindness show to me.

*I visited a new bookstore- or, at least, a bookstore that has relocated since my last visit.

jans

*I also attended the grand opening of Ledding Library which was definitely a highlight for me.

How was January for you?

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 3, 2020

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:

Watch my review of When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed:

Going Down Home with DaddyGoing Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This beautifully illustrated picture book is a celebration of family and traditions.

Lawrence: The Bunny Who Wanted to Be NakedLawrence: The Bunny Who Wanted to Be Naked by Vern Kousky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting story about a mother bunny who likes to dress up her son in outrageous clothes she makes and how she gets a dose of her own medicine.

Odd Dog OutOdd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute story about being yourself even- or especially- when you stand out!

All the Pieces FitAll the Pieces Fit by Judd Winick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everything has been leading up to this. Fans of this graphic novel series will want to grab a copy to see how Hilo fares with a final battle against Razorwark. It will take everyone working together and making big sacrifices to see it through. And even then readers should brace themselves for a surprise!

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the HorseThe Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cross between Winnie the Pooh and The Little Prince, this very short story offers insights to life as each of the characters go off on their adventures.

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!

Looking Forward in 2020

My word of the year is VISION.

2020vision

I actually had another word in mind but ultimately decided with VISION. First, I liked the play on words with 2020 Vision, helping me see the goals I want to achieve more clearly. Second, I knew I should get new glasses. Third, this year marks Mariah Carey’s 30th anniversary in the music industry and her first song was “Vision of Love.”

I also came up with my 20 for 2020.

2020goals

I actually ended up some of the leftover goals from last year.

Something different I did that I haven’t done before was choose a few to focus on for each quarter so as not to feel overwhelmed. The following is for the first quarter of 2020.

Screenshot_2020-01-28 Earl Dizon ( ea12l) • Instagram photos and videos

A goal I didn’t include on my 20 for 2020 list is to read 104 Nonfiction Picture Books and 52 Middle Readers and Early Chapter books. I posted my #MustReadin2020 here.

I’m hoping I can accomplish most if not all of the goals I set for myself.

What do you envision for yourself in 2020? What are your goal planning system?

#MustReadin2020

-Mariah Carey Memoir

[Upcoming Releases]
-Hilo Book 6: All the Pieces Fit by Judd Winick (2/4/20)
-Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (3/17/20)
-We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (5/5/20)
-Act by Kayla Miller (5/5/20)
-5 Worlds Book 4: The Amber Anthem by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel (5/12/20)
-Three Keys by Kelly Yang (9/15/20)

[Everybody Reads]
-There, There by Tommy Orange

[Penguin Classics Filipino Novels]
-America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
-The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic by Nick Joaquin
-Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal
-El Filibusterismo by Jose Rizal
-Doveglion: Collected Poems by Jose Garcia Villa

[Renee Watson Reading Challenge}
-What Momma Left Me
-A Place Where Hurricanes Happen
-This Side of Home
-Betty Before X
-Piecing Me Together
-Watch Us Rise
-Some Places More than Others
-Ways to Make Sunshine (4/28/20)

[National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature/
Jason Reynolds Reading Challenge]
-All American Boys (co-written by Brendan Kiely)
-The Boy in the Black Suit
-As Brave as You
-Miles Morales: Spider-Man
-Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (co-written by Ibram X. Kendi) (3/10/20)

-To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith
-The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart
-The Secrets of Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
-The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson
-The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
-The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
-Show Me a Story!: Why Picture Books Matter by Leonard S. Marcus
-Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson
-Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy
-Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 20, 2020

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 Top 3’s of 2019
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 7
Grand Opening: Ledding Library

One of my goals this year was to get comfortable in speaking in front of people. And I figured doing live book reviews would help with that; so, I’ll be releasing videos on a weekly (or a more frequent) basis. You can watch them on my Instagram page or my YouTube page.

Are Your Stars Like My Stars?Are Your Stars Like My Stars? by Leslie Helakoski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect for read-aloud to introduce colors and inclusivity and diversity.

Fly!Fly! by Mark Teague

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great example of a wordless picture about a baby bird reluctant to fly and gives his mom alternate ideas for their upcoming migration.

Pay Attention, Carter JonesPay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This reminded me of Sharon Creech’s Love that Dog in the way Carter deals with his problems and a cross of the two films Mrs. Doubtfire and The Kingsman in the caretaker entering a family’s life trying to make a gentleman out of someone. The story really
grabbed me (even though I don’t like books involving sports) and I was emotionally invested by the end. Yet, despite how much I enjoyed the novel, there was too much of a feel that this all happened in a bubble that had no specific time or place, like a Disney
Channel TV movie of the 90’s.

The Line TenderThe Line Tender by Kate    Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that I like to say that one shouldn’t read in public because it’ll give you all the feelings. The grief process rung so true. There were a couple of clunky bits in the beginning that took me out of the story. A part of me is still debating
whether some emotional moments were well-earned or if they manipulated me the way I felt watching the movie My Girl. Even if that was the case, I’m not totally mad. Readers are definitely in for a rollercoaster of emotions with this one.

To the Land of Long Lost Friends (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #20)To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoy this series and will probably keep reading it until it ends, I did have a hard time getting through it. It just felt too meandering and too much of the same thing.

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!

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 7

“The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
-from the website

National_Ambassador_for_Young_People's_Literature_-_logo

Jason Reynolds has been announced as the latest National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Another perfect choice! I’ve been a fan and read most of his books- and I can’t wait to read his other works as one of my reading challenges this year.

When I Was the GreatestWhen I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story about family and friends, that no matter how broken they seem, you do what you have to for them. Delivers a powerful punch. Unique characters including an African-American teen who knits to control his Tourette’s. Glimpses of urban life. A thoroughly fascinating YA novel.

Ghost (Track, #1)Ghost by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love that I didn’t even know about this new release and it’s one of my top middle grade novel of 2016! It reminded me a little bit of Maniac Magee because of the running aspect. And while I was annoyed at Ghost’s character in the beginning- but only because I hate it when people are randomly picked out for their “special-ness” like he was when he decided to crash their practice- I loved the authenticity of his thoughts and actions. Of all the drama they threw at him, I appreciated how Jason Reynolds decided not to overdo it and it made the story flow so much better. I’m hooked. I can’t wait for the other books in the series. (This is also a great example of a novel with which I think people are calling “casual diversity.”)

Patina (Track, #2)Patina by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So good! If you loved Ghost as much as I did, you’ll love this follow up to the series as much- if not more! A great story of how life can run us off course but how family (the ones we’re born with and the ones we choose) can lead us back on the right track if we just believe in them and in ourselves.

Patina by Jason Reynolds comes out August 29th.

Sunny (Track, #3)Sunny by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

RUN- don’t walk- to your favorite independent bookstore April 10th when the third book in Jason Reynold’s Track series comes out! Sunny is a moving lyrical story about a boy who has spent all his life doing things for others. When the call to do something else- something he actually wants to do- becomes too loud to ignore, he answers it. Will it be worth it?

I love how each book in the series is so different from one another, each one reflecting on the main character’s personality. I almost wish there’d be a book about Coach!

Lu (Track, #4)Lu by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tracks has become one of my favorite mglit series in the past few years. Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu are heading for the finish line in this final installment. They’ve learned what it takes to be a team. With shake ups and secrets, they need to learn what it means to be a family. A satisfying emotional conclusion. I would love a novel for adults featuring Coach!

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! Definitely a must read book (of any genre)! This young adult novel told in verse has a unique premise. After his older brother is gunned down, fifteen-year-old sets out to get revenge. The elevator ride from the top from of his building will be the longest one minute of his ride when unexpected people from his life start to board.

Powerful. Moving.

What I’m excited about with this book is that I think even reluctant readers will want to pick this up.

Look Both WaysLook Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A collection of stories around the premise of what happens after school on a specific day. Fascinating pieces showcase different lives. I only wish the connecting factor was stronger or delivered a stronger, maybe even surprising, punch.

His platform for his 2020-2021 tenure is “Grab the Mic: Tell Your Story.”

I was lucky enough to watch him speak at a bookseller’s conference a year or so ago. What a treat that was! He’s a very compelling speaker. I also ran into him at an airport and a part of me was debating whether I should be a scary fan and tell him how much I love his books or let him just go about his day. But he was really friendly when I talked to him.

You can watch his inauguration here.

Previous Ambassadors were Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson, Gene Luen Yang, and Jacqueline Woodson.