IMWAYR: Light and Dark Reading and an Anniversary

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I was not as much of a dedicated reader as I wanted to be last week. Migraine headache vs. reading brain = knocked out. To overcome, I spent the weekend with a light a funny read and a dark, yet important graphic novel.

Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins is the third in the Mother Bruce series, and it’s the best, in my opinion. “Bruce was a bear who did not like the holidays…Bruce also did not like being cold…” When Bruce dons warm weather long underwear and a cap, which happened to be red, the animals of the forest think he’s Santa Claus. Now he’s stuck — awake AND mistaken for someone else…again! This hilarious story is sure to be a holiday hit. It hits stores tomorrow, so get your copy asap!

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, with artwork by Emily Carroll, is the graphic novel remake of the 1999 controversial novel, Speak. I read the novel years ago, and saw the movie, and supported the book with its presence in my former classroom library and today in the school library. I added the graphic novel this year, and I’m so glad that Melinda’s story is reborn for a whole new generation of readers. This is an important topic, and girls need to feel that they can SPEAK out against violence and isolation. If you haven’t read either of these books yet, read them soon.

Next up for me…continuing Seafire and Fresh Ink (see August 27th’s post) and this week’s anniversary reading of 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and Nine,Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin. We remember.

 

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, at Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Book Review: Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

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Consider this colorful picture book for your first days of school…for all ages and grades.

Yellows, Blues, and Reds live peacefully in a city, until one day, a Red declares, “Reds are the best!” The whole community is thrust into chaos — so much so that the three color groups must live apart, forming segregated neighborhoods. One day, Blue and Yellow are seen together with a new color…what will become of the union? In Mixed: A Colorful Story, Arree Chung shows us a world of colors, teaches us about tolerance, and how “mixing it up” might just be the best thing for everyone.

Why I Like This Book: My current school is a mix of old and new — students who have attended there and students who are now enrolled due to school closings and consolidation in our district. This is a perfect book to make students (and teachers) think about ways we can come together, and that being united is better than being alone.

Why You Should Read This Book: It’s colorful! (Hint: there’s an art lesson here — primary colors, secondary colors.) It includes simple and fun characters, but it also introduces a big message about communities that we all need.

IMWAYR: Stories Are Important! Let Them Read!

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To kick off the school year and prepare for Banned Books Week (September 23 – 29), I’m revisiting these two 2017 fabulous titles:

Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissman

I sat with Elissa at dinner during Nerd Camp Michigan this summer, and she is amazing! She put together stories and snippets of work from now-famous authors from when they were kids. The subtitle of the book is Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew As Kids. Authors include my friends, Kwame Alexander and Chris Grabenstein. I love their stories!

Ban This Book, by Alan Gratz

School boards are in charge. Of reading. Of books that are allowed in the libraries of schools. Wait, what? Amy Anne Ollinger isn’t going to let Mrs. Jones, the school librarian, or her mom, or the school board, tell her that she cannot read her favorite book of all time, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (by E. L. Konigsburg)! Amy Anne and her friends defend their books, and their right to read them. Alan Gratz has an Author’s Note stating that all the books mentioned in Ban This Book have been challenged or banned at least once in the last 30 years. Sad. Makes me want to read Coraline (by Neil Gaiman) again before Halloween.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, at Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

 

 

Book Review: SWING by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

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In another amazing collaboration from Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess, we follow Noah and his best friend, Walt through the ups and downs of high school life. Noah and Walt are NOT on the school baseball team, but Walt hits the batting cages with fierce commitment and passion, channeling his love of jazz to help him find his SWING. Noah is a faithful friend and follower, while working on his own passions, especially his love for Sam, a beautiful BFF he’s known since “forever” ago. Sam has a boyfriend, though—none other than the buff baseball star of the team, Cruz. 

When Noah finds a birthday gift for his mom at a local thrift store, he also finds his courage in the box — the words of old love letters that were left inside. Noah copies the words for his love, longing to live the life that Cruz now has. When Walt delivers one of the letters to Sam, however, the three friends’ relationships start to change.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood is dealing with bigger issues — there’s life and love, and then there’s allegiance and angst. Patriotic duty vs. empathetic obligation towards our fellow man. Kwame and Mary SWING the readers thinking around, fluctuating with hard-hitting emotion that leaves one breathless, wondering about our own lives in the midst of all that is good and evil. Our own little lives — up against the global society.

What I loved about Swing: I loved ALL the characters in Swing, right down to the grandma who is supposed to be keeping an eye on Noah while his parents are away, and Floyd, Walt’s “love doctor” cousin. Swing will remind adults of their high school days, and help current students find ways to deal with their feelings, all while helping us think about our place on this earth.

Why you should read Swing: You will laugh with, and long for, the characters. You’ll reminisce, and maybe even renew your friendships from high school. You’ll cry. You’ll think. You’ll want to be a better person after reading Swing.

IMWAYR: Choices!

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One of the most important aspects of my job as a librarian is to spread the book love! I want students to know what books are out there, and I want to supply them with those books. There are so many choices! This week I’m excited about…

SWING by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Swing is the story of Noah and his best friend, Walt (aka: Swing). The boys are NOT on the baseball team, but they also have other pressing concerns surrounding love and life. This book will swing you around and around, and even teach you about jazz music greats and Salvador Dali. You’ll love it! (Coming October 2nd — pre-order now! Seriously. You want this one.)

SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker

(From Goodreads) “After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas…” Who wouldn’t want to read about adventure on the open seas AND strong women? (Well, okay. I can think of some people.) I read the preview for this book on Net Galley, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. (Book birthday TOMORROW!)

FRESH INK! An Anthology

These authors are some of my favorites, and I can’t wait to see how this book supports the #WNDB (We Need Diverse Books) movement. It’s out already! I’ve pulled it to the top of my “To Be Read” list for this coming long weekend.

 

 

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, at Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

 

 

 

IMWAYR: It’s Monday, and It’s a Perfect Day to SWING Into Action!

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This day couldn’t be better! I’ve been waiting for this, and I found out today that I’m officially on the SWING Launch Team!

SWING by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

October 2, 2018

Pre-order your copy now!

I’m excited to get started reading tonight! Here we go!

#PB10for10: Picture Books I Will Share With My New Staff

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I’m moving to a new school, and I couldn’t be happier with my fine arts academy and middle school staff. I am lucky to be a part of the arts integration movement, and the school library will be the best place to support our curriculum. Here are ten picture books I will share with my new staff and students.

To Start the Year/Build Community (We are the Bears, and we are Brave):

Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins (2015)

Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall (2017)

For The Visual Artists:

Drawn Together, by Minh Lê (2018)

Vincent Can’t Sleep, by Barb Rosenstock (2017)

I Cannot Forget My Math and Science Friends:

7 Ate 9, by Tara Lazar (2017)

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires (2014)

For My Choir and Band Buddies:

When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan (2002)

Incorporate Beauty, Research, and a Little Love:

Red & Lulu, by Matt Tavares (2017)

It’s All About Perspective/The Joy of Learning:

They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel (2016)

It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk, by Josh Funk (2017)

 

About the #PB10for10 Community:

“Picture Book 10 for 10” has been around since 2010. Love picture books? Then you’re in the right place. This community is dedicated to sharing picture book love. Please visit the hashtag, #PB10for10 to learn about picture books you’ll want to read next. Each August is the Picture Book 10 for 10 event, and in February the community hosts Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10. Have fun reading and enjoy all the resources shared.

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