Monday, August 14, 2023

Monday Reading - Books to Note!


    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 am sorry to have missed last week but my laptop was in for a needed repair and tune-up. I just couldn't find the time to do a post from my phone! Here are the recent books I want to share!

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!

         It's always fun to read books by Dave Eggers. Most are for adults, but if you want a book that not only tells a fun story, and is true, read Moving Millers' Minnie Moore Mine Mansion. At the same time, readers can see how inviting the use of alliteration can be, title included. It begins with early history, and builds page by page with awesome details in brown tones with a feel of history by illustrator Ju´lia Sarda`. The tale of a silver discovery, lots of money to build a mansion, then a descendant with a wish to raise pigs includes an amazing structural move, and Eggers' expected humor from the start to a laugh-out-loud finish.

       It was terrific to revisit Garvey again, trying hard to ignore his father's wishes for a football player. Nikki Grimes' words for middle-school-aged kids shine brightly again, this time teamed with artist Theodore Taylor III. I loved the brightly-colored chapter titles, like this one, "Three Bears" when Garvey says to himself, "It doesn't matter/how wide I am when I sing./Like Goldilocks, I/have finally found what fits./My high tenor is just right." Finding connections with his dad through music was a loving surprise to me again. It's a young teen story, a family story, a rich story for kids growing up!

       Christina Soontornvat writes of her own challenges of middle school in this graphic novel, expertly illustrated by comic artist, Joanna Cacao. Christina is part Thai and has become friends with Megan, the daughter of an Iranian immigrant. They appear to be some of the few kids of color in a small Texas town's middle school. The subtle but expected racist remarks do not help Christina's feelings of who she is and who she might wish to be, then the announcement comes for cheerleader tryouts. Megan is an acrobat who Christina believes will definitely be chosen. They are best friends but Christina is hurt when Megan chooses someone else to be her partner in the tryouts. Tension certainly increases and the student body chooses the finals! Facial expressions and background add so much to the story that holds so many layers to growing up. Even the bully is given a bit of sympathy!

           The lead-up to the tryout feels like my own challenges many years ago when I too, wanted to be a cheerleader. I even tried a gymnastics class at age 12, but starting that late is simply too late to learn backflips, etc. At least it was for me! The challenges in middle school often feel so rigid when kids are simply trying hard to discover who they really are, the kind of person they wish to be. I imagine adults and those in middle school (or high school) will make personal connections to this new book!

          I labeled this both nf & historical fiction because it is a story by Glenda Armand, based on her family's story. That "school train" holds many layers, first of Glenda's mother's time in the morning line to school, but it also meant education as a train to freedom, and the outward layer is a story of The Great Migration. In the early part of the 20th century, thousands of African Americans left their ancestral homes, some dating back to slavery, to move to differing places in America, for better opportunities for adult work and to escape most of the Jim Crow laws. Young Thelma tells the story from her own 'riding' the train, waving to the real train that once carried an aunt and uncle to California for a better life. Taking that step was both exciting and sorrowful, leaving friends and family, a home one has always known. The term Jim Crow is used throughout, first confusing Thelma because she thought it was a person and did not understand the real meaning until her father told her. Keisha Morris' collaged artwork fills the pages with heartfelt emotions as the train, this time of history, moves along. It's an excellent book for middle-grade readers and younger that can either begin or add to their knowledge of this part of African American history. There is a great piece by Armand at the back, with family photographs, too, plus a source list!

for adults - I'm having fun with summer reading mysteries and thrillers!

          I liked Newman's earlier "Falling" so chose this for reading a little at a time. I certainly learned a lot about how planes and deepwater diving work and tried to imagine the people's feelings which absolutely were not all the same. It feels like it is not only a 'deep dive' into the ocean's depths but one into people's emotions, not ever the same no matter the circumstance. If you like this kind of story, it's a good one!


             Except for his novellas and anthologies, I've read every one of William Kent Krueger's books, now wait for whatever is next. This is one of the early ones, a standalone mystery of intrigue with the secret service, politics, and an organization that is not what it purports to be. I enjoyed the intrigue with surprises, Krueger digging deep into danger with a hero, Bo Thorsen who I would love to see the usual "What happens to him next?", filled with a frightening, seeming monster of a man that came to elicit sympathy along with evil lurking where it's most unexpected. Interestingly, it was published in 2003, thus no mention of cell phones and other recent tech advantages. I'm glad I discovered this 'one more' by Krueger.


Now readingConfessions of a Candy Snatcher - Phoebe Sinclair, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.


  1. First off, it can be so inconvenient when you have to get your laptop repaired, since I feel like we always need our laptops! I'm glad things are fixed on that front.

    And as for books, these all look wonderful, and a whole lot of them ended up on my TBR! Both graphic novels caught my eye—I remember you were reading The Tryout, and you're actually the sixth person I've seen recommend it, which should be a signal to me... And I made note of Garvey's Choice—perhaps I'll try the novel in verse first, then see how it changes as a graphic novel! Moving the Millers' Minnie Moore Mine Mansion sounds totally wild, and I love that it's a true story—I also read a book illustrated by the same illustrator, The Liszts by Kyo Maclear. Thanks so much for all the thoughtful reviews, Linda, and enjoy your week!

    1. Thanks for coming by & commenting, Max. The books you mentioned are all good in unique ways. Garvey's Choice, so uplifting in the original, keeps the same flavor, will support & inspire so many who are wavering in self-worth. The tryout is a great story, may still be happening in some schools but things have changed in these past years. The Eggers book, even true, is so entertaining, as his books often are. Enjoy what you can!

  2. I haven't read Drowning, but I did read Falling. So intense which I imagine this one might be, too.

  3. I cannot believe I haven't read The Tryout yet! I love her work and I love graphic novels--I need to fix that! And I loved the retelling of Garvey, too. I am so happy this book will have some new readers :)

    Happy reading this week!

  4. Thanks, Lisa & Kellee. There are so many books, as you both know. Enjoy what you can & best wishes for a great beginning to your school year!

  5. I'm reading one of Soontornvat's other books and I'm just so impressed by how prolific she is to write so broadly for all ages.

    1. Yes! Varied kinds, for all ages, and all good! Thanks, Earl!

  6. I have The Tryout in the library but it was snapped up really quick for the first half a dozen or so readers and then I forgot to pick it up for the summer reading season. Good reports from my students though. Dave Eggers books can be fun and this one is new to me, so I might pick it up. Thanks Linda!


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