It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/11/16

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives is the memoir of two friends: Caitlin, an American middle schooler, and Martin, a young Zimbabwean student, who met through a school pen pal program. At first their letters are quite casual, but the two become close through sharing their lives and hopes for the future. At first Caitlin imagines Martin’s life is very similar to her own, but when she learns of the terrible poverty he and his family are suffering, she becomes determined to help them, especially in funding Martin’s education. This book will be quite eye-opening for middle schoolers, who will learn not only about the living conditions of children in other parts of the world but also about how one person can really make a difference. They will enjoy seeing the actual letters and photographs that the two friends exchanged over many years and will cheer when the two finally meet in person. An engaging and inspiring memoir.

Blind by Rachel DeWoskin is an Illinois Reads 2016 selection for students in grades 6-8.  The book opens as high school sophomore Emma Silver is preparing to start up at her local school after a year of absence. As the story unfolds, readers learn about the accident which led to her blindness and her year-long period of recovery in the hospital, at home, and at a school for the blind. At the same time, Emma is adjusting to life back with her peers, she and the community at large are reeling from the recent suicide of a popular high school girl. Struggling to understand this tragic event helps Emma to also confront her feelings about her blindness and relationships with her best friend, Logan, and her large family. I think this is best for the upper end of the 6-8 range.

Princeless, Vol. 1: Save Yourself is an amazing and fun graphic novel by Jeremy Whitley, who wanted to write a comic about a fierce and confident young woman that he would be proud to hand to his 2-year-old daughter one day. Sixteen-year-old Princess Adrienne has been imprisoned in a tower guarded by a dragon (just like her other sisters) because that’s how her parents intend to find princes for them to marry. One day, Adrienne decides she has had enough, and she and Sparky, the dragon who has become her close companion, secretly break out and go on a quest to save her youngest sister, Apple. It is not long before Adrienne meets a female teenage blacksmith who joins her (and who makes amazing armor for her). There is a great exchange between the two about why females need real armor instead of the skimpy costumes most female heroes wear.

Last school year, I purchased the first three volumes of this series, and my middle school girls, particularly 6th graders, couldn’t get enough of reading and recommending them to friends. I definitely see why, and between this series and Lumberjanes, I hope that comic companies will further recognize the need for more works like this, which feature not only independent and inspiring young women, but also young women of color. Oh, and I just grabbed volumes two and three from school so I can keep up with Adrienne’s adventures–she rocks! 🙂

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:


5 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/11/16

  1. Thanks for the review of Princeless. I have seen this one on some different online lists but didn’t have a good sense of what it was about. Sounds like one I would love and also one I would find very easy to booktalk and pass along!

  2. Princeless does sound like a great beginning to a series, and I know I would love to read Blind. I have I’ll Always Write Back, but still haven’t read it. Someday soon I hope. Thanks!

  3. I’ll definitely take a look at Princeless, but Lumberjanes was a bit odd. I couldn’t think of a single student I would hand it to. It was a special kind of quirky… Good, but just not for my population.

    1. Princeless is definitely more accessible to middle graders, whether or not they are graphic novel readers. Readers who like Jessica Day George, for example, would be a great audience for the series.

  4. I loved Lumberjanes, and it works well with our older readers – the younger ones don’t quite seem to get the quirky oddness, but some of our older ones have really enjoyed it. I can’t wait for more. 🙂

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