Sunday, June 30, 2019

Taking Stock - June

Total Books: 35/ 174
Total Posts: 27
Total Reviews: 14

Debut: 1/2
Audio: 10/49
Picture Books: 17/71

The Good: Lots of audiobooks this month! Not a bad total for the month since June = the end of school with all the crazy and grading.

The Bad: Six book behind in my GR goal for the year. One week of the summer is down and I haven't caught up.

The List:
140. The Great Santa Stakeout by Betsy Bird (6/2)
141. River by Elisha Cooper (6/2)
142. SumoKitty by David Biedrzycki (6/2)
143. Just Because by Mac Barnett (6/2)*
144. Internment by Samira Ahmed (6/2)
145. Slacker by Gordon Korman (6/2)
146. Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (6/3)
147. Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt (6/3)
148. Operatic by Kyo Maclear (6/4)*
149. Her Fearless Run: Katherine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon by Kim Chaffee (6/7)
150. Wilma's Way Home: the life of Wilma Mankiller by Doreen Rappaport (6/7)
151. Two Brothers, Four Hands by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (6/7)
152. Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles (6/8)
153. Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (6/9)*
154. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (6/11)*
155. The Eternal Soldier: the true story of How a dog became a Civil War hero by Allison Crotzer Kimmel (6/13)
156. Smiley's Dream Book by Jeff Smith (6/13)
157. Knock Knock by Tammi Sauer (6/13)
158. The Three Little Superpigs by Claire Evans (6/13)
159. The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Nevermoor #1) (6/16)*
160. Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes (6/16)
161. Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's first bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn (6/20)
162. Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt (6/20)
163. Bloom Boom by April Pulley Sayre (6/23)
164. Karen's Witch by Ann M. Martin (6/24)
165. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (6/25)*
166. Butterflies in Room 6 by Caroline Arnold (6/26)
167. How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read by Jane Yolen (6/26)
168. Which One Doesn't Belong? Playing with shapes by Christopher Danielson (6/26)*
169. The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha R. Vamos (6/27)
170. Snowman - Cold = Puddle by Laura Purdie Salas (6/26)
171. Dogs on Duty: soldiers: best friends on the battlefield and beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent (6/26)
172. Trace by Pat Cummings (6/28)
173. Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes (6/29)*
174. Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi (6/29)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Fact Friday: Dogs on Duty: soldiers; best friends on the battlefield and beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Image: Bloomsbury
Dogs on Duty: soldiers' best friends on the battlefield and beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. 48 p. Walker & Company, September, 2012. 9780802728456. (Review of purchased copy.)

Fact Friday features Dogs on Duty: soldiers' best friends on the battlefield and beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. If you are thinking that I really love books about dogs, especially dogs in the military, you would be correct. As I re-shelved a recent Fact Friday feature, I spotted this book sitting right next to it. I pulled it out and wondered why I had never read it. It wasn't until I added the book to my Goodreads shelf that I learned that I had! In March of 2013, some 2000 books ago. 2,279 to be exact. 

My love for the book holds up. Spectacular photos complement the fascinating, accessible text. Hinshaw Patent relates the history of dogs and war, dwelling a bit on the Vietnam War and the many dogs who were left behind as "equipment" much to the heartbreak of their handlers. She ends with the training and use of WMDs, Working Military Dogs, in present times. Back matter includes suggestions for further reading and a glossary. 

All this serves as a reminder to me that I should not forget to display older titles. I do admit to getting a bit lazy this year by displaying mostly new additions to the collection. Hand this to your fans of dog books, military history and just about anyone who wants an interesting read. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

#tbt: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Image: LBYR
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. 288 p. Little, Brown Young Readers, July, 2009. 9780316114271. (Own.)

#tbt features Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. This intricate and beautiful story-within-a-story was published in July of 2009 and won a Newbery Honor in January of 2010. Lin also illustrated the novel. It is a fantasy/ adventure about Minli, an energetic ten-year-old pining for adventure, which she gets when her beloved father tells her stories. Her family and village are dirt poor and her bitter mother sees no value in these stories. She becomes upset when Minli purchases a goldfish. The goldfish talks and Minli sets out to find good fortune for her village. Lin wrote a companion novel, Starry River to the Sky in 2014, and a sequel, When the Sea Turns to Silver in 2016.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Picture Book Review: Butterflies in Room 6: see how they grow by Caroline Arnold

Image: Charlesbridge
Butterflies in Room 6: see how they grow by Caroline Arnold. Unpgd. Charlesbridge, March, 2019. 9781580898942. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

I've worked with children between the ages of three to eighteen in the last thirty years. I am happy to have had such a wide range of experiences. I'm also lucky to love every age group. Really! I don't have a favorite age! There is something to love about each. Reading this delightful photo-essay made me nostalgic for elementary school though. The look of joy, of unbridled curiosity and unmasked enthusiasm on Mrs. Best's students was just happy-making. Yay! Hands on science!

Butterflies in Room 6 entices right from the cover. Full-color photos depict a variety of scenes from painted lady butterflies in the wild to the four stages of their life. The design is lovely as well from its heavy stock paper that will hold up to many readings to the leaf-shaped text "boxes" that contain extra information. The story of Mrs. Best's science activity is told clearly and accessibly with a large-ish, pleasing font. The candid shots of her students are precious and the more scientific shots and close-ups are helpfully labelled. Extra information is included in the back matter including, Butterfly Questions; a glossary; four websites and five books for further reading.

Butterflies in Room 6 is a great addition to any school library or elementary classroom!

Waiting on Wednesday: Cracking the Bell by Geoff Herbach

Cracking the Bell by Geoff Herbach. 272 p. HarperCollins Publishers, September 10, 2019. 9780062453143.

Publisher synopsis: Friday Night Lights meets Concussion in this powerful and important novel by Geoff Herbach, author of the Stupid Fast series, exploring the dangerous concussion crisis in football through the eyes of a high school team captain.

Isaiah loves football. In fact, football saved Isaiah’s life, giving him structure and discipline after his sister’s death tore his family apart. But when Isaiah gets knocked out cold on the field, he learns there’s a lot more to lose than football.

While recovering from a concussion, Isaiah wonders what his life would look like without the game. All his friends are on the team, and Isaiah knows they can’t win without him. The scholarship offer from Cornell is only on the table if he keeps playing.

And without football, what would keep his family together? What would prevent him from sliding back into the habits that nearly destroyed him?

Isaiah must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for the sport that gave him everything, even if playing football threatens to take away his future.

 I absolutely adored Herbach's Stupid Fast trilogy, Gabe Johnson Takes Over (except I read an arc called Fat Boy Vs. the Cheerleaders) and Anything You Want. I haven't gotten to Hooper, but have a voracious eighth grade reader who loved it. So, I must give him a heads up about this. He'll be at the high school when it releases.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

ALAAC19 - Saturday

Saturday morning I had a dilemma as often happens during these big conferences. Justice Sotomayor was speaking at the same time I had a panel by some authors whose work I enjoy. it was a panel called The Urgency of History: how librarians can prepare kids for their time. The panel was a mix of fiction and non-fiction authors - Gennifer Choldenko, Varian Johnson, Elizabeth Partridge, Marissa Moss and Sharon Robinson. They answered questions like, How do we bring kids and history together? What are some of the challenges? How do you deal with context? Whose past told in whose voice? Do you soften the ugly aspects? Interesting questions with fascinating answers. What was great about this particular panel was the chemistry. They really connected and had a great conversation.

After spending some time on the exhibit floor, I went to Best websites for teaching and learning. It's the last year of this committee as it stands. It is merging with Best Apps, which makes sense. Each site they chose seems to be something either I or one of my colleagues could use. 

Then I went to the always fun Disney preview. I grabbed a few arcs from a rapidly disappearing pile and sat down to enjoy the authors read from their upcoming books.

For the last few years, I have been privileged to be invited to the Penguin cocktail party. Last year, it was in this amazing space called the Art Garage. This year, it was in Culture House. The authors featured were Laurie Halse Anderson, Ruta Sepetys, Gabby Rivera, David Yoon and Renée Ahdieh. I have already read SHOUT with my eyes and with my ears and really cannot wait to dive into the other four.

My dinner event was cancelled so my conference pal, Barb Langridge of abookandahug and I invited another conference pal of mine, Mary Ann Scheuer of Great Kid Books and after finding our top choices of restaurants full and our energy flagging, grabbed dinner at a pasta place near my hotel. It was pricey but superb and the conversation was invigorating. 

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Reivew: Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe. Unabridged downloadable audiobook. ~9 hours. Read by James Fouhey. HarperAudio, January, 2019. 9780062885203. (Review of audiobook borrowed from public library. Will purchase hc for my library.)

Teen Tuesday features Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Benn Philippe. This is the first-person account of sixteen-year-old Norris Kaplan as he navigates his reluctant move from Toronto, Canada to Austin, Texas. As a Black, hockey playing teen, he is sure Texas teens have preconceived notions about him. What he doesn't realize is that he has quite a few preconceived notions about them, which he records in his notebook. He promised his professor mom that he would give Austin a try. Yet, he classifies everyone he meets in his notebook from the cheerleaders to the jocks to the loners to the manic pixie dream girl he thinks he might love. What he doesn't expect is to actually like the individuals who step forward to befriend him. Hilarious and cringeworthy, this is an amazingly satisfying read. 

I absolutely loved new-to-me narrator, James Fouhey's performance. Pitch-perfect and perfectly paced, this is an audiobook I would happily reread with my ears. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Middle Grade Monday: Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French

Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French. Read by Humphrey Bower. Published by Bolinda Audio. (Review of book downloaded through Audiobooksync a couple of years ago.)

Greetings from Washington DC TMS readers! Today is the fourth day of my conference and I am having so much fun learning and talking to publishers about new books coming in the next few months. I have packed an entire suitcase with books and arcs to read and share with you! Guess what Raina Telgemeier fans? I got Guts!!! Not just sampler either! Oh! And there's a new Babysitters Club spin-off called Babysitters Little Sister. The first book is called Karen's Witch. It's cute.

So! Our first Middle Grade Monday of the summer features Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French. Jackie French is an Australian author best known to me as the author of Diary of a Wombat. Pennies for Hitler is the story of a school boy named Georg, the only child of a university professor and his wife. His father is not only British, but Jewish, though the family does not practice. That doesn't matter to a group of students who, at graduation, decide to throw their fellow students and their professor out the window because they are Jews. Georg's mother manages to grab her son and escape. She thinks quickly and also manages to smuggle him out of the country to England to live with his aunt in London.

This unique story is quite suspenseful and harrowing at times. I learned about an aspect of the war I never knew! An extensive author note at the end is quite fascinating!

It might be also be a bit difficult to find. I found it on my phone while I was browsing my library of audiobooks to read. I had downloaded through the Audiobooksync summer reading program and never got to it. Do you know about Audiobooksync? You can download two audiobooks a week for free! No strings attached!

I will have to buy a paperback for the library and will also buy the audiobook because the narration is terrific. If you enjoy historical fiction set during World War II, you will love this book.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

ALAAC19 - Friday

Friday was a long, eventful day and I was too tired to process and write about it last night. I should've because today was even more packed and I need to talk about both days. It's 8:30 PM and I am beat but in a good way. 

I spent Friday morning walking. After I registered, I headed to the Mall. I got there at the Museum of Natural History, which, I thought, maybe I will pop in. But the line was quite long. I mean, dinosaurs! So I turned right and walked. It was a gorgeous, breezy day with tons of interesting clouds. As I approached the Museum of American History, I considered going in, but it was so gorgeous, I decided to walk as much of the Mall as possible before my lunch date with Greystone Kids. 

I ended up walking clear down to the Lincoln Memorial. Saw Constitution Gardens, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Female Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial and WWII Memorial before wondering if I should hoof it 1.8 miles to Le Mirch. 

I wonder what the story is behind that downed tree!

Google Maps app is a curious thing. I thought I was headed in the right direction, then realized I was walking the wrong way. I grabbed a cab. 

Lunch was intimate and fascinating. Greystone Kids is an imprint of Greystone publishing house based in Canada. Patrice Aldana runs the imprint and is a woman with a mission. She is committed to publishing books from around the world. 

Holiday House hosted a cocktail hour at The Press Club and wow! What an event. Great authors in a storied venue. Fitting that Barry Wittenstein and Jerry Pinkney's book, A Place to Land, was featured at The Press Club as it is right across the street from the Willard, which is where MLK stayed the night before his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I got to hold the finished copy of the book in my hands and it is GORGEOUS! I got to talk to Christian Robinson, Eric Velasquez, Matt Cordell, and Jerry Pinkney himself!


I had hoped to stop at my hotel to freshen up but walked the wrong way. Again. Then found my way to Simon & Schuster's Night of Novels at Bobby Van's Grille. Five authors were featured. They all spoke briefly about their books, then speed-dated. I had to leave a bit early to cab to the Library of Congress because I somehow lucked into snagging a ticket to the Coretta Scott King 50th anniversary gala!

It was magical! There was a program first, followed by a reception in the gallery. I was so stuffed from all the food all day, I could not partake. I also got really tired and left a bit early. I just could not process another conversation. 


I left a bit after sunset and was able to see this before grabbing a cab.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Fact Friday: Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's first bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn

Image: Abrams
Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's first bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn. 52 p. Abrams Books for Young Readers, April, 2018. 978141972875. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

The last Fact Friday of the school year features Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's first bookmobile by Sharlee Glenn. This is a book that warms my librarian heart. 

There weren't many career opportunities for women in the late 1800s. Indeed, most women were not encouraged to even obtain an education let alone a job. But Mary Lemist Titcomb insisted upon an education and ultimately trained to become a librarian, eventually working her way up to chief librarian. That was not enough, she identified a need - poor residents in the rural communities did not have access to books or libraries. She put together a mobile library on a horse-drawn carriage to bring the books to that community. 

The design of the book is absolutely gorgeous. Filled with fascinating vintage black and white photos and ephemera. Twelve pages of back matter attest to the research, love and care that went into this beautiful biography. This book begs to be read slowly. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019


So far, I am not impressed. Writing this at 12:25 AM. I left school at 3 PM and left home at 4:30. Hit traffic on the parkway immediately, then took a suggested route from Google Maps. Wrong choice!

My trip to DC was punctuated by horrendous stop and go traffic and pelting downpours. 

Once I got into Delaware...Shall I tell you about my bridge phobias? Not yet. Google Maps took me away from I95 to another route, which I followed. 310(?)/ 50. It was scenic. But, I had to drive across a bridge, which basically caused me to panic/white knuckle/ remember to breathe experience that totally freaked me out.

I learned from my ophthalmologist recently, that I am starting to have cataracts. This means that night driving can be challenging. Yeah. 

My four hour drive to DC turned into a six hour drive.

I  chose my hotel based upon availability and proximity to the convention center. Little did I know that it is a "no frills" hotel. Meaning, off site parking (a whole nother blog post) and very little, read, no amenities.  I truly hope its proximity redeems itself. 

I received a drink chit, which I truly needed after getting lost trying to find the parking, which is not well marked and has truly horrendous directions. When I settled my bill, there was a surcharge of $4, which was as "food" charge. Bogus. Not impressed so far. 

My room is weird. Just weird. 

Oh dear. I hope this is not a harbinger of ALAAC19!

#tbt: Hidden Talents by David Lubar

Image: Macmillan

Hidden Talents by David Lubar. 224 p. Talents #1. TOR/ Macmillan, June, 1999. 

#tbt features Hidden Talents by David Lubar. This first part of a paranormal duology released twenty years ago. It is the story of Martin Anderson, who, having been expelled from every school he's ever attended, has reached the end of the line - Edgeview Alternative School. He finds he's even a misfit there among all the misfits. He does find a tribe and soon discovers the reason behind his and his peers inability to fit in. Each has an unusual ability. An ability that the system thinks makes them freaks. Martin sets out to prove them wrong. Lubar's strength as a writer lies in astute observation of the difficult truths of being a teen while making the reader laugh in either recognition or sympathy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. Folk of the Air #3. 300 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, January 7, 2020. 9780316310425. 

Publisher synopsis: After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

This series for mature teens is superb! I cannot wait for this!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Image: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Teen Tuesday features Internment by Samira Ahmed. This powerful and prescient first-person novel is set in the near-future and is narrated by seventeen-year-old Layla Amin. Two and a half year after the election of an Islamophobic president, Muslim Americans are stripped of their property and rights and are relocated to internment camps. Resistance results in the individual being "disappeared." Defying her parents plea to stay quiet and follow the rules, Layla finds likeminded friends and ways to resist. Utterly believable and exquisitely suspenseful, Internment will astound.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: The First by Katherine Applegate

The First by Katherine Applegate. Endling series #2. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~8 hours. Read by Lisa Flanagan. HarperAudio, May, 2019. 9780062911889. (Review of e-audio borrowed from public library.)

Middle Grade Monday features The First by Katherine Applegate. Fans of Applegate's The Endling series may do a double-take as the first book in the series was called The Last and its sequel is called The First. They surely will not be disappointed as the worldbuilding continues to be inventive and intriguing. Byx and her friends face many dangers in their quest to find out whether she is the last of her kind. The journey to Dreyland is arduous and not only are they being hunted, but other dangers lurk in the mountains. 

Applegate proves that a fast-paced, suspenseful story need not be merely plot-driven. The writing is lovely. The characters are complex, flawed, and unsure. Ms. Flanagan continues to deliver a well-paced, engaging narration. 

I wonder what book three will be called and when it is slated for publication because I cannot wait and neither can my students!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fact Friday: Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum

Image: Viking/ Penguin
Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum. 120 p. Viking/ Penguin Group, May, 2016. 9780670016792. (Own.)

Fact Friday features Stonewall: Breaking out in the fight for gay rights by Ann Bausum. Prior to the 1970s, it was illegal to identify as anything other than heterosexual. Police would routinely raid gay-friendly bars, often coercing and accepting bribes from people hoping to avoid arrest. On June 28, 1969, a raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City's West Village turned into a full-on protest when the patrons refused to yield to arrest and barricaded themselves in the bar. They were soon joined by thousands of supporters that outnumbered police. The protest eventually became a riot and galvanized the movement to fight for gay rights. Bausum's thorough research is belied by the conversational tone that makes understanding this important moment in history easy. The text is sprinkled with black and white photos from the era.  

Thursday, June 13, 2019

#tbt: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. 144 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April, 1989. 9780395510605. (Own)

#tbt wishes Number the Stars by Lois Lowry a belated happy thirtieth anniversary. This short but intense work of historical fiction was published in April of 1989 and won the Newbery Medal in January of 1990. It is the story of the Johansen family and their decision to resist the Nazis and hide Annemarie Johansen's best friend Ellen Rosen. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart

Image: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart. 400 p. The Mysterious Benedict Society series. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, September 24, 2019. 9780316452632.

Publisher synopsis: Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission together. But with the arrival of a new Society member — and a new threat — they must reunite to face dilemmas more dangerous than ever before, including the villainous Mr. Curtain and a telepathic enemy tracking their every move, not to mention a dramatically preteen Constance.

In its triumphant return, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series' trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hairsbreadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures.

This series is so-o popular at my school! The kids will be fighting over who gets to read it first!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

Image: Penguin Random House 

Lovely War by Julie Berry. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~11 hours. Read by Jane Entwhistle, Allan Corduner, Dion Graham, Nathanial Parker, Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. Listening Library, March, 2019. 9781984838278. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library. Arc courtesy of publisher.)

Teen Tuesday features Lovely War by Julie Berry. This sweeping historical romance begins in December of 1942 in an elegant New York City hotel. A gorgeous couple are caught by the wronged husband. The paramours happen to be Aphrodite the goddess of love and Ares the god of war. The cuckold is Hephaestus. He ensnares them in an breakable golden mesh net and intends to put them on trial on Mount Olympus; but Aphrodite asks to plead her case directly to her husband. So she tells the story of her two favorite love matches - Hazel and James and Colette and Aubrey.  

In 1917, Hazel, a pianist, played at at dance where she met James, a builder turned soldiers, who was shipping out to fight in France. The two fell quickly in love and Hazel promised to write. She joined the war effort as an entertainment volunteer and also shipped out to France soon after. There she met Colette, a Belgian refugee with a tragic past who sings like an angel. Colette crosses paths with Aubrey, an African American jazz musician and those two fall in love. 

As Aphrodite weaves the two stories together, she's joined by Ares, Hades and Apollo, who all had a hand shaping the events of the war and its consequences.

Immersive and epic, this is definitely one for the reread pile. There is just so much to love here from the gorgeous writing to the characters. I am not a fan of most romance novels but I am a fan of this one. It's smart. It's compelling. It's an exquisite read that I couldn't rush through because I was reading with my ears, but I wanted to. I needed to find out what happened to these four young souls. And yet, I didn't want the book to end. 

Lovely War is a first-purchase. It's a must-read for your patrons who love mythology; for your romance fans; for your war-story fans. Really, it's a must-read for just about any reader. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

Image: Candlewick

Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. Read by Kate Rudd. 6 hours, 12 minutes. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, September, 2018. 9781978644335. (Review of purchased audiobook.)

Middle Grade Monday features Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan. Mup first sees the witches in the treetops when she and her brother are en route home with their mam after visiting her gravely ill great-aunt in hospital. The witches are deathly pale and terrifyingly serious and definitely following her as they leap from treetop to treetop. Mup is terrified to enter her own home and she should be. Turns out Mup's aunt spirited her mother away from the Witch's Borough for her own protection. Now that Aunty is dying, her protective spell weakened. The witch's have found "the heir" and intend to return her to her mother, the queen.

Vivid and creepy, this first book in the Wild Magic trilogy will hook readers on page one and not let go, leaving them panting for book two, which is due out September 3! The writing is lovely for so suspenseful a story. Mup is immediately endearing and everyone around her is unique and memorable from her baby brother, Tipper, who becomes an irrepressible talking dog in the Glittering Kingdom through Crow, a talking crow/ young boy who has trouble speaking in rhyme as required by the queen.

Kate Rudd subtly shifts her voice for each character in this measured performance.

Fans of scary stories will gobble this one up.

Here's a link to a pretty cool book trailer that I think conveys the atmospheric vibe of the book quite nicely.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Fact Friday: Rocket to the Moon by Don Brown

Image: Abrams

Rocket to the Moon by Don Brown. 132 p. Big Ideas That Changed the World Series #1. Amulet Books/ Abrams, March, 2019. 9781419734045. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Fact Friday features Rocket to the Moon by Don Brown. Borrowing from the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series, Rocket to the Moon is narrated by Rodman Law an aviation daredevil and arguably the first man to fly in a rocket. He covers the history of rocketry from ancient China through the moon landing in 1969 - the highs and lows, warts and all. It wasn't all noble and heroic. 

The art is gorgeous. The palette is appropriately muted, save for the brilliant red of the odd explosions. It's predominantly black, white and gray tones. Plentiful back matter consists of a timeline, a note on Rodman Law, chapter notes, an extensive bibliography an Author's Note and an index. 

A promising start to a new series. No graphic novel collection would be complete without Rocket to the Moon. I can't wait to see which "big idea" is next! 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Picture Book Review: Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt

Image: Simon & Schuster
Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt. Illustrated gby Penelope Dullaghan. unpgd. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Atheneum, June 11, 2019. 9781481451468. (Review of finished copy courtesy of Blue Slip Media.)

Max is a cat who attacks. This furry, frenetic feline has his sights set on a bowl full of fishes. It's a good thing for the fishes that he's easily distracted, though not good for the dog. Each time he's drawn back to the fish after leaving a path of destruction in his wake, he discovers there's something new to attack. 

The jaunty rhyme is accompanied by energetic acrylic, charcoal and digital illustrations that add humor. Cat lovers will take to this like catnip, but so will anyone else with a pulse. Great for story time read aloud. Max Attacks is a fantastic addition to any school or public library serving the very young.

#tbt: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Image: Penguin Young Readers
#tbt features Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. This TMS favorite was published in England in 2000 and in the U.S. in 2001. It introduces fourteen-year-old orphan Alex Rider. After discovering that the story of his uncle's death in an auto accident was a lie, Alex is recruited by his uncle's employer, MI6, to complete the mission. Lots of action and a fast-pace are hallmarks of all the books in this series, There are twelve books so far, with the lucky number thirteen due out in February, 2020. Stormbreaker was a New York Times bestseller, sold over nine million copies worldwide, and was adapted into a graphic novel as well as a movie.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan

Image: Disney/ Hyperion

The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan. Trials of Apollo series #4. Disney/ Hyperion, October 8, 2019.

Synopsis from Riordan's website: It’s not easy being Apollo, especially when you’ve been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient Oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies.

Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo’s aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.

I'm not sure I have the stamina to get through this. I thought #3 was supposed to be the final volume! My students are panting for this though!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Teen Tuesday: Fence by C.S. Pacat

Image: Boom Studios

Fence by C.S. Pacat. Illustrated by Johanna the Mad. With Rebecca Nalty. Fence series #1. 112 p. Boom Studios, July, 2018. 9781684151929. (Review of finished copy borrowed from public library.)

Teen Tuesday features Fence by C.S. Pacat. This is book one of a planned ten-book graphic novel series featuring sixteen year old Nicolas Cox, an untrained fencer with so much raw talent he is accepted into an elite private school to train and fence. His roommate is an aloof and unfriendly fencing phenom. This brilliantly illustrated graphic novel brings the fast paced intensity of fencing to life.

Books one and two were on display at my town library so I grabbed them and fell in love. I don't know why this series isn't getting much attention. I can't wait for the next installments to drop. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Middle Grade Monday and Arc Review: Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya

Image: Kokila/ Penguin Young Readers

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya. 326 p. Kokila/ Penguin Young Readers Group, August 6, 2019. 9780451479723. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Middle Grade Monday features Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya. Homecomings can be fraught. While they should be joyous, expectations can lead to disappointment and worry. Emilia Torres' dad has just returned home from deployment. He's quiet and moody. Then her mom needs to travel for work, leaving her Abuela in charge. Her mom knows how to keep Emilia's wandering mind on track with schoolwork. Her opinionated Abeula does not. Emilia's stress mounts as her social studies teacher assigns a big open-ended research project about community and friend drama ensues. 

This is Cartaya's third book and it's clear to me he has the middle school voice nailed - the drama, the dialogue and the assignments. I love that he created Emilia as his main character. As endearing as Arturo and Marcus are, it's nice to see a fierce girl as the center of the story. 

Another strength of his is his depiction of complicated extended families and their mix of love and conflict. He also manages to sneak in some social commentary without sounding like he's on a soapbox. Here, there's PTSD, immigration issues and microagressions. Our narrator may have ADHD and some sensory issues, but she's a bright, observant budding social activist who's unafraid to wield a welder. Readers might be stirred to reflect, make connections and understand the experiences of others.

Fans of the author's earlier books will not be disappointed. Hand to thoughtful readers who enjoy realistic fiction, friendship stories and school stories. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

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.

Big book week this week. I think my summer reading is set.

For review:
So I went to SLJ Day of Dialog on Wednesday. I talked about the day here. This is what I brought home:

Image: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Frankly in Love by David Yoon. 432 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Young Readers, September 10, 2019. 9781984812209.

Publisher synopsis: Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?

Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.

Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.

As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.

Image: Delacorte Press

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker. 336 p. Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, September 24, 2019. 9780525707523.

Publisher synopsis: Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she's in therapy. She can't count the number of times she's been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her "weird" outfits, and been told she's not "really" black. Also, she's spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there's that, too.

Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat—and it's telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?

Life may be a never-ending hamster wheel of agony, but Morgan finds her crew of fellow outcasts, blasts music like there's no tomorrow, discovers what being black means to her, and finally puts her mental health first. She decides that, no matter what, she will always be intense, ridiculous, passionate, and sometimes hilarious. After all, darkness doesn't have to be a bad thing. Darkness is just real.

Loosely based on her own teenage life and diaries, this incredible debut by award-winning poet Morgan Parker will make readers stand up and cheer for a girl brave enough to live life on her own terms—and for themselves.

Image: Balzer + Bray
Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy. 273 p. Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers, October 1, 2019. 9789962473097.

Publisher synopsis: Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.

Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.

What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”

Doc and the Detective by Tim Tingle. 256 p. Scholastic Inc., October 15, 2019. 9781338236477. 

Publisher synopsis: A Choctaw boy with a taste for detective work teams up with a lonely old professor in this charming middle-grade mystery from a two-time winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award.

Timmy loves reading stories about great detectives, and soon he begins to spy mysteries all around his small Oklahoma town.

Why was his next-door neighbor, the distinguished Dr. Moore, standing outside with a knife at midnight? Who's sneaking around their house, shining flashlights in the windows? And where did Mrs. Newberry's diamond necklace go? As Timmy and Doc work together to unmask the thief, Timmy also comes to understand the challenges Doc and his family face with his developing dementia, and discovers that a real detective needs a good heart as well as a sharp brain.

No Cover Image

Torpedoed: the true story of the World War II sinking of "the children's ship" by Deborah Heiligman. 288p. Henry Holt/ Macmillan, October 8, 2019. 9781267795548.

Publisher synopsis: Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set out in a convoy of nineteen ships sailing for Canada. On board were ninety CORB children, chaperones, and crew, along with paying passengers.

When the war ships escorting the Benares to safe waters peeled off and the way forward seemed certain, a German submarine attacked and torpedoed the Benares. What followed is an amazing example of all that people are capable of—the worst, and the best.

Image: Groundswood Books
Operatic by Kyo Maclear. Illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler. 160 p. House of Anansi/ Groundswood, April, 2019. 9781554989720.

Publisher synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard.

Image: Candlewick Press
Just Because by Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. unpgd. Candlewick Press, September 10, 2019. 9780763696801. 

Publisher synopsis: Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”

Arsenault appeared on the picture book panel at DoD and Barnett followed to deliver the final keynote. He spoke humorously and passionately about the relevance of picture books and ended by reading Just Because. So lovely. The two autographed fng's at the signing. 

Image: Scholastic
Child of the Dream: a memoir of 1963 by Sharon Robinson. 240 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., September 3, 2019. 9781338282801.

Publisher synopsis: In January of 1963, Sharon Robinson turned 13 the night before George Wallace declared on national television "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" in his inauguration for governor of Alabama. That was the start of a year that would become one of the most pivotal years in the history of America.

As the daughter of Jackie Robinson, Sharon had incredible access to some of the most important events of the era, including her family hosting several fundraisers for Martin Luther King Jr. at their home in Connecticut, other civil rights heroes of the day calling Jackie Robinson for advice and support, and even attending the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs.

But Sharon was also dealing with her own personal problems, like going through puberty, being one of the only black children in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood, and figuring out her own role in the fight for equality. This memoir follows Sharon as she goes through that incredible year of her life.

Robinson delivered a talk just before lunch at DoD. 

Image: Random House
We are the Perfect Girl by Ariel Kaplan. 384 p. Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Random House, May 21, 2019. 9780525647102.

Publisher synopsis: This witty, warm-hearted retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is a love letter to female friendship. Perfect for Stephanie Perkins fans, and anyone who’s ever thought of trying on a new identity to impress a guy.

Aphra Brown is bold and outgoing. Her best friend, Bethany, is achingly beautiful. Individually, they could both do a little better in the self-esteem department, but together? Together, they have what it takes to win over Greg D’Agostino, a proverbial “ten,” who happens to be fluent in six languages–seven if you count the language of smoldering gazes . . .
What begins as an honest mistake turns into an elaborate deception, wherein Bethany goes on dates with Greg while Aphra coaches her on what to say, and texts him in the guise of Bethany, trying and failing, all the while, to tamp down her own hopeless crush. It’s only a matter of time before things come crashing down. The question is: What will happen when Greg finds out? And can Aphra and Bethany’s friendship survive the fallout?
From the author of We Regret to Inform You comes a witty, warm-hearted exploration of love in all its forms, and a cris-de-coeur for self-acceptance when the pressure to be perfect is overwhelming.

Image: Inkyard Press
Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford. 384 p. Inkyard Press, August 27, 2019. 9781335090447.

Publisher synopsis: For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

Image: Wendy Lamb Books
Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Pantaleakos. 240 p. Wendy Lamb Books/ Random House, May, 2019. 9780545646570.

Publisher synopsis: A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger—it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."

Image: HarperCollins Publishers
butterfly yellow by Thanhha Lai. 304 p. HarperCollins Publisher, September 3, 2019. 9780062229214.

Publisher synopsis: In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

Image: Delacorte Press
Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum. 320 p. Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, May, 2019. 9780525595564. 

Publisher synopsis: Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.
Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.

Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.

Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?

Image: Blink
The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais. 320 p. Blink, August 13, 2019. 9780310766162.

Publisher synopsis: Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.

Image: Charlesbridge
SumoKitty by David Biedrzycki. unpgd. Charlesbridge, August 13, 2019. 9781580896825.

Publisher synopsis: Watch out, mice! This cat is a sumo champion!

A stray kitty gets a job in a sumo stable, chasing mice in exchange for food. But when eating like a sumo wrestler slows our feline hero down, he realizes he must train like a wrestler, too. Through hard work and perseverance—and with a little help from a big buddy—SumoKitty is born! A funny and heartwarming story inspired by the Japanese saying "Fall down seven times, stand up eight."

Image: Scholastic
The Great Santa Stakeout by Betsy Bird. Illustrated by Dan Santat. unpgd. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., September 3, 2019. 97801338169980.

Publisher synopsis: Freddy Melcher is Santa's #1 Fan. He has Santa posters, Santa action figures, and even Santa underwear. But there is one prize Freddy desperately wants: A photograph taken with Santa, fresh out of the chimney. 

Oh, is it risky! It's awfully hard to sneak anything by someone who can see you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake. That's why Freddy has been extra good this year . . . at hiding his plans.

Will Freddy get away with his delightfully devious scheme to outwit Santa Claus himself and capture the ultimate selfie?

Image: Scholastic
River by Elisha Cooper. unpgd. Orchard Books/ Scholastic Inc., October1, 2019. 9781338312263.

Publisher synopsis:A breathtaking adventure as a traveler and her canoe begin their trek down the Hudson River. In a mountain lake, the canoe gently enters the water's edge, paddling toward the river. The nautical journey begins.

She is alone, far from home.

Three hundred miles stretch in front of her.

A faraway destination, a wild plan. And the question: can she do this?

In Cooper's flowing prose and stunning watercolor scenes, readers can follow along the trek as the woman and her canoe explore the wildlife, flora and fauna, and urban landscape at the river's edge. Through perilous weather and river rushes, the canoe and her captain survive and maneuver their way down the river back home.

River is an outstanding introduction to seeing the world through the eyes of a young explorer and a great picture book for the STEAM curriculum.

Maps and information about the Hudson River and famous landmarks are included in the back of the book.

Image: Scholastic
Guts by Raina Telgemeier (sampler). 224 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., October 17, 2019. 9780545852517. 

Publisher synopsis: Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears.

This sampler was a crowdpleaser at school on Friday. I featured it as a "Waiting on Wednesday" post and had quite a few students come into the library asking to check the book out. I guess they didn't hear the "waiting" part. Anyway, Telegemeier is a TMS favorite. When I asked in the first class who was interested in reading the sampler, I was swarmed by five students who all read it together, alternately turning pages and jumping up and down. I wish I thought to take a picture. In the next class, nearly every hand went up but no one jumped out of their seat, so I handed it to one girl and she reverently perused each page before passing it on. It was so cute! I hope there are full arcs at Annual. I have to buy multiple copies of each of her books to keep up with demand. I love how they appeal to both boys and girls.

Image: Holiday House
A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. unpgd. Neal Porter Books/ Holiday House, September 24, 2019. 9780823443314. (sampler)

Publisher synopsis:Much has been written about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington. But there's little on his legendary speech and how he came to write it. Find out more in this gripping book with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. "It's terrible to be circling up there without a place to land."
Finding this place to land was what Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled with, alongside advisors and fellow speech writers, in the Willard Hotel the night before the March on Washington, where he gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. But those famous words were never intended to be heard on that day, not even written down for that day, not even once.

Barry Wittenstein teams up with legendary illustrator Jerry Pinkney to tell the story of how, against all odds, Martin found his place to land.

I have been a fan of Pinkney's forever and discovered Wittenstein with this and loved this and recently reviewed this. I am so psyched for A Place to Land. We need this book and others like it now more than ever. 

I also got to choose some books for my library at the PTO Scholastic Book Fair! The fair director kept asking me to choose more books to spend her Scholastic dollars, but I already had the other hardcover choices in my library. Thanks PTO!

Purchased: Nothing!

If you leave a comment, I will definitely stop by and try to comment back - unless commenters have to sign onto Discus or Wordpress or FB or anything that makes commenting difficult and gives my data to miners. But, I will definitely check your stack!