Saturday, July 4, 2020

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For Review:
Image: Scholastic Inc.

The Bridge by Bill Konigsberg. 396 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., September 1, 2020. 9781338325058.

Publisher synopsis: 
Aaron and Tillie don't know each other, but they are both feeling suicidal, and arrive at the George Washington Bridge at the same time, intending to jump. Aaron is a gay misfit struggling with depression and loneliness. Tillie isn't sure what her problem is — only that she will never be good enough.
On the bridge, there are four things that could happen:

Aaron jumps and Tillie doesn't.

Tillie jumps and Aaron doesn't.


They both jump.

Neither of them jumps.

Or maybe all four things happen, in this astonishing and insightful novel from Bill Konigsberg.


My crazy shepherd goes nuts barking at anything - the dogs across the way, the mail person (we had to move our mailbox to the curb), anyone strolling in my cul de sac and most especially any delivery person - UPS, FedEx, AZ, you name it. Packages are usually for my shopaholic hubby; but last Saturday afternoon it was for me! Made my day! Coincidentally, I had just finished reading The Music of What Happens with my ears. I am a huge fan. I cannot wait to dive into this one. 

Purchased: Spending the last of my AZ gift cards.


Image: RHGraphic
Stepping Stones (Peapod Farms #1) by Lucy Knisley. Colored by Whitney Coger. 218 p. RH Graphic/ Random House Childrens Books/ Penguin Random House, May, 2020. 9781984896841.

Publisher synopsis: This contemporary middle-grade graphic novel about family and belonging from New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley is a perfect read for fans of Awkward and Be Prepared.

Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad.

Most of all, Jen did not want to get new "sisters," Andy and Reese.

As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn't hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers' market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.



Image: Firefly Books
The Plastic Problem by Rachel Salt. 80 p. Firefly Books Ltd. September, 2020. 9780228102311.

Publisher synopsis: The shocking truth of plastic's impact on our planet — and what we can do about it.

The data is in and it's bad. We create and throw away too much plastic, and it is killing our planet. However, too many people have very little idea about just how far this problem reaches, and those who do know feel helpless with the enormity of the task at hand.

To fill this void and provide some hope is Rachel Salt's simple and transformative book, The Plastic Problem.

As a producer for the award-winning and wildly popular YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, Salt is accustomed to taking big, complicated concepts and translating them into entertaining and easy-to-understand segments. She applies the same methodology to The Plastic Problem. The result is a critically important book that will change the lives of those who read it. Never before has the problem been presented in such an impactful way. Readers of any age will emerge from this book with a thorough understanding of the problem, its individual and global impacts, and — most importantly — hope for the future.

I have read and reviewed this already.


Image: Penguin Random House
Layoverland by Gabby Noone. 302 p. Razorbill/ Penguin Young Readers Group/ Penguin Random House, January, 2020. 9781984836120.

Publisher synopsis: Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell.

At least, that's what she believes. Her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most—her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed who knows where, she's confused, to say the least.

Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: she's in purgatory. If she ever wants to catch a flight to heaven, she'll have to help five thousand souls figure out what's keeping them from moving on.

But one of Bea's first assignments is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. And as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of eating bad airport food and listening to other people's problems, she can't help but notice that he's kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she's totally falling for him.

From debut author Gabby Noone comes a darkly hilarious and heartfelt twist on the afterlife about finding second chances, first loves, and new friendships in the most unlikely places.



Image: HarperCollins Publishers
Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles. 392 p. HarperTeen/ HarperCollins Publishers, January, 2020. 9780062349194.

Publisher synopsis: In his first contemporary teen novel, critically acclaimed author and two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means to be a “real man.”

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?


If you leave a comment, leave the link to your stack. I will pop by and to check out your stack!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Fact Friday: The Plastic Problem by Rachel Salt

Image: Firefly Books Ltd.

The Plastic Problem by Rachel Salt. 80 p. Firefly Books Ltd., September, 2020. 9780228102311. (Review of finished purchased ppb.)

Fact Friday features The Plastic Problem by Rachel Salt. If you're a regular reader of the Daily Book Talk, you may have noticed that plastic pollution is on my mind. Did you know that only 9% of plastic is recycled? According to this book, 79% goes into landfills, where it will sit for hundreds of years leaching chemicals. Much plastic ends up in streams, rivers and ultimately our oceans, where the wind and wave movements break up the plastic into tiny pieces, which marine life then eat mistaking it for food. The physical plastic in an animal's stomach can't be digested, takes up space and eventually leads to death by starvation or obstruction. The chemicals in microplastics are absorbed by the animals, which are part of a food chain and may end up on our dinner plates. Plastic has been around for about 100 years but, while good things have been possible thanks to plastic, other types of plastic, such as single-use plastic should be rethought. This attractively designed, easy-to-understand book explains it all and suggests ways that individuals can help using the 6 Rs. We know about the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Consider 3 more - Refuse, Rethink and Repair. So look around your house. Do a plastic audit. Do you really need to buy cases of bottled water when you can refill a Swell bottle? Do you need plastic utensils and wrappings in your lunch box? Think about it and have a great Independence Day weekend!


PS: If you're having a get-together, try to avoid disposable party ware! 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

#tbt: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


Image: Disney
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1. Miramax Books/ Hyperion Books for Children/ Disney, June, 2005. 9780786856299. (Own.)

#tbt features The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. It was fifteen year ago on June 28 that Riordan's book debuted. My first edition copy has a different cover (below) than what eventually became the Percy Jackson brand, illustrated by John Rocco (above). 


The book that launched an empire. This story about a middle school misfit with dyslexia became my go-to book for readers, reluctant and otherwise, who wanted action and humor. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Taking Stock - Second Quarter of 2020

Well, here we are! Halfway through 2020, easily one of the worst years ever. I was 16 books behind in my GR goal at the end of March. I am now 26 books behind two weeks into summer vacation. I am still having trouble concentrating for long periods of time. 

Here's my list. Faves have an *.
April (22)
76. Her Own Two Feet: a Rwandan Girl's brave fight to walk by Meredith Davis and Rebecca Uwitonze (4/2)
77. love, love by Victoria Chang (4/3)
78. Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman (4/4)*
79. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Conor (4/4)*
80. One of Us is Next by Karen McManus (4/7)
81. We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson (4/8)
82. Lifting as We Climb: Black women's battle for the ballot box by Evette Dionne (4/9)*
83. Chirp by Kate Messner (4/9)
84. Astronuts Mission Two: the water planet by Jon Scieszka (4/10)
85. Dugout: the zombie steals home by Scott Morse (4/10)
86. Bendy and the Ink Machine Joey Drew Studios Employee Handbook (4/11)
87. Lila and Hadley by Kody Keplinger (4/12)*
88. Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem (ebook) by Kate Messner (4/13)*
89. The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman (4/13)*
90. Monstrous by Carlyn Beccia (4/15)
91. Birdie and Me by J.M.M.Nuanez (4/16)
92. Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard (4/17)
93. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (4/19)*
94. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (4/21)
95. Every Missing Piece by Melanie Conklin (4/23)*
96. Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt (4/25)
97. Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson (4/26)

May (28)
98. Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams (5/2)*
99. Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (5/2)*
100. This is a Book to Read with a Worm by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen (5/3)*
101. Balletball by Erin Dionne (5/3)
102. Dream Big, Little Scientists: a bedtime book by Michell Schaub (5/3)*
103. Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones by Susan Lendroth (5/4)
104. You're Invited to a Moth Ball: a nighttime insect celebration by Loree Griffin Burns (5/4)*
105. Rise Up! The Art of Protest by Jo Rippon (5/4)
106. One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul (5/5)*
107. Strong as Sandow: how Eugen Sandow became the strongest man in the world by Don Tate (5/5)*
108. Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: a Cuban folktale by Carmen Agra Deedy (5/5)*
109. Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshoni Choksi (5/7)
110. When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Audio reread) (5/8)*
111. Abayomi: the Brazilian puma by Darcy Pattison (5/10)
112. The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead (5/10)*
113. Star Finder! A step-by-step guide to the night sky (5/11)
114. Red Hood by Elena K. Arnold (5/13)
115. Plastic Sea: a bird's-eye view by Kirsti Blom and Geir Wing Gabrielsen (5/15)
116. The Candy Mafia by Lavie Tidhar (5/17)(SLJ)
117. The Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (5/17)
118. Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang (5/18)*
119. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Said (5/21)
120. Queen of Physics: how Wu Chien Shiung helped unlock the secrets of the atom by Teresa Robeson (5/22)*
121. The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn (5/23)
122.  Rick by Alex Gino (5/24)
123. My Eyes are Up Here by Laura Zimmerman (5/25)*
124. She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think by Emily Arnold McCully (5/26)
125. What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado (5/26)*

June
126. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (6/1)
127. Kids Fight Plastic by Martin Dorey (6/4)
128. This is What I Know about Art by Kimberly Drew (6/6)*
129. The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan (6/7)
130. Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker (6/7)
131. Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (6/9)*
132. Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (6/9)
133. You Matter by Christian Robinson (6/10)
134. The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli (6/12)*
135. Things Seen from Above by Shelley Pearsall (6/12)
136. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (6/14)
137. The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity by Amy Alznauer (6/15)
138. We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (6/16)*
139. Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford (6/17)*
140. Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (6/18)
141. Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester (6/18)*

Summer Reading
142. Stealing Mt. Rushmore by Daphne Kalmar (6/21)*(1)
143. Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (6/21)(2)
144. The Gentleman's Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzie Lee (6/22)(3)
145. This was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews (6/23)(4)
146. Believe by Julie Mathison (6/23)(SLJ)(5)
147. Wombat Goes to School by Jackie French (6/23)*(6)
148. Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor changed basketball by Jen Bryant (6/24)*(7)
149. Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson (6/25)*(8)
150. I am Someone Else: poems about pretending collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins (6/25)(9)
151. The Superlative A. Lincoln: poems about our 16th president by Eileen R. Meyer (6/25)(10)
152. The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg (6/26)(11)
153. The Magic Eraser by Aaron Starmer (6/26)(12)
154. Bad Best Friend by Rachel Vail (6/27)* (13)
155. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigal Hing Wen (6/30) (14)

Waiting on Wednesday: Becoming Muhammad Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson

Image: Hachette Book Group
Becoming Muhammad Ali by Kwame Alexander and James Patterson. Illustrated by Daywud Anyabwile. 320 p. Jimmy Patterson Books/ Little, Brown BY/ Hachette and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 5, 2020. 9780316498180. 

Publisher synopsis: From two heavy-hitters in children’s literature comes a biographical novel of cultural icon Muhammad Ali, jointly published by Jimmy Patterson Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. Readers will learn about Cassius’ family and neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky, and how, after a thief stole his bike, Cassius began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. Before long, he won his first Golden Gloves bout and began his transformation into the unrivaled Muhammad Ali.

Fully authorized by and written in cooperation with the Muhammad Ali estate, Becoming Muhammad Ali dynamically captures the budding charisma and youthful personality of one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.


Last fall, I visited the Muhammad Ali Center when I was in Louisville for SLJ Leadership Summit. My dad was a boxing fan and followed Ali's career, so I knew a fair amount about him. Plus, I read Walter Dean Myers' terrific biography, The Greatest: Muhammad Ali and Charles R. Smith's biography in verse, Twelve Rounds to Glory: the story of Muhammad Ali. I was touched by the care and attention to detail of every exhibit in the museum and learned a ton. I am so looking forward to reading this.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Infinity Son

Image: HarperCollins Publishers

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. unabridged e-audiobook. ~9 hours. Read by Robbie Daymond, Kirby Heyborne, Maria Liatis & Elliot Knight. Quill Tree Books/ HarperAudio, January, 2020. 9780062457844. (Review of downloadable e-audiobook borrowed from public library.)

Teen Tuesday features Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. Latinx twins Emil and Brighton live in Bronx, New York, but it's not a Bronx we'd recognize. They are about to turn eighteen and neither one has manifested any magical power. Emil doesn't want them, Brighton yearns for them so he can join his heroes, the Spell Walkers. Brighton is a vlogger with a growing following. He films encounters between Spell Walkers and Blood Casters, who prey on Spell Walkers for their magical blood. When the boys are attacked by Blood Casters in the subway, it is Emil whose powers come in - big time. He possesses rare phoenix fire - exactly what the Blood Casters are looking for. This series starter features a large and diverse cast of characters and is told from multiple points of view. A cliffhanger ending will leave fans panting for the next installment.

Kirby Heyborne is usually a favorite narrator, but he seemed miscast here as Brighton. Why not cast a Latino? I think I will be reading book 2 with my eyes.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Middle Grade Monday and Arc Review: Bad Best Friend by Rachel Vail

Image: Penguin Random House
Bad Best Friend by Rachel Vail. 308p. Viking/ Penguin Random House, March, 2020. 9780451479457. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Middle Grade Monday features Bad Best Friend by Rachel Vail. Ava and Niki have been bffs since third grade when Ava moved to Maine from Los Angeles. Niki sort of dumped Holly for Ava back in third grade and now, it seems Ava is dumping Niki to belong to the popular group headed by Britney. The reader follows Niki, through her first-person narration as she navigates life without Ava and deals with life at home, where her fourth grade brother is having issues of his own. 


Ms. Vail's strengths as an author shine here. She has created a community of interesting characters with relatable problems. She mixed in humor and affection, resulting in a fun, fast read. If you love stories about family, school and/ or friendship, you will love Bad Best Friend! So endearing!