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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 22, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Architects, trailblazers, artists, book lovers & using creativity to combat bullying.

Most of the books I read this past week were for upcoming blog posts. I’m excited to share my reviews of them soon!

I got to dress up as the Poky Little Puppy for work recently! It’s always fun to dress up as a beloved literary character!

I also got to attend a reading by Armistead Maupin. His Tales of the City series had won me over- and I even made it a point to visit the real Barbary Lane during my last visit to San Francisco!

He was at Powell’s to promote his memoir Logical Family. As he writes, “Sooner or later, though, no matter where in the world we live, we must join the diaspora, venturing beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us.”

It was a well attended event. They even had to add more seats to accommodate everyone. The audience spanned from young and old to male and female and everyone in between, exactly who you would expect to have been affected by his stories.

He read a couple of passages from his book which was both revealing and funny. I can’t wait to listen to it on audio book!

Then came the audience Q&A. He was quick and witty with his responses. The topics ranged from his Southern upbringing to his San Francisco life, from Confederate statues to his recovering dog, from being a gay icon to the various adaptations of his beloved series. I’m seriously excited for the remake so much that I actually want to give the original series another chance!

How fortunate was I see Armistead Maupin!

The Book of GoldThe Book of Gold by Bob Staake

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A beautifully illustrated picture book that celebrates the magic of reading. Hopefully it will get people to search for the Book of Gold for themselves!

Even this Page is WhiteEven this Page is White by Vivek Shraya

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this collection of poetry. Powerful words. Great insights on topics that may be uncomfortable to talk about but needs to be addressed.

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

[Updated 10/23/2017: Added events recaps!]

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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- October 18, 2017

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Schomburg: The Man Who Built a LibrarySchomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not finding African-Americans stories and contributions in history textbooks, Arturo Schomburg decided to build his own collection of anything and everything he could find to correct this injustice. And it is an injustice to wipe out a culture if it doesn’t fit the narrative of the one telling the story. Through poems and lavish art, we see how his search and research became the foundation of knowledge for New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I loved the introductions to other historical figures whose true heritage may have been whitewashed. Hopefully, it can inspire readers to dig deeper and rethink what stories and histories have been presented to us.

The Noisy Paint BoxThe Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This picture book biography truly come to life with vivid language and vibrant illustrations. Synesthesia is neurological condition that varies from people who have it. In the case of Vasily Kandinsky, he could hear colors, making each painting a visual symphony and allowing him to introduce the world a different kind of art technique! A truly fascinating read!

Vincent Can't Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night SkyVincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the same team of The Noisy Box, this time they give a new perspective on Van Gogh’s insomnia and how nighttime inspired some of his works, seeing colors and shades in the darkness. It’s amazing how he and his art weren’t appreciated during his lifetime but he kept at it.

The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd WrightThe Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright by K.L. Going
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An informative look into the life of one of the world’s greatest architects. I really admire when they incorporate nature into their designs and not make buildings ugly obtrusive structures. Includes locations for each of the buildings mentioned in the book. Makes me want to watch the Ken Burns documentary of Frank Lloyd Wright.

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power PrimerThis Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Primers for the preschool and younger set, from explorers and presidents and now to female trailblazers, Joan Holub continues her board book series with a focus on girl power. A great way to introduce young readers to amazing women!

When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive TimesWhen a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times by Maya Gonzalez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A teacher had requested this title at the store and I was intrigued so I had to read it. An inspiring and empowering guide to what kids can do when confronted with bullying with a focus on self-love and working together. Written and published within four months of the last presidential election, I love that the author/illustrator felt and met the need to create this book. She invites readers to use their voices to share their own stories. She educates on the various forms of bullying and the oppression used that built this country and continues to exist here. Includes a back matter full of wonderful resources of terms, movements and people to know. I hope this book does help educators and parents to ignite or reignite the passion we have to make a difference.

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 15, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

The Wolf, the Duck, and the MouseThe Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was as good as everyone said it would be. It’s a completely absurd premise that only Mac Barnett can come up with paired with Jon Klassen’s signature style. Guaranteed to be a storytime favorite!

Ninja Claus!Ninja Claus! by Arree Chung

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun festive addition to the series. This time, Maxwell has his sights on capturing Santa who proves to have special ninja skills of his own!

The Poky Little PuppyThe Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I would hate this book but I actually enjoyed it. It’s a great picture book to study- how has it remained a classic even after 75 years? What methods were used here that makes picture books successful?

Waiting for GoliathWaiting for Goliath by Antje Damm

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At first I avoided this because I thought it was a book about waiting for someone who passed away or a friendship story where one (usually a bird) leaves the other one who doesn’t realize it’s only for the winter. Fortunately, this wasn’t either of those. The cutout artwork (and lighting) is stunning.

Night and Day: A Big Book of OppositesNight and Day: A Big Book of Opposites by Julie Safirstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun interactive book that pops up and has flaps to lift that teaches kids opposites. It may seem straightforward but there’s things to think about it!

On a Magical Do-Nothing DayOn a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A couple customers had recommended this book so I was intrigued as to why. It’s a cute picture book about putting down the electronics and discovering the wonders of the world. I wasn’t particularly fond of the story myself and some of the text was difficult to read but I can see why others might enjoy this book.

No Water No BreadNo Water No Bread by Luis Amavisca

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A barbed wire fence separates two groups of people from one another. They both lack something the other can provide but each are unwilling to cross to the other side.

It may seem simplistic at first but, once the message sinks in, readers will have plenty to think about.

Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADAYour Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA by Jimmy Fallon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Very simple board book for babies featuring cute baby animals and their dads. I wish the illustrator was acknowledged a little better here.

Everything is MamaEverything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this follow up to Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA, the illustrator still doesn’t credit on the cover!

But the story is sweet and I enjoyed it more than the first one.

I also compared and contrasted the new and old editions of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling. I like Harry Potter plenty- more the effect it has to get people of all ages get excited about reading- so it’s kind of weird (at least to me) that I’ve read the entire series, the three books that make up the Hogwarts Library, the 800-word prequel, the screenplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, rereading the entire series once all the illustrated editions have been released, and perhaps reading any stories published on Pottermore. While the recent edition has been revised to include new beasts, the older one was better because it had commentary from the characters. Since the listing is alphabetical, there was no way of knowing which were new creatures but anything that mentions North America or MACUSA in their descriptions should help.

Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #3)Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was super excited to hear there was a new Lemoncello novel. I thought the premise would be a worldwide competition but was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case. While there are still literary puzzles and references, this book focuses on another library component- research. And, most importantly, the ability to verify the things that you read is actually true.

While the teams of kids try to discover interesting facts about well known figures- Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, and Michael Jordan to name a few- accusations fly that Mr. Lemoncello himself is a liar, a thief, and a fraud putting the game, the library, his reputation, and his board game empire in jeopardy.

It’d be interesting to see how many young readers get all the references to the current political climate!

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too)The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better by Gretchen Rubin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t think I would have liked this as much as I did despite the fact I’m a fan of all of her books. It just seemed too gimmicky at first but it’s actually quite insightful and provides suggestions on how to deal with other tendencies different than yours and also how to overcome one’s own weaknesses with their tendency.

I’m an obliger!

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- October 11, 2017

nfpb2017

The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha HadidThe World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love reading about people I didn’t know before. For fans of architecture, the Maya Lin nonfiction picture book, and Rosie Revere, Engineer, readers will enjoy this story of Zaha Hadid. Inspired by nature, she wanted her buildings to be a dynamic part of its landscape. Some people thought they were too outrageous or didn’t want to build anything designed by a woman or an Arab. Fortunately, some were built. I appreciated the fact that locations of these buildings were included in the book although I would have liked it more if they included photographs. I guess that’s what Google is for!

Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New LandTheir Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land by John Coy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The immigrant experience is explored through simple text and photographs. The writer and the photographer both share their own stories in the back of the book.

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fascinating biography of an unlikely hero- a fireboat that was on the brink of being irrelevant but performed what it was intended to do when the time came.

Science Comics: Plagues: The Microscopic BattlefieldScience Comics: Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield by Falynn Koch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a stimulated environment, a group of scientists have brought back Bubonic Plague and Yellow Fever to study them and understand how bacteria and viruses work and maybe get them to work together to help fight newer strains. But it proves difficult when it’s in their nature to destroy. A fun way to teach readers about plagues!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 8, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

It’s been awhile since I attended a reading but this past Thursday, I saw Nicole Georges at the Portland Center Stage. She was there to promote the musical Fun Home and her latest work, Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home. She was highly entertaining and great with sound effects! The event included other graphic novelists drawing portraits of people and then a musical performance by a band.

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I’d also been trying to visit LGBTQ resource centers around Portland since I like knowing there are places where people can feel safe and where they can go to if they have questions. I’ve been including them in my lists of Bookstores and Libraries I’ve Visited and I actually added two libraries I hadn’t been to to it!

BOOKSTORESANDLIBRARIESVISITED

The Purloining of Prince OleomargarineThe Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a truly special book. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder how amazing it was that I would experience a new story from Mark Twain and then have the Steads work their magic on it. The unfinished manuscript of this fairy tale was given to Philip Stead to complete- or, at least, make something of it- and then Erin Stead brilliant and gorgeously illustrated it.

I can see this as being a popular gift for years to come.

I attended a bookseller’s conference earlier this year and I got to hear them speak about how this book came to be. It was fascinating. In the exclusive first look copies, they included a peek behind Erin’s art which I wished they included in the final product!

That Is My Dream!That Is My Dream! by Langston Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Langston Hughes’s poem “Dream Variation” is beautifully interpreted and illustrated by Daniel Miyares. A great book to celebrate diversity.

Good Day, Good NightGood Day, Good Night by Margaret Wise Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Following the format of Goodnight Moon, this never before published work is brought to life with Loren Long’s illustration.

The Greatest Opposites Book on EarthThe Greatest Opposites Book on Earth by Lee Singh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun interactive book teaching opposites under the Big Top.

Blue SeaBlue Sea by Robert Kalan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s amazing how something so simple can be so entertaining. I can see why this is a classic. In case it isn’t, it should be!

The World Shines for YouThe World Shines for You by Jeffrey Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful vibrant board book perfect for baby showers and birthdays.

PashminaPashmina by Nidhi Chanani
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A coming of age story about an Indian American girl trying to find answers about her past and the country’s she’s from. A sudden discovery of a magical pashmina transports her into a color-filled land that may have answers she’s seeking but also hides a secret.

I usually enjoy these kinds of graphic novels but one of my gripes was that the definition should be on the same page instead of just in the glossary in the back.

Robots & Repeats (Secret Coders, #4)Robots & Repeats by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series keeps getting better. And I liked the fact that even though I learned something new, it was actually easier to understand than some of the other books. And the storyline moves along nicely. I can’t wait for the next book!

Orphan IslandOrphan Island by Laurel Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Orphan Island is an atmospheric read along the lines of The Giver (but for some reason I kept expecting it to be a mash-up between And Then There Were None and The Maze Runner.)

A group of kids are living on an island by themselves, with no adults and no contact with anyone else. It’s more let’s play house rather than every child for themselves.

In regular intervals, the eldest child ends up leaving on a boat as someone new arrives. The new eldest then shows the new youngest the ways of the island. And it’s a pretty safe place for its inhabitants- as long as everyone plays by the rules. But one of them starts to question the point of it all.

This would be an interesting choice for book clubs to get people’s opinions.

Naptime with JoeyNaptime with Joey by Laura Izumikawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You may have run across these cute and entertaining pics on Instagram. Now they’ve been compiled in book form!

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- October 4, 2017

nfpb2017

Over and Under the SnowOver and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this book (and this series) for awhile now. The illustrations are quite stunning. A father and daughter’s outing brings about an introduction of what lies beneath the snow. Includes more details of these creatures in the back of the book.

Up in the Garden and Down in the DirtUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked Over and Under the Snow a lot but for some reason I was completely enamored with the second book in this nature nonfiction picture book series. This time, a girl and her grandmother are planting a garden. Spanning many months, we see it grow and we learn about the various animals and insects that help or hinder with its progress.

Over and Under the PondOver and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

By now, this duo has mastered their collaboration with lyrical text and beautiful art. A mother and son are out on a boat exploring the wetlands around them and they discuss the wildlife that calls their pond home as well.

I am SacagaweaI am Sacagawea by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the Ordinary People Change World biographical picture book series from Brad Meltzer. Positive and inspiring for preschoolers. Christopher Eliopoulos’ cute illustrations just add another layer of appeal!

As the series progresses, the books boast more text. With Sacagawea’s story, having to talk about the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition, it allows readers to have a bigger scope of her contribution.

I Am GandhiI Am Gandhi by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the Ordinary People Change World biographical picture book series from Brad Meltzer. Positive and inspiring for preschoolers. Christopher Eliopoulos’ cute illustrations just add another layer of appeal!

As the series progresses, the books boast more text. With Gandhi’s story, having to talk about his time in two countries fighting social and racial injustice and his philosophy of Satyagraha Truth Force!), it allows readers to have a bigger scope of his contribution.

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 1, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the CloudsSomos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds by Jorge Argueta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a bilingual collection of poems recounting some of the stories of children and their families as they flee their native countries to unknown lands that they hope will bring about a better life for them. Even if they manage to survive the dangerous journey to get to America, they still have to navigate the newness of everything and to reconcile leaving all they knew behind.

Still StuckStill Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An absolutely charming and quirky picture book from Japan about a boy who gets stuck trying to get his shirt off. He begins to imagine what a life in that condition would entail.

I Am Peace: A Book of MindfulnessI Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I Am Peace teaches readers how to be present, to be mindful of the here and now. A guided exercise at the end helps to center oneself in time of stress.

Love the WorldLove the World by Todd Parr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another feel good read from Todd Parr about loving who you are and loving the world and everyone and everything on it!

WindowsWindows by Julia Denos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A walk through his neighborhood at dusk provides a boy time to ponder what goes on behind the windows of the houses he passes by.

Hamsters Don't Fight Fires!Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires! by Andrew Root

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hugo is a lot of things but the one thing he wants to be- a firefighter!- may be out of his reach because of his small stature. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes as we see in this debut picture book!

LeafLeaf by Sandra Dieckmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A polar bear finds himself in the woods. The animals don’t know what to make of their newest neighbor. They don’t understand him. They fear him. They avoid him. Only later on after an incident that involved him rushing out of his home towards them do they discover he may need their help.

The beautiful cover alone will be enough to hook you. The beautiful story will melt your heart.

RobinsonRobinson by Peter Sís
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on actual incidents from the author’s childhood, Peter Sis shares how he and his friends loved playing pirates but when he decides to dress up as his favorite literary character- Robinson Crusoe- he gets laughed at. A fevered dream sends him into an adventure that manifests itself to the real world.

The Princess and the PeaThe Princess and the Pea by Chloe Perkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once Upon a World is a board book series that takes fairy tales and sets them in a different country. What I love about it is that they get illustrators who are from the countries the stories take place in giving the artwork a cultural authenticity.

This would be a good addition to fans of Indestructibles, Cozy Classics, BabyLit, and Global Babies.

The Stone Heart (The Nameless City, #2)The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this sequel, peace negotiations between the divided nations are threatened when a deadly secret is discovered. Delving deep into the past helps propel the story forward as it races towards the final book in the trilogy which I hope can deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Every Brilliant ThingEvery Brilliant Thing by Duncan MacMillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently watched a performance of this play. It was such a unique experience that I immediately set out to read it. It’s truly something not to be missed.

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

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

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!

Have a great reading week!