Friday, January 31, 2020

Fact Friday: Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Lou Allaud


Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Lou Allaud. unpgd. Alaska Northwest Books/ Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company, 2005. 9780882406046. (Review of finished copy borrowed from public library.)

Today's Fact Friday was inspired by all the TMS students who arrive at school not wearing coats and then complain that it's too cold to go outside for recess! Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Lou Allaud is a photo essay about the students in Ms. Allaud's class in Delta Junction, Alaska. They go outside for recess every day the temperature is above 20 below. They go outside at noon because the sun is only up for three hours during winters in Alaska! They dress in many layers and actually get hot because they are active outside. Dress for the weather TMS and get outside and active every day!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

#tbt: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Image of 25th Anniversary Edition: Penguin Random House

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. 224 p. Random House Publishing Group.

#tbt features The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker's Guide started out as a BBC radio show in 1978 written by Adams. They turned down his offer to novelize the show so he took the material to another publisher. The book was published in the UK in 1979 and was a immediate best seller. It is book one of an enormously popular and hilarious five-part trilogy. It has been turned into video games, a television show and a movie. Planet Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway ramp but Arthur Dent escapes with his alien friend, Ford Prefect, who is writing a book called, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly




Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly. 320 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., October, 20, 2020. 9781338268492.

Publisher synopsis: Snow White's stepmother wanted to get rid of the beautiful stepdaughter who was challenging her title of 'most beautiful' - by any means necessary. Was Snow White poisoned? What happens to the poisoned, and the poisoner?

Jennifer Donnelly turns her feminist eye to this most delicious of fairy tales and shows Snow White as she's never been seen before.


I just adore Donnelly's books and thought that Stepsister was brilliant. Of course, I can't wait for this! And isn't that cover just brilliant?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Teen Tuesday: Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Image: Scholastic

Teen Tuesday features Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater. This is book one of the Dreamer Trilogy, and is a spin off/ companion novel of sorts to The Raven Cycle Quartet. One technically does not need to have read the quartet to enjoy the bizarre and dangerous world Stiefvater has created in Call Down the Hawk. It is peopled by fascinating characters from sinister to endearing. Obscure and atmospheric Stiefvater excels at keeping the reader off-balance and guessing. She also delights and confounds with imagery and withering commentaries on life and human nature. 

Ronan Lynch isn't just pining for Adam Parrish while Adam's away at Harvard, he's the target of a government-funded assassin. Dreamers have been linked to an end-of-the-world prophecy and they are turning up dead all around the world. 

If you like paranormal suspense or if you read and enjoyed The Raven Cycle, you will love Call Down the Hawk. Will Patton narrates superbly using his growly voice to good effect here. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Middle Grade Monday: Once by Morris Gleitzman

Image: Penguin Random House UK
Once by Morris Gleitzman. Once/ Then/ Now/ After series. 160 p. Puffin/ Penguin Random House, February, 2006. (Own)

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Middle Grade Monday features Once by Australian author Morris Gleitzman. Felix is our naive, young and unreliable narrator. He believes he has been living in a Catholic orphanage, though he is Jewish, while his parents are away at a bookseller's convention. He runs away to try and find them just as the Nazis arrive to round up the occupants. Suspense builds as he encounters the horrors of Nazi occupation and slowly comes to realize the danger he is in. Each chapter begins with the word, "Once." They are short and pack an emotion wallop.

Once was published in 2006. It was followed by Then in 2009. In Now, published in 2010, Felix is a grandfather living in Australia, but Gleitzman returned to the 1940s in After (2012) and Soon (2015). While researching information for this post, I discovered that in 2018, Felix's story was continued in Maybe and that a final volume, Always, is in the works. Every students who reads Once, continues the series. I have some ordering and reading to do!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

What's New? Stacking the Shelves ALAMW Edition



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

I put in a half day at school Friday morning, then hit the road with the audio of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunshine, which is getting a lot of Newbery buzz. I can see why. I checked in, got my badge, got acclimated, did some work and went out to two events. First, was the Holiday House Cocktail Party, which is always in a fun place. I got to have a conversation with Neal Porter about my love for A Place to Land and Jerry Pinkney. I chose three titles I was particularly looking forward to reading plus one that caught my eye.

I had to leave for a Simon & Schuster dinner and was wondering where to catch a cab as I waited for my coat. Another librarian was online, so I asked where she was headed. She was headed there and already ordered her ride. In the ride over, we happily chatted and by the time we got there, we were best friends. I sat diagonally across from Cassandra Clare and next to my new best friend. Near the end of the dinner, we decided to become FB friends and discovered that we already were! Great way to kick off conference!



For Review:
From Holiday House:

Image: Holiday House

Blue Daisy by Helen Frost. 96 p. Margaret Ferguson Books/ Holiday House, March 17, 2020. 9780823444144.

Publisher synopsis:Sam and Katie find a stray dog and make a big mistake, but it's hard to make amends—how can you apologize to a dog?

A dirty, skinny, dog shows up in Sam and Katie's neighborhood. They start to follow it, and they don't like what they see: The Wilson sisters yell at it because it goes in their garden and the Tracy twins chase it on their bikes and throw things at it.

Sam and Katie want the dog to know they'll be its friends. They think it should have a name. Most of all, they want it to like them. But then they do something thoughtless, and after that, it's hard to make things right, especially because the dog now won't come near them.

How they earn the dog's trust, help it find its place in their town and how it gets its name, makes for a heartwarming story told in two voices using prose and poetry. Blue Daisy is illustrated with 20 black-and-white illustrations and includes recipes for dog biscuits and snickerdoodles.


Image: Holiday House

After the Worst Thing Happens by Audrey Vernick. 240 p. Margaret Ferguson Books/ Holiday House, May 5, 2020. 9780823444908.

Publisher synopsis:  Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident, 12-year-old Army Morand channels her grief to help someone in need.

Army Morand feels like her life has been blown to bits when the worst thing imaginable happens—her beloved dog dies. It was an accident, but it was also Army's fault. She can't seem to stop hiding from everything and everybody including her best friend JennaLouise.

But then Army sees Madison, the little girl who moved in across the way, climbing a tree and walking down the street unsupervised. Her family is not neglectful, just overwhelmed. Army finds herself overcome with the need to help Madison's family to make sure another worst thing doesn't happen—which becomes even more challenging when a big storm threatens her town.

After the Worst Thing Happens is a bittersweet story about a girl surprised by the force of a growing need inside her to reach out and lend a hand while trying to escape the swirling sadness of her own sudden loss. In the end, it is about finding love and hope and friendship in very surprising places.


Image: Holiday House

Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome. 208 p. Holiday House, January, 2020. 9800823444427.

Publisher synopsis: Behind every bad boy is a story worth hearing and at least one chance for redemption. It's 1946 and Lymon, uprooted from his life in the Deep South and moved up North, needs that chance.

Lymon's father is, for the time being, at Parchman Farm—the Mississippi State Penitentiary—and his mother, whom he doesn't remember all that much, has moved North. Fortunately, Lymon is being raised by his loving grandparents. Together, Lymon and his grandpops share a love of music, spending late summer nights playing the guitar.

But Lymon's world as he knows it is about to dissolve. He will be sent on a journey to two Northern cities far from the country life he loves—and the version of himself he knows. In this companion novel to the Coretta Scott King Honor wining Finding Langston, readers will see a new side of the bully Lymon in this story of an angry boy whose raw talent, resilience, and devotion to music help point him in a new direction.


Image: Holiday House

The Colossus of Roads by Christina Uss. 208 p. Margaret Ferguson Books/ Holiday House, May 5, 2020. 9780923444502. 

Publisher synopsis: Eleven-year-old Rick Rusek is determined to improve the traffic conditions in Los Angeles— his parent's failing delivery catering service, Smotch, depends on it.

Rick Rusek's stomach has a lot to say. It's got opinions on tasty foods, not-so-tasty foods, and how driving in traffic-jammed Los Angeles makes it roil, boil, gurgle, and howl. It never meant to earn its owner the nickname Carsick Rick or make him change schools for fifth grade. It's doing the best it can.

Rick has a lot to say back to his stomach. In fact, his stomach is the only one he can talk to about his favorite subject: the mighty power of road signs. Rick sees how shifting these bold, beautiful signs announcing STOP, LEFT TURN ONLY, SPEED LIMIT 35, and ROAD WORK AHEAD could improve all the traffic problems in Los Angeles. Too bad his talent for sketching maps that show how to fix everything doesn't seem to interest or impress anyone else.

When his parents' catering business teeters on the verge of ruin, Rick wants to prove his talent for noticing small details can make a big difference. He'll need help from his unicorn-loving Girl Scout neighbor, the Department of Transportation, a renowned street artist, plus the best driver in LA. He'll have to fight back against snarled streets, graffiti vandals, and other people's very wrong ideas about traffic.


From Simon & Schuster:
Image: Simon & Schuster

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. The Last Hours Book One. 581 p. Margaret McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, March 3, 2020. 9781481431873.

Publisher synopsis: Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.


Purchased: Nothing, but I must sit down next week and spend the AZ gift certificates I received from students!

What's new with you?

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

Friday, January 24, 2020

Fact Friday: Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan

Image: Simon & Schuster

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan. Illustrated by Ashley Bryan. 112 p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Simon & Schuster, October 15, 2019. 9781534404908.

Fact Friday features Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan. Beloved award-winning author/ illustrator Ashley Bryan was an art student attending Cooper Union when the United States joined the fighting in World War II. He faced discrimination while applying to art school but came face-to-face with segregation as soon as he hit boot camp. White recruits and black recruits trained and lived separately. Black recruits were also shunted into service positions and dangerous assignments. Bryan coped by drawing on whatever he could get his hands on. When the packet of drawings got too large, he would mail them home. This handsomely designed memoir uses his letters and his drawings as primary source illustrations to accompany Bryan's eloquent narrative. 

Infinite Hope belongs in every library collection and I hope it gets some nice shiny medals on Monday. It's powerful, gorgeous and important. 


Thursday, January 23, 2020

#tbt: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Image: Penguin Random House

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. 256 p. Delcorte Books/ Random House Childrens Books, September, 1999. 9780385323062. (Own.)

In anticipation of the announcement of the Youth Media Awards in Philadelphia on Monday, #tbt features Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Bud, Not Buddy was Curtis' second book. It was published in 1999 and won both the 2000 Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. You may remember, that his debut novel, The Watson's Go to Birmingham, 1963 won a 1996 Newbery Honor. 

Ten-year-old Bud Caldwell is tired of being tortured by his new foster brother. When he fights back, he's punished by being locked in a shed. He escapes, takes his revenge on Todd and hits the road with his suitcase and his rules for having a "funner" life. He's going to look for his father using a few clues in the suitcase his mother left him. Humorous and heartbreaking, this historical fiction paints a realistic picture of life during the Great Depression.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Image: Publishers Weekly*

The Captive Kingdom (The Ascendance #4) by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press, $17.99 Oct. 2020. 9781338551082.

Waiting on Wednesday features The Captive Kingdom (The Ascendance #4) by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Fans of the trilogy will be thrilled to learn that their favorite snarky bad boy is back. She told Publishers Weekly that fans of the series wrote to ask for more books. Nielsen thought Sage's story was done in book 3, The Shadow Throne, which released in 2014. But Sage, popped into her mind complaining he was bored. A full synopsis is not yet available, but fans won't care. The Captive Kingdom releases in October. Isn't that cover amazing?

*I usually find images on the publisher's website and link back. There is nothing on Scholastic's site (that I can find), so I used the image that PW published and linked back. While noodling around the Scholastic site, I found Nielsen's author bio page, which tells a slightly different story about Sage's origin. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Image: Macmillan

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. 

Legacy of Orïsha Series #2. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~ 13 hours. Read by Bahni Turpin. Macmillan Audio, December, 2019. 9781250309907. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from the public library.)


Teen Tuesday features Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi. This is book two of the Legacy of Orïsha series. The vivid worldbuilding continues in this sequel to Children of Blood and Bone. You absolutely must have read the first book to appreciate the twists and turns of the second. If you love mythology-based adventure, spread your wings and travel to West Africa to meet Zélie Adebola and learn of her quest to return magic to Orïsha.

I fell in love with book one when I somehow lucked into receiving an arc. Click here for that review. I never did get around to rereading it with my ears when I learned that Bahni Turpin narrated. But I did choose to read book two with my ears. Turpin turns in another stellar performance. Her voices are superb. I enjoyed the book. I recommend it. But, this sequel could've been shorter. There was a lot of repetition. It is a filler between book one and three. I am still eager for book three, whenever that drops though. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Middle Grade Monday: The Crossover: Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Crossover: Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander. Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile. 224 p. September, 2019. 9781328960013. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

I've been of fan of Alexander's ever since the publication of The Crossover and was thrilled when it garnered the Newbery Medal. His books are usually checked out and on hold lists for most of the school year with good reason. They are great! They also appeal to a variety of readers. I'm so glad that The Crossover was adapted into the graphic novel format. 

My opinion in two words: Outstanding adaptation. 

I always thought the poetry popped in the verse novel; but the art makes the poetry poppier! The energetic art also pops with a black and white and basketball orange palette. The dynamic between the two appealing and athletic twin brothers is conveyed as well as the mounting tension between the two. I also just loved how the utter coolness of the boys' parents was translated into the art.

You will need multiple copies on your shelf to keep up with demand. An absolute first-purchase.

Saturday, January 18, 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: HarperCollins Publishers

Honey: the dog who saved Abe Lincoln by Shari Swanson. Illustrated by Chuck Groenink. unpgd. Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins Publisher, January 14, 2020. 9780062699008.

Publisher synopsis: Based on a little-known tale from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, this charming picture book written by debut author Shari Swanson and illustrated by acclaimed artist Chuck Groenink tells a classic story of a boy, his dog, and a daring rescue.

Deeply researched and charmingly told, this is the true story of one extra-special childhood rescue—a dog named Honey.

Long before Abraham Lincoln led the nation or signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he was just a barefoot kid running around Knob Creek, Kentucky, setting animals free from traps and snatching frogs out of the jaws of snakes.

One day, young Abe found a stray dog with a broken leg and named him Honey. He had no idea that the scruffy pup would find his way into Abe’s heart, become his best friend, and—one fateful day—save his life.


Purchased:

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

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fact Friday: A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the speech that inspired a nation by Barry Wittenstein

Image: Holiday House

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the speech that inspired a nation by Barry Wittenstein. Illustrated by Jerry Pinckney. 48 p. Neal Porter Books/ Holiday House, August, 2019. 970823443314. 

As we head into MLK weekend, it is apropos for Fact Friday to feature A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the speech that inspired a nation by Barry Wittenstein. This is simply a most beautiful book. Author Wittenstein takes the reader to the lobby of the Willard Hotel the night before the 1963 March on Washington. Dr. King is conferring with his most trusted advisors about what to say. They are working in the lobby because his hotel room is probably bugged. 

In spare but vivid blank verse, Wittenstein depicts the collaboration between Dr. King and his advisors. There was some disagreement about what the text of the speech should contain. Ultimately, Dr. King retired to his room to write the speech he would deliver.

Jerry Pinkney's illustrations stun. Each spread is meant to be studied, not rushed through. The portraiture of each of Dr. King's advisors are helpfully labeled. Mini-biographies in the back matter elaborate and serve as an introduction to each. Other back matter consists of an author note; an illustrator note; the roster of speakers at the protest and source notes.

I had the privilege of attending a keynote speech given by illustrator, Jerry Pinkney last May at SLJ Day of Dialog. He shared many,  if not all of the collages from the book and spoke about his creative process and what he hoped to achieve with the art. Attendees received a sampler that I got signed by both the author and illustrator. 

There is no such thing as too many books about the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Make room for A Place to Land.  I hope it wins lots of medals next week in Philadelphia for it is truly distinguished.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

#tbt: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Image: Candlewick Press

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Chaos Walking series #1. 496 p. Candlewick Press, September, 2008. 9780763639310.

#tbt features The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This sci/fi dystopian is book one of the Chaos Walking trilogy and was published in 2005. Todd Hewitt is the last boy left in Prentisstown. He's about to turn thirteen and become a man when he learns a terrible secret about the town's past and why it is populated by only men. Readers may need to adjust to the dialect, but the rich worldbuilding, scary characters and fast pace will soon make the book un-put-downable. I especially recommend reading this with your ears. Nick Podehl's performance through all three books is riveting. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Muhammed

Image: Penguin Random House

Waiting on Wednesday features When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohammed. 264 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Young Readers, April 14, 2020. 9780525553915.

Publisher synopsis: Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Image: HarperCollins

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~10 hours. Read by Imani Parks. HarperAudio, May, 2018. q. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library.)

Teen Tuesday features Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson. This unnerving mystery portrays the lengths to which a best friend will go to get a straight answer. When Claudia returns home from her annual summer visit with her grandmother to start eighth grade, she's anxious to reconnect with Monday, who hasn't been answering her phone. The two besties are like sisters who insulate themselves to protect them from bullies at school and Monday's scary mother. But Monday doesn't answer her phone. Nor does she show up at school and Monday never misses school. When Claudia investigates, she receives conflicting stories. Her parents suggest that perhaps the friendship is over, but Claudia knows something is terribly wrong. The first-person account zig-zags, leaving the reader disoriented as Claudia discovers why Monday's not coming.

Taut writing and a fascinating community of characters keep the reader engaged and reluctant to do anything but rush to the end. The inner city social and economic dynamics are vividly portrayed as are the social skirmishes and pecking order of high school. Imani Parks delivers a performance equal to the writing. 

Monday's Not Coming is a resonant, powerful book that will stick with the reader for a long time. Highly recommended!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Image: Disney/ Hyperion
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. Tristan Strong series #1. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~11 hours. Read by Amir Abdullah. Listening Library, October, 2019. 9780593149584. (Review of downloadable e-audiobook borrowed from public library. Own hardcover copy.)

Middle Grade Monday features Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. This terrific debut is a mythology-based fantasy that centers around thirteen-year-old Tristan Strong, an up and coming boxer in Chicago. He has just lost his very first bout much to the disappointment of his father and grandfather who expect him to continue their legacy. He's also grieving the death of his best friend, Eddie and treasures the notebook where Eddie wrote down the stories his grandmother told. 

While visiting his grandparents in Alabama, that journal is stolen by a ten-inch, sap-covered, sassy doll named Gum Baby. When Tristan tries to catch her, he punches a tree in fury. Turns out it's a magical tree on the farm and he and Gum Baby end up in another world. Unfortunately, evil from our world follows them in as well. Some of the residents of Alke may be familiar to readers, John Henry, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. But the others are gods and goddesses of West African mythology, such as Anansi. 

New-to-me narrator Amir Abdullah paced his performance well and he mastered quite a few distinct voices. Looking forward to seeking out more audiobooks narrated by him as well as the next book in the Tristan Strong series.

If you enjoyed Rick Riordan's myth-based adventures, you will love Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky! It's the first book of a planned series, so get on board!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

I'll Bite: 2020 Audiobook Challenge



So I came across this audiobook challenge and was intrigued. I have been an audiophile for some 30+ years. We would listen to audiobooks as a family whilst driving to ski trips. That quickly morphed into always having an audiobook going in the car. I came across this challenge and wondered. I didn't consistently count my audiobooks until 2015. Let's check out my lists. 

I blogged at LiveJournal from December of 2008 to December of 2012 then switched over to Blogspot. For some reason, I did not make a separate list of audiobooks on the blog until 2012, when I read 83. I have no idea why I didn't keep track of audios in 2013, my first year at Blogspot or 2014. I dropped to 74 in 2015 but read 107 books with my ears in 2016. The next three years were solidly between 93 and 95 audiobooks. 

2012: 83
2015: 74
2016:107
2017: 93
2018: 94
2019: 95

Okay, I will shoot for the 100+ club at Hot Listens. Unfortunately, my first two audios of 2020 are hefty! Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky clocked in at almost 12 hours and I am presently 72% through Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Virtue and Vengeance, which is nearly 13 hours long!

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: Albert Whitman & Company

Quack by Anna Humphrey. 234 p. Albert Whitman & Company, April1, 2020. 978080756067.

Publisher synopsis: Ten-year-old Shady Cook struggles with selective mutism caused by anxiety. His best friend, Pouya, gets it—despite being the class clown, he has his own hang-ups lurking just below the surface. Shady's parents, however, are eager to find a way to help their son start talking more, so when a live duck waddles into their lives and Shady starts to respond, they reluctantly decide to give Svenrietta the emotional support duck a chance. Before long, Shady, Pouya, and their diaper-wearing duck are working to help all of the underdogs (or is it underducks?) at their school—and there are many.

Purchased: Nothing! But I did get a bunch of AZ cards as holiday gifts!

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

Friday, January 10, 2020

Fact Friday: Seeing Gender by Iris Gottlieb

Image: Chronicle Books

Seeing Gender: an illustrated guide to identity and expression by Iris Gottlieb. 208 p. Chronicle Books, October, 2019. 9781452176611. (Review of finished copy borrowed from public library. But definitely buying.)

Even though I consider myself an ally, I must admit that I consistently mess up gender pronouns. This cogent, informative, necessary text helps. A lot. 

Fact Friday features Seeing Gender: an illustrated guide to identity and expression by Iris Gottlieb. It is so easy to make assumptions about gender and to get it all wrong. This colorfully illustrated guide explains simply historical context as well as the science and sociology behind gender and gender identity.

The volume is slightly oversized. There's plenty of white space. A straightforward and simple narrative increases understanding and the exuberantly colorful illustrations are pleasing and fun.

Questioning youth will find a safe and sympathetic space to explore identity and would-be allies will learn to understand, respect and support diverse expressions of gender. Seeing Gender is an important read and belongs in all school and public libraries.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

#tbt: Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Image: Simon & Schuster

Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell. 202 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, 2005. 9780689858167. (Own.)

#tbt features Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell. Published in 2005, this first-person narrative by Tobin McCauley opens with one of the more memorable first lines in children's literature. "You might have heard about the time my granny got arrested on the first day of school." Tobin lives in a dysfunctional family. His father never really recovered from the death of his wife and his older siblings have a bad reputation in town as delinquents. Tobin flies mostly under the radar, preferring not to call attention to himself. At turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Chicken Boy is one of my favorites. While the cover I found on the publisher website is fine, I prefer the cover of my first edition book.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz

Image: Penguin Random House

Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz. Alex Rider series #12. 368 p. Philomel Books/ Penguin Random House, April 7, 2020 9780593115312.

Publisher synopsis:Follow the world’s greatest teen spy as he sets off to Gibraltar after the death of Scorpia, and enters into a battle against a new criminal organization: Nightshade.

Following the shocking events of Never Say Die, Alex Rider’s world has changed–his biggest enemy, the evil organization Scorpia, has been destroyed. But a new and dangerous criminal organization–Nightshade–is rising, and Alex will stop at nothing to take them down.


This year, I had a seventh grader read all the Alex Rider books in a row. When he came it to trade book ten for book eleven, he asked about book twelve and got very upset to hear that he needed to wait until April for it! This series is quite popular in my school.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Teen Tuesday and Arc Review: Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder

Image: Penguin Random House

Dancing at the Pity Party: a dead mom graphic memoir by Tyler Feder. 208 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House, April 14, 2020. 9780525553021. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Teen Tuesday features Dancing at the Pity Party: a dead mom memoir by Tyler Feder. Graphic artist Tyler Feder remembers her mother in this achingly beautiful memoir about love and loss. Feder and her mom were close. She was a sophomore in college when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. Using a subdued pastel palette, Feder chronicles the myriad of feelings she and her family experienced over the year that followed - shock, terror, guilt, hope - through the process of grief when her mother succumbed.

I grabbed this on my way to the airport in November and read it while I waited for my flight. I wept copiously. But I also laughed. So much about this lovely, important graphic novel resonates. It truly belongs in every possible library collection. I wouldn't necessarily hand it to someone newly grieving the loss of a loved one, but certainly to anyone who wants to help.

Look for Dancing at the Pity Party in April.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Middle Grade Monday and Arc Review: Wink by Rob Harrell

Image: Penguin Random House

Wink by Rob Harrell. 316 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House, March 31, 2020. 9781984815149. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Middle Grade Monday features Wink by Rob Harrell. All Ross Maloy wants is to get through seventh grade with his best friends, Abby and Isaac. But Isaac's been MIA ever since Ross got diagnosed with a rare eye cancer. Now he's that kid at school everyone's whispering about or pitying -the cancer kid. On top of that, the side effects of his treatments cause embarrassing situations inspiring someone to create and spread cruel memes about him. 

People who know me, know that I'm awfully hard on cancer novels. This first-person novel is not like any book about cancer you've read. It's authentic, honest and hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming. I even broke my "no star ratings" vow on Goodreads to give it five. I forced myself not to swallow it whole in one sitting. The spot illustrations and occasional comic strips featuring Bat Pig will appeal to fans of illustrated novels and add to the humor. You know your kids who eat up sad books will be all over this. Guess what? So will your kids who hate sad books! It's that good.

Wink releases on March 31. You'd better order multiple copies cuz this won't sit.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Picture Book Review: All of a Sudden and Forever: help and healing after the Oklahoma City bombing by Chris Barton

Image: Lerner Publishing

All of a Sudden and Forever: help and healing after the Oklahoma City bombing by Chris Barton. Illustrated by Nicole Xu. unpgd. Carolrhoda Books/ Lerner Publishing, February 4, 2020. 9781541526693. (Review of finished book courtesy of publisher @ SLJ Leadership Summit.)

I am at a bit of a loss about how to review this profound, beautiful and necessary book. April 19, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, well past the age of the target audience of this book. Unfortunately, in those twenty-five years, there have been many mass shootings and thus, the need to explain these tragedies to young people. Barton channels Mr. Rogers, explaining the events of that fateful day and its aftermath simply and sparely. The dark and somber illustrations add gravity without overwhelming. 

There are no gory details; just a focus on recovery, healing and hope. The tree that survived the blast is a powerful symbol of resiliency. The practice of gathering seedlings to nurture, plant and pass on to those who have experienced trauma is just beautiful. 

Author and illustrator notes follow the text and include photos of the tree immediately after the bombing and after recovery. Mini-biographies of twelve people affected directly or indirectly follows and a list of recommended reading and three websites end the back matter. 

All of a Sudden and Forever ought to be in every library - on hand for the right time to share with young readers who need help confronting tragedy. 


Friday, January 3, 2020

Fact Friday: Saving the Tasmanian Devil: How science is helping the world's largest marsupial carnivore survive by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Saving the Tasmanian Devil: How science is helping the world's largest marsupial carnivore survive by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent.

Fact Friday features Saving the Tasmanian Devil: how science is helping the world's largest marsupial survive by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. It is often the fault of humans that species become threatened with extinction by way of poaching and/ or habitat loss. In 1995, scientists noted a severe drop in the numbers of Tasmanian Devils. They also observed horrifying facial tumors that seemed to be highly contagious and killed every infected devil so quickly that they feared the devil population would be wiped out within years. 

This edition of The Scientist in the Field series explains the work of four teams of scientists in their efforts to identify and cure the disease before these creatures are gone forever. As usual with this excellent series, the narrative is engaging and accompanied by plentiful full-color photos of the adorable, yet fierce marsupials as well as scientists at work. Back matter includes a glossary; one book and four websites for further reading; source notes and an index. My only criticism is the long and unwieldy title;-)

This series continues to be an auto-purchase for me. I highly recommend adding Saving the Tasmanian Devil!