It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/26/18 #imwayr



Wish is simply wonderful. A heartfelt story about a girl who thinks she knows where she belongs but discovers the home she prefers. I especially loved the setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the strong Southern voices of the characters. So often Southern is overdone, but O’Connor gets it just right.


For some reason, Awkward never quite clicked with me. I started it well over a year ago and would periodically pick it up and read a few more pages, then shelve it again. It’s been a big hit in my lending library, though, and has actually been that first graphic novel that hooks a reader onto the form for a few of my readers. So it’s one I will enthusiastically book talk even though it wasn’t the right book for me.

all systems red

All Systems Red was a recent Alex winner, which is how I discovered it, and definitely one of my favorite recent reads. The action starts on the second page and never lets up until the somewhat abrupt ending 150 or so pages later. (It’s the first in a series of four novellas, which explains the abrupt ending. It’s not an entirely unsatisfying ending, thankfully, just abrupt.) Our narrator is Murderbot, an AI gone rogue, who is taxed with providing security for a group of scientists conducting field work on an unexplored planet. Murderbot is a surprisingly engaging narrator–stuck in his own existential crisis, scornful of humans yet also fascinated by them, wanting to keep his secret (that he’s no longer under the control of humans) at all cost. When the mission begins to go wrong, he has to work more closely with the humans than he would like. A slam dunk for readers who love sci-fi and a great entry into the genre for those who haven’t read sci-fi before.

five forms

I’m smitten with The Five Forms, about a girl who discovers a book of martial arts forms and ignores the warning to only practice under the guidance of an expert. As she attempts the postures, the forms (crane, snake, leopard, etc.) come to life and wreak havoc. McClintock outdoes herself with the art, with the chaotic wordless spreads at the center of the story being especially fine.

frida kahlo and her animalitoes

I loved John Parra’s art for Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, and I loved the concept–a biography of Frida Kahlo as an animal lover. There are the usual cats and dogs and birds, but Kahlo also had more unusual pets–monkeys, turkeys, an eagle, deer. The text did not work as well for me: I found the organization confusing and struggled to put the story in chronological order. But perhaps that wasn’t really the point? In any case, it’s a charming introduction to Kahlo’s art and life.

there might be lobsters

There Might Be Lobsters is the story of how Sukie, a very small and very scared dog, becomes brave. Sukie is less than thrilled at the prospect of a day at the beach: she doesn’t like new things, and besides, there might be lobsters. In the end, though, she conquers her fear in order to save her best friend. Carolyn Crimi’s text is perfectly paced and often very funny, and Lauren Molk’s illustrations convey so much emotion and humor. A most excellent picture book.





19 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/26/18 #imwayr”

  1. lindabaie Avatar

    I loved Wish, too, the kind adults and that she had new chances for friends. The Frida Kahlo book was interesting, is a good intro. I didn’t know much more than about her self-portraits so appreciated the glimpse. And, I’ll look for Awkward. My oldest granddaughter has discovered graphic novels & is gobbling them up. She just read Smile and Drama, and loved the Hazardous Tales series, a fun intro for her to history. I’ll look for the Martha Wells’ series, sounds good! Thanks, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Awkward would be perfect for her based on what she already likes (and what about Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge? One of my very favorites). I know there is a second book in the series too, Brave. Will probably purchase for my lending library, as Awkward has been quite popular.

  2. Akilah Avatar

    Aw, I really liked Awkward, and not just because one of the characters has my name.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Have you read Brave? I might try it. Part of the issue for me with Awkward may just be how long I took to read it–couldn’t ever get reading momentum going.

      1. Akilah Avatar

        I haven’t but I plan to.

  3. 2shaye Avatar

    I’m sold me on All Systems Red. It sounds very intriguing. I occasionally struggle with abrupt endings, but only when there are a lot of unanswered questions about what happened. I might also have to find a copy of The Five Forms for a fun Father’s Day (or something) gift for my martial arts teaching hubby. Such a cute story idea! I bet he’d enjoy reading that with the kids. I’m still waiting, waiting, waiting on Wish. Good thing I still have a pile of books to hit in the meantime. 😉

    And can I just say I’m so pleased to hear you heartily booktalking books, even when they didn’t work well for you. Just more evidence of what a great teacher you are!

    1. 2shaye Avatar

      Ooooh. I also see All Systems Red has a sequel coming up! What am I getting myself into?! 😉

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Shaye! It’s really rare for me to read a book in one sitting, but I read All Systems Red in just two–couldn’t put it down. But then I have a soft spot for sci-fi about AIs gone rogue (Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice series was my favorite reading in 2016–and I’ve been trying to find another reading experience like it ever since.)

  4. books4learning Avatar

    Thanks for these great recommendations. I just added Wish and There Might Be Lobsters to my list.

  5. Tammy and Clare Avatar

    Wish is one of our all-time favorite books. A perfect read aloud for grades 3 and 4. Five Forms sounds intriguing. We are always on the lookout for interesting folktales.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was thinking as I was reading about what a terrific read-aloud Wish would make. Great writing.

  6. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I had not heard of THE FIVE FORMS before. I will definitely be checking that one out!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hope you enjoy it! I really liked McClintock’s art in this one.

  7. cweichel Avatar

    Darn! My library doesn’t have All Systems Red and it sounds really good. Ok, this might be a good thing because I already have too many books checked out! The Five Forms looks delightful and there is a copy of that in the system… Wish is in a pile of books I just picked up. I have more books than I can handle already on the go to start another one though. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have too many books checked out too…. so many stacks and piles everywhere! And I’m in the middle of about 25 different books right now. Really need to settle into one and FINISH. Wish is worth moving up in the pile. Really strong writing.

  8. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    I think I’ll be the last one on Earth to read Wish. I keep meaning to get to it. Thanks for your review. It was helpful to me! Also, I appreciate your comments this week about my son’s reading. I value your advice highly. ❤

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha! I was pretty sure that I was going to be the last one to read Wish! So glad to know there’s still someone left who gets to discover it. Such a treat. I really enjoyed your post about teaching your son to read. So much to think about there!

  9. Myra GB Avatar

    My daughter enjoyed Awkward, as I did – but I just read Jamieson’s All’s Faire – that one is hands down powerful. There was an aspect of Awkward that felt somewhat token-istic for me at one point, like all the characters are there because they tick most of the boxes that are needed to make it multicultural, but still, that doesn’t detract from the quick pace and engaging narrative. 🙂 I just reserved Frida and her animalitos – and really looking forward to enjoying it.

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