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I love the Must Read challenge! I took part in 2015-2019, so I am so glad that it is back for 2021! Thank you to Carrie at There’s A Book for That for starting this challenge and to Leigh Ann of A Day in the Life and Cheriee of Library Matters for co-hosting the revival.

For those of you new to the challenge, #mustreadin2021 has you take a look at the books you wanted to read in 2020, but for whatever reason, did not get to them.  You then make your own personal list of books you want to commit to reading in 2021.

There is no set number of books and books can be published from any year, in any genre or format, and in any category. These books will not be the only ones you read this year but will be the ones included in your personal challenge.

If you’d like to see others taking part, visit the #MustReadin2021 Round Up!

For my #MustReadin2021 challenge this year, I am going to mix it up a bit! I’m going to have two parts to it:

FIRST PART

The first part will be my traditional #MustReadin2021 list although I am not going to include any 2020 titles on it to keep with the description of the challenge. I particularly looked at MG and YA books that came out over my time on the Schneider Award committee and try to read what I’ve missed, but like always it’ll be a mish-mash of things and will probably be WAY too long.

  • #NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil
  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
  • A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Rainée
  • Alex Rider: Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz
  • Alex Rider: Secret Weapon by Anthony Horowitz
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Apple by Eric Gansworth
  • Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
  • Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
  • Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Hello from Renn Lake by Michele Weber Hurwitz
  • Jackpot by Nic Stone
  • Killing November by Adriana Mather
  • King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
  • Land of Cranes by Aida Salazar
  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Lucky Caller by Emma Mills
  • Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
  • On the Horizon by Lois Lowry
  • Once Upon an Eid Edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed
  • Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
  • Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
  • Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza
  • Shuri by Nic Stone
  • Slay by Brittney Morris
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
  • The Cousins by Karen McManus
  • The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
  • The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
  • The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf
  • This is My America by Kim Johnson
  • This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
  • War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
  • Where I End and You Begin by Preston Norton
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

SECOND PART

When Goodreads first started groups were really bit, and I helped moderate an amazing group called Wild Things for YA which had all sorts of fun reading challenges, so when I saw the #BitAboutBooks Winter 2021 challenge, I knew I had to take part! So, for the second part of my #MustReadin2021 challenge, I want to challenge myself to take part in some other fun challenges like this during the year. I might even do some read-a-thons or other fun things.

Here is my #BitAboutBooks Winter 2021 Challenge plan:

  • Any book of my choice: Tales of Witchcraft by Chris Colfer
  • Any book with 100-200 pages: Diana Princess of the Amazon by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
  • A book with one word in the title: Starfish by Lisa Fipps
  • An author’s debut book: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
  • A book with with an animal main character: The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
  • A book that has a direction in the title: The Boys in the Back Row by Mike Jung
  • A book published in 2021: That Weekend by Kara Thomas
  • A book set in a country that is not where you currently live: The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
  • A book that won an award: All of the Schneider Family Book Award winners 🙂
  • A book with a name in the title: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Two books by the same author: (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are both edited by Kelly Jensen

Here’s to an awesome year of reading!

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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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Thursday: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Remarkable Journey by Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

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

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Kellee

Yay! I am so glad to be back! Being back means: the 2021 Schneider Family Awards have been chosen! Now to just wait for the announcement on Monday, January 25th at 8am CST at https://ala.unikron.com/ 🙂

Since I haven’t been able to post at all in 2021, I am going to share everything I have read thus far (that I can share). There is a lot of goodness to share here, so sorry not sorry for the long post!

Graphic Novels:

  • Katie the Catsitter by Colleen A.F. Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue: Well, this was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Instead IT WAS EVEN BETTER! What looks like a cute catsitter story is actually a superhero story with brilliant cat sidekicks! LOVED IT, and it was immediately checked out from our school library!
  • The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski: Lots of picture books are interactive but rarely do you see a book for older children that is (other than choose adventure type books), but The Runaway Princess has fun interactive sections where the reader gets to be part of the adventure. That, along with the unique storytelling and adventures, makes this graphic novel a wonderful read.

Novels

  • The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate: So, I am an ape fan, if you didn’t know, so I am a HUGE fan of both the Ivan book and picture book, so I was actually a bit worried about a Bob book. But I needen’t be–though VERY different than the first, it is just as heartfelt and emotional and everything you want.
  • The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer: Holy sentient computer and LOVE in space, Batman! Wow. Phew! Couldn’t put this one down! So much to unpack with this one! Love the positives of what a human future could look like, but the negatives were terrifying. And be ready for twists and turns!
  • Tales of Witchcraft by Chris Colfer: This second book in the prequel to Land of Stories series continues Bristol’s story as The Fairy Godmother. This series feels particularly relevant right now as Bristol fights an secret society that wishes to take over and destroy all that are not like them……. Chris Colfer is a genius.

Picture Books (all read with Trent; if I don’t share below it is just because it is a reread, and I’ve shared before):

  • Dandy by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Charles Santoso: Trent and I loved the humor in this one and the puniness of it being called Dandy with lions as main characters.
  • Pencil by Ann Ingalls, Illustrated by Dean Griffiths: A clever story looking at how you can find exciting things without technology.
  • Stand Up! Speak Up! by Andrew Joyner: A good introduction to climate change and activism for children.
  • Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds: I just love Reynolds’s work and so does Trent. This one is all about being whoever you are and how that is everything.
  • Fallingwater by Marc Harshman & Anna Egan Smucker, illustrated by LeUyen Pham: I love Pham’s work! And I love Frank Lloyd Wright’s work! And Trent enjoyed the book and immediately asked if we could go to Fallingwater. I call this book a win-win-win.
  • 16 Words by Lisa Jean Rogers, illustrated by Chuck Groenick: William Carlos William is one of my favorite poets and “The Red Wheelbarrow” is one of my favorite poems to introduce him to students. I loved this story of WCW and how the poem came to be (and it was a great introduction to him for Trent).
  • Digging For Words by Angela Burke Kunkel, illustrated by Paola Escobar: This book tells the story of José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbage collector in Bogota, and the library he has built in his home for the children of his neighborhood. This is a story I didn’t know, and I’m so glad I do now!
  • On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky: This was a reread of a favorite for me, but my first time reading it with Trent. I was a bit nervous, but I did not need to be–Trent was enthralled and had SO many questions about everything.
  • Avocado Asks: What Am I? by Momoko Abe: Avocado is having an identity crisis, but a small neighbor helps him see that his identity is whatever they want it to be.
  • I Am Not A Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lament by Liz Wong: WE LOVED THIS BOOK! Funny and smart and great illustrations! Highly recommended.

  • Hike by Pete Oswald: A beautiful wordless tale of a father and son on a hike to plant a tree.
  • Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer: I love Archer’s illustrations! This story of Daniel looks at what makes a good day.
  • Cannonball by Sascha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan: A young Maori boy wants to make a splash but he has to figure out how HE can find the strength to do it.
  • Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim: BEAUTIFUL illustrations and a beautiful story about a new student in an American school from South Korea and the common language that children can find and acceptance of each other.
  • On a Sleepy Hill by Patricia Hegarty and Xuan Le: A book of cut outs exploring forest animals settling in for the night.
  • Welcome to Florida illustrated by Asa Gilland, from DoubleDay Books for Young Readers: This book is part of the Welcome To series which introduces its readers to each state. The illustrations were fun and overall it was a pretty good introduction to Florida. I have some criticisms as a Floridian about the lack of authenticness in what is shown in Florida, but as an introduction it does well.
  • My Heart is a Compass by Deborah Marcero: Sometimes the most interesting thing you have is yourself! A beautiful exploration of imagination.
  • Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland: When Sadness is at Your Door was one of my favorite 2019 picture books, so Trent and I were happy to see this companion. Another great book to help young children deal with strong emotions.

To learn more about any of these books, check out my 2020 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

Ricki

School starts this week for me, and in-person school starts for my first grader, so I am bowing out for a week, but I will see you all next week!

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Kellee

I’m working on my #BitAboutBooks Winter Reading Challenge! I’ll be sharing it on my #MustReadin2021 post tomorrow 🙂

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Tuesday: Kellee’s #MustReadin2021

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

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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 an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. 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,

Presenting: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart!!! This is a story of a brave girl who is determined to get a memory box which she buried with her mom and sisters before they got killed in a car crash. She made a promise to get that box and she isn’t the type to break promises! This book is recommended for ages 9-12.

Coyote’s mother and her two sisters died five years ago in a car crash so Coyote’s dad, Rodeo, is the one who takes care of her. After the death of his wife and two daughters he bought a school bus and named it Yager. The bus, Yager, would now be their new home. Coyote’s dad forbids her to say anything related to her family which includes the words mom, dad, sister, Ava, Rose and many more. He also tells her not to think of her sisters and mom. And that’s why, for five years, Coyote and Rodeo have been traveling around the country, avoiding their home because it gave them too many memories. Coyote talks on the phone with her grandma every Saturday to catch up. One time when they talk her grandma tells her that the park that she used to play in was going to be destroyed on Wednesday! Coyote remembers that that is where her mom and sisters had buried a time capsule back when they were still alive. She devises a plan to dig up the time capsule before the park is destroyed. That is pretty complicated for two reasons, one the park is in Washington and she is in Florida which means they would have to drive about 3,600 miles to get there and two, the second that she told her dad about it he was going to say it was a no-go. It takes a lot of planning but finally Coyote comes up with a plan. I can’t tell you the plan but I can say that after a bit of time on the road they pick up a man named Lester and even later when they are bickering about a map they drive off and forget Coyote! Will they come back for her or will they forget about her?

I absolutely love this story because this story is unusual. Think about it, a twelve year old who lives in a school bus named Yager. Most stories start with girls living a normal-ish life but Coyote is a more interesting and different character. The name Coyote Sunrise even sounds exciting! She lives differently than other people, is just simply different in her characteristics and has things that she can’t say or think about without getting into trouble. Not every character in a book can do and does what Coyote Sunrise does in this book. The second reason I love this book is because the front cover illustration is amazing! For this I have to say that the cover illustrator did a great job and that the cover gives the book a nice feel to it when you are reading it. I usually don’t do this but while reading this book sometimes I just flipped to the front cover and started staring at it and then I got back to reading. Another reason I love this book is because once I started it I could not put it down. Well unless of course I had to, like when I had to eat or sleep or go to school. But still! I really hope that you love this book as much as I do!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this review! We love those books that are so, so difficult to put down!**

 

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Eyes that Kiss in the Corners
Author: Joanna Ho
Illustrator: Dung Ho
Published: January 5, 2021 by HarperCollins

Summary: This lyrical and stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the of spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment.

This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages and is a celebration of diversity.

Ricki’s Review: This book is beautiful and poetic. You could give it to any reader of any age, and they would be captivated by how beautifully it is conceived, constructed and delivered. The lyrical lilt of the words as it is read aloud are captivating. I found myself pausing at the end of reading each page to take in the beauty of the author’s language. Ahh, and the illustrations! The cover is just a teaser for the stunning pictures within this book. I am really excited to gift this book to friends and family. It exemplifies the beauty and power of pictures books. I plan to read it aloud to my YAL class next semester. This book just hit the shelves, and I expect it to be very popular.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers can use this book to offer students examples of figurative language. Often, figurative language can feel forced, but here, it flows magically with the storyline. I found that reading this book inspired me to want to write!

“Mama’s eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea

crinkle into crescent moons…”

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does the author use figurative language effectively?
  • What do you believe to be the author’s and illustrator’s message? How do they convey this message?
  • Who does the main character draw strength from? Who do you draw strength from?

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Image from: https://www.joannahowrites.com/eyes-that-kiss

Read This If You Love: Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

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**Thank you, Keely, from SparkPoint Studio for sending 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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Thursday: Scooper and Dumper by Lindsay Ward
Giveaway ends Wednesday!

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray

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

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Kellee

Deliberating on Schneider this last weekend and the press release is due to ALA today, so taking one more week off of IMWAYR. See you next week!

Ricki

This week, I read Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho. It is absolutely lovely, and I am excited to review it in full on Thursday.

I also reread some books for some NCTE presentations. More on those presentations soon. Who else is proposing something for NCTE this year?

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Ricki

Admittedly, I am in a bit of a reading rut. Picture books and early chapter books are still going strong, but I haven’t read YAL this week beyond my rereads. I have some really great books in my queue, but the news, lots of children, and the semester starting have made reading a bit difficult. What recent book have you read that really kicked up your reading energy?

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Thursday: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Remarkable Journey by Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

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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 an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. 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!

Published June 30, 2020

Dear readers,

This book, called The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray is soooooo cool but also a bit scary, so I will warn you: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK BEFORE YOU GO TO BED! I literally had to hide under the covers and only leave a little hole so I could breathe! This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

Millie along with five other girls is invited to spend the night at Amelia Earhart’s house! Millie’s dad drops her off in the middle of a big snowstorm which will last the whole night and tells her that he is only one call away. When she arrives she thinks the building is beautiful and goes inside it. There she meets the five other girls named Thea, Natalie, Cassie, Robin and Wren. The person who basically runs the house is called Birdie. Birdie takes the six girls on a tour of the house and she tells the girls to pick their bedrooms but Amelia Earhart’s room is off limits. When Mille looks for her room she opens a door by mistake and in a glass box in the room there are Amelia Earhart’s goggles! Then the girls, along with Birdie, go downstairs and have a wonderful meal. Some of the dishes that the chef prepared were Amelia’s favorite back in the day. After that they go on a scavenger hunt and Millie realizes that Amelia’s goggles are gone! At first she and her partner Wren think it’s part of the game but when Birdie gets poisoned they know it’s not part of the game. To make matters worse Mille was the last person who saw them so all fingers are pointing at her!

I love this book so much because of how the story affected my mood. You see, no other book that I have ever read made me hide under the covers or look twice in the hallway in my house and then flee to get to the bathroom to brush my teeth! Also, this book basically begged me to read on! If I decided that I was going to read one last chapter I would probably break my promise because most of the chapters ended like this! “And that’s when a hand grabbed my arm.” or “And the whole house grew dark.”. Seriously! I can tell you that the only time that I actually decided to go to bed while reading this book was when the words started dancing all over the page and my head kept helplessly flopping to the side. So that meant that I was really tired and thanks to this book that was around 11:30 pm! Have fun!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this review! We will be sure to read it well before our bedtimes!**

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Scooper and Dumper
Author and Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Published: January 1, 2021 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: Introducing two new vehicles who work together no matter what!

The best of friends, Scooper the front loader and Dumper the snowplow take care of their town in all kinds of weather. One day a snowstorm hits, and the big city needs their help to clear the roads. Each of them must be brave in their own way to get the job done.

This wintry adventure spotlights the ideas of individual strengths, teamwork, and friendship in a vehicle buddy story that boys and girls alike will love.

About the Author: Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series, as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel, This Book Is Gray, Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio, where vehicles such as Scooper and Dumper take care of the roads all year-round. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.
Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Ricki’s Review: I loved this fresh take on vehicles. This is a story that teaches about the power of working together to get a job done. Parents and teachers can easily transfer it to lessons of togetherness and contribution. The winter scenes are beautifully illustrated, and the book flows easily to make for a fun read-aloud. Each page uses a unique ABCB rhyme pattern, which makes every page finish with a satisfying lilt. The rhyme feels natural and works well with the story.

My four-year-old is obsessed with vehicles, and this book inspired him to try reading it aloud. He absolutely loved the story. Here’s a brief clip of him reading the first page aloud:

I recommend this book to parents and teachers who seek to teach wonderful lessons with a topic that kids love!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I would love to use this book as a model for kids to write about a time that they worked together toward a common goal. Students might draw a picture and write sentences below the picture to describe the moment or event. Then the pages could be posted on a bulletin board, working together in a quilt fashion.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How do Scooper and Dumper work together? What is their goal?
  • What steps are required to clear snow?
  • What is one time you’ve worked with one or more people toward a common goal?
  • Why does working together matter?

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Read This If You Loved: Dump Truck Duck by Meghan E. Bryant; Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Demolition by Sally Sutton, Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres

Giveaway!:

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

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