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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/20

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After a brief hiatus, Beagles and Books is back and 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.

Bella, my husband, and I are grateful to have spent our summer vacation in the western North Carolina mountains. We stayed at a beautiful house with a large screened porch which was situated on 3 acres with a running river and a pond.   We booked this trip in December 2019 so when COVID began impacting travel, we were worried that our trip would be cancelled.  Fortunately, restrictions were lifted, and we enjoyed a relaxing and peaceful family vacation to reflect and renew.

 

 

Check out the otter swimming in the pond!

 

 

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/20”

#pb10for10, Picture Books

Celebrating #PB10fo10: Bringing Book Joy with Barkworthy Picture Books

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Since 2010, Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning have been hosting #pb10for10, a fabulous event for sharing the power of picture books!  To view all #pb10for10 lists, please click here.

2020 is definitely a year that is unforgettable.  Before COVID-19 closed school buildings and teaching became virtual,  we had to say goodbye to my original book beagle Etta in February.  While I miss her greatly, Etta’s legacy will always live on because she helped me launch Beagles and Books with my first post, which coincidentally was 2017 #pb10for10 celebrating dog books.

2020 marks my fourth year participating in #pb10for10.  Click below to view my previous lists.  Can you notice my trend?

Each week, I feature one dog book on my blog and Bella (adopted in 2018) now has taken over the role of book beagle full time.  Dog books bring me so much joy which is why I am continuing the tradition of sharing my 10 favorite dog picture books of 2020.

Bringing Book Joy with Barkworthy Picture Books

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This Is A Dog by Ross Collins (March 2020)

As you can see, the cover alone will elicit questions from kids.  Why did the dog cross out the original title and write a new one underneath? On the first page spread, the text reads “This is a dog.” with an illustration of the same black and white dog from the cover.  The next page spread reads ” This is a cat” with an accompanying cat illustration but the dog is peering onto this spread. As other animals are introduced on subsequent page spreads, more of the dog’s body appears.  The dog scares the squirrel to the top of the page, pees near a giraffe’s back legs, and attempts to imitate an elephant.  When the dog steals the word gorilla, the ape chases the dog and is joined by all the other animals featured in the book.  The dog though still has a trick up his paw finding a way to steal the entire show (I mean book)! I can already hear the chuckles from children when This is a Dog is read aloud.  What I love is that Ross’ text and illustrations match but the dog decides to tell a different story with him at the center.  After reading, a discussion on character traits and feelings could occur to identify the dog’s over the top personality and the other animals’ annoyance.

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Where’d My Jo Go? by Jill Esbaum Illustrated by Scott Brundage (April 2020)

Jo and Big Al are constant companions with Jo driving a big, blue rig and Big Al riding shotgun.  Always together, wherever they go.  When pup Big Al gets distracted playing and is accidentally left at a truck rest stop, he sits and stays.  Two kids see Al and attempt to befriend him, but Al knows Jo will come back for him.  And indeed she does and their reunion is epic.  Esbaum’s rhyming text and Brundage’s expressive watercolor and pencil illustrations make Where’s My Jo Go? a heartwarming story.  As a reader, I appreciate that Esbaum shares the inspiration for the story and how she wanted the dog to tell part of the story from his point of view. As a dog mom, I can emphasize with Jo when she realizes her precious Al is not in her truck with her.  When we first adopted Bella, she attempted to chase a bunny out of our fenced yard.  I immediately bought a GPS tracker to ensure Bella’s safety.  If you look closely, you can see Bella’s Whistle tracker in some of her shelfies.

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This Little Pup by Laura J. Bryant (April 2020)

This Little Pup is a charming and creative counting book.  On the front endpapers, a little gray scruffy puppy eyes a blue ball in the grass.  On the first page spread, readers see a little boy getting ready to bounce the ball to the puppy.   Once the ball is bounced, the energetic puppy follows the ball passing by the many animals on the farm.  Written in concise text in a larger font, counting and colors are reinforced as the puppy chases the ball all over the farm. Will the puppy finally catch it? I especially love that author/illustrator Laura J. Bryant utilizes all the space of each page spread as well as the end papers to tell the story with delicate and warm illustrations. Bold dashes show the immense bounce of the big blue ball.  Children will love counting up all the animals on the last few spreads. And like the little pup asks for another round of fetch, young readers will also beg for second read.

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Hound Won’t Go by Lisa Rogers Illustrated by Meg Ishihara (April 2020)

Hound Won’t Go is an fun and engaging story about a stubborn basset hound. What starts out as a leisurely walk turns into a traffic standstill when Hound won’t leave his spot in the street.  Treats, tugs, horns, or stares will not change Hound’s mind.  He just won’t go.  But the sound of thunder does cause action and Hound wastes no time racing home with his owner following behind him.  When he finally reaches home wet and tired, Hound shakes, jumps into bed, and cuddles with his person.  Written in rhyme, Lisa Rogers’ amusing story really resonated with me because my sweet Etta had been known to show her stubborn side especially on a walk.  Unlike Hound who won’t move, Etta would never let me stop to talk to a neighbor.  She was always on the go ready to return home for a treat.  Like Hound,  Etta (years ago, when she could hear) hated thunder.  She always went to her safe spot in the den and would burrow under pillows. Meg Ishihara’s adorable cartoon style illustrations of Hound are spot on showing his headstrong personality at the beginning of the story which quickly changes to fear when thunder erupts.

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Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal (May 2020)

A dog goes on an adventure but is caught by a robe wearing, coffee drinking cat.  As the dog jumps on a trike with a poodle, the cat sheds its morning wear for exercise clothes following the dog.  As the dog switches modes of transportation adding more canine passengers,  the cat follows suit changing its vehicle to keep pace.  But once 10 dogs…wait, make that 9 dogs and 1 sly cat are traveling through space together, the countdown begins with dogs frantically wanting to return home.  Once the dog is safe back in its yard, a mouse peers out of a small door to follow 2 cats on a trike.  Hmm…I think another story is about to begin. Two Dogs on a Trike is so much more than a counting book.  With Snyder’s concise rhyming text and Rosenthal’s expressive illustrations of a feline, canines (and a mouse), it is a hilarious romp!

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This is Gus by Chris Chatterton (May 2020)

Gus is a grumpy basset hound who doesn’t like being petted, going for walks or celebrating birthdays. But wait! Once a basset pup arrives on the scene, maybe Gus will change his mind. And while the text may say Gus now likes things, the illustrations clearly show his distaste for everything except…sausage.  Gus likes the smell, shape, and taste of sausage.  Guess who else likes sausage? The basset pup.  Will Gus be willing to share his sausage?  Like Ryan Higgins’ Bruce, This is Gus might be a grouch but he truly has a heart of gold.

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A Family for Louie by Alexandra Thompson (June 2020)

Foodie French bulldog Louie thinks his life is full. He has fine food, a comfortable home, and books to read. But one day he realizes the one thing he is missing is a family. But how you find a family?  Each time Louie sees what he thinks is a potential match, something is not right. Will Louie ever find a family to call his own? Debut author/illustrator Alexandra Thompson has written and illustrated a charming story about food, friendship, and family.  Louie is simply adorable and Thompson’s use of soft colors in her illustrations evokes a sense of warmth and calm.   What I love about Louie is Thompson’s decision to make him anthropomorphic, for he sits in restaurants, goes to the beach, and sits in parks right alongside humans.  And while he thought he was content, once he saw families spending time together, he realized he desired that sense of connection too.

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Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Deborah Hocking (July 2020)

Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert is full of good advice for welcoming a new dog of any age into your family. Max has wanted to dog for a long time and after his mom sees an adoption event in the local paper, they finally say yes to Max.  Choosing the right puppy is a tough decision but once Max does, he realizes it is even more difficult to choose the right house.  Do you pick a name based on personality or behavior?  Teaching his puppy the do’s and don’t of the house and commands is a lot of work hard work but Max realizes that puppies are also a lot of fun, cute, cuddle, and love which helps him choose the perfect name. What I love about the Max is he talks directly to the reader.  McAnulty’s bouncy text reads like a conversation and along with Hocking’s charming full page illustrations, Max’s upbeat personality shines through. I also love that kids see that Max did the research before adopting a pet and his mom holds him accountable for taking care of his puppy.  And of course, the fact that Max adopted a puppy warms my heart.

And 2 New Picture Books Releasing September 2020!

 

Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp

I just adore author/illustrator Lisa Papp’s Madeline Finn so I was excited to hear about a third book in the series.  At the beginning of the story, Star celebrates his first birthday and the next day, he begins taking tests to become a therapy dog.  Star performs well listening to commands,  ignoring other therapy dogs at the retirement home, and being gentle with the residents.  During his second test, almost all of the residents are delighted to meet Star but Madeline notices one man, Mr. Humphrey doesn’t smile or say anything.  Her mother encourages her to be patient because some people just need time.  Big hearted Madeline wants to find a way to help Mr. Humphrey.  She and Star practice a variety of activities in hopes of connecting with him.  When Mr. Humphrey still doesn’t respond, Madeline, with some help from librarian Mrs. Dimple, recalls how reading aloud to therapy dog Bonnie helped her gain confidence. Madeline decides to read a story to Bonnie, Star, and Mr. Humphrey which not only helps her connect with Mr. Humphrey but also earns Star her therapy dog tag.  I love Papp’s soft and tender illustrations and when I read any of the books in this series, I feel I am like wrapped in a warm hug.  Thank you to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a F & G of Madeline Finn and The Therapy Dog which publishes on September 1, 2020.

 

This Old Dog by Martha Brockenbrough Illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo

Brockenbrough’s soulful, concise text coupled with Alborozo’s warm and charming illustrations will touch your heart.   Old dog may have sore bones but his heart and tail still go thump thump.  With the arrival of a new baby in the family, the pace of life in his home has sped up which is quite a change for a dog who likes to take things slow.  As a result, his leisurely walks are now shorter. As he sleeps, he dreams of long walks with deep sniffs.  When he wakes, he wishes he had a friend with whom he could share his walks.   Once the baby takes her first steps, old dog’s wish comes true and the two remind us the importance of slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life.  This heartwarming story has made me be less hurried on my own daily walks with Bella and to let her enjoy all the deep sniffs.  Thank you to Levine Querido and Edelweiss for sharing an eARC of This Old Dog which publishes on September 1, 2020.

Thank you for visiting Beagles and Books’ #pb10for10! Do you have a favorite dog picture book?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway for Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten by Laura Purdie Salas Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

About the Book:
Title:
CLOVER KITTY GOES TO KITTYGARTEN
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Hiroe Nakata
Pub. Date:
  August 1, 2020

Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Review & Giveaway for Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten by Laura Purdie Salas Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata”

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/20/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray

Amelia “Millie” Ashford is one of six girls chosen to spend the night at Amelia Earhart’s childhood home in Atchison, Kansas.  While choosing a bedroom, she accidentally walks into the room where Amelia Earhart’s goggles from her solo flight are stored before being sent to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Later that night, during a scavenger hunt, the goggles mysteriously disappear.

Millie is good at solving puzzles.  After all, she finished first place in cubing competition but friendships are not as easy as solving the classic three by three.   But when Birdie, the caretaker of the house falls ill and the other adults in the house don’t seem to be trustworthy,  Millie along with Thea, twins Robin and Wren, Nathalie, and Cassie decide  they, the Amelia Six, must band together using their problem solving skills to find both the goggles and the criminal.

With an absorbing plot, dynamic characters, and facts about Amelia Earhart (as well as other female pilots such as African-American and Native American pilot Bessie Colman and deaf pilot Nelle Zabel Willhite) woven into the storyline, I was a captive reader eager to piece together the clues and solve the mystery with the Amelia Six.  I love that Gray chose Millie to narrate because it was an added bonus getting to witness Millie change and grow from the beginning to the end.   As the Amelia Six collaborated, Millie not only emerged as a leader and a friend but also started to come to terms with her pilot mother who left the family when she was ten.  And for readers who want to learn more about Earhart, Gray has included a reading list and an author’s note which includes more facts, links, and sources. Thanks to Jenny Lu of Simon and Schuster for sending a copy to read and review.  The Amelia Six recently published on June 30, 2020.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison Illustrated by Frank Morrison

The cheery protagonist from I Got the Rhythm and I Got the Christmas Spirit returns in I Got the School Spirit, a back to school story full of pep and optimism.   Before she leaves for school, she feels the spirit brushing her teeth,  putting on her new shoes, packing her book bag, and eating breakfast. On the bus, the spirit is alive and she shares it with a nervous friend.  Once at school, the spirit keeps her calm, focused, and engaged whether she is in the hallways, her classroom, the lunch room or the playground.   And of course, the spirit remains with her when she meets her mom at the bus stop after a successful first day of school!  SchofieldMorrison’s snappy text literally bounces off the page especially her use of onomatopoeia to express the spirit.  Morrison’s gorgeous oil painting illustrations have an energy all of their own filling up the entire page spread.  Can’t wait to share this lively story with teachers and kids when school begins! I Got the School Spirit recently published on July 7, 2020.

Saturdays Are For Stella by Candy Wellins Illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan

George looks forward to Saturdays because he always spends them with his grandmother Stella.  Whether they stayed in or went out, Stella made everything fun. But when George wakes up late one Saturday and sees his parents hugging and crying,  Saturdays are no longer fun.  George takes the loss of his grandmother extremely hard and doesn’t ever think Saturdays will ever be enjoyable until his sister, Stella, is born.  And while Saturdays aren’t the same, George slowly learns that he can share all his favorite activities he enjoyed with his grandmother such as riding the carousel, making cinnamon rolls or telling jokes with his new baby sister.  Saturdays will always be for Stella.

Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult no matter what your age.  In her debut picture book, author Wellin handles the topic with tenderness and grace.  After George’s is told about this grandmother, young readers get to see George’s grief in both words and pictures which can support parents having a conversation with a young child.  Ryan’s warm and charming illustrations complement the text well showing George’s loving relationships with his grandmother, parents, and little sister. This heartwarming story teaches young children that love never ends, for George learns his heart is big enough to hold cherished memories & new ones.   Thank you Candy Wellin for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Look for Saturdays Are for Stella’s release on August 11, 2020.

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.

This Is A Dog by Ross Collins

As you can see, the cover alone will elicit questions from kids.  Why did the dog cross out the original title and write a new one underneath? On the first page spread, the text reads “This is a dog.” with an illustration of the same black and white dog from the cover.  The next page spread reads ” This is a cat” with an accompanying cat illustration but the dog is peering onto this spread. As other animals are introduced on subsequent page spreads, more of the dog’s body appears.  The dog scares the squirrel to the top of the page, pees near a giraffe’s back legs, and attempts to imitate an elephant.  When the dog steals the word gorilla, the ape chases the dog and is joined by all the other animals featured in the book.  The dog though still has a trick up his paw finding a way to steal the entire show (I mean book)! I can already hear the chuckles from children when This is a Dog is read aloud.  What I love is that Ross’ text and illustrations match but the dog decides to tell a different story with him at the center.  After reading, a discussion on character traits and feelings could occur to identify the dog’s over the top personality and the other animals’ annoyance.

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/13/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramée

Seventh grader Janae is not about fitting in at her middle school. She actually prefers to be invisible.  But when Aubrey, a new student who shares a love of YouTube show, Astrid Dane, befriends Janie, blending in is not so easy.  Outgoing Aubrey is the complete opposite of Janae so she wonders why he wants to be her friend as well as debate partner in English class.  Public speaking is one of Janae’s greatest fears; in contrast, Aubrey is elated to debate a timely community issue-changing the name of their junior high school from John Wayne to honor Sylvia Mendez, a young Mexican-American girl who help successfully integrate California schools.  Janae becomes really interested in learning more about Sylvia but her feelings on public speaking remain unchanged.  Will Janae risk her new friendship with Aubrey and stay silent or will be willing to speak up for herself to not only save her friendship but also champion Sylvia for her bravery? 

Written from Janae’s point of view, readers get to truly witness her inner struggles and my heart hurt for her.  While Janae initially tried to distance herself from Aubrey, I loved how she gradually began to enjoy and look forward to Aubrey’s company. This awareness made her decision making more difficult and the novel more exciting to read.  Janae learns that while friendship can be messy and hard, it is also “sway” (good) and “del” (delicious). Thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for sharing an eARC.  Something to Say celebrates its book birthday this week on July 14, 2020.

13th Street #1: Battle of the BadBreath Bats by David Bowles  Illustrated by Shane Clester

Malia is excited to spend the summer with her Aunt Lucy in the cool Little Mexico neighborhood of Gulf City,  but she is not as thrilled that her cousins Ivan and Dante were there too.  As they make their way to the neighborhood water park, Malia decides she is in charge.  After all, she is the oldest by two months.  While on 11th Street, they meet an old woman who tells them of a shortcut down an alley. Everything becomes dark and quiet and the cousins discover they have missed 12th Street and are now on 13th Street. And to make matters worse, the trio encounter bats with incredibly awful breath.  Will Malia, Ivan, and Dante be able to band together to successfully battle the bats and make it back home?

As a reading specialist, I was already a fan of the new illustrated Harper Chapters series, for each book includes supports such as end of the chapter progress bars and full and half page illustrations for students transitioning to chapter books.  Kids will devour the 13th Street series because of its engaging characters and scary, fast paced plot.  I also love how #ownvoices author Bowles exposes readers to Spanish through not only dialogue but also after readers complete milestones as saying Chido! for reading 4 chapters. Special thanks to the publisher Harper Collins for sharing an ARC of 13th Street #1 at the NCTE convention. In addition to Battle of the BadBreath Bats, the next two books in the series, The Fire-Breathing Ferret Fiasco and Clash of the Cackling Cougars recently published on July 7, 2020.

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Lulu, The One and Only by Lynette Mawhinney Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Lulu, The One and Only is a powerful story to begin the conversation about race with young children. Lulu is a proud and confident biracial young girl but she is confused and sensitive because people keep asking her “What are you?” Written from Lulu’s point of view, she honestly shares some of the questions people ask her which are very hurtful.

While I have read a lot of picture books that discuss identity and self acceptance, Lulu, The One and Only is the first picture book that provides mixed-race children with a tool to help them navigate their emotions and responses when asked inconsiderate questions.  Lulu’s story is also a valuable resource for making young children understand what microaggressions are and to discuss how these statements were hurtful to Lulu and Zane. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

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.

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield Ilustrated by Eshan Abdollahi

If you are looking for a book to introduce novels in verse, look no further than Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me, a collection of 16 poems told from mostly the dog’s point of view.  In the first poem, Naming Me, the dog explains why his owner Jace named him Thinker, for he like Jace is a poet and wants a deep, not cute name.  At home, Thinker and Jace are the perfect match communicating in free verse but on Pets’ Day at school. Jace is worried how others will react to Thinker’s gift of words and ask Thinker to follow the rule of “no poems, no talk.” Can Thinker be himself by only watching, thinking and barking? Through her poetry, Greenfield beautifully conveys both Jace’s and Thinker’s feelings.  Jace’s initial anxiety turns to pride when he realizes Thinker needs to be his true self.  Abdollahi’s warm collage illustrations complement the verses well and provide support if sharing this novel with younger readers.

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

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Giveaway, Picture Books

Review & Giveaway for Lulu The One and Only by Lynnette Mawhinney

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About the Book:
Title:
LULU THE ONE AND ONLY
Author: Lynnette Mawhinney
Illustrator: Jennie Poh
Pub. Date:
June 9, 2020

Special thanks to Magination Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Review & Giveaway for Lulu The One and Only by Lynnette Mawhinney”

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/6/20

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Beagles and Books is 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.

#MustReadin2020 Update

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On January 1, 2020, I created my #mustreadin2020, a list of middle grade novels all being published in 2020 that I wanted to make a priority to read.  To read an update on my progress, click here.

The Wonder of Wildflowers by Anna Staniszewski

When she stands next to the other girls in her fifth grade class, Mila describes herself as “a chicken surrounded by swans.”  She is the shortest, the least athletic, and sweats with any physical activity.  When she was 5 years old, Mila emigrated to Amberland with her mother and father. Because they are not yet citizens, she and her family are not allowed to sip Amber, a liquid magic that makes people strong and healthy.  Mila is elated when her family is finally granted citizenship and the right to use Amber. She quickly notices changes in her athleticism, her grades, and her confidence especially voicing her opinion to her best friend Krysta.  Unfortunately, her creativity has taken a hit, for she is struggling to write poetry which has always been one of her talents.  And when citizens are told Amber rations are being cut, Mila and her family become a target of hate crimes for they are not seen as citizens but rather outsiders depleting the town’s Amber supply.

Written in under 200 pages with short chapters, dynamic characters, and an intriguing plot, middle grade readers will easily get pulled into Mila’s story.  While The Wonder of Wildflowers is indeed fantasy,  given the current state of our country, the plot seems quite realistic, and Staniszewski tackles relevant themes as friendship, immigration, bullying, and self-acceptance. What I loved most is witnessing Mila’s transformation realizing that it is more important to stand out than blend in.  Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Wonder of Wildflowers published in February 2020 and is one of my #mustreadin2020 middle grade novels.

The Word for Friend by Aidan Cassie

A pangolin named Kemala loves to talk and is excited about making friends at her new school but on her first day, worry replaced her enthusiasm because all her classmates speak a different language.  How will she ever make friends? During recess, Kemala meets Ana, an anteater, and teaches her how to cut leaves into animal shapes.  Using the animals as puppets, Kemala and Anna communicate telling each other stories. Through her friendship with Anna, Kemala develops the confidence and desire to speak the new language to her classmates and teacher.

Like the main characters in author/illustrator Cassie’s previous two picture books, Sterling, Best Dog Ever and Little Juniper Makes It Big!, Kemala learns the lesson of self-acceptance with the support of a friend.  What I love about this story is besides becoming friends, Kemala and Anna both learn a new skill.  Kemala teaches Anna how to make animal leaf puppets and Kemala learns a new language.  With charming and engaging illustrations, The Word for Friend is a perfect read aloud for the start of the school year to support building a classroom community based on kindness, inclusiveness, collaboration, and friendship.  An added bonus is the back matter which shares information on Esperanto, Kemala’s new language and cool facts about pangolins. Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an e-copy of The Word for Friend.  It recently published on June 16, 2020.

Invent-A-Pet by Vicky Fang  Illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarong

When Katie tells her mother she wants an extraordinary, spectacular pet, her mother surprises her with a marvelous machine to help her create a one of a kind animal.  The machine has 3 slots and after randomly inputting objects, the outputs were not the animals Katie wanted.  She finally makes a plan and discovers each slot has a variable-size, color, and animal.  But before Katie can create her perfect pet, she has to solve a more pressing problem.  What will she do with all the pets she created during her trial and error? Fortunately, Katie’s problem solving skills save the day ensuring all the animals find a home.  So does Katie ever create her extraordinary pet?  Read to find out!  With bright, playful illustrations and a unique plot, Invent-A-Pet is not only fun and engaging but it also teaches children the scientific process, critical thinking, and beginning concepts of coding.   Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursionIt recently published on June 2, 2020.

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.

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Bo Bo’s Cave of Gold) by Pam Berkman and Dorothy Hearst Illustrated by Claire Powell

At the Heels of History is a fictional chapter book series that recounts historical events through the eyes of dogs.  The second adventure, Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold, takes place in 1852 in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California.  In the first chapter, a golden mutt, Sage, is thrown out of her pack for being weak.  Alone and hungry, a bird takes pity of Sage and introduces her to Sheng, a young boy who left war torn and famine stricken China with his father and uncle to find gold in California.  With his father’s permission, Sheng adopts Sage renaming her Bo-Bo (meaning little treasure) and the dog vows to be tough and loyal to Sheng even when faced with challenges. Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold is a story full of history and heart. Readers will learn how immigrants were treated during the California gold rush through not only the story but also the backmatter. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here. 

Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!

happiness-is-a-warm-puppy-and-a-good-book

 

Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade Literature

Review & Giveaway for Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold by Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst

About the Book:
Title:
BO-BO’S CAVE OF GOLD
Author: Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst
Illustrator: Claire Powell
Pub. Date:
April 28, 2020

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Review & Giveaway for Bo-Bo’s Cave of Gold by Pam Berkman & Dorothy Hearst”

#Bookexcursion, #MustReadsin2020, Middle Grade Literature

My #MustReadin2020 Update

 

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On January 1, 2020, I created my #mustreadin2020.  This is a list of middle grade novels all being published in 2020 that I wanted to make a priority to read.  Since school has officially ended, I can now relax, renew, and read.  Thanks to my fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione’s recent #mustread update post, now is a great time to take a look at my list and reflect upon my current status and progress.

STATS
I have read and reviewed 8 books  (47%)
I just finished reading 1 book. (6%)
I am currently reading 1 book. (6%)
I have 7 books left in my TBR stack. (41%)

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Read (with links to reviews)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin

How to Make Friends with the Sea by Tanya Guerrero

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson 

Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonaldo

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan

Just Finished
The Wonder of Wildflowers by Anna Staniszweski  (review to be posted on 7/6/20)

Currently Reading
A Dog Friendly Town by Josephine Cameron (August 2020)

Still on my TBR
The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder (March 2020)
Any Day With You by Mae Respicio (May 2020)
Quintessence by Jess Redman (May 2020)
Brave Like That by Lindsey Stoddard  (June 2020)
Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai (August 2020)
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (August 2020)
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie (September 2020)

Look for an update on my #mustreadin2020 progress in early September.   Do you have any #mustreadin2020 middle grade novels you wish to share?  Post any recommendations in the comments below.

 

 

Blog Tour, Debut Author, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani

Bella and I are excited to be part of the Kat and Juju blog tour!  Releasing on July 1, 2020, this picture book is written and illustrated by Kataneh Vahdani. Special thanks to Amazon/Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Giveaway for Kat and Juju by Kataneh Vahdani”