It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 12/18/23


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
For readers of all ages

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop we host which focuses on sharing what we’re reading. This Kid Lit version of IMWAYR focuses primarily on books marketed for kids and teens, but books for readers of all ages are shared. We love this community and how 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. The Kid Lit IMWAYR was co-created by Kellee & Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

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: Educators’ Guide for Airi Sano, Prankmaster General: New School Skirmish by Zoe Tokushige, Illustrated by Jennifer Naalchigar

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Museum Mysteries” by K.H. Saxton, Author of The A&A Detective Agency: The Fairfleet Affair

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



I haven’t shared what I’ve read for a month! I am happy to share these wonderful books I’ve been reading 🙂

Middle Grade

  • Strikers: A Graphic Novel by Kiel Phegley, Illustrated by Jacques Khouri: A middle school hockey graphic novel–yay! I loved this sports-centered story about resiliency when faced with teams better than you and resiliency when faced with obstacles to keep you from what you love. It is because of this universal message that it will also be a graphic novel that those who do not like hockey will still enjoy.
  • Plain Jane and the Mermaid by Vera Brosgol: Jane must learn that she is more than others have told her she is and that she should believe and stand up for herself. I am such a fan of Brosgol’s illustrations and this story has such a folklore feel–just a wonderful read.
  • 12 to 22 by Jen Calonita: A great new take on 13 Going on 30 in the world of social media. The book has a great balance of character and plot and leaves the reader with a clear message about what is most important.
  • Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Brooks by Caela Carter: This book is such an important one to help understand mental health. I want so many to read this, specifically adults, if I’m being honest. It has insight into the struggles when fighting against your own brain as you work to figure out how to survive.
  • Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Nielsen: I remember when I first heard about this book, and I have wanted to read it ever since. This book is a love letter to the importance of books with the backdrop of a true historical event in Lithuania that is a call of action against ignorance and for the freedom to read.
  • Sink or Swim by Veronica Agarwal & Lee Durfey-Lavoie: Oh, Max. Sweet Max who is dealing with so much as he recovers from the changes he went through while he had a broken arm and wasn’t part of the swim team. Now he finds himself at camp where he can’t figure out how to get back to normal while he drowns in anxiety.
  • Wagnificent: The Adventure of Thunder and Sage by Bethanie Murguia: Oh, what a cute story told from the point of view of Thunder, the dog. Thunder has the life but then his inner wolf tries to tell him that the wild is the way to go. The story goes through Thunder’s journey deciding which life is what he wants.
  • A Man & His Cat Vol. 9 by Umi Sakurai: The addition of Hoshinari, Mr. Kanda’s son, and the kittens brings more levels of story and cuteness!
  • Tumble by Celia C. Pérez: What a great story about family and changes in life as family dynamics change. Oh, and with wrestling! I loved meeting Addie’s newly discovered family along with her but that also meant that I was disappointed with her as well. The book was a roller coaster of emotions! The backdrop of Addie’s family story is a middle school production of The Nutcracker which is a fun addition to the book.

Young Adult

  • Karate Prom by Kyle Starks: Karate at prom? Yes, please! This book is such a fun book, there really isn’t any other way to explain it. It is like Karate Kid or Cobra Kai met a high school prom 80s movie!
  • Me: Moth by Amber McBride: Amber McBride is such a beautiful writer. I loved listening to this one–it was a great book to hear. And everyone told me about the twist in this book, so I definitely was waiting for it, and I’ll be honest–at first it made me so mad! But then I saw Amber McBride speak at the ALAN Breakfast where she talked about her beliefs and how the twist came to be, and it just completely changed my point of view.
  • Ex-Yakuza & the Stray Kitten Vol. 3 by Riddle Kamimura: Trent and I love this series! I like watching Sabu getting more and more used to his new home though there is still a lot of shenanigans!
  • Spy x Family Vol. 10 by Tatsuya Endo: Oh, I loved learning more about Twilight! The backstory in this one just builds such a great foundation of what we know about Twilight now. Doesn’t move along the general Spy X Family narrative very much, but it is great character building.
  • Ash’s Cabin by Jen Wang: This graphic novel is heartbreaking and heart affirming all in one book. I hate how alone Ash feels and wish I could give them a hug and not make them feel like they need to flee. I am impressed by Ash’s determination and survival skills. And I am affirmed by Ash’s future which is on the road to be much better than their past. All of this with the background of Wang’s beautiful artwork.
  • Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: I couldn’t stop talking about this one while I was reading it. I had to keep reading to figure out what was happening to Devon and Chiamaka, two teens who definitely do not seem to overlap at school but suddenly find themselves the focus of a cyberbully that knows too much. It was a devastating and suspenseful read.
  • In Living Color by Jerry Craft: This is Jerry Craft’s self published book of stories from his comic Mama’s Boyz. The story is focused on a mom who runs a bookstore raising her two teenage sons. Readers will find commentary on race in America and stories about teenhood and family.
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer: Marissa Meyer does a brilliant job writing a backstory of the Queen of Hearts explaining all that would cause her to be the way she is in Carroll’s story. (Though I am still mad about ____ and wanted ____ for Catherine!)
  • Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed: Another book I couldn’t stop reading! The summary really describes it the best: “A powerful, gripping YA novel about the insidious nature of racism, the terrible costs of unearthing hidden truths, and the undeniable power of hope.” The scariest part of this book is how much I felt it was based in truths.

Picture Books

  • Too Much: My Great Big Native Family by Laurel Goodluck, Illustrated by Bridget George: What a joyful celebration of a large, close, extended family! Though Russel questions if it is all too much, he soon realizes that his family and their support is part of what makes his life wonderful. I love the joy of the story and illustrations–just such a shining star, just like Russel!
  • Do You Remember? by Sydney Smith: I’ve been in love with Sydney Smith’s art after reading I Talk Like a River, so I was so excited to read his newest, and my excitement was the correct emotion because wow, this book is special. The illustrations are typical of Smith’s work: soft, beautiful, and detailed. And so was the story. It is all about holding on to positive memories and making memories, told in the same soft, beautiful, and detailed way that his illustrations support it.
  • The Taekwonderoos: Rescue at Rattling Ridge by Michael Panzner, Illustrated by Lora Look: What a fun concept–three kangaroos that use positive characteristics and techniques of tae kwan do to help them save a young joey on a ridge. Each kangaroo has a different strength that helps them be successful on their journey. The book is colorfully illustrated and has a great message!
  • The Little Tiger by Nicola Killen: This story reminds me of a watercolor version (both the illustrations and story) of Where the Wild Things Are–a fun adventure into the land of animals where a party is had. The illustrations are just so cute, and I love the message of imagination!
  • Whale Fall: Exploring an Ocean-Floor Ecosystem by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey & Thank You, Moon: Celebrating Nature’s Nightlight by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Jessica Lanan: Melissa Stewart is a nonfiction picture book genius. The way she writes verse and mixes it with nonfiction information to supplement is just incomparable. Both of these books are fascinating and beautiful. Whale Fall is the only book I can think of that looks at the death of an animal and how it affects the ecosystem; I learned so much! Thank You, Moon is a bedtime story mixed with scientific information that just takes it to the next level.
  • Like Lava in my Veins by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough: Oh, this picture book comic is a call of actions to educators. Miss Brooklyn is everything; I hope so many adult readers listen to her. And I think kids will love the story too–Barnes’s illustrations are epic within this format and the book has a great message.
  • Bears are Best!: The Scoop About How We Sniff, Sneak, Snack, and Snooze! by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Laurie Keller: Such a clever bear picture book! I loved that it includes all the different bears, the fun contrasts between them, and cartoony illustrations as a companion. A great entertaining nonfiction book!
  • The Gentle Genius of Trees by Philip Bunting: I love this book looking at the interconnectedness and genius of trees filled with so much information, diagrams, illustrations, and even great puns!
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas: I am so glad that I finally read Jazz’s picture book. It is so well done–both the biography and illustrations!
  • Search for a Giant Squid: Pick Your Path by Amy Seto Forrester, Illustrated by Any Chou Musser: I love pick your path books, and this one is a great edition to the format as it is mixed with adventure and science.
  • Door by Door: How Sarah McBride Became America’s First Openly Transgender Senator by Meeg Pincus, Illustrated by Meridth McKean Gimbel: I loved the figurative and literal meaning of the doors within this book! Brilliantly done. And Senator McBride’s story was told so beautifully in this one, truly looking at her life and journey.
  • Justice Ketanji: The Story of US Supreme Court Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson by Denise Lewis Patrick, Illustrated by Kim Holt: I love that there are biographies coming out about Justice Jackson so that young people can learn about her as her story is so full of accomplishments and shows that dreams can happen.
  • All We Need is Love and a Really Soft Pillow! by Peter H. Reynolds & Henry Rocket Reynolds: Peter Reynolds is so good at incredible messages within his book, and this is no different–it is full of a message of love and its importance.
  • Harlem at Four by Michael Datcher, Illustrated by Frank Morrison: I will read any book illustrated by Frank Morrison–his work is stunning. And this book is a perfect companion to his illustrations as it is a beautiful homage to the author’s daughter and Harlem.

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.


This is my week off, so I will see you after our break!




Tuesday: New & Updated Gail Gibbons books: Galaxies, Galaxies! and The Planets

Then we will be taking a 2 week break
(I’ll put up IMWAYR posts during the break for linking up if you still want to post!)


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 12/18/23”

  1. Kellee, I’m so obsessed with the abundance of great books in this post! I hadn’t seen Sink or Swim, and I’m SO excited to read it (a) because the authors wrote Just Roll with It, which I adore and relate to and (b) because I think I’ll relate to Max’s experience (and not just his name)!

    Plain Jane and the Mermaid and Ash’s Cabin are both on my list—I’m so excited that graphic novel greats like Vera Brosgol and Jen Wang have new stories on the way.

    And as excited as I am about the picture books and your mention of Tuesdays at the Castle (loved that way back when!), I’m over the moon to see Ferris—a new Kate DiCamillo novel is a gift from the universe!

    Thanks so much for all the delightful picks, and have a great week!


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