I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.
So far 2020 has brought incredible reading my way. If you missed my review of Cynthia L. Copeland’s debut graphic novel for young readers, Cub, you can go back and read it here. My second read of the New Year, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, has been on my TBR for some time. I am so happy I finally got to read this book and only wish that I’d pushed some others out of the way and gotten to it sooner!
Front Desk is a book I will keep, re-read, and recommend. In fact, I hope everyone reads and recommends this book, especially teachers. Front Desk is a timely tale about a ten year old Chinese girl named Mia who immigrates to America with her parents. Drawn largely from Ms. Yang’s own experiences growing up, Front Desk is an emotionally charged novel sure to tug on your heart strings and get you fired up at the same time.
From the publisher:
“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”
A new year means new books, and I’m kicking off 2020 with a stack that I can’t wait to tackle. I have a combination of middle grade reads, picture books, and memoirs. So far, 2020 reading has gotten off to a great start with Cynthia L. Copeland’s first graphic novel for kids, Cub.
I love middle grade novels. Last year I did a post about why I love reading the young adult genre, and I think I may have to do a similar one about middle grade in the future. MG novels are the best! The characters are usually around 10 to 13 years old and still figuring out who they are, where they fit in, and what the world is all about (aren’t we all?!)
I recently received a new MG novel from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. To be honest, the title and the cover drew me in right away. Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers. But, come on, look at it! Those beautifully blended winter blues and purples in the trees and reflecting off the snow…that gorgeous pink moon…the young girl dancing in the snow…and is that a dog? For a dog mom like myself, you just can’t beat a book with a dog on the cover. I was intrigued from the get-go.
“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…”
I don’t often post reviews back to back, but today is the release day of Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, and I just couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. This is going to be one of those posts where I date myself. I remember seeing Hocus Pocus in the theater when it released in July 1993 ~ 25 years ago! I saw it with my sister, brother, and friends. I was still a preteen, and I remember loving the movie. I laughed, I got nervous when Max lit the black flame candle, I screamed when Sarah Sanderson was found hiding in Dani’s bed, and I, like all other preteen girls, developed a tiny crush on Thackery Binx. For years, Disney fans have been begging for a sequel, but only if it includes the original cast, and I agree!
When I heard about the new book re-telling the original story with a new sequel included, I was excited yet a little hesitant, hoping that it wouldn’t ruin the original story and that the sequel would live up to my expectations. Well, the book releases today, and here is my review.
Today I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz with both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s writing since Disney kindly gave me an advance reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!
“’Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!’ Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. ‘Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.’
‘Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,’ Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly. ‘We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.’” – A Wrinkle in Time
I chose A Wrinkle in Time as my book bucket list pick for February for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve wanted to re-read this book for years. When I picked it up this month, it had been at least twenty years since I’d read it. I remember it having a science fiction and fantasy feel to it, but I was fuzzy on the details. Two, I wanted to brush up on the book before the new Disney film version releases in March.
There’s nothing quite like poolside reading. Sunlight dances across the water creating circles of light while palm trees create shadows that wave upon the pool’s floor. It’s relaxing and peaceful and…magical. There is just something about water, be it pool or ocean, that is magical. For me, it conjures stories of mermaids, magical lagoons, secret caves, and adventure. Luckily, I had just the book for my poolside reading this week. Continue reading “Book Review: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster”
“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 “Book Review: The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley”
“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.”
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.