Happy New Year! Beagles and Books is thrilled to share our first post It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? for 2020! #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 Recent Reads:
A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan
Told through the points of view of Sara and Elizabeth in alternating chapters, co-authors Faruqi and Shovan have seamlessly written an authentic and powerful middle grade story that explores themes of family, culture, religion, identity, racism, friendship, food and most importantly, finding the voice to speak up for yourself and others. I highly recommend A Place at the Table to not only students but also teachers and parents, for I gained perspective on Pakistani and Jewish culture and the challenges of being a first generation American.
I finished reading A Place at the Table before the New Year so I did not include it on my official #mustreadin2020 list, but this novel, beautifully co-written by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan and releasing in May 2020 is truly one you do not want to miss. To read my full review, click here.
Cub by Cynthia Copeland
Set in the early 1970s, Cub is a graphic novel memoir which chronicles the author’s internship as a cub reporter for a local newspaper. Cindy was recommended by her English teacher and is mentored by a young female reporter, Leslie Jones. While Cindy is learning to navigate the world of reporting, she is also facing the challenges of being a seventh grader. Cindy shares her tactics on how to go unnoticed by the mean girls at school (known as the predators which is a nod to Wild Kingdom), experiences her first crush, and copes with changes in her friendship with her childhood best friend.
What I loved most about Cub is Copeland gradually shows the positive effects of Cindy’s internship. Cindy hones her writing skills, develops an interest in photography, and gains confidence in not only her writing but also in herself. While the predators will always be there (in school or in the real world), Cindy learns that she is in charge of telling the world who she is. The illustrations blew me away and I especially enjoyed seeing Jones’ edits of the Cindy’s typewritten ledes, which showed how feedback contributed to her growth as a writer.
I was born in the early 70s so I am a little younger than Cindy, but I could relate to both the historical references as well as her journey in discovering her true passion and finding her own voice. Cub also champions the importance of having mentors and the support of your family and friends.
I would most definitely add Cub as to my #mustreadin2020. It is an honest and engaging coming of age memoir with a positive message. It has definite kid appeal but I also recommend it to adult readers (like me) who wish to journey back in time. Special thanks to the Algonquin Books for Young Readers/Workman Publishing for sharing a copy at the NCTE convention. Cub celebrates its book birthday tomorrow!
Love, Sophia on the Moon by Anica Mrose Rissi Illustrated by Mika Song
Love, Sophia on the Moon is a heartwarming story of how a little girl creatively handles her mother’s scolding. After being sent to time out, Sophia decides to run away to the moon. She & her mom keep in touch through writing letters. Proclaiming her independence, Sophia moves to the moon bringing her cat, Mr. Wubbles as her companion. In her letters, Sophia shares the perks of living on the moon such as a new friend, Frurgbert, moon-juice, and most importantly, no time outs and better yet, no bedtimes. Mom’s letters back shows her concern for Sophia’s absence and while she respect her daughter’s decision, she makes subtle mention of things in an attempt to get Sophia to come home.
I absolutely love that the story is told in the form of letters which allows readers to see both Sophia’s and her mom’s perspective. Starting with the title page, Song’s warm and muted illustrations are full of significant details giving readers a true glimpse of what has and is really happening in the story and why Sophia choose to escape to the moon. Love, Sophia on the Moon is an excellent read aloud for families, for it reinforces the unconditional love between parents and their children. Special thanks to the author for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group. Love, Sophia on the Moon publishes March 31, 2020.
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.
Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home by Guojing
Stormy is a gorgeously illustrated wordless picture book about a stray dog who seeks shelter under a park bench. When a young woman sits on the bench, the dog runs away but stays nearby within the view of the woman. Befriending the dog with a ball, the woman shows extreme patience waiting for the dog to make the first move. Gradually, the dog begins to show a little trust fetching and dropping the ball but is still too frightened to get close. When the woman leaves, the dog follows her home with the ball in its mouth. A fierce storm erupts and the dog finds shelter in a box while the woman returns to the park frantically searching for the pup. While heartbreaking to see both apart, readers are rewarded with a heartwarming reunion that brought me to tears. Guojing’s use of muted colors in each stunning panel deftly conveys the changing mood of the story. A story about patience, trust, and love, Stormy is a book that proves pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.
Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!