Monday, November 6, 2023

Hello November - More Books To Read Inside


        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!   

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!

        I've waited a day to write about this new book, a debut YA by Kenneth M. Cadow that's on the short list for the National Book Award. His story of Ian Gray, starting as a fifteen-year-old, will linger with me a long time. Ian lives on about ten acres in the woods with his mom, ten acres and part of the big house that used to be on about 300 acres, owned by several generations before him. Now, they struggle. There is a leaky roof, broken tiles in the kitchen, and a rotten porch floor, among other broken things. Among those things is his mom, an addict who adds to Ian's anxiety for sometimes when he comes home from school, she isn't there but a needle lies on the arm of a chair.  
         Cadow shows Ian as one who finds his own solace in memories of his grandpa, stories that special grandpa told, adventures Ian was a part of, like hunting or simply roaming the woods, learning, learning to be a part of them. When a stray dog arrives, he knows his mom won't approve so this new pal he named Gather stayed in the shed and Ian, resourceful as he is, brings scraps from the school cafeteria for food. Sometimes it's Ian's food, too. He is a 'problem-solver', seemingly part out of need but really most out of love. He knows much about machinery, how to fix things, learned a lot from that grandpa. Watching Ian in and out of school shows how kids can learn and grow in numerous ways, not only from a book.
         The story brings a new look at how kids also learn how to survive, how to keep the truth from those adults at school, especially because there is a possibility of being taken away, fostered. How the book slowly brings in the people Ian will learn to trust or not to trust, what they do and how they act, might be a way for us readers to learn, too, to care for others in sad circumstances with respect, giving in need, and sometimes those needs can be only words, a good conversation. And as for Gather, many times, they can be a warm dog snuggling in when the heat is not working and the room is freezing. I wanted to keep reading but I also didn't want the book to end. It's one of those books I will re-read with pleasure. It is an extraordinary book!

        It's an Advanced Reader copy and as you see, "final cover to be revealed". It's out at the end of January, 2024. Thanks to Harper Collins Children's Books for this copy.
       I read the original book by Zora Neale Hurston years ago and now have read this adaptation for young readers by Ibram X. Kendi. He kept the flavor, the horror and the heartbreak told to Hurston by Cudjo Lewis, captured and brought to the states by the Clotilda, the last slave ship to bring slaves. Even then, it was illegal and they slipped through and even tried to burn the ship to keep it from being found. In his own dialect, Cudjo, African name, Kossula, begins with his life in Africa which he has never forgotten and seemed to yearn for it even as he worked hard as a slave, then a free man, helping to create their next home, Africatown. This was the advanced copy and the art by Jazzmen Lee-Johnson was not complete, but it looks as it will be powerful illustrations that capture some special parts of Kudjo's story. It will be a good book for many kids to learn of that time from one who lived it.
      Here is a Wikipedia article that also tells the story. 

       First published in Germany, it's whimsical along with being very serious. A man finds a penguin who tells that it had been flying and now cannot. What happens while he stays with the man is heartwarming because of the man's persistence and creativity to help and the penguin's willingness not to give up! What happens at the end shows how one thing overshadows all the other ideas. Wonderful line illustrations help tell this adventurous tale. What would you do if you found a penguin in need? This will make an intriguing conversation with a group! 

Joseph Coelho was the UK Children's Laureate in 2022. His many "ten-word tiny tales" host a different artist for each in this page-by-page amazing book that will thrill and inspire, have readers smiling and mostly laughing out loud! For classrooms and any writer who wishes to have a ton of fun writing a story or a poem that can "enhance" the already written story, this is the book. Or, readers can sit and pore over pages with delight, words rumbling around inside the brain, many of them "What if?" 
          Here is the artist list, copied from Goodreads: Alex T. Smith * Camilla Sucre * Chuck Groenink * Daishu Ma * Dapo Adeola * Dena Seiferling * Flavia Z. Drago * Freya Hartas * Helen Stephens * Julia Sarda * Katie May Green * Karl James Mountford * Maja Kastelic * Mariachiara Di Giorgio * Nahid Kazemi * Raissa Figueroa * Reggie Brown * Shaun Tan * Thea Lu * Yas Imamura * Yoko Tanaka

        There are many books by Brendan Wenzel that I love. He shows the heights that imagination can reach in his creations and this is another one that young and old will love. The stretch of color between creature to creature amazes and at first, the next one isn't quite recognizable, then one word and one painted frame gives the answer! All kinds of dreaming in words and illustrations make a special book. "Then there I was, a speeding pilot, soaring onward." is one example of the subtle movements readers will find. It's terrific, will entertain at bedtime and any time! 

         It's Jason Reynolds' debut picture book with all his usual wordplay to love, showing off this story of a party, yes, for Langston Hughes. He says he saw a picture of Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka dancing and wondered what in the world was going on! Well, it was quite a "blowout for Langston" in Jason's words. With the Pumphrey brothers illustrating, one can imagine the music, laughter, and the poetry singing in letters big and small on the pages. There's an early double-page showing Langston from his window "daydreaming under the Ohio sky" where each of his words "fling my arms wide" are inside birds "flying all. around him". The text reads: "imagining the clouds as paper to put them on." Beginning endpapers show bookmarks for all the people (who could be) at the party, like Countee Cullen, Alice Walker, and Ashley Bryan. Those at the end, have bookmarks with Langston Hughes' book titles. Although it's a picture book, it could bring lots of ideas for further research of all the Black writers mentioned, including Langston Hughes! 

          It's okay to cry and in everyone's lives, including a child growing up, there are also numerous reasons when tears appear. It may be a bump on the knee, or someone at recess doing something mean. But there are times when tears come from happiness, like loving on a new giggling baby sister or wrestling with dad along with a huge laugh fest! Daniel Miyares shows some on this special cover with full-color actions happening inside, all from a young boy, who realizes each one is really okay. This is one to share with every child, showing that tears appear in all kinds of times, and help in all kinds of ways!

What's Next: Finishing Tom Angleberger's Two-Headed Chicken - Beak to the Future and starting The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh.


  1. I heard about Ten Word Tiny Tales at the Candlewick booth at ALA. It sounds like a cool book!

    1. It's really fun, Lisa, with lots of variations which is great. Thanks!

  2. Zora Neale Hurston is a wonderful writer! We just finished reading her book “Their Eyes were Watching God” (and watching the movie with Halle Berry) as part of our literature curriculum. It’s an inspiring and insightful story.

    1. That sounds wonderful! Yes, I agree ab0ut that story, too. Thanks for telling me!

  3. I love Daniel Miyares' art and should look for Sometimes I Cry. Have a great reading week!

    1. Thanks, Earl, yes, I love it, too! This new one is another that is lovely and loving! Wishing you a good week, too!


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