Happy early 4th of July! Beagles and Books is excited to share 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:
Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin
Ever since she was born, Della’s mama has lived with schizophrenia and experiences good days and bad days. Recently, Mama is going through a rough patch obsessed with getting rid of all the germs that can hurt Della and her baby sister, Mylie. Knowing Della is worried about her mama, Della’s dad reminds her that many people don’t understand schizophrenia and begin seeing the person as a disease not a human being. Like always, they will get through her mama’s highs and lows together as a family.
Growing up, Della had heard stories about the magical powers of Miss Tabitha Quigley’s (also known as The Bee Lady) honey. If the honey could fix Grandpa Kelly’s leg, perhaps it could fix Mama too. Della is though deflated when Miss Quigley tells her that the honey will not heal her mama but offers Della something that can heal her, if she wants. Conscious that her Mama’s illness was triggered by her birth, Della is frustrated and determined to make Mama better so she takes the initiative to do additional chores and take care of Mylie who can be a handful.
Unfortunately, Mama gets progressively worse and with her daddy’s watermelons getting hit hard by disease, the Kelly family is struggling. Faced with the realization that she has tried everything, Della returns to Miss Quigley’s house to accept her help and discovers the honey’s magic is that it brings out a strength that a person already has inside. With the support of Miss Lorena, Miss Amanda, her grandparents and most importantly, her daddy, Della learns that she has strength all around her and realizes that no sickness in the world could make her mama’s love for her and Mylie less real. In fact, everything is going to be just fine.
Where the Watermelons Grow is a story that can be a mirror or window for readers. Cindy Baldwin’s beautifully written novel gives an honest and tender account of how Della copes and accepts her mama’s mental illness. Special thanks to Cindy Baldwin for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Where the Watermelons Grow celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.
Margot and Mateo Save the World by Darcy Miller
Blue-streaked haired Margot Blumenthal is a newcomer to West Cove Middle School. Considered a lock for the United States national freestyle wrestling team, she is intimidating to both students and teachers. On the way to school, Margot notices her school play co-star Mateo Flores acting erratic. She confronts him and finds a bright blue slug attached to his back and courageously removes it. Little did Margot and Mateo know that the slug is actually an alien that has also infected other people in town including the mayor and Mateo’s father. The two hesitantly join forces along with scientist Calvin Biggs to stop these alien slugs from taking over the town and in the process, they learn more about each other’s true selves. Will their alliance save the world and ignite a real friendship?
While the novel is hilariously entertaining as Margot and Mateo reluctantly work together to combat the aliens, their partnership shows an honest depiction of the perils of navigating middle school. Being a new student, Margot may appear to have a tough exterior and content with being on her own but, in reality, she wants to make friends and be included. Mateo, on the other hand, has lived in West Cove his whole life and is liked by everyone. He though is a people pleaser and doesn’t always speak up for himself. Saving the world prompts them to each discover who they really are.
Special thanks to author Darcy Miller for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Margot and Mateo Save the World celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.
Being You by Alexs Pate Illustrated by Soud
Being You is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that celebrates children’s individuality. Although people in the world may wish to tell children who they are, the author’s message is clear; children are in charge of their own path. What I love most about this book is that it shows the power of relationships and how simple acts such as observation, a smile, and conversation can support children in their self-discovery. Alexs Pate’s words are concise but profound and Soud’s gorgeous artwork honestly illustrates both the highs and lows that children today experience.
As I plan for #classroombookaday for the upcoming school year, Being You is a picture book that I will most definitely share with teachers and students. Special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to our #bookexcursion group. Look for Being You in October 2018. In the meantime, click on the video for a preview.
There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello.” These sentences open this incredibly beautiful picture book that extols the positive effects of change. To read my full review, click here.
Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick Illustrated by Chris Raschka
There is no substitute for a great teacher or is there? Written as a series of humorous letters, Dear Substitute gives readers a child’s perspective of having a substitute teacher for the day. To read my full review, click here.
Etta’s and 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.
Great Dog by Davide Cali Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
A father dog and his son spend the day looking at family portraits in the long hallway of their house. Stopping at each stately portrait, the father extols each relative’s accomplishment but appearances can be deceiving. For example, Uncle Scooter was lauded as an amazing teacher of young sheep but when the readers opens the gatefold, the truth is revealed; Uncle Scooter’s classroom was a hot mess. After hearing all these stories which are actually contrary to the truth, the son asks his father “What about me?” The father responds “No matter what. You will be a GREAT dog!” exclaiming his faith that his son is destined for greatness. The very last gatefold reveals a surprise to the reader leaving them with a tender and heartwarming message celebrating the unconditional love that parents have or their child. The illustrations are simply exquisite using a limited palette of colors and deserve more time to enjoy on a second read.
Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Have a great week!