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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Student Voices: Advice for Picking Books by Four of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack by Frank Tra

Thursday: You Choose: A New Story Every Time – What Will YOU CHOOSE? by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

Friday: I Say OOH You Say AAH by John Kane

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

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Kellee

Yesterday was a travel day for me, so I just didn’t get a chance to do today’s post. I’ll catch up with you all next week 🙂

Ricki

Hi, all! I just returned from a vacation with family (extended and immediate) in Steamboat Springs. It was wonderful! I had great intentions of reading bloggers’ IMWAYR posts last Monday, but I was trapped in a room with a toddler who didn’t like his pack ‘n’ play. I apologize for being off the grid, but every time I tried to open my computer, he woke up.

We checked out the Steamboat Springs library. It’s a good one if anyone is ever in the area. We read a few dozen books, and I feature my favorites below!

*Drawn Together by Minh Le is absolutely stunning. This one will be a solid contender for the Caldecott this year. The story and illustrations are absolutely beautiful. This book is a must read.*

Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet was just as entertaining as the other books that he’s created. I liked how this book focused on having readers say things aloud. Tullet is very clever!

Red Again by Barbara Lehman is a wordless picture book follows the journey of a boy who finds a book. I like how the book looped at the end of the text to show how stories continue on and on forever.

I love Mac Barnett, and I love Jon Klassen, so it wasn’t surprising that I loved Square. This duo creates magical stories.

My son picked up The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have by Edward van de Vendel. It’s a quiet book that feels very ethereal. I was enthralled with the lyrical language, and I enjoyed it. The book is odd, and it is quite philosophical. I suspect folks either love or hate this one, which always offers space for great conversations!

I have seen others rave about Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin, but I got my hands on it at the library. This is a beautifully illustrated, wondrous picture book. It reminds me of Journey by Aaron Becker. Readers will be whisked away by the magic of this one. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I recommend this book!

My youngest son loves diggers and loves dogs, so he was thrilled to find Dalmation in a Digger by Rebecca Elliot. The sound effects make this a fun read-aloud, particularly for toddlers and preschoolers.

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Ricki

I have three hours left (out of sixteen hours) in this audiobook. Can you tell that I am savoring it? It’s everything I hoped it to be and more. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

I’ve recruited my whole family to read There There by Tommy Orange. We are Native, so we enjoy reading about other Native experiences. This one is climbing in popularity, and I am loving it thus far. Even my less-than-thrilled-to-read-books relatives are raving about it.

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Tuesday: Student Voices: Top Ten Author Lists by Two of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: Joining Book By Book’s Big Book Summer Challenge

Thursday: Hedgehog Needs a Hug by Jen Betton

Friday: Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

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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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I Say OOH You Say AAH
Author: John Kane
Published February 8th, 2018 by Templar Publishing

Summary: “There’s something very important that I need you to remember. When I say Ooh, you say Aah. Let’s try it.”

In this interactive picture book, young readers help to tell the story by responding to simple verbal or visual cues. This hilarious book is perfect for reading aloud and is fun for the whole family.

ReviewOh. My. Goodness! I wish you all could have been in my house the first time we read this book! Trent thinks it is the funniest thing in the world! I mean, you have to yell, say underpants, and pat your head–all because a book told you to! It is a kid’s dream! And honestly, it cracked me up, too! Anytime you see a child so engaged and interacting with a book that they are laughing and cheering then immediately ask for it to be read again and says he has to show is Daddy, you know the book is a win. I foresee lots of AAHing and Underpants-ing in our future!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What a wonderful read aloud! It is like a “Simon says” book, so it really looks at doing what is instructed and also what effects of your actions may be. If you are a parent, teacher, librarian, or book seller who reads to young kids, go get this one now and find some kids to make laugh.

Discussion Questions: 

  • When do you say AAH?
    • What do you do if I say OOH?
  • When do you say underpants?
    • What do you do if you see an ant?
  • Why do you pat your head?
    • What do you do if you see the color red?
  • Why are you waving?
    • What do you do when I turn the page?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Interactive picture books such as Hervé Tullet’s books, Bill Cotter’s Larry books, Warning: Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Lynn at Kane Miller for providing a copy for review!**

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You Choose: A New Story Every Time–What Will YOU CHOOSE?
Author: Pippa Goodhart
Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
Published: January 1, 2012 by Kane Miller Books

Goodreads Summary: A book with a different ending—every time!

If you could do anything, what would you choose? Imagine you could go anywhere, with anyone and do anything. Where would you live? Where would you sleep? Who would be your friends? What games would you play? Go on . . . You choose! With the help of witty illustrations, and a whole range of scenarios to choose from, this highly original book has a different ending every time and makes choosing, and reading, fun.

My Review: About a year ago, I received the book Just Imagine for review. At least once a week, my son has asked me to read this book. There is so much to look at, and he gets so excited each time he reads it. I emailed the publisher (a year later) to thank her again for sending this book for review. We donate many of the books that I receive for review, but I simply cannot let this one go. Fast forward a few weeks, and I was thrilled to see that she sent You Choose as a thank you for my email. This book has received a bit more positive press, and I suspect many readers have it in their collections, but if you don’t own it, I recommend it highly.

We took You Choose on vacation with us a couple of weeks ago, and we read it every night. My four-year-old holds up the book, and my husband, my younger son, and I select our jobs, houses, outfits, hats, etc. from each spread. I can’t get enough of this book. It makes reading incredibly fun, and it’s started a wonderful tradition in our house.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Just Imagine and You Choose would make wonderful texts for creative writing units and courses. Students often struggle to get started, and paging through these books is would make for wonderful story starters. I intend to use these books in my Teaching Composition course.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What did you choose? Why?
  • What did you NOT choose? Why?
  • Which page was your favorite? Why was the spread most interesting to you?
  • Did you notice any trends or patterns with your choices?

My family reading the book: 

Read This If You Loved: Just Imagine by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart; Choose Your Own Journey by Susie Brooks and Tracy Cottingham; Story Path: Choose a Path, Tell a Story by Madalena Matoso; Where’s Will? by Tilly; I Want to Be… books by Ruby Brown

Recommended For: 

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 RickiSig

**Thank you to Lynn for sending me this book!**

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Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack
Author: Frank Tra
Illustrator: Rebecca Evans
Published April 17th, 2018 by Tilbury House Publishers

Summary: Masterpiece Robot pays tribute to the power of a child’s vivid imagination, which can transform a suburban autumn backyard into a futuristic battleground and Laura’s lively siblings into unwitting but enthusiastic participants in a fight for a planet’s survival. We begin in Laura’s bedroom where she is struggling to find her way into the story she wants to write, and we end there with Laura putting the finishing touches on her triumphant tale.

When Laura―a.k.a. Masterpiece Robot―heads into the backyard with her little sister Molly―a.k.a. Sidekick―her active imagination places them instead on patrol around the perimeter of a dystopian city, guarding against super villains. Then older sister Amber―a.k.a. Valerie Knick-Knack―throws handfuls of fallen leaves at them, unknowingly initiating a battle for the ages.

This one is such a fun read, and one kids will definitely relate to! It also lets adults relive those childhood memories where ordinary things – such as a pile of leaves, or a large cardboard box – can turn extraordinary with just a bit of imagination. The transitions back and forth from suburbia to dystopia in this story within a story are deftly rendered with contrasting palettes. The rollicking interactions of the sibling heroes and villains make Masterpiece Robot pure fun to read.

About the Author & Illustrator: 

A child of Vietnamese immigrants, FRANK TRA proudly calls Wichita, Kansas home. Frank attended the University of Kansas to wrestle and write comic books. While there, he also earned a Doctorate in Pharmacy. He has been a cancer pharmacist for the last ten years. Frank’s writing credits include two graphic novels and several comic books. Masterpiece Robot is his first children’s book. Dr. Tra resides in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, Katy, and their six children: Amber, Laura, Roman, Molly, Tommy, and Isaac. He spends his spare time writing, fishing, and coaching his high school wrestling team.

REBECCA EVANS worked for nine years as an artist and designer before returning to her first love: children’s book illustrations and writing. Her children’s books include Someday I’ll Fly; Friends in Fur Coats; The Good Things; The Shopkeeper’s Bear; Naughty Nan; Amhale in South Africa; Vivienne in France; Mei Ling in China; Marcela in Argentina; Tiffany in New York; and Tatiana in Russia. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four young children, shares her love of literature and art regularly at elementary schools, teaches art at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, and works from her home studio whenever time permits. Rebecca’s boundless imagination enjoys free rein at www.rebeccaevans.net.

ReviewI love this book! I love the story, I love the spread of imaginative play, and I love the humor! It is so smart how the author and illustrator told both stories: the literal and the imaginative, and both stories are developed and fun to read together AND separately. This made for a quite complex book which is also really appealing to kids (and parents/teachers). I’m also a big fan of the artwork in the book. The illustrator did an amazing job changing the style just a bit for the imaginative and the reality but also kept her signature style in both. The illustrations definitely added to the narrative making this book a must get. I also loved that this is a sci-fi picture book because not many exist.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: There are a few different ways I envision this book being used in a classroom. First, I would like to say that it’s best would be in a read aloud with a conversation around the reality versus imaginative. There is also some great word choices and vocabulary throughout. Lastly, the reality has very little narrative, so students could write the story of what is actually happening. The discussion questions shared below will also lead to some great activities and discussions.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What character in real life was the imaginative characters?
  • Compare and contrast the reality and imaginative story.
  • How did the illustrator change her style for reality versus sci fi?
  • Think of a chore that you do at home. What could you imagine you were doing when you are doing your chore?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg, Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, Going Places by Paul and Peter Reynolds, Weslandia by Paul Fleishman, and other books that promote imagination and creativity

Recommended For: 

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Reading Non-Fiction Books Are Not as Horrible as You Might Think! by Lorenza M. (7th grade)

At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Moye announced that our next unit would include reading an informational non-fiction book. I was a little disappointed because in my mind non-fiction meant huge, boring books that my dad likes to read. However, I was proven wrong.

Our first task was to choose the book we wanted to read. We had countless books to pick from that covered a vast variety of topics. I’ve always been interested in medicine and the human body, so I chose The Book of Blood.

In the weeks to come, I became obsessed with my book. I learned more from reading that book than any anatomy lesson I’ve ever had in science. I also made it my life’s goal to tell all my friends and teachers the nastiest facts about blood.

Our final project for the unit, after we finished our books, was to created a presentation about the topic we learned. From watching my peers’ presentation, I learned about plenty of topics I had no knowledge about, and it was super fun sharing what I’d learned with my class.

Reading a non-fiction book taught me never to judge a book by its genre, and neither should you! The book I read for this unit was one of the best and most resourceful books I’ve ever read, and I plan to continue reading non-fiction books even if I don’t have to.

Dos and Don’ts When Picking Out a Book by Clara A. (8th grade)

DOs

  • DO get out of your comfort zone!
    • Reading different genres exposes you to different situations, types of characters, and points of view. Plus, you won’t know if you like a certain genre if you have never tried it.
  • DO ask someone for recommendations.
    • There are many books in the world. You won’t read them all, so ask for help. Your friends probably know great books that you’ve never heard of.
  • DO read the next book of the series as soon as possible.
    • If you read the 2nd book of the series a long time after reading the 1st book, it may be very confusing if you don’t remember the 1st book.

DON’Ts

  • DON’T judge a book by its cover!
    • While the saying may be cliche, it is true. Saying a book is bad because it looks bad is similar to saying a jacket does not keep you warm just because it has a bad design on the front. It just isn’t right!
  • DON’T not read a book just because you don’t know the author.
    • If you don’t read Long Way Down because you don’t know Jason Reynolds, then you are missing out on a great book. And that is just one example. There are many authors you don’t know that have great books.
  • DON’T judge a book by its movie.
    • There are so many great books with horrible movies (ex. City of Ember). Many directors have to change the book’s details, and this ends up making the movie worse than the book! Trust me, books are always better than the movie!

If You Liked… by Tulsi M. and Stanley T. (8th grade)

  • If you like Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, you’ll love The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, you’ll love Warcross by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Scythe by Neal Shusterman, you’ll love Renegades by Marissa Meyer.
  • If you like Rescued by Eliot Schrefer, you’ll love Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby.
  • If you like Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, you’ll love Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan.
  • If you like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, you’ll love Dear Martin by Nic Stone.
  • If you like the movie Tarzan, you’ll love Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.
  • If you like the movie 9/11, you’ll love The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner.
  • If you like the T.V. show Steven Universe, you’ll love Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Emily Jenkins, and Lauren Myracle.
  • If you like the T.V. show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you’ll love Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Lorenza, Clara, Tulsi, and Stanley, for sharing your advice!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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CONGRATULATIONS Jennifer B. for winning our giveaway for Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries!

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Tuesday:  Student Voices: Top Ten Book Lists by Four of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday:  Books That Feature Immigrants and Refugees: Understanding Experience through the Power of Story

Thursday: Alone Together by Sarah Donovan

Friday: A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

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

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Kellee

Have you read everything Eliot Schrefer has written? I have, and I cannot tell you enough to go get his books if you haven’t read them. His newest, coming out in September, is another brilliant book, and I need to tell you how unique and thought provoking it is! Fans of his and new Schrefer readers will not be disappointed.

Well, here is some honesty: TV has been my entertainment recently. I am reading some phenomenal books, but Orange is the New Black (just started it and have watched 2 seasons since summer started!), Big Brother, Masterchef, So You Think You Can Dance, and, unfortunately, The Bachelorette (when Jim decides to turn it on) are what my brain wants to do. I’ve also found some amazing love in coloring and LEGO building which has been great for my mindset. I still read some every day, but I am not finishing a book a day as I always hoped. And I’ve had some work to do most days since summer has started, so it is what it is. And you know what? This is reality, and I think that is my brain telling me that it needs a thinking break when I’m not working.

Ricki

Have a wonderful week! I am spending time with family this week; see you next week!

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Kellee

I just don’t know what I am going to finish, so you’ll have to check back with me later 🙂

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Tuesday: Student Voices: Advice for Picking Books by Four of Kellee’s 2017-18 Middle School Students

Wednesday: Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack by Frank Tra

Thursday: You Choose: A New Story Every Time – what will YOU CHOOSE? by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

Friday: I Say OOH You Say AAH by John Kane

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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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A Possibility of Whales
Author: Karen Rivers
Published March 13th, 2018 by Algonquin Young Readers

Summary: The story of a girl who—thanks to her friends, her famous single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale—learns the true meaning of family.

Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher loves possibilities: the possibility that she’ll see whales on the beach near her new home, the possibility that the trans­gender boy she just met will become her new best friend, the possibility that the paparazzi hounding her celebrity father won’t force them to move again. Most of all, Nat dreams of the possibility that her faraway mother misses her, loves her, and is just waiting for Nat to find her.

But how can Nat find her mother if she doesn’t even know who she is? She abandoned Nat as a baby, and Nat’s dad refuses to talk about it. Nat knows she shouldn’t need a mom, but she still feels like something is missing, and her questions lead her on a journey of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

About the Author: Karen Rivers’s books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she’s not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usu­ally be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Praise: 

“A remarkable novel . . . Nat’s witty and vulnerable voice drives the novel, from her wry observations about contemporary celebrity culture to the thoughtful collection of untranslatable words that help define her world. The chapters that center Harry’s perspective are just as strong, emphasizing his desire to be seen and understood, not as an abstract exemplar of a transgender child but as an individual. The novel avoids offering simple solutions for questions of identity and adolescence, instead reveling in life’s nuance and complexity. Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and Counting by Sevens, Rivers’s latest work brings an improbable combination of elements together in an unforgettable story that is quirky and wise.” —School Library Journal

“Charming and sweet as it explores personal identity, life changes, love, and, of course, whales . . . Nat’s story of self-discovery is sure to inspire anyone searching for their place in the world.” —Foreword Reviews

“A worthwhile addition to library collections.” —Booklist

ReviewI am a big fan of novels that switch points of view as I feel like it gives another perspective into the story that is being told, and with this story, I am so very happy that we get to hear from Nat AND Harry. There needs to be coming-of-age stories for all types of kids, and Nat and Harry will be someone that kids that may not have someone to connect to in other books will immediately find some kids that they’ll see themselves in. And Harry’s story is one that needed to be told in a middle grade book and hadn’t yet been in a book that I’ve read, and is one that many of my students have asked for. I am so glad that Harry exists for my middle schoolers! And Nat is a special young lady whose coming-of-age story is one that middle schoolers need as well–a look at family, growing up, friendship, school, and WHALES!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The best home for Whales will be in the right kids’ hands. This book will be perfect for all libraries, classroom and school, as well as for the right lit circle or book club.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What does Nat’s acceptance of Harry right away show you about Nat’s character?
  • How has Nat’s father’s career and her lack of mother affected her life?
  • Why was the name lion perfect for the paparazzi who followed Nat and her father?
  • What do the whales symbolize in the story?
  • How did the two points of view help shape a more thorough story?
  • What was the author’s purpose of including Bird in the story? What role did she play in Nat’s life?

Flagged Passages: 

Nat: “On her fourth day at the new place, Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher walked down the long, lumpy trail to the beach that lay at the bottom of the slope.

The ‘Baleine’ was silent, was what she told people when they asked , which was pretty much only when she was registering at a new school or had to show her passport. Baleine was the French word for ‘whale.’ Nat loved the fact that it was there, hiding inside her perfectly normal name. She pictured the whale swimming past the Natalia Rose on her passport, surfacing when no one was looking to take a long huffing breath of air before disappearing again, under the Gallagher.

‘Baleine’ was the heart of her name. (When Nat had to do an ‘All About Me’ poster in first grade, she drew a whale where most kids put a heart.)

‘Baleine was also a secret between Nat and her mother, who named her.

Her mother, who named her, and then left.” (p. 3-4)

Harry: “Harry scratched his ear again, so hard it was probably bleeding. It was just a coincidence that it was the same ear that got hurt the year before when a group of boys in his class decided it would be funny to beat him up.

They beat him up because they hated him for knowing who he was.

That is, they beat him up because even though some dumb doctor said he was a girl when he was born, he was really a boy.

The boys who beat him up were not the kind of kids who understood things like that.

No one in that town was.

Maybe no one anywhere was.” (p. 43)

Read This If You Love: Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson; All Summer Long by Hope Larson; Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky; I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-LogstedTwo Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich & Audrey Vernick; Calli Be Gold by Michele Weber Hurwitz; Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamilloStealing Our Way Home by Cecelia Galante; The Real Us by Tommy Greenwald

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy for review!**

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