Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri


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January Book Bucket List: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins

“But Jane and Michael were not taken in by that snap. For they could see in Mary Poppins’s eyes something that, if she were anybody else but Mary Poppins, might have been described as tears…”             – Mary Poppins

Earlier this month I shared part of my Book Bucket List. It is a list of books that I feel I must read in my lifetime. It differs from my To Be Read list in that these are books that I really feel compelled to read for one reason or another. On the other hand, my To Be Read list is a list of books that I think look interesting or amusing or that someone gave to me and I’d like to read eventually. But they are not books that I’ve always wanted to read nor will I be devastated if I don’t get to them in my lifetime.

My Book Bucket List consists of a variety of titles of literature for adults and children. Maybe it’s a book that has been traditionally controversial and I need to know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s a historically important piece of literature. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve heard referenced throughout my life but have never read myself. In some cases, they are books from my childhood, classic children’s tales that I remember enjoying but am fuzzy on the stories themselves. So I’d like to revisit them as an adult to fully appreciate their contributions to children’s literature and to my childhood as well. My January Book Bucket List pick is Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Continue reading


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Book Review: The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley

The Ghosts & Jamal“It had been good to climb, as good as anything he had ever done. It had not been so good to fall, but he would recover. All in all, he thought, it was worth the fall, just to have climbed the tree.” – The Ghosts & Jamal

Jamal is a thirteen year old boy in rural Nigeria whose favorite drinks include Fanta and Sprite. He seems like everyone else except that he lives with epilepsy. His epileptic episodes are misinterpreted by his family as “bad spirits” coming upon him. So Jamal lives apart from his family, in a separate hut on the outskirts of his village. This isolation will ultimately save Jamal’s life during a terrorist attack on his village. I read Jamal’s story in one sitting. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I was worried for this young man – for his health, for his safety, and for his feelings – as he set out on his own to try to escape the attackers and to find his grandfather, or anyone else who survived, and might be able to help him. I feared for him and wanted to help and protect him. Continue reading


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Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree“Trees can’t tell jokes. But we can certainly tell stories. And if all you hear is the whisper of leaves, don’t worry. Most trees are introverts at heart.”

– Wishtree

I love books told from an unusual perspective. The point of view in Wishtree is what initially grabbed my attention. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since fall, when I included it in my post of upcoming children’s and middle grade reads. In Wishtree, we hear from Red, a very old red oak tree. Red has seen and heard a lot over her many hundreds of years. She is very wise, but she knows the rules – no speaking to humans, ever. So, when Red sees a new family move into the neighborhood and quickly realizes that things aren’t quite right, she sets about trying to find a way to fix it.
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Book Review: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan let Jupiter’s overcoat fall in a pile at her feet. Climbing onto the balustrade, she opened her new oilskin umbrella with shaking hands.

Don’t look down don’t look down don’t look down.

The air felt thin. ‘Step boldly,’ Morrigan whispered.

Then she closed her eyes.

And jumped.”

– Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow


November was a tough month with a very sad loss for our family. So I spent some time away from the blog and work to be with family. Even though I only reviewed three books in November, I am pleased to report that they were all books I enjoyed. For now, I’d like to talk about a new release that I’ve been waiting to read since early fallNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.
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Book Review: Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Nightmares

“I suppose you could say that nightmares and dreams help you clean out your brain. Every day you pack it full of thoughts and fears and hopes. At night, your dreams help you sort through the mess. Even when they don’t seem to make any sense, dreams and nightmares are helping you figure things out. That’s why the Waking World always seems so much brighter in the morning.” – Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic

The Sleepwalker Tonic is book two in the Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I read the first book for last Halloween, so it seemed appropriate to pick up book two for this Halloween. I loved this book! I read it in two days. Yes, it’s a book for young readers and most older readers like myself will be able to get through it quickly. But I finished it so quickly because I just couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed the first Nightmares! book because of the underlying message to kids about the importance of facing their fears. Well, book two offered up a new lesson. The importance of dreams.

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Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe first thing that drew my attention to this book was its cover. It is taken up largely by a full moon with a young girl standing under it, surrounded by illuminated white bird silhouettes and a small, colorful dragon. This was obviously a magical story. The second thing I noticed was the large, shiny Newbery Medal sticker. This book was a Newbery winner, so it must be something special. I picked up the book and, in reading the inside flap, learned that this book was about a witch, a magical baby, a swamp monster, a dragon, innocent townspeople, and a whole lot of magic. I was sold!
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Book Review: The List by Patricia Forde

TheListThe List has been on my radar for a few weeks now. I heard about it over the summer and included it in my list of Children’s and Middle Grade Reads for Fall. While I am not usually a fan of dystopian literature, this book was intriguing. It takes place after a great war of bright bombs (presumably a nuclear war) and after the Melting, in which Earth is devoured by water. Earth has been destroyed and what little remains livable has been inhabited by survivors desperate for water, food, and shelter.

Letta lives in the survivor’s community of Ark, run by the intimidating John Noa. Noa forces everyone to speak a special new language called List. It is a language made up of only 500 approved words, words that are necessary for communication and survival. Any words that might put ideas into people’s heads, like artist or music or creativity, have been banished.
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Friday Firsts: Frog and Toad

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I have decided to start a new blog series called Friday Firsts. Each post will feature a first book-related experience like my first mystery read, my first scary book, the first time I really fell in love with reading, etc. For my first Friday First post, I would like to talk about the first book I remember reading by myself.

The Adventures of Frog and Toad! 

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Book Review: What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With A ProblemI love picture books. I loved them as a child, and I still love them as an adult. When I went back to school, one of the first classes I took was a Children’s Literature course. One of the things I learned in that course is that picture books are designed so that the pictures are for the kids and the words are for the adults. I can see how that’s true with several picture books. There are jokes in certain books that go over kiddos’ heads but manage to give the adults a chuckle.

But, as an adult, I have developed a real appreciation of both the text and the illustrations in picture books. It’s not just an appreciation of the art that goes into these books, though the art is often what makes a few words on a page come to life. But it’s more about the life lessons that picture books instill in children while offering a gentle reminder to adults as well.

One such picture book is What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom.
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On My Radar for Fall: New Children’s and Middle Grade Reads

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There are so many upcoming releases for Fall in the children’s and middle grade genres that choosing just a few to feature on the blog was a painstaking process. But I have managed to narrow it down to a handful of titles that have piqued my interest for one reason or another. So, here it is, the list of children’s and middle grade titles I am most excited about for Fall!
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