Monday, August 28, 2023

It's Monday - Recent Books I loved!


        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! I missed again last week but I have a few to share this time. I have been busier at the bookstore which lessens the reading time. There are many books on my TBR shelf waiting, and I hope my life settles down a bit more as we move into fall. I hope all of you are doing well. Our heat last week was near 100 all week but Friday brought the edge of Hurricane Hilary, seventies, and rain! It's back somewhat warmer but I know many continue to have the terrible heat. Best wishes for better! 
        Some of the following are older books I thought you might like. Some are brand new!

       Twelve-year-old Jonas and his friends get into lots of goofy things, even in the halls of their school. There are girls and jealousy, though it seems that at their age, no one would admit it. It's hard for us adults to read Phoebe Sinclair's debut book and realize that life as a tween is really complicated, but it is! Jonas tells the tale in fast action, even when he has to take care of his little sister Rex (Roxanne) and it turns out she saves him from some embarrassment at times. Then there's his separated parents and having two homes, the entry of something totally new, zines, that a friend wants Jonas to create, too. The candy-snatching comes in when the friend wants Jonas to answer the question, "What's the worst thing you ever did?" and what turns into the real self-searching even twelve-year-olds must do. Zines by illustrator Theodore Taylor III complete the whirlwind of Jonas' life.
Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy, out just a week ago!

       Many are taught NOT to judge a book by its cover and sadly people continue to judge by what they see, never digging deeper into actions. Christina Gonzalez shows this so wonderfully in this new graphic novel about five students, all in various ways Spanish speakers, who are ordered to do community service - together! Slowly through the book, with speech bubbles in both Spanish and English, readers begin to see each character for who they really are. There are revelations readers might also understand about oneself as the truths of each one are also revealed. It's interesting to see how stuck in a stereotype a person can be and how very difficult it is to break out into who they really are, especially without support. I enjoyed the incredible actions and emotional expressions Gabriela Epstein conveyed in her fantastic illustrations. It won many awards last year and I'm thrilled I finally got to read it!

       From long ago (1967), a wordless tale that's full of laughs and surprises. You have to see it!

       I'm sorry that I missed this book last year because I would have taken it to the beach with me, to read to my family, young and old. Like the young girl who visits her grandparents in their little house by the sea, we, too, would have looked for "little houses", what Kevin Henkes tells of this grandmother who shares that about shells. There are wonderings, like who lived in them, as grandmother also shares, "things we cannot see"; and when grandfather speaks about the wide world with so much to know, the young girl begins her own questioning. In beautiful, color-filled, illustrations by Laura Dronzek, I know how wondrous is the beach, and Kevin Henkes has lovingly taken me there. I am grateful!



       It's a wonderful new book by Allen Say which he accompanies with luminous, sometimes faded, paintings. It tells of Andy visiting his grandmother whose memory travels back to being "Miss Irwin" (when she was a teacher) and a special memory of a boy in her class named Willie and a treasure he brought her, a hummingbird nest. Willie loved birds and as his grandmother tells the story, "Andy" takes the time to "be" with her those years ago and listen to her story. What a heartfelt story of a family caring for a loved one with memory loss.

       A young boy and his grandfather talk about the American flag and what it can mean to varied people in America. Written in poetry, the words speak of the strife and challenges throughout U.S. history as Black people struggle for equality. The flag is shown to belong to everyone though some protest that though they want to believe it is theirs, too, actions in history show it doesn't mean the same for everyone. Alana Tyson's verses briefly show the tragic times as well as the times of pride while London Ladd's emotional and gorgeous illustrations bring those words to life. 
       The book holds many ideas that when read to a group, will inspire both a great discussion and further research. Alana Tyson adds an author's note. 

        I had to grab this older donated book to read because of all the 'pink' happening now from the popularity of the Barbie movie. It's written in rhyme and while the poems don't always scan quite right, a young girl sets off on a quest to discover, PLEASE, something other than pink. A selfish queen is in the story's mix, and the young girl's question saves them all. It has a delightful ending that those who hear it as a read-aloud will like!

       Sasquatch, named Strawberry, enjoys life, almost always alone, but when he comes across a squirrel named Nutty, both decide it would be fun to do things together. Well, you may imagine a lot of shenanigans from the ideas of "fun" from both. Chris Monroe keeps the silliness in story and comical illustrations with speech bubbles moving beautifully. Along the way, one gets a sense that both Strawberry and Nutty are willing to try hard in order to be with a new friend. And in the end, with the help of marshmallows and clouds, some goodness between them happens. This will tickle lots of young readers and those who might read it aloud, too!

There is magic in this book by Arthur Ransome and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, whose illustrations always please. He was a Caldecott winner for the book, published in 1968. It tells the tale of "a fool in the world" who set off to try to find a flying ship for a czar who then will offer the hand of his daughter. Along the way, some intriguing characters are welcomed to be part of the crew, when one begins to sense some magic happening. No matter that the fool's family was happy to be rid of him, his good traits came to be a 'godsend' in the fairytale ending.

Now Reading: David Grann's The Wager and Mascot by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell 


  1. Sounds like some very up and down weather. Not so hot here in Massachusetts, but I feel the weather all over the place has been very odd this summer. Loved Invisible. Such a great graphic novel.

    1. We have had some record-breakers, both in heat & in rain in differing months. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I loved Invisible too!

  2. Beautiful cover illustration on The Fool of the World. And thanks for recommending Invisible. I’ve been on an graphic novel kick lately, and will be sure to add it!

  3. I was pleasantly surprised to see Allen Say's new book but still haven't had a chance to read it.

  4. Thanks, K.A. & Earl. Hope you can find those books & enjoy them. The older one, The Fool of the World is such an intriguing tale. And Allen Say's books are always wonderful.

  5. I also really liked Invisible and Boy Dog Frog. Thanks for all the recs!


Thanks for visiting!