It’s Monday, September 28, What Are You Reading?

Tomorrow is the beginning of the third full week of in-class instruction at my school. The results are really mixed, I would say. Our community is small, but we did have a positive test in the last week and some people are choosing to self-isolate out of caution. In looking at my classroom and my library, you might not be able to tell that we are going through a pandemic. They look, pretty much the same at times, unless an adult is wearing a mask. Three months ago, that would have been shocking for me, but things seem to change quickly and there seems to be some acceptance that this is the way things are for now.

With things being the way they are, a good escapist read is much appreciated and I have had a few of those lately. I am happy to be able to share them with other bloggers that link-up at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Thanks to Kellee and Ricki, as well as Jen V. for continuing to host us.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale

I borrowed this picture book from my wife’s school library. We found it through one of the bloggers in our link-up, I think it was Michelle Knott’s but there were probably multiple readers of this book. It seems very relevant these days to twist this classic story and focus on what is a fact, and how to tell what it not a fact. That is kind of what this story does. Very cute.

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Ryan Higgins sets the bar so high. His books are really well loved in my school. First, we fell in love with Bruce, and now Penelope (and his early chapter What About Worms? is cute too). I didn’t quite love this one as much as the first Penelope books, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, but that might not be fair to this book, because as I said the bar is high. In this book, Penelope struggles with whether or not to play in a talent show for her classmates. Stories about courage are pretty needed right now for all of us, so I will find a place for this story.

The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem (Princess in Black #8)

The next installment of The Princess in Black early chapter series comes out on October 6. In this, the eighth tale (or 9th counting the really short covid-19 related one that came out last school year), the Princess in Black, accompanied by The Goat Avenger and The Princess in Blankets have particular trouble with a nasty giant that is just too big to stop and doesn’t seem to listen to reason. They need to enlist the help of many new and old heroes to stop this foe from destroying everything in sight. And this giant is not what he seems. Cute and funny as usual, and I love the illustrations by LeUyen Pham. I think these illustrations are my favourite in this series. Thanks to NetGalley for the early copy.

First Light

The debut of Rebecca Stead was a re-read for me as our family’s read aloud. My oldest was scared it would be “another survival book” but it is a lot more than that (don’t mind her, but she did have a few years of mostly survival themed novel studies and now she is tired of the genre). I think Rebecca Stead is best known for one of my favourite books, When You Reach Me, and although the setting is quite different here, there is still a bit of mystery and somethings you will need to find out along with the main characters, Peter, a boy from New York on an scientific expedition with his parents, and Thea, a girl who is frustrated with her local government who have never allowed her to explore and see the wider world around her.

Hatch (The Overthrow, #2)

This was my escapist read of the week in many ways, but also a bit of a tough read during a pandemic. A pandemic does not happen in this series, but a VERY serious threat to humanity does happen, and there are many parallels between what occurs and what we are living through. This is book two though, so you really need to read Bloom first. If you are the type of person that might find it odd and a little funny that characters are dealing with a toilet paper shortage, this might be the series for you. If you are the type of person who liked Day of the Triffids as well, then this is certainly for you.

Kenneth Oppel started this trilogy with Bloom, a story about plants that just seem to be everywhere. They can’t be killed, and start to feed off of humans. But, three Salt Spring Island teens seem to be immune and are the key to survival and winning what seems to be the beginning of a war.

Hatch picks up where Bloom left off and if anything, ups the ante considerably. This is still terrific science fiction with a touch of horror, and you will want to keep reading, but it will be over. For now. The third book is scheduled to arrive in May.

Currently Reading

Above All Else

I was reading this book earlier last week, but I had to switch to Hatch. This is nothing against this book, but I needed to get Hatch to a student this week. I am going back to this story of two young people heading out to try to climb Everest. They are very experienced mountain climbers. The book comes out on October 13, and I have an early copy from NetGalley.

On Deck Reading

I have an ARC of Bye-Bye Blue Creek, the second Sam Abernathy book by Andrew Smith. Sam is a character from Smith’s YA series Winger. I really loved that book, and the follow-up/sequels have been good, but not as great as the original, for me. I still want to read the next one though. It comes out on Oct. 13. I also have my oldest encouraging me to read the fourth Trials of Apollo book by Rick Riordan before the fifth one arrives in early October as well. Lastly, it is my choice for family read aloud and I think we are going to read the fifth Dory Fantasmagory, because they are just hilarious.

Thanks for stopping here to hear what I have been reading, hope to see what you have been reading soon.

It’s the last day of Summer, what have you been reading?

Today is, I believe, the last official day of summer. I missed writing last week about my reading and last night (when I would normally have queued up this post) but wanted to note my last few books of the summer here. Summer reading kind of ends when school begins, which for me was right after Labour Day and that kind of explains why I did not post last week and nearly missed this week, but I have read a few books that I would love to share with others. Thanks, as usual, to the Kellee, and Ricki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for providing a link-up for It’s Monday posts.

Books I Enjoyed Over the Last Two Weeks

Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger #1)

This one is for more developed early chapter readers. It is the kind of book that sometimes gets missed in my library. I have students that are not up for reading slightly longer early chapter books when they are the right age from an interest perspective. When their reading skills are sufficient, they sometimes don’t have the interest in reading “animal stories.” But for those that do, I think they will enjoy this story, which I have seen compared to things like Winnie the Pooh. For me, it made me think of Kate DiCamillo’s Deckawoo Drive series. It wasn’t as humorous to me, but the interplay between Skunk and Badger reminded me a little of Eugenia and Baby Lincoln in that they have very different world views. There is a similar sense of whimsy as well. I am a big fan of Deckawoo Drive, and I am not saying I enjoyed this as much, but young readers that are fans of DiCamillo, might also enjoy this book.

The Red Fox Clan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger, #2)

This is the second book in a spin-off of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice (RA) series. I have loved sharing that series with a few books and also with my own kids. It takes place in an author created world that resembles our own during medieval times. Rangers are kind of like a combination of the FBI and the CIA. This series takes place about 20 years after the original RA series and features a female main character, Maddie, who is the daughter of two characters from RA. Maddie gets pulled into a situation that someone of her age and experience shouldn’t really be getting into. A political group called The Red Fox Clan opposes females having the right to succession to the throne. When The Red Fox Clan gets more aggressive about creating change in Araluen they become a threat to the monarchy, and Rangers need to get involved.

You Don't Want a Dragon!

Another really funny picture book from a team that I hope continues to collaborate. This book, along with You Don’t Want a Unicorn, pulls kids in quickly and forces out lots of giggles and belly laughs in my library. With the destruction of a pet unicorn still evident, our little friend decides he really needs to switch things up and get a pet dragon. This is, of course, a very bad and dangerous idea.

First Day Critter Jitters

One of the best first week of school books I have ever read. Lots to unpack for groups of students trying to build community, be brave, try new things, and work together. Great humour in the words and illustrations.

The Captive Kingdom (The Ascendance Series, #4)

A great addition to the series, I think fans will love being back in the mind of Jaron (I did). His defiant sense of humour shines again as he begins a battle with new enemies and some old friends. This is a fast paced thrill ride. This is exactly the escapist read I needed right now.

Bobby Orr and the Hand-Me-Down Skates

I think a lot of hockey fans, like me, will relate to this story of a boy who is initially disappointed with his “new” hand me down skates. Eventually, little Bobby (widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest hockey players) learns to love his skates and there is a great moment when he passes them on to someone else. The illustrations makes the book feel older, which kind of fits the subject matter with kids skating on frozen ponds. I enjoyed this, not sure people who are not hockey fans would though.

Currently Reading

Above All Else
First Light
The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

I just started an ARC of Above All Else and I honestly haven’t gotten very far to describe it other than to say it is about mountain climbing which is clear from the title. My family and I are wrapping up our read of First Light this week. I started The False Prince with my grade 5/6 class today.

On Deck Reading

Hatch: A Novel (The Bloom Trilogy)
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The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem (Princess in Black, #8)

I would likely be reading Hatch but I lent it to someone (given how badly I want to read that book, you know it must be someone special- yes it is my wife). Hopefully, I get to start and read it this week and I have several new picture books to read while I (im)patiently wait. Thanks for reading my very late post for the week, and I hope to see what many others have been reading this week.

It’s already, September!?! What have you been reading?

It’s another Monday, this one is a holiday, and the day before the first day of school here in BC. But, because this is 2020, and she likes to do things in ways that are different from ever before. No students tomorrow. Our return to work plan needs more work, so educators will go it alone for two days here in BC, and try to work out all the details in order to give the plan the best chance of success when we welcome kids back into our buildings on Thursday.

A little less pressure not having students tomorrow (but I still feel the pressure of not being sure how to make this work properly later in the week) is probably a factor in me finding the time to write this post. I am linking up with our great hosts at Teach Mentor Texts (thanks Jen) and Unleashing Readers (thanks Kellee and Ricki). I managed to finish a couple of books late in the week, although I did find it hard to concentrate on reading with my focus on news being a little too high, and my other release from that (aside from reading) taking lots of time (watching playoff hockey and basketball- which I miss playing).

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Kevin the Unicorn: Why Can't We Be Bestie-Corns?

I really enjoyed reading an e-ARC through Edelweiss+ of this second book featuring Kevin the Unicorn. The art is really bright and eye catching, but there are also many little details that relate to the story hiding in plain sight. In the story, Kevin really wants to be besties with the new unicorn moving in, but it just doesn’t work. They don’t like the same things, and that is okay. Once they are honest with one another, they figure out they can be friendly, if not besties.
Great story, full of some fun word play. We should start seeing this in stores on Tuesday.

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)

Not really kidlit, I know, but a few of you got me on to this series. When I rated on Goodreads, I saw Cherie’s review and it was nearly exactly what I was feeling. I did not love this second book as much as the first, but I am kind of hooked, in my case, I would say I am hooked on this character. I would read what it thought about grocery shopping.

The Canyon's Edge

This has been one of the most difficult books for me to read. I heard about it a long time ago. My school Skyped with Dusti Bowling and chatted about it. I was ready to grab it as soon as I could. I asked on NetGalley and got no reply for months. I switched to Edelweiss + (so much easier for me to get books on so far) and got accepted right away. But, the download to Kindle did not work. So, I tried Adobe Digital Editions and it did not work (first time for me). Customer service tried, but to no avail. Finally, a couple of weeks later, and after I had given up, a different book loaded to something called Bluefire Reader, and I thought, well why not try The Canyon’s Edge again. Good idea, for once.

It is a powerful story about a girl, Nora, living after trauma but not really living. When she and her father are caught in a flash flood while hiking in a slot canyon, she has to fight to live. She battles against nearly everything the desert could throw at her (and if you know Dusti Bowling books, you know few, if any, writers can tell a story in a desert so well. She battles the dark thoughts in her head as only a survivor of earlier trauma would have to. In doing so, she discovers that she truly wants to live and that she has much left to do with her life.
The story is mostly told in-verse and is beautifully written as we slowly begin to know much of what Nora has been through and how she can begin to grow again. And, thanks to Edelweiss + for allowing me the chance to read this book, which comes out on Tuesday.

Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert

I probably should have already read one of the Max books, in which Max explains something that he has become an expert at to the reader, in this case, owning a puppy. But, I haven’t. This was a cute and fun way to learn alongside a boy about what it really takes to be a puppy owner. We see the good and the bad. Kids should be able to relate to this if they have ever been through pet ownership and will learn something if they haven’t. I need to seek out the others in this series.

Currently Reading and On Deck Reads

The second in the series of books that spun off of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. These books take place a generation after the first series, and are called The Royal Ranger books. The best part is that there is a female main character. There were a few secondary characters in his first series, but well away from most of the action. I read the first quite a while ago, but my youngest is getting me back into them. She really enjoys these and it has been a while but I did too.

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This is our latest family read aloud. It is a re-read for me, the debut of one of my favourite authors, Rebecca Stead.
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I was supposed to start this one last week, but I am a little distracted by getting e-ARCs. Maybe this week? It feels like it is going to be busy though.

Thanks for stopping here to see what I have been reading, I hope to be better about reading other blogs this week. I just moved through a lot of them today. Hopefully, many of you had a great relaxing long weekend, and are starting a fabulous reading week.

It’s the last Monday of the Summer!!! Here is what I was reading…

Well, it was kind of cold today, and I go back to work tomorrow (just professional development, no students for another week and a half), so it feels like summer is kind of over. That is pretty depressing way to begin a piece of writing, but the end of summer to me means that I have to cram in the last few books before work cuts into reading time.

I am pleased to be able to post about a few great books this week and link up this post with those of many other reader/bloggers at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts sites. Thanks to the hosts of those sites, Kellee and Ricki and Jen respectively for continuing to support our linkup this week.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Elatsoe

I really enjoyed this ownvoices, speculative fiction novel. I have read that this is considered a YA book, but as an elementary teacher, I am thinking about considering it upper MG and adding it to my classroom/school library. I was able to read an e-ARC through NetGalley. This book was just released at the beginning of the week.
The setting and the character’s approach to the supernatural is what first made me think of this as speculative fiction, rather than fantasy. Our main character, Ellie, is a Lipan Apache teen who has the ability to raise the dead. Her best friend is a dog that has been dead for years. The way this was so casually mentioned made me think this America (Texas, actually) is slightly different than the one we know.
These types of powers are passed down in a family and seem to be accepted as part of normal life. This America is impacted by monsters, ghosts, magic, and it seems more impacted by stories, including the stories of Ellie’s people.
Being Lipan Apache is different in Darcy Little Badger’s America, but there were some scenes that show that racism was still very much a force in this America, present and past. One scene in particular when Ellie is in a store is great for white people to read about how Indigenous peoples are often treated.
When Ellie’s cousin is murdered, her instincts tell her that she needs to investigate. She travels to a small town in Texas to help her Mom look after the grieving family and begins to find out that something is very wrong.
Ellie uses her powers, and knowledge passed on through her ancestors as well as the support of an elder, her friends and family to learn more about her cousin’s death.
What is going on turns out to be even bigger than a murder investigation, and I am hoping this turns out to be more than one standalone book. I would read more books set in this world, with Ellie as the MC, or not, although the way that Lipan Apache traditions and ways of knowing are interspersed is also something I would read more of.

Lupe Wong Won't Dance

Lupe Wong is a cute and funny story about a middle school student who has many of the awkward issues around growing up. Then, she has to deal with the horrors of a new PE unit on square dancing, hence the title. Lupe does NOT want to dance and does everything she can to avoid it. Her efforts largely blow up in her face and contribute to some of the friendship troubles that she faces. She is an interesting character, and it is easy to root for her as she figures out how to do right by her friends and herself. The book also contains a diverse cast of characters. Lupe has mixed heritage with one side of her family identifying as Chinese and the other half as Mexican. In a scene featuring a culture event at school several other characters demonstrate aspects of their family’s heritage. Most of the kids belong to cliques centered around their sports teams, those character tend to be stereotypically mean. Lupe plays baseball but is kind of the exception to this. She has other friends and learns in this book how to be a better friend to them. Her friends, are well developed characters and alongside the humour of Donna Barba Higuera, their discovery that all kids are worthy and none better than the other is the strength of this book. Early middle school readers should enjoy this story. This was another book published by Levine Querido, as is Elatsoe, a new name in publishing that is really focussed on Ownvoices works such as this one. I also enjoyed picking this one up from Edelweiss +.

The Eye of Ra (The Eye of Ra, #1)

The Eye of Ra was a fast paced adventure story perfect for kids that have graduated from books like Magic Tree House, and are on the way to reading books like Percy Jackson. The time travel element makes it easy to compare this story to Magic Tree House, but this is clearly for an older reader. Sarah and her younger brother John accidentally discover a way to travel back in time to Ancient Egypt. Relating to the power of the god Ra, they also are surprised to discover that they are able to communicate with the people that they meet. This leads to them making some friends and immersing themselves in Egyptian culture.
This allows for a richer experience for the reader as they can learn about some of the work done to build pyramids, about Egyptian food, daily life, mythology and more. In addition to the great information provided, there is a lot of action as John and Sarah try to help solve a mystery that jeopardizes the building of the pyramid and also are confronted by scorpions, sandstorms, snakes and (my least favourite for some reason- nothing to do with this book) crocodiles.
I enjoyed the relationship between brother and sister in this book. It continued to change and evolve during the course of the events.
A couple of key events late in the book show the potential for what might come next in this series, and many readers will enjoy anticipating the action of upcoming books from Ben Gartner. I was fortunate to get an e-ARC version of this book, and will enjoy turning readers onto this series.

Jabari Tries (Jabari, #2)

I was a huge fan of Jabari Jumps, and it is a read aloud favourite at my school, so when I saw that there was a new Jabari book on Edelweiss ‘s list, I requested it immediately and felt lucky to get to review this one.
Once again, Jabari is a young boy trying to stretch himself and complete a tough task. He is challenged by the task and needs to take a moment to collect himself, listen to the advice of his father and accept help in order to complete this STEM tasks.
While I did not get as much out of the art in this book (there are some changes in vantage point as was the case in Gaia Cornwall’s last Jabari book that are good but they do not work as well as in the first one) compared to Jabari Jumps, I loved the message for kids who have to persevere through tough tasks. I think kids are going to love this one just as much as the earlier Jabari book. For some of the older (kids or adults) readers of this one, there are some names of inventors in the background of one of the pages and instead of using some of the white centered inventors that typically come up in STEM titles, I thought it was great that Gaia Cornwall chose to highlight BIPOC inventors and scientists that are far less famous for their amazing achievements (Lewis Howard Latimer, Dr. Flossie Wong-Staal, Roy Allela and Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson). I am not super knowledge when it comes to inventors and I had to google a few of these names. Their work could make a great jumping off point for discussions.

Currently Reading

The second in the series of Murderbot novellas that so many other bloggers have written about and inspired me to read. My wife is also hooked on this now. We don’t make time for too many adult books, but I just got this one on hold as e-book from my public library.

This is our latest family read aloud. It is a re-read for me, the debut of one of my favourite authors, Rebecca Stead.
This is a writer whose books are consistently entertaining, and probably the most popular with my two daughters. I would already enjoy these books, but being able to chat with my girls about them pushes me to read them. This is the fourth of the Trials of Apollo series, which takes place in the Percy Jackson universe. The final book comes out in October (book 5) so it feels like the right time to be starting this one.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope to check in with other posts this week at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts (much more than I did last week). Have a great reading week!

It’s Monday, August 24th, What Are You Reading!

The last full week of my summer vacation. Next Monday, I will be back at school completing some professional development with the other teachers at my school for two days. Generally, that is the week many of us are getting classrooms ready. Here in BC, we have all of our students scheduled to return to full face to face learning, so there will be much to do in order to make the return safe and welcoming.

This week, I plan to finish a lot of books. I started to use Edelweiss+ for the first time several days ago, and I wasn’t expecting to get so many acceptances to read books so quickly. I ended up getting nine in just a couple of days. I have had issues downloading one of them, but other than that it has been great. I did fail to notice that one of them expires on Tuesday though, so I had to switch the novel I was reading yesterday, and start reading a different one. I should finish both of them in the next couple of days and will write more about them next week. Here are the books I finished this week.

Books I Recently Enjoyed

Letters from Cuba

I was sent this book by Penguin after attending a virtual conference. It is a really uplifting story of a girl named Esther, a young Jewish girl who lives with most of her family in Poland. Her father has moved to Cuba and is trying to make enough money to bring the rest of the family to Cuba. He makes enough to bring one of them over, and Esther fights to be the one. I loved that she convinces her parents that sending the oldest boy is not the best plan (she is the oldest child). Once she arrives her positivity and spirit change everything for her family. I loved how she saw the beauty and the good in her new life in Cuba. The book does show that there were certainly some challenges for people in her situation but the rich setting, and support Esther and her family find in Cuba really overpower the racism they experience.

7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga (7 Generations #1-4)

Last week, I reviewed David A. Robertson’s upcoming MG novel The Barren Grounds, which I really enjoyed but I think he has even more graphic novels than MG and YA books out. This graphic novel came out in 2012 and it was originally four short graphic stories. In them, Edwin, an Indigenous teen struggles with feelings that his hopes will never be realized. After a suicide attempt, his mother feels he needs to find out more about where he comes from in order to help address the past of his people and embrace the future. We get different pieces of his family’s history, from war, to smallpox infection, residential school, and his father’s belief that he was not capable of being the parent his son needed. There are a lot of necessary and uncomfortable scenes for the reader to learn about the history of an Indigenous family. Edwin has to learn about finding his own way forward, acknowledging the past without being defined by it and offering some forgiveness where warranted. A very powerful book.

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)

This was a re-read for me. Our family read aloud. I have read all four books of this series, and look forward to a fifth coming in 2021. It’s a mystery that is set in 17th century England. Christopher Rowe is an orphan who has the fortune to land an apprenticeship as an apothecary under Benjamin Blackthorn. However, their world is rocked by the murder of several in their guild throughout London. Christopher and his loyal friend Tom have to solve codes, and puzzles to learn the secrets behind these deaths. A smart, thrilling beginning to the series featuring one of my favourite friendships.

Your Place in the Universe

I first heard about this book at the Western Washington University Children’s Lit Conference I attended just before the pandemic began to really limit people’s ability to travel. Jason Chin was one of the four featured speakers, and sold his audience on his upcoming book, even reading a few pages. I was fortunate to get an e-ARC from Edelweiss+ this week. Jason Chin tackles a pretty challenging topic here. Trying to show children their size relative to something as massive as the universe or even a galaxy. The pictures do a great job of accomplishing this task. Kids that enjoy learning about space will also have a lot of facts to digest in the main story and also in the back pages. Those that enjoy numbers will like learning about their own size relative to massive things on earth and then the sizes of those large things like Mt. Everest, compared to distances in space. For fans of Jason Chin, this one has a little less of the narrative aspect than his books such as Grand Canyon and Redwoods, but I really enjoyed the facts and perspective. Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Holiday House for allowing me to read and review this title that comes out on September 1.

Currently Reading

Elatsoe
This was the ninth book that I got from Edelweiss+ this week, but it wasn’t until after I downloaded it that I noticed it had a deadline of Tuesday, it’s release date, so I need to read it quickly! It is a very interesting with elements of supernatural, and speculative fiction.
Lupe Wong Won't Dance
I was reading this book until I realized that Elatsoe has a deadline. I was really enjoying the humor and will be happy to go back and finish it soon.
First Light
I am pretty sure this is the first book Rebecca Stead published. I really enjoyed reading it several years ago. My wife has selected it for our next family read aloud that we start today.

On Deck Reading

I think I will finish both of the books I am reading on my own fairly soon, and then go back to last week’s plan to read The Eye of Ra. I was approved for an e-ARC of Dusti Bowling’s The Canyon’s Edge, but I can’t seem to get the document to work on my IPAD, so I hope that my frustration finds a happy ending and I get that one to work, and finally read it. Thanks for stopping by here to see what I have been reading. Check out other Monday bloggers at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki for hosting. Have a great week!

It’s Monday, what are you reading? 08/17/20

Another Monday is here, and as a teacher and part-time librarian it is hard not to start thinking about the start of the new school year once you get into mid-August. Of course, this is particular year will not start like any other and it is also hard to think about the new school year.

I am two weeks away from our annual professional development conference. Usually, our whole district meets together on the first day. That was cancelled back in May. We are doing more remote, self-directed professional development than in the past in place of some of the face-to-face stuff we have done as a group in the past. We have two days planned in our schools to work in small groups.

The week after that, we start teaching. My province’s full back to school plan is a work in progress, but so far it has been a bit of a surprise. I did not think we would be welcoming back students for full-time, face-to-face learning, but that is the case. Since the announcement, parents, teachers and administrators all called on the government to push back the starting day to allow educators to work together on how to best implement the plan in their space, and it sounds like the first two days will be for that purpose.

So, I really only have two weeks of summer reading left, best to make the most of it. The weather was extremely hot this week which usually has me staying inside a bit more, but I am a hockey fan, so the playoffs have me distracted as well. I did manage to get several books read this week and I am eager to share some upcoming releases.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Ikenga

This is a book that comes out tomorrow, I managed to get an ARC by entering a draw at an virtual conference several months ago. As a big kidlit reader, I sometimes miss out on authors that write for older audiences. The cover let me know that this was by an author that has won many awards for books intended for audiences older than this book, her first MG title. I really enjoyed it. It follows a boy, Nnamdi, who is grieving the loss of his father, the chief of police, when he discovers that he has some superpowers that may help him continue his father’s work of eliminating crime. Nnamdi is a big fan of comic book superheroes and now he has become similar to one. However, how will he learn to control these powers? He is a regular kid, who makes a lot of mistakes in judgement. I liked how having superpowers, did not make things great right away. He needs the help of a good friend, and the ability to reflect, make changes and grow as a person in order to have the best chance at defeating the cast of criminals that inhabited his Nigerian town. Some of the villains had names and personalities that reminded me of very old Batman TV shows and I wonder how kids will take to it, but I did enjoy that the book was set in contemporary Nigeria.

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I really enjoyed the first Julia book, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, and so I asked for an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley. I think it makes more sense if you have read the earlier but not completely necessary. Here, the cast of strange creatures from the first book is still living with Julia. The art will look very familiar to fans of Ben Hatke’s graphic novels (Zita and the Spacegirl trilogy, and Mighty Jack) and I love the way motion is depicted in many of the pictures. The creatures are getting restless, hence some of the movement, and the house is as well. Julia makes a plan to move on. But, like a lot of things in 2020, Julia’s plans do not work out, and she and the creatures have to show high levels of adaptability. However, will they thrive when things get really rough. This one will be easy to make connections to after it comes out at the end of September. There are two lines at the very end that struck me. The second to last is true of me on a bad day, and the the very last one is true on a good day. I feel like 2020 has provided a lot of both so far.

Nico Bravo and the Cellar Dwellers

This is another sequel that I picked up from NetGalley. I enjoyed sharing the first one with my kids, who as you might know are huge fans of mythology in novels. This series has many characters that are part of the mythology of different civilizations (West African, Norse and Persian to name a few). There is a big cast of characters here as Nico works at a shop that provides supplies to adventurers, Gods, Goddesses and creatures from all corners of the world. Some show up with bad intentions and the fate of the shop, and maybe the world are at stake. Plenty of magic, and action ensue along with some comic relief from a sword who lacks subtlety and the unicorns. Other than my children, I don’t always have luck passing graphic novels with this much mythology to kids, but the first book in this series was funny enough for some readers to enjoy it and I think this one will be too. It is out a week from tomorrow.

The Barren Grounds (The Misewa Saga, #1)

This one is usually sold as an Indigenous Narnia, and is written by Canadian David A. Robertson, whose YA series Strangers I loved. I have been waiting for this MG series to come out for about a year, so I requested an ARC of this first book from NetGalley. It comes out on September 8.

Middle schoolers Morgan and Eli are newly arrived in the same foster home in Winnipeg, they are not related but begin to feel a bond over the fact that they feel disconnected from their culture in spite of their kind foster parents (the story does deal with the fact that not all foster parents for Morgan have been great). Both kids are big fans of fantasy through either their reading, writing or art. When they discover a portal to a fantasy world they are eager to explore.

They find a world, Aski, that is on the edge of survival, as the traditional ways of getting food and living off the land are not working any longer. The kids get involved with “two legged animals” Ochek and Arik to try to recover the traditional ways. In doing so, they are able to connect with their Cree heritage. There is lots to discuss regarding colonialism through the fantasy plot in the alternate world of Aski. Unlike some fantasy books that are similar, this is surprisingly short at about 250 pages. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next and I will add it to my library.

Two Tough Trucks Get Lost!

Mack and Rig are two young trucks that became “fast friends”, on the first day of school in Two Tough Trucks. In this sequel, the two trucks are on a playdate when they get separated while cruising a beautifully illustrated desert landscape. As in the first book, the bouncy, rhyming text sees two friends working together to overcome a problem, this time trying to find each other and get back to their parents.
Truck books are often really popular with young readers in my library and books with great rhythm are always welcome. This series is fun to read and I can’t wait to show it to young listeners in the fall of 2020. Thanks to Scholastic for the copy to read and review.

Currently Reading

I am only reading The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands with my family. We should finish it this week. I loved this whole series, and think my ten year old (it was her choice) is liking hearing it for the first time.

On Deck Reading

Letters from CubaThe Eye of Ra (The Eye of Ra, #1)

I have a couple books that I have ARCs of, one that is out soon, and one that has been out for a while that I am hoping to read. After that, I have piles all over my house. Some of those piles will need to be moved back to school soon, so I better get reading some of them. Thanks for stopping to see what I have been reading this week, I hope to view many other great titles by viewing the blogs that are linked up at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Thanks again to our hosts for providing the link-up. Have a great reading week!

 

 

It’s Monday, August 10, what are you reading?

It’s another summer Monday morning, which usually gives me some extra time to read about new books that others have been reading at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com. Thanks to Kellee, Ricki, and Jen for hosting this link-up of kidlit readers. Not sure about others, but I have actually taken to reading other posts on Tuesdays, so I don’t miss any. I find once I read through them, I don’t back to check for people that post later that week.

Anyways, there have been so many great books out this year. I don’t think I have ever read so many outstanding new releases in one year. Partly, I have had more access to current releases and ARC this year, but also, they have just been really good. Curious which 2020 releases you have loved. I quickly made a mental list of over 20, and thought about writing a post (top 20 in 2020) but didn’t want to leave a few off. It’s totally subjective, of course, and I still might do it.

This week, I did not read much kidlit, finishing an “adult” book I have been wanting to read for a while. I had been focusing on BC writers this week (until Sunday afternoon), but next week more kidlit and finishing some ARCs before their release date.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Love, Ish

I was pulled in at the beginning of Ish’s story. She is a young girl who doesn’t really fit in. Karen Rivers does a great job of communicating her thoughts and feelings, and even when we can see that she is not really being reasonable, we can sort of see her reasons. Even if she is not great with people, Ish has a focus in life, she wants to be one of the first people on Mars. However, when she faints during the first day of grade 7, she gets a health diagnosis that puts her on a different path. This book is certainly for fans of The Girl in the Well is Me. If you read that book a few years ago, and didn’t really like it, this one probably is not for you either. I really enjoy Karen Rivers’s writing style, it is different.

Agency (The Peripheral #2)

This one is hard to explain. I will give it a go. It is the sequel to The Peripheral, a book that involves a group of Londoners who have survived a slow boil apocalypse called The Jackpot, which involves pandemics, the loss of democracy and many other events. In this one, Verity Jane is an “app-whisperer” kind of like a beta tester of tech. She is contracted by a low profile San Fran startup to work with an Artificial Intelligence- Digital, Personal Assistant, Eunice. Eunice’s growth becomes an issue for the startup and attracts the attention of another character, Lowbeer, from the earlier book, The Peripheral. Lowbeer’s hobby is influencing things that happen in other stubs (branches that have some commonality with other stubs’ pasts, but alternate futures). Among things she has influenced by reaching back from 2136 to a stub with an alternate future, are the results of the 2016 election (she wins in spite of those emails), and Brexit. In Verity and Eunice’s stub, she is interested in both Eunice and the instability of the world due to events in the Middle East which threaten to reignite the Cold War (or worse). I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first in the series.

Nibi's Water Song

This picture book draws attention to the fact that many Indigenous communities in Canada do not have access to clean drinking water, or water to clean up with. Nibi heads to the community with the “shiny” houses and sings with her friends to draw attention to this, and increasing awareness pays off. There are notes in the back of the book that provide detail about how people can help facilitate change in this way. I really enjoyed the art in this book as well.

Fishing with Grandma

I have enjoyed a few titles from Inhabit Media over the last couple of years. They publish a lot of Own Voices books by Inuit people of Canada’s north. In this book, two kids encourage their Grandma to take them on an adventures jigging for fish. She teaches them lessons on how to properly prepare for the trip, how to safely create the holes in the ice, and what to do when you land one. In the end, the kids catch more fish than they need and their Grandma teaches them to provide for elders in their community that are not able to do so. There is a glossary of the fishing terms in the back which is good as well. Kids in my area will be able to compare this outing to fishing trips they have been on. I like the animation style art in Inhabit Media books, but sometimes find the titles have more words than really young readers can handle.

Currently Reading

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)Ikenga

I am currently reading the second half of The Blackthorn Key with my family. I really enjoyed this historical mystery and am happy to re-read it, particularly for the sake of my ten year old who has never read it. I am about to start an ARC of Ikenga that I was fortunate enough to get from Penguin. The book is out on the 18th.

On Deck Reads

Two Tough Trucks Get Lost!Nico Bravo and the Cellar DwellersThe Barren Grounds (The Misewa Saga, #1)

These are three ARCs I have in digital form that come out in late August or early September. I hope to read all three in the next couple of weeks.

Hopefully, you have some books set aside for a great reading week. Let me know what you have been up to and if you have some favourite books released in 2020 that I should try to read. Thanks for stopping by!

It’s BC Day, what are you reading?

 

Today is a holiday Monday in many parts of North America, here it is BC Day, a day to honour my province. I wish I felt free to travel and enjoy more of it this summer, but plans have been changing for most of us over the last five months.

We have had some super hot weather recently, and it has been almost too hot to enjoy the outdoors, for any length of time anyways, so enjoying some books and air conditioning has been the way to go.

Books I Enjoyed Over the Last Two Weeks

Dig

I really loved this YA novel, but to be honest I love all of the A.S. King books that I have read. This book wants to give you a jab in the face to wake you up and show you things about the world.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Paola Santiago #1)

Paola Santiago is a science loving girl who lives near the Arizona desert with her Mom. She loves her Mom but not her Mom’s superstitious beliefs. The most common one is her Mom’s belief in La Llorona, the wailing woman who will pull kids into the Gila River. While Paola and her two best friends Emma and Dante are mostly rule followers, the banks of the Gila are the best place to stargaze with Emma’s telescope, so they meet there often. When Emma does not show up at their meeting time one night, Paola and Dante must investigate. They are pulled into a world that has too much in common with the stories of Paolo’s mother.

Dante and Paola have to work together and dig deeper to find Emma and save the day. This is complicated by systemic racism of local police, a lack of understanding of the world her mother explained to her, and the fact that they have a little bit of a crush on each other.

This story has action and humour. I enjoyed the way that Paola’s flaws and even her strengths can get in her way and how she has to learn and adapt to overcome these and other challenges. I have heard it said that visible minorities have to learn to live in multiple different worlds in order to thrive, and it seems the author knows this and is having her characters learn this, both in the sense of living as a POC and also in the fantasy book sense of adapting to monsters and magic. Thanks to NetGalley for the preview of this book which is out tomorrow.

Oculum

This is a really interesting middle grade dystopian novel. I don’t want to give to much away but Miranda1 and William1 have only known their life in Oculum, but William1 finds a door to the outside that they have been told does not really exist. He wants to learn more. The story flips between a few different perspectives as events past and present are unravelled. Unlike some MG/YA dystopia this is a pretty short book, seems to be a stand alone and is not particularly violent. A good choice for younger readers of this genre.

Don't Tell The Enemy

A exciting story of a family living in the Ukraine during WWII. Krystia and her family are relieved when the Soviets occupation of the Ukraine ends. They feel hopeful that things will improve, but soon she learns that the Germans that have moved into the area are Nazi’s and her country is being occupied again, by a force that is even worse. As bad as things are for her family, they are even worse for Krystia’s Jewish friends. The story is full of heartbreak and determination. Like Oculum, it is a short book that packs a big punch.

The Very Last Leaf

Lance Cottonwood was good at a lot of things and that made it more challenging for him when he wasn’t good at something. That scared him. In this story, Lance, a leaf, excels at many things, but does not want to fall when everyone else is doing it. He worries about it. Eventually, he learns that it is okay to fall, and with the help of his teacher, he is able to overcome the challenge and his fear.

There are some great illustrations, facts about leaves and their life cycle and in the endpapers a great fake report card that details Lance’s progress. This is a cute picture book that has just recently been released August 1. I appreciated reading an e-ARC on NetGalley.

The Theory of Hummingbirds

This is an own voices book about a girl with club foot. Author Michelle Kadarusman went through many procedures to correct one of her feet and used her experiences to help her create a character in Alba that has a lot that she is going through. She does not feel normal and really wants to. For her, the way that she can do that is to run in a cross country race. The good news for her is that her doctor is ready to take a cast off following her latest procedure and she may be able to walk an upcoming race. The bad news is that going through so many changes as an adolescent is really hard. Alba has trouble in her relationships with her family, friends and peers. Readers will enjoy Alba’s journey as she learns about herself, her friends and about relationships. This is a book that also packs a lot into a smaller package. You might wonder why I haven’t said anything about hummingbirds after reading the title, and you should know that the two main characters are very science oriented, love hummingbirds and there are a lot of facts in the book that they share.

The Three Spartans

I thought I would celebrate the BC Day long weekend by reading some books by BC authors. This was the first one I picked. Art is a twelve year old from BC who vacations in Birch Bay, Washington (not currently allowed, thanks covid) and he really enjoys time with his best friend there, full-time resident Lea. They are bullied by a guy named Zeke who is pretty much nasty to everyone, but no one will stand up to him. Art and Lea create a plan to challenge him to a paintball battle using strategies they develop through their love of Greek mythology, online games and even role playing board games. The battle tests their friendship and their spirit. A good book about standing up for yourself.

Currently Reading

Love, IshThe Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)

I am just starting a book by another BC author, Karen Rivers. I have read some of her YA and MG books before and I find her characters and plots to be creative and sometimes a little odd. I appreciate that, so I am looking forward to this book. It was recommended by a student who I introduced to an earlier book by Karen Rivers, The Girl in the Well is Me. My family is reading the first of Kevin Sands’ Blackthorn Adventures. I have read this whole series and love it. Historical fiction, with mystery and puzzles to solve, great friendships, humour and action. He is not from BC, but he has been to BC (to my school a few years ago).

On Deck Reads

IkengaAgency

I never really know for sure what I will read soon, but this section of my posts is my first attempt at planning. I have an ARC of Ikenga that I would like to read before it’s release, and Agency is the second in a far too true near future series by William Gibson. It would certainly be classified as an adult book, written by a resident of BC.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to catch up with what the rest of the posters at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts are reading. Thanks again to all that post, and especially to the hosts of our link-up.

It’s Monday, July 20, what are you reading?

This was a great week in many respects. We finished the week by getting lots done in our yard and garden, and even better, we opened the week visiting my parents. My family hasn’t travelled out of our small community since the pandemic started. We pretty much only had contact with others for shopping since my wife and I finished teaching at the end of June. We decided we would quarantine for 14 days and then visit our parents, first mine and later this month her parents. They don’t live too far away so we can easily make the journey in a morning without having to stop anywhere along the way.

All of this made for a bit of a light reading week, but seeing family for a few days was very important. Although, my reading plans did change I did really enjoy a few novels this week and thought I would share them with our wonderful reading community. Thanks to Kellee, Ricki, and Jen for continuing to host this link-up.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

The Riverman

My family and I finished this odd, and disturbing beginning of The Riverman Trilogy. This was a re-read for me. I really like this one, but it is an upper MG book. I usually find one student who will read this every couple of years, and those that like it, like it a lot. They usually harass their friends until they agree to read it, because it is story that needs to be discussed. It is kind of difficult to explain without spoilers but readers are often trying to figure out what is real and what is not. Characters are often quite mixed up as well. Anyways, this year, my daughter was the student that read it, and she could not wait to hoist it on to my younger daughter and my wife to see their reactions to some of the squeamish parts.

I haven’t said anything about the plot. Well, there is a girl, Fiona, who travels to a world called Aquavania (by touching a certain bit of water). She controls everything in the world through her imagination, and then she discovers other worlds connected to hers that are controlled by other kids. Then, she finds out that some of these other kids are going missing in both Aquavania and the Solid (real) World. And she feels it is at the hands of someone known as The Riverman. She enlists her neighbour Alistair to help and we become embroiled in confusion along with him. Is Fiona making this up? Is it a cry for help? Is it real? I had to read all three of these books to get as many answers as possible, but alas for my poor wife, who wanted to do the same, it was my youngest’s pick next and she went another way.

Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband Chronicles, #4)

My children sometimes cannot understand why I do not just read from the beginning of a series to the end as they often do. I tell the that I am trying to read widely so I can recommend a range of books to a range of readers. They kind of get it, but this summer they have a list of series they feel I should back to. We noticed I had stalled after reading book three in a number of different series, and we agreed that I should read book four in at least three of them. This is the second. The Brotherband Chronicles is actually a spin-off of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice books (and there are 12 of those, and then some prequels, and books that take place years later). They are entertaining, full of good relationships and witty banter. They take place in an alternate world that medieval in nature. The Heron Brotherband (a crew of a wolfship) is a group of Skandians (think Vikings) who work together as a team. In this case, they are sent by their lord to police the coastline of neighbouring nations as part of a peace treaty between Skandia and its neighbours. The crew was known for being a group of outcasts in their youth, but the strength of this series is how they come together by using their strengths, and work together to accomplish their missions. I find many of my students to enjoy Flanagan’s earlier series, but only a few make it this far into his catalog.

The Last Lie

This is the second in the duology that started with The List by Irish author Patricia Forde. The books have alternate titles in Ireland (The Wordsmith and The Mother Tongue). In these books The Melting has caused most of the world to flood. After the waters recede a little society is slowly reborn in a world that is much more difficult to inhabit. In a land that becomes known as Ark, the leaders decide that humans messed things up really badly with climate change. The answer for them is to simplify life so those mistakes are not repeated. So, they restrict language, art, and culture and create a society where obeying a totalitarian government is key. Letta worked for a Wordsmith in the first book, the person who gives out the language that each person is allowed to learn, on cards. Now, she fights against the ruling group and wants people’s personal freedoms to return. Her companions tell her that the greatest mistake is to stop trying, and she feels that humans can be more careful with their words and actions to create a better life. The book’s expected release in North America is on August 1.

Currently Reading

My youngest picked The Blackthorn Key, which she knows that the rest of our family enjoyed a few years ago. I really enjoyed re-reading the first fifty or so pages this week. It is a story of an apothecary’s apprentice in the 1600s. Christopher gets embroiled in a murder mystery. Last week, I was sure I was going to start Dig after writing in this space, but I thought it would be a book I really want to delve deeply into and that is sometimes hard when travelling, so I left it for this week.

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)Dig

On Deck Reading

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

I have the this ARC from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint and it is a new author to me, so I am going to try it. I think it is based on a Mexican folktale. I am having a hard time sticking to plans lately, so that is probably enough for me. Thanks for checking out what I have been reading, I hope to see what others have been up to as well later in the week.

It’s Monday, July 13th, what have you been reading?

I missed posting last week so this is a quick recap of two weeks of reading, although there really wasn’t much to report on for the last week. A cool summer here in BC has meant that it doesn’t get so hot that I need to come in and read. I have been able to stay outdoors a little more and get work done in our yard/garden instead of coming in for reading breaks, certainly this is not my forte. However, I was able to read a few books this week so I thought I would add a quick post. Thanks to our hosts at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com for continuing to provide a great space to see more books for our TBR lists. Personally, my picture book list is a little out of control.

Books I Enjoyed Recently

A Royal Guide to Monster SlayingThe Gryphon's Lair (A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, #2)

I read both books in Kelley Armstrong’s MG duology. Rowan is supposed to become the ruler of her land, but her heart is not really in it. She would love to trade places with her twin brother, who is set to become the Royal Monster Hunter, due to the difference in their ages, she is two minutes older than brother Rhydd. Circumstances cause Rowan to go after a gryphon, the most dangerous of all monsters in this world and it tests her skills. In fact, Rowan’s focus is usually on understanding monsters and her scientific approach is one of the strengths of this little series. So is the action and the supporting cast of monsters that help Rowan, including a baby jackalope, a wolf-like creature that is sworn to protect her, but might not really like her. It’s an interesting world with complex personal and political relationships that could be explored in other books or spin offs.

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co., #4)

I have a lot of series that I really enjoy but don’t make time to finish in my effort to try and read a little more widely. This summer, I have noticed that I am on book four in a number of series, so I thought that I would read at least three book fours this summer. This is the first of them. The Lockwood and Co. series is a fascinating MG ghost series in which a Victorianesque London is dealing with what is called The Problem. Something has caused ghosts and other supernatural spirits to become very prevalent each evening from about 6 pm to 6 am. It is found that children from about 7-13 years of age are best at dealing with these spirits, as them seem able to have special “talents” to perceive them and then deal with them before they can cause harm. Lockwood and Co. is one of the smaller “agencies” that help people survive this world. I find these books have a great combination of humour and thrills. I really should not wait so long for book five, the series finale, but book three was memorable enough that I was easily able to jump right back in.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

I picked this book entirely based on several bloggers who post in this space on Monday. I believe it was Elisabeth, Cherie, Shaye and possible others who put me on to it. I do enjoy reading science fiction but haven’t been doing much of it in the last few years. My wife and I have been getting my 13 year old into our old Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick collections and this book belongs in that pile as well. A great short read with futurist ideas, a great lead character, and lots of humour. I bought the first book so I can get other readers in my family on to it, but placed ebooks of the next two on hold with my library system. I don’t even really like reading ebooks, but this series is worth it.

Super Detectives (Simon and Chester Book #1)

Super cute graphic novel featuring the characters from Atkinson’s picture book Sir Simon Super Scared. Buddies Chester and Simon decide the most exciting thing for them to do together is find a mystery to solve. Despite a difference of opinion on how to get the job done, the case gets solved. I have very young readers in the library grabbing graphic novels they really aren’t ready for but I see this as a very good option for readers wanting to move out of picture books but not being old enough for some of themes in many graphic novels. Thanks to NetGalley for the early copy to review, this book won’t be out until February.

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer

I enjoyed this mystery and the coming together of kids who are different but can still be friends. I read a black and white copy but look forward to having a full colour version in my library soon. Shirley is thought by many to be a little odd and has a mother that wants to send her to dance camp even if she is not interested. Jamila has a mother who wants to send her to science camp for the summer but she just wants to play basketball. The two find a way to help each other out, get embroiled in solving a neighbourhood mystery and teach each other about friendship. This book is scheduled to come out tomorrow.

Dear Martin (Dear Martin, #1)

This book is has been out about three years ago now, and I took notice of it when it came out, but never bought a copy. I finally noticed that my library had it as an ebook and managed to read it this week. It’s everything that I thought it would be, a really interesting story that seems to be based on a few of the many (there are too many) of the stories that involve police brutality. Justyce seems to be on the fast track for success at his prep school in the Atlanta area, and has designs on making it to an Ivy league school when a string of events turn his life inside out. In just a few pages, Nic Stone is able to show how these events impact the lives of many and we gain some perspective on how racism impacts a range of different people. If you missed out on this one when it came out, you should probably seek it out next chance you get.

Don't Stand So Close to Me

Not sure I have ever read a book more current than this one. A very realistic portrayal of how a group of middle schoolers handled the anxiety and frustration of the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic from the early dismissal of school for Spring Break to the realization that the rest of the school year is lost.
Quinn (female) seems to be a typical (sub?) urban middle schooler. Like all kids she deals with the loss full access to her friends, although there is a boy named Isaac that lives next door that she sees daily and she sees her best friend at times as well. She also has to deal with the stress and boredom of Zoom (as a teacher a little part of me was mad that this teacher got all her kids to Zoom- I never did), her mother being really busy and stressed out, and worst of all her father, a doctor, working at the hospital. Like many first responders, he changes his living arrangements, works with some level of fear and works longer hours. Quinn’s best friend Reese has to deal with not seeing her grandmother, who is in a rest home, and Isaac’s Mom works in law enforcement and is almost never home. This was a good look at the stresses felt by children and adults during this time.
All of these issue are fresh for us now, as we are living them, or seeing them in the news reports daily. In several years, middle school aged readers will be able to read about this and see what older siblings and parents went through, they may have vague memories of their own. I think it will be a valuable read at that time. As for now, some may really enjoy relating to characters in a book in a way that they may not normally be able to. They may also find hope in the way that Quinn and her friends are able to contribute to making things better in their neighbourhood through an idea she has and how they salvage a year end event to bring closure to their school year and a joyful social occasion to their neighbourhood. This is something I wish my students were able to pull off, and if there able to see that coming together is better than the solitary apathy that many have endured during this time, that is a great thing to learn. I wish it was a little longer to see more of the things kids struggled with, although struggles are mentioned they pop up quickly and these kids are able to overcome them quickly. That is the trade off for such a readable, relatable story of this accessible length though. This book is out in September, but available now as an e-book.

Currently Reading

The Riverman

I am currently re-reading this. My oldest and I have read it, but my youngest and my wife have not. It is a bizzare mystery, a book in which you don’t really know if what your characters are experiencing something real or fantasy.

On Deck Reads

I am about to start Dig by A.S. King, and I have some ARCs to get through including the next Rick Riordan Presents book by Tehlor Kay Mejia, an author I have not read before. I may also continue my book four mission. My youngest is flying through a series called The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan and I stopped at the end of book three.Slaves of Socorro (Brotherband Chronicles, #4)Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

Thanks for reading my post, I hope to see what you have been reading this week as well.