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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- April 2, 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

Four Feet, Two SandalsFour Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very touching tale about two girls in a refugee camp. One day after a relief truck visit, each finds half of a pair of sandals. They end up sharing their new discovery and become friends.
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Happy DreamerHappy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A feel good book with a positive message. Find a dream and follow it.
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We Are the DinosaursWe Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn’t realize this was a song turned into a picture book. I liked the storyline that was added and the illustrations. The sheet music for the song can be found under the dustjacket on the back.
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MarloMarlo by Christopher Browne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An almost wordless bathtime/underwater adventure with a seek and find element.
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Maisy Goes to the Local BookstoreMaisy Goes to the Local Bookstore by Lucy Cousins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As a bookseller, I am always curious about books about bookstores- and how they would incorporate the wonders of reading that can be found in one but differentiate it from the library. I’m happy Maisy bought books and didn’t make a mess of the store!
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Princess Cora and the CrocodilePrincess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fans of The Princess in Black series will love this series of another untraditional princess. Princess Cora wants to have some fun but all the adults in her life are too focused on making sure she’ll be ready to be queen. How does a crocodile help solve her problems? Find out in this delightful beginning chapter book.
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Woof (Bowser and Birdie #1)Woof by Spencer Quinn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First, I was under the impression this was going to be a quick read. Second, I thought it would be alternating viewpoints between the dog and girl. I was wrong on both accounts. This was a  rather long read at almost three hundred pages from a dog’s point of view that annoyed me for some reason. Maybe it seemed too cutesy. It could be I’m not a pet person but I’ve tolerated them before and even petted a dog recently.
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mustreadin2017

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To be honest, this book kind of dragged but that’s to be expected with the way the fellowship has scattered. There were lots of ground to cover. The shift on the focus of characters with each part was jarring. I would have preferred alternating chapters. But who am I to judge a masterpiece such as this?

A couple of stand-outs were the introduction of the Ents and the conflicted character of Gollum.
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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- March 29, 2017

nfpb2017

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. TolkienJohn Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m currently in the middle of reading Lord of the Rings. I’ve watched and loved the movies- as well as The Hobbit and its films. Before I couldn’t see why people were such fanatics about Tolkien and Middle-Earth but now it all makes sense. What he’s accomplished in world making and storytelling is unparalleled so to read about the man behind the genius has been great. The picture book includes author and illustrator notes that will enhance the reading experience. Definitely one of the best picture books- nonfiction or otherwise- this year!

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A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four PebblesA Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With easy to follow text and activities, kids are introduced to a way of meditation. Perfect, too, for adults with short attention spans. Great as a group (family, classroom) activity.

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Gandhi: my life is my message: a Graphic novelGandhi: my life is my message: a Graphic novel by Jason Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’ve been interested in reading more about lives of heroes who promoted peace through nonviolence, this graphic novel biography of Gandhi is a great read to get an idea of the life he’s lead, how events in his life affected him and his beliefs, as well as the unintended consequences of living this kind of life. I have to give credit to Gandhi’s wife because it sure didn’t seem easy being married to him. It’s a good reminder that even heroes are humans too and hopefully our faults doesn’t outweigh our ability to do good.

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 26, 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

A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum . . .A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum . . . by Davide Cali
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this duo’s fourth collaboration, a field trip at the museum is where all the craziness ensues. This series is so fun!
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We're All WondersWe’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great addition to the Wonder library that promotes kindness. This picture book is perfect as a read-aloud to remind everyone that we’re all different, unique. We’re all wonders.
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The CarpenterThe Carpenter by Bruna Barros
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In this wordless picture book, a young boy ends up setting his electronic device aside for a tape measure that leads to a Harold and the Purple Crayon type adventure with his dad.
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Make the Earth Your CompanionMake the Earth Your Companion by J. Patrick Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The illustrations alone are enough of a reason to buy this gorgeous picture book. Fortunately the lyrical text has a great message and will hopefully impact people to be observers of this beautiful planet and protectors of our only home.
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Big Cat, Little CatBig Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This reminded me a bit of Mo Willems’s City Dog, Country Frog. Both picture books tackles loss in a gentle way.
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The Catawampus CatThe Catawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A cat goes through town in a way that people aren’t used to. At first, they try and set the cat straight. But afterwards they end up appreciating the cat’s unique perspective giving them a new way of seeing things. This picture book celebrates being different from cover to cover.
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My Pictures After the StormMy Pictures After the Storm by Éric Veillé
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Definitely one of the quirkiest picture books of the year. Readers will enjoy seeing the before and after humor.
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BertoltBertolt by Jacques Goldstyn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was hoping this would be more like Renee Goscinny’s Nicholas series. It wasn’t but it’s a cute story about nature and creativity.
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The Map of Good MemoriesThe Map of Good Memories by Fran Nuño
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The title caught my eye. This picture book tackles a difficult premise- a girl and her family are forced to leave their home because of war- with a gentle hand. The girl creates a map of places that’s brought her happiness before she leaves.
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My Pet Human Takes Center StageMy Pet Human Takes Center Stage by Yasmine Surovec
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A cute sequel. There’s a new cat in town and Oliver doesn’t like sharing the limelight one bit. It all comes to ahead during the school talent show.
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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen SuggestionsDear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As I was reading this- and afterwards, I wanted to get copies for my sisters who have their own daughters. It seems like such a great idea to start them young of being the kind of person that values everyone as they are and to teach them against the ways our societies try to undermine what should be no-brainers. As a guy (with no kids), it reminds me to be the kind of person who actually applies these concepts instead of just saying everyone should do them. Actions speak louder than words.
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mustreadin2017

Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot, #21)Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s always great to read or reread Agatha Christie! I thought since this was a reread, I would have guessed whodunit but I was still wrong!
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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- March 22, 2017

nfpb2017

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White AmericaGordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t familiar with Gordon Parks nor his work- especially not with his photography. I didn’t really think about it until recently but I guess there are lots of famous photographers so it was interesting to find them and read about the people behind the lens. This biography was another instant though where the back matter was more fascinating than the actual text and I can’t imagine why they just didn’t use that since it filled the gaps in information that readers would have wanted to know.

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Who Was Lucille Ball?Who Was Lucille Ball? by Pam Pollack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Lucy and I love this series so it was great to read about Lucille Ball. People may only know her from all the happiness she brought in their lives but she was also a great trailblazer as a business woman. There’s a section in this book where they share some of the more memorable “I Love Lucy” episodes and I bet readers would end up watching those clips on YouTube.

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 19, 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

Flora and the Chicks: A Counting Book by Molly IdleFlora and the Chicks: A Counting Book by Molly Idle by Molly Idle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Molly Idle keeps her Flora series fresh in this board book designed to teach young readers to count from one to ten as the titular character finds herself bombarded by chicks. Lift the flaps reveals the chaotic fun.

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Masha and Her SistersMasha and Her Sisters by Suzy Ultman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute novelty board book in the shape of Russian nesting dolls about five sisters with different interests. The beautiful design and illustration makes up for the sparse text.

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TriangleTriangle by Mac Barnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I think of this book doesn’t really matter since when these two get together, it’s something everyone looks forward to. I may have hyped it too much before reading it but it’s still an enjoyable story and I’ll still read the other books in the series!

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Bee & MeBee & Me by Alison Jay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bee-utiful wordless picture book about friendship. I also liked the information at the end about taking care of bees and also discovering how she came up with the idea of this book!

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TreesTrees by Lemniscates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gorgeous illustrations about the wonder of trees.

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Books Do Not Have WingsBooks Do Not Have Wings by Brynne Barnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lyrical text tells of a celebration of the magic found in books. The wonderful illustrations takes it a step further.

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We Are FamilyWe Are Family by Patricia Hegarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t particularly enjoy the text but I appreciated the depictions of different kinds of families in the illustrations.

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See You in the CosmosSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In what I think is a must read novel of 2017 and my choice for a Newbery honor, See You in the Cosmos features one of the most original voices I’ve read in awhile. Alex (who’s half-Filipino) is entering a rocket launching contest in which he wants to include a recording of himself talking about his life for any intelligent beings who happen to come across his Golden I-Pod in outer space. It’s not an easy life with a mom who has more and more of her quiet days and a brother who lives in another state but fortunately he has his best non-human friend with him- his dog Carl Sagan named after his hero. Together they end up in search of Alex’s maybe dad but finds one surprise after another.

He reminded me of myself, in the sense that we both (all of us, really) are looking for simple answers to life’s big questions and maybe aren’t satisfied by the bits and pieces we get. But we’re not meant to know everything although the realization he gets towards the end (the passage that ends with words are shadows too) of the book was great.

(The iffy thing that made me not really like this novel though is that there are adults who decide to take a kid they don’t know with them. While good-intentioned, it just didn’t seem right.)

It’s a mix of Counting by 7’s and Wonder.

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mustreadin2017

Hello, UniverseHello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my quest to find books by Filipino authors and/or featuring Filipino characters, I’d been introduce to fairly new middle grade author Erin Estrada Kelly. In this third stand-alone novel, we get four kids whose lives end up connecting in mysterious ways and told from their various points of view. From a shy Filipino boy with a grandmother who tells tales from the Philippines, a bully out to impress his father, a girl who’s navigating being deaf, and to an older sister who also happens to be a self-proclaimed psychic, readers will find themselves engrossed in their mini-adventures, each one adding a piece to the bigger picture.

And, I don’t think it’s a spoiler since it’s included in the summary, but one reason I didn’t particularly enjoy this book was I don’t like stories where kids get trapped in wells.

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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- March 15, 2017

nfpb2017

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the DepressionDorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A biography of a famous photographer who captured the harsh realities of the country during the Great Depression. I enjoyed the back matter more than the actual story.

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Little People, Big Dreams: Marie CurieLittle People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Little People, Big Dreams is a picture book biography series imported from Spain. Perfect way to introduce young readers to girls who dreamed and became outstanding women in different fields. The books include a timeline and photos.

For older readers who can’t get enough Marie Curie, make sure to read Radioactive by Lauren Redniss.

View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 12, 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

-Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating bookish and bookstore moments.

Crocodile TearsCrocodile Tears by André François

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This quirky picture book is reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library humor. And, apparently the reason why it had a old-vibey feel was that it was first published in the 1950’s. Cased in envelope-looking slipcover, this crocodile-length book is full of silliness.

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Bedtime for BatmanBedtime for Batman by Michael Dahl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This cute picture book follows two parallel story lines of a young boy and Batman, one getting ready to call it a day and the other saving the day.

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Grandfather Counts (A Reading Rainbow Book)Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love intergenerational multicultural stories. This picture book was recommended by a librarian where I volunteer. A girl’s grandfather comes to live with her and her family. The language barrier doesn’t allow them to communicate much until they end up sharing the pastime of watching the trains pass by their house. Soon, they are teaching one another each other’s language and learning more than they expected. If you enjoyed Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, you’ll enjoy this older title.

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Adrift: An Odd Couple of Polar BearsAdrift: An Odd Couple of Polar Bears by Jessica Olien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was listening to an All the Wonders podcast and this book was recommended. I like books that surprise, that offer me more than an entertaining story. Aside from an unlikely friendship story involving two polar bears adrift on melting ice floe, this also provided readers information about the dangers of global warming (in terms of melting polar ice caps) and how we can help combat it.

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Animal Colors and MoreAnimal Colors and More by Katie Viggers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A beautifully illustrated picture book- the third in the series- about the colors. Playful text. Endpapers provide a few interactive elements- like finding the animal pairs and identifying all the animals.

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The Bamboo DanceThe Bamboo Dance by Cress Sia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize we had a picture book in the store about the Philippines. This one focuses on two boys who practice tinikling, the bamboo dance, in hopes of winning a contest. But, for one of them, it’s not as easy as he thought it would be. Will he give up or will his friend be able to convince him to give it another try? I was bummed that the publisher (Hartyan Kids) went out of business a few years ago because it seemed like they were featuring diverse, multicultural titles. (I think they only managed to publish two titles.) In the back of each book is a pocket containing a sticker of the country written about which readers can collect on their passport.

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An AlphabetAn Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aside from Oliver Jeffers’ great illustrations, there wasn’t really anything that stuck out to me about this one. But for parents looking for a straightforward alphabet book for their babies, this works fine. But everyone should read the original picture book it’s based on, Once Upon an Alphabet.

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A Little StuckA Little Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This abridged version managed to capture the silliness and humor of the original picture book.

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Keith Haring Pop Art Baby!Keith Haring Pop Art Baby! by Keith Haring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has been one of my favorite board books to recommend because it’s multilingual featuring words in English, Spanish, French, and German. Plus, it features Keith Haring’s art. My favorite page is the fuzzy heart page.

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Keith Haring Pop Art 123!Keith Haring Pop Art 123! by Keith Haring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised to see a companion to Keith Haring Pop Art Baby! This time, his iconic artwork is used to help the youngest readers to count.

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The Matchstick CastleThe Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For middle grades who don’t want fantasy or a realistic read that tackles something sad or serious, this is a fun novel about a boy who against his choice has to spend the summer with his uncle’s family in a town named Boring. After getting chased by a wild boar when exploring the woods, he and his cousin find a family as wacky as their cottage castle. Doors that lead to nowhere. Family members who go missing inside their very house. It’s a silly romp.

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The Hour of DaydreamsThe Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m always on the look out for Filipino characters, authors, stories. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this debut novel (available March 14th) from Forest Avenue Press. I would describe The Hour of Daydreams as lyrical magical realism reminiscent of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon because of its stories within stories format.

I did wish it veered either more to its more fantastical or its more grounded in reality elements. Nevertheless, it’s a love story unlike one you’ve probably ever read.
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mustreadin2017

Secrets & Sequences (Secret Coders #3)Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew computer coding can be so fun and accessible to everyone? Volume 3 continues to bring it, building up on the world and lessons from previous books and creating new puzzles and revealing a more dastardly plot. What I loved about this one was that it didn’t feel as bogged down as book two. I was worried that the series would continue to feel more textbooksy but fortunately that wasn’t the case!

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Secret Coders: Lost & FoundSecret Coders: Lost & Found by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ran into this short comic by accident. This takes place after Book 3 involving finding a missing dog and using programming! I can’t wait to let others know about this!

View all my reviews

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!