Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) by David Aguilar & Ferran Aguilar, Translated by by Lawrence Schimel

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Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required)
Author: David Aguilar & Farran Aguilar
Translator: Lawrence Schimel
Published October 25, 2022 by Amazon Crossing Kids

Summary: The heartfelt and funny memoir of a boy who built himself a prosthetic arm out of the world-famous toy bricks.

David Aguilar was born missing part of one arm, a small detail that seemed to define his life and limit people’s ideas of who he was and who he could be. But in this funny and heartfelt memoir, David proves that he can throw out the rulebook and people’s expectations and maybe even make a difference in the world—and all with a sense of humor. At only nine years old, David built his first prosthesis from LEGO bricks, and since then he hasn’t stopped creating and thinking about how his inventions, born from a passion for building things, could fuel change and help others.

With a voice full of humor and heart, David tells his powerful story, of family and friendship, of heartbreak and loss, and ultimately of triumph and success, as he continues to dream big and build a life and a better world—piece by piece.

Praise: 

“Humorous and uplifting…While readers needn’t be LEGO fans to admire David’s ingenuity, fellow builders may be inspired to dream up their own inventions.” Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will cheer for Aguilar and relate to him as he shares conversational stories about growing up, playing sports, and struggling with school. Family is at the heart of his story, and the endless support and advocacy of his parents, in particular, make this a sweet and uplifting story. Young readers will identify with this creative young person and will question society’s definition of “normal.” School Library Journal

About the Authors:

David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra, in Europe. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation, which he named the MK-1. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and posted it on social media, where it went viral and changed both of their lives. In addition to telling his story in this book, David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. Follow David and Ferran on Twitter @Handsolooficial and @AguilarFerran.

Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, into English and into Spanish. His translated books include Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats; George Takei’s graphic novel They Called Us Enemy; and Some Days, written and illustrated by María Wernicke; among many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow him on Twitter @lawrenceschimel.

Review: This memoir about David’s early life growing up with one arm and overcoming everything that others, and sometimes himself, thought he couldn’t do is not only a great read, but it is hilarious too. It is an extra plus that this book was a memoir, written by David, as it gave true insight and his voice was a pleasure!

As you read, you will enter into David’s family and get to know all who love him and help him navigate our able bodied-centered world. He tells his story with grace and humor. The anecdotes of his life add a deeper connection from reader to David and by the end you truly feel like you know him.

On top of that, David is a fantastic engineer, inventor, and imagineer! Anyone reading will be so fascinated with what he builds and accomplishes,

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will be a great addition to any memoir text set or lit circle set. It also will find its place in public, school, and classroom libraries.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Who in David’s younger life do you think best helped him see that he was not at a disadvantage in life?
  • If David didn’t want a prosthetic arm, why did he build one out of LEGO?
  • What does David’s story teach you about assumptions of people?
  • How do you think David’s humor and positive outlook on life helped him navigate life and succeed as he has?
  • Why do you think David decided to co-write this book with his dad?
  • Of David’s accomplishments, which do you find the most impressive?
  • Why do you think David decided to tell his story?

Flagged Passages: 

LACES

One day, many years later, as I was leaving school, one of my classmates saw me fiddling with the car keys.

“You drive?” he asked me, surprised.

“Um . . .” I was caught unaware, because what was so strange about my driving? “Yeah, of course, tío. I repeated a year. I’m eighteen already. I got my license over the break.”

More than clarifying things, I seemed to confuse him even more. He wrinkled his brow so much I thought his forehead might cave in. Only then did I begin to realize
what was going through his head.

It wasn’t long before he verbalized it: “But . . . how do you drive?” His gaze indicated my missing arm.

I smiled. By then I already had an answer for everything. “With my hand, of course!” I said, raising my left arm.

“But how do you shift gears?”

I smiled even more. “With my mouth!”

He was flabbergasted, and I got into the car. I turned on the ignition and pulled out, leaving him there with his mouth open. Did he really not know that automatic cars
exist, without any need to shift gears? But no, I knew, as I had known my whole life, that what was really difficult to know—and especially to understand—is how someone
who is not like you can do the same things you can.

I know this very well, believe me, because this was exactly my parents’ challenge. And also mine. It was for a long time. I don’t blame people or myself. Speaking clearly, what happens is that there is no one to blame: there is just ignorance, and prejudices, and loneliness. Dark nights, entire afternoons filled with worry. How would David get
ahead? What would become of him?

Read This If You Love: Memoirs

Recommended For: 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 12/5/22

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

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

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

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

Happy reading!

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Tuesday: Dark on Light by Dianne White, Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Friday: The Little Bad Book 2 by Magnus Myst

Sunday: Follow That Line!: Magic at Your Fingertips by JaNay Brown-Wood, Illustrated by Rob Justus

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

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Kellee

I haven’t updated since 11/7, so there is a lot to share!

A Man and His Cat, Vol. 1 by Umi Sakurai Meesh the Bad Demon #1 by Michelle  Lam The Moth Keeper by Kay O'Neill Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith Squire & Knight by Scott Chantler Belle of the Ball by Mari Costa History Comics by Tracey Baptiste Travis Daventhorpe for the Win! by Wes Molebash Grace Needs Space! by Alison Wilgus Unretouchable by Sofia Szamosi Once Upon a Messy Whisker by Jennifer L. Holm

  • A Man and his Cat Vol 1 by Umi Sakurai: Like the Gamer + Cat series, this is a story about a new cat owner learning the joys and humor of owning a cat. I love this duo–I will definitely read more!
  • Meesh the Bad Demon by Michelle Lam: I love this debut about judging differences and finding friends with those who you don’t expect. I was a huge fan of the art style, too–it was so much fun to read.
  • The Moth Keeper by Kay O’Neill: This graphic novel is beautiful and is all about found family and friendship. I loved following Anya’s journey.
  • Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith: This is such a clever retelling of Beowulf where the adults are the monsters and the kids must protect their tree house. Kids and adults alike will love this book.
  • Squire and Knight by Scott Chantler: So many of us have met people that take credit for things that they didn’t do–this is a story just as that where the knight, who claims to be a hero, needs his squire who he often looks down on. Filled with monsters and magic, this graphic novel is a fun read.
  • Belle of the Ball by Mari Costa: A realistic fiction romance book about the quiet and smart Belle who starts tutoring the girlfriend of her crush leading to awkward but also wonderful situations as all 3 of the girls get to know each other.
  • Rosa Parks & Claudette Colvin by Tracey Baptiste, Illustrated by Shauna J. Grant: I am so glad that this History Comic focuses on Claudette first to show her activism and share what happens to her. Great biographies of these two women and a historical account of the times, which I wasn’t worried about with Baptiste writing it!
  • Travis Daventhrope for the Win! by Wes Molebash: Fans of HiLo are going to love this book! This is a hilarious, sci-fi graphic novel with a main character and sidekick that all readers will root for.
  • Grace Needs Space! by Alison Wilgus, Illustrated by Rii Abrego: I loved both the story and artwork of this book! Grace is so excited to hang out with her “fun” mom instead of being with her overbearing mom, but it doesn’t end up being what she expected at all. This leads to Grace searching for her own adventure which leads to the rest of the story.
  • Unretouchable by Sofia Szamosi: Whoa–this look into fashion and photography, including body image, eating disorders, and photoshopping, dives into this world of harm, specifically around social media, in a way like I haven’t read before. An important message in an emotional graphic novel.
  • The Big Adventures of Babymouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker by Jennifer L. Holm, Illustrated by Matthew Holm: It was so great to get back into the world of Babymouse! Like her other books, this is full of imagination and fun. This time, Babymouse is questioning her messy whiskers, but there’s more to them than she realizes.

Harold the Iceberg Melts Down by Lisa Wyzlic We Are Here by Tami Charles

  • Harold the Iceberg Melts Down by Lisa Wyzlic, Illustrated by Rebecca Syracuse: I am so proud of Lisa for this book! It is such a cute story and the illustrations are perfect for the story! I love that the book is a mix of silly and serious and has a message that many kids will connect with.
  • We Are Here by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Bryan Collier: I was so lucky to have Bryan Collier and Tami Charles share this beautiful book and message at NCTE. It is a must get!

Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs The Gingerbread Witch by Alexandra Overy New Kids and Underdogs by Margaret Finnegan Piece by Piece by David Aguilar Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King

  • Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski: I am a HUGE fan of Mlynowski’s other fantasy series (Upside Down Magic & Whatever After), so I was so excited to read the first book in a new series for her. Like her others, it was so engaging and easy to connect with.
  • Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm by Tonya Bolden: I reviewed this before break.
  • Love Radio by Ebony LaBelle: Alternating narration between Prince and Dani as they get to know each other lends itself to this story that is more than other high school love stories–it is a coming of age story full of support, music, books, passion, family, and friends.
  • Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs: Book two of the series took Ben to camp where SPYDER follows causing quite a catastrophe.
  • The Gingerbread Witch by Alexandra Overy: This fairy tale-esque was different than I expected, in a good way! It was more. More than just a retelling or reimagining, it is a story about finding your power when no one else believes in you. It also shows you that friendship sometimes come from those you least expect.
  • New Kids & Under Dogs by Margaret Finnegan: I’ll be reviewing this soon 🙂
  • Piece by Piece by David Aguilar & Ferran Aguilar, Translated by Lawrence Schimel: I’ll be reviewing this soon 🙂
  • Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King: This book is an automatic favorite and was exactly what I needed right now with everything going on here in Florida. Amy King brilliantly took something that happened to her son and turned it into a call to action about the censorship and other mandates. You need to read this. Now.

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy: I loved this book. Well, as much as you can love a book that made you cry and infuriated you and made you want to be able to find the stranger you are reading about and give her a hug. And the audio, read by Jennette, made it even more impactful.

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

Ricki

This is my week off; I’ll see you on here next week!

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Kellee

  • Listening to: Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Reading: That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

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Tuesday: Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) by David Aguilar & Ferran Aguilar, Translated by by Lawrence Schimel

Thursday: Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston, Adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrated by Loveis Wise

Saturday: The Atlas Obscura’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras & Rosemary Mosco, Illustrated by Joy Ang

Sunday: Author Guest Post by Josh Funk, Author of The Great Caper Caper

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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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Crayola: Follow That Line!: Magic at Your Fingertips by JaNay Brown-Wood

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Press Here
Author: JaNay Brown-Wood
Illustrator: Rob Justus
Published July 26, 2022 by Running Press Kids

Goodreads Summary: Do you want to know a secret? You have magic in your fingertips!

Use your fingers to follow a line and help it burst into color. Make magic with blooming flowers, tall mountain tops, splashing waves, and more by tracing lines with all four fingers and your thumb. Celebrate the power of creating artwork with Crayola products in this delightful and bright interactive book.

Ricki’s Review: My children LOVED this book. I’ve read it multiple times to them in the past few days. Kids of all ages will have a lot of fun with this one. It’s interactive (sort of in the style of Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet), and it asks kids to follow the line as they create the magic of the book. The colors are bright, and the writing is very engaging. This book would make an amazing holiday gift for a child or teacher.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: After we read this book the first time, my kids were inspired to draw. It would be really neat for each student in a class to draw one page of their own Follow That Line book (fanfiction at its best). The teacher could ask the students how they should organize the pages for a cohesive story and bind the book.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which page was your favorite, and why?
  • What might the author’s purpose be for this book?
  • How does the book creatively reach readers?

We Flagged: “Do you want to know a secret? You have magic in your fingers. Want to see? Turn the page.”

Read This If You Love: Interactive books, art

Recommended For: 

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RickiSig

The Little Bad Book 2: Even More Dangerous by Magnus Myst

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The Little Bad Book 2: Even More Dangerous
Author and Illustrator: Magnus Myst
Published October 11, 2022 by Delacorte Press

Summary: In this second book in the Little Bad Book interactive series, young readers will be dared to solve tricky puzzles and funny riddles and to become part of the plot in eerily funny stories in order to reveal the Little Bad Book’s secret!

HEY, YOU! PSSST

You might not believe this, but I’ve discovered the biggest secret in the world. Yes, honestly! Should I tell you? Okay. Just be careful! It will be the scariest thing you’ve ever read! I hope you can take it. Can you I bet you can. You’re brave, aren’t you?

Do you dare to read me? Come on–do it–read me!

You are the lucky reader who can discover the secret the little bad book is willing to share. The puzzles and riddles will challenge you, but it is definitely worth it! Go ahead and take a chance! You are the baddest one there is!

Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This interactive book enraptured both of my children (ages 6 and 9). The book breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. I particularly appreciated the ways in which the book treats the reader as smart, capable people with agency. It also has that mild element of horror that really captures kids’ attention. This is a book that will be well-loved by the most avid readers and will hook readers who don’t typically fall in love with books. It’s extremely accessible. As a parent and teacher, I particularly loved how it tricks kids into math, reading comprehension, and logic puzzles. I was hooked (or tricked), as well. 🙂

Flagged Spreads: 

Read This If You Love: Interactive activity books filled with fun and educational activities

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

**Thank you to Cate from Nicole Banholzer Public Relations for providing copies for review!**

Dark on Light by Dianne White, Illustrated by Felicita Sala

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Dark on Light
Author: Dianne White
Illustrator: Felicita Sala
Publishing December 6, 2022 by Beach Lane Books

Summary: As the sun sets, three siblings discover nature’s nighttime beauty in this soothingly rhythmic and gorgeously illustrated bedtime picture book from the acclaimed author-illustrator team behind Green on Green.

Gentle the evening. Sweeping the skies.
Dark the shadows as twilight arrives.
Rose the horizon, gleaming and bright.
Twilight and evening and dark on light.

When the family dog trots away from the house at sunset, three siblings tumble out the door to go find him. Soon they find themselves immersed in the luminous colors, shades, and shadows of nature at night—both dark and light. They wander through moonlit lavender meadows, past a timid fawn, beneath a snowy white owl, and much, much more as the night deepens until, at last, they find their sneaky pup.

With beautiful illustrations by Felicita Sala and lyrical text by Dianne White that’s perfect for reading aloud, this book invites young readers to step into the wondrous, colorful nighttime natural world.

Praise: 

“A bedtime chant capable of transforming anyone into a night owl. Sumptuous watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations show a day shifting from sunshine to twilight to a deepening night sky. Meanwhile, three children are pulling on their boots, grabbing their flashlights, and heading out into a nighttime world as alive as it is welcoming. As the children search and explore, the text repeats the words dark on light through mesmeric rhymes. “Orange the moon, burnished and bright. / Meadow and owl and dark on light.” At last the children peek into a burrow and find their dog, the object of their search. The nighttime is welcoming here, and the children return home to the cozy arms of their parents. Truly the entire enterprise feels similar in tone to Janice May Udry’s Moon Jumpers (1959), illustrated by Maurice Sendak, as when the children ramble through fields of fragrant lavender beneath a brilliant sky. This is a book capable of banishing nighttime fears, showing the night to be a time of wonder, exploration, and even comfort. Sala’s art matches the cadences of the text beat for beat, offering consistently beautiful images of this undiscovered nighttime world…. Lilting, haunting, rhyming, and as unforgettable as a dream the daylight just can’t quite erase.” – Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED REVIEW*, 9/15/2022

“The creators of Green on Green follow that seasonal work with one focused on shadow and light, centering lulling, mesmerizing sensate verse accompanied by artwork in warm, saturated hues…. Closing bedtime scenes in a shared bedroom embody warmth and security… in this quiet celebration of chiaroscuro in the natural world.” – Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*, 10/24/2022

About the Creators: 

Dianne White lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her family. She is the author of Who Eats Orange?Blue on BlueGreen on Green, and Dark on Light.

Felicita Sala is a self-taught illustrator and painter. She has a degree in philosophy from the University of Western Australia. She now lives and works in Rome. She draws inspiration from nature, children, mid-century illustration, folk art, and architecture.

Review: Dianne White’s verse with Felicita Sala’s illustrations makes this book an instant read aloud need! The verse is so rhythmic and rolls off the tongue in a way that will make the book fun to read and listen to. The illustrations add another dimension to the words taking a beautiful poem and turning it into a narrative also. This book will make any reader want to go on a nighttime hike to investigate the beauty of the night.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Here’s an author-provided activity kit!

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did the illustrator use colors to add to the mood of the book?
  • Pick a spread. What words in the stanza stands out to you? Why?
  • The reviews mention that Dark on Light is a book that is meant to read aloud. What about the verse written by White makes it so much fun to read aloud?
  • What fun things do you see in the illustrations as the kids venture outdoors?
  • Why do you think the creators chose to have the book end in daylight instead of nighttime?
  • With an adult, go on a nighttime walk and write a journal about what you saw.

Flagged Passages: 

“Gentle the evening. Sweeping the skies. Dark the shadows as twilight arrives.”

Rose the horizon, gleaming and bright. Twilight and evening and dark on light.

Smooth the stones. Crisp the air. Dark the garden, trimmed with care.

Green the sage, nubby and bright. Garden and stones and dark on light.”

Read This If You Love: Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine; Night Animals by Gianna Marino; Noisy Night by Mac Barnett; The Night Gardener by Terry Fan; Goodnight, Butterfly by Ross Burach; Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland, Max at Night by Ed Vere

Recommended For: 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 11/28/22

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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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Ricki

I am sorry that I’ve been gone for so long! I am so glad to be back.

First, look who I found at NCTE and ALAN! It was so nice to get to spend time with Kellee in person.

I read some great books while I was gone. I am going to start with the longer texts this week and focus on the picture books in the future weeks.

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge is a graphic novel that uses dark matter as a symbol for mental health struggles. I found it to be visually powerful.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes was my book club text. I appreciated the story and it hit a chord with me. I wish this book was available in all classroom libraries for students to read.

I reread Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. I love this book so, so much. Also, I met Aiden Thomas at ALAN. He is such a bright light. It made me like his books even more (which I previously thought to be impossible).

A colleague sent me a copy of Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. Every academic in an English department (or liberal arts department) should read this book. It is SO funny. The book is written entirely in letters of recommendation.

My son has been begging me to read The Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale. Oh my goodness. I will never forget this book. I thought I knew a lot about the Donner party, but I realized that I knew very little!

Kellee

It’s my week off, but I will have a long update soon! Until then, you can check out my 2022 Goodreads Challenge page or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

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Tuesday: Dark on Light by Dianne White, Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Friday: The Little Bad Book 2 by Magnus Myst

Sunday: Follow That Line!: Magic at Your Fingertips by JaNay Brown-Wood, Illustrated by Rob Justus

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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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 11/21/22

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

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

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

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

Happy reading!

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Tuesday: Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm” by Tonya Bolden, Forward by Stacey Abrams

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

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We hope you enjoy your time off with family during this Fall break!

We are currently at the ALAN workshop, one of our favorite places, then will enjoy the time off with our families.

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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