Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Flying Lessons and Other Stories

Flying Lessons and Other Stories Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great way to introduce readers to a variety of diverse authors! Each story was interesting and rich. Ripe for discussion. I kept having moments where I would say to myself... let me see what else this author has written... I like his/her style! A "must add" to any middle school collection!

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Solo

Solo Solo by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. So many little things I loved about this book. Kwame and Mary have written a beautiful gift. From California to Ghana, filled with highs and lows and love and loss and poetry and song... each page is a journey. #solobook #kwamealexander

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Two

Two Two by Kathryn Otoshi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who knew a number book could be so interesting and fun?

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Review: One

One One by Kathryn Otoshi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read this book several times now, and every time I am amazed at how powerful a message it packs. One person can make a difference. One person can lift another up and make them feel that they count. All this goodness... and it's also a great book to teach personification and colors too!!

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautifully written book! I loved the elements of magical realism woven throughout the story (I'm a big fan of Alice Hoffman, so when I come across a write who is brave enough to try out this technique I get excited). The relationships between the characters are interesting and each is handled with care. I think I was an enchanted as Carol/Carolina was each time she heard... Once upon a time...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Maybe Something Beautiful

Maybe Something Beautiful Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lots of gorgeous color spills across the pages of this fantastic book. I think it was really cool to have the artist who inspired the story actually do the illustrations. Readers will finish the book feeling that we all have a little bit of artist within us.... and when we give ourselves permission to be creative, then maybe, just maybe, we can create something beautiful.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Review: Maybe a Fox

Maybe a Fox Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beginning was a little slow for me, but once I met Senna my interest grew. I also loved all the parts about the wishing rocks. This is a quiet story. I wouldn't describe it as an everybody book... I think a certain reader will love it, but many kids may just get confused and give up.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Uncorking a Lie

Uncorking a Lie Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I totally picked an ARC of this up at ALA Midwinter because the title had cracked me up when I saw it in the Midnight Ink catalog. What a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be a fun read! I love that each chapter had a wine pairing. While I read too fast to try out any of the pairings, I did enjoy reading what was suggested and trying to guess what the chapter would be like based on them. If you like wine and mysteries, then this might be a good fit for you. I'll have to check out some of the other books in the "A Sommelier Mystery" collection.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It cracked me up a number of times. I loved the idea of chickens with super powers, and I loved Sophie really working to learn to take care of the chickens on her own. The only reason I'm not giving this book five stars is that there were a couple of little things that just seemed off to me. It didn't feel realistic for Sophie to bring up the lack of brown people where she lives so often. I get mentioning once or twice, but this just seemed a little over the top- especially considering that Sophie spends most of her time on the farm since school hasn't started yet. She hasn't really seen many people period, so to put emphasis on there not being anyone who looked like her or her mom, people thinking they were immigrants, etc... so many times seemed forced. I was also confused by the reporter, Joy, towards the end of the book. I get that Jones wanted to introduce a Spanish speaking character (even though the focus on throughout the book had been on skin color rather than language), but why not make the person from a country were people are known to speak Spanish? All of the Filipino people I know speak Tagalog- not Spanish. Don't get me wrong- I still enjoyed the book and laughed out loud several times. I just think a good editor should have picked up on these things and helped Kelly Jones to make this a 5 star book.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: The Walking Dead, Compendium 3

The Walking Dead, Compendium 3 The Walking Dead, Compendium 3 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By far the most intense yet...It starts with Negan (and Lucille!), and it ends with the introduction of the whisperers. I may have to suck it up and buy the trades to find out what happens. There's no way I can wait till 2019 or whenever the next compendium comes out.

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Review: Small Great Things

Small Great Things Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like so many of Picoult's books, this one was intense. No book that features an African-American nurse charged with murdering a baby (who just happens to have two white supremacists as his parents) being defended by her white female lawyer (who swears she doesn't even notice color) is going to be an easy read. It was rough and uncomfortable in sections... and it needed to be. If this book is not on your "to read" list; it should be. Well done, Jodi Picoult. This was perhaps one of your most important stories yet.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Garvey's Choice

Garvey's Choice Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a gem of a novel in verse. I love that the tanka format was used for each powerful poem.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: I Love You Because You're You

I Love You Because You're You I Love You Because You're You by Liza Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that I love the lunchbox near the end of the story!!! I read the StoryPlay version of this book which includes questions added throughout and activities at the end. Lots of great suggestions to make reading this book and interactive experience.

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Review: Dinosaurumpus!

Dinosaurumpus! Dinosaurumpus! by Tony Mitton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so much fun. Great onomatopoeia-- I could picture reading this with kids and then having them have their own dinosaurumpus dance party. I love the suggested questions to ask throughout and the extra activities at the back. I'm becoming a real fan of this StoryPlay series of books!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will have mass appeal. I love that there are quotes from both males and females. While basketball is the main theme throughout the book, athletes that play a variety of sports are represented in the quotes. There are even some quotes from other inspiring people mixed in! The graphics are engaging. The text is short and packs a punch. The organizational structure of the book is a basketball game (complete with warm up, halftime, and overtime). Each "quarter" has a separate focus- grit, motivation, focus, teamwork, etc. for A kid could pick this up, read a page or two, and then close the book and ponder for a while. Once again, Kwame does not disappoint.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: The Bobbin Girl

The Bobbin Girl The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCully
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

McCully does a nice job of painting a picture of the many concerns of the mill girls. Readers will have lots to talk about with this book- child labor, work conditions, striking, and more.

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Review: The Camping Trip That Changed America

The Camping Trip That Changed America The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun book about how our National Parks system came to be.

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Review: She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Effa Manley is one inspiring woman! I'm a baseball fan, and I didn't know anything about her until reading this book. Her story is one that should definitely be shared. It was well written, engaging, and had quality illustrations. Even if you aren't a baseball fan, this book was an important read about a woman who stood up for the things she believed in and loved.

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Review: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was fairly well done. The epilogue is exceptional. I was reading it in consideration of reading it aloud for an event, and while it wouldn't be the most engaging read-aloud; it will be included on my list of recommended reads.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Worthy

Worthy Worthy by Donna Cooner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The characters are high school juniors and seniors getting ready for prom. There is lots of talk about popularity, who is dating who, planning for the prom (decorations, buying tickets, promposals), etc... nothing inappropriate for middle school. There is some kissing, and if I remember correctly only one cuss word. It pretty much reads like a teen movie. The references to designers, apps, songs, are all current so this book will date itself pretty quickly. I can see this being a big seller especially with our girls-- I can see them totally getting sucked in to the story simply because the idea of an app like this could so easily be real. It was by no means the best book I ever read, but I could tell just a short while in that our kids will eat it up.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a total win! The words on the pages just beg to be read aloud. Somehow Pinkney captured the feel and energy of Sojourner's famous speech and embedded it into the whole story. The illustrations are warm and pull you in wanting to know more... learn more... be more! I can't wait to read this book aloud to children.

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Review: Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always loved this book. Kadir Nelson is one of the best illustrator's out there in my opinion. I think the book does a nice job of telling the story of a man escaping to freedom in a way that kids can understand. There's a ton of feeling in the art and so much to talk about. This would make a wonderful read aloud; I can already hear the buzz of children discussing the pages where you see Henry packed into the box... what would that feel like? How did he fit? Would you be able to travel that way?

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Review: If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks

If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There were some things that were just odd about this book- the talking bus w/no driver for starters. i was also not sure about a kid just getting on a strange bus to go to school, but I was willing to suspend reality in the hopes of a good story. What followed was a biography of Rosa Parks that was decent- nothing to knock your socks off. The ending brought me right back to odd though. Are the other passengers supposed to be ghosts? The whole birthday party with civil rights leaders just seemed too "out there". Then when Marcia gets off the bus saying she can't wait to tell everyone at school?!?!? The other kids are going to think she had a wild dream or something. I'm not sure this all worked quite the way the author intended.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books

Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books by Karen Leggett Abouraya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This illustrations in this book are amazing collages. I really enjoyed looking closely at the details in the collage like all of the different materials that were used. I didn't know about this event in history, but I'm glad I learned about it through this book. I love the fact that thousands of Egypt's students, library workers, and others gathered together to physically protect the library they loved. This book tells the story of eighteen days in 2011 where the people of Egypt took a stand for their beliefs and protected what they loved.

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Review: Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Jane Addams Honor Book by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the writing style. The sentences are simple, but they really pack a punch. The recipe metaphor that floats throughout the book works exceptionally well and leads right into the last pages. This book makes a this important part of the civil rights movement accessible to readers of a variety of ages.

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Review: Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd never heard of Sarah Hale before. This would make a fun and educational read aloud! I could see pairing this with a lesson on letter writing as a companion activity to go with the book. I will definitely be sharing this gem with my librarians.

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Friday, March 3, 2017

Review: The Special Ones

The Special Ones The Special Ones by Em Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was intense!!! Every time I had to stop reading I couldn't wait to come back to it to find out what was going to happen next. The emotions in this book were so raw- especially the scene where the scene where the one mother was standing at Tess's house screaming at her... you could feel her pain in every word. If you like darker reads, are intrigued by things like cults or shows like criminal minds then this book is for you.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen

Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

YES!!! I loved every page of this beautiful book. The illustrations are outstanding (especially the lighting!). If I had a daughter this book would be a part of our regular read aloud rotation. If you are a fan of the TV show "Pitch", then this is a must read. As a baseball fan, I can't believe that I never heard of Jackie Mitchell. I'm glad I stumbled upon this little gem! It was the perfect book to start off Women's History Month.

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Review: My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is seriously one of the best books on MLK Jr. that I've read. Glorious and vibrant illustrations work in harmony with the beautiful and personal text! Every elementary library should have a copy of this.

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Review: Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A tale of two inspiring women who dared to do what they enjoyed! Phenomenal illustrations by Brian Selznick accompany well crafted text by Pam Munoz Ryan. This book is sure to be a hit among readers (especially young girls).

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Review: Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez (Pura Belpre Honor Book. Illustrator

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez (Pura Belpre Honor Book. Illustrator Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez (Pura Belpre Honor Book. Illustrator by Kathleen Krull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yuyi Morales is one phenomenal illustrator! The pictures in this book are so alive and vibrant that you can't help but be pulled into the story. Readers will be inspired by Cesar's fight for justice. I can hear them now chanting Si Se Puede!

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Review: I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED this book! It some great lines built in that will make it a really fun read aloud with a powerful message. Esther is inspiring!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: The Takedown

The Takedown The Takedown by Corrie Wang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The text speak was a bit much at times- if we get a point in the future where people seriously talk like this I might lose my mind. The not quite cussing happened so often that the characters might as well have just used the real words. Overall, I think teens will get hooked on the story and trying to figure out the mystery of who is behind the video. I think the book intentionally presents a very scary possible future of where social media could be going. Hopefully, it will make people think twice about what they post online as well as how they treat people in RL.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: I, Girl X

I, Girl X I, Girl X by Annalise Grey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a powerful and important novel! The poems are well crafted. Young adults will easily find several they connect with. It's rare that we get to see what life is like for the sibling of someone dealing with mental illness. It's not an easy existence to be the child who is expected to just hold it together and not make waves because your sibling requires so much of your family's attention and focus. This book nails it.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: Monsters Eat Whiny Children

Monsters Eat Whiny Children Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So much fun!!!!

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Review: Penguin Problems

Penguin Problems Penguin Problems by Jory John
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was gorgeous. Perfect to read when you are feeling down and need a little perspective to turn things around.

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Review: Best Frints in the Whole Universe

Best Frints in the Whole Universe Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Silly and fun. I would love to read this book twice with kids. Once to get the idea of it, and then a second time to go back and figure out what the real words are that are represented by the silly words.

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Review: I Will Chomp You!

I Will Chomp You! I Will Chomp You! by Jory John
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great to share with fans of the The Book with No Pictures.

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Review: Leave Me Alone!

Leave Me Alone! Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bears, aliens, and a knitting grandma... what's not to love about this book!

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Review: Moana and the Ocean

Moana and the Ocean Moana and the Ocean by Heather Knowles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Illustrations were beautiful.

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Review: Chicks and Salsa

Chicks and Salsa Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This would be a fantastic book to pair with a cooking lesson or even just to read and try some different snack foods!

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