#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Middle Grade Literature

My #MustReadin2020 Update

 

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On January 1, 2020, I created my #mustreadin2020.  This is a list of middle grade novels all being published in 2020 that I wanted to make a priority to read.  Since school has officially ended, I can now relax, renew, and read.  Thanks to my fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione’s recent #mustread update post, now is a great time to take a look at my list and reflect upon my current status and progress.

STATS
I have read and reviewed 8 books  (47%)
I just finished reading 1 book. (6%)
I am currently reading 1 book. (6%)
I have 7 books left in my TBR stack. (41%)

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Read (with links to reviews)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin

How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson 

Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonaldo

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan

Just Finished
The Wonder of Wildflowers by Anna Staniszweski  (review to be posted on 7/6/20)

Currently Reading
A Dog Friendly Town by Josephine Cameron (August 2020)

Still on my TBR
The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder (March 2020)
Any Day With You by Mae Respicio (May 2020)
Quintessence by Jess Redman (May 2020)
Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard  (June 2020)
Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai (August 2020)
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (August 2020)
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie (September 2020)

Look for an update on my #mustreadin2020 progress in early September.   Do you have any #mustreadin2020 middle grade novels you wish to share?  Post any recommendations in the comments below.

 

 

Blog Tour, Debut Author, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani

Bella and I are excited to be part of the Kat and Juju blog tour!  Releasing on July 1, 2020, this picture book is written and illustrated by Kataneh Vahdani. Special thanks to Amazon/Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani”

#Bookexcursion, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, NetGalley, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/22/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

It’s the first official day of my summer and it’s almost hard to believe.  When I left school on March 13th, I never thought my school year would continue and end with remote teaching.  But with the support of my administration and colleagues and an inner drive , I continued to connect with students, teach and co-teach content, and still read to my #classroombookaday second grade students.  I don’t know what school will look like in the fall and to be honest, I have no control over what will happen.  What I do have control over is taking time to renew, recharge, and rejuvenate this summer which will include spending time with Bella, my husband, social distancing with family and friends, and of course reading and growing personally and professionally.

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumners

From a very young age, 12 year old Lou struggled with loud noises and physical contact. In fact, her mom was the only one who doesn’t make her jump or cringe.  She and her mom have moved around a lot and are currently living in their truck.  Lou has a beautiful singing voice and while she hates performing in front of crowds, she sings at coffee shops, casinos, or any place her mom can land a gig to help pay for their basic needs.  On a snowy night, Lou is involved in an accident when she attempts to pick up her mom from her job.  The accident causes Lou to be separated from her mom and placed in the temporary custody of her lawyer aunt and teacher uncle.  Living in a new home, attending the private school where her uncle teaches, and making new friends is a big transition for Lou but gradually she learns more about her mom, her grandparents, and most importantly, herself.  While her mom never wanted Lou labeled, Lou begins to realize that acknowledging her sensory processing disorder doesn’t make her weak, it gives her the strength to manage it and be truly happy.

Narrated by Lou, Tune It Out was a story of heartache, happiness, and hope.  At the beginning, my heart broke for both Lou and her mom.  I know Lou’s mom loves her daughter and never intended anything bad to happen to her, but was too proud to ask for help.  I was overcome with happiness as Lou began to trust others especially new friend Well realizing that good friends accept you for who you are.  And lastly, Lou gave me hope because with the support of family, school, and friends, she stopped running away from her problems, learned from her mistakes, spoke up for herself, and forged her own path. Thanks to the author, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for sharing a digital galley of Tune It Out with my #bookexcursion group.  It releases on September 1, 2020.

Doodleville by Chad Sell

Since Drew was very young, she has been doodling at her parents’ diner and at the age of five; her doodles came alive. Drew draws a home named Doodleville where her art can live when they are not in her sketchbook. On a field trip to The Art Institute of Chicago, her art club advisor challenges the students to find a piece of art that will inspire their next project. Drew gets distracted because her doodles escape her sketchbook invading the art museum. Drew captures them all but not before doodle Mike steals a hat from one of the paintings. When called on to share her project, Drew is not prepared so she is now determined to show everyone with something amazing and big. She creates a monster named Leviathan (Levi for short) which she can’t wait to share with her art club. But when they give her constructive criticism which makes her angry, Levi takes on her emotion creating chaos for all her classmates’ work.  Can Drew find a way to control Levi and make amends with her friends?

At times, we all struggle with feeling anxious and inadequate.  This fantasy graphic novel reminds us that while those emotions are normal, we need to find a way to get past them and see the good in us.  What I loved about the story is how Drew realizes that being different can make you powerful and problems can be solved when you work together.  In fact, unity can lead to better friendships and better art. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC at NCTE 2019. Doodleville is the first in the series, for Book 2 will release sometime in 2021.

That’s Life by Ame Dyckman Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

Most adults have heard the saying “That’s life” but how do you explain this to kids? Enter Life, a small, furry, tongue licking creature that suddenly appears disrupting a young child who is deep in thought writing.  Wittily using other life expressions, Author Dyckman (and adorably drawn little Life) take our protagonist and young readers on an adventure which shows life can be unpredictable, surprising, exhausting, messy, sweet, funny, tough, crazy, and beautiful.  Doerrfeld creatively illustrates all of the life idioms so that kids can visually understands them.  And to be sure to check out the gorgeous case cover.

I am a big fan of both Ame Dyckman and Cori Doerrfeld so I knew their collaboration would be larger than life. With all that has happened since March, That’s Life (which coincidentally published on March 31, 2020) is a light and humorous story with a big message reminding us with the right mindset, we can weather any storm.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

 

Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog by Amy Sohn and Omar LePap Illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg

Inspired by a true events, Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog recounts the story of a goldendoodle who went missing for two days and three nights. And don’t worry, she was found!

Every morning Yotam and his mom visit Henry’s Local, a neighborhood cafe, on their way to school.  When Yotam sees a friend in the cafe, he ties Bailey’s leash to a metal chair since dogs are not allowed inside.  Something startles Bailey causing her to jump and freeing her from the chair.  Bailey is on the loose.  With the help of the whole Brooklyn community of Carroll Gardens, Bailey is reunited with her family.

The whimsical illustrations drawn in a pastel palette are gorgeous and make Brooklyn a main character in the story. What I especially love is how the neighborhood banded together in support of finding Bailey. The family replaced the missing dog signs with Bailey Came Home signs inviting the community to celebrate on their stoop. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog published in April 2020.

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Edelweiss, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/15/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin 

It’s been exactly one year since Joy’s best friend Lukas died   While Joy admits the pain got smaller, the grief did not. Today turning thirteen is not a happy occasion especially since every year Joy and Lukas celebrated their August birthdays together with a scavenger hunt.  For the past year, the unopened envelope with the first clue has remained in the bottom of her desk drawer.  Joy finally gets the courage to open the envelope and read and follow the first clue.

I really enjoy novels written from dual perspective and Polisner and Baskin have masterfully written a moving story that will tug at your heartstrings.  Joy’s chapters take place in the present as she pieces together the clues while Lukas is in the past recounting his day planting the clues all around their Long Island town.  You can feel Joy’s pain as she engages in the scavenger hunt but you can also feel her excitement in feeling connected once again to Lukas.

Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things to experience. Seven Clues to Home reminds us you can keep that people close to your heart through remembering and reminiscing and never really have to say goodbye. Thanks to the publisher Knopf Books for Young Reader/Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Seven Clues to Home recently published on June 9, 2020.

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The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith Illustrated by Mari Lobo

Third grader Azaleah lives in Washington, DC with her chef mom, lawyer dad, older sister Nia, and younger sister Tiana.  In this first book in the series, Azaleah takes a class field trip to the National Zoo and is excited about a creative extra credit assignment.  She decides to focus on her project on a tiger’s habitat but her ability to begin the assignment is impacted by the disappearance of her Tiana’s stuffed frog, Greenie.  Tiana is devastated and very persistent in wanting Azaleah to help her in the search.  Azaleah is willing to help but is also concerned about completing her project in time.  Will Azaleah be successful in accomplishing both?

Written by #OwnVoices author who has worked in elementary education for over 25 years,  Nikki Shannon Smith has created an engaging new series for children transitioning to chapter books.  A blend of realistic fiction and mystery, the story has a lot of kid appeal with a fast-paced plot, about 100 pages in length, bright and lively illustrations, and an eager and smart main character.  Thanks to Capstone for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane published in January 2020.  Look for the second book in the series, The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane in Fall 2020.

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The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

Ernestine who lives in the city is elated to be going on her first camping trip with her Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha.   With a stuffed duffle bag which luckily zipped, Ernestine is ready.  During the long drive to the campground, Ernestine and Samantha pass the time together and once they arrive, they learn setting up a campsite is a lot of work.  As a first time camper, Ernestine is unsure about swimming in a fish filled pond,  packs way too much in her backpack for a hike and enjoys eating broccoli salad and making s’mores (tofu dogs are not her favorite). When night falls and Ernestine can’t sleep, she begins to miss her dad.  Fortunately, Aunt Jackie and Samantha are there to hold her hand and show her the beauty of a star filled sky.

The Camping Trip is simply delightful. Readers will identify with Ernestine’s range of feelings in trying something new and Mann does a wonderful job of capturing her emotions in both words and illustrations. I love the blend of graphic novel and picture book with panel illustrations, speech bubbles, and first person narration.  And don’t miss the gorgeous case cover or undies and the end papers.  The Camping Trip recently published in April 2020.

Bella’s Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Deborah Hocking

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert is full of good advice for welcoming a new dog of any age into your family. Max has wanted to dog for a long time and after his mom sees an adoption event in the local paper, they finally say yes to Max.  Choosing the right puppy is a tough decision but once Max does, he realizes it is even more difficult to choose the right house.  Do you pick a name based on personality or behavior?  Teaching his puppy the do’s and don’t of the house and commands is a lot of work hard work but Max realizes that puppies are also a lot of fun, cute, cuddle, and love which helps him choose the perfect name.

What I love about the Max is he talks directly to the reader.  McAnulty’s bouncy text reads like a conversation and along with Hocking’s charming full page illustrations, Max’s upbeat personality shines through. I also love that kids see that Max did the research before adopting a pet and his mom holds him accountable for taking care of his puppy.  And of course, the fact that Max adopted a puppy warms my heart.  Thanks to G.P. Putnam Sons/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert publishes on July 7, 2020.

 

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

#Bookexcursion, Edelweiss, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/8/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

The  Vanderbeekers Lost and Found by Karina Yan Glaser 

It is such a joy to return to The Vanderbeekers’ brownstone on 141st Street in Harlem.  In the fourth book of the series, The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found, it is fall right before the New York Marathon. Mr. Beiderman is running with the school’s cross country team so he can train for the marathon. While tending to the community garden, the siblings discovered that a person of mystery or PM has been staying in the shed.  With their parents’ permission, they have been leaving food.  Slowly, clues lead them to the PM’s identity and in true Vanderbeeker fashion, they want to help but as we all know, some problems are not that easily fixed.

While I love the Vanderbeekers for their genuine concern and kindness, the reason I enjoy them so much is because they encounter real problems. And when problems arise, things don’t always go the right way; mistakes are made and they learn from them.  The Vanderbeekers siblings also don’t just have each other to lean on. Besides their parents, they are a whole community of friends (young and old) to support them.

With the state of the world right now, kids and adults needs books and more importantly, a series like this. Stories that are authentic, relatable, and provide a sense of hope.  And if you haven’t read the first 3 in the series, no worries.  Author Karina Yan Glaser does a marvelous job of providing enough background that each book can be read on its own.

Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Publishing and Edelweiss for sharing an e-ARC.  The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found publishes in September 2020.

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Gurple and Preen by Linda Sue Park Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Robots Gurple and Preen crash-land on a planet which results in a damaged ship with crayons scattered everywhere.  Without the right resources, a distressed Gurple thinks the ship is unrepairable while an enterprising Preen has a different outlook.  When Gurple breaks a crayon which results in a tablecloth, Preen uses it as a tool to wrap the scattered crayons into groups. Each time Gurple is discouraged by what emerges out of a broken crayon, Preen shows its utility which ultimately fixes the ship. An astonished Gurple’s eyes and mind are open to a different way of thinking.

Gurple and Preen answers the question-What can you do with a broken crayon? You can not only create imaginative artwork but you also can also tell a captivating story.  What I love about the story is it teaches kids valuable skills such as resourcefulness, creativity, and problem solving.

Thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sharing a F & G with my #bookexcursion group.  Gurple and Preen publishes on August 25, 2020.

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The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet Translated by Daniel Hahn

Teaching theme can be a difficult skill. As a reading specialist, picture books have become a valuable teaching tool to support students’ ability to determine theme. With themes of empathy, bravery, resilience, friendship, family & hope, The Refuge is a great mentor text. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

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A Family for Louie by Alexandra Thompson 

Foodie French bulldog Louie thinks his life is full. He has fine food, a comfortable home, and books to read. But one day he realizes the one thing he is missing is a family. But how you find a family?  Each time Louie sees what he thinks is a potential match, something is not right. Will Louie ever find a family to call his own?

Debut author/illustrator Alexandra Thompson has written and illustrated a charming story about food, friendship, and family.  Louie is simply adorable and Thompson’s use of soft colors in her illustrations evokes a sense of warmth and calm.   What I love about Louie is Thompson’s decision to make him anthropomorphic, for he sits in restaurants, goes to the beach, and sits in parks right alongside humans.  And while he thought he was content, once he saw families spending time together, he realized he desired that sense of connection too.  Thanks to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for sharing an e-copy. A Family for Louie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on June 9, 2020.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the The Refuge blog tour.  Written by Sandra le Guen, illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet, and translated by Daniel Hahn. this picture book is published by Amazon Crossing Kids, an imprint for children’s books in translation.  It recently published on June 1, 2020.  Special thanks to Amazon Crossing Kids and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Refuge by Sandra le Guen Illustrated by Stéphane Nicolet”

#classroombookaday, Edelweiss, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/18/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

While blogging is a solitary activity, I never feel alone, for I am blessed to be part of a larger community of kid lit bloggers.  We share our love of reading and always makes sure our TBR stack is tall!  Grateful to have Beagles and Books highlighted on two lists of kid lit blogs to follow along with many other fellow bloggers: Afoma Umesi’s 22 Best Kid Lit Blogs to Follow and Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids in 2020.

This week is devoted to picture books that I was digitally sent by Penguin Random House.  As I mentioned last week, I initially wasn’t a big fan of electronic picture books largely due to the fact I regularly shared F & G and ARCs with my #classroombookday second grade.  The kids felt honored when I read aloud these yet-to-be published books.  Once our teaching went virtual, I will admit it was hard to hold a picture book while reading.  PDFs of picture books allow kids to see not only the text but also the gorgeous illustrations during a virtual Google Meet class meeting.  While I do miss holding a picture book and have had to get creative snapping photos of Bella with just picture book covers, e-books have allowed me to keep the live read alouds engaging for kids.  As always, trying to find the silver lining.

Recent Reads:

Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

From the immense grin on his face to calling him strong with arms like stone, readers see how deeply Luis admires his father who is a bricklayer.  On subsequent pages in both text and illustrations, Sheffield shows the parallels between Luis and his father as they both work.  As Luis’ father builds brick by brick, Luis reads book by book.  As his father makes mortar, Luis builds with his art supplies. Verbs such as SCRRRAPES and WHIRRRRRRR are overly emphasized in the text which made me almost hear the sounds as I was reading.  Luis has a dream that his family will have nuestra casa para siempre-our always home.  On a Saturday morning after breakfast, Luis’ father has una sopresa (surprise) and after a ride in the truck with his eyes closed, Luis discovers that dreams can come true, for his father has built the family a brick house to call home.

Brick by Brick is a feel good story about family, hard work, and dreams.  Sheffield’s use of mixed media made her art literally jump off the page.  And I love the exuberant expressions of Luis and his father, for they will warm your heart. Thanks to the author and Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an e-copy of Brick by Brick which was recently published on May 4, 2020.

Soaked by Abi Cushman 

According to a bear, rain ruins everything he loves.  Ice cream. Sand castles. Cashmere sweaters (Really? Not sure about that last one).  Seeking shelter in his cave, he invites his friends but it gets a little crowded when one of your friends is a hula hooping moose.  If only you could find your bumblebee umbrella.  Hmm. Seems odd that the badger found hers. (Wait a minute. Why would a badger have the same umbrella?)  But when one of moose’s hula hoops get stuck in a tree, the wallowing bear can’t just sit there. As he, rabbit, and badger free the hula hoop, they all fall into a huge puddle with the hoop around bear’s neck.  Could hula hoop + puddle + rain =fun?

Last week, I had the opportunity to do a live read aloud of Soaked to my #classroombookaday second grade class.  After I read, we discussed the lesson of the story.  A student said Soaked teaches us to look for the good, not the bad.  The conversation grew with the realization that while we all wish we were together in the classroom listening to the story, we are happy that we can be together virtually through Google Meets.  We are learning how to change our perspective and seeing the positive rather than dwelling on the negative.  Great message for today and every day!  Thanks to Viking Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy.  Look for Soaked on June 14, 2020.

The Stray by Molly Ruttan

When I first saw the title, I immediately thought The Stray was about a dog looking for a home. The cover made me realize the stray was an alien from another planet who crashed to Earth.  A kind family rescues him wrapping him up in a baby blanket, brings him home, and name him Grub.

What I love most about The Stray is the illustrations are integral to the story.  My #classroombooksaday observed this right away.  If a reader just read the text, the story could be about a stray dog or cat but the artwork confirms that Grub is unique.  The illustrations unveil Grub’s levitating powers which begin with a toaster and are in full force on a walk around the neighborhood. What tugged at my heart is while the family welcomed Grub as a member of their family, he still missed his home.  Recognizing his yearning, the kids put up FOUND posters which are instrumental in Grub’s reunion with his alien family.   The Stray is a tender story about a family who not only has enough love to welcome a stray into their family but also to let him go.  Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. The Stray will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

This is Gus by Chris Chatterton 

Gus is a grumpy basset hound who doesn’t like being petted, going for walks or celebrating birthdays. But wait! Once a basset pup arrives on the scene, maybe Gus will change his mind. And while the text may say Gus now likes things, the illustrations clearly show his distaste for everything except…sausage.  Gus likes the smell, shape, and taste of sausage.  Guess who else likes sausage? The basset pup.  Will Gus be willing to share his sausage?  Like Ryan Higgins’ Bruce, This is Gus might be a grouch but he truly has a heart of gold. Thanks to Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. Previously published in the U.K., This is Gus will celebrate its U.S. book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

Blog Tour, Early Chapter Books, Giveaway, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo

OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG

Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Our Friend Hedgehog blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG
Author/Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Pub. Date: May 5, 2020
Pubisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 122
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NibooksKoboTBDBookshop.org.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway: Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo”

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/11/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to be back and share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

While I had been reading a lot of fabulous books, blogging had to be delayed because recently, my district increased the frequency of virtual teaching.  Teachers are now working with students daily in whole class meetings teaching mini-lessons as well as during small group instruction. As a reading specialist, I am working with some students individually but my role has switched to supporting teachers in planning and implementing virtual ELA lessons.  I love that we see students daily but teaching in a classroom and teaching virtually are definitely different; therefore, there have been some growing pains in the shift.  The best part of my week though is still reading aloud picture books to my #classroombookaday class.  While it may only be twice a week instead of daily, it is a blessing to be able to share stories with these students. And while I was not initially a fan of electronic picture books, it is much easier to share my screen so they can enjoy both the text and the illustrations.

Recent Reads:

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The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Cassie’s mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s which has been difficult for both Cassie and her dad.  She and her dad though are each handling the diagnosis differently.  Cassie wants to make as many memories as possible while her dad is more concerned with keeping her mom safe.   One of Cassie’s mom’s dreams is to swim with dolphins and Cassie is determined to make that dream a reality in spite of her father’s concerns.

My heart really hurt for Cassie. As I read, I needed a box of tissues nearby because the tears were quickly flowing.  I can only imagine how hard it was to see her mother’s memory deteriorating to the point that her mom couldn’t even remember Cassie’s name.  Her mom’s condition also affected Cassie’s friendship with her best friend Bailey for she finds it hard to share it with anyone.  What I love most about Cassie is her immense determination to make one of her mother’s dreams come true and have one last adventure with her. And what I most loved is while her dad was initially against the trip, he realized how important the adventure was not only to her mom but also to Cassie.  As with her debut, Extraordinary Birds, Stark-McGinnis’ The Space Between Lost and Found is a story of heartache and hope.  Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for sharing an ARC at NTCE.  The Space Between Lost and Found recently published on April 28, 2020.

 

Mary Underwater by Shannon Doleski

Since her abusive father has been released from prison, 14 year old Mary carries a Joan of Arc prayer card that a nun gave her in kindergarten.  The back of the card reads “I am not afraid” which has become Mary’s mantra reminding her she is brave and strong like Joan.  Having just failed a science test, Mary knows she needs to do well on her science project, but can she trust classmate and jokester Kip Dwyer to be her partner?  Together, they decide to build a submarine which lands her a good grade, a potential boyfriend, and an idea.  What if Mary could build a real sub and finally be free?

Mary Underwater is a story of one girl’s resilience to save herself.  While her budding romance with Kip,  collaboration with former Navy scientist to build her submersible, and a renewed relationship with her aunt provide her support, Mary ultimately has to choose to not only change her course but also chart a new course for her life. Mary ultimately discovers that she is worthy and is brave and strong like Joan of Arc. Thanks to the author Shannon Doleski and Amulet/Abrams for sharing an ARC with #bookexcursion.  Mary Underwater released on April 7, 2020.

Ocean: Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by David Litchfield

The second grade class I adopted for #classroombookaday this year absolutely loves McAnulty’s Earth, Sun  and Moon so I was so grateful to get an e-copy of Ocean to read aloud virtually during a daily class meeting. McAnulty’s Our Universe series is a blend of fiction and non-fiction which is highly engaging for read aloud.  Energetically narrated by Ocean who uses surfer language, readers learn tubular facts about the ocean. McAnulty’s spunky text and Litchfield’s lively illustrations taught me so many new facts about the ocean. I never knew more humans have visited outer space than the ocean’s deepest spots.  And while they are 5 separate bodies of water, there is truly only 1 global ocean. I love how even as an adult, I can learn from reading picture books!

Thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt for sharing an e-copy with Beagles and Books.  Ocean recently published on May 5, 2020. And I was fortunate to purchase an autographed copy from Stacy McAnulty through Bookmarks independent bookstore. And stay tuned because Mars! Earthlings Welcome is the next book in the Our Universe series publishing in February 2021.

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse by Jonathan Stutzman Illustrated by Heather Fox

My #classroombookaday second class absolutely loved Llama Destroys the World.  So when I found out a sequel was being written, I was so excited to share it with them even though it had to be virtually. Llamas fans know he likes cake and pies.  What they might not know is he doesn’t like to clean. But guess who loves to clean….Alpaca! And with the Replicator 3000, sneaky Llama was able to make a clone Alpaca to clean for him. If  one cleans well, what about more? Imagine the cleaning they could do.  Unfortunately, Llama’s plan backfires because an army of Alpacas actually make more of a mess.  So he sends them into town but that only creates more commotion.  With the smell of pizza, the Alpacas return to Llama’s house and by pressing the other button on the Replicator 3000, the Alpacas disappear except for one.  Problem solved.  Not quite because it was time for dessert and Llama only had one piece of cake for him and Alpaca to share.  How can Llama solve his problem?

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse is another laugh out loud adventure with a llama whose biggest weakness is cake. Thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt for sharing an e-copy with Beagles and Books.  Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse recently published on May 5, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

A dog goes on an adventure but is caught by a robe wearing, coffee drinking cat.  As the dog jumps on a trike with a poodle, the cat sheds its morning wear for exercise clothes following the dog.  As the dog switches modes of transportation adding more canine passengers,  the cat follows suit changing its vehicle to keep pace.  But once 10 dogs…wait, make that 9 dogs and 1 sly cat are traveling through space together, the countdown begins with dogs frantically wanting to return home.  Once the dog is safe back in its yard, a mouse peers out of a small door to follow 2 cats on a trike.  Hmm…I think another story is about to begin.

Two Dogs on a Trike is so much more than a counting book.  With Snyder’s concise rhyming text and Rosenthal’s expressive illustrations of a feline, canines (and a mouse), it is a hilarious romp!  Thanks to author Gabi Snyder and Abrams/Appleseed Publishing for sharing an e- copy with Beagles and Books.  Two Dogs on a Trike releases next week on May 19, 2020.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/20/20

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Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Recent Reads:

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Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson Illustrated by Nina Mata

My third grade teacher Mrs. Shade read aloud Henry Huggins and from that moment on, I became a fan of Beverly Cleary’s books.  Henry Huggins introduced me to Ramona who I loved for her spunk and smarts.  So excited that my students can get to know Ramona, a character from my childhood, and also meet fourth grader Ryan, the main character in a new series by Renée Watson.

In this first book of the series, readers meet the Hart family who I just adore.  Because their landlord is selling their house, the family must move to a new house, which is older and smaller.  Mr. Hart has lost his job and while he is starting a new one, it does not pay as much which means no brand name groceries like Tillamook ice cream.  On the bright side, Ryan has her own room, still goes to her same school, and lives closer to her own of her best friends KiKi.  And while money may be tight, Mom tries her best to nuture Ryan’s love for cooking by buying ingredients to try out new recipes like fruit smoothies and rosemary chicken wings.

Ryan’s name means king and her parents remind her to live up to her name and be a leader. Ryan always strives to do the right thing and be positive but readers get to see her struggles as well whether it is a squabble with her brother Ray, overcoming her fears speaking in front of an audience or just dealing with change.  What I love most is the Hart family has a lot of heart and is there for each other in both good and bad times.  Written in under 200 pages with short chapters, dynamic characters, an engaging plot, and Mata’s charming black and white illustrations, Watson’s new series is so accessible to readers transitioning into middle grade novels.  Can’t wait for more adventures with Ryan and her family!  Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sharing an ARC at the #NCTE covention.  Ways to Make Sunshine celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 20, 2020.

 

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Play Like An Animal by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Mia Powell 

Did you know that animals play for a purpose?  In her latest book, Play Like An Animal, Maria Gianferrari teaches reader of all ages that animals engage in play to practice important life skills such as fighting, cooperating, hunting, and escaping from predators.  The animals are not the only ones playing, for Gianferrari engages in spirited word play herself introducing each animal with three dynamic verbs to describe their actions.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Space Mice by Lori Haskins Houran Illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh

When two mice are out of cheese, they look up at the sky and see a giant ball of yellow swiss.  These clever (and hungry) mice devise a thorough plan and build a rocket to take them on a mission to the moon.  Once they safely land, the mice fill their hungry bellies and even take a slice to go!

With lines of five words or less, Houran efficiently uses rhyme to entertain and explain the mice’s journey to get to the moon.  I love her word choice for children hear juicy words such as jot, plot, fetch, nosh.  Alpaugh’s mice are not only adorable but she also captures their determination and excitement for their project.  Because of the mice, the moon changes from full to a crescent which is a surprise to a young astromer on Earth.  Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing an ARC of Space Mice which published on March 1, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Stay! by Alex Latimer

Ben thinks the world of his dog Buster.  Based on Buster’s past behavior, Ben’s parents do not share his sentiment so Buster will not be joining them on their family vacation and instead stay with Grampa.  Worried that Grampa does not know Buster’s likes and dislikes, Ben is encouraged to write notes to help Grampa better understand him.  Ben has a lot to share which means more notes that he ever imagined.  And even after Ben left, he would send postcards to Granmpa with anything he forgot.  With all these notes, you would think Ben would have remembered everything, but there was one important detail he forgot.  Will Buster be in the doghouse or will Grampa be able to teach an old dog a new trick?

Stay is a humorous yet heartwarming story about a boy and his dog.  My favorite part is the notes that Ben writes and illustrates because they show how well he clearly knows Buster.  I also love that when Ben and Buster are reunited, Grampa has his own note for Ben.

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Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!