Bella and I are 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.link up below, leave a comment, and support other #IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.
Our Recent Reads:
Flying Over Water by Shannon Hitchcock and N.H. Senzai
In 2017, 12–year–old Noura Alwan, her twin brother Ammar, little brother, and parents have just moved to Florida from a Turkish refugee camp after escaping war torn Syria. When they arrive in Tampa, the Muslim travel ban was just announced and anti–immigrant protests are on the rise. On her first day of school, Noura is greeted by Jordyn, a fellow seventh grader who serves as the twins’ student ambassador. Through their church, Jordyn and her family had offered to help Noura’s family with her mom being an English tutor to Mrs. Alwan (who in exchange gives cooking lessons) and her father providing dental services to the entire family. While Noura and Jordyn have lived very different lives, they both struggle with anxiety. After her best friend and her family drowned in a boat, Noura has a deep fear of water. After her mother’s miscarriage, competitive swimmer Jordyn experiences panic attacks before meets. Once the girls confide in each other, a true friendship begins to form as they support one another in overcoming their fears.
Told through the points of view of Noura’s and Jordyn’s in alternating chapters, co-authors Senzai and Hitchcock have seamlessly written an authentic and powerful middle grade story that shows the courage of two families–one who risked their lives to emigrate to the U.S. and one who welcomes them into the community and supports their right to live in the U.S. What I love most about the novel is how their social studies teacher Mr. Fowler encourages all of his students to be agents of change. When a non denominational prayer room which Noura and her brother created is threatened, Noura and Jordyn along with other classmates speak up at a school board meeting to share the importance of this space. Like Faruqi’s and Shovan’s A Place at the Table, Flying Over Water is a story of friendship and family and using your voice to speak up for yourself and others. Thanks to the authors for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Flying Over Water celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 22, 2020.
Sometimes a Wall… by Dianne White Illustrated by Barroux
Sometimes a Wall... is a picture book with so many layers. It is a story that teaches us about friendship, conflict, empathy, and forgiveness in a way that kids of all ages can understand. White uses her words sparingly but meaningfully to show how physical walls can become symbolic walls. Barroux’s lively illustrations beautifully complement the text and careful eyes will notice how one child changes from friend to enemy to friend. One detail that struck me was how the child’s yellow construction hat is tossed away for a yellow crown to signify his ownership of the castle. What I love most about Sometimes a Wall... is the message of hope and how we all have the capacity to change our behaviors and be accepted by others. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.
Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.
A Dog Friendly Town by Josephine Cameron
12 –year old–Epic McDade lives with his family at the Perro del Mar, a dog friendly bed and breakfast. When Carmelito, California is been named America’s #1 Dog Friendly Town (DFT), the Perro becomes one of the “Official DFT” hotels for the weeklong celebration and has the privilege of hosting a celebrity cinematic star canine, Sir Bentley which makes Epic’s little sister, Elvis, ecstatic. Not long after Sir Bentley arrives at the B & B, his jeweled studded collar is stolen. The Perro is full of unconventional guests who all have reason to be suspects. Since Epic’s parents are busy with the festivities and now the theft, Epic has been asked to look after Elvis and his younger brother Rondo which is not as easy task given Rondo’s penchant for detecting and Elvis’ preoccupation with Sir Bentley. And it’s not the Epic doesn’t have his own problems. In the fall, he heads to middle school which is much bigger and different than his expeditionary learning elementary school.
With short chapters, an absorbing plot with a lot of twists and turns, and quirky characters, you don’t have to be a dog lover to enjoy this mystery and you might just be converted after reading. One of my #mustreadsin2020, A Dog Friendly Town released in August 2020. Thanks to author Josephine Cameron for sharing a copy with me as part of World Read Aloud Day.
Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!