All in Dr.Bookworm Book Rec
“Okay, so when you’ve just moved to a new town and are still a total outsider…
…is not the best way to start life at your new school.
Hi! Penelope here. Peppi for short. It’s my first day at Berrybrook Middle School, and I just ripped over my own feet and dropped everything.”
~ Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Jenny Han, the author of To All the Boys and its sequels, wrote an op-ed piece in the NYT about what it means for teens to have an Asian teen role model like Lana Condor AKA the actor who plays Lara Jean Song Covey. Why is her full name important? Because Lara Jean is a mixed Asian-American. Just like my kids.
Monster Boogie as its re-incarnation of a picture book is such a pleasure to sing. Yes, sing. I couldn't help but sing the book the first time I read it to Little Lion because I know this song too well. And I'm a bit tone deaf.
What I love about Roof Octopus is the quirkiness of the storyline and the whimsical, magical, and colorful illustrations that match the story perfectly. Basically a little girl wakes up to find an octopus on her rooftop. And while the adults aren't so quick to accept someone new and foreign to their neighborhood, Nora is wholeheartedly all in.
While I had one dream come true by being able to finally see a performance at the Globe theater in London, I have to admit that the situation wasn't ideal. I was still jetlagged, it was crazy humid, and Little Lion was fidgety.
I read I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman completely backwards. Or completely out of order, at least. Have you ever done that? Skipped ahead to get to the crux of the matter? Or because there's a scene you want to spoil for yourself?
I skipped around and then read the last third and then went back to the parts I skipped.
We've heard the phrase WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS over and over again. And it's true. No matter how many times you hear it, or if you're sick of hearing the same things in conferences. When I was growing up, I NEVER saw myself in the books I read. Ever.
I was so excited that Erin Entrada Kelly won the Newbery that I did this read-along a little differently: I distributed ten copies of Hello, Universe to my fellow bibliophiles and colleagues who love to read.
Pug Pals: Two's a Crowd by Flora Ahn is a real stand-out in the early chapter book genre. Pug Pals starts out with a look at the day-to-day in a pug's life (Sunny) as she navigates snacking, playing with her prized bunny toy, and watching her favorite detective show. Throw in a newly adopted sibling and we've got ourselves the perfect book conflict.
I have this huge affinity for snails that started when I was little. There's a great video of my cousins, sisters, and me playing in the backyard with snails. I think theoretically we are rescuing and clearing the garden from them. I also remember putting them in jars and watching them kiss.
The Crossover centers around Josh and his twin, Jordan AKA JB, who are two middle schoolers who play basketball, just like their dad. The family dynamics are spelled out easily, and the interaction between (mainly) the three of them is heartfelt and wonderful. At its heart, this novel is about a family. But, yes, it's about basketball too, and relationships, and coming of age.
In Kat Writes a Song by Greg Foley, Kat works hard to create a song, and then she second-guesses herself. We've all been there. Thinking we're creating something fantastic, especially as a writer, and then we start to let the doubts creep in. What I admire about Foley's story is that he shows Kat persevering through the creative process, and then sharing her joy.
What's your go-to book? When I have nothing to read and no access to the internet (and fan fiction), there are a handful of books that I can always count on. Where She Went by Gayle Forman is one of them.
In Seb and the Sun, we follow Seb and Walrus through their very specific coastal town and community. And as we follow this close-knit community, Seb realizes that something is missing and he knows exactly how to go find it. Gigot contrasts the brightness and darkness in her illustrations, creating a beautiful reflection of each other.
The first book that caught my eye when I saw the display for Women In History at the local library last month was Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Gary Kelley. The cover is a gorgeous painting of Eleanor Roosevelt, that looks like a photograph. What's more, it looks like Eleanor is looking at the reader right in the eyes.
It may be news to you but I've always been a bit obsessed with fashion designers. I learned to sew when I was a kid and I loved to fiddle with my clothes or make them my own when I was a teen. Just little things here and there. And while I still love to make things, I don't have a talent for pattern making.
Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka is about learning to look at the world with different eyes, or at least accepting that others may see the world in different ways than you do. I parallel Niko with some of my patients who express themselves differently—maybe they have autism, maybe they have a different artist's eye than I do, maybe they don't speak yet (or at all). But they may have specific ways of communicating with others.
One book I came across was Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Qin Leng. It's no secret that I'm an Austenite. I even endured that film about her with Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane). And I took a course on Austen as a grad student that was purely for the delight of discussing all of her works.
So I've always known that Jane Austen was extraordinary.
I thought Love was a beautiful and inclusive ode to the many ways that we see love in our every day. What I loved most was how tactile everything felt in the story. De La Pena spun his words so I could see every image in my mind--besides what was on the page--and what's more I could feel the scent in the air, hear the music notes being played.
There have been two school shootings since I started reading this book. Two.
And Long Way Down is a quick and easy read. However....I put it down after the first school shooting which was by a 12-year-old. Someone pretty much the same age as my Mini Me.
And then there was an even bigger shooting, more lives lost senselessly.
In Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds tackles gun violence in a different way—from the point of view of a teenage boy who feels as if he has no other choice but to avenge his brother's senseless death. It makes sense....and it doesn't.
Confession: I have a bit of a book crush. No, not a crush on a boy in a book. But a book crush, or an author-illustrator crush because I'm absolutely, positively IN LOVE with all of Ben Clanton's books. Today I'll share just three of them.