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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/10/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

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New Kid by Jerry Craft

There is no question that navigating middle school is challenging for all kids. Now add in transferring to a new upscale middle school where you are one of the few kids of color in your grade. New Kid is a compelling and candid account of Jordan Banks’ first hand experience as a seventh grader at Riverdale Academy Day SchoolThis graphic novel tackles tough issues with honesty and humor which makes it a must read for students, teachers, and parents.  To read my full review, click here.

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Where is My Balloon? by Ariel Bernstein Illustrated by Scott Magoon

Owl has a red balloon and Monkey has his sock with a star. Owl asks Monkey to hold his balloon, but unfortunately, it pops.  When Owl returns to retrieve his precious belonging, Monkey is not truthful and tries to substitute other red items such as a chair, fire truck, and a parachute for the balloon.  Finally, Monkey admits that he popped Owl’s balloon, which devastates Owl so much that he rips up Monkey’s sock.  Once Owl calms down, he forgives Monkey.  Appreciative of Owl’s gesture, Monkey offers to share his sock not realizing it has been destroyed.  Now the shoe is on the other foot and it is Owl’s turn to find a replacement.

A follow-up to I Have a Balloon, Where is My Balloon? is a fun story which teaches young readers about honesty, forgiveness, and sharing.  Younger readers will enjoy the banter between Owl and Monkey as well as the bold and expressive illustrations of the duo.  Special thanks to Simon Kids for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group to read and review.  Where is My Balloon? publishes in January 2019.  

No Boring Stories! by Julie Falakto Illustrations by Charles Santoso

A star nosed mole, a giraffe necked weevil, a babisrusa, and a yeti crab collaborate to write stories. When they discover Bunny eavesdropping on their planning sessions, they are suspicious of her. Turns out that she is a writer herself and needs their help. Tired of boring stories, Bunny desperately wants to join their group because she likes to write weird stories about talking furniture or flying pizza.  Empathetic to her frustration, the animals allow her to listen into their work session and she observes their struggle agreeing to a resolution to their story. Can Bunny help them with an ending?  

Julie Falatko has written a sweet story about perseverance, acceptance, and collaboration. Bunny demonstrates persistence in wanting to be part of the writer’s group, the other animals finally accept her presence, and finally, the animals realize that their beginning needed Bunny’s ending and her ending needed their beginning.  Santoso’s illustrations are adorable but they also vividly convey Bunny’s creative frustration and her need to feel welcomed. Special thanks to Penguin Kids for sending No More Boring Stories to my #bookexcursion group,  It recently published in November 2018.

Etta & 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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Latke, the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer Illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke

Latke, the Lucky Dog is a heartwarming story about a dog that a family adopted from a shelter. After he is adopted, Latke struggles with learning the rules of the house as they family celebrates Hanukkah. Latke eats all sufganiyot and laktes, unwraps the Hanukkah presents, and chews a dreidel and candles.  What I love about this picture book is that it not only shares Hanukkah traditions but also a family’s understanding of Latke’s transition from shelter life to their home.  Latke realizes that he is a lucky dog because of his family’s patience and love. 

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

#Bookexcursion, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade Literature

New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid by Jerry Craft

There is no question that navigating middle school is challenging for all kids. Now add in transferring to a new upscale middle school where you are one of the few kids of color in your grade. New Kid is a compelling and candid account of Jordan Banks’ first hand experience as a seventh grader at Riverdale Academy Day School.

Because it is a graphic novel, readers have the advantage of both the dialogue and the illustrations. Craft’s frank dialogue coupled with his detailed and insightful illustrations allow readers to truly know Jordan’s thoughts and feelings as he, other classmates, and even teachers handle racism and microaggression from not only their peers but also teachers.

Jordan is a talented artist and Craft blends drawings from Jordan’s own sketchbook to give readers more of a window into his personal thoughts and feelings. Some of his sketches are humorous like “My Dad’s Tip for Being a Man! Shaking Hands” while others such as “Jordan’s Tips for Taking the Bus” share his honest realities of navigating his bus ride to school every day.

Craft doesn’t just share Jordan’s journey.  While New Kid is written from Jordan’s point of view, readers learn the challenges other students face through Jordan’s eyes. And through his first year, Jordan learns a lot about himself, others, and that he doesn’t have to choose between things to be happy.

New Kid tackles tough issues with honesty and humor which makes it a must read for students, teachers, and parents. A very special thanks to Jerry Craft for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so you have New Kid in your hands when it publishes in February 2019.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/26/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Focused by Alyson Gerber

Focused is a honest and authentic story about seventh grader Clea and her experience being diagnosed with ADHD. From the very first page, it is clear that Clea struggling to keep up with her schoolwork.  She can’t concentrate when taking a quiz and leaves answers blank.  When completing homework, she finds it hard to manage her time which results in incomplete assignments.  Chess is Clea’s passion and if her grades slip, her opportunity to be on the chess team is in jeopardy.   Adding more fuel to the fire, her best friend Red dealing with his own family issues is tired of all of Clea’s impulsive outbursts.  

Drawing on her own experience having ADHD,  Alyson Gerber wrote Focused from Clea’s point of view. I love that readers get a first hand account of Clea’s thoughts and feelings. Initially, Clea puts all the blame on herself and thinks if she just works harder, things will improve.  After testing and an official diagnosis, Clea learns that she is capable and intelligent and having ADHD has actually made her more persistent and willing to get back up when she does have a set back.  With her new found knowledge and a plan to treat and manage her ADHD, Clea can be in control and begins advocating for herself.  

As a teacher, I work with students who have ADHD, but Focused really opened my eyes to the symptoms, effects, and the challenges they face daily.  I highly recommend this amazing novel to students, teachers, and parents, for Clea’s story can be a both a mirror and a window to readers of all ages.  A very special thanks to Alyson Gerber for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Focused releases in March 2019.  

Robot in Love by T.L, McBeth

Walking down Electric Avenue, Robot experiences love at first sight and he can’t get her out of his mind. But once he sees her again, his nerves overload his system which renders him speechless.  When Robot finally returns with a gift in hand, she is gone and he is beside himself.  Where is she?   

Fortunately, Robot decides to return to their original meeting spot where he is reunited with his one and only love.  While the reader is provided some clues about the identity of Robot’s true love, it is still a surprise for the reader (or at least me).  And don’t overlook the endpapers which provide subtle hints.

Robot in Love is a humorous and heartwarming story that will make you laugh and smile.  I am a big fan of McBeth’s artwork having the opportunity to read and review his debut illustrating Stegothesaurus.  Using a simple palette of black, grey, white, pink and red, McBeth’s warm illustrations bring life to Robot, for his eyes and body language convey his emotions.  I have no doubt that readers will easily fall in love with Robot.

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillian Books for sending Robot in Love to my #bookexcursion group.  It releases on December 24, 2018.  

Made By Maxine by Ruth Spiro Illustrated by Holly Hatem

Made By Maxine is an inspiring story of a young girl who is inventive, resourceful, and most importantly persistent.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Etta & 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.

Found by Jeff Newman and Larry Day

There are books that tug at my heartstrings more than others and Found is one of those books.  A wordless picture book with beautiful ink and water color illustrations, Found is a story about a missing dog, a found dog, loss, love, and hope. 

Before the title page, a young girl peers out of her window and sees a little dog lost in the rain.  She rescues the scruffy brown dog and brings him into her home. Once the girl opens the door to her bedroom, readers spy a missing poster of the girl’s own dog, Prudence, a photo of them together, and a pet bed hidden under the girl’s bed. Apprehensive, the girl slowly allows the found dog to use Prudence’s things and sleep in bed with her. 

By the next day, the girl is clearly smitten with the dog playing with him, taking him for a walk to the local pet store for treats, and hugging him as if he is her very own.  On her walk home, she discovers the found dog is actually missing when she sees a lost flyer for a small golden colored dog named Roscoe.  While it is not an easy decision, the girl knows what she has to do.  And her good deed is rewarded when she learns that although our hearts break for those we lose, our hearts are big enough to love again.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/19/18

Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Ever since Coyote’s mother and two sisters were killed in an automobile accident,  she and her father Rodeo have been living on a converted school bus named Yeager and traveling wherever the road or their stomachs take them. With the discovery that her hometown park is about to be torn down, Coyote must find a way to get back to Washington State in order to retrieve a memory box that she, her mother, and sisters buried there years ago.  The trouble is going home is a no-go for Rodeo who wants to leave their past behind.  

Coyote though is determined to keep her promise to her mom and dig up their box. She concocts a scheme to steer Rodeo toward home without suspicion. While on route, Coyote meets some people in need of rides who join her and Rodeo on her secret journey home.  Since time is of the essence,  she eventually confides in all these passengers who support Coyote in her mission. Each individual also teaches Coyote valuable lessons about family, friendship, forgiveness, and finding your own path. 

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is a beautiful story that reminds us sometimes we do have to go back to move forward.  I do admire Rodeo for his kind and gentle soul but Coyote has my heart.  Of course, any character who devours books and names her kitten Ivan in honor of The One and Only Ivan is a soul mate.  What I love most about Coyote is she shows great strength in acknowledging her vulnerability. One of my favorite lines is when Coyote says “maybe we’re all a little broken. Maybe we’re all a little fragile. Maybe that’s why we need each other so much.”

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer and Mark Podesta of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillian Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for it releases on January 8, 2019.

Duck and Hippo Give Thanks by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

I love finding seasonal read alouds that I can share with students before a holiday. Duck and Hippo Give Thanks is a sweet story that reminds us that true friendship is about accepting others for who they are.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway for 3 Duck and Hippo books, click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Little Brown by Marla Frazee

Little Brown is cantankerous dog but the question is why?  Is his negative attitude caused by the fact that other dogs won’t play with him or rather is it that the other dogs won’t befriend him because of his crankiness? Readers discover that Little Brown does has an interest in mingling with the other dogs but he clearly is afraid of being rejected. 

So what is Little Brown’s solution?  Stealing all their belongings and keeps them for himself.   The ending is a stalemate between Little Brown and the other dogs and will make readers think and want to discuss. Little Brown is a great read aloud for discussing character motivation and will undoubtedly lead to a conversation about bullying and empathy.  

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/12/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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.

I had the honor and pleasure of being part of blog tours for newly released books over the past two weeks.  Some books are still on tour so please click links to read my full review and enter current giveaways.  Etta and Bella’s pick of the week is the anticipated follow up to Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, which is one of my favorite picture books.

Our Reads This Week:

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

When an ink blot escapes a sketchbook, he has no idea of the impact he would have on the Rylance family.  They are still mourning the loss of their mom and comic artist dad is struggling to write his next graphic novel. Inkling tackles tough issues but gently and with care. Kids will be able to relate to Ethan and his challenges of finding his own path. Sydney Smith’s illustrations are also crucial to the plot.  As a reader, I actually felt the presence of Inkling, for splots grace every page.  And I never thought I would fall in love with a cute ink blot, but Kenneth Oppel’s characterization of Inkling will make it hard for you not to do the same. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Love Like Sky by Leslie Youngblood

Told from the point of view of 11-year-old Georgie, Love Like Sky is an honest and heartwarming story about family and friendship. What I love about Love Like Sky is Georgie’s voice is so authentic.  Young readers will  easily be able to relate to Georgie’s struggles but they will also see her strength. While still a child, she is getting older and wants to be treated more like a grown up.  Like other kids her age, Georgie’s choices can be selfish at times but she is self-reflective and learns from her mistakes. To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

Little Dreamers is a companion to Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. This well written and beautifully illustrated compilation of concise biographies is a celebration of 40 curious, creative, and persistence women who are role models for us all.  Each woman challenged the norm, saw things differently, and wasn’t afraid to ask questions and share their thinking. To read my full review & enter a giveaway, please click here.

Duck on a Disco Ball by Jeff Mack

Every kid wants to know what their parents do while they are asleep. Well, Duck on a Disco Ball is a hilarious story about one boy who decides to take matter into his own hands and finds out.  A lively and back-slapping companion to Duck in the Fridge, Duck on a Disco Ball will continue the laughter and young children will beg for more Duck shenanigans. To read full review, please click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Madeline Finn & the Shelter Dog by Lisa Papp

For fans of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, Lisa Papp’s follow up will be a warm hug.  Madeline convinces her mom to allow her to adopt one of Bonnie’s puppies and names him Star.  Wondering how Mrs. Dimple chose Bonnie, Madeline discovers that Bonnie came from a shelter.  Mrs. Dimple invites Madeline to join her at the shelter when she donates supplies.  While Madeline can see the animals have their basic needs met, she is still worried.  “Does any tell the shelter dogs they love them?”  Taking action, Madeline collects towels for the shelter and organizes a read aloud for the dogs.

It is no secret that I have a special place in my heart for rescue dogs and when a story combines my love for reading and rescue dogs, it’s well, perfect.  It is quite clear that Madeline takes her job as Star’s caretaker very seriously which is very important to me.  Children need to realize that having a dog especially a puppy is a big responsibility.  While she has a dog of her own to love, Lisa Papp’s text and warm illustrations beautifully convey Madeline’s genuine concern for the shelter dogs especially a black and white dog named Mr. Chips.  Sponsoring a second grade class for #classroombookaday, I love to read aloud books that teach kids that they too can make a difference.  Madeline is a great role model for children demonstrating small gestures can make a big impact!

A  very special thanks to Lisa Papp and Peachtree Publishers for sending a F & G of Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now like me, for Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog will be published in March 2019.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Inkling by Kenneth Oppel Illustrated by Sydney Smith

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Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Inkling blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Written by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Sydney Smith, Inkling celebrated its book birthday yesterday.

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About the Book:
Title:
 INKLING
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 272

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

Summary:
From the acclaimed author of The NestThe Boundless, and Airborn comes a brilliantly funny, breakout book about a boy who discovers an ink blot that’s come to life! Perfect for those who love Hoot and Frindle and sure to be a hit with kids everywhere!

The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school–even though he can’t draw. Sarah’s still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom. So much more than they can say.

Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together–and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.

Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple chapters of his math book–not good–and the story he’s supposed to be illustrating for school–also not good. But Inkling’s also started drawing the pictures to go with the story–which is amazing! It’s just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too–for Sarah he’s a puppy. And for Dad he’s a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It’s exactly what they all want.

It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they–and Inkling–truly need.

Kenneth Oppel has given us a small masterpiece of middle-grade fiction. Inkling is funny and fizzy and exciting, and brimming with the kind of interesting ideas and dilemmas that kids will love to wrestle with. And Sydney Smith is creating wonderfully inky illustrations to bring the story to vivid life. Get ready. A little ink blot is about to become your new favorite character!

Review:
When an ink blot escapes a sketchbook, he has no idea of the impact he would have on the Rylance family.  They are still mourning the loss of their mom and comic artist dad is struggling to write his next graphic novel.  Ethan is shouldering a lot of responsibilities from helping to take care of his younger sister who has Down’s Syndrome as well as illustrating a group project at school.  Because of his dad, everyone just assumes that he is a talented artist but in reality, Ethan really hates drawing. Except maybe for stick figures.

Imagine Ethan’s surprise when he discovers an ink blot that is alive! Inkling helps Ethan first by sketching his illustrations and then giving him drawing lessons. Once Ethan’s dad discovers Inkling, he too feels revitalized and relies on Inkling to help him out of his creative slump.  While Inkling is happy to assist, he knows that he needs to do something to help the whole family.  Something that will help them all heal and remind them that the most important story of all is the one Ethan, his sister Sarah, and his dad create together as a family.

I just love Inkling’s relationship with Ethan.  While he has friends, Ethan is lonely.  His dad is so distant and Inkling provides that support that Ethan is craving.  Although Inkling is drawing for Ethan, Ethan struggles with the fact that he is cheating and asks Inkling to teach him.  When Inkling looks faint in color, Ethan tells him to stop working and brings him nourishment in the way of comics, newspapers, and books. An ink blot has to eat right? Inkling is a good cheerleader for Ethan. Recalling words and quotes from the stories he has read (and eaten), he boosts Ethan’s confidence.

Inkling tackles tough issues but gently and with care. Kids will be able to relate to Ethan and his challenges of finding his own path. Sydney Smith’s illustrations are also crucial to the plot.  As a reader, I actually felt the presence of Inkling, for splots grace every page.  And I never thought I would fall in love with a cute ink blot, but Kenneth Oppel’s characterization of Inkling will make it hard for you not to do the same.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Kenneth:
I was born in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer. I started out writing sci-fi epics then went on to swords and sorcery tales and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games. Photo credit: Mark Raynes Roberts

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of INKLING, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2831/?

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Kenneth Oppel and INKLING.

Week Two:
11/5/2018- Belles Book Blog– Review
11/6/2018- D Wants to Read– Review
11/7/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/8/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
11/9/2018- Belle’s Archive– Review

Week Three:
11/12/2018- Maddie.TV – Review
11/13/2018- Cindy’s Love of Books– Review
11/14/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
11/15/2018- FUONLYKNEW– Review
11/16/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

Week Four:
11/19/2018- Twirling Book Princess Excerpt
11/20/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
11/21/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt
11/22/2018- All the Ups and Downs- Excerpt
11/23/2018- Lilly’s Book World Review

Week Five:
11/26/2018- The Layaway Dragon– Review
11/27/2018- The Cover Contessa– Interview
11/28/2018- The Pages In-Between– Review
11/29/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland- Review
11/30/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Review

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Love Like Sky by Leslie Youngblood

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Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author Leslie Youngblood and her debut middle grade novel Love Like Sky! I am excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Title:
 LOVE LIKE SKY
Author: Leslie C. Youngblood
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Summary:

“Brims with charm and compassion.”
–Vashti Harrison, New York Times best-selling author of Little Leaders 

“Love ain’t like that.”
“How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.
“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”
“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”
“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”
“No, when we look up, there it is.”
“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches–love like sky.”
“It never ends?”
“Never.”

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

Review:
Told from the point of view of 11-year-old Georgie, Love Like Sky is an honest and heartwarming story about family and friendship.  Georgie is experiencing a lot of change in her life with both of her parents remarrying, gaining a reluctant stepsister, and moving away from her best friend Nikki.  When her little sister Peaches gets sick, Georgie initially blames herself.  Peaches’ illness actually brings Georgie and her stepsister Tangie closer, for Tangie can empathize with Georgie’s grief.  Tangie’s own sister died as a result of injuries sustained from a car accident.   While Georgie welcomes Tangie’s attention, Nikki feels threatened and becomes more friendly with Lucinda, a mean girl, which causes a rift between the best friends.

What I love about Love Like Sky is Georgie’s voice is so authentic.  Young readers will  easily be able to relate to Georgie’s struggles but they will also see her strength.  While still a child, she is getting older and wants to be treated more like a grown up.  Like other kids her age, Georgie’s choices can be selfish at times but she is self-reflective and learns from her mistakes.  Georgie also shows maturity when Nikki is unable to stand up to Lucinda and seeks to help rather than abandon her best friend.

While her family dynamics has definitely changed with her parents’ divorce and remarriages, it is clear that Georgie is blessed with both parents and stepparents who love and support her.  One of my favorite quotes is when Georgie says “Grown-ups are human too.  It takes time to figure stuff out.”  That is true Georgie but never-ending love of family will help you get through those tough times.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Leslie:
Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LOVE LIKE SKY, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2837/?

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about author Leslie Youngblood and her debut novel LOVE LIKE SKY.

Week One:
11/5/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt
11/6/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
11/7/2018- YA Books CentralExcerpt
11/8/2018- Do You Dog-ear?– Review
11/9/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

Week Two:
11/12/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/13/2018- Texan Holly Reads– Review
11/14/2018- Utopia State of Mind– Review
11/15/2018- Novel Novice– Excerpt
11/16/2018- Such a Novel Idea– Review

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/29/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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.

Unfortunately, Bella has become quite camera shy especially a book is nearby.  Imagine that!  Thankfully Etta is willing to pose as long as treats are part of the deal.

Our Reads This Week:

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

12 year old June Harper has always been a rule follower, but after her parents confiscate her library book, The Makings of a Witch, the librarian Ms. Bradshaw is put on indefinite leave, and the school board passes a resolution banning all books which contain profanity, drugs, violence, rock/rap music, witchcraft, drinking, smoking or rebellion of any kind, June has no choice but to rebel for the first time in her life.  Recalling Ms. Bradshaw’s words that one book can change everything, June secretly starts a banned book library in an abandoned locker stocking it with books borrowed from a Little Free Library located in her neighborhood.  Word begins to spread about June’s library but fear of getting caught is growing. Can she keep her underground library hidden or will it be discovered?

I love books about books and most especially I love characters who are voracious readers. June is a proud library groupie who understands the true power of books.  As I read Property of the Rebel Librarian, I’ll admit I was so angered by all the adults in the novel (except of course for Ms. Bradshaw who is awesome) who firmly believed in censoring books.  While it may have seemed far fetched, all I have to do is scroll my Twitter feed to be reminded that censorship is happening when parents and teachers think graphic novels are not real reading or students can’t choose books outside of their reading levels.  I greatly admired June for taking a stand choosing books over a boy and fighting for the freedom to read and most importantly, for the freedom of choice.

While The Makings of a Witch is not a real novel, all other titles mentioned in the novel are real and it was so cool to see familiar and loved titles such as EngiNerds, Pax, A Snicker of Magic, and Because of Winn Dixie. A full list of all titles mentioned appears at the end of the book.  Special thanks to author Allison Varnes for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Property of the Rebel Librarian recently published in September 2018.

Bone Soup: A Spooky and Tasty Tale by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Illustrated by Tom Knight

Bone Soup is a fun Halloween retelling of the classic tale Stone Soup that I can’t wait to read aloud to students this week!  On Halloween morning, three hungry witches have nothing in their cupboards except a bone.  “Let’s make bone soup!” said Naggy Witch.  Carrying their cauldron with the lone bone from house to house, the witches trick or treat for more ingredients to make bone soup.  An assortment of ghoulish characters contribute to the soup by adding a bit of water, a savory morsel, a crunchy treat, and some tasty tidbits.   But wait!  Soup from a bone?  Is this a trick instead of a treat?

Kids will not only enjoy this spooky plot of this remake but also the entertaining and not too scary illustrations.  At the end of the book, there is a recipe to make bone soup which would be a great family activity.  As a teacher, I love author Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s word choice exposing children to rich vocabulary (gleefully, beguiling, boomed) and her use of puns (“I won’t hang around much longer,” sneered the bat.)  Another bonus is under the recipe, she includes a note which reminds readers that the theme of both Bone Soup and the original folktale is that of collaboration and sharing.  That makes Bone Soup a treat for adults to read to kids!

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending Bone Soup to Beagles and Books.  It released in July 2018.

Sanity & Tallulah

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

With engaging artwork using a limited color palette, a fast paced plot, strong and diverse characters and of course, an adorable three-headed kitty,  I hope that Sanity and Tallulah is the first of many space adventures with this charming, intelligent, and plucky duo. To read my full review, click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Blue is a tender and poignant story chronicling the relationship between a boy and his dog.  The first double page spread is a beautiful water color illustration of a puppy and boy sleeping head to head both touching a blue blanket with only two words, baby blue.  Each subsequent spread sweetly captures a moment in time that the boy and his dog share as they grow up together.  The blue blanket is now a kerchief which the boy and the dog take turns wearing.  Just two words, one being blue, describe each scene.  The bonded pair chase butterflies, run in the ocean waves, sleep together, read in a tent, and walk in the rain and snow.  Inevitably, the dog ages and the boy copes with his grief and the loss of his best friend.  As a dog mom, I too have experienced this sorrow and especially with Etta getting older, this story hits very close to home. Blue though reminds me that I can cherish my precious memories and open my heart once again.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? & Enter 2 Giveaways! 10/15/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

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Revenge of the Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner

Snow in May? A satellite falling out of the sky? But wait….it gets worse. An alien obsessed girl with nifty gadgets wants to join the EngiNerds. Ken is at his wit’s end and his fellow EngiNerds are not stepping up. The highly anticipated follow up to EngiNerds exceeds expectations with a hilarious action packed plot and a glimpse into Ken’s struggles to accept that friendships change and grow.

The novel takes place one week after Ken, Dan, Jerry, and John Henry Knox defeated sixteen of the robots. Told from Ken’s point of view, readers quickly discover that there is still one robot on the loose, and strange things are occurring in town. Ken is determined to find this rogue robot and is fueled by a quote from his grandpa.  “Finish what you start or down the road, it’ll bite you in the backside.” His fellow EngiNerds are not only discouraged but also distracted by Mikaela Harrington, a girl who believes aliens are to blame for all the strange occurrences and is eager to share all her handmade fancy gizmos.

Ken cannot understand why his friends actually are taking Mikaela seriously especially his best friend Dan.  Readers will easily identify with Ken’s jealousy and his growing concern that he and Dan are drifting apart.   Thanks to his dog Kitty and Mikaela’s data eater, Ken finally finds the lone robot Klaus working at Things and Stuff.  Will Ken be able to defeat Klaus alone or with the help of the EngiNerds?  Can Ken accept and become friends with Mikaela?  Is Klaus or aliens to blame for all the mysterious happenings?  Only one way to find out.  Pre-order Revenge of the Enginerds now so you can have it delivered promptly on February 19, 2019.

Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.

Remarkably You by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton

What makes you remarkable?  In Remarkably You, Pat Zielow Miller’s inspirational text affirms that no matter your volume, age or size, we all have the power to make a difference in world with our own individual gifts.   Written in rhyme, she speaks directly to readers encouraging us to uncover our talents, follow our passions, solve problems, and most importantly, be ourselves and believe in ourselves.  Patrice Barton’s warm and expressive illustrations depict children of all sizes and ethnicities who exude confidence.  An added bonus are the endpapers which is a sea of verbs and adjectives to positively describe and celebrate us as the unique individuals we are!  Can’t wait to share Remarkably You with teachers and students!

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.  Remarkably You publishes in February 2019.

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Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is a laugh out loud story which reinforces the benefits of cooperation and teamwork! To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, please click here.

Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies by Marilyn Singer Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the First Ladies exhibit.  I could spend hours looking at the First Ladies gowns and reading about their lives and the causes they championed.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? is an opportunity to meet all the women who have served in this public role through Marilyn Singer’s lyrical and rhyming poetry.

What did I learn? Here are a few facts.

  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was a wealthy widow with two children before marrying our nation’s first president.
  • Martha Wayless Skeleton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson died before he became president.
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams became closer to her husband, John Quincy Adams after his presidency when they both fought for abolition.
  • Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first to add a sizeable collection of books at the White House.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Mackell Smith Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor refused to participate in White House social functions and relinquished the role of hostess to her daughter Betty Bliss.
  • Lou Henry Hoover spoke four languages and studied geology at Stanford University.

Nancy Carpenter’s artwork has a vintage feel with ink and wash illustrations that complement the poetry well.  The back matter includes a narrative about the history of the role of First Lady, brief profiles of each woman with a quote and recommended books and websites.  This anthology of poetry reminds us how each First Lady embraced or surprisingly rejected their role as partner of the Commander in Chief.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion Books and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 16, 2018!  To enter a giveaway sponsored by the publisher to win a copy of your own, please click here.

Etta’s and 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.

Douglas, You’re a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his glasses are back in a new story which promotes innovation, creativity, and persistence! While playing with Nancy, their ball disappears into a hole at the bottom of the fence.  To their surprise, the ball came back but how? Douglas hatches a plan to find out who is on the other side of the fence by sending a toy train through the hole.  After what seems like a long wait, the train returns with the following messages: “Hola” and “Queremos Conocerte.”  Nancy shares plan after plan with Douglas in hopes of getting over the fence but much to Douglas’ chagrin, every idea involves him doing something dangerous.  Finally, Douglas speaks up for himself and takes charge which truly shows he is a genius!  After discovering the mystery neighbors, I am hopeful for a third installment.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/8/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut

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While the Del Toro family business of combating wolf like monsters known as skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.   To read my full review, click here.

Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Pon

Porcupine is bursting with excitement to make her Famous Cranberry Pie for Fall Feast Day.  As she heads to the river to wash her cranberries, she encounters her forest friends who all are missing an ingredient to make their signature dish.  Ever helpful, Porcupine offers provisions in her pantry to her friends.  When she finally reaches the river, she realizes that her pail of cranberries is empty and no longer can make her beloved pie.  Her friends come to her rescue and Porcupine discovers that she can now make Friendship Pie, which is much more festive.   Debut author Laura Renauld has written a heartwarming story about friendship and sharing, and illustrator Jennie Pon’s warm and tender artwork will captivate young readers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura about her debut picture book.  To read the interview, click here.  Thanks to Laura Renauld for sharing an e-copy of Porcupine’s Pie with Beagles and Books.  Porcupine’s Pie will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on October 9, 2018.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Patrick Green

What happens when a cute little kitten named Marmalade wants to be taken seriously as an architect and design the mayor’s mansion? She teams up with fellow kittens Sampson, an electrical engineer, Bubbles, a plumber, and Professor von Wigglebottom to start House Kittens Construction. This graphic novel for early readers is absolutely adorable (sorry House Kittens). Readers will easily fall in love with these enterprising felines. Hoping this is a series with more adventures to come.

Etta’s and 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.

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Have you ever been blown away by a story?  The Rough Patch is a poignant story about love, loss, grief, and healing.  Evan, a fox and his dog were inseparable until the dog unexpectedly dies.   Evan’s garden which was once the source of happiness is now a lonely place.   To deal with his pain, Evan destroys his once magnificent garden allowing weeds to take over.  When a lone prickly pumpkin vine makes its way into the garden, Evan lets it remain and tends it to until it grows into an enormous pumpkin. This prize pumpkin is integral to the story because it ultimately helps Evan mend his broken heart.  Lies’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and tenderly reveal the range of emotions that Evan experiences.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!