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

Happy New Year! This week, I’ll be sharing my 2022 reading recap and my Favorite Books I read in the past year!

In 2022, I’ve read 523 books.

The breakdown is:
17- Adult novels
8- Adult non-fiction
44- Graphic novels
76- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
364- Picture Books and Board Books
14- Young Adult novels
of which
149- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
55- Audio Books
32- Books by Filipino Authors and/or Illustrators
78- Books by LGBTQ+ Authors and/or Illustrators

Picture Books

FarmhouseFarmhouse by Sophie Blackall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely stunning
starting with the book itself
as a physical object
the feel of the dustjacket
and the surprise art underneath
even the smell of the pages
And then there’s the story
of the children
of the family
of the house
of the story, of the book
stories within stories
And the illustrations
and the so many details
to delight one’s eye
if one just takes the time
to look, to see
until another thing
makes itself seen.

PatchworkPatchwork by Matt de la Peña
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite picture books of the year! Beautiful message of being more than just one thing, that we are a patchwork of all our emotions and our experiences. Also, I loved that it says we aren’t confined by one label, that we contain multitudes. The artwork is stunning.

Bathe the CatBathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hilarious picture book about a family trying to get their household ready for their grandma’s visit- and a cat willing to do everything to avoid getting a bath. I love that it features two gay dads but it’s not made a big deal of.

Nigel and the MoonNigel and the Moon by Antwan Eady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A boy wants to be so many things but doesn’t know how to share it with others. Plus, he can’t help compare what his parents do with others during Career Week at school. Such an uplifting story.

The Boy with Flowers in His HairThe Boy with Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of those beautiful picture books dealing with complex emotions. Perfect for kids and grown-ups because we’re all going through stuff!

The Legend of Iron PurlThe Legend of Iron Purl by Tao Nyeu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I was put off by this picture book because it seemed a bit wordy but it was a sweet and surprising story that’s perfect for read-alouds and anyone who loves to pore over the illustrations carefully.

Non-Fiction Picture Books

Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie's Place, the Nation's First Shelter for WomenSanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women by Christine McDonnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved getting to read about Kip Tiernan and the dignified approach she dealt with women’s issues. Very inspiring. It’s sad that we’ve turned a blind eye for so long and now it’s a problem that’s unavoidable and must be addressed.

Love in the LibraryLove in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably one of my favorite books of 2022 already. A beautiful hopeful story set during a very dark and scary time based on the author’s grandparents. It really is amazing and miraculous that love could have bloomed in hateful places like internment camps and how that was a forced way of life for some- especially children who had to grow inside one. I loved the illustrations and appreciated the backmatter.

Middle Grade and Early Readers

Fancy Pants (Jo Jo Makoons, #2)Fancy Pants by Dawn Quigley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jo Jo Makoons is a great character to read about because you never know what kind of scrapes she’ll get into even though she’s just trying to be helpful. I really enjoyed the wrong readings of different body language she encountered throughout the book.

Those Kids from Fawn CreekThose Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erin Entrada Kelly has written a beautiful novel reminscent of the books Stargirl and Each Kindness with a hint of Carrie and the movie Mean Girls. When a new girl arrives at Fawn Creek K-12, the seventh-grade students find themselves having to face who they are- and who they aren’t. Picking up this book was like planting a seed. Reading it was like watching a plant grow. Every page was some sort of blooming. And by the end, it will have rooted itself in your heart.

The Lucky OnesThe Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As soon as I finished this book, I knew it was one I couldn’t wait to recommend to others. And, luckily, I ran into a customer at the supermarket and I did just that, telling her this was a fantastic historical novel with a kind character.

This would be perfect for fans of Fish in a Tree and Amal Unbound.

Answers in the PagesAnswers in the Pages by David Levithan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Levithan does it again with his timely middle grade novel about books being banned. Alternating between three pairs of duos- including excerpts from the book (within the book) being challenged-, readers who know the life-saving/life-changing importance of representation will follow along until they learn the outcome of the book’s fate. One of the storylines was what I can only describe as pure which got me quite emotional. One of my favorite novels of the year.

HummingbirdHummingbird by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of Natalie Lloyd’s novels even though A Snicker of Magic is one of my 52 favorite books of all time. I really didn’t think I’d like Hummingbird because I admit I’ve grown quite cynical over the years but it was the perfect book to remind me there are (still) whimsy and wonder in the world- and in words. And I loved that I listened to the audiobook version since Natalie Lloyd did an outstanding job narrating it. So, if you want a feel good and uplifting story, look no further.

Sisterhood of SleuthsSisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my favorite middle grade novels of 2022! I love a good mystery and anything bookish so when the main character discovers a box of original Nancy Drew novels at her mom’s store’s door, she ends up having to solve where they came from and why. I enjoyed learning about the fascinating history of Nancy Drew (the character and it’s writers) as well. I also liked the friendship dynamics the main character had to navigate which I think lots of the book’s intended audience can relate to. But the most tangential aspect I enjoyed about this was the students able to turn in a major project within a two-week time span which tells me I need to set up deadlines for myself, lol.

A Rover's StoryA Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fans of The Wild Robot and The Lion of Mars will love this middle grade novel that alternates view points from the rover and from one of the scientists’ daughter. The friendship spans a period of time that I think is unusual for children’s books. Will make for a great read-aloud.

Older Titles

The Best at ItThe Best at It by Maulik Pancholy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit I originally didn’t want to read this since it was written by an actor but it’s probably one of the top books I’ve read this year. If you’re looking for a feel good #lgbt #mglit that will make you cringe and cheer for the character, look no further than The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. You will laugh out loud, shed some tears, and probably rave about it to anyone who will listen. The main character is endearing as he tries to find his place. Perfect for fans of Front Desk and Melissa.

Red, White, and WholeRed, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel in verse is a tearjerker but worth all the tears as you’re immediately drawn in by the beautiful writing and the story of a girl who’s trying to find her place in a world where she always feel neither here nor there.

The Birchbark House (Birchbark House, #1)The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I put off reading this book for so long. It’s now one of my most favorite favorites.

Readers of Little House on the Prairie will enjoy this look into the pioneer life era told through the eyes of an Ojibwa girl.

Graphic Novels (All ages)

Crunch (Click, #5)Crunch by Kayla Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always enjoy catching up with Olive and what she’s up to. And what she’s up to in this one is a lot! A very relatable topic for both kids and adults.

Your Pal FredYour Pal Fred by Michael Rex
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An optimistic robot wakes up in a dystopian future where two warlords are battling it out to have complete control of everything. A refreshing, uplifting book.

Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race MassacreAcross the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre by Alverne Ball
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An important graphic novel that explores a dark incident in America’s history- Tulsa Race Massacre.

A Career in Books: A Novel about Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck BunA Career in Books: A Novel about Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun by Kate Gavino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite books of the year!

I just happened to run across this graphic novel on the shelves and, of course, I was intrigued by the title. And, then, even more so, when I realized it was written by a Filipino author and featured a couple of Filipino characters- one of whom was a lesbian.

This follows three friends in their twenties trying to find meaning and purpose in their various jobs within the book world. I enjoyed seeing how they navigated the ups and downs of life. It was also refreshing that it focused on their friendship and didn’t have (too much) of a relationship subplot.

isugid pinoy
Isugid Pinoy: Epochal Shift by Don Ellis Aguillo and Raf Salazar. “Isugid Pinoy” translates to “Tell it Pinoy” in the Philippine Bisayan language. I bought this graphic novel when I got to visit Arkipelago Books back in 2019 in San Francisco’s SOMA district. I’m glad I finally decided to read this! This community-based project is a celebration of the people who have been revitalizing Filipino presence in the Bay Area. The three stories within showcases just a few organizations making sure Filipino history and new stories don’t die out.

Young Adult and Adult

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.: Our Story. Our Way.My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.: Our Story. Our Way. by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant! I even love the table of contents. 

Saints of the HouseholdSaints of the Household by Ari Tison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moving story told through the perspectives of two Bribri American brothers- one in prose and one in verse- as they try to forge a future beyond what their life’s circumstances and small town’s expectations has for them. Hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time, I couldn’t help but see how everything would play out for them when the cards seemed stacked against them.

Where You See YourselfWhere You See Yourself by Claire Forrest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Utterly engrossing through and through. A fun senior year novel told through the eyes of a spunky teenager fighting for disability rights. I was rooting for Effie to find her voice, to get the guy, and to go for the future that would make her happy.

The Davenports (The Davenports, #1)The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fans of Downton Abbey will gobble this historical YA novel featuring young African American women navigating a changing world beyond their somewhat sheltered upbringing. Opulent scenes. Complicated romances. The only downside for me was that apparently it’s a series and I want the rest already!

There Goes the NeighborhoodThere Goes the Neighborhood by Jade Adia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun yet insightful. This reminded me of if Scooby Doo and the gang had to solve a mystery in a neighborhood dealing with gentrification. I loved the initiative shown by the characters to do everything in their power to stay together.

Older Titles

Annie on My MindAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been on my radar for awhile and I finally picked it up after it was mentioned in another book. I really enjoyed the book- a good mix of teenage angst and joyful first love. I was worried when one of my friends said this was sad so I started feeling apprehensive that this would go the way of many LGBTQ books of many decades ago.

Playing the PalacePlaying the Palace by Paul Rudnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A privileged good-looking guy (who both attracted an actor and a prince) from a well-to-do family prays for true love before he turns 30. Soon he finds himself swept up in a whirlwind royal romance. It’s an utterly predictable but highly entertaining read full of clichés but at least this one features gay male characters- and written by a gay man. The final obstacle was a bit eye-rolling but it’ll leave readers happy.

The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great psychological horror novel.

84, Charing Cross Road84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sure, I may have had 4 other books already started but I couldn’t resist this volume of correspondences between an American writer and a British bookseller as well as others characters that have benefited from the friendship between the two booklovers.

You can view all my reviews over on Goodreads. Please consider supporting independent bookstores when you want to buy any of the books I’ve mentioned via or

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!


3 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- January 2, 2023

  1. Oh my, Earl, so many books that sound wonderful & I’ve read a few. I loved Sanctuary, Patchwork, Red, White, and Whole, and others. I’m going to bookmark your entire post & keep returning to it. Thanks for ‘A Career in Books’, sounds great! And it is wonderful that it’s by a Filipino author. And, I just got A Rover’s Story, will read soon! Happy New Year!

  2. There’s a few books on your list that have been on mine for quite a while and now I want to read them even more – Those Kids From Fawn Creek, Hummingbird, and The Lucky Ones. I took Sisterhood of Sleuths out of the library and I need to get to it before it’s due back. Bathe the Cat sounds like a lot of fun!

  3. I agree 100% with your words on Patchwork. I read it a number of times. I haven’t been able to return it to the library. You’ve convinced me that I must read Farmhouse.
    I loved Answers in the Pages, Hummingbird, The Lucky Ones, The Birchbark House, and Those Kids from Fawn Creek .
    I need to get to My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.: Our Story. Our Way. I have wanted to read Annie on my Mind for a while and just went to add it to a list of potential books for my Must Read list this year.

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