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.
It’s the first official day of my summer and it’s almost hard to believe. When I left school on March 13th, I never thought my school year would continue and end with remote teaching. But with the support of my administration and colleagues and an inner drive , I continued to connect with students, teach and co-teach content, and still read to my #classroombookaday second grade students. I don’t know what school will look like in the fall and to be honest, I have no control over what will happen. What I do have control over is taking time to renew, recharge, and rejuvenate this summer which will include spending time with Bella, my husband, social distancing with family and friends, and of course reading and growing personally and professionally.
Tune It Out by Jamie Sumners
From a very young age, 12 year old Lou struggled with loud noises and physical contact. In fact, her mom was the only one who doesn’t make her jump or cringe. She and her mom have moved around a lot and are currently living in their truck. Lou has a beautiful singing voice and while she hates performing in front of crowds, she sings at coffee shops, casinos, or any place her mom can land a gig to help pay for their basic needs. On a snowy night, Lou is involved in an accident when she attempts to pick up her mom from her job. The accident causes Lou to be separated from her mom and placed in the temporary custody of her lawyer aunt and teacher uncle. Living in a new home, attending the private school where her uncle teaches, and making new friends is a big transition for Lou but gradually she learns more about her mom, her grandparents, and most importantly, herself. While her mom never wanted Lou labeled, Lou begins to realize that acknowledging her sensory processing disorder doesn’t make her weak, it gives her the strength to manage it and be truly happy.
Narrated by Lou, Tune It Out was a story of heartache, happiness, and hope. At the beginning, my heart broke for both Lou and her mom. I know Lou’s mom loves her daughter and never intended anything bad to happen to her, but was too proud to ask for help. I was overcome with happiness as Lou began to trust others especially new friend Well realizing that good friends accept you for who you are. And lastly, Lou gave me hope because with the support of family, school, and friends, she stopped running away from her problems, learned from her mistakes, spoke up for herself, and forged her own path. Thanks to the author, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for sharing a digital galley of Tune It Out with my #bookexcursion group. It releases on September 1, 2020.
Doodleville by Chad Sell
Since Drew was very young, she has been doodling at her parents’ diner and at the age of five; her doodles came alive. Drew draws a home named Doodleville where her art can live when they are not in her sketchbook. On a field trip to The Art Institute of Chicago, her art club advisor challenges the students to find a piece of art that will inspire their next project. Drew gets distracted because her doodles escape her sketchbook invading the art museum. Drew captures them all but not before doodle Mike steals a hat from one of the paintings. When called on to share her project, Drew is not prepared so she is now determined to show everyone with something amazing and big. She creates a monster named Leviathan (Levi for short) which she can’t wait to share with her art club. But when they give her constructive criticism which makes her angry, Levi takes on her emotion creating chaos for all her classmates’ work. Can Drew find a way to control Levi and make amends with her friends?
At times, we all struggle with feeling anxious and inadequate. This fantasy graphic novel reminds us that while those emotions are normal, we need to find a way to get past them and see the good in us. What I loved about the story is how Drew realizes that being different can make you powerful and problems can be solved when you work together. In fact, unity can lead to better friendships and better art. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC at NCTE 2019. Doodleville is the first in the series, for Book 2 will release sometime in 2021.
That’s Life by Ame Dyckman Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
Most adults have heard the saying “That’s life” but how do you explain this to kids? Enter Life, a small, furry, tongue licking creature that suddenly appears disrupting a young child who is deep in thought writing. Wittily using other life expressions, Author Dyckman (and adorably drawn little Life) take our protagonist and young readers on an adventure which shows life can be unpredictable, surprising, exhausting, messy, sweet, funny, tough, crazy, and beautiful. Doerrfeld creatively illustrates all of the life idioms so that kids can visually understands them. And to be sure to check out the gorgeous case cover.
I am a big fan of both Ame Dyckman and Cori Doerrfeld so I knew their collaboration would be larger than life. With all that has happened since March, That’s Life (which coincidentally published on March 31, 2020) is a light and humorous story with a big message reminding us with the right mindset, we can weather any storm.
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.
Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog by Amy Sohn and Omar LePap Illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg
Inspired by a true events, Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog recounts the story of a goldendoodle who went missing for two days and three nights. And don’t worry, she was found!
Every morning Yotam and his mom visit Henry’s Local, a neighborhood cafe, on their way to school. When Yotam sees a friend in the cafe, he ties Bailey’s leash to a metal chair since dogs are not allowed inside. Something startles Bailey causing her to jump and freeing her from the chair. Bailey is on the loose. With the help of the whole Brooklyn community of Carroll Gardens, Bailey is reunited with her family.
The whimsical illustrations drawn in a pastel palette are gorgeous and make Brooklyn a main character in the story. What I especially love is how the neighborhood banded together in support of finding Bailey. The family replaced the missing dog signs with Bailey Came Home signs inviting the community to celebrate on their stoop. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. Brooklyn Bailey, The Missing Dog published in April 2020.
Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!