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Tidesong
Author and Illustrator: Wendy Xu
Published November 16, 2021 by Quill Tree Books

Summary: Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and The Tea Dragon Society, this is a magically heartwarming graphic novel about self-acceptance and friendship.

Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy–the best magic school in the realm–even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.

Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her magic with the magic of a young water dragon named Lir.

Lir is trapped on land and can’t remember where he came from. Even so, he’s everything Sophie isn’t–beloved by Sophie’s family and skilled at magic. With his help, Sophie might just ace her entrance exams, but that means standing in the way of Lir’s attempts to regain his memories. Sophie knows what she’s doing is wrong, but without Lir’s help, can she prove herself?

* Featured on the Today Show * An SLJ Best Book of the Year * A Nerdist Best Comic of the Year * A BookRiot Best Book of the Year *

About the Author: Wendy Xu is a bestselling, award-nominated Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist.

She is the creator of the middle grade fantasy graphic novel TIDESONG (2021 from HarperCollins/Quilltree) and co-creator of MOONCAKES, a young adult fantasy graphic novel published in 2019 from Oni Press. Her work has been featured on Catapult, Barnes & Noble Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog, and Tor.com, among other places.

You can find more art on her Instagram: @artofwendyxu or on twitter: @angrygirLcomics

Review: Whenever I read that something is reminiscent of Studio Ghibli, I get skeptical because Studio Ghibli’s work is just so magical; however, I had no reason to worry when it came to Tidesong. I can see why the publisher compares it to the Studio’s work–it is similarly illustrated (but with a Wendy Xu touch, which I love!), colorful, magical, and has that little extra sense of whimsy that’s hard to describe that I love in fantastical stories.

Sophie is such a great character, too! She represents so many who want to meet the expectations of those around her and whose positivity is crushing under that pressure. And Lir doesn’t seem like he will help her because he is PERFECT, but as we know, you can’t judge people without actually getting to know them.

What a fun and meaningful graphic novel–it is a favorite, and I am so excited to share it with students!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be in my school library, and it should be in yours, too! (Or your classroom library or public library!) Your fantasy/magical loving readers will devour this!

Discussion Questions

  • Why does Sophie not feel confident in her magic?
  • Why is Sophie forced to move to her great aunt’s house?
  • How does Lir make Sophie feel? How does Lir change the narrative of the story?
  • What was your first impression of Sophie’s great aunt? What do we learn about her that changes that impression?
  • How did Sage and Great Aunt Lan differ in their welcoming of Sophie?
  • Why is this graphic novel compared to Studio Ghibli?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux, Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani, Long Distance by Whitney Gardner, Little Witch Academia by Yoh Yoshinari, This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to SparkPoint Studio for providing a copy for review!**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sharing Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books for All Ages!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. It offers opportunities to share and recommend books with each other.

The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Happy reading!

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Tuesday: Review & Giveaway: Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage, Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang

Thursday: Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois Yamanaka, Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

To see what books I’ve been reading, check out my 2022 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads. I’ll be back next week 🙂

Ricki

I finished Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir. I love this book, which tells the story of DC Icon Black Canary, whose alter ego is Dinah Lance. There are rich themes related to government control, feminist, and social class. Monir reinterprets the story to connect Dinah’s world with that of Monir’s grandmother’s experiences in Iran (although this is not explicitly stated in the book).

This book! Jason Reynolds writes, and Jason Griffin illustrates Ain’t Burned All the Bright. But it is so much more than this. The writing and illustrations work together in an incredibly powerful way. This book was written in a moleskine and begs to be taught in classrooms. I’ve never read a book that was so connected to the current sociopolitical context of the world.

You Are Not Alone by the Alphabet Rockers (Pictures by Ashley Evans) explores the many instances in which children might feel different from others. At the end of each child’s story, the reader states, “You are not alone.” I really loved the repetition of this story. It felt like a song. My kids really enjoyed shouting YOU ARE NOT ALONE at the end of each story, and it really cemented the message in their brains. I would love to read this to a large classroom of students.

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Ricki

I never read Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo last year and have felt like I’ve really missed out. So I am reading it now.

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Tuesday: Tidesong by Wendy Xu

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger

Sunday: Guest Post from Punam V. Saxena, Author of Parent Power: Navigate School and Beyond

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

When I saw this book I was immediately hooked to it and got it straight away. It turned out I was right and the book was amazing! Everybody, get ready for…Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs! This is a book that is action-packed and super fun at the same time! This book is recommended for ages 10+.

Charlie is a child genius. She is a stubborn one, but still a child genius.  A couple of decades before the story takes place Albert Einstein hides a precious equation, called Pandora, which would make the building of bombs far easier. Albert knew that humanity was not ready for this equation because if it got into the wrong hands, the world could, and probably would, be destroyed. As you might have guessed, all of the spy organizations in every country are looking for it. When the CIA finds Charlie, they ask her to join their team and she says yes. They tell her that a group of terrorists is focused on getting the equation, and they need Charlie to find Pandora before them.

I love this book so much because of the feeling of mystery. I have always liked mystery books. While reading this book I was thinking a lot about finding Pandora, and it was really fun to piece the clues together. Happy deducting!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We love books that incorporate interdisciplinary subjects like math!**

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Snow Angel, Sand Angel
Author: Lois-Ann Yamanaka
Illustrator: Ashley Lukashevsky
Published: January 4, 2022 by Make Me a World

Summary: A celebration of home, family, and finding beauty in your heritage, beautifully illustrated by the artist behind Anti-Racist Baby.

Claire has been surrounded by the deep blue waves of Hapuna Beach and the magnificent mountains of Hawai’i all her life, but has never, ever seen snow. When her father drives her and her family to the top of the Mauna Kea, she can’t help but to be disappointed…it’s not the winter wonderland she’s always dreamed of. And that’s what she wants, more than anything.

But as Claire edges ever closer to the new year, she wonders if maybe– just maybe–she can delight in the special joys of winter in her own way–right there, on her Big Island of Hawaii.

Includes backmatter that captures the environmental culture of Hawaii, and will teach children not only about the local flora and fauna, but also the value of being environmentally friendly.

Ricki’s Review: I feel very qualified to write this review because my kids have made me read this book about 100 times in the last month. I think I have it memorized. I am so drawn to the way that Claire, the narrator, connects with the islands. When the story begins, she wants more, more, more. And by the end of the story, she realizes that Hawai’i offers her all that she needs—and more. The story offers a deep connection with family and with home. The author and illustrator are from Hawai’i, and the story feels authentic to the experiences of people who know the islands well. I loved this book, and I am so happy that it exists.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might use this book to ask students to share positive portrayals of their homes and the land in which they live. I’ve seen a lot of activities of “I am From” poems, bu this book offers another dimension and great opportunities for children to think about the ways in which they are connected to land.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does Claire’s opinion about Hawai’i change throughout the story?
  • How does her family help her see the value of her home?
  • Where is home for you? What does your home offer?

Flagged Spread:

 

Read This If You Love: Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Crow Not Crow by Jane Yolen; Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for sending a copy for review!**

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Playing Lanterns
Author: Wang Yage
Illustrator: Zhu Chengliang
Published January 11, 2022 by Amazon Crossing Kids

Summary: Zhao Di wishes the New Year would never end!

Zhao Di and her friends are excited to go out at night with their paper lanterns and celebrate Chinese New Year. Each holding a unique colorful lantern with a lit candle inside, they admire the breathtaking colors while doing their best to avoid the wind and the sneaky boys in the village. Every night, until the fifteenth day of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends take part in this fun tradition, experiencing the thrill of nighttime in their village. And then—it’s time to smash the lanterns!

In this cheerful book first published in China, readers are invited along with Zhao Di and her friends as they experience all the joy and excitement of this folk Chinese custom. Details about the paper lantern tradition are also included in an author’s note at the end of the book.

Praise:

“A colorful wintry tale ushers in Chinese New Year over two weeks…A charming illustration of childhood memories during the holiday season.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Quiet, elegant passages stud the text…Tenderly detailed gouache paintings by Zhu render the children as small, patterned bundles frolicking against expanses of snow…A quiet celebration of a Northwestern Chinese tradition.” ―Publishers Weekly

About the Creators: 

Wang Yage was born in Shaanxi, a central and historical province of China, where the custom of playing with lanterns was once a popular Chinese New Year tradition. A doctor of classical Chinese literature, she teaches at the University of Tibet. Playing with Lanterns is her first picture book. First published in China, the book made the prestigious White Ravens international book list.

Zhu Chengliang is an award-winning Chinese illustrator. Born in Shanghai and raised in Suzhou, he studied at the Department of Fine Art, Nanjing University, and has worked as an author, illustrator, editor, and designer. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016, which is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. His books have been named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books by the New York Times and to the IBBY Honor List.

Helen Wang is a writer and translator from the UK. In 2017 she was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor as part of the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards for her work in bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-speaking audiences. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels, including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.

Review: What a beautiful celebration of the Chinese New Year and the sharing of a folk tradition! The author takes us through all of the celebrations with imagery that makes the reader feel they are celebrating too as the cracking and popping of fireworks explode, the colorful lanterns swing, and the lantern fire glow in word and in illustration.

I also loved learning about a new tradition that I did not know about! Learning about others’ celebrations and lives is one of my favorite things, and I think it is so important for kids to build a world and empathetic view–Playing with Lanterns will do that as well!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What a brilliant mentor text for imagery as well as how illustrations & words work together as one to create mood and tell the full story. All of this will make it a wonderful read aloud and an addition that all elementary school & class libraries need!

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did the author use color in the text? How does it affect the reading?
  • How did the author’s use of imagery add to the story?
  • How did the imagery and the illustrations work together to create the celebratory mood in the book?
  • How was the author’s note at the end of the book important for the readers?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Picture books about celebrations or winter holidays

Recommended For: 

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Giveaway: 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Playing with Lanterns, courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids (U.S. and Canada addresses).

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review & Amazon Crossing Kids for providing a copy for giveaway!!**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sharing Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books for All Ages!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. It offers opportunities to share and recommend books with each other.

The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Happy reading!

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Tuesday: Kellee’s #MustReadin2021 Recap & #MustReadin2022 Intro

Thursday: The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

I am so sorry, but I am going to take a couple more weeks off. I am just a bit overloaded with everything: just my normal life then never knowing how the day is going to go at school, my new UCF course, writing teaching guides, etc. My reading hasn’t been the best right now either because of everything. Thank you for understanding, and I’ll be back on Mondays soon!

To learn more about any of these books, check out my 2022 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

Ricki

Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Louis-Ann Yamanaka is such a good book. My kids have asked me to read it so many times now. I will be reviewing it in detail this Thursday!

I reread Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith for a project that I am doing. My goodness, I love this book so much. It confronts stereotypes and erasure head-on and does so unapologetically. If you haven’t read this book yet, I recommend it highly.

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Ricki

I am rereading Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir for the second time this month to prepare for a project. It’s a fantastic story, and I recommend it.

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Tuesday: Review & Giveaway: Playing with Lanterns by Wang Yage, Illustrated by Zhu Chengliang

Thursday: Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois Yamanaka, Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

 Signature andRickiSig

 
Share

Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

If you are looking for an adventure book, a fairytale-ish book and a comedic book this is the book you have been searching for! Presenting…The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell!!!  I highly recommend this to really anybody aged 7+!

There are six books in the Land of Stories series and even though I have only read three of them, I still highly recommend the series! Book #1, The Land Of Stories: The Wishing Spell,  is about twins, Alex and Conner. Alex, the girl, is a total bookworm and excels in all of her studies, while Conner, the boy, is the exact opposite! Conner falls asleep in school and gets lousy grades. One day, when their grandmother visits and gives them a magical fairytale book, they have no idea that they are going to enter the fairytale world. While exploring this land they realize that it is not at all what they expected. Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom and is very picky about everything, really. Goldilocks is now an outlaw and a wanted fugitive! Queen Cinderella is about to have a child! As soon as Alex and Conner see all of this mayhem they know they must leave but with the well known Evil Queen closing in on them, they realize that they might be done for!

I love this book so much because of the action. This book just makes everything seem so real! The action is thrilling and very exciting! I also love this book because it is fun to imagine a fugitive Goldilocks, or a Queen Red Riding Hood! You can’t tell me you don’t want to see these character transformations! Cheerful reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! This action-packed book looks like it is a great read!**