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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- April 2, 2018

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
Inspiring Young Changemakers– Recounting March for our Lives and introducing some young folks who inspire me

marchgm

With author Rosanne Parry. Thanks to Gretchen McLellan for this picture.

March’s Picture Book of the Month: Part 3– In your role (as an educator, blogger, parent, etc.), what are some things you’ve tried to create a more diverse reading landscape for yourself or others?

Stay tuned this week for April’s Book of the Month pick!

A Day in the Life of Marlon BundoA Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With all the publicity and controversy surrounding this book, I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it! Sweet message of acceptance.

The behind the scenes of this book from making it and distributing it would probably make for an interesting study for the publishing industry.

Two Problems for SophiaTwo Problems for Sophia by Jim Averbeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sophia is back with a big and long-necked problem- her new pet giraffe Noodle. She must use all her problem solving skills and imagination and ingenuity to come up with a solution to make keeping Noodle not a hindrance to her and her family.

Super Manny Cleans Up!Super Manny Cleans Up! by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super Manny is back to fight foes but he and his sidekick soon find themselves confronting a problem that may be too big to tackle on their own but needs all the saving it can get. Earth is in danger of being made into one huge trash pile!

This story is a great reminder that “every superhero needs a planet worth saving.”

Perfect for Earth Day but unfortunately not publishing until July!

I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can'tI Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t by Diane Dillon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers will enjoy this picture book about a girl standing up for herself and talking down against the negative voice inside her. Surely, adults can learn a few tips as well to quiet those inner demons inside!

ReboundRebound by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s incredible how much I hated The Crossover but ended up loving Booked and now Rebound. Expect Kwame Alexander’s storytelling style through poetry to move you. And fans will love the bonus graphic novel style elements found throughout.

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 to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

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

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

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March’s Picture Book of the Month- Part 3

picturebookit

As part of my Commitment to Literacy: Picture Book It challenge, I wanted to spotlight one book that I’m completely in love with. Throughout the month, I’ll do multiple posts based on the book. I hope you will end up picking up the book and joining in on the conversation.

Previous posts:
All posts pertaining to January and February’s Picture Book of the Month picks have been archived over at Picture Book It.
Picture Book of the Month Announcement
Interviews and Videos

March’s Picture Book of the Month is Islandborn by Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa.

islandborncover

I recently watched Junot Díaz’s keynote speech during the recent American Booksellers Association Winter Institute.

He shared one of the reasons why he wrote Islandborn and how those kinds of stories are necessary and important to create the book culture that lots of us are trying to create.

It reminded me why diverse books are important for everyone to read. For more about that, check out my Books Open Minds post.

It made me think of what else I can do as a bookseller, as a reader, as a writer, and as a literacy advocate, to encourage and promote diversity. There have been too many times when I’ve caught myself recommending a string of titles written only by white males- not to discredit their work since obviously I can’t stop talking about them- so I try to consciously change course and then suggest books by women and/or people of color.

In your role (as an educator, blogger, parent, etc.), what are some things you’ve tried to create a more diverse reading landscape for yourself or others?

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2018- March 28, 2018

nfpb2018

My Feminist ABCMy Feminist ABC by duopress labs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fans of A is for Activist will enjoy this empowering board book that teaches the youngest readers women’s rights are human rights and we should all strive to treat one another equally.

The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to SoarThe Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wished I liked this more because I was fascinated by what Aida de Acosta accomplished and I felt a more comprehensive look about her life would have been better.

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

 

Inspiring Young Changemakers

I’d been wanting to spotlight some young changemakers for awhile now. As a bookseller during these crazy times, one of the things that inspires me is seeing and talking to so many kids who are voracious readers picking up books that I know they’re going to enjoy at the most basic level but also have the ability to impact them for the better. It’s been my belief that the more books- and the variedness of the books- a person reads, the more empathetic they become. They are smarter and kinder.

Knowing of Malala Yousafzai may have been the turning point. I loved that kids- and adults- can be inspired by all that she’s done fighting for educational rights and see that she’s young and was still going through so many things that many other kids also dealt with- crushes, sibling rivalries, and homework. People saw heroes weren’t just characters in books. With Malala, they saw anyone can make a difference.

iamalala

Click on cover to read my review of her memoir!

Marley Diaz was only eleven years old when she founded #1000BlackGirlBooks, a grassroots campaign that aimed to provide black girls like her with books that they could see themselves in- books featuring people of color as main characters having fun and having adventures and not just dealing with racial issues. One of the highlights of a booksellers conference I attended a year ago was hearing her speak about why this mattered to her. She recently released a book Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! that would make a perfect gift for any aspiring activist.

Sidney Keys III wanted to make sure African American boys weren’t just statistics of being in a lower literacy level than other groups. He saw that the problem was that there was a lack of books they could engage with and relate to. So, he founded Books n Bros– a “book club for boys to highlight African American literature” with meetups and mentorship incorporated into that structure.

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I invite everyone to read more about Malala, Marley and Sidney and their causes.

With the support of their wonderful parents and other adult figures in their lives, these young changemakers were passionate about solving problems they saw that were affecting their lives and others. And they did something about it.

* * * * *

This past weekend, I participated in March for Our Lives.

“March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”

Watching Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind- the teenagers who founded this organization- do the media rounds has been quite inspiring and moving. Their eloquence, their knowledge and their dedication shows they aren’t going away anytime soon. They are demanding change, alongside millions of people, and they are going to see to it that it will happen.

I was fortunate enough to join in with Portland’s #kidlitmarchesforkids group spearheaded by Rosanne Parry. And, we had a ten-year-old girl in our group who I hope continues to use her voice to make the world a better place!

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One of the more impactful speeches from the March was from eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler.

I invite everyone to visit March for our Lives to see what you could do to help because this is just the beginning.

Do you know any young changemakers?

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 26, 2018

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

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue DogsLadybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lulu is back as Ladybug Girl doing what she does best- helping others and finding solutions in her own way. At a farmers’ market, she notices an organization with lots of rescue dogs needing to find forever homes and unfortunately not enough people noticing them! With the help of her friends, they help the canines get cleaned up and even lead a parade to bring attention to the cause!

I can’t believe this is the last Ladybug Girl book in the series! What a great run!

Hello HelloHello Hello by Brendan Wenzel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great as a read aloud with simple text and playful art as we’re introduced to all kinds of animals. And despite all the differences the similarities are there if we just look for them. What a great message! And if that wasn’t enough, what I absolutely loved about this book is that it is also bringing awareness to the dangers these animals are facing.

Franny's Father Is a FeministFranny’s Father Is a Feminist by Rhonda Leet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I simply adored this picture book that practically breaks down feminism in its simplest form-“that girls can do anything boys can do” and “[women deserve] all the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities to fulfill [their] dreams that [men have.]” It’s also a sweet strong bond between a father and daughter.

My favorite parts were the mini bios of strong female characters incorporated into the story. I think I love this book even more because I see lots of feminist fathers at our store!

All the Animals Where I LiveAll the Animals Where I Live by Philip C Stead

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A contemplative celebration of animals from Philip C. Stead’s home and memories and a sweet tribute to his grandmother. Gorgeously illustrated. A quiet book that I’m not quite sure will appeal to kids.

I Took the Moon for a WalkI Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet lyrical nocturnal tale of a boy and the moon. I enjoyed the backmatter material as well.

Black Bird Yellow SunBlack Bird Yellow Sun by Steve Light

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful in its simplicity. I think young readers will enjoy looking for the worm in every page.

Ocean Meets SkyOcean Meets Sky by Terry Fan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fan Brothers are back with another visually stunning picture book. Sweet and tender but full of magic.

HeartbeatHeartbeat by Evan Turk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you were expecting another beautiful story both in text and art from Evan Turk with his latest picture book, then you’d be correct. Its message of togetherness and connectedness- as well as the author’s note- will resonate with many readers.

The Tea Dragon SocietyThe Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantasy readers and fans of cute magical creatures will enjoy this graphic novel. They will also be clamoring for more or start their own tea dragon society.

Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3)Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The delightful duo is back with more laughs, more waffles… and more names! In these silly stories, Narwhal discovers a delicious new food obsession that has weird side effects on him. And, Jelly is worried Narwhal may not be Narwhal after all.

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

The Coders are back in their penultimate adventure where they must outwit ducks with teeth, discover a betrayal, recover a stolen item, and prepare to travel to another dimension- or is it one-dimension less?

I would say a reread of the previous books in the series is always a good idea before reading the latest one. This includes the bonus short story “Lost & Found” previously only available online.

Be PreparedBe Prepared by Vera Brosgol

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on her own childhood experiences, she recalls one summer of camp full of shifting alliances, Russian lessons, and nightmarish outhouse situations. Full of heart and humor, this will surely find its way alongside Smile, Roller Girl, and El Deafo.

I also read this free comic anthology from Every Child A Reader to promote Children’s Book Week.

comic

The Purloined Puzzle (Puzzle Lady, #19)The Purloined Puzzle by Parnell Hall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of the more enjoyable (recent) books in this long running series. I’ll probably stick with it until the end- whenever that comes- because I’m already 19 books and a short story invested into it.

The Best We Could DoThe Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this graphic novel, you get an immigration story, a family history, and a memoir. Starting from the present with the arrival of her newborn son, Thi travels back to narrate her parents childhood and their family’s escape from Vietnam into an unwelcoming America and how these incidents have reverberated into the present shaping the way they interact with one another. Personal and gripping yet, as I think it’s been mentioned by other reviews, it somehow didn’t seem the author went deep enough for readers to fully understand the message she was trying to get across.

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 to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

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

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

 

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2018- March 21, 2018

nfpb2018

How Mamas Love Their BabiesHow Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mother’s love is celebrated in this picture book that doesn’t shy away from incorporating controversial but realistic portrayals of what they do to take care of their kids.

A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women's RightsA Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights by Kate Hannigan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spectacular and riveting story of someone who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind in order to move things along and away particularly from old-fashioned and outdated ideas that excluded equal rights to anyone who wasn’t a white man. She fought for all minorities was an unknown figure to me until this book. The backmatter was full of great facts I didn’t know as well!

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 19, 2018

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

This week, I posted:
March’s Picture Book of the Month: Part 2- Videos and Audios for Islandborn
Everybody Reads 2018 Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the SeaFrom the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet story of a mother’s gentle reminder of her love despite what the child wants to be. It made me think how (and how young) kids start to withhold how they feel like in the instances when the kid gets teased at school and doesn’t tell their mom- or whether it was just that the adult asking the wrong questions.

The Word CollectorThe Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can see why people have been raving about this. An inspiring story of the power of words even to those who already have such a love for them.

They Say BlueThey Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautifully illustrated picture book contemplating the colors of natural world.

Blue RiderBlue Rider by Geraldo Valério
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wordless picture book that celebrates the transformative powers of reading. Pair with The Red Book by Barbara Lehman.

The Old ManThe Old Man by Claude K. Dubois
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A day in the life of a homeless man and a little girl who made his day by a simple act of kindness.

The Other SideThe Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been wanting to read this for awhile. A Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis collaboration always seems to be a winner and this is no exception.

A touching story between two girls who literally live on two separate sides of the fence. Despite all the physical and societal barriers, a friendship forms. It’s beautiful and bittersweet to think about what all has happened and what all still needs to be done for everyone to realize we’re all on the same side.

I “read” this as a streaming video like watching an episode of Reading Rainbow. (Is there a term for this format?) And this counts, right?

The Little Old Man Who Could Not ReadThe Little Old Man Who Could Not Read by Irma Simonton Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Funny but in a dated way.

The Wild Robot Escapes (The Wild Robot, #2)The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A perfect wrap up to a modern day classic. These books will be perfect (or even better as) read-alouds even if the kids can read on their own.

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up based on some booksellers’s recommendation. I think I stuck with it more on how much I enjoyed the audiobook’s narrator. I mean it was interesting if a bit predictable.

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 to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

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

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

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

— — — — — — — THANK YOU FOR READING! — — — — — — —