Monday, November 2, 2020

It's Monday - More New Books to Enjoy!

    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 

Wishing you all a good week ahead! And, VOTE if you haven't yet! It's going to be a wild week!

        Thanks to Candlewick Press for all the books I'm sharing today.

            From the author of A Wish In The Dark, Christina Soontornvat who has family in Thailand happened to be visiting there when the Wild Boars went missing. She never stopped following their journey and knew she had to write this book!

           From the beginning exciting trip to a cave promised by Coach Ek to the incredible end, Christina Soontornvat takes us on this journey with emotion and clear explanations of the challenges, including a broad swath of volunteers wanting to help in any way possible. Many stepped in, figured out what was needed and acted, helped, went without sleep or payment. The heroes number in the thousands and the boys were saved! I learned a lot from this emotional telling, the science of the water in the Thai mountains, what and how sumps work, the super pumps that farmers there really use to water their fields, thus using them to help in a different way in the rescue. Also included were the cave divers and their expertise, a group I knew nothing about. They were the final rescuers, taking on a risk even they had not taken before. The kindnesses do not stop! It was also wonderful to hear about the boys and their coach, the strength of brotherhood they brought to achieve survival before they were first found and after. The reading was high drama consistently and the ending "after" is to be appreciated. I guess we all lived through this rescue via television or the internet, but to read the minute details of those days makes an adventurous story to absorb and appreciate the time and research from Christina Soontornvat. 

        This is the final book of Victoria Bond's trilogy about Zora Neale Hurston's family and hometown of Eatonville, which is the first incorporated black township in America. I've enjoyed each one, the books unfolding as Victoria Bond used facts from Hurston's life to weave a dramatic story for middle-grade readers. This finale shows Zora's family and Eatonville itself immersed in a frightening upheaval that includes a lynch mob pursuing a fugitive, a grave robber, and Zora's own family sorrows that show reasons she finally left to pursue her own dreams. Her best friend Carrie again tells the tale filled with lives of so long ago with numerous interesting characters, old-time medicine and politics, some explanations of voodoo and zombie-ism at that time, and the challenges for black people even in a place created to be safe. A quote I loved that fits this tale, but our lives, too: "The world is covered in dull and sharp points alike." It begins Chapter Six and when you read the book, be sure to read the whole paragraph it started! There is a brief biography explaining some of the truths woven into the story. Terrific final book!

        Smriti Prasadam-Halls' poetic rhyme offers courage and hope as a young girls and her fox companion travels through storms and dark yet find some friends who give them hope along the way. Finally, the day and a hope-filled future arrive: "Rain before rainbows, clouds before sun,/night before daybreak–a new day's begun. David Litchfield's illustrations feel poetic, too, filling the pages with the emotions expressed as the girl travels from dark to light. It's a beautiful book that will encourage discussion of the metaphor and its meaning personally. 

          Oh my, 
Julián is back and with a new friend showing all the exuberance from the first book, this time at a wedding. Having fun together means this celebration is even more exciting, and when an accident occurs, the creativity and "oh, well" attitude shines through. With a beautiful story and swirling colorful illustrations, Jessica Love offers still another happy, happy story. Now I'm wondering when we'll see Julián again?

        And that "mean ant" is back, too! Remember that first book when Fly saved disagreeable Ant from his fuming foray into the desert? And then at the end, Fly flew them (unfortunately) into a spider web. Even though one could say he is the hero, Fly continues to irritate Flea with his consistent misunderstanding of Ant's words. They "were" stuck like "bugs in a rug", but Fly yells to Ant, "Don't say it!" while Fly retorts, "We're not stuck in a _"  And on they go. Then there is that "spot" which turns out to be a flea and there they go again, a new one caught but it turns out to be pretty good. The usual silliness, yelling, and oh, no, there they go again –The End! I love Sergio Ruzzier's ability to show the varied emotions on what kind of looks like an ant, a fly, and a flea. Every page of these cartoon-like creatures brings a smile, along with the hilarious dialogue written by Arthur Yorinks. Like the first one, it's going to be a terrific read-aloud!

        There were several beautiful words from the book I shared above by Victoria Bond. One is after Zora's mother dies and the grief is overwhelming. Her dear teacher tells her: "Coping with grief isn't about feeling better," Mr. Calhoun said. "It's about not feeling alone in your grief."

           Then I read the following book, thus words connected and so true.

          All that really needs to be written is that this is a must-read. Jackie Azua Kramer tells that this young boy's mother has died and a gorilla responds to what the boy shares with the most thoughtful words to help. Where it comes from seems unimportant for the most important thing is that it is there! What I thought as I read is that Cindy Derby's illustrations that add to the story showing quiet listening. You will know what I mean when you read the book. 

What's Next:  I have started  A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi from NetGalley and a couple of chapter books from my library that will be next.


  1. I haven't read any of the Victoria Bond books, but they sound fascinating.
    I'm looking forward to reading Julián at the Wedding. I just picked up One Mean Ant as I am far behind in that series. I've read other reviews of The Boy and the Gorilla, but you have motivated me to find and read a copy.

    1. The way Victoria Bond wove Zora Neale Hurston's life into this trilogy is quite amazing, Cheriee. I hope someday you have time to read them! Hope you enjoy both "Mean Ant" stories & of course, The Boy & The Gorilla. Thanks!

  2. I agree that Rain Before Rainbows is beautiful. I loved the first Zora and Me, but haven't gotten to the others. Hope you have a great week.

    1. Thanks, Lisa, when time I hope you'll find & read those other Zora and Me books. I really loved them, too.

  3. I completely missed that Zora & Me book #3 was out!! I've loved this series, so far. I'll have to hunt down a copy right away. Wow, those picture book covers are pure eye candy. I have The Boy and the Gorilla on my list, but I just realized I didn't have Rain Before Rainbows or Julián at the Wedding on my list, so I'm adding them. Thanks for these wonderful shares, Linda!

    1. You're welcome, Shaye. I hope you enjoy every one! They're all special in my eyes!

  4. The Zora & Me series sounds truly excellent, as do the picture books you've shared (especially The Boy and the Gorilla)! All Thirteen sounds like an incredible story as well! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    1. All Thirteen is on the possible Newbery list. It's terrific, as are the others. Thanks!


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