It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 1/21/19

On the blog:

  • A slice about coffee shop playlists and listening to music while writing

In reading:

Now that I’ve started reading Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, I don’t want to stop! This week’s choice was his latest, Lafayette!, about one of my very favorite historical figures, the Marquis de LaFayette, who traveled from France to America during the Revolution to fight the British and whose friendship with Washington, military creativity and craftiness, and money were a huge help to the initially not-so-successful Revolutionary army. The book has all you hope for in a Hazardous Tale: humor, compelling storytelling, memorable characters, and plenty of lethal scenes. If I had my way, the lettering would be a tiny bit larger (those tiny little drawings and tiny little words are tough for middle-aged eyes!), but everything else is historical graphic novel perfection.

Another #MustReadin2019 title, Meet Yasmin is the first in a welcome new series about a spunky second-grader. In each chapter, Yasmin has some kind of adventure. Most are fairly tame–entering an art contest, figuring out a building project at school, but the first adventure–getting lost from her mother–may be too intense for more sensitive readers, though thankfully it’s resolved quickly. The illustrations are very colorful and fun (and created by Hatem Aly, which is a treat). I liked the scenes with Yasmin’s Pakistani-American family best.

Such an incredibly clever wordless picture book, and I didn’t even guess where the ending was headed, though I probably should have now that I’m looking a little more carefully at the cover. A new favorite and one that pleased everyone in my house.

More fascinating nonfiction from Barb Rosenstock, wonderfully illustrated by Katherine Roy (don’t skip the illustrator’s note at the back that explains her process–so interesting!). This is the story of the two inventors who create the first bathysphere, which allows scientists to withstand the pressure of deep-sea diving and explore the deep ocean. Roy’s fold-out spread of the first view of the deep ocean, with all its unusual creatures, is a stunner.

Art Coulson’s picture book biography of Jim Thorpe is well-researched and well-told. The focus is the 1912 football game between the students of Carlisle Indian School, coached by the innovative Pop Warner, and the students of West Point, where the football team included four future generals, including Dwight Eisenhower. Even though the focus is on this one football game, Coulson provides the larger context that readers will need to understand this extraordinary story through details about Thorpe’s life and information about the atrocities of the boarding schools. There is fantastic back matter, including mini-biographies of the other players on the team and what they went on to do with their lives (many became professional athletes!). The illustrations weren’t always my favorite (I didn’t think there was enough differentiation among characters), but this is an engaging story that would have appeal for a wide age range.

I’m still trying to catch up on a few possible Caldecotts before next week’s announcements of the ALA Youth Media Awards. Lauren Castillo’s illustrations for Juan Felipe Herrara’s Imagine are really strong, the perfect backdrop for Herrara’s inspirational poem-memoir.

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11 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 1/21/19

  1. I haven’t yet located a copy of IMAGINE, but hopefully I will in the coming weeks. Of all the “mock” award options, Caldecott seems the least likely for me to participate in as NEW picture books aren’t as easily accessible through CPL or Overdrive. Boo! But I sure love hearing about them through everyone else!

    BTW, I can’t thank you enough for turning me onto The Queen’s Thief series. Wonderful! So wonderful.

    • Sooo glad you’re enjoying it! I’m completely obsessed and have tried bookpushing this series for years, and I feel my pleas have been entirely overlooked, but you are more than making up for years of disappointment LOL. We’ve got an upcoming road trip and think we will try The Thief on audio. I tried it as a read-aloud before, but it was a little too complex. The audio version is wonderful, though, so maybe a different reader will be the key. The Rapid library does a good job getting new PBs, so that’s mostly where I find them. If I end up purchasing any Caldecott winners, I’ll let you know!

  2. I don’t think I knew about The Little Barbarian, sounds great. I enjoyed Otis and Will very much, and you’ve intrigued me about those ‘Hazardous Tales’, will find at least one of them! Thanks, Elisabeth!

    • I think Little Barbarian is a must-see. Really clever! One Dead Spy is the first Hazardous Tale. I thought I hadn’t read it so got it from the library this week, then discovered that I DID read it when it first came out–only I didn’t appreciate its many charms then. Funny how a book that isn’t for you at one stage in your life is absolutely the right book later!

  3. So many new to me books here Elisabeth. I don’t know where to start. I am waiting for Meet Yasmin! as it is one of my MustReads for this year also. My library has it on order. I am always excited about a new Barb Rosenstock title. When I went to see if my library had it, I discovered that they also have Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall’s Life and Art by her. It makes me so happy.

  4. Great list of books that I have yet to check out. I enjoy a lot of Katherine Roy’s illustrations from other books, and I hope to check out the Jim Thorpe bio as well. Thanks for the post, have a great week.

  5. I am really hoping Meet Yasmin wins something Geisel. I think it’s perfect for that award. I’ve had kg-3rd grade kids fall in love with her.
    Really love Imagine and Otis and Will. They are both on my Mock Caldecott.
    Looking forward to Monday’s awards!

  6. Ooooh, I am definitely looking for, “Otis and Will Discover the Deep,” as I am a nutter for all things oceanic. Thank you! And with my daughter wanting to be an artist, I can’t wait to share the book (especially the illustrations) with her. THANK YOU!

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