Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday Recap - Books To Know

   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! 
        My #MustReadin2021 post is HERE. If you want to add your own, go HERE to Cheriee's call for updates!
        Our world had many sadnesses this past week. I hope each of you is all right, if you had the challenge of Hurricane Ida, that it wasn't too bad for you. Best wishes for our days going in better ways. My two granddaughters started school last week and both had marvelous beginning days. I am grateful to all who worked so hard to make it happen.

             Seventeen writers offer their own celebration of joy in the lives of black boys. The editor, Kwame Mbalia underpins the idea with a three-part story, beginning, middle, and end. It passes on the idea of collecting joy from an elder to a young boy, poignant and though including some magic, seemed very real as well. Other stories also include some magic, but also realistic moments in music, skateboarding, embracing one's sexuality, celebrating family love. There is one story-in-verse where the author, Dean Atta, offers a challenge prompt. Jerry Craft creates his story as we expect, in graphic style, with much joy! Language in each brought joy to me. Wishing all readers the same! I imagine so many loving this book and hope so many teachers choose to read it aloud, one joyful story at a time!

          Gene Luen Yang gives us a great tale and adds his own connections in the backmatter. It's 1946 and a family moves from Chinatown to Downtown Metropolis. Dr. Lee joins the city's health department, unbeknownst to him a sinister plot waits there. Meanwhile, the two kids, Roberta and Tommy are excited to be nearer to their superhero, Superman. Along with Lois Lane and Clark Kent playing their usual roles, Lois is ever-eager to find the truth and Clark seems always to miss the big story, it's terrific to see Roberta Lee take a starring role in the discovery of the real secrets. Her brother helps with his superpower arm until he breaks it. He helps another kid whose uncle forces a choice between good and evil. Meanwhile, it's time to learn about the beginning of the Ku Klux Klan and the struggle of Superman to embrace ALL his superpowers. Intriguing text with Luen's own "powerful" illustrations makes it a great background historical story. One will want to believe Superman must be out there somewhere!

          When a grandmother one doesn't know very well comes to visit and parents go out, it's a bit scary. However, when she "Let's be jaguars." an adventure like no other begins. Gorgeous imaginary illustrations by Woodrow White (his first book) of these "jaguars" running through rivers, up mountains, and sometimes resting make the story real, or is it?  Dave Eggers makes us readers believe! Bonus: There's a beautiful quadruple spread that will thrill you!

         In the melodic text, Andrea Zimmerman tells of a brother and sister, camping with their parents, spinning a song about what trees "know", including "taste, hear, smell, see, love, and know". "If I were a tree I know what I'd see./Hills misty with fog, the life in a log." is only one terrific part. It's an invitation to look closely at all that you can discover when outdoors, plus there are a few more ideas in a double-page in the backmatter. Jing Jing Tsong uses mixed media to make the text even more beautiful.

         It's good to learn other's stories and special to tell your story, too. This time, for all but especially for younger readers' understanding, Areli Morales writes her own story and what it means to be a DACA. Her parents were already in New York City while she and her brother stayed with their abuela. Her brother left after a while because he was born in the US, thus is a citizen. It took longer to have Areli join them. Then she was torn, wanting to be with her family but not wanting to miss her abuela and all that was "home" to her then. As her time in NYC moves along, she learns English and begins to love that city, too. You'll see that the change is bittersweet and now Arelia remains in limbo, though President Obama created the DACA program, it remains in contention. With good explanations by Morales and terrific illustrations of scenes and people showing the extremes of emotions by Luisa Uribe, it's a story everyone should know. I'm grateful that Areli Morales has written it!

            Jodie Patterson tells the story about her son, Penelope, a transgender young boy who embraces his sexuality and keeps his name! As his story moves along, family first simply loves him but he demands more, that they really "see" who he is, a boy! Short passages with siblings, Penelope's school friends, and his principal show how people accept this change with no fuss. Included in his story is a part about becoming a Ninja fighter, too, and Penelope wins his first tournament! Illustrations by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow show lots of family, adult, and kid interactions. It's a book for celebrations.
         I know more books about LBGTQ kids have been being published in recent years. My younger granddaughter had a classmate in second grade who changed from male to female and was welcomed and loved. I wish more books had been out for her at that time. 

          I also finished The Paris Library by Janet Charles, an adult book about the challenges faced by those working at the American Library in Paris during the Nazi occupation in World War II. It's well-researched and still another story of WWII courage. You can find my review and others on Goodreads.

What's Next: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, I still need to read the graphic story from the John Lewis team, Run & I have a few advanced copies that come out in September! Lots to read!


  1. Oh you are so right about there being much sadness in the world, right now. With the political division alongside so much tragedy, it’s easy to feel really down. But I a hopeful that we’ll all pull through these rough months and have joyful days ahead. I am very much looking forward to reading Black Boy Joy, Linda! That cover is gorgeous and I love the idea of collecting joy. Areli is a Dreamer grabbed my attention, too. I am hopeful that we’ll be getting a local copy of this one! And We Became Jaguars is completely new to me. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for this title, as well. Thanks for all these wonderful shares!

    1. I am hopeful for the future, too, Shaye. I hope you find some joy in these books that you find!

  2. What a wonderful set of books! Areli Is a Dreamer is a book I'm planning to review in my next picture book post—I've heard so much praise for it! Superman Smashes the Klan sounds like a fantastic read as well—I really need to get some of Gene Luen Yang's graphic novels read, since I know they are quite beloved. Black Boy Joy and Born Ready look wonderful as well! Thanks so much for the great post, Linda!

    1. I'll look for your own "Areli is a Dreamer" review! And I hope you do find & read some of Yang's books. They are terrific! Thanks!

  3. Once again, a great bunch of books. I'm hoping to read Black Boy Joy this week. That cover is just so wonderful and really captures the idea of joy. You know, I loved Superman Smashes the Klan and yes, I do wish there were a for real Superman right now. I'm have to check out the rest of your list soon. Have a great reading week!

    1. Oh, hope you enjoy "Black Boy Joy". I got it from the library but will need to own it! Thanks, Alex, I certainly agree about Superman!

  4. Lots to read, indeed! I need all of September to only read!
    I have Black Boy Joy to read. It's in the tower of books that need to be read SOON! I've read many of the picture books you have here. And I picked up Run from the library. Yes, lots to read!!


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