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:
A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser
After the sudden loss of her father, 11 year old June, her 6 year old sister, and her mother can no longer afford to live in their Chinatown apartment and move to Huey House, a homeless shelter. Depression has consumed June’s mom so June has had to take on the role of parent. Her viola is the only thing that connects June to her dad , but director Ms. MacMillan does not allow instruments at the shelter. Marcus, the head of security, assures June that he will keep her viola safe. To make amends for a prank not intended for June and her sister, Tyrell, a Huey House resident for three years, finds a way to not only reunite June with her viola, but also show her a secluded place to practice. Gradually, June and Tyrell bond over their mutual love of music. Just when June is starting to feel safe, Tyrell overhears Ms. MacMillan talking about a new housing program that aims to relocate families out of shelters. This program’s goal is to make it appear that the homeless numbers are decreasing, but the new housing is undesirable or unsafe. June and Tyrell feel compelled to do something but will anyone pay attention to kids?
While Yan Glaser chose to tell June’s and Tyrell’s story in third person with alternating chapters, readers still get to know each character on a deep personal level conscious of their fears and hopes. I especially appreciate how in the author’s note preceding the novel, Yan Glaser shares the inspiration for Duet for Home having worked as full time in New York City homeless shelters. Yan Glaser gives voice to children whose families are experiencing a hardship as well as social worker Ms. Gonzalez who always had their best interests at heart. What I love most about the story is that Huey House is more than just shelter for families. As June shares, “It has become a place where my family can become whole again.” Both poignant and uplifting, Duet for Home is a story that will tug at your heart but also fill it with hope.
Thanks to the author and Clarion Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so you can have A Duet for Home on your hands when it publishes next week on April 5, 2022.
Bobcat Prowling by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
A companion to Gianferrari’s Coyote Moon and Hawk Rising, Bobcat Prowling is a narrative non-fiction picture book which tells the story of a young bobcat searching for a home range of his own. At the beginning of the story, the mood is serene. Snow covers the ground. A boy waits for his bus as a mother bobcat and her son Yearling wake up on a nearby hill. Not long after, Yearling begins his journey to find a new home. Gianferrari’s melodic text and Ibatoulline’s gorgeous illustrations capture the intensity of Yearling’s lengthy travel.
Each time, Yearling thinks he has found his new home (and next meal), he is thwarted by a resident animal such as a lynx, another bobcat or a wolf who has already laid claim to that territory. Gianferrari’s words and Ibatoulline’s artwork are like a symphony with low tones and high notes. When Yearling discovers a potential new home and dinner, the text and illustrations are soft and calm. Once a resident animal spies Yearling’s presence, the words and artwork are energetic showing the conflict between the two animals. To read my full review, get details on entering giveaway, click here.
Emet’s Box by Jeni Chen
Ever since he was young, painting was Emet’s passion. When his parents encouraged him to focus on his studies, he compiled and then gradually stopped painting packing his art supplies in a box. Emet’s world dramatically and literally changed from colorful to gray! Would Emet ever see color again? Luckily, he spies a multicolored kite and follows it which reignites his love for art.
With concise text and expressive illustrations, Chen’s debut picture book shares the powerful message of how doing what you love fuels you. I especially love that last page spread when Chen shows children engaging in their favorite activities whether it be making music, dancing or playing a sport. Emet’s Box will be a great classroom read aloud where kids could share their passion and how it make them feel. Thanks to Michele McAvoy of Little Press/Blue Bronco Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Emet’s Box celebrates its book birthday this Friday on April 1, 2022.
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 character.
Bobo and Pup-Pup series by Vikram Madan Illustrated by Nicola Slater
This early graphic novel series feature two friends, Bobo, a monkey and Pup-Pup, a dog. In the first book, We Love Bubbles, Pup-Pup blows bubbles while Bobo can’t stop popping them resulting in a frustrated Pup-Pup. A now determined Pup-Pup gets Super Bubble Mix to make unpoppable bubbles. Bobo can’t resist popping but when he does, he gets stuck inside. Will his Pup Pup save him? In Let’s Make Cake, the friends see a cake made by mice and decide to make one of their own. When Pup-Pup reads the necessary ingredients, Bobo improvises substituting butter for lemons and salt for sugar and it’s no surprise that their cake is not very tasty. In both books, the theme of friendship is evident, despite their mishaps, the duo have fun spending time together.
Each book has six short chapters with all text appearing in speech bubbles. As a reading specialist, I love how Madan carefully choose words with short vowels, silent e, and high frequency words to support developing readers. Slater’s bright and energetic illustrations fill the pages and will captivate kids. So excited I found this series to share with my students! And stay tuned for Bobo and Pup-Pup’s next adventure, The Funny Book, which releases in October 2022.
Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!