Monday, February 19, 2024

Monday Reading - Books for your Lists!


        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! Remember to check out the winners of the Cybil's awards! 

        I was not a Mexikid, but the adventures 
Pedro Martin tells in this wonderful graphic novel about his family's adventure(s) going to and from Mexico makes me want to have been one! I had some special abuelitos, but only one sibling!
       It's a memoir of Pedro's road trip with the family to bring their abuelito back from Mexico to live with them. Pedro has heard the stories of his brave and strong abuelito, crime-fighter, and part of the Mexican Revolution, but he isn't very excited to have him move in. Pedro has eight brothers and sisters and their home is crowded already. There's lots to learn about border crossing and fun toys to be found in Mexico, also huge parties with other family members, and then some sadness in different ways of saying goodbye. It's a trip that would be great all the way through, but the ending connection between Pedro and his abuelito makes the sweetest ending. Now I hope there's more to tell, next time! I loved the creative and varied way  Martin tells the story in his art and words, with lots of emotion in sad, hilarious, and happy times.   
         Awards won for this debut graphic novel: 

Newbery Honor Book   Pura Belpré Author Award

Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award

       It's a beautiful book by Julie Leung that was acknowledged as a Caldecott Honor and winner of the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, where a mother tells her darling 'bao bei' (an endearment like 'darling' or 'honey') of his dual heritage through a story of dragons in two parallel stories. These adventures take him to his grandmothers, and along the way, he meets two different and enchanting versions of dragons and learns the stories. Hanna Cha filled my eyes with splendid and lush illustrations as the boy took his journey. The dragons are both different, and both fabulous, and the story creates a loving tale for those who connect with it and those who will wonder about their own stories. I can imagine the rich conversation when reading this aloud to a group of children.
      This won a Newbery Honor this year!

      Buffy Silverman has previously brought us the joys of autumn and welcoming spring, now the most recent revels in winter, where we in some areas often find beauty "On A Flake-Flying Day". I first read this on February 10th, happy to be home and watching my own flakes flying. Buffy's rhyming that accompanies fabulous photos glories in, as the sub-title says, "Watching Winter's Wonders". Kids make forts, red berries stand out, bears nap, and Buffy tells us all about it in delicious, winter-wonderful rhyme, like "Weasel whitens, Cardinal brightens, Frost glistens, and Owl listens." There is added information about each animal or happening included plus a list of books for further reading and a glossary. Buffy's books make a time of both mystery and celebration when studying seasons. Don't miss this latest one!

          Paul B. Janeczko's posthumous collection shares older poems and a few new ones from 34 poets, in three sections defining home: Home, Street, and Town. Some of the poems readers may recognize as old favorites, like X.J. Kennedy's rhythmic  "Home": "East side, West side,/all around the town./Which side/is the best side?/Wherever you sit down/to eat your supper, pet your cat. . ." And they will love the new "Ice Cream Truck" by Irene Latham. Doesn't everyone have one if they live in a town or city? Nikki Grimes writes about a "Block Party". It's a great book to share with students who will want to write about the special places they live, and perhaps illustrate their work. Hyewon Yum's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations beautifully show the lively days of people, and animals, too, having lots of fun where they live. The variety of ways to imagine where we live and what we do will inspire all who read this lovely book. It's a Cybils finalist in poetry collections.

        It's not easy to pass by a book by Robert Burleigh and Wendell Minor, a team that can tell a story for young readers that's both beautiful and informative. This is one animal family’s story, and shows the dangers now facing ice bears way up north. A mother bear and her cub are hungry and wait at the ice's edge to catch, perhaps a seal! Suddenly, the ice breaks off, and they are set adrift! What happens next fills up with tension as the mother bear will have to swim to rescue her baby cub. There is added information at the back, about ice bears and the challenges they face because of climate change. It's a good introduction to our changing climate and its dangers to animals and humans. 

           As you may know, I live in Denver, Colorado, so when I found this book, I certainly wanted to read it. I've been to Camp Hale, recently made a national monument by President Biden: Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. I've been there and toured it with students. Now I know so much more from this fascinating and detailed history by Maurice Isserman. According to Isserman, it began with a few men, veteran skiers, sitting around a table at a Vermont Country Inn in 1940, discussing the war and the latest news about the Finnish soldiers holding back the invaders. Those soldiers "knew" how to fight in the mountains! Thus began a seed of something they thought the United States would need and should have, soldiers trained in mountain warfare. It's a fascinating history, including all the bumps, the horrors, and the triumphs that the 10th Mountain Division holds in its history. Descendants continue to gather. In fact, the latest one is the week, starting on Wednesday. The webpage of the group is here! If you like historical reading about World War II, this is a fascinating history, There's a poignant afterword and many, many notes at the back.

           I read this fairly fast, my introduction to S.A. Cosby. Both tense and terrifying for all fictional characters involved and for readers. I both liked and hated the underlying, and often blatant, instances of racism shown in Charon County. If you want to read my whole review, find it here! This time it's exacerbated by the fact that this story is about the county's first black sheriff, Titus Crown, former FYI agent, back home to care for his dad, another character among several whom readers will admire. 

Now Reading - the group of short stories, "collected" by A.S. King, The Collectors, and another mystery.


  1. I'm glad Mexikid was recognized with those awards. Great book!

    1. Me, too! Yes, it was such fun, lots of activity on that trip! Thanks, Lisa!

  2. I definitely want to read The Collectors- at least, Randy Ribay's. But there are so many good authors who contributed, I might as well read it all. Also, on your reply on my blog, you mentioned an interview that you read. Which one was it? I'm curious.

    1. Hi Earl, The Collectors is really fun so far! As for the interview, it's here on the Official SCBWI Blog - Thanks!

  3. Oh, cool. Thanks. I didn't know that my newest co-worker had interviewed my boss- and mentioned me in passing. I should thank her. And maybe start writing again so I can feel justified in renewing my scbwi membership

    1. I'm so glad I mentionned it, Earl. It's a great compliment to you! Even in your posts, I find book titles I've not known before! Get writing!

  4. I've just downloaded the Ice Bear book. It is terrifying what is happening to polar bears because of climate change. Mexikid is on my reserve list and should be available to read soon. The Winter Army sounds like a fascinating read. I am always excited to read books, fiction or nonfiction, set in my local region. All the Sinners Bleed sounds both fascinating and terrifying. I don't do terrifying well.
    Happy reading this week.

    1. All sounds good, Cheriee. I hope you love those two though, yes, the polar bear story shows the terrible challenges they, and we, face! The mystery is terrifying so skip that for sure! Thanks!

  5. I NEED to read Mexikid! It is loved in my library and won so many awards; I need to move it up my TBR (I've just been not wanting to read GNs...).

    Happy reading this week, and thank you for linking up :)


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