Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s Monday! What are you reading? - from Picture Books to YA is a kid lit focused meme just like the original and is hosted weekly by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. The purpose is the same: to recap what you have read and/or reviewed and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. Twitter: #IMWAYR 

I didn't get as much reading done as I usually do last week, but I have a good reason. I was in Hershey, Pa (aka The Sweetest Place on Earth), and had a wonderful time attending KidLitCon2017, where I saw some old friends and met some new ones. Charlotte at Charlotte's Library put together a really stellar program, and I was lucky enough to be on the Historical Fiction panel with fellow blogger Sondra Eklund (Sonder Books), and authors Alexandria LaFaye (Walking Home to Rosie Lee, Worth and more), Celeste Lim (The Crystal Ribbon), and Michael Spradlin (Prisoner of War, Young Templar series among others). 

You can find the complete program along with the names of all the wonderful authors who spoke or participated in panels, including Floyd Cooper, Rachel Renée Watson, and Pam Tuck, HERE

Funny Girl by Betsy Bird, ed.
Viking, 2017, 224 pages, age 8+

On the train to and from NYC and Hershey, I did get to read this new anthology of stories edited by Betsy Bird. You've no doubt heard of all the authors who contributed to this work, and they are pretty funny. Among my favorites were "Dear Grandpa: Give Me Money" by Alison DeCamp, "Swimming is for Other Kids" by Akitah Hughes (and a story I can personally relate to), and "Brown Girl Pop Quiz: All of the Above" by Mitali Perkins. There are a wide variety of story topics but they are all definitely related to growing up girl.
A word of warning: if you are reading this on Amtrak, do not sit in the quiet car - loud laughing annoys the other passengers and interrupts their frantic scrolling on their phones to find something interesting to read.  

Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon, illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
Peachtree Publishers, 2017, 32 pages, age 7+

During the Balkan War, on May27, 1992, a bomb killed 22 people in the last bakery in Sarajevo. Afterward, each day for 22 days at the exact time the people were killed, cellist Vedran Smailovic, a member of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra, took his cello and played Albinoni's 
Adagio in G minor, both in remembrance of those killed by the bomb and in defiance the enemy. The story is told from the point of view of a young flower vendor named Drasko, who father had already been conscripted. This is a beautiful story, and a powerful reminder of the kind of destruction war brings with it. 

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael James Mahin, illustrated by Evan Turk
Atheneum BFYR, 2017, 48 pages, 7+

I was always into jazz more than the blues until I was in college and used to go see Alberta Hunter at The Cookery, a now long gone jazz club on University Place and 8th Street. She often mentioned Muddy Waters, and when I finally heard him, I was hooked. Naturally, I couldn't wait to read this picture book for older readers about Muddy's life and music. This is wonderful introduction to this legendary musician and the illustrations are so perfectly reflective of his music, I can almost hear him playing the blues. He was raised by his grandmother, who is the one who started calling him Muddy, and who told him the blues didn't put food on the table, but he persevered anyway. And Mahin captures that spirit in his refrain "But Muddy was never good at doing what he was told." A beautiful tribute!

So, this is what I read last week, and I have decided what to read this coming week. But, what are you reading?


  1. Oh how I wish I could've been at KidLitCon, what an awesome lineup of speakers, and it's so inspiring to be in the company of so many fellow kidslit fanatics!

  2. Your KidLitCon sounds wonderful, Alex. I still need to read each book that you've shared, though they are on my list. I am old enough to remember the Olympics in Sarajevo, then the terrible war that happened later, destroying so much. Thanks for sharing each one.


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