Monday, June 5, 2023

Monday Reading - Read These Books!


It's Monday - Book Love 


    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!

           Sara Pennypacker (remember the Pax stories?), with the help of a few illustrations by Matthew Cordell, has written a story for readers like no other about Leeva, a girl who seems to have been raised by parents who don't parent. In all actuality, Leeva, from a very young age, has been given an employee handbook of expectations. She does it all, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, but the most asked of her is to stay out of their way. Oh, and to do a few math problems for her father some mornings. It is shocking to read in the story's beginning until Leeva draws strength enough to ask the question, "What are people for?" You see, she has never been to school, has never been out of the house, until, until, she must. And that is when she sneaks through the high hedge and discovers the library, discovers the librarians, also cookies and hugs and so much more. But it takes a while for those. Along the way, she also makes two other friends and learns that she actually can help them, too. Pennypacker's mixed-up world shows how kindness and accepting the unusual make life better. It's a surprise when it's nearly taken away but an equal surprise how Leeva responds. I loved every part, a new kind of world that became endearing in many ways.

         My neighbor just got their first 'family' dog, what is called a "Bernie-doodle" which is thousands of years from the first ones, per a timeline and story of dogs from Lita Judge. It's a special history for those who love dogs and those who wonder how the wolf which still survives became an important part of our lives. Whether a beloved pet, that "best friend" from the title, a rescue dog, or an explosive-sniffing or disease-sniffing animal, Lita Judge takes us along on this amazing journey of a pet we just might take for granted, but should not. There's a dog at my airport that greets passengers, welcoming and often assuaging human nerves as they head out. One text keeps the story going while an added piece relates more facts. "Dogs have a sense of smell between 10,000 and 100,000 times greater than that of humans." 
         Illustrations just make one smile at so, so many different dogs throughout their illustrious history. Lita adds an Author's Note that includes ways to help dogs, a double-page spread of a few varied dog breeds, another with short bios of famous dogs, a timeline, and sources. It is a terrific book!

    Thanks to Charlesbridge for these next two books!

                   For young readers who may not know one way that scientists learn about birds, this time, night birds, specifically saw-whet owls who are migrating south for the winter.  It's termed "catch and release". Young Sova is excited and is finally old enough to accompany her mother on this scientific journey. They arrive, put on headlamps, and go to check what is called a 'mist-net', a light net that will be able to catch any owl flying through. No owls are found at the first check so they go to the nearby sanctuary cabin where they will wait some time, then return to check again. The excitement lowers a bit and Sova learns that waiting, then waiting more, takes a lot of patience. They are eventually rewarded as the story moves along and as Susan Edwards Richmond shares some of the processes that will happen "if" they catch an owl, like measuring and weighing, and banding. The creative way of storytelling while taking readers on a research trip is a wonderful intro to this process. Maribel Lechuga's illustrations show the night in its mysteries beautifully, even adding a special page of Sova's pretending to fly with the owl. There is more information about owls and banding and lists for further reading at the back.

          It feels as if everyone loves glitter or at least things that gleam and shine, on cards and decorations, on eyeshadow and clothing. What's a favorite for you?
         Chris Barton writes all about glitter in this book and Chasya Prabhat follows along with intriguing and various ways to illustrate. Who knew there was so much to learn, like who invented it, the materials used to make it, how to save materials used by changing glitter to square pieces, and more? One area shows the fascination with glittery looks that trace back to ancient times, that derived from certain insects. And there evidently were some places that fussed with the name. It was NOT always "glitter". Most of all, there is one part that explains how some glitter is bad for our environment. There is much more info in the backmatter, including a very glittery back page! Imagine reading with students in a class and then, glitter art! It's an entertaining and informative book!    

For Adults: 

It's a crime story against the backdrop of the city of Boston's school busing battles of the 1970s, also a story of city neighborhoods where you may have lived down the street from other family members all your life, as do others, in your neighborhood and in theirs and in the next neighborhood over. Yes, you stick together no matter what you see happen, unless it happens to someone in another neighborhood and that becomes a different story, or does it? Mary Pat Fennessy's story shows, just as authors are supposed to show, that no matter the hurt and violence, the alluding to some happy moments, and the tragic days that Mary Pat lives, she learns. She figures out that what she has believed all her life isn't true, and secrets have hidden right there, in plain sight, if she had only paid attention or wanted to pay attention. Lehane's descriptions are often deeply brutal and just as often feel heartfelt, like the humans in his story, like all humans.

What's Next:  The Remarkable Rescue at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, illustrations by Doug Salati. Also, Goodnight, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea, an adult novel set in WWII.


  1. Dogs is in my library stack. It looks informative and interesting. Small Mercies was one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about even after I finished reading it. A tough read, but I was riveted.

  2. These look like amazing books, Linda!

    Leeva at Last looks like an intriguing story, and I know Sara Pennypacker is a strong storyteller. And I just saw Glitter Everywhere on Karen Yingling's blog too—it sounds fascinating! Night Owl Night looks beautiful too.

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful reviews!

  3. I've put a hold on Leeva at Last. I adored Pax and the sequel. Small Mercies sounds like an intense story - but not one I'll get too.

  4. I super love the look of Night Owl Night - unfortunately it is still not available via the library - I usually read a lot of picturebooks via Libby. :)

  5. One of my coworkers (who writes middle grade novels herself) adored Leeva at Last. I'll have to give it a try once I feel like I've gotten through my TBR.

  6. Thanks, everyone. I hope you found a book here that you'll love. Have a great week of reading this coming week!


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