October 2020 Reading Recap

October started off as a great reading month. With the freedom to read whatever interested me, I picked up some MGBooktober recommendations and really enjoyed Train I Ride by Paul Mosier, Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadano, and Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James.

But as the month progressed and I did my mid point reflection, I realized I wasn’t reading a lot of Canadian or debut middle grade fiction, two areas that are really important to me. When Laurie recommended Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, the following quote resonated with me: “Your actions reveal how badly you want something. If you keep saying something is a priority but never act on it, then you don’t really want it.” If reading and promoting Canadian MG fiction and debut authors were priorities to me, my actions weren’t reflecting it. I adjusted my reading in the second half of the month, and noticed a difference in how I felt about my reading life. I need freedom to read, but with focus on what matters to me.

POSTS

Here are links to the posts I published this month:

5 Spooky 2020 MG Reads Published in 2020

Review of Trapped in Hitler’s Web by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Review of A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Review of The Puck Drops Here by Kevin Sylvester

Review of Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Review of Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend

Review of Hockey Night in Kenya by Danson and Eric Walters

Review of Hatch by Kenneth Oppel

STATS

I read 18 books in October (above average for me) for a total of 177 books so far this year (below average for me). Of those titles, 5 were 2021 middle grade debut authors (28%), 7 were ownvoices stories (39%) and 6 were by Canadian authors (33%). I read 9 physical books (50%).

FAVORITES

My favorite read this month were Kiki’s Delivery Service, Tilly and the Bookwanderers, A Place to Hang The Moon by Kate Albus, and Treasures of the Twelve by Cindy Lin.

NEXT MONTH

I plan to focus on reading debut authors in November, and sharing those books with you.

Favourite Finds for Everyone

October

It was hard to narrow the list down to ten books; I was fortunate to read so many stellar picture books this past month. I decided to highlight non-Canadian books in this post and will do another post highlighting Canadian authors and illustrators later. So here they are in alphabetical order.

The Boy and the Gorilla

Author: Jackie Azúa Kramer

Illustrations: Cindy Derby

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Release Date: Oct. 13/20

It’s such a difficult topic to deal with, but Jackie Azúa Kramer has given us a gift that will help our readers dealing with death and grief. On the day of his mother’s funeral, a gorilla comes to ease the boy’s pain and answer the questions he has, unable to talk with his father. The gorilla patiently answers the boy in a straight forward compassionate manner and stays at his side until he can speak to his father. Once the boy and the father share their grief and memories, the gorilla no longer needed, quietly slips away. The language of the answers is soft-spoken and sensitive- “Where did mom go? No one knows for sure.” I am becoming a big fan of Cindy Derby’s talents as I discover more and more of her work (Outside In and Too Many Birds), and this book is no exception. The muted tones and the use of watercolours create the grief-stricken and then hopeful mood. 

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Palaeontologist

Author & Illustrator: Linda Skeers & Marta Álvarez Miguéns 

Publisher: First Second

Release Date: July 7/20

Readers will learn a great deal about Mary Anning, who was fascinated by fossils and bones and made several contributions to the science now known as Palaeontology. I love a biography that shares how women overcame being in a male dominated science and becomes recognized and appreciated for her knowledge, dedication and discoveries. Back matter includes Bone Bits and Fossil Facts, a timeline of her life and an author’s note.

Donut Feed the Squirrels

Author: Mika Song

Publisher: Random House Graphics

Release Date: Sept. 29/20

Early graphic novel series are hard to come by but, this series will be an excellent addition and fit alongside Elephant and Piggie, Jan Thomas’s Giggle Gang, and Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie Like Reading companion books. I laughed out loud reading this new graphic novel and know other young will enjoy it over and over again. Nora and Belly, two squirrel friends, have to make alternate plans when their breakfast pancakes get burnt. When they figure out the delicious smell is donuts from the donut truck, they know what they want for breakfast. However, when they go to order, instead of receiving a donut, they get sprayed with water. Now the game is on, and these two will stop at nothing to get their breakfast. With great supporting characters and easy to follow graphic panels and a sense of fun and humour, I look forward to reading the next book Apple of My Pie.

Evelyn del Rey is Moving Away

Author Meg Medina

Illustrator: Sonia Sanchez 

Publisher: Candlewick

Release Date: Sept. 8/20

Moving is hard, and Meg Medina beautifully captures a friendship that is going to change. What I appreciated about this story is the reality of the move right there – boxes, moving trucks, parents loading things up in the car. It’s right there in our faces, and yet we know these two girls will stand the test of time because of the things they did together. Ms. Medina shares with readers the memories between these two friends with her words. “…Evelyn’s mirror, with the stickers around the edge, her easel for painting on rainy days and the sofa that we bounce on to get to the moon.” The move is taking place in the fall, associated with death, yet the vibrant colour palette depicted is full of light, energy and optimism. We all should be so lucky to have a friendship like Evelyn del Rey and Daniela.

Frankenstein Doesn’t Wear Earmuffs

Author John Loren

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: July 21/20

Ever had to don on a parka and winter boots for Halloween? If so, you are going to love this story and sadly relate to this a little too much. A little boy is getting ready for Halloween and dressing up as Frankenstein. However, his parents are concerned that the weather is not going to cooperate, and so every time he is ready to leave, they add something else to wear to keep him warm. Bundled up so much that no one can tell what his awesome costume is, he shouts the book’s namesake, shedding the extra layers and leaves. Once out and about, he realizes that perhaps it is a bit chilly and slushy wishing perhaps, he had some of the items his parents wanted to give him. When he meets up with his friends, he sees that they all have warm clothes and gear his parents initially wanted him to wear. Right on cue, the boy’s parents show up with all the gear, and everyone has a wonderful Halloween. Told in rhyme, this will be a cold-weather favourite, and I could relate to both perspectives.

The Invisible Alphabet

Author: Joshua David Stein

Illustrator: Ron Barrett

Publisher:  Rise X Penguin Workshop

Release Date: Sept. 22/20

A twist on the alphabet book, this book will provide loads of discussion and is worth adding to your collections. This version uses letters of the alphabet, creating words to talk about all the things we do not see, just missed or waiting to see. Examples include; L is for Lost, with a missing sock, and W is for Whiteout looking out into a blizzard. I love this new twist and perspective to look at the alphabet. Illustrations leave a lot of white space to emphasize the empty or invisible space.

Love is Powerful

Author: Heather Dean Brewer

Illustrator: LeUyen Pham

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Release Date: Sept. 8/20

Based on the real-life experience of 6-year-old Mari, this is the story of a young girl who makes signs and participates in the 2017 Women’s March with her mom. Once there amongst thousands of people, she begins to chant what she has written on her sign Love is Powerful. To her amazement, others join in until the crowd is chanting, “Love is Powerful!” What a positive message for young readers to find about the influence they can have on adults. Vibrant illustrations depict the upbeat mood and the diversity of the crowd, ensuring that all readers will be able to see themselves in the book.

Me and Mama

Author: Cozbi A. Cabrera

Publisher:  Denene Millner Books/Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: Aug. 26/20

The illustrations alone by Ms. Cabrera make this book worth having on display – and yes, it needs to be front and center so readers can take in the two-page spreads of a little girl and her mama spending a rainy day together. Told from the little girl’s perspective, readers spend the day with them as the rest of her family sleep. The two of them will take Max the dog out for a walk in the rain, but before they can do this, they need to get ready. Here is where we see the little girl share the similarities and differences between herself and her mama. Right from the endpapers depicting big and little objects, you get the sense that there is a special bond behind the pairing, and the story is about to unfold. A beautiful celebration of mothers and daughters expressing the love between them during an ordinary rainy day reminding us, any day can create memories that will last a lifetime.

A Polar Bear in the Snow

Author: Mac Barnett

Art by: Shawn Harris

Publisher: Candlewick

Release Date: Oct. 13/20

With a sparse number of words and incredible art, this is going to be a popular book released just in time for the winter snuggly reads. True to Mr. Barrett’s writing style, there is a surprise or two for the reader to appreciate. The art in this book is a star as well; using cut paper and ink is stunning. The opening page is textured white paper -no sign of a polar bear until the following pages where the nose and then the eyes appear. The author invites the reader to speculate where the polar bear is going and then proceeds to take us where he goes with an ending that promotes discussion and my favourite cut paper page leaving us almost as we started the book.

You are a Beautiful Beginning

Author: Nina Laden

Illustrator: Kelsey Garrity-Riley

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Release Date: Aug. 25/20

A simple but powerful poem reminds readers of the simple ways of leading a beautiful life. Three friends spend the day together, being present with one another and working together to build a community around them. A reaffirming message to love yourself while serving the community, real or imaginary. Warm illustrations that are playful and whimsical, there are lots of layers to this book and wondrous things to find on closer inspection.

There you have it – a variety of picture books from my month of reading. In the future, I am hoping to shift gears a bit and have a theme around the picture books read. Are there any themes you would suggest?

Hatch

Author: Kenneth Oppel

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: September 15/20

Reviewer: Kathie

This was one of my most anticipated fall releases, and it was even better than I had expected. It’s been a very long time since I read a whole book this size in one day, but I just couldn’t put it down.

Anaya, Petra and Seth discover they are part alien, and try to keep their physical manifestations of their DNA a secret. Unfortunately, their secret gets out and they are taken to a confined to a facility where they discover that there are other teens just like them. The more the group communicates, the more they realize what they’re capable of, and alliances start to change. Secrets are kept, others are shared with the wrong people, and before long no one is really sure who they can trust. They know they need to escape before the experiments being run on them take things too far, but are the ready for what the outside world has become in their absence? Are they capable of using their skills to save those they love, or will it only endanger them more?

This story reminds me of a dystopian YA novel like Divergent, and yet it works very well for a middle grade audience. The action is fast-paced, the stakes are high, and the shifting alliances and betrayals leave you questioning what’s going to happen next. Each of the characters deals with their own struggle to belong in some way, and I liked watching how their friendship was tested and responded to new challenges. This story felt more emotional to me than the first one, which is probably why I enjoyed it more.

Once again we are let in a cliffhanger for the third book, THRIVE, which is scheduled for a Spring 2021 release, and I already look forward to picking up where this story left off. In the meantime, you can check out any of the author’s other books while you wait. My favorites include THE BOUNDLESS and INKLING, but if you’re into creepy stories, I suggest you try THE NEST.

Recommended: Gr. 6-8

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?) – October 26th

By Kathie

I was so happy to finally catch up on the physical books I had on hand this week. Although I’m reading a lot of ebooks now, I still prefer to hold an actual book in my hand. I really wanted to read what I purchased WHEN I purchased it, and I was behind with Treasures of the Twelve. Now I have an empty shelf…at least until my next book order arrives.

  • The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman (April 6, 2021). This story is a reimagining of The Little Princess, which I have never read, but I’m adding it to my TBR pile since I enjoyed this story so much. Emma is sent to Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic to prepare to kindle her magic before her 13th birthday, but when her father dies, she is kicked out of the school and forced into servitude at the school. She befriends another servant girl, and together they are determined to find a way to keep their magic and hopes for the future alive. I hope there will be a lot of buzz around this book not only because of its connection to the classic, but because the characters have such well-written growth and development. (4 stars)
  • The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell by Valerie Sherrard (April 4, 2020). When Derek accidentally finds himself in a photo that quickly spreads around the school, he becomes popular in an instant. He and his friend, Steve, think this is pretty cool, but one escapade leads to another photo…and another…and soon Derek is finding himself in the principal’s office, in the hospital, and on probation. What I enjoyed most about this story is how obvious it is that a misunderstanding or misinterpretation can lead to a totally unexpected outcome, and yet how difficult it can be to say what we really think and feel. (3.5 stars)
  • Treasures of the Twelve by Cindy Lin (July 28, 2020). The sequel to The Twelve, I’ve been waiting to read this book until I had a chunk of reading time so I could sink into the story. I love this series about Umagi and the Warrior Heirs trying to collect the 12 ancient treasures so they can save the kingdom from the Dragonlord. But the Dragonlord and his Strikers are growing stronger, and already have some of the treasures. He has no intention of giving them up, and will fight with every he has to protect what he has, and obtain the rest. I have always loved a good quest when there are magical items that must be found, and we learn about different lands in the area as the group travels from place to place trying to retrieve the items. Umagi and her best friend, Tora, also have their allegiance tested when their pasts threatens their futures. I sincerely hope there is another book in this series. (4 stars)

Up This Week

I’m really looking forward to reading The Fabulous Zed Watson by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester, my most anticipated 2021 release that comes out in January.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of childrens’ lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too and hence a version for #kidlit began! So every Monday join in on the fun, by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading.  Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading and to show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.  

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?) – Oct. 26/20

Happy Monday!

My puppy Kaizer has been cramping my style to read print or digital books, so I am listening more than I can ever remember. I suspect that trend will continue this week, along with some reading commitments for the SYRCA Shining Willow nominees.

Last Week

Every two weeks, I receive a bag of Shining Willow contenders, so I spent some time carefully going through these books. I read through them several times (first just looking at the images, secondly with the text and finally out loud). I also got some new releases from my public library – some that you will see on Thursday’s post of favourite picture books.

  • Dragon Assasin Volume 3 by Arthur Slade, narrated by Clare Corbett. What a phenomenal audiobook series. The final omnibus consists of two books (Hidden Powers and Burning Empires), and readers need to read the other books in the series to enjoy the last of this series. Fast-paced, with some twists you may not see coming, Carmen and Brax have new challenges
  • Brotherband Chronicles: The Outcasts by John Flanagan. A spinoff from the Ranger Apprentice series, set in Skandia. This coming of age story emerges readers in Skandia culture detailing how the Brotherbands (boys that work together to bond and become brothers for life) are formed in a series of challenges all related to Skandian sea life. In the first of eight books, we see three Brotherbands, the two competitive athletic teams of the Wolves and the Sharks versus the lowly outcasts of misfits as the third team. I love all of these books and this week was my go-to sleep audiobook

Up Next

I am equally excited to listen to the next installment of the Nevermoor series Hollowpox which will arrive Tuesday. Before its arrival, I am enjoying  Lisa Moore Ramée Something to Say. I will also finish the two chapter books (Hockey Night in Kenya and High and Dry) by Canadaian prolific author Eric Waters.

Down the Road

I have pushed two digital books to the back burner until I can find some time to enjoy These Unlucky Stars and take in the information about Stereotypes.

I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s’ lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too and hence a version for #kidlit began! So every Monday, join in on the fun by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading and to show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

Oh, and for those of you curious about my reading distraction, meet Kaizer, my handsome 6-month-old lab cross. Happy reading!

Laurie

Hockey Night in Kenya

Authors: Danson Mutinda and Eric Walters

Illustrated by Claudia Dávila

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Release Date: October 13, 2020

Reviewer: Kathie

Thank you to Eric Walters for sending me an eARC of this story.

This is a story I will definitely be adding to my collection. It’s a chapter book set in Kenya where two boys, Kitoo and Nigosi, share with the reader what life looks like for them in their orphanage. Kitoo loves books and reading, Nigosi loves soccer and learning to fix trucks. Kitoo learns about hockey from a book about sports around the world, and dreams of playing some day. When he comes across a pair of broken and discarded roller blades, and some players offer to share spare parts, Nigosi helps fix up a pair of skates so Kitoo can learn how to play. One thing leads to another, and Kitoo’s dream of learning to play ice hockey may be closer than he thinks.

There are too few realistic chapter books with Black male protagonists, and I really loved that this book took a sport that many Canadian children take for granted, and shows readers a new perspective of it. Danson Mutinda, one of the authors of this books, grew up in Kenya, and I cannot think of another ownvoices chapter book that’s available to Canadian readers that would show them a world so different from their own. I also love how supportive Kitoo and Nigosi are of each other; though they have different interests, they respect and acknowledge what’s important to the other person.

This is a must add to school and public libraries in Canada, but I think it’s relatable enough that I’d love to see it find an audience beyond that our borders.

RECOMMENDED: Gr. 2-5

Don’t Check Out This Book!

Author: Kate Klise

Illustrator: M. Sarah Klise

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Release Date: March 10/20

Reviewer: Laurie

I still remember coming across my first Kate & M. Sarah Klise book – Regarding the Fountain and how engaging it was and instantly knew I would use it as a read-aloud with my then grade six students. Their books are excellent mentor texts for epistolary writing. Their latest book is a tribute to librarians and touches the many ways that librarians break down barriers.

As with all their epistolary books, be prepared for the most relevant punny character names. Appleton Elementary has a new librarian Rita B. Dangerous, and her principal Noah Memorree has no recollection of hiring her. Things get heated when Ivanna Beprawpa, the newly elected school board president, mandates a new dress code and has issues with Rita’s green dot books, kids staying up late reading and adults loving the books she leaves for them to enjoy.

From Don’t Check This Book Out! by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Processed with MOLDIV

As with all their epistolary books, there is a wide variety of writing. I appreciated that they updated the formats from their earlier books that used letters to this book that includes emails and texts.

I love the many messages shared in this story, providing more insight into some of the roles of a librarian. The Klise sisters share censorship, reader’s advisory, research, making and standing up for what you believe. Make sure you check out the end-papers and some of the illustrations that highlight books that have and will stand the test of time as classics.
A fun read in a different format for book lovers and left me with my new favourite line.

From Don’t Check This Book Out! by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

OTHER BOOKS BY THESE AUTHORS & ILLUSTRATORS: Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks, The Phantom of the Post Office (43 Old Cemetery Road, #4) and Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List 

RECOMMENDED: Grade 3-6

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow

Author: Jessica Townsend

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Release: October 15/20

Reviewer: Kathie

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

Wow, I love this series so much. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series of all times (along with series such as Harry Potter, Magisterium, and The Land of Stories). It’s so well written, detailed, and magical that I wish more young readers would discover this Australian writer. And although this story was a definite 5 stars for me, but I did find it a bit difficult to get given the current events in the world.

Morrigan and her friends are learning more about the Wundrous Society the longer they attend their classes. This year, Morrigan is also hoping she’ll learn more about the Wretched Arts so she can understand her own abilities as Wundersmith. She discovers a new teacher who introduces her to a hidden part of the school that has much to teach her about the past, and of what she’s capable. At the same time, a mysterious illness has started to spread in Nevermoor, and it quickly spread from Wunimal to Wunimal. There is fear, judgment, isolation, and political unrest as the mission to understand Hollowpox and how to cure it becomes of paramount concern. But while Morgan is learning how to use her gifts, there are those who have other plans about how to use her for their own gain, and deals are made that threaten not only Morgan, but Nevermoor itself.

There isn’t a thing about this series that feels weak to me. The plot, characters, and setting are so well-crafted, rich and imaginative. Although the books are quite long, they only allow the author to expand and build this wonderful world and the challenges that face those who live there.

This is a definite must for fantasy lovers, and I highly recommend this series. Check out the first two books in the Nevermoor series, THE TRIALS OF MORRIGAN CROW and WUNDERSMITH: THE CALLING OF MORRIGAN CROW.

Your House, My House

Author: Marianne Dubuc

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Release Date: October 6/20

Reviewer: Laurie

Thank you to Edelweiss + and the publisher for a digital eARC of this book.

Canadians should be familiar with Marianne Dubuc’s books as they are enchanting. Her latest book, Your House, My House, took me down memory lane.

The building located at 3 Maple Street is busy, and the various animal characters and the building itself took me back to the books of Richard Scarry and my childhood. The cut-away illustrations- clearly show just how busy life is inside this building – from preparations for Little Rabbit’s birthday to the cats moving in, a bear who’s not feeling well and the owl who is finally heading off to sleep. We see the (dare I say it) the hustle and bustle of everyday living.

It is the illustrations that are going to make this book one that young readers want to revisit again and again, along with adults who can see the many details that Dubuc has carefully placed, creating stories within a story. The main story, of Little Rabbit’s birthday, will connect readers, but the magic is going to happen when readers see the stories that are missing and create their own. That’s the beauty of this gem of a book.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR: The Lion and the Bird, Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds and Up the Mountain

RECOMMENDED: Primary classrooms and libraries .

#IMWAYR (It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?) – Oct. 19/20

Last Week…

My reading tends to be a bit all over the map, reading older books as well as recently released and ARCs. Since retiring, I have had to change my reading habits as the availability of getting books has changed, and I need to rely on my public library, especially picture books. Like the rest of the world, I now use ebooks far more than I ever did, except for ARCS. I listen to books the most, and this week was no different.

I rediscovered a few titles from one of my favourite authors, Australian John Flanagan, spending time revisiting some old friends, and I am looking forward to a new release the first week in November. If you like well-developed character-driven books, then you too may enjoy the Ranger Apprentice series and its three spin-off series.

Last Week…

  • Burn by Patrick Ness, narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt:  Burn took a bit of time to ignite, but once the flame started, it was a great story! Set back in time, the reader sees how parallel worlds, dragons and the launch of Sputnik all intertwine with a variety of characters. Sarah and her father live on a farm who are so poor they resort to hiring a dragon Kazimir to help with the crops. Kazimir is only in this world to witness a prophecy played out. Malcolm is a dragon cult follower and a trained assassin, sent on a mission until he falls in love. Finally, there is the local sheriff, a racist who pulls the trigger to start the dominos to fall and connect them all. I enjoyed this story a great deal but not sure there is a wide audience who will appreciate it. 
  • Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan, narrated by John Keating. In the second book in the Royal Ranger series, Maddie is in her third year of training as an apprentice and plays a significant role in preventing the siege over her grandfather’s throne. The Red Fox Clan wants the law to be changed back so that only men have a claim to the throne. King Duncan changed the law making it possible for female succession, and there is are many who don’t like the idea of a woman having that kind of power. The Clan tricks Maddie’s father Horace to leave the palace leaving it somewhat vulnerable with only Maddie, her mother Cassandra and the ailing King Duncan and a few men to protect the Arulan castle. Twists and turns, readers won’t know the outcome with the cliff hanger ending. I enjoyed spending time with some old friends, and some who are not familiar with the Ranger Apprentice series may want to read at least the first Royal Ranger.
  • Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stories #1) by Jonathon Auxier: Thank you to Edelweiss Plus for an advanced reading copy. Young readers are going to love this series filled with magical creatures, and adults are going to enjoy the rich language and play on words! In this first book, eight-year-old Auggie lives on an island and is in charge of the one-of-a-kind magical beasts, where a new stable appears when there is a new creature. With the arrival of a swamp-like stable but no creature in the stable, Auggie must go into the swamp to find it. He discovers the stable is for Willa, a wisp with magical powers can search for treasure. Some men wish to capture Willa-the-wisp and use her to find treasure. A delightful introduction to what will be a fun series to read independently or as a read-aloud.
  • Class Act (New Kid#2) by Jerry Craft: A stunning sequel to New Kid, this time, Mr. Craft focuses on Jordan and how he is coping with life at RAD in his second year. Chapter headings playing on children lit titles that readers will recognize and smile at and the bonus of the numerous “Easter eggs” to find, this one is just as strong as New Kid.  Mr. Craft has given us another genius graphic novel to help unpack issues of friendship, privledge and racism.  
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. An adaptation of the 1946 radio act, this story provides an opportunity for readers to learn some history and receive some important messages. The back matter is detailed, connecting Mr. Yang to Superman and his own experiences with racism, along with the history of the Klan, and racism towards Black, Japanese and Chinese. Extremely powerful and engaging, I slowly savoured the many layers of this graphic novel.

Up Next…

I am finishing up some more picture books and will post my favourites next week. I am very excited to get the last portion of Arthur Slade’s Dragon Assasin series – I have been waiting months to finish this exciting series! I tend to be able to listen more than I can read print right now, so any spare time will I will be using to begin These Lucky Stars.

Down the Road…

I cannot remember who introduced me to Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series, but I am grateful! I am so excited to listen to Gemma Whelan take me away again and see the latest adventures of Morrigan Crow.

I want to acknowledge the two that started this all. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? has changed from becoming a meme for adults to the sharing of children’s’ lit. This idea to include #kidlit came from Unleashing Reader blogger Kellee Moye and Jen Vincent, from the Teach Mentor Texts, blog. They thought there should be a children’s lit focus too and hence a version for #kidlit began! So every Monday, join in on the fun by sharing what you just finished reading, currently are reading, or are anticipating reading. Use the hashtag #IMWAYR on your social media sites to share, follow what others are reading and to show support for #kidlit bloggers by reading and commenting.

Hope you have a great week of reading.

Laurie