#Bookexcursion, Biography, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/23/23

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.


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The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier

12 year old Maya relies on her Wheel of Fortunes for good luck and lately, she really needs the help.  She wants to make the Chargers club soccer team to make her dad, a former Charger, proud.  She gave up the flute lessons for soccer, but she still secretly plays her flute in the Cave aka her closet.   Her best friend Ginger seems a little distant and the worst blow of all, her parents just announced a trial separation for the summer. 

Her parents are open to answering questions, but Maya is too hurt to ask.  She is close to her uncle Jimmy, her dad’s twin, who shares many words of wisdom with her.  

  • ‘Listen to your own songs. Sometimes that means tuning everything and everyone out so you can really tune into you.”
  • “Even in the middle of pain, there’s always a sweetness if you know where to look.”
  • “You gotta release the things you’re done with so you can embrace the things that bring you joy.”

Gradually, Maya tunes into her uncle’s words as well as her parents and begins to listen to her own voice.  Like her debut novel Just Right Jillian, Collier’s The Many Fortunes of Maya fills your heart with hope. With short chapters, 231 pages total as well as strong characters and an engaging plot, the reading specialist in me loves that this novel is appealing and accessible to readers transitioning to middle grade.   Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Many Fortunes of Maya celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on January 24, 2023. 


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Bad Kitty: Supercat by Nick Bruel

When Kitty is bored, she is prone to make a mess. When Kitty doesn’t clean up, her humans schedule a playdate stipulating no electronics. The first 3 playdate candidates are a bust, but when Strange Kitty suggests pretending to be superheroes, Kitty is intrigued.  Strange Kitty aka Captain Fantasticat and his rodent sidekick Power Mouse help transform Kitty into Supercat. Not long after, Dr. Lagomorph (a rabbit) shows up with the three orbs of destiny (tennis balls) that are hidden in the kitchen, basement, and backyard. If the orbs can’t be found,  Dr. Lagomorph will turn 92 universes into cheese. Will the superheroes triumph over the villainous bunny? 

It’s easy for kids to laugh out loud when reading Bad Kitty, but Bruel makes sure adults also gets the giggles with subtle sarcasm. I love that when Kitty was evaluating playdates, Bruel created Kitty’s View, a talk show with guests Logic, Instinct, and Emotion to provide commentary. Another highlight was comparing the illustration of animals dressed in superhero costume with the illustrations of how they perceive themselves to look. While Kitty’s humans are happy she took a day off from electronics, they might feel differently after observing the additional mess playing superheroes created.  Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Bad Kitty: Supercat recently released on December 27, 2022. 


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Love Made Me More by Colleen Rowan Kosinski Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez 

On a random day, a young boy’s grandma makes him an orange origami crane with blue and white spots. The crane has a prominent place on the boy’s nightstand so when the boy experiences a loss in his life, the crane is there to provide support, protection, and wishes.  For a while, the boy forgets about the crane placing a picture of himself and his girlfriend in front of it. but when the boy, now man, decides to propose marriage, the crane is an integral part. Years later, the crane is one of many birds hanging from a wire on a mobile overlooking his newborn son.  

A modern day Giving Tree, Love Made Me More is a sweet story about the connection between a boy and his origami crane.  While time passed when the crane was ignored, the boy realizes the importance of the crane in his life and moving forward, includes the crane in future milestones.  Kosinski’s lyrical text coupled with Sanchez’s warm, expressive illustrations make Love Made Me More a heartprint story. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy. Love Made Me More published on December 13, 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.

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The Corgi and the Queen by Caroline Perry Illustrated by Lydia Corry

While the Windsor family has a long history with corgis, this picture book biography features the incredible bond between the future queen Elizabeth and her first corgi pup Susan.  A gift on her 18th birthday, the princess and her pup were inseparable which made it imperative that Susan approve of her future husband Philip.  Thankfully, Philip passed the Susan test and when Elizabeth and Philip were married, unbeknownst to the public, Susan joined her family in the wedding carriage courtesy of the palace staff.  Susan was by Elizabeth’s side for times of joy such as when her first son, Charles, was born and times of grief when King George unexpectedly passed away and she assumes the throne.

As a dog mom and a royal aficionado, I absolutely adored The Corgi and the Queen. I love that the picture book not only highlights the close relationship between a human and their pup but also credit Susan with helping Elizabeth successfully transition from young princess to beloved queen.  Perry’s gentle, informative text and Corry’s warmhearted illustrations perfectly complement each other. Back matter includes a family tree of both Queen Elizabeth and Susan, who is the matriarch of 14 generations of royal corgis. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy.  The Corgi and the Queen released on November 22, 2022. 


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.