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.
Our Recent Reads:
Long Distance by Whitney Gardner
Named after a star, Vega loves astronomy but is not thrilled about her family’s recent move from Portland to Seattle due to her dad Wes’ new job. Will the distance impact her relationship with best friend Halley? To help Vega make new friends, her dad Javi enrolls her in a sleep away summer camp. Not long after Vega arrives at Camp Very Best Friend, she realizes that things are not normal. With the help of campers, Querty and twins Gemma and Isaac, Vega discovers truths about the camp which even caught me by surprise.
Long Distance is a engaging and entertaining middle grade graphic novel about friendship-maintaining old and making new. Not to give away the plot, but I love that Gardner blends genres to make the plot more intriguing. The chapter titles are clever inspired by Vega’s internet search on how to make friends. She discovers 7 tips for making friends, and each tip is a chapter title. Because of Vega’s love for astronomy and Gemma’s love for gems, sidebars teach science concepts such the star wheel and thunder eggs. Gardner’s artwork is eye popping with bold colors and ranges from multiple panels of different sizes to splash panels. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for a review copy. Long Distance recently released on June 29, 2021.
Mindy Kim and the Trip to Korea by Lyla Lee Illustrated by Dung Ho
In the fifth story in the series, Mindy, her dad, and his girlfriend Julie travel to South Korea to visit her father’s family. This is not only Mindy’s first trip to Korea but also her first out of the country which makes her both excited and nervous. After arriving, Mindy has the opportunity to speak Korean more often, eat her grandmother’s yummy food, visit the capital Seoul as well as take a family camping trip to Gangwon-do, a vacation spot with mountains, rivers, and beaches. And while Florida is very far away from Korea, Mindy realizes that she and her family are all looking at the same moon. This knowledge makes Mindy feel closer to her family in Korea despite the distance. Saying goodbye was hard but Mindy was happy to be reunited with her dog Theodore.
Written in 77 pages with short chapters and full page illustrations in almost each chapter, Mindy Kim has great supports for primary students transitioning into chapter books. Readers also learn about the Korean culture, for each time Lee introduces a word, she explains the meaning in kid friendly language. I love that Mindy’s dad suggest she write a blog about her trip to record her thoughts and memories. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a finished copy. Mindy Kim and the Trip to Korea published on June 8, 2021.
You Have to Read This Book by Bruce Eric Kaplan
A father bear named Morris sees a beloved childhood book in a store window, buys the book, and takes it home telling his son Benny “You have to read this book!” Benny responds “I don’t want to.” Determined to change his son’s mind, Morris continually places the book in Benny’s view for months, bribes him with an ice cream breakfast, and even hides all the books on Benny’s bookshelf. Benny remains firm in his stance. Morris’ final attempt is pretty drastic but it does get Benny to at least grab the book. Now will his son read it?
The battle of wills between Morris and Benny is hilarious. As I was reading, I wondered. How far would Morris go and would Benny stand his ground? Amid the laughter, I realized that the story could support the skill of assertiveness taught through Conscious Discipline, a program we use in our district. Children are taught to use a big voice to be assertive. Benny definitely uses his big voice to convey his feelings to his father. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a copy with me. You Have to Read This Book published in March 2021.
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.
Ciao Sandro! by Steven Varni Illustrated by Luciano Lozano
Since he was a puppy, Sandro and gondolier Nicola do everything together, but today Sandro is venturing out in Venice solo on a very special errand. Because of his acute sense of smell and hearing, Sandro knows the city better than most Venetians which helps him locate friends Alvise and Francesca to deliver a message. Then he travels to the vaporetto stop, walks on the boat, and gets off at Murano to see Giorgio, the glassblower. With this last errand complete, Sandro returns to Venice and reunites with Nicola. After the last gondola ride for the day, Nicola and Sandro walk to meet their friends and the last page spread reveals Sandro’s secret mission-to remind their friends to attend Nicola”s birthday celebration.
My husband and I were married in Sardinia, Italy. Venice was our first stop on our honeymoon so the city will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved being able to be see Venice from Sandro’s perspective, but what especially warmed my heart was the sweet relationship of a dog and his gondolier. And it’s pretty adorable to see a dog wearing a striped shirt with a red bandana around his neck. An added bonus is a glossary pronouncing and defining Italian words immediately follows the story. Ciao Sandro! published on June 8, 2021.
Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!