Monday, April 8, 2024

It's Monday - For your TBR 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! It's been another warm, wonderful spring-like week but the weekend was a challenge with constant high winds. Will you be able to watch the eclipse today, or a partial one? It's very exciting for so many across the country!

         I'm writing and posting a poem every day for April, Poetry Month! Hoping you will come visit when you can! 

Thanks to Shannon Donaghy at Smith Publicity
for this copy, published by Amplify Publishing

          This is the fifth book in the Owning The Dash Kids' Books series. Written in quatrains on brightly colored pages showing all kinds of action and "kids of all ages, looks, shapes, and sizes." Akash and Mila are heading for a new kind of day, the first time they are in a gymnastics class. Their friend, Dash, already fairly accomplished, greets them with a big smile, and they are excited! The first lesson is to try out the vault, a seemingly simple run, jump, and land. Mila is not so sure, but Akash goes at his first chance. Sadly, he falls flat and doesn't want anyone to see tears, but he is sad. Now, Mila is unsure if she wants any part of this, and Akash feels the same. Friend Dash comforts, as do others who encourage and say more than once how everyone makes mistakes, and that's okay! No one will make fun of the work and will support their efforts again and again. The support shows how people can find ways to keep going after failure. Anthony C. Delauney aims to help young children learn about decision-making without fear of judgment with a great life lesson in a picture book for young readers. An intro for adults is included.  

        It's hard to resist such a title and I was lucky to find it fast at my library! I'm sorry I missed this marvelous book by Bob Graham last year because it is special. However, spring is here, just as it is in the book when children say goodbye to winter and race outside to play; as the story reads, they "spilled out like candies from a box." Graham's drawings of the kids feel like old friends sometimes. They are darling and always recognizable. One young girl named Amanda brought a big box of chalk, and the party really started! She drew a big circle with lines and circles moving out from that; Jack made a dandelion, and then Janet drew a mushroom. Like all gardens, it grew and grew with the help of Lovejoy, the Bradley twins, Indira, Cecilia, Arthur, and more! People took pictures from high up in the apartment building. To see the amazing garden that seems to be spring's celebration and what happened a few days later will be for you to discover when you find the book, read, and love! It is terrific! (On the back cover: "Creativity can grow anywhere. . ."

       Nina Laden has written a poem for change, challenging everyone who reads this to find ways to "grow" various and important seeds to make our world better. For example, a part of the book reads, "Sow seeds of kindness,/reap many friends./Sow seeds of understanding, tie up loose ends." Pages continue full of kinds of seeds that offer beautiful ideas for seeds to plant in one's life and in the world.  
        Sawyer Cloud, who lives in Madagascar, shares that she's used the beauty of Ankarafantsika, a national park, for her gorgeous illustrations, full of plants and animals,  and lots of people living their lives while sowing seeds. There are lovely notes from both author and illustrator at the end.

         I've never heard of a "rain garden," and Michelle Schaub, with Blanca Gómez's color-filled illustrations, creates a poetic story of what can happen to make the most of needed moisture when rain goes "Plink. Plip. Plop./We watch the raindrops drop." One can catch it in a rain barrel; sometimes it flows down gutters into a particular waterway. But if you desire a "rain garden", it's good to make a path, dig a bowl-like plot, and plant! It's a colorful 'how-to' garden with all the benefits to a variety of pollinators. Each page and brief rhymes are explained more in the back-matter! If your school has a garden, perhaps there is room for this kind of garden, too? Or, if you don't have a garden, maybe there's a place for yours? 

        My son-in-law has a "blue pickup" that he loves. Though he doesn't know all the history, he knows some. I'll share this with him!
        This book by Natasha Tripplett, who is from Northern California but has family in Jamaica, too, fills her story with love between a grandfather and his granddaughter, whom he calls Ju-Girl. It's a beautiful story of love and fun and learning. Ju-Girl has learned quite a bit about car repair from her grandfather who fixes cars. He's so busy, he has no time to fix "The Blue Pickup," but one time, Ju-Girl comes over from home and he finally, finally has it ready to go! They travel around their neighborhood and into town as Grandfather tells about people and how he used to deliver papers and other goods. The gorgeous full-color paintings by Monica Mikai just feel so happy, as these two share their lives with lots of love and fun. 

Still Reading:  The Many Assassinations of Samar, The Seller of Dreams, by Daniel Nayeri, illustrations by Daniel Miyares. 


  1. How are you enjoying The Many Assassinations of Samar? I started it, didn't connect, and put it down in favor of other books but I do want to get back to it and try again. The Concrete Garden is such a smart concept for a picture book--I'll be looking for that for sure.

    1. Well, you see that I'm taking a long, long time for The Many Assassinations of Samar. I like the stories but it isn't compelling enough to keep going. I do wonder how many kids will be reading it! I adored The Concrete Garden, so fun. Hope you like it, too! Thanks, Elisabeth!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed The Concrete Garden. I think that it's a testimony to collaborative spirit as well as everything else.

    1. I adored it, Cheriee! Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. I've never heard of a rain garden either. It sounds like an interesting book!

    1. It is, a great all-school project, too! Thanks, Lisa!

  4. What a lovely set of books, Linda! I love that three of these five have a gardening theme in some way, and I'm struck by A Place for Rain and how warm the illustrations look.

    I also keep seeing The Blue Pickup, and something about the premise sounds so compelling—partially because I'm a car nerd, and partially because the grandfather's love for his granddaughter (complete with stories and a nickname for her) feels like my own relationship with my grandparents. As I'm writing this, I feel like grandparents are one of the first ways kids broaden their perspective and learn about people's lives different from their own!

    Also, I love the poem you shared today about the eclipse—I wonder too what kind of emotions and stories and impact it will leave behind! Thanks so much for the thoughtful and kind post, Linda—I appreciate it so much!


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