What Are You Reading? (137) #IMWAYR – March 8, 2015

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!
Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!
Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!
Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!
Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!
Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

lgbtbd
I’m having an LGBT Book Drive to benefit Basic Rights Oregon. Being LGBT can be isolating. Whenever we see ourselves in others, even in the pages of a book, there’s hope that we aren’t alone.

This week, I posted:

New Releases– Read my reviews for:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my review for:

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, Illustrated by Gilbert Ford

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating

Captain Awesome to the Rescue!Captain Awesome to the Rescue! by Stan Kirby
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Um, yeah, I’m definitely not the target audience for this one. The writing was not that strong. Some of the chapters seemed to end in media res with no follow up. I guess kids might enjoy the humor and the premise.

View all my reviews

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's RiddleGabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fans of fantasy (Which at this day and age means if you like Harry Potter) will find this an enjoyable read- especially if readers like riddles. The world and characters are not as complex but I like the take on Norse mythology featuring Huginn and Muninn.

View all my reviews

Kingsman: The Secret ServiceKingsman: The Secret Service by Mark Millar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This adult graphic novel is what the current movie starring Colin Firth is based on. It’s about a troubled teen taken in by his uncle to learn super agent spy skills. Meanwhile, celebrities are being kidnapped and it’s up to them to uncover and stop a very diabolical plot. Flashy and funny at the same time.

View all my reviews

Slumber PartySlumber Party by Christopher Pike
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good old Pike. Slumber Party is your standard YA thriller genre that I still say was in its peak in the late 80’s through mid 90’s. A group of friends have a ski weekend but mysterious fire-related incidents keep happening that recalls an accident from their past. What I love(d) about Pike’s books were that they seemed edgy at the time.

There’s something about rereading books. You pick up the clues that the writer has planted. You also appreciate the structure of the story more.

View all my reviews

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Twelve Steps to a Compassionate LifeTwelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If not completely new in terms of its lessons in being kind to oneself and others, I do feel this is an important book one should read. And to get the most of it, one should reread and apply the steps to one’s own life.

View all my reviews

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

Have a great reading week!

Celebrate This Week- March 6, 2015

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!
Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating new picture books released this week. There were just so many that came out this past Tuesday that I only got caught up now.

I reviewed two titles in a previous post.

Wish by Matthew Cordell
Wish by Matthew Cordell

[**] There’s just something about elephants that make them so easy to draw as cute. This picture book is no exception about how one baby elephant came into the lives of two grown elephants. Sad and sweet at the same time.

Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt, Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt, Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

A playful, rhyming counting book about a dozen crows and one hungry cat.

Polar Bear's Underwear by Tupera Tupera
Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

[***] This is a delightful tale about a polar bear searching for his missing underwear. In fact, to read the book, you must first remove his red underwear. He and his mouse friend find different underwear throughout and die cuts reveal who they belong to with a hilarious surprise at the end.

In by Nikki McClure
In by Nikki McClure

[***] This picture book tells the story of a boy’s day who lets his imagination dictates whether he wants to be indoors or out. I love the paper cut illustrations.

Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

[****] Truly special. A girl is set on sending her aunt an elephant. I love the refrain of Aunt Josephine “who lives completely alone and can really use the company.” Sadie is such a great character- kind-hearted, determined, and willing to go with the flow.

Farewell Floppy by Benjamin Chaud
Farewell Floppy by Benjamin Chaud

[***] After deciding having a rather useless bunny for a pet is childish, a boy decides to leave his floppy-eared friend in the forest. But he has second thoughts seconds too late because when he comes back, the bunny is gone! A sweet friendship story.

My Audio/Video of the Week is the first episode of a new podcast- Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She’s the author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Her next book Better than Before is on my TBR List and comes out March 17th.
https://soundcloud.com/panoply/happier-with-gretchen-rubin-ep-001

What are you celebrating this week?

New Releases: March 3, 2015

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

[***] Super sweet. After reading this beautifully told and illustrated book, I couldn’t but feel happier. The animals seem livelier than the ones he did for Baby Bear.

 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... by Davide Cali, Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School… by Davide Cali, Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

[***] Benjamin Chaud has become one of my favorite new artists. A follow up to the duo’s I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…, the boy with the wildly imaginative excuses is back to explain why he was late to class.

What Are You Reading? (136) #IMWAYR – March 1, 2015

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!
Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!
Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!
Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!
Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!
Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my review for:

 Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating bookish moments in my life. Read my reviews for:

Reading Resolutions: February Update

I’m holding a Book Drive through this site if anyone is interested. Click here for more information.

Home by Carson Ellis
Home by Carson Ellis

[***] Beautiful illustrations of what a home is and means to everyone. I enjoyed the touch of whimsy in this picture book.

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky
Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky

[***] A super cute book about an owl who is ostracized for being different, namely for loving poetry. Great for compassion and poetry units. I appreciated that the verses recited in the picture book were identified at the end.

Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist
Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist

[**] Cute story about friendship. If the actual story is not as strong, the illustrations are too adorable to pass up.

Galaxy Zack: Hello, NebulonGalaxy Zack: Hello, Nebulon by Ray O’Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun beginning chapter book with easy-to-read text and illustrations on every page. Even though Zack if from the future, travels in outer space, and interacts with aliens, his situations are very relatable which is another one of its appealing factors.

View all my reviews

The Way to Stay in DestinyThe Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Theo and his uncle, whom he barely knows, move to Destiny, Florida at the tail end of the school year in 1974. It’s not easy for either of them but a surprise friendship with a girl who loves baseball as much as he does and clandestine opportunities to play piano makes Theo thinks this could be home. Conflict arises when the uncle thinks they should move elsewhere. Atypical characters with plenty of heart and humor make this a delightful read.

View all my reviews

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The Residue YearsThe Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like the characters.

I just couldn’t.

I read this as part of my (Multnomah County Library) Everybody Reads challenge. I’ve never disliked a title they had chosen before until now. What makes me sad is how disappointing this book was! The only part I liked was all the Portland references.

I have nothing against books that depict life for what it is (both good and bad, wonderful and horrible) but books need to do more than that- provide some new insight or something.

But, because of my surprisingly strong dislike of it, I can’t wait to hear what others think!

View all my reviews

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

I have an audio book I want to finish this week. Plus, I want to start Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan and The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds.

Have a great reading week!

Reading Resolutions: February Update

With so many Reading Challenges out there, I figured keeping a monthly update on the ones I’m participating in will be a great way to keep track of my progress!

Off the Shelf 2015 Goal: 10 books– 1 more book read this month for a total of 2; Click on my To Be Read 2015 post for review.

Diverse Books Goal: 52 books– 10 more books read this month for a total of 21;
-Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
-Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
-Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

-This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Kristyna Litten
-Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan

-Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day by Pat Mora, Illustrated by Rafael López
-Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
-Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Nonfiction Picture Book 2015 Goal: 104 books– 8 more books read this month for a total of 20; Read reviews here, here, here, and here.

To Be Read 2015/ Must Read in 2015– 7 more books read this month for a total of 18; Click on link to see which ones I’ve read!

I added one book to My Most Favorite Favorites:
-Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal

Reading Snapshot
110 Books Read in 2015
4 Adult Fiction
1 Adult Non-Fiction
3 Graphic Novels
29 Middle Readers
68 Picture Books
5 Young Adult

Readings & Literary Events
-An Evening of Shakespeare- I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on Shakespeare. I don’t think I’ll even be able to hold a conversation about him. I know of him and of his works. The only play I’ve really seen of his were two different productions of Hamlet.

But I decided to attend this event which was part lecture and part screening of Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS. And it was fun to be a in room full of Shakespeare fans and hearing their thoughts and stories. One of the presenters even said, “Shakespeare saved my life (when I was thirteen.)”

I came away with a new appreciation of Shakespeare and theater in general.

How are your Reading Resolutions going?

Celebrate This Week- February 27, 2015

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!
Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating bookish moments in my life.

I had forgotten to mention it the other week but I had a great conversation over coffee about Christopher Pike with a regular bookstore customer. It was a blast to talk about our favorite author and the books of his that have inspired us to be writers!

***

This past Wednesday, we had our Family Book Club. We discussed Charles de Lint’s The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. It’s always fun to listen to how passionate the young readers get about the books we talk about. I love it when parents also end up participating and giving their input.

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Newford)The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like to think of The Cats of Tanglewood Forest as a mix between The Chronicles of Narnia and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

I had thought this would have been a much darker story than it actually was. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Lillian definitely has spunk. Charles de Lint created a great heroine and surrounded her with equally memorable characters. There were plenty of mystery and magic to go around.

I appreciated the Native American folk tale aspect of it as well. That’s not something I read about a lot.

Enchanting!

View all my reviews

A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess
A Circle of Cats by Charles de Lint, Illustrated by Charles Vess

I also read the short story it was based on- A Circle of Cats. It basically had the same plot of a girl being turned into kitten to save her life. It was definitely interesting to see the differences between the two.

***

I went to an open house for a local non-profit last week. I learned many things. I had seen an empty bookshelf at their offices and I thought there’s definitely something missing. I met with one of the staff yesterday and I will be helping them build a library. I will share some more details about it soon since I’m very excited about this!

***

My Video Pick of the week is this scene from the Parks and Recreation series finale. I loved Leslie Knope’s enthusiasm and optimism and she knew that she wouldn’t have been where she’s at without the help of others. “Go find your team…”

What are you celebrating this week?

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #60

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Little Melba and Her Big TromboneLittle Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Music has always been a part of Melba’s life ever since she was young. And she wasn’t going to let her size limit her dreams. Little Melba and her big trombone would eventually make music all over the world. This fantastic picture book biography captures her story with perfect accompanying illustrations.

View all my reviews
[We Need Diverse Books]