Monday, July 1, 2024

It's Monday - Sharing More Great Books


        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 have some new books to share today! They are good!

Thanks to Charlesbridge for my copy!
      When I received this debut book by Jeff Schill, I was drawn to what seemed like a unique and fun story. It promised a different perspective on kids who had to shoulder adult responsibilities due to the loss of both parents. And it certainly delivered on that front, but it was so much more than I expected! The story opens with a tale from a magazine called "Gunslinger Magazine", a humorous western shoot-out set in Destiny, Colorado, by an author named The Kid. This unexpected twist in the plot had me hooked from the start! 

        Then it moves to tell about Henry, fourteen, the oldest of four boys and starts by showing them all digging their father's grave way up a hill by their mom's. As they dig, he begins to figure out the duties each one will carry according to their innate skills. They certainly want very few people in town to know what's happened for fear they'll be separated and sent to other states. 
        Keeping on brings readers to a publishing house in Philly, and in a prison break-out in Arkansas, we meet a bad guy named Snake-Eye Sam. That is when I started to ask, "Wait! What?" And, I returned to re-read some of the first parts, realizing this was such an intriguing plot with varied parts, and that I could not wait to read more and more. The characters, good and bad, filled me up with smiles for the good ones, laughter at the goofy ones, and sadness for the mean ones because even they had started rough and because of that, stayed mean! The layers of each, even for the sheriff who didn't do much but had a good heart, keep piling on. Jeff Schill's descriptions simply make one want to know more and more! The language is old Western, just right if people need to share with someone and read it aloud together. Where else could you say, "You got any of those outlaw magazines in this here ring-ding store?" or "Ain't no one catch us in them hills." or "I ain't looking for no trouble." 
       It's a terrific book, one not to be missed! One last great part is that the inside of the cover unfolds to make a tall poster of THE KID! 

the inside of the cover,

        I'd like to thank Publisher's Weekly for their "Grab-A-Galley" contest, in which I received an e-galley of this book. It debuts today! 

           For any child who has to see her Mom go away for a while, but specifically for those military kids whose parents are in the military, Sarah Hovorka lets a young girl, also named Sarah, tell the story. Young Sarah is excited in the beginning because she finally gets to see her Mom at Boot Camp graduation. But first, her mom's group comes marching by, and her mom can't even look and smile at her! It's a sensitive look at those kids and the challenge to keep the loving connections between them and their parents, this time, a mom. She brings Sarah and her brother a pair of military boots, but it's hard for Sarah to like them. She just wants her mom! This 'camouflage' may have more than one meaning here as young Sarah tries to show she's proud of her mom, yet in one scene, she says she misses cooking with her. Elif Balta Parks' illustrations are softly rendered, subtly "camouflaged"! 
       The back matter shares that this is based on Sarah Hovorka's life and shows a glimpse and tribute to her mom. She has also added tips for helping in the separations that occur. There are author and illustrator bios, too! It's a great book for those who live these experiences or shows a side of life some may not understand.  

       It's another wonderful book by Traci Sorell with gorgeous illustrations by Michaela Goade that make one laugh at all the love and laughter when a family leaves the city to move, home! That's home to trees to climb, a tire swing, and a creek that one can hear, which also has a crawdad. It's also home to a huge table of food to enjoy and family to visit. The young girl telling about her move keeps a journal, and Michaela Goade adds a marvelous double-page spread created there of the journey, showing home is in the Cherokee Nation. One final line: "No more faraway family." It's a lovely story of a journey I imagine many would love to make!

           Alyssa Reynoso-Morris tells all about 
plátanos, when to harvest, what time to eat, and what time to let them rest until very ripe to create a new kind of dish. The text intermixes English with Spanish, and there is a glossary at the back, if needed, along with yummy recipes! I found it easy to understand what was being said. For example, when learning about this history, Abuela says, "Plátanos son la comida of our ancestors." Young Esme and a younger sister learn all about them from their abuela, the stories from the past, and that they weren't allowed to read or write so had to memorize all the ways to prepare plátanos. Esme asks the questions as she, too, learns, and with her little sister, gets to love the tasting! I learned more ways to prepare plátanos, too, and Mariyah Rahman's illustrations fill up the book in beautiful scenes that show the LOVE that this special fruit brings. Hurrah for plátanos!

Next: The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon


  1. I hadn't heardof THE KID, but you have definitely made me want to go check it out!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Thanks, Nicole. As you read, I really enjoyed it! Hope you will, too!

  2. Camouflage and Being Home are especially intriguing to me. I love Traci Sorrell's other books that I've read, and this one sounds especially strong. Jeff Schill's book sounds like one that keeps the reader on their toes, making connections, going back to reread and discover new meanings. I'll be on the lookout.

    1. Those picture books are special, Elisabeth, and I suspect The Kid is not for everyone but I thoroughly enjoyed it! There are so many choices for what to find and read. I hope you enjoy some of these! Thank you!

  3. There aren't as many books about parents in the military as there should be. I enjoyed The Kid, but that period of history just doesn't circulate. Caroline Lawrence's P.K. Pinkerton Mysteries was one that I thought should have gotten more love.

    1. It was very nice to see this 'Camouflage Mom'. I'm sure you know more about what's loved, Karen, and I wondered about 'The Kid'. Thanks for sharing!

  4. The Kid is new to me and sounds intriguing, especially considering the lack of books written specifically for children who must take on adult responsibilities. That fold out poster is really neat!! It's so great to visit your blog again. I've had to take a couple long sabbaticals from blogging while I settle into the new expectations of elementary school teaching. WOW have things changed, but I still appreciate and MISS this blogging community. <3

    1. Wow, Shaye, I haven't heard from you in a long time! Glad to hear that you're teaching. The Kid is just lots of fun! Thanks!


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