Cheeky Attitude » books

Middle Grade March- Books I Read; Gifts to Give

April 19th, 2016 · 1 Comment · books, Reads

4 books perfect for middle graders to readI finished reading 4 books in March, all middle grade (or younger) stories.

1. Cheaney, J. B. 2015. I Don’t Know How the Story Ends:

Our story begins in a dusty little town in California, a bustling place called Hollywood…

Isobel Ransom is anxious. Her father is away treating wounded soldiers in France, leaving Izzy to be the responsible one at home. But it’s hard to be responsible when your little sister is chasing a fasttalking, movie-obsessed boy all over Hollywood! Ranger is directing his very own moving picture… and wants Izzy and Sylvie to be his stars.

Izzy is sure Mother wouldn’t approve, but scouting locations, scrounging film, and “borrowing” a camera turn out to be the perfect distractions from Izzy’s worries. There’s just one problem: their movie has no ending. And it has to be perfect – the kind of ending where the hero saves the day and returns home to his family. Safe and sound.

My take: This would be nice to give to a young reader interested in history and especially the history of Hollywood.

2. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts:

An artfully playful collection of unexpected and remarkable facts about animals, illustrated by Swedish artist Maja Säfström.

Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom (Bees never sleep! Starfish don’t have brains!) are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.

My take: A charming book for all ages, my husband and I actually read this together, discussing the tidbits about animals.

3. Benjamin, Ali. 2015. The Thing about Jellyfish

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…

My take: Heartbreaking and beautiful, a wonderful book I would give to any sensitive middle grade student navigating the difficult lessons of growing up.

4. Shevah, Emma, and Helen Crawford-White. 2015. Dream on, Amber

My name is Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto.
I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

 My take: I adore spunky Amber who needs encouragement to stand up in the face of racial insensitivity and confront bullying. She creates her own world and works through insecurities by drawing. I wish I had read a book like this in my early years.

“Read a Middle Grade Novel” is part of the Book Riot “Read Harder” challenge for 2016. Read more about the challenge here.

Do you have any middle grade books to recommend?

 

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Achieving my reading goals was easier than I thought it would be.

January 2nd, 2016 · 3 Comments · Reads

My Year in Books: Achieving reading Goals Happy New Year! It’s been 6 months since I updated here and I’m thinking about closing the blog down or at least re-designing the site. Just something I’m pondering in the new year.

One of my main personal achievements this year was reading more, and more broadly. I achieved my goal of reading 50 books and here’s what worked:

Book Clubs: This is a no-brainer. My book club people are super-chill and many times people don’t read the books and that’s fine with me. It gives me a deadline that I work toward and exposes me to books I may not have chosen for myself.

Pick a number: Books are things and easily countable. You could choose hours reading instead, but having a number I wanted to reach really motivated me to keep track. I use Good Reads and like the handy widgets. Other popular trackers are LibraryThing, and WorldCat. Some people use a spreadsheet or a list in a notebook.

Everything counts: It’s my personal challenge so I get to decide what “counts” toward my goal. I decided to count comic book volumes and children’s books. In doing that I found that I actually don’t read as many children’s books as I thought I did. I usually just flip through them when I’m shopping for the kiddos in my life. Those on the copleted list are the books I sat down and read through completely.

 

Here’s what my year in reading looked like:

Achieving reading goals: My year in books

Infographic by Good Reads: Click the image for more information about what I read in 2015

 For 2016 I’m stepping up my game and setting a goal of 55 books. I’m willing to give up some of my mindless TV time and will need to be watchful of getting sucked into internet surfing and I’m considering that an added bonus.

I’m also joining the BookRiot “Read Harder” challenge: A great way to stretch outside of a comfort zone. Here’s the list (pdf) and I will be looking for recommendations for these categories, so please let me know.

Read Harder Book Challenge 2016

Happy Reading!

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June Reads

July 6th, 2015 · 2 Comments · Reads

June Comics

Cloonan, Becky, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, and Bob Kane. 2015. Gotham Academy. Volume 1, Volume 1.
My take: Fun read about a mysterious school- are they fledgling superheros? We’re not sure yet.

Stewart, Cameron, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Irene Koh, Maris Wicks, Jared K. Fletcher, and Bryan Hitch. 2015. Batgirl. Volume 1, Volume 1.
My take: Somewhat of a Batgirl re-boot as a young adult in grad school (sadly NOT library school). First half of this volume is most interesting. Art throughout is gorgeous.

 

Wilson, G. Willow, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor, Jamie Mckelvie, and Matthew Wilson. 2014. Ms. Marvel.

Wilson, G. Willow, Jacob Wyatt, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Jamie Mckelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Kris Anka. 2015. Ms. Marvel. vol. 2, vol. 2.

My take: Read these back to back. The new Ms. Marvel is the best of the younger superhero set. Dealing with strict parents and sudden superpowers she’s not sure how to control, I look forward most to following her journey.

 

June Books
Moriarty, Liane, and Caroline Lee. 2014. Big little lies. [New York]: Penguin Audio.
My take: A LOT of mommy-drama dragged a bit in the beginning, picked up interest in the middle and an end I didn’t predict. Light, fun, mystery.

Johnson, T. Geronimo. 2015. Welcome to Braggsville.
My take: So much satire, and social commentary packed into a compelling story sometimes difficult to follow as it is all inside the head of one character.

hooks, bell. 1981. Ain’t I a woman: Black women and feminism. Boston, MA: South End Press.
My take: Fantastic and important perspective and history of feminism. If I ruled the world, we would have all read and discussed this book in high school.

Beatty, Robert. 2015. Serafina and the black cloak.
My take: Middle grade fairy tale/mystery. Good for fans of the TV series Once Upon a Time. Serafina’s strong, spunky character makes you root for her.

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