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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 hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday flying cars goodnight songs tristan wolf a story of now

Tuesday: Texts that Might Be On Ricki’s English Methods Syllabus

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown

Giveaway open until Wednesday!

Sunday: Author’s Guest Post and Giveaway!: “Why We Still Need Coming Out Stories in YA Fiction” by Emily O’Beirne, Author of A Story of Now

Giveaway open until Saturday!

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: Well… this school year is totally exhausting me already. The first week (preplanning) was the hardest preplanning week I’ve ever had, and last week was just tiring because it was a first week of school. This is my third year as reading coach, but each year I have taught more classes (1 the first year, 2 last year, and now 4 this year), so I am getting back into the swing of teaching while also doing my reading coach job. PHEW! Each night I am falling asleep before I even pick my book up!

I did get to read two funny, wonderful picture books this week though! First, I am so excited that I finally got to read Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by my friend Josh Funk! It comes out tomorrow, and you all should read it! We’ll be reviewing it Thursday, come back then to learn more about it. I also read That’s (Not) Mine by Anna Kang in preparation for Friday’s review. It was a great follow-up to You Are (Not) Small.

Ricki: Henry and I went crazy reading picture books this week. We absolutely LOVED Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by my friend Josh Funk. Stop by tomorrow for his Top Ten Tuesday post! Also, we are reviewing it on the blog this Thursday. Yahoo! We also read That’s (Not) Mine by Anna Kang. It is particularly helpful right now because Henry has started saying “mine” and taking toys from me. We are working on his sharing skills.

We loved the beautiful artwork and imagery in The Promise by Nicola Davies. The storyline of The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham taught great lessons for kids who feel like perfectionists. And lastly, we enjoyed Roar by Julie Bayless. With few words, it is excellent fun!

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I hope to finish The Tiara on the Terrace this week (which is just as good, and maybe even better, than the first) thus finally getting to Hook’s Revenge, but we’ll just have to see how the week goes!

Ricki: My wonderful experience listening to I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson inspired me to ask for an Audible subscription to Audible. Does anyone have it? I am almost done with the book, and I love it. I’ve always loved audiobooks, but getting to pick the audiobook (rather than scrounging for free ones) was very exciting for me.

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Handful of Stars lady pancake and Sir that's not mine

Tuesday: Extra Special Author Top Ten Tuesday!: Favorite Fictional Picture Book Educators by Josh Funk, Author of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Sunday: 20 Desserts Inspired by Your Favorite Books

 So, what are you reading?

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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“Why We Still Need Coming Out Stories in YA Fiction”

A friend of mine recently complained that the LGBT literary market seems to be dominated by coming out stories. “Why do all the gay stories have to be about people coming to terms with their sexual identity?” she asked. This focus is limiting and narrow, she argues.

I have seen this sentiment in many Goodreads reviews of LGBT stories, too, ya fiction included. And I see the point. I do. It is based in the argument that as much as we need diversity in the kinds of people we tell stories about, we also need diversity in the kinds of stories we tell about them. In this modern and increasingly tolerant world there should now be a place for books where the sexuality of gay characters need not be the focus of the story, but simply an element of character.

Sure, that sounds great, but coming from the perspective of someone who both teaches and writes for young people, I would argue (and did) that coming out narratives still have a vital role in the realm of ya fiction. And it doesn’t surprise me that those arguing for less focus on coming out stories on Goodreads are often adult readers and reviewers of ya fiction, not the primary audience.

I think we’d be pretty misguided to think we are living in a world so progressive that stories about realizing your sexuality aren’t still vital for young people who are in the process of discovering who they are. Because that’s growing up, isn’t it? It’s the experience of becoming yourself in the world. And it is a time when questions of your sexual identity have suddenly become psychologically and hormonally urgent.

Coming out stories give ya readers an opportunity to see how other young people negotiate these uncertain terrains, and to give perspective to an experience they are going through. And as anyone who has been through the war zone that is puberty can attest, it’s hard enough to go through the uncertainty of adolescence. But it’s even harder to discover you are different from most of those around you. And if you are gay, that is statistically likely to be the case. And difference, sadly, must always be made known, and it is always there to be noticed.

As a young gay person, you are asked to recognise and announce yourself in terms of your difference from others, and at a time of life when there is so much pressure to socially conform. For some this is difficult and stories about negotiating and surviving these pressures are vital. For example, in Kelly Quindlen’s Her Name in the Sky, Hanna and Baker both try to ignore their feelings for each other in order to conform to their religious and heteronormative environment, but ultimately realise they cannot. They slowly discover they do not need to fit into tightly prescribed social categories to be accepted and happy.

Coming out is also a jarringly public process. Few heterosexual girls will ever have to announce, ‘Hey, I’ve decided I want to make out with boys!’ In fact, it’s expected. But if it’s a teenage boy, he’s probably going to have to say it out aloud at least once. For some young people, the scrutiny this declaration invites can be awkward. For example, in A Story of Now, Mia is not uncomfortable about realising she is gay, but with the fact that her newfound identity is something she must announce to the world, rendering her private life immediately public.

Another point where I think my friend has really missed the importance of coming out stories is that coming out is as much about coming out to yourself as it is to the world. Coming out is also about a person figuring out who they mean when they say ‘I’, and where this places them in the world.

For some young gay people, accepting and embracing their sexual identity can be the most difficult part of coming out. A perfect example of a story that sympathetically depicts this struggle is A.S. King’s Ask the Passengers. For the reader, it might seem like the job of coming out is half-done at the start of the novel: Astrid has a girlfriend and she has gay friends. But Astrid is not yet ready to accept who she might be. And while everyone around her tries to push her toward certainty, she stubbornly takes her own sweet time to come to terms with her sexual identity.

How can books that shows readers how negotiate these experiences not just be good, but be necessary? George Gerbner describes storytelling as the process that makes us recognize ourselves. And as ya writers it remains our responsibility to pass down the kind of stories where young people have the opportunity to think, ‘Hey I feel like that too.’ We do this so they can recognize themselves at a crucial time in their lives. It. So I am sorry, my friend, you are wrong. There is one domain at least where coming out stories are still sorely needed.

 

a story of now

A Story of Now

About the Book: Nineteen-year-old Claire Pearson knows she needs a life. And some new friends. But brittle, beautiful, and just a little bit too sassy for her own good sometimes, she no longer makes friends easily. And she has no clue where to start on the whole finding a life front, either. Not after a confidence-shattering year dogged by bad break-ups, friends who have become strangers, and her constant failure to meet her parents sky-high expectations.

When Robbie and Mia walk into Claire’s work they seem the least likely people to help her find a life. But despite Claire’s initial attempts to alienate them, an unexpected new friendship develops.

And it’s the warm, brilliant Mia who seems to get Claire like no one has before. Soon, Claire begins to question her feelings for her new friend.

Author’s Note: The characters are university aged and thus the story contains elements like drinking and mild sexual content.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Emily O’Beirne

Author website: http://emilyobeirne.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13543645.Emily_O_Beirne

Tumblr: http://it-used-to-be-fun.tumblr.com/

Excerpt of A Story of Now: http://emilyobeirne.com/2015/06/18/excerpt-a-story-of-now/

 

 Thank you so much to Emily for allowing us to host this giveaway and for writing about something we genuinely believe in. 

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tristan wolf

Tristan Wolf
Author: Mariana Llanos
Illustrator: Rocio Perez del Solar
Published April 8th, 2013 by Createspace

Goodreads Summary: When Tristan was a baby he was abandoned in the forest. He was discovered and raised by wolves. Even though he loves his wolf family, Tristan has the need to find himself. He starts a journey where he will find adventures, new friends and a big surprise. Recommended for kids ages 8 to 12, it is also a great read for any adult that enjoys timeless and exciting stories.

The book is available as a paperback or e-book as well as in Spanish

About the Author: Tristan Wolf is Mariana Llanos’s first published story. She’s been writing poetry and short stories since she was a little girl in her native Lima (Peru). She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three kids. Tristan came to life one afternoon between laundry and running errands. Tristan has a little bit of each of Mariana’s children in him; he has a bit of every child in him. Book two in the Tristan Wolf series is now available.

Mariana also visits schools across the US and the world, through Skype and Google Hangouts, to encourage children to write and read. Feel free to reach out to her via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.

www.marianallanos.com
www.facebook.com/tristanwolfofficial
www.twitter.com/marianallanos
www.amazon.com/author/marianallanos

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Tristan Wolf is truly a modern fable that really delves into perception, discovery, and, most importantly, imagination. This book is wonderful read aloud material. It lends itself easily to prediction, inferring, and conversations about theme. Tristan’s story also lends itself loosely to the hero’s journey and would be a good introduction to the idea. l I also liked the choice of illustrations. It lends to the feeling of the story and, though a bit abstract, added the additional touch of magic to the story and really pull the whole book together.

Discussion Questions: After reading 5 pages, predict what you think it going to happen at the end of the book and explain why you think your prediction will happen. At the end of the book, check to see if your prediction was correct or incorrect? Were you surprised by the ending?; What do you think the theme of the book is? What is the author trying to discuss or teach you?; What did you learn about animals’ perspective of humans? What could we do to help change this perspective?

We Flagged: “Tristan was a loner–mysterious eyes, long, dark brown hair, and a mouth that hardly ever smiled. When he was a baby, he had been abandoned in the forest under an old, leafy tree. A beautiful, white, female wolf found him and adopted him. She treated him like one of her own cubs. He was loved, but he always felt different.”

Book Trailer: 

A Planet for Tristan Wolf (Book Two) Book Trailer:

Read This If You Loved: Jungle Book (Little Golden Book) by Walt Disney Company (inspired by Rudyard Kipling); Space Boy and his Dog  by Dian Curtis Regan; Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural by Raquel M. Ortiz

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Mariana for providing a copy for review!**

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goodnight songs

Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrators: Peter Brown, Floyd Cooper, Leo Espinosa, Dadu Shin, David Small, Bob Staake, Blanca Gomez, Molly Idle, Elly Mackay, Satoe Tone, Frank Viva, Mick Wiggins
Published: August 4, 2015 by Sterling Children’s Books

Summary: 

Some fine day, just run away
To a long unscheduled day
To where great clouds go sailing by
Above the birds and butterfly.

Fluffy clouds, butterflies, furry bunnies, and life from a bug’s-eye view: This stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Goodnight Songs celebrates the beauty and wonder of nature all year long. From Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beloved Goodnight Moon, comes a previously unpublished collection of charming lullabies, gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists. Once again, a treasure trove of Margaret Wise Brown’s newly uncovered verses receives loving treatment from 12 award-winning artists, including Floyd Cooper, Peter Brown, David Small, Molly Idle, and Bob Staake. From a little bear singing one morning in May to a soft snowfall, mysterious, deep, and glowing, each song is magical.

An accompanying CD, with lilting songs beautifully composed and sung by Emily Gary and Tom Proutt, makes this the perfect gift for children.

Ricki’s Review: This may be one of the most exciting books I’ve received by mail. I am an avid Margaret Wise Brown fan. Some of you may remember my son’s Goodnight Moon party. The minute this package arrived on my doorstep, I grabbed my CD player and put the CD in, and my son and I listened to every song together. We did some dancing and swaying. It was such a fun experience. Each spread is beautifully illustrated by a different artist, and I spent a long time flipping the pages back and forth, trying to pick my favorite song or spread—it was impossible! I fell in love with the poetry of the songs and with the different mood on each page. This book is sure to please both parents and teachers.

Kellee’s Review: I am amazed by everything Margaret Wise Brown can do. First children’s picture books and now beautiful poetry/lyrics in a stunning picture book. Almost all of Trent’s favorite books have music associated with him. Goodnight Songs is a perfect addition to his bedtime reading routine. We really loves all of the songs! In addition to the music and the poems/lyrics, what makes this book stand out even more is the phenomenal illustrations throughout. Some of my favorite illustrators including Melissa Sweet, Molly Idle, Peter Brown, and David Small.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be great in elementary school classrooms, but it would also be a great resource for creative writing teachers. We’d love to pair students together and have them work collaboratively to write a song and illustrate a spread to feature the song. We imagine a classroom wall covered in these spreads. Wouldn’t this set a great mood in the classroom?

Discussion Questions: How do the illustrations set the mood for each song? How do you think each illustrator interpreted the words into artwork without the author’s input?; How does this book differ from Margaret Wise Brown’s other work?; Can you find any patterns across the songs?; How does reading the songs differ from listening to them on the CD? How does the audio enhance your reading?

Book Trailer: 

Giveaway! (U.S. Addresses only, please):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read This If You Love: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall (with music!)

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**Thank you to Josh at Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. for providing copies for review and giveaway!**

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NFPB2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

flying cars

Flying Cars: The True Story
Author: Andrew Glass
Various Photographers
Published August 25th, 2015 by Clarion Books

Goodreads Summary: Humans have always wanted to fly. As soon as there were planes and cars, many people saw a combination as the next step for personal transportation, and visionary engineers and inventors did their best to make the flying car (or the roadable plane) a reality. This book is a breezy account of hybrid vehicles and their creators, and of the intense drive that kept bringing inventors back to the drawing board despite repeated failures and the dictates of common sense. Illustrated with archival photos, this entertaining survey takes readers back as far as Icarus and forward into the present day, with a look toward the future. Includes author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index.

Kellee’s Review:  What an odd, interesting part of history! I had no idea I even wanted to learn about this, but I am glad that I was exposed to it. I think Andrew Glass did a good job mixing history of aviation in general and the idea of a flying car. It was a good combination of informational and literary nonfiction, so it will hold readers’ attention throughout. It was also fascinating to see all of the photographs of the prototypes made over time. What innovation! I think the photos will draw the reader in then the history and stories will keep them there. 

Ricki’s Review: The minute I pulled this book out of the mailer, my son had his hands all over it. He is much younger than the intended audience (middle or high school), but it made me chuckle. This shows how excited students will be about this concept! Like Kellee, I had no idea that flying cars existed. I asked my husband, “Did this really exist?” He launched into a full history lesson about the development about flying cars and said they were very interesting to him as a teenager. This is yet more proof that this book would be a great resource for classrooms. I liked learning about all of the different attempts of flying cars and think this book would inspire students to be innovative in their thinking, particularly in the context of design and engineering. The prototypes made me feel a bit wistful that I had more of an engineering brain!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The trend of readable and interesting middle grade nonfiction that students will find accessible is really increasing the likelihood of students reading nonfiction text, and this text fits that bill. We think students will find the topic interesting and, thus, pick up the book. Teachers could use it to talk about text features and the importance of captions, photographs, and chapter titles as well as look at how the book is structured and discuss why the author decided to set it up the way it is. The book could also be a resource for an inquiry mini-project (see Discussion Questions below).

Discussion Questions: How would flying cars make our lives easier?; Why aren’t flying cars a reality?; What do you think the benefits of flying cars are and what are the struggles?; After watching some of the archival videos, which of the flying cars interests you the most? Use Flying Cars and other resources to learn more about it.

We Flagged: “Cars fly every day–in fantasy. They soar by pure magic, like the Wesley family car in the Harry Potter series, or by sprouting wings, like Chitty Chitty Ban Bang. Some use high-tech gadgetry, allowing well-equipped heroes like James Bond and Batman to make incredible cliffhanger escapes.

But visionary engineers and inventors haven’t just imagine flying cars. Some actually built them. . . and then drove them up into the sky” (p. 1).

Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books about aviation or automobiles including Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Barbara for providing copies for review!**

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Text that Might be on Ricki’s English Methods Syllabus

This was tricky because I wanted to maintain a balance between professional development texts and quality literature. There are so many great choices! I changed the post title to “might” because I would change my mind next week. I’d love to hear what you would include on your list!

1. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

endangered

Did I just include Endangered on another TTT list? This is an incredibly teachable text, and I think it belongs on every Methods syllabus.

2. Shine by Lauren Myracle

shine

I am very excited to share about this Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award winner at the NCTE convention in November. It is a beautifully complex book.

3. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

dr bird's advice for sad poets

This book not only belongs on every Methods syllabus, but it belongs in every English classroom around the world. This is the kind of book that will change a teenager’s life.

4. Tyrell by Coe Booth

tyrell

My students loved this book, and I think it teaches valuable life lessons.

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true diary of a part-time indian

This is a great book to teach identity development. And it is funny, too!

6. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

between shades

I taught this book to my tenth grade classes. Students read this book after Night, and they absolutely loved it. It is a book that is appreciated by all types of students.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

looking for alaska

I read this book in my own Methods class (ten years ago!), and my advisor still uses it today. I observed a recent Methods class she taught, and they loved it just as much as I did!

8. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

never fall down

The first few pages are difficult to understand, and then the reader becomes used to the language of this book. It is a phenomenal, true story—a story that I think everyone should read.

9. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

wintergirls

This is a great book to show the innovation that exists in literature. It would be great to teach in a creative writing class, too!

10. The English Teacher’s Companion by Jim Burke

Burke

My Methods class would be an amalgamation of books (e.g. Lesesne’s Making the Match and Reading Ladders, Plumb’s Commando Classics). The main reason I include this one rather than the others I listed (which I would ALSO use!) is because it is comprehensive for Methods courses. In other words, it focuses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening, among other topics. It does a great job at it, too!

Which books would you include on your English Methods syllabus? 

RickiSig

 
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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 hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Fab Four Friends Race car count

monster needs vote VillainKeeperLastDragon_CVR

Tuesday: Ten of Our Auto-Buy Authors

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “When Things Aren’t Perfect” by Laurie McKay, Author of The Last Dragon Charmer Series

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: Holy first week Batman! This is the first year that I have felt completely overwhelmed with preplanning week. I think it will all seem better once the students start (today!), but this last week was brutal. With that being said, I did finish my reread of A Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time. I’ve started the second in the series, The Tiara on the Terrace, but I did not get anywhere near as far as I would have liked to. I’m always super sad when I have these types of reading weeks, but I just couldn’t find the time!

Ricki: Hello! I’ve missed everyone! As some of you know, I broke my right elbow about two weeks ago. I’d tell you the story, but it is embarrassing. I apologize I haven’t commented on anyone’s posts, but I promise I’ve been reading them! And thank you all for your well wishes. I wasn’t able to hold up any books for a good portion of the time, but I read a bunch of books before the injury and in the last few days. I read Kelly Gallagher’s Deeper Reading: Comprehending Texts, 4-12. I loved it so much that I am making my students read it this semester. There are a lot of great, practical strategies to help students break down challenging texts.

Henry and I have read a dozen new picture books, but I will share the best ones. Henry’s favorite picture book from the last few weeks is Planes Fly by George Ella Lyon. We read it three times in a row every night. He loves the illustrations of the different types of planes and the descriptions of the different things that planes can do. Mom’s favorite from the last few weeks is Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. I added it to his birthday list because I liked it so much! Two other books we enjoyed a lot were the new Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get? and Sloth Slept On by Frann Preston-Gannon. I love sloths!

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: We’ll see! I hope to finish Tiara, but I am not putting any pressure on myself. If I do, I want to start Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz.

Ricki: I am listening to I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It is phenomenal! 

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday flying cars goodnight songs tristan wolf a story of now

Tuesday: Texts that Might Be On Ricki’s English Methods Syllabus

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown

Sunday: Author’s Guest Post and Giveaway!: “Why We Still Need Coming Out Stories in YA Fiction” by Emily O’Beirne, Author of A Story of Now

 So, what are you reading?

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