It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 6/26/23


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!


Tuesday: Peaceful Me and Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder and Rahele Jomepour Bell

Friday: Student Voices: “The Issue with Banning Books” by Toby B., 8th Grader

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “What is it Like to be a Dog?” by Dr. John Bradshaw, Author of A First Guide to Dogs: Understanding Your Very Best Friend

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



It is summer which means extra reading time!!! And I haven’t updated on my reading since the end of May… so, I have a lot of books to share!

Middle Grade

 The Memory Thieves by Dhonielle Clayton Better with Butter by Victoria Piontek Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo

  • The Memory Thieves (Marvellers #2) by Dhonielle Clayton: I cannot tell you much about this book without spoiling the first one, but I will tell you that Clayton definitely carried over all of the intensity and adventure from the first book but truly has brought the readers a new and fresh story that readers are going to love!
  • Better with Butter by Victoria Piontec: This sweet, funny, and important book is on our state 3-5 list, so Trent and I listened to it together, and we really loved it! I mean, it is about an adorable goat which leads to AWW moments and laugh out loud moments. It is important because it deals with anxiety and will be a great mirror, window, or sliding glass door (Sims-Bishop) book for those that need to feel seen or for those who may not understand anxiety.
  • Yusuf Azeem is not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi: I loved how the author balanced a middle school story that any one would connect with combined with a story that shows the racism that Muslim students and families face. It also teaches about the aftereffects of 9/11 that aren’t talked about. This book was engaging and heart wrenching–a book that is truly a wonderful emotional roller coaster.
  • The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Julie Morstad: Ah, yes. A new Kate DiCamillo book, an original fairy tale at that, and it is as whimsical and magical. I definitely see this book as a read aloud and loved by her fans that loved Edward Tulane and Beatryce Prophecy.

Schnozzer & Tatertoes by Rick Stromoski Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen Travis Daventhorpe Powers Up! by Wes Molebash Bounce Back by Misako Rocks! Punch Up! Vol. 1 by Zachary Sterling

  • Schnozzer & Tatertoes Take a Hike! by Rick Stromoski: This new adorable, early reader graphic novel is just a delight to read. Readers will love the relationship between the two dogs and will laugh out loud so much while reader! This book is a great ladder for fans of Narwhal and Jelly when readers are looking for a bit of a longer graphic novel but with the same silliness, a great duo, and snacks.
  • Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen: As a reader who this book was a window, I learned so much about both Jewish and Muscogee traditions! Also, readers who are struggling to find themselves around multiple identities or separated parents will find solace in this book as a mirror. A great read that everyone will find something in.
  • Travis Daventhorpe Powers Up! by Wes Molebash: The second book in this sci-fi graphic novel series is just as good as the first! Our adventure continues and the book powers up just as the title insinuates! It is full of action, our epic characters, and, of course, more adventures in the multi-verse. I really love this series and so many kid readers (like Trent!) will, too!
  • Bounce Back by Misako Rocks!: This is graphic novel was one of Trent’s favorite recent reads, and I can see why–it is a slice of life middle school story about remembering your passion, finding true friends in a new situation, and adapting through change. Oh, plus basketball and a talking cat!
  • Punch Up, Vol. 1 by Zachary Sterling: A new battle-focused manga-style graphic novel is going to be loved by so many readers. Pitch is determined to become a fighter and wants to be trained by his favorite fighter, so determined that he ran away from his home to compete in hopes of impressing–and he does! But is he making the right choice to compete with an aging fighter who doesn’t think before he acts????

Ex-Yakuza and Stray Kitten Vol. 1 by Riddle Kamimura Ex-Yakuza and Stray Kitten Vol. 2 by Riddle Kamimura Dinosaur Sanctuary Vol. 1 by Itaru Kinoshita Polar Bear Café by Aloha Higa Polar Bear Café by Aloha Higa Cat Massage Therapy Vol. 3 by Haru HisakawaThe Evil Secret Society of Cats, Vol. 1 by Pandania The Evil Secret Society of Cats, Vol. 2 by Pandania With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun Vol. 1 by Hidekichi Matsumoto Yokai Cats Vol. 1 by Pandania Yokai Cats Vol. 2 by Pandania Sue & Tai-chan, Vol. 1 by Kanata Konami Sue & Tai-chan, Vol. 2 by Kanata Konami Sue & Tai-chan, Vol. 3 by Kanata Konami Sue & Tai-chan, Vol. 4 by Kanata Konami  

Trent gave me a pile of manga to read either because 1) he loved it and wanted me to read them, or 2) they were rated teen, and he wanted me to read them to ensure that they were age appropriate for him. As of today, Trent and I have read all of these and recommend them all!

My favorites are probably Ex-Yakuza and the Kitten, Dinosaur Sanctuary, Evil Secret Society of Cats, Sue & Tai-Chan, and Wonder Cat Kyuu-Chan 😻+🦖

(Click on any image to take you to the Goodreads page.)

Young Adult

The Getaway by Lamar Giles The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

  • The Getaway by Lamar Giles: This book is so much more intense that I had even imagined. What starts as a book that seems to be about an isolated Disney, makes a turn into the apocalypse quickly and shows the worst coming out in people. Please know that there are definitely triggering events in this book, specifically lynching, that will gut readers.
  • The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera: This prequel from Adam Silvera holds all of the heart from They Both Die in the End, and it answers some questions that rose up in the original book. Readers will fall in love with another two characters, once again being heartbroken when death comes calling.

Layers by Pénélope Bagieu Helck, Vol. 2 by Nanaki Nanao Heart Gear, Vol. 1 by Tsuyoshi Takaki Disney Twisted-Wonderland The Comic Episode of Heartslabyul(1) by Yana Toboso Orange -to you, dear one- by Ichigo Takano Disney and Pixar's Turning Red by Dirchansky

  • Layers by Pénélope Bagieu: This graphic memoir pulls incidences straight from the author’s diary which lends itself to a wide variety of vignettes, including truly hilarious ones and very tough ones. These fifteen stories will each effect the reader in a different way, but there will definitely be readers who connect with them all.
  • Helck, Vol. 2 by Nanaki Nanao: This series definitely got better in the second volume. The first book was an introduction to the world and some of our characters while book 2 takes us further toward the rising action as a war wages and Helck and Vermilio find themselves on an abandoned island.
  • Show-Ha Shoten!, Vol. 2 by Akinari Asakura: Book 2 is even funnier than book 1 which makes me excited for the series to continue. The dynamic between the comedy duo is definitely solidifying and things are starting to fall into place. Looking forward to see where it goes!
  • Heartgear, Vol. 1 by Tsuyoshi Takaki: This series deserves all of the hype that it is getting. It is a post-apocalyptic nightmare where Roue may be the only human left, so her new android companion must protect her by any means. This book is just so intriguing, and I cannot wait to see where it goes!
  • Disney Twisted-Wonderland The Manga, Vol. 1: Book of Heartslabyul, Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso: I went into this manga without any knowledge of the Twisted-Wonderland video game, but it didn’t matter as you are quickly transported into the world of Wonderland, along with the main character Yu. His appearance in this world seems to be a mistake, but it is up to him to get home which leads to action and unlikely friendships.
  • Orange -to you, dear one by Ichigo Takano: The newest manga in the Orange series shows the reader the new timeline that the characters would have entered when they saved Kakeru.
  • 4*Town 4*Real: The Manga by Dirchansky: What a fun book! Want to know more about 4*Town and their story? This one is for you! It is like a companion to the movie as it is all original stories that add depth to these characters who are only introduced in the movie. Just a cute read!

All Ages Picture Books

The Dreams We Made by Lisa   Bentley Dear Unicorn by Josh Funk Little Rosetta and the Talking Guitar by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Remember by Joy Harjo All Rise by Carole Boston Weatherford Oh No, the Aunts Are Here by Adam Rex You Need to Chill! by Juno Dawson Eggasaurus by Jennifer Wagh The Emperor Lays an Egg by Brenda Z. Guiberson The Princess in Black and the Prince in Pink by Shannon Hale

  • The Dreams We Made by Lisa Bentley: Lisa Bentley has given a special book. It is first and foremost about loss and mourning. We feel all the love the girl does and all the loss as well. But underneath this tough subject, it also is about creativity and perseverance. Oh, and the found-object collage aspects of the illustrations are so inventive and take the book into its own league.
  • Dear Unicorn by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Charles Santoso: Trent and my nephew had the huge honor of having Josh Funk read his not-yet-released newest book to them! They are two of the luckiest kids because the story is another home run from Josh. This companion to Dear Dragon takes us back to the epistolary format between two pen pals, this time between a young human and a young unicorn; however, there is a surprise waiting at the end! Like Josh pointed out when he was reading, the illustrators talents are on full display in this book because the pen pals also send artwork back and forth–you’ll love it!
  • Little Rosetta and the Talking Guitar: The Musical Story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Woman Who Invented Rock and Roll by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow: I did not know about Sister Rosetta Tharpe before reading this book, but I am so glad that isn’t true anymore (and I went and listened to some of her songs, too!). The text is very informative and musical in its own right, and the illustrations were unique, adding even more personality to the book. I am so glad this book exists so that this story is not lost.
  • Remember by Joy Harjo, Illustrated by Michaela Goade: Whoa. I can definitely see why Joy Harjo is the U.S. Poet Laureate. This beautiful poem takes the reader on a reflective journey, reminding us to look around at the world and “remember” our place in it. And with Goade’s illustrations, this book is a well-rounded piece of art.
  • All Rise: The Story of Ketanji Brown Jackson by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Ashley Evans: Carole Boston Weatherford is a master at the picture book biography, and this book is no exception. This picture book is a wonderful introduction to our newest Supreme Court Justice and how her determination helped her reach the highest of heights within the legal system, making it both a biography and inspirational.
  • Oh No, The Aunts are Here by Adam Rex, Illustrated by Lian Cho: This book is a whole mood. It definitely embodies the chaos, love, and loudness (figuratively and literally) that come with family visiting. Filled with humorous lines and colorful illustrations, this will be a fun book to read aloud.
  • You Need to Chill: A Story of Love and Family by Juno Dawson, Illustrated by Laura Hughes: Everybody just needs to chill. The main character’s brother isn’t missing–Bill is now Lily. This book will be wonderful for not only those with trans siblings but others around who need perspective (and the illustrations are so wonderful!).
  • Eggasaurus by Jennifer Wagh, Illustrated by Hallie Bateman: My nephew chose this book for me to read to him, and I am so glad he did–this is such a fun book about raising dinosaurs from egg to giant and all the shenanigans between.
  • The Emperor Lays an Egg by Brenda Z. Guiberson, Illustrated by Joan Paley: Another book I was asked to read, and this one is right up my alley as it is a nonfiction book about emperor penguins and their unique egg rearing.
  • Princess in Black and the Prince in Pink by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham: The Prince in Pink saves the day in this one! I don’t want to say too much because part of what makes it so wonderful is going on the journey with the Princess in Black. A wonderful addition to the series!

To learn more about any of these books, click on any title/image to go to the book’s Goodreads page or check out my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

P.S. Thank you for all of the well wishes at my students’ competition ❤️ They placed 5th in the world at the Future Problem Solvers International Competition for the Presentation of Action Plan!


This is my week off, and we’re taking the next two weeks off for summer vacation, so I’ll see you back in mid-July!



  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  • Wonder Cat Kyuu-Chan, Vol. 2 by Sasami Nitori


Tuesday: Blog Tour with Review and Educators’ Guide: Conjure Island by Eden Royce

Friday: Student Voices: “AI: The Flaw in Sci-Fi Books” by Derrick T., 8th Grade


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

3 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 6/26/23”

  1. You’ve added like 5 books to my TBR, Kellee—Remember, Layers, Bounce Back, Two Tribes, and The Puppets of Spelhorst are all ones I’ll need to track down! It’s amazing you’ve gotten to read so much in the last month, including alongside Trent. Also, as someone who loved the movie Turning Red, the 4*Town companion seems amazing too! And congratulations on your students’ success—that’s incredible!! Thank you both so much for the wonderful post!


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