Monday, October 9, 2023

It's Monday - Remember These Books!

        Special Announcement! Nominations for Cybils awards are still open until Oct. 15th. Go here if you have a book that you want to be nominated. It must have been published from Oct. 16th, 2022 through Oct. 15th, 2023, in the US or Canada.

        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 don't have too many books to share, but four fabulous ones you may have read but if not, don't miss them!

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!

            Piedad Maria Sanchez, Piddy, is back and in this new graphic novel from Meg Medina, with all the emotions shown poignantly by artist Mel Valentine Vargas. The family, Cuban and Dominican, have moved to a nicer apartment but that doesn't mean it's nicer for Piddy because she has to change schools. She has to leave her best friend, and nearly the first day, Yaqui Delgado's boyfriend was caught looking at Piddy, nothing else, but now Yaqui really wants to kick her ass! Here again is Piddy,  and here is Yaqui Delgado bringing all the meanness to Piddy. The sadness and trauma are there, starting with keeping her mother from knowing, using the support from others until it becomes too much and both adults and friends need to step in. Though it was as heartbreaking again as it was when I read the novel, Mel Valentine Vargas brings another look beyond the imagination of the things some young ones endure. Meg Medina's love and care for Piddy, however, continues to shine, hopefully showing those who read this one there is hope for better! 
          Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!

          It's a challenge to know how much to tell in this new awesome story by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass. Just know it's one that will please, a mystery with ghosts, a poignant one about two boys growing up but also about some who died too soon. It has mice and cats and ghosts, library love, and surprises throughout. I enjoyed it very, very much. Be sure you get the pleasure of visiting the small town of Martinville with all the goodness it holds!

        I imagine, and hope, many have read other books about the terrible acts done by Hitler and his Nazis leading up to and during World War II. Sheinkin's book includes background and explanations throughout the books, but directly focuses on the story of one young man. Readers first meet Rudolph (Rudi) Vrba leaving home to prevent being caught by the police rounding up young Jewish men. That early line from his mother, who knew she might never see her son again, stayed with me throughout the book: "Take care of yourself. . . And don't forget to change your socks." He was seventeen. Though not quite as much time is spent, a parallel story of Rudi's friend, Gerta, is also told. She managed to stay hidden with her mother by escaping into Hungary after her father was taken away. Hers is an intriguing story to see how smart she was to keep safe, challenges faced, even as a young teen.
        Among several other settings, Rudi spent most of the war in Auschwitz. There is more detail about the various work that prisoners did and the horrible things they endured and saw happen, the constant cruelty and evil, on the trains, in the camp, out in fields for work. The detail is there, Rudi's strength is there, small acts of kindness and wisdom from others help, too. He and a friend, Alfred (Fred) Wetzler start plans for escape, and that focus, their journey to survive "out" in order to bear witness to the truth of what is happening, what has been happening, keeps them going. It is an important part of this history, of a young man whose will to survive and tell the truth saved thousands of lives. 

           Long before Jerry Pinkney died, Nikki Grimes and Jerry Pinkney were at a book festival and someone said they should do a book together. They began, Nikki adding details and Jerry, too. Nikki began to firm up the words; Jerry began what are called the "tight sketches" and then he died. The story follows a young boy, grieving for his father who had passed away, then finding a note with a map of the forest with an X marked where they had so often walked. He didn't want a map: He wanted his dad! But, he did go to find that X. What happened then becomes a final goodbye, a gentle loving hug from his beloved dad. In a way, Nikki's story echoes what has happened with Jerry and his own son, Bryan. Bryan consented to take his father Jerry's sketches and finish the book using his own, as written in his afterword, "resonant swirls of color found in nature" beneath his dad's drawings. It's a book that will bring smiles and happy tears, to find the love that can be found, even within sorrow.

Now Reading: I'm going on a trip this coming week with my family to the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area to see the Annular Eclipse and visit the Annual Balloon Fest, won't have much time to read. I'll probably take a new book of poetry I just got, a few poems a day! 

Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. I listened to The Lost Library on my account and it was amazing! I love those twists in plot that make Rebecca Stead titles even more fun. Her collaboration with Wendy here is perfect! Have a great week of reading! Lots of good titles here. I need to catch up!

    1. Oh, I agree, I loved "The Lost Library" too! And the others are good to find.Thanks, Jennifer!

  2. Have a great time away. Enjoy family and poetry time!


Thanks for visiting!