Beagles and Books is excited to share our current 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.
Our Current Reads:
Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos
It is 1986. 12 year old Nova Vezina is anxiously awaiting for two big events- the launching of the space shuttle Challenger and reuniting with her older sister Bridget. Bridget ran away from their last foster home and Nova is adjusting to living with her new foster family, the Wests.
While Nova’s school reports consistently included phrases such as “cannot read” or “does not speak,” her older sister Bridget always disagreed stating that Nora “is a thinker, not a talker.” Bridget has been Nova’s strongest advocate recognizing and fostering Nova’s intelligence. With only 10 days before the Challenger launch, Nova is clinging on to Bridget’s promise that she and Nova will reunite and watch this historic event together.
I love the format of the novel, which alternates from third person to first person. Nova’s first hand account is written as letters to Bridget, which everyone else calls “scribbles.” Since Nora is autistic and nonverbal, her letters are extremely compelling sharing her deep thoughts and feelings on everything from her new foster family, new school and friends as well as past memories of her mother and Bridget. Reading Nova’s letters is truly gut-wrenching because she shares her frustrations that people cannot understand her and how desperately she misses Bridget. While my heart ached for Nova, Nova’s new foster family gave me hope. Francine, Billy, and their college age daughter Josie take the time to truly get to know Nova recognizing her potential rather than her limitations.
From the very first page, Nova’s story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the novel down. While I knew the outcome of the Challenger launch, debut author Nicole Panteleakos’s well crafted novel kept me wondering until almost the very end. A heartbreaking yet uplifting story, Planet Earth is Blue reminds us of our universal need for love, respect, and understanding. I am a firm believer that books have the power to change you and make you a better person; Planet Earth is Blue is that story, for we can all do better in showing compassion, patience, and tolerance towards others.
Special thanks to Penguin Random House and Rockstar Book Tours for a copy of Planet Earth is Blue. It recently published on May 14, 2019.
Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet by Megan Frazier Blakemore Illustrated by Nadja Small
When Frankie’s teacher announces that the class is going to research and vote on a class pet, Frankie is determined to convince her classmates that a rat is the best choice. Scared of rodents, Frankie’s best friend Maya disagrees and feels a fish is a better choice. Frankie struggles with Maya’s lack of support which creates a rift in their friendship. With the help of her parents, Maya gradually realizes that true friendship means accepting each other’s differences.
Frankie Sparks is an early chapter book series with a lot of depth. Megan Frazier Blackmore has created such a dynamic and passionate main character in Frankie. Readers see her at her best when she is researching and/or creating as well as her worst when she is angry and frustrated that no one is listening to her. As a teacher, I love the inclusion of the endnotes which provide more information on “problem scoping” and encourage kids to be creative.
Special thanks to Simon Kids/Aladdin for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet and Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick will be released soon on June 18, 2019. A third book, Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge will be published in November 2019.
Etta 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.
Dog vs. Ultra Dog by Troy Wilson Art by Clayton Hammer
Pup Tuffy and his boy Tim are best buds but then suddenly, Ultra Dog, a cartoon superhero steals Tim’s attention. Worried that he is losing his boy, Tuffy attempts to be the ultra-est dog at obedience, chores, affection, and even (gulp) flying. Unfortunately, Tuffy isn’t as successful as he hoped. How can Tuffy convince Tim that he is top dog?
Dog vs. Ultra Dog has a lot of kid appeal. With bold comic illustrations and text written in speech bubbles, the story has a graphic novel feel. While young readers will laugh out loud at Tuffy’s efforts, they will easily relate to Tuffy’s concern over being replaced by a new and more exciting friend. Amid the humor, Troy Wilson has written a heartwarming story that teaches kids that a true and loyal friend is irreplaceable.
Special thanks to Tricia Harlan of Owlkids Books for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books. Dog vs. Ultra Dog recently published in April 2019.
Thank you for visiting Beagles & Books! Happy reading!