Sunday, December 27, 2020
Monday, December 7, 2020
It's been a very long time since I posted any IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING? reviews.
But that doesn't mean I haven't been reading.
Hats way off to my teacher and librarian friends who've managed to read, review, and blog about so many books.
Two middle-grade novels stand out in my reading month. The first is a novel told in two voices by my friend Shannon Hitchcock and her co-writer, N.H. Senzai, FLYING OVER WATER. I bought this one at their launch party, complete with a signed bookplate. (I think you can get the same by checking with our fabulous local independent bookstore, TOMBOLO BOOKS in St. Petersburg, FL.) I bought it for a young reader who's a competitive swimmer and I've already mailed it off so I can't quote from it, but it was a very fast-moving story, with excellent depictions of real kids. The Florida middle-grader in the book (Shannon's voice) is a swimmer whose family supports a newly-arrived Muslim family, refugees from Aleppo. The telling feels real, it's fast-moving, and the background of the 2017 immigration restrictions takes the story even deeper.
The second fascinating, couldn't-wait-to-read Middle Grade novel finished this week is by a favorite author, Shelley Pearsall. I've read a couple of her other books and heard this one recommended by lots of bloggers and readers. THINGS SEEN FROM ABOVE lived up to the hype!
Such an unusual and interesting topic. Lots of Food for Thought and character growth and the kids mostly turn out to be just fine. There are two voices in this one also, but Pearsall writes them both. The two characters interact, mostly on the playground, as April fulfills her duties as Buddy Bench volunteer. JoeyByrd (his preferred way of signing his name) is a fascinating kid with much to teach his classmates. I particularly loved the school maintenance guy, Mr. Ulysses. And April's new friend, Veena, from the Buddy Bench, who started out as a shy newcomer and found her way and a friendship. Shelley Pearsall has the perfect touch with her secondary characters. My copy gets returned to our library today where I hope it will be snatched up by a young reader.
I was assigned a Winter Round-Up of picture books by the Christian Science Monitor so I got to read a few picture books these past few months, something I don't do often enough. My reviews are HERE.
One wasn't exactly a picture book but I fudged my assignment and sneaked in a book I loved, suitable for younger kids. :)Hey, it had wonderful illustrations and I was absolutely delighted by the words, too. Have you read Amy Timberlake's SKUNK AND BADGER? Yes, that Amy Timberlake, the one who's written mostly for older kids.
Also included in that round-up was SWASHBY AND THE SEA. Yes, it has a summer feeling (if you don't live in Florida, like I do, you might not think of beach books in December). But the twist near the end made me smile and the book has so much going on in so few pages that I think young kids will love hearing this one read aloud.
Enjoy December, everybody!
Buy lots of books for everyone you love. Happy reading!