It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 10/23/17


aminas voice

Amina’s Voice is a thoughtful middle-grade novel about a girl finding her voice and figuring out who she is. There is a lot going on here–perhaps too much–but all tied together by Amina’s strong voice as a character. I especially enjoyed the focus on Amina’s Muslim faith and religious identity.

alls faire in middle school

Victoria Jamieson’s new middle-grade graphic novel, All’s Faire in Middle School, is a gem. Impy has been homeschooled her whole life but has decided to go to public school in 6th grade (what a time to make that decision!). There’s plenty of intrigue connected to middle school, of course, but Jamieson surprises the reader with a twist on just who the mean girl might be. It’s the other setting, though, that makes this book really special: Impy’s parents work for a Renaissance Faire, and in her spare time, she’s a knight apprentice. I loved that part of the story and the way that Jamieson wove Impy’s different identities together.

swing it sunny

In this sequel to Sunny Side Up, Sunny has headed home from visiting her grandpa in Florida and finds herself trying to navigate middle school and the absence of her beloved older brother, Dale. Once again, Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm nail a tone that’s both humorous and poignant.

find the good

This is a collection of essays about the life lessons Heather Lende learned through her day job of writing obituaries in very small town Alaska. Well worth a look for those who enjoy personal essays. My favorite, not surprisingly, was the one about her cat.


I am unreasonably proud of myself for finishing Thornhill, an illustrated novel by Pam Smy. I have a horrible habit of borrowing books, not reading them, AND not returning them. (Seriously: NEVER loan me a book.) And a recommended title is the kiss of death: I always have great intentions but I never read anything that’s recommended to me. But I read Thornhill! And I returned it to its owner! It helped that it’s an illustrated novel. I’ll read anything with pictures. There are two parallel stories, one set in 1982 and told through diary entries and one set in 2016 and told through wordless illustrations, that eventually come together in a creepy way. The story didn’t entirely work for me, but it’s atmospheric and spooky and perfect for readers who love haunted houses and creepy dolls.

my favorite things

My Favorite Things is weird and wonderful and so very Maira Kalmanesque. She selects objects from her own oddball collections, from the Cooper-Hewitt and from the Smithsonian for an exhibit, and then she paints the objects and writes little blurbs about them. I can’t put into words why Maira Kalman’s books give me so much pleasure, but they do.

little red cat who ran away

I was not bored one single time in this wordless ABC picture book by Patrick McDonnell that features his signature little red cat. Very clever story and creative use of the alphabet format.

her right foot

I can see how Dave Eggers’s picture books might not be for everyone. They’re really quirky. But they work beautifully for me. I loved this story of the origins of the Statue of Liberty with a special focus on that right foot–which I’d never noticed before.

the world is not a rectangle

Jeanette Winter’s nonfiction picture book biography of architect Zaha Hadid introduced me to an important figure in 20th-century architecture–whom I’d never heard of before. This book sent me straight to the Internet to do some research and marvel at the incredible buildings that Hadid designed.







7 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 10/23/17”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    Winter’s new book looks fascinating to me. I am excited to find it and read it. Swing it Sunny was a great read and wow, did I love revisiting the 70s!

  2. Scott Day Avatar

    Reading: Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints, Anna-Marie McLemore’s Wild Beauty, J. A. White’s The Thickety, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ The Lost Words, and Diane Cook and Len Jenshel’s Wise Trees. I won’t recommend any, because then you wouldn’t read them. But you would be missing out on exquisite illustrations, photographs, and words. How ae the kittens?

  3. Rochelle Avatar

    The Little Red Cat and Her Right Foot are books that I recently saw in our School Library sitting on top of the shelves. I was especially drawn to the Statue of Liberty as NOW I can’t wait to read it!

    Good List

  4. cweichel Avatar

    I too liked the religious component in Amina’s voice (and I’m an atheist) I haven’t even read Sunny Side Up, and now the sequel is out. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve just put both on hold. Ditto for The LIttle Red Cat. I have a collection of alphabet books and expect I might have to purchase this one.

  5. lindabaie Avatar

    My daughter loves Maira Kalman so I’ve read her copy of My Favorite Things, wonderful. I have all your other books on a list, will get to them someday. Amina’s Voice sounds so nice.

  6. ejmam Avatar

    Congratulations on a successful book borrow. I also hate when people loan me books, because they lurk around grimacing at me while I don’t read them.

  7. Elizabeth Avatar

    Owen and I found a great book at the library this week: Buddy & Earl by Maureen Fergus (I think). It’s hilarious on my level and Owen’s….

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