Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong

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Kyle’s Little Sister
Author & Illustrator: BonHyung Jeong
Published June 22nd, 2021 by JY

Summary: My name is Grace, not “Kyle’s little sister!”

Having a good-looking, friendly, outgoing older brother sucks—especially when you’re the total opposite, someone who likes staying home and playing video games. Your parents like him better (even if they deny it!), and everyone calls you “Kyle’s little sister” while looking disappointed that you’re not more like him. I was really hoping I’d get to go to a different middle school, but no such luck. At least I have my friends…until he finds a way to ruin that, too…! Argh! What do I have to do to get out of his shadow?!

About the Author: BonHyung Jeong (Bon) studied Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and Kyle’s Little Sister is her debut graphic novel, made possible with the help of numerous people. She hopes to make connections with others through relatable stories. Currently living in Korea, she’s always busy playing console games – exactly like someone in the book!

Review: As an oldest child, I never knew what it was like to be compared to a sibling in the same way Kyle and Grace are compared, but I definitely empathize with Grace’s feelings of being compared to a more successful sibling! Although many reviews said Grace seemed like a brat, I didn’t see it like that. I saw it as someone who just truly wants her own identity and to be valued for what she is not what she isn’t (Kyle). This is tough in middle school in general much less when you feel overshadowed by someone else. It definitely made me think about how I react when I teach a sibling of a past student!

I found the crushes and friendship drama all very realistic to middle school, especially 6th grade as kids figure out who they are as adolescents. I also enjoyed that the book did not show middle school as this daunting thing you should fear–Grace was excited to start middle school! Too often just the starting of middle school is blamed for drama, but this book focused more on friends who may be a bit different figuring out how to remain friends despite the differences.

This is a graphic novel that will find love with fans of Raina Telgemeier, Svetlana Chmakova, and Terri Libenson, so it is definitely worth adding to your collection. However, I do want to share that there was one real part that I hope kids reflect on instead of do what Grace does: When she stops being friends with Amy, her new “friend” starts ohysiclly and mentally bullying her, and Grace does nothing. I think Jeong did a good job showing why she did nothing, but I also hope that watching this bullying will make readers want to stand up to a bully the next time they see one!

Discussion Questions: 

  • What should Grace have done when Cam started picking on Amy?
  • Why is Grace so resentful of her brother? Are there incidences in the book that make you empathize for her resentment? How does Grace feel like Kyle’s shadow at home? At school?
  • Why does Amy yell what she does when she fights with Grace?
  • Why is what Amy was doing to Jay inappropriate?
  • How is Cam’s relationship with Grace another type of bullying?
  • Why does Kyle stand up for Grace even though he says she’s annoying?
  • How is Grace’s mental health affected as she questions her identity?
  • How did the author use illustration and color to portray mood?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Middle school friend and family drama graphic novels

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Casey at Media Masters Publicity and JY of Yen Press for providing a copy for review!**

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani

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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

Imagine how excited I was when I figured out Nidhi Chanani, the author of Pashmina, came up with a new book! I was dying to get my hands on that book and thanks to the Macmillan publishing house, I have! (Thanks so much Macmillan!) Introducing Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani! This graphic novel is recommended for ages 10-14.

When Shaheen’s music loving father goes missing she starts to panic. She starts to feel really bad because of all of the bad things she did to her dad. At first her family just thinks he is out for a long time but when days pass they start to worry. Her babysitter takes her out to distract her and they get a snack. After a long time passes Shaheen gets worried and drags her babysitter to her dad’s music shop. They have to break into their dad’s shop because it is closed and get scared when they see Shaheen’s dad’s glasses on the floor. They go upstairs to explore. You have to read the book though to see what kind of secrets they uncover!

I love this book because of the colors. This is about the most colorful graphic novel I have seen in my life and that is SAYING SOMETHING.That is one of my favorite things about this book because when the scene is really sad you still can not help feeling happy because of the flourishing colors and your mind can not decide whether you should be happy or sad. This is definitely one of those books to lighten your mood. I also love this book because the author is making a graphic novel mystery, something that you come across very little. This is a truly unique book! I hope that you enjoy this book too!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for giving us an advanced review of this book! We were excited to see it came out this week!**

Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! by Maggie P. Chang

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Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too!
Author: Maggie P. Chang
Published: June 29, 2021 by Simon Spotlight

Summary: Meet spunky, funny, and friendly Geraldine Pu as she takes on a bully and makes a new friend in this first book in a new Level 3 Ready-to-Read Graphics series!

Geraldine Pu’s favorite part of school is lunch. She loves her lunch box, which she calls Biandang. She can’t wait to see what her grandmother, Amah, has packed inside it each day. Then one day, Geraldine gets stinky tofu…and an unexpected surprise. What will she do?

Ready-to-Read Graphics books give readers the perfect introduction to the graphic novel format with easy-to-follow panels, speech bubbles with accessible vocabulary, and sequential storytelling that is spot-on for beginning readers. There’s even a how-to guide for reading graphic novels at the beginning of each book.

Review: The highest form of praise: My 4-year-old son wanted to read this book again two nights in a row. We went camping on the third night, and he was allowed to pick one book to bring, and he picked this one. He really liked learning about all of the different foods, and he liked discussing bullying. The book is structured like a graphic novel, which is a really clever way to structure an early reader. All of the pictures really appealed to him, and he loved reading the progression of the story. The book is divided into chapters, but we read it from start to finish each night. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Reading this entire book in one sitting will be difficult for an early reader, so my son and I structured it that he read all of the left pages and I read all of the right pages. The next night, he wanted to switch. The third night, he read the entire thing by himself. Readers could also take it chapter by chapter (a chapter or two each night). This book offers great discussions about our practices that seem “different” than those of our peers and how these make us uniquely wonderful. It is also a great book to teach about bullying. I love how the lunch box is personified! It made the book even more fun to read! Those who know me know that I don’t like reading levels. In our house, we read books at all levels, and I just support as needed. That said, this book would be great in the early elementary school grades. Don’t limit it just there, though. My 4-year-old really enjoyed it!

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does Geraldine feel about the different foods she eats at lunch? How does this change?
  • How does Biandang feel? How does he act as a support?
  • What changes Geraldine’s mind at the end of the story?
  • How can you celebrate your own friends’ lunches, no matter how different they may seem?

Flagged Spread:

Read This If You Love: Graphic novels, books about feeling different, books about family

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**Thank you, Cassie, from Simon and Schuster, for sending a copy for review!**

Trent’s Favorite Reads as a 6 Year Old

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This year, Trent and I read over 425 books together!!
(And that doesn’t even count the books he read at school, on his own on Epic, or on his own during our family reading time 😲)
You can checkout our Goodreads bookshelf to see all of the books we read.

I am so proud of this little reader I have in my household, and I am happy to share some of his favorite reads as a 6 year old. Here are the books he chose as his favorites when we scrolled through all of the books he’s read this year. [These books are in order of how we read them this year.] All of these books were chosen by Trent and the quote is why he likes it:

Leo: A Ghost Story

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

“I like that I don’t know why the girl sees him and everyone else does not. It is a mystery book.”

Dragons love tacos collection 2 books set by adam rubin

Dragons Love Tacos series by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

“It is really funny when they eat the tacos and go ACCCK with their fire. And in the other book it is funny that they have to time travel to find more tacos.”

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka & Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Matthew Myers

“When the authors wrote it they made it so a boy got it for his birthday and his grandma let him have it and it’s funny that he changed it into BATTLE BUNNY dun dun duuuuun!”

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Brendan Kearney

“I like all of them. It is funny that there are different worlds: first, the freezer and the fridge and the other parts. And I like that it rhymes.”

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The Typewriter by Bill Thomson

“I like it because when they type a thing it comes to life. I like the illustrations because they are very good illustrations.”

We are in a Book! (Elephant & Piggie, #13)

We Are In a Book by Mo Willems

“It is funny that they talk to me. And they know they are in a book. And Gerald is like OH NO! PAGE 49! NOW 50! AND THE BOOK ENDS AT 53! It is really funny.”

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One Lonely Fish by Andy Mansfield, Illustrated by Thomas Flintham

“I like it because I like how the numbers count on and the fish get bigger and bigger and the biggest fish you cannot even see his eyes or whole body.”

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

“Brian is like TRY ONE OF MY FRUITS and then everyone else is like NO, WE PREFER BUTTS! In the end, they try the fruit and think it is pretty good, but say, ‘We still prefer butts.'”

Please Say Please!: Penguin's Guide to Manners

Please Say Please: Penguin’s Guide to Manners by Margery Cuyler, Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

“Because the Penguin wants everyone to have table manners. HIPPO, YOUR NAPKIN IS NOT A HAT. And when they all leave, the penguin says they all need to say, ‘Please open the door.'”

Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!, #6)

Harold and Hog Pretend for Real by Dan Santat

“They try to be Piggie and Gerald. And Piggie and Gerald try to be Harold and Hog. And I like how Harold and Hog look like old versions of Piggie and Gerald.”

The Bad Guys series (we’ve read 1-4) by Aaron Blabey

“I like the Piranha, Shark, and the Wolf. I like all the Bad Guys because they are pretty funny.”

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Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex

“He brings a huge blue whale home! It’s so funny that he tries to take care of him, and he’s too big for the house.”

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Rules of the House by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Matt Myers

“I like it because the boy’s sister doesn’t do the rules. Like, the haunted house says don’t open the red door, and SHE OPENS THE RED DOOR.”

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot by Scott Magoon

“I like it because the Bigfoot is funny.”

I Really Like Slop! (Elephant & Piggie, #24)

I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems

“It is funny that Piggie makes slop and Gerald is like BLECK but he tries to pretend he loves it. But then Piggie says, ‘Have more since you like it.’ I actually like the whole series because it has a lot of kindness.”

Jack at the Zoo

Jack at the Zoo by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

“It is really funny that he gets replaced with the koala.”

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We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Illustrated by Michaela Goade

“I like that the they’re trying to protect the water from the black snake pipe.”

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Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, Illustrated by Rafael López

“I like that they makes the whole neighborhood become full of art.”

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Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima

“I like it because while she’s in her penguin outfit on her birthday, it’s funny that the penguins are trying to take her and that they think she’s the king of the penguins. It is just so funny.”

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Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

“I like that she is named after her great great grandmother and everyone else.”

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My Book (Not Yours) by Ben Sanders

“It’s funny because the sloth says it is his book but the fox takes over dun dun duuuun.”

The Box Turtle

The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

“Since he doesn’t have a shell, I am sad he lost himself and he lost his shell. Now he tried everything and tried a box. I am sad for him. I’m better at the end though.”

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Find Fergus by Mike Boldt

“It is funny that we have to find him. And in the end it is really hard to find to find all of the animals and you had to find certain stuff.”

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The Misadventures of Toni Macaroni in The Mad Scientist by Cetonia Weston Roy, Illustrated by Chasity Hampton

“Is there a second one out yet? I want to read another one.”

Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs

Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Bob Staake

“Well, there’s 1 good news and 2 bad news of it. Well, the first bad news is that I don’t like that everyone does the same thing: they go to sleep at the same time, they do the same thing at the same time, they think everything the same. I’m also sad that he doesn’t fit in. But I’m glad that he finds a home place.”

Nellie Nutgraf - The Double Best Reporter in History

Nellie Nutgraf series by Tom Angleberger, Illustrated by Gillian Reid

“Well, I like that it shows a bunch of history. It is kind of like a fake book, it didn’t happen in real life, but it has history in it that’s real.”

Lost on the Titanic (Out of Time Book 1)

Out of Time series by Jessica Rinker, Illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe

“I like it because it is also fictional history. It tells you about the Titanic. I liked that there was magic in it, too.”

Superbuns!

Superbuns by Diane Kredensor

“I like that she’s being kind.”

Where's My Turtle?

Where’s My Turtle? by Barbara Bottner, Illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes

“I like it because I like finding the turtle, like in the garden and in his room. It’s fun. I’m sad that the turtle is lost, but I like that he finds him.”

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My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell, Illustrated by Michael Robertson

“I like it because I like that he’s happy. I’m happy for him.”

I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin's Lament

I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lament by Liz Wong

“He’s a PANGOLIN! I like that they think he’s a penguin and then at the end a penguin comes, and everyone says FINALLY A PENGUIN.”

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This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis, Illustrated by Charles Santoso

“Well, I’m sad that he got blind, but I’m happy that he made a friend.”

The Way Home (Owly #1)

Owly: The Way Home by Andy Runton

“I like that he’s taking care of the blue jay guys, and I like wormy. Wormy is sometimes funny.”

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Super Diaper Baby, #1)

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby #1 by Dav Pilkey

“I like that he can talk on his first day alive, and he’s like, ‘Hey dudes!'”

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Fox & Chick: The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

“Fox says it has to be a quiet boat ride, but Chick keeps on saying stuff: CAN I BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS SHIP?! And it isn’t even a ship, it is a row boat! The one with the sunset is also very funny because Chick keeps asking things like: DO I NEED MY HAMMER?! and DO I NEED GOGGLES?! But he doesn’t need anything!”

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The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen

“It’s funny the two characters talk to each other and they came closer and closer and there’s an asteroid coming.”

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

“I like all of the characters like Ruby, Ivan, Mack, Julia, every body.”

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Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima

“You get confused the first time you read it. Because you think Spencer’s the boy but he’s actually a balloon, and the dog is Spencer, and the boy is the pet. It is very funny.”

Trent says, “Thank you for stopping by!”

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Past “Trent’s Favorite Books” Posts

Kellee and Trent’s Favorite Picture Books: First Three Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Three to Six Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Six to Nine Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Books: Nine to Twelve Months

A First Year Full of Books: Trent’s Journey Through Books
**Check this one out if you haven’t–it is one of my favorite posts ever!**

Trent’s Favorite Books: One to Two Years Old

Ten of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Third Birthday

Ten(ish) of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Fourth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His Fifth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His 6th Birthday

An Introduction to the Webcomic Homestuck by Morgan M. and Melanie S., 8th Grade

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An Introduction to the Webcomic Homestuck by Morgan M. and Melanie S., 8th Grade

Hey! It’s Morgan and Melanie  🙂 Here’s an introduction to our favorite webcomic, Homestuck!

Let’s start with a summary of Homestuck:

4 kids start the end of the world by playing a video game called SBURB. They have to find 12 trolls who are represented by the Zodiac signs in order to save it. Then we come across Walmart-brand mysterio who likes to mess everything up. They also meet another set of kids and trolls who are all old as heck. Follow these 8 teens and their gray alien buddies as we face death (multiple times), teen drama, emotional issues, and the LGBT community. Thank you, Andrew Hussie.

Thank you, Morgan and Melanie, for introducing us to Homestuck!

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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We at Unleashing Readers would like to introduce you to Sofia, an 8-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Sofia will be writing a new column called Sofia’s Kids’ Corner. On select Saturdays, Sofia will share her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Smile
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Published: February 1, 2010 by Scholastic/Graphix

Dear readers,

Hi, my name is Sofia Martinez. I am 8 years old and love to read. I would like to introduce you to some of my favorite books. Today I will start with one of my favorite graphic novels: Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

If you do not know what a graphic novel is, it is basically a comic but not just superhero stuff. Have a look at the picture down below, a page from Smile.

The story is about Raina dealing with dental drama and other problems like bullies, boys and family. The book starts with Raina falling and knocking out her two front teeth after a girl scout meeting when she was in sixth grade. The reader follows her story all the way up to high school. Before I read this book I did not know there were so many types of dentists: orthodontist, endodontist and periodontist.

Smile can make you laugh or cry. The reason I like this book is because it is the kind of book that you want to read again and again. I feel like I have read Smile a thousand times already. I also like that Raina makes her drawings look realistic. Smile has about 200 pages, but you can read it faster than most books because it is mostly filled with pictures. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of words and action. The author, Raina Telgemeier, says Smile is a graphic memoir (memoir means it is a true story about the author’s life). This book is recommended for ages 8-12. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did!

If you enjoy Smile you might want to check out the other graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. For example, Guts, Sisters, Ghosts, and Drama.

**Thank you, Sofia, for your brilliance. You inspire us!**

OCPS Appetite for Instruction Podcast with Kellee: Unleashing Young Readers

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Orange County Public Schools’ Innovation Office opened in 2018 to support identified “Schools of Innovation” and to support staff in the implementation and development of innovative practices within and across these schools. My school was lucky enough to be considered a “School of Innovation” when the learning community opened in 2018. Then, in the Spring of 2019, the Innovation Office began recording their Appetite for Instruction podcast, and my colleague, Caitlin Chacon, and I were so lucky to be asked to participate.

Our podcast episode was titled “Unleashing Young Readers,” I’m assuming as an homage to this blog, and we shared what literacy instruction looks like at our school, both in the podcast and the companion write up:

Unleashing Young Readers (Episode 3)

Happy listening 🙂

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