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A Girl, a Racoon, and the Midnight Moon
Author: Karen Romano Young
Illustrator: Jessixa Bagley
Published: January 7th, 2020 by Chronicle Books

Summary: In a slightly fantastical New York City, one very special library branch has been designated for possible closure. Bookish, socially awkward Pearl, the daughter of the librarian, can’t imagine a world without the library—its books, its community of oddballs, its hominess. When the head of their Edna St. Vincent Millay statue goes missing, closure is closer than ever. But Pearl is determined to save the library. And with a ragtag neighborhood library crew—including a constantly tap-dancing girl who might just be her first friend, an older boy she has a crush on, and a pack of raccoons who can read and write—she just might be able to.

With an eclectic cast of richly drawn characters, a hint of just-around-the-corner magic, footnotes, sidebars, and Jessixa Bagley’s classic illustrations throughout, this warm-hearted, visually magnificent tale of reading and believing from beloved author Karen Romano Young tells of a world where what you want to believe can come true.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the official educators’ guide for A Girl, a Racoon, and the Midnight Moon (created by me!):

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about A Girl, a Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon here.

Recommended For: 

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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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Kellee

I have read A LOT since I last posted, and if I talked about them all (like I like to because I just feel horrible if I leave anyone out!), it would be too long… Instead I am just going to show the covers of them all, and if you want to learn more about any of these books, check out my 2020 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.




All in all, I can say that if you pick up any of these, you will not be disappointed!

Ricki

I am going to share my favorite NEW reads from last week because these books made me very happy.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez’s Imaginary Borders is an excellent essay about the climate crisis and very accessible to young adults. Xiuhtezcatl is a 20-year-old activist (and hip hop artist). I am excited about this new series that will promote deep thinking.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom is a great book that teaches kids and adults about the responsibilities of protecting the land and the water. It includes a black snake that poisons the land and will offer great conversations with kids.

Grace Lin’s A Big Mooncake for Little Star. Ahhhh. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book. It is so, so magical!

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Kellee

Reading and reading and reading for my Schneider Family Book Award committee 😁 Soon I will be rereading which means I won’t be able to share what titles I am reading 😢 but I will keep you updated with what Trent and I are reading!

Ricki

I am going to reread Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter this week. I read it quickly to write a blurb and loved it and want to reread it slower and with more attention to certain details. I love this book.

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Tuesday: Educators’ Guide for A Girl, a Racoon, and the Midnight Moon by Karen Romano Young, Illustrated by Jessixa Bagley

Thursday: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica Perl and illustrated by Shahar Kober & The Littlest Candle by Rabbis Kerry and Jesse Olitzky,  Illustrated by Jen Kostman

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Sunday: Author Guest Post by Christopher Healy, Author of The Final Gambit (A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem #3)

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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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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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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

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: Educators’ Guide for AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet by Jon Scieszka, Illustrated by Steven Weinberg

Thursday: Nonfiction History Books for Kids: The Extraordinary Lives Series by Kane Miller Books

Saturday:  Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Small Steps by Louis Sachar

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “The Role of Empathy in Literature and Our Lives” by Robin Farmer, Author of Malcolm and Me

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

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If you don’t know about the virtual ALAN Workshop–there will be over 70 young adult authors speaking and so many great books to be shared! Full program and registration info is here. We hope to see you there!

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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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“The Role of Empathy in Literature and Our Lives”

I was around 13 when I read To Kill A Mockingbird and discovered a quote in Chapter 3 that embedded itself into my brain.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout.

His advice for Scout to explore the heart and mind of another person initially fails to register with the 10-year-old.  Soon after their conversation, Scout joins in a cruel taunting game aimed at neighbor Boo Radley, a mentally challenged and socially awkward man that the town considers a “monster” because few took the time to see things from his viewpoint.

A heartfelt connection

This Pulitzer-Prize winning novel — with themes that touch on good and evil, racism, social inequality, courage, and family life — electrified my heart and mind, and made me vow to write a book one day.

A voracious reader as a child, books not allowed me to travel the globe without leaving my home while experiencing the lives of people who differed from me. That’s the definition of “empathy.” Harper Lee’s only book, one I have read  nearly a dozen times, seared itself in my psyche because 1) Atticus, a white lawyer respected by Black people, wanted to defend an innocent black man, 2) Scout’s stubbornness reminded me of myself, and 3) the initial fear I had of Boo evolved into protectiveness, and 4) The story felt emotionally true.

Over the years, To Kill A Mockingbird has generated valid controversy for its racial stereotypes. The adult I have become understands its shortcomings. The girl in me remembers the power of this story at a time when few books in my school touched on racial inequity or a had a character I so identified with, despite stark differences. Scout was a Southerner while I called Philly home. She lived with her father, I stayed with my Mom. Her tomboyish ways did not match my frilliness. Yet, I connected to her willful nature, sensitive soul, thoughtful questions and fierce love for her father — a father whose patience, earnestness and steady adoration of his children I longed for as a girl of divorced parents. As different as we were, I saw myself in Scout because I walked around in her skin.

Specific viewpoint, universal appeal

Knowing the emotional power of walking in someone else’s shoes allowed me to write the empathetic character of Roberta Forest, the 13-year-old protagonist in Malcolm and Me. The story kicks off with the teen doing the unthinkable: She fights her nun. Could there be a less likely person for readers to connect with?

And yet, that girl was me and I was not a monster. I wanted readers to understand the multi-layered Roberta, a reluctant teen rebel with the heart of a poet. That meant I had to develop a relatable character with shortcomings and strengths who draws readers in and makes them feel what she experiences.

Roberta is a new teen who is smart, sensitive, strong, sassy and a bit spoiled. Making her relatable meant presenting her in a realistic manner, warts and all. And so she lives on the pages as a moody, thoughtful, vulnerable but resilient teen with a sense of humor and fairness.  I hope readers root for her. And are inspired by her to speak up, think critically, ask questions and defend the truth, especially now that alternative facts exist.

Bridging the divide

Recently, Bridget, who writes book reviews for Bridgetandthebooks.com, reviewed my debut novel. She is 11, the same age I was when I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X.  On the surface, she couldn’t appear more different from Roberta. But Bridget connected to the story and recommended my book. What really made my heart flutter was her wondering why she hadn’t learned anything about Malcolm X. One of the goals in writing the book was to get readers, especially younger ones, to read the book that changed my life in so many ways. What I especially love is the importance of walking around in Malcolm’s skin and experiencing his heartaches, struggles, achievements and growth.

That Bridget recommends Malcolm and Me feels like I won an award! What better validation than for readers who are like and unlike Roberta to connect to her story.

Empathy empowers

Research shows that books can help readers develop empathy, which I argue we need more of. Take a look at this divided nation. Take a look at our divided nation and the lack of civility – and it’s not just among the adults. We all know too well about the dangerous bullying that occurs in schools and well as on social media.

Empathy won’t solve all of our problems, whether they are political or personal. But listening to each other is a start.

I encourage young readers to develop the bravery of Roberta. Sometimes she sweated behind her knees, but she found the courage to not only defend truth, but also think about the feelings of others, including a nun who humiliated her and a father who disappointed her. In both cases, Roberta learns to forgive. That would be impossible for her to do so without empathy.

Steps to Take

Roberta, like Scout, took some steps to walk around in the skin of someone else. As students, follow her lead with these seven actions.  To help remember what to do, I wrote an acrostic that spells out how to develop more EMPATHY:

Explore your heart and mind
Meet people different from you in books and at school
Practice kindness
Ask thoughtful questions
Talk less, listen more
Help others and ask for help
Yield to creative endeavor such as writing and drawing to express feelings

As students, by working on your empathy, you improve your understanding of each other’s thoughts and feelings. Doing so plays a role in how you respond to one another during conflict. Find opportunities to build better relationships, which can help you find success in all parts of your lives.

Published November 17, 2020 by SparkPress

About the Book: Philly native Roberta Forest is a precocious rebel with the soul of a poet. The thirteen-year-old is young, gifted, black, and Catholic—although she’s uncertain about the Catholic part after she calls Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite for enslaving people and her nun responds with a racist insult. Their ensuing fight makes Roberta question God and the important adults in her life, all of whom seem to see truth as gray when Roberta believes it’s black or white.

An upcoming essay contest, writing poetry, and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X all help Roberta cope with the various difficulties she’s experiencing in her life, including her parent’s troubled marriage. But when she’s told she’s ineligible to compete in the school’s essay contest, her explosive reaction to the news leads to a confrontation with her mother, who shares some family truths Roberta isn’t ready for.

Set against the backdrop of Watergate and the post-civil rights movement era, Malcolm and Me is a gritty yet graceful examination of the anguish teens experience when their growing awareness of themselves and the world around them unravels their sense of security—a coming-of-age tale of truth-telling, faith, family, forgiveness, and social activism.

About the Author: Robin Farmer is a national award–winning journalist and transplanted Philadelphian who currently calls the Richmond, VA, area home. At eight, she told her mother she would write for a living, and she is grateful that her younger self knew what she was talking about (many young folks do). Her other interests include screenwriting, poetry, movies, and traveling. She’s still hoping to write stories about young people for television and film. Robin earned her degree in journalism from Marquette University. She lives in Richmond, VA.

Thank you, Robin, for this timely and thought-provoking piece!

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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,

I just finished reading this amazing book called Small Steps by Louis Sachar and I can’t wait to tell you about it! This book is the second book in a series and the first book is called Holes. You don’t have to have read Holes to understand this book. This book is recommended for ages 12+ by Amazon.

Armpit (his real name is Theodore) has just been released from a Juvenile Correctional Facility called Camp Green Lake. He gets a job digging and gets paid a pretty good amount of money for it. But when Armpit’s friend called X-ray, who he met when he was at Camp Green Lake, gets in the picture things turn a bit bad for Armpit. Armpit makes some pretty bad choices like when X-ray tells him they can get extra money by scalping tickets to Kaira DeLeon’s show. Armpit makes the bad choice of saying yes. Armpit is not bad and he only got sent to Camp Green Lake because of a bowl of popcorn. Armpit also has a nine year old friend named Ginny and she is handicapped and she helps Armpit out with some of his decisions. She is his best friend.

Kaira DeLeon eventually becomes friends with Armpit. Kaira has all kinds of things going on, like her not getting paid as much as other people, having a bodyguard and most of all, her manager, El Genius. El Genius is Kaira’s step-father but Kaira just thinks he married her mom because he wanted to kill Kaira.

I love this book because of the way the author wrote it. What I mean is that the author keeps on switching points of view from Armpit to Kaira so you don’t miss anything and you know how different characters feel about the same thing. I also love this book because of the amazing suspense which made me finish it in two days! Enjoy!

If you love this book and want to know a bit more about The Juvenile Correctional Facility, then check out Holes by Louis Sachar. It is the first book in the series and I read it and loved it. By the way, if you like Holes, there’s a movie about it!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this terrific review!**

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I am thrilled to introduce a new series that I am hosting, which explores nonfiction history books for kids. This is all we read in our house, and I’ve learned so much, so I am jazzed to dive deeply into some of the texts on the blog.

I want to start off by sharing a phenomenal series by Kane Miller: The Extraordinary Life of… series. You’ll want to get your hands on these.

Summary: A bold new series for young readers focusing on the lives of inspirational historical and modern figures.

Review: We have fallen in love with the Extraordinary Lives series. My first grader can’t get enough nonfiction. He could spend a full 12-hour day looking through the nonfiction section of the library. He devoured information about the election, reads history books that are above his age range, and just asks for more, more, more. When I learned about the Extraordinary Lives series, I knew it would be a good fit. What I didn’t realize was that my preschooler and I would get just as much joy from the series as my first grader.

Here’s one picture I caught of my son reading them:

Here’s a closer look at the books:

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: These books would be wonderful for use in book groups. I would be thrilled if my kids were in a classroom in which the teacher allowed them to choose the text of a person they were interested in studying. For instance, I LOVED learning about Mary Seacole. That particular book really captured me (although they were all fascinating to read). My sons each had their own favorites, and I imagine this would be the case in a classroom. Students might then present to their peers to teach about the person they chose. Choice is so important in the classroom, and this series offers such wonderful opportunities for learning.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which book did you choose and why?
  • What did you learn?
  • How did the author create engaging content to help you learn more about the person?

Flagged Passage from the Katherine Johnson Text: 

Read This If You Love: Nonfiction books, history books, biographies, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Schomburg: The Man Who Built the Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe, Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney, We March by Shane W. Evans, Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson, Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford

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