Kellee’s 2022 Reading Round Up: Statistics, Favorite Reads, #mustreadin2022 End-of-Year Check In, #mustreadin2023 List, and Random 2023 Reading Challenges

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Here is my 2022 Reading Round Up!


And just for fun: here is Trent’s 2022 Year in Books!
(It was my first year we tracked his independent reading on Goodreads; it was so much fun to get this data at the end of the year!)


Here are my favorite books read in 2022! Although not all of them are 2022 published books, 43 of them are (and 1 is even 2023). If you want to learn about these books visit my FAVORITE READS IN 2022 Goodreads shelf


I introduced my #mustreadin2022 list last January (<– visit that link to see the list in its entirety), and I will say that I was quite successful! I read 36 out of 42 books on my list!


I love the Must Read challenge! I took part in 2015-2019 & 2021-2022, so I am happy to join again! It helps me remember to read certain books!

Thank you to Carrie at There’s A Book for That for starting this challenge and to Leigh Ann of A Day in the Life and Cheriee of Library Matters for reviving it in 2022.

For those of you new to the challenge, it has you take a look at the books you wanted to read, but for whatever reason, you have not gotten to them. You then make your own personal list of books you want to commit to (trying to) read.

There is no set number of books and books can be published from any year, in any genre or format, and in any category. These books will not be the only ones you read this year but will be the ones included in your personal challenge.

This year, I may have gone a bit wild with my lists. I just couldn’t choose! (If you follow here, you know that is a trend of mine…) This means, I ended up with 64 titles on my #mustreadin2023 list which I’ve separated into middle grade and young adult. (And to be honest, I am tempted to make an adult and graphic novel/manga list because I love having these lists as reminders!)

Middle Grade

  1. 12 to 22 by Jen Calonita
  2. The Accidental Apprentice (Wildlore #1) by Amanda Foody
  3. Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling
  4. Answers in the Pages by David Levithan
  5. Area 51 Interns: Alien Summer by James S. Murray & Carsen Smith
  6. Astrid the Unstoppable by Majia Parr
  7. Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron
  8. The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
  9. The Mystery of Clockwork Sparrow (Sinclair’s Mysteries #1) by Katherine Woodfine
    *Oops! I thought it was just named The Clockwork Sparrow but it isn’t, so it is out of order alphabetically…
  10. Consider the Octopus by Nora Raleigh Baskin & Gae Polisner
  11. Cuba in my Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas
  12. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (Emmy #1) by Lynne Jonell
  13. Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Brooks by Caela Carter
  14. The First Rule of Climate Club by Carrie Firestone
  15. H.I.V.E.: Higher Institute of Villainous Education (HIVE #1) by Mark Walden
  16. Troublemaker by John Cho
    *Oops! I thought it was named John Cho Troublemaker but it isn’t, so it is out of order alphabetically
  17. Love Like Sky #1 by Leslie C. Youngblood
  18. Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
  19. The Midnight Children by Dan Gemeinhart
  20. My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk
  21. New From Here by Kelly Yang
  22. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (Wingfeather Saga #1) by Andrew Peterson
  23. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (Penderwicks #1) by Jeanne Birdsall
  24. A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
  25. The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans
  26. Race to the End of the World (Mapmaker Chronicles #1) by A.L. Tait
  27. Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
  28. A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
  29. Thirst by Varsha Bajaj
  30. The Tornado by Jake Burt
  31. Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower #1) by Jessica Day George
  32. Tumble by Celia Pérez
  33. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (The Vanderbeekers #1) by Karina Yan Glaser
  34. Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

Young Adult

  1. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
  2. All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
  3. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
    *This is a reread. I want to read the sequels, so I am starting at the beginning.
  4. The Extraordinaries (Extraordinaries #1) by T.J. Klune
    *This is a reread. I want to read the sequels, so I am starting at the beginning.
  5. Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Jennifer Donnelly, Stephanie Hemphill, Deborah Hopkinson, Linda Sue Park, and Lisa Ann Sandell
  6. The First to Die at the End (Death Cast #0) by Adam Silvera
  7. Five Survive by Holly Jackson
  8. Flight 171 by Amy Christine Parker
  9. Furia by Yamila Saied Méndez
  10. Gamechanger by Neal Shusterman
  11. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  12. Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
  13. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  14. The Ivies by Alexa Donne
  15. Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn
  16. The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
  17. Me: Moth by Amber McBride
  18. Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candance Fleming
  19. The Murder Game by Carrie Doyle
  20. The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  21. Nothing More to Tell by Karen McManus
  22. Queer Ducks (And Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality by Eliot Schrefer
  23. The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
  24. The Selection (Selection #1) by Keira Cass
  25. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
  26. Simone Breaks All the Rules (Simone Breaks All the Rules #1) by Debbie Rigaud
  27. So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix (Remixed Classics #2) by Bethany C. Morrow
  28. Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson
  29. Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson
  30. Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson
  31. We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
  32. We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds
  33. We Were Kings by Court Stevens
  34. What the Fact?: Debunking Disinformation to Detangle the Truth by Seema Yasmin

I jumped on the 12 Challenge that was going around social media. My friends recommended so many that I did two lists though I’ll be honest: this is an overwhelming list for me! I had not read over 10 adult books since my literature degree until this year, and all but 2 of these are adult books, so we’ll see how it goes. Luckily there is no pressure!

  1. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
  2. Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
  3. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
  4. Hell of a Book by Jason Mott
  5. Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimand
  6. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. Jean Mandel
  7. Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
  8. Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close
  9. Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
  10. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
  11. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  12. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  13. Rise of Kyoshi by F.G. Yee
  14. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
  15. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  16. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
  17. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  18. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  19. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
  20. The Wall by John Lanchester
  21. The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay
  22. Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson
  23. Push by Sapphire
  24. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

Barnes and Noble also put out two 2023 Challenges! I will lackadaisical take part in these too–so fun! (You can click on any of the B&N images to see them larger.)

Happy reading in 2023, friends!!!
To see all the books I’m reading, visit my READ Goodreads shelf and feel free to follow 📖💙

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 1/2/23

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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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*Before Break’s Posts*

Tuesday: Ricki’s Best of YA 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Encouraging Young Readers” by Bethan Woollvin, Author of Three Little Vikings

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

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We took Winter Break off, but we return tomorrow!

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Tuesday: Kellee’s 2022 Reading Recap, Favorite Reads, #MustReadin2022 Update, & #MustReadin2023!

Thursday: K is for Kindness by Rina Horiuchi, Illustrated by Risa Horiuchi

Sunday: Author Guest Post by Lydia Lukidis, Author of Deep, Deep Down

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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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Author Guest Post: “Encouraging Young Readers” by Bethan Woollvin, Author of Three Little Vikings

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“Encouraging Young Readers”

The very first inklings of my new tale, Three Little Vikings came about back in early 2020 after I’d been spending a lot of time reading old Nordic tales over Christmas. I wanted to create another original tale centred around an era in history, just the same as my previous tale, Bo the Brave, which is set in a medieval kingdom. Deciding upon the Viking age, I began researching the era and diving deeper into the history, traditions, beliefs and folklore. During my research, I discovered that many Vikings believed in, and feared, all kinds of mythical creatures, which naturally I was fascinated by!

Steadily, my story developed, as did my characters. I began to draw this horrid forest-dwelling creature, who crashed and bashed his way through the Viking village. But who was going to stop this awful beast? I needed some mighty shield maidens. 

Naturally, akin to all my protagonists, they were going to be feisty, brave and full of wit – exactly what the Viking village needed with a destructive creature on the loose! Soon enough, I had created Helga, Ebba and Wren, my heroic Viking trio. 

But my three Little Vikings are faced with a bit of a problem. They discover that something or someone is causing chaos in the village, and despite raising the alarm and telling the Chieftain, they simply cannot get their voices heard. Having your voice disregarded or overlooked is a familiar feeling amongst women and young girls, and this book gave me the perfect opportunity to explore this further, weaving in an important message throughout the book. My aim when creating this book, was to encourage young readers to challenge authority, question the world around them, and to stand up and do something – even if your voice isn’t being heard. 

But Three Little Vikings isn’t all about rebellious children and challenging authority (though, I’m sure I’ll write that book one day). It’s a celebration of the friendship that Helga, Ebba and Wren share. The mighty little shield-maidens embrace each other’s strengths and differences, all while working together to rid their village of the horrid creature from the forest. If that’s not sisterhood, I’m not sure what is!  

Bringing Three Little Vikings into the classroom:

  1. Make your own Viking helmet – If you’re looking for a Viking-themed crafting activity, try creating a Viking helmet. This craft can be easily created using cardboard, scissors, tape and pencil, and involves making a simple band from cardboard to go around your head. You can get really creative with the design of your Viking helmet, and it can be adorned with all manner of things, including horns, buttons, feathers, jewels, or twigs!

  2. Make your own Viking shield – In Three Little Vikings, Helga carries a shield for protection. You could try crafting your very own Viking shield to protect you from that horrid troll! For this activity, you’ll need some cardboard, scissors, glue, markers, tape and any items you’d like to decorate your shield with. The shield is straightforward to make, created by cutting out several circles from card for the shield and a strip on the back for the handle. Have a go at decorating your shield with markers, tape and perhaps some jewels or buttons!

  3. Creating a wild garden troll – In Viking lore, trolls are known as mythical creatures that live in the wilderness in isolated caves, and can easily blend in with their natural surroundings. Make your own forest troll using materials that you find outside or in a garden. Using the troll in Three Little Vikings as inspiration, look for items that you would be able to use for different parts of the troll. Use glue to stick it all together, and just like that – you’ll have your very own garden troll!

  4. Baking Viking bread – For an authentic Viking experience, why not try baking some Viking bread? Hearty bread made from wheat and oats was a staple for most Viking diets, served with tasty soups or drizzled with honey. Yum! You’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty of free and easy recipes for Viking bread online for little hands to get busy with. But be careful of any looming trolls (they’re always hungry!)

  5. Viking Treasure Hunt – The horrid troll has been defeated and the Three Little Vikings, Helga, Ebba and Wren, are basking in their victory. But wait! All that precious Viking treasure has been strewn across the village…Find all the Viking treasure, count all of the jewels, gold and silver and make sure there isn’t any missing! This is a really simple activity, which involves a little imagination and some Viking treasure. (If you don’t have any coins or jewels, you could always have a go at making some from cardboard!) Begin by hiding your jewels and coins and encourage your Viking scavengers to find the missing treasure. Once they’ve picked up all of the treasure, make sure they count it all to check all the missing treasure has been found!

You can find a downloadable activity pack for Three Little Vikings and activities for Bethan’s other books by following this link: https://www.peachtreebooks.com/resources/

Published August 30th, 2022 by Peachtree

About the Book: Three little Vikings fight off a fearsome troll in this funny, feminist adventure story for little rebels from award-winning and critically acclaimed creator Bethan Woollvin.

Once upon a time in a Viking village, everything seems to be going wrong. Chickens are disappearing, trees are falling down, and there’s lots and lots of crashing and bashing. The silly Chieftain won’t listen to the three littlest Vikings, but can they work together to figure out what’s going on and save the day?

Three Little Vikings is all about cooperation, bravery, and getting your voice heard, from the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Little Red, Bethan Woollvin.

About the Author: Bethan Woollvin is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art, where she won the prestigious Macmillan Children’s Book Competition with her version of Little Red Riding Hood. It was her first picture book. She lives in England.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bethanwoollvin/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bethanwoollvin
Website: https://t.co/kqJQaPJ22X

Thank you, Bethan, for sharing these fun activities that add enrichment to your book!

Author Guest Post: “Fridge Problems” by Josh Funk, Author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #5: The Great Caper Caper

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“Fridge Problems”

First, thank you, Ricki and Kellee, for inviting me to post here at Unleashing Readers! It’s an honor to share on your awesome site.

As the fifth Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast adventure, The Great Caper Caper, was just released, I thought I’d share a little bit of what I talk about with students when I visit schools.

After reading one of the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast books and discussing how I wrote it and how Brendan Kearney illustrated it and how long (three and a half years) it took from the time I came up with the idea until it was available on bookshelves, I like to get some volunteers and create some characters. I’ll usually ask students to share their favorite foods and jobs they want to have when they grow up – and then we mash them together and end up with Doctor Pizza. Or Professor Cupcake. Or President Peanut. And we’ll make up a little story with these characters, but it doesn’t really get good until we introduce the most important ingredient: Conflict.

I tell students that in a story, we always need our characters to encounter some sort of challenge. Or something bad has to happen that they have to overcome. Or maybe we need … a villain (at which point I’ll rebrand the principal or librarian or some faculty member to be someone’s least favorite food mixed with a super scary animal/monster/creature. Say hello to Evil Mushroom Spider. Or Moldy Broccoli Vampire).

But conflict isn’t always a villain. In fact, when I write the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, the conflict rarely is a villain (at least not directly). It’s usually a fridge problem. And I always try to keep them relatively kid-relatable.

I ask myself (and students) the question: What is a problem that could happen in a fridge?

  • Have you ever fought with a sibling over the last slice of pizza or last cookie or last drop of syrup? That’s what happens in the original Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (the two titular characters race for the last drop of syrup).
  • Have you ever opened the fridge and smelled something kind of funny? That’s what happens in The Case of the Stinky Stench (a rotten smell threatens to take over the fridge)
  • Have you ever opened the fridge and things were too cold and starting to freeze? That’s what happens in Mission Defrostable (the fridge starts to freeze over).
  • Have you ever been excited to eat something, but when you took it out of the fridge it was all moldy and spoiled and gooey and gross? That’s what happens in Short & Sweet (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast start to go stale).

And in the newest book in the series, The Great Caper Caper, fridge problem is: Have you ever opened the fridge and the light bulb had gone out?

I believe it’s important that conflicts have high stakes (pun intended). The higher the stakes the more satisfying the ending will be when the characters overcome the challenges. Sometimes the conflict affects the entire fridge community. Other times it’s more personal and affects only our main characters, but those stakes can be just as important.

So when it’s time to break out a pencil and paper and everyone creates their own characters, I always try to ask one question as I go around to see what all of the students have come up with:

What is the worst thing that could happen to your character?

And when they answer that all of the ketchup and mustard and relish paint was stolen from Art Teacher Hot Dog’s classroom, I tell them that that is the story they should write. And I can’t wait to see how their characters solve those conflicts.

Published November 15, 2020 by Union Square & Co

About the Book: Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are back in a Las Veggies heist for the ages!

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast awake one morning to near-darkness. Who could possibly have stolen the fridge light? And what if the fridge is—gasp—dark all the time? Not to worry; Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are on the case! Along with their friends, they assemble blueprints, collect supplies, and investigate. Will they bring the fridge back to its bright self, or will they have to live in semi-darkness . . . forever?

About the Author: Josh Funk writes silly stories such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including sequels The Case of the Stinky Stench, Mission Defrostable, Short & Sweet, and The Great Caper Caper), the How to Code with Pearl and Pascal series (including How to Code a Sandcastle and How to Code a Rollercoaster), the It’s Not a Fairy Tale series (including ​It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, and It’s Not the Three Little Pigs), the A Story of Patience & Fortitude series in conjunction with the New York Public Library (including Lost in the Library and Where Is Our Library?), Dear Dragon, My Pet Feet, and more.

Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts. Since the fall of 2015, Josh has presented (or virtually presented) at over 650 schools, classrooms, and libraries.

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.

For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @joshfunkbooks.

Thank you, Josh, for this fantastic idea as well as your always present and loveable humor!

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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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!**