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

I can’t believe October has come and gone but I’m kinda glad it did.

I was able to send out three query letters for a couple of my picture book manuscripts. I don’t know if some of you remember that in the beginning of the year I set out an ambitious and arbitrary goal of sending out 22 query letters this year and then changed it to “at least one” during my mid-year review.

Some of the highlights for me was some volunteering opportunities including the return of the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale.

It was my tenth year helping out a retired librarian hand out books to her neighborhood trick or treaters! This is something I look forward to every year and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. It was also nice being recognized from the bookstore by some of the people.

So far in 2022, I’ve read 447 books.

The breakdown is:
15- Adult novels
6- Adult non-fiction
39- Graphic novels
69- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
306- Picture Books and Board Books
12- Young Adult novels

of which
127- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
46- Audio Books
28- Books by Filipino Authors and/or Illustrators
73- Books by LGBTQ+ Authors and/or Illustrators

Now, for the book reviews…

The CuriositiesThe Curiosities by Zana Fraillon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved how two creators’ inspirations were able to come together to create something beautiful. The author, Zana Fraillon, wrote a story inspired by her son’s Tourette’s syndrome diagnosis about a boy (Miro) who sees the world differently (with the help of the Curiosities) and is sometimes overwhelmed by their existence. Meanwhile, the illustrator, Phil Lesnie, used his family’s culture to draw inspiration from Philippine folklore and illustrate Miro’s adventures.

Is it a Mermaid?Is it a Mermaid? by Candy Gourlay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun silly story of two kids finding a dugong (or sea cow) who claims to be a mermaid.

Library Girl: How Nancy Pearl Became America's Most Celebrated LibrarianLibrary Girl: How Nancy Pearl Became America’s Most Celebrated Librarian by Karen Henry Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Discover how a young girl who loved going to the library- even on Saturdays!- became one of “America’s Most Celebrated Librarian” in this delightful picture book of Nancy Pearl.

The illustrations were luminous.

Mole MusicMole Music by David McPhail
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book a customer raves about so I had to check it out. A sweet story of living a simple life filled with doing what you love- and how that can lead to beautiful things even if one doesn’t see them personally.

Reina Ramos Works It OutReina Ramos Works It Out by Emma Otheguy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun new levelled reader featuring a spunky girl character I can’t wait to read more about. In this debut, Reina is dismayed when she learns she and her best friend both chose Frida Kahlo as who they want to be for their class project. With the help of her grandma, she’ll find a way to keep her friendship and spotlight another influential and inspiring person.

Ways to Share JoyWays to Share Joy by Renée Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying this series. It’s a gentle dose of storytelling that I didn’t know I was craving so much of. Ryan Hart continues to try to find the perfect mix of ingredients to have happy relationships with her family and friends.

The Flamingo: A Graphic Novel Chapter BookThe Flamingo: A Graphic Novel Chapter Book by Guojing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gorgeous intergenerational graphic novel that will take its readers into a flight of fancy centering on family.

America Is in the HeartAmerica Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve been wanting to read classic Filipino stories to get a better understanding of what paved the way for those like me who want to continue on sharing stories about our culture.

I’m grateful how far we’ve come with the options of things to read from Filipino authors- and how many of them are accessible and enjoyable and find their way into the mainstream rather than being niche or seen as a token work of diverse literature but set aside afterwards.

I’m trying not to feel too ashamed to say I didn’t particularly enjoy Carlos Bulosan’s semiautobiographical novel of his difficult childhood in the Philippines and then the hardships he faced when moving to America. There was too much trauma and while it was necessary to write what he did experience it was overwhelming. When real life is difficult as it is, I didn’t need even more weight to drag me down. In a storytelling standpoint, a bit of breathing room between each scene would have made it more effective, affective.

I felt he was sharing everything, laying down the dots to portray his life when all was said and done. But even then I felt there seemed to be (at least, to me, and maybe because I was just trying to get through the book) wild leaps in the narrative that didn’t really make sense or connect.

With all that being said, I can see how this has been an important piece of Philippine literature and how it continues to inspire others of what it means to come to a new country and divided between two homes- and then the importance of having and keeping faith to keep ourselves from breaking into a million pieces.

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, #3)Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A festive addition to the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series where blackmail and murder become unwanted presents for the people of Shady Palms.

All the descriptions of food once again continues to make my mouth water.

I had been trying The StoryGraph for the first half of this year to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide the convenience Goodreads offered so I’m back using Goodreads.

You can view all my reviews over on Goodreads.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!


2 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- November 7, 2022 / My October Recap

  1. Thanks, Earl, nice to see all these books. I will look for some and I like the Renee Watson series, too! Have a great week ahead!

  2. I’m so happy to see Blackmail and Bibingka, another Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery on you list. Thanks for turning me onto these in the first place. I skooched over to my library and put a hold on this. I’ve downloaded an ecopy of Ways to Share Joy and will try reading it with my 5 year old granddaughter when she visits this weekend. Reina Ramos might be a better choice, but it isn’t available!

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