Monday, June 25, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/25/2018

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I finished listening to Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older and am over halfway through One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. I also read Everything Else in the Universe by Tracy Holczer and more of Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm planning to finish up Love, Hate, and Other Filters and One of Us Is Lying and then see what else I decide to read this week. I'm also super focused on finishing up revisions on my YA so I'll be writing a lot too. 

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Love Sugar Magic

Title: Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble
Author: Anna Meriano
Publisher: Walden Pond Press 
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018 
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Mild Fantasy/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. 

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. 
And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong? 


What I Think: I have wonderful memories of making tamales with my grandma, my mom, my aunt, my sister, my cousin, and more recently my kids. We all pack ourselves into the kitchen to stir the dough and then when it's ready, we set up an assembly line and put tamal after tamal together. The joy and love in these memories reminds me of Leo and her family in Love Sugar Magic. 
     I love how we get to see the vibrancy of Leo's family and we can use this as  a mentor text for character development. Yesterday, I talked about how Tracy Holczer's character Lucy in Everything Else in the Universe also has a big family and how being part of a big family influences who she is and how she experiences the world. When we talk about characters and what makes them who they are, it allows us to also think about ourselves and what makes us who we are. And, ultimately, then we can think about other people and what makes them who they are. Discussions like this are so important. Discussions like this help us see that we might have things in common with other people and we might be different from other people. But just because someone is the same or different, it doesn't make them good or bad. Too often we don't slow down to ask why or to even realize that there might be a very good why that we need to understand. 
     As writers, we think about the world and the people in it. We need to know our characters and think about why they might make a choice that they do and in order do that, we need to understand what has happened in our character's past that has shaped them. Pairing Love Sugar Magic with Everything Else in the Universe gives readers an opportunity to think about the choice both authors made to give the main character a large and vibrant extended family. Recognizing the author's purpose in doing this give writers an opportunity to think about character development in their own stories.
     The snatch of text I pulled gives a little insight into Leo compared to her family getting ready in the morning and it also has an example of onomatopoeia, word choice, and being specific in describing. Lots of good things to discuss with these two sentences!

Snatch of Text: "The hallway filled with morning noises as the Logroño family got ready for the day. Leo shuffled down the hall, her orange-and-black-striped knee socks shush-shushing against the wood floor." (p. 4)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Everything Else in the Universe Blog Tour!

I'm so excited to be celebrating the release of Tracy Holczer's book Everything Else in the Universe! I love how she introduces us to Lucy and her Italian family. They are loud and lovable and I found myself enjoying how she shared her Italian heritage through Lucy's story. Her close family and her extended family play a big role in the story so I wanted to celebrate them with cannoli. We happen to have a locally-owned cannoli place in town called tony cannoli so I stopped in to pick up a small box of Siciliana cannoli (my favorite). 
(Photo Credit: Holly Waxman)

On a more serious note, this book is about a girl whose dad comes home from serving as an Army doctor in Vietnam and my dad was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. I wasn't born until after my dad came home but I've heard (some) stories from him about what it was like to be there and to come home. He has also dealt with a lot physically and mentally because of his time in Vietnam and I've seen what that looks like for him. 

While my experience with a dad who is a Vietnam veteran is different from Lucy's, I was still so interested to read her story and see if we might have some similarities. I've read other books set in our around the Vietnam War like The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and Eli the Good by Silas House and I find that each story I read helps me feel more connected to my dad as I try to develop a deeper understanding of the time period and what life was like from different perspectives. This book gives us Lucy and her dad and her family and how the Vietnam War impacted them and it reminds us that so many families were impacted by Vietnam War in a variety of ways. 

Here's a picture of me and my daddy. I love him a lot and celebrating Everything Else in the Universe feels like I'm celebrating him in a way.


You can find my ideas for how to use Everything Else in the Universe as a mentor text below. And be sure to visit the other stops on the blog tour.

Everything Else in the Universe Blog Tour:

Teach Mentor Texts - June 20th
Caroline Starr Rose - June 22nd


Title: Everything Else in the Universe 
Author: Tracy Holczer
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: June 12th, 2018
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: In the midst of the Vietnam War, a young girl struggles to embrace change in this tender family story for fans of Cynthia Lord and Wendy Maas. 

Lucy is a practical, orderly person--just like her dad. He taught her to appreciate reason and good sense, instilling in her the same values he learned at medical school. But when he's sent to Vietnam to serve as an Army doctor, Lucy and her mother are forced to move to San Jose, California, to be near their relatives--the Rossis--people known for their superstitions and all around quirky ways. 

Lucy can't wait for life to go back to normal, so she's over the moon when she learns her father is coming home early. It doesn't even matter that he's coming back "different." That she can't ask too many questions or use the word "amputation." It just matters that he'll be home. But Lucy quickly realizes there's something very wrong when her mother sends her to spend the summer with the Rossis to give her father some space. Lucy's beside herself, but what's a twelve-year-old to do? 

It's a curious boy named Milo, a mysterious packet of photographs and an eye-opening mission that makes Lucy see there's more to life than schedules and plans, and helps to heal her broken family. The latest from critically-acclaimed author Tracy Holczer is a pitch-perfect middle grade tale of family and friendship that's sure to delight fans of One for the Murphys and Rules.

What I Think: As I said above, the role of family in this book is key to the story. Through learning about Lucy's family and watching how she interacts with her family, we're able to learn about her and who she is. Writers talk a lot about show, don't tell and one of my favorite ways to show instead of tell is to incorporate interaction between characters. Adding dialogue allows us to see what a main character might say, how another character would react to the main character, and how they deliver their lines. 
     In Everything Else in the Universe, we get to met Lucy's parents and her father's side of the family as well as her mother's side of the family. There are so many exercises writers use to get to know their characters better and thinking about their family is one way to do this. Who are your character's parents or caregivers? Does he/she/they have siblings? Does he/she/they have a big extended family like Lucy? Does his/her/their family live close or far away? Your character's family impacts who they are. Their experiences and how they belong to a family shape who they are. 
     I'll be reviewing another middle grade novel this week, Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano. In Love Sugar Magic, the main character Leo also has a large family and she happens to be the youngest. Being the youngest of five sisters makes her want to grow up faster. She wants to be included in some of their family traditions that she doesn't get to be part of because she isn't old enough yet. It would be neat to match these two books and even look at other books with a lens of how the main character and their family plays a role in who they are but also to look at how the author uses dialogue to show family dynamics and to develop a character for the reader. 

Snatch of Text: 
     "'Life is a meatball, Lucy. Always remember that,' Papo said. Great-Aunt Lilliana grunted her agreement. Because a good meatball was all about the right balance of ingredients, and so was life.
     As the parade of cars peeled off one by one, Lucy looked back at the sign she and Mom had made together and hung last night: WELCOME HOME, CAPTAIN ROSSI!
     When they reached the bottom of the hill, honking and carrying on as though they were a wedding procession, Lucy closed her eyes and tried to imagine Dad's voice when he told her I'll always come back to you.
     But she only heard her own." (p. 14-15)

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/18/2018

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I listened to more of Shadowshaper and read more of Love, Hate & Other Filters. I also read the 2nd Hilo book. I'm still trying to get into the groove of summer. We've been relaxing and having fun and enjoying our time but I still need a better plan for keeping the kids busy and getting writing done...hence why the blog posts I hoped to get up this week didn't get up. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm thrilled that the Lead Learners conference (formerly All Write) is on my calendar this week! I've never been before but I've always loved following along on Twitter and have wanted to go. I'm excited for connecting with friends, meeting new friends, and soaking up the love of learning. 

Since I'll have a road trip in my plans, I'm sure I'll finish listening to Shadowshaper and hopefully I'll get to another audiobook. I ran into one of our middle school students at the library this week and he recommended One Of Us Is Lying so hopefully I'll get to it. I'm also hoping to read more of Love, Hate & Other Filters. I shared it to a friend and she recommended some of her favorite Bollywood movies so I'm planning to also check out some of them on Netflix!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/11/2018

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
One night last week I completely devoured Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I like rereading books and seeing how my thoughts differ the second time around. I'm usually more critical the second time around since I already know what to expect from the story but at the same time, I can usually pay attention to the the text as a possible mentor text since I know the story. It goes to show that rereading is important as a writer. 

I also read the first in the Hilo series by Judd Winick. I have NO idea how I missed this series and I'm so mad at myself but I'm thoroughly loving it now. I have the second book in my bag to read this week. And this week I listened to more of Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I plan to listen to more of Shadowshaper and to read the second Hilo book and Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. I also have Upstanders by Sara K. Ahmed and Harvey "Smokey" Daniels that I might break out this week. Fun fact! Did you know that Samira Ahmed and Sara Ahmed are sisters? So cool. 

***UPDATED: I totally got the title of Sara's book with Smokey Daniels wrong! It is corrected now. I actually have both of her books to read. Her recent book which she wrote on her own is Being the Change

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 06/04/2018

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I had a great reading week! The kids and I went to Wisconsin with my sister and my mom so I had lots of reading time. I read What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee, Love Sugar Magic by Anna Meriano, and on audio, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. It was so nice to have time to get lost in books.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I have Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles to read as a mentor text and I also have Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older to listen to on audio. 

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/09/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme ho...