Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for another edition of 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.
Our Reads This Week:
Takedown by Laura Shovan
Told in alternating points of view, Takedown is the story of six grade wrestlers, Mikayla and Lev. In Mikayla’s family, wresting is their thing. At the start of the novel, Mikayla (known as Mickey on the mat) is ready to move up from a rec league and follow in her brothers’ footsteps by joining the Eagles travel team. The Eagles coach Dr. Spence though is not willing to accept girl wrestlers. As a result, Mikayla makes the bold decision to join the Gladiators, the Eagles rival team. Lev also comes from an athletic family and has been a member of the Gladiators for a few years. So when Coach Billy pairs him with Mickey for training, Lev is at first reluctant about having a girl partner. Slowly, Lev warms up to the idea and realizes that Mickey understands better than anyone what it means to work hard and push yourself.
Sports have never been my thing but I devoured Takedown. Laura Shovan wrote a engaging and captivating story that will appeal to all readers. I absolutely loved the format of the novel hearing from both Mikayla’s and Lev’s perspective, which revealed their determination, competitiveness, and insecurities. A very special thanks to Laura Shovan for sending Takedown to our #bookexcursion group. For my full review, click here.
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas
Told in the second person, The Care and Feeding of a Black Hole is a conversation that eleven year old Stella has with her father who recently passed away. The story begins with Stella being rebuffed at the NASA gates. She wished to meet with astronomer Carl Sagan and deliver a precious recording for the Voyager’s Golden Record. On her way home, Stella is followed by a black hole that she names Larry and decides to keep as a pet.
Stella quickly learns that a black hole can come in handy by getting rid of tangible items she dislikes such as Aunt Celeste’s itchy sweaters, brussels sprouts, and her younger brother Cosmos’ Fuzzle record. Eager to get rid of memories of her dad which make Stella sad, she collects items such as her father’s old red hat, her bug collection, and even the recording of her dad’s laugh. Stella places them all in a box and feeds them to Larry. To her surprise, her actions have serious consequences. Her mom stops calling her by her nickname Bug and her father’s red hat no longer appears in a framed photo.
When her new dog (The Dog with No Name) disappears into Larry, Stella ventures into the black hole to rescue the dog, her brother (who inadvertently gets swallowed by Larry) and most importantly herself. Through her journey, Stella learns how to face her grief and finds a way to move forward realizing that her father will always be with her.
Michelle Cuevas’ brilliant writing had me both laughing and crying. I listened to the audio version narrated by Laura Ortiz on my way to and from work but I found myself rereading the actual novel which included amusing black and white illustrations. I was glad to have experienced both mediums for it made my reading experience even richer.
Geraldine by Elizabeth Lilly
Being the new kid at school isn’t easy but for Geraldine it is even harder. Why? Geraldine is the only giraffe in a school full of human children. She misses blending in with all the other giraffes in Giraffe City. One day when Geraldine goes to her lunch hiding spot, she meets a girl named Cassie who feels like an outsider too. Together Geraldine and Cassie learn that they are not defined by being a giraffe or liking math and wearing glasses. Their friendship gives Geraldine the confidence to introduce herself and Cassie to other classmates.
Written and illustrated by debut author Elizabeth Lilly, Geraldine is a tender story that can teach students about the power of having that one friend who like you for just being you. Special thanks to Macmillan Kids for providing our #bookexcursion group with an ARC. Look for its release in June 2018.
Featured Dog Selection 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.
A Book for Benny by Judith Koppens Illustrated by Marja Meijer
Sam is enjoying reading on a rainy day but her dog Benny thinks differently. “Reading is fun!” she tells Benny. When Benny walks away, Sam realizes that perhaps it is her book, not reading, that Benny dislikes. So off to the library Sam and Benny go to pick out a book just for Benny.
Entering the library, Sam is quickly told that dogs are not allowed inside. As Benny waits outside, Sam shows him books about knights and the circus. Ben’s actions clearly show his distaste in Sam’s choices. Digging deep in a book bin, Sam finally thinks she’s found the perfect book. Sam wags his tail, barks, and licks the window in agreement.
A Book for Benny is a great read aloud to teach students the power of choice and interest when reading. As a reading specialist, I not only get excited when students love a book, but also when they are honest and tell me that a book doesn’t appeal to them. Finding the right book at the right time is so important!
Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books! Have a great week! Happy Reading!