ARC Review- Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty

Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for the ARC copy.

This is a graphic novel about a young girl who doesn’t see herself as popular or anything special, but deep down wants others to like her. One day she makes a bad decision and gets her phone taken away, and suddenly she begins to experience a whole new world around her.

I really enjoyed the underlying message about how often people rely on electronics these days. I felt that the novel had some deeper ideas and themes you could discuss with children and teens regarding technology usage.

I think a lot of the humor and language is appropriate for upper elementary/middle grade students and they could easily connect with the main character.

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ARC Review- Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Direct quote from the book-

“Hope was a wonderful, terrible thing. It could make you long for things you had no possibility of gaining.”

Kammani is a healer, her younger sister is chosen to be one of the three Gravemaidens to enter into the next world with the Lugal after he passes. Kammani is sent to heal him before her sister is sent to the next world and is gone forever.

I absolutely loved this book! The only reason I would put it down was so I could savor each moment and not rush through it. I am so happy that there will be a book two coming out next year (but not soon enough!).

Although the main character, Kammani, got on my nerves at times, I grew to love her strength and tenacity. Most of the characters were teenagers, but I felt they acted much older (which may be part of the culture the book is based from).

I love how the author added information at the end about how she grew up in that culture and that is what first sparked for her to write the story about two young sisters and one trying to save the other.

Special thanks to the author and publisher for the ARC! Set to publish this fall! Preorder now!!

ARC Review- The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

I absolutely loved The Library Of Lost Things. Special thanks to #NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a copy of the ARC. 🤗

The very first thing that hooked me was the main character, Darcy, and her love of books. She works in a quaint bookstore and uses books to hide her thoughts and deepest secrets (and her family has quite a few). 😮

The second thing I adored was her bff Marisol and the amazing friendship they have! Marisol won’t let Darcy do anything questionable without her. It made me appreciate the Marisol’s I’ve had in my life! ☺️

Oh and then there is the cute boy, Asher, who visits the bookstore from time to time. 😏

You will find just the right amount of sweetness, some twists and turns and amazing book quotes in this book! Lots of sentences to quote and deep themes to ponder or discuss.

The book is set to publish early October, so do yourself a favor and preorder/check it out! 🤓

MG/YA Book Review: The Crowns of Croswald, by D.E. Night

Initially intrigued by the gorgeous front cover and the beautiful website, I was excited to dive in and see what this magical book had for me!

I was happy to see that this is a series. Book II is called: The Crowns of Croswald: The Girl with the Whispering Shadow. Now that I’ve finished book one, I am interested in reading more about Ivy and her world.

The author has definitely created an intriguing world full of scrivenists, hairies, scaldrons, sqwinches, and the Dark Queen. I felt like it took a little more time for me to first get acquainted with all the characters and the different names of things and places, that I decided to take notes to try to help keep things square.

The Crowns of Croswald is a young girls journey about coming from practically nothing, to learning that she may have special abilities and how she could/should use them. What is Ivy’s story and why has she been granted these gifts? As I tell my students, “Read to find out” and become engrossed in the magical world of Croswald!

Each chapter was filled with mystery, rich vocabulary and intriguing magic, however sometimes things felt too descriptive, which made it a little more difficult to read through at a quick pace. Because of this I would recommend more to high schoolers rather than middle schoolers; although I know some middle schoolers that would enjoy it as well.

To check out the author’s site and read a sample of the book, click here -> https://www.denight.com/book-1.html

PB review: Let’s Go! By Lindsay Ward

This adorable and fun book was sent to me by the author and immediately my three year old was excited to read, as she loves books about trucks.

It was a blast reading it to her and having her guess which vehicle the description was talking about.

Great book for the little ones in your life!! 🚙🚲🚓😄

MG Book Review- Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

Sigh. Wow. Where do I start?

So I found this book through the app Libby– (which if you don’t know about the Libby– it’s amazing! You type in your library card number and can download ebooks and audiobooks to your kindle for FREE!)

I was familiar with the author Jaqueline Woodson through her award winning book “Brown Girl Dreaming”.

I had not heard of Feathers before, but was immediately sucked in to reading and pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it! Honestly a way to describe- it made me feel warm inside like I was spending time with a best friend.

Feathers touches on topics such as segregation, religion, bullying, hearing impairment, family and friendship.

Set in the early ’70s, the MC Frannie is a sixth grader in a school on “the other side of the highway”. A new boy shows up at school and things begin to change. She finds herself facing all sorts of things that challenge her to reflect on her life and life all around her.

I also enjoyed the ten discussion questions in the back of the book. This would definitely be excellent for a read aloud with rich discussion before, during and afterwards.

I must have highlighted at least ten quotes from the book, but I’ll leave you with a few. I hope this book touches your heart as much as it did mine and allows you to reflect on your own thoughts and potential bias’s. ❤️

If somebody did build that bridge… who do you think would be the first to cross it? Somebody from that side? Or somebody from our side?

Another quote…

I don’t know if I believe in miracles. I think things happen and we need to believe in them.

Ebook Review: Mia Marcotte and the Robot by Jeanne Wald and illustrated by Saliha Caliskan

Thanks to the author, Jeanne Wald, I was able to get an ebook copy before it released, but I am happy to say it is now released as an ebook and will soon be available in paperback!

This 19 chapter book was a fairly quick and easy read, and is recommended for grades 1-4 (ages 6-10).

Mia Marcotte is a young girl who loves to read, enjoys learning about all things space and dreams of being an astronaut one day. She befriends a robot named Aizek and together they complete a mission of their own. I need this to become a series of all the adventures Mia and Aizek go on together so I can read more!

As an educator, I could easily see myself using this book as a read aloud along with our Space unit and/or alongside our STEM activities.

I loved this quote-

“Sometimes I wonder if science is real magic, and grown-ups just hide it from us.”

Check out the authors page here for more info: https://jeannewald.com/book/mia-marcotte-and-the-robot/

🐠Book Giveaway🐠

Over on Twitter @tiffanybrooke83 I am hosting a giveaway of this magical book: Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste!

You can receive an EXTRA entry by subscribing to my blog here.

Closes 7/12/19 at midnight. One U.S. winner will be chosen this weekend! Good luck!

MG book Review- Shine! By J.J. And Chris Grabenstein (ARC copy)

Shine! is a wonderfully written book about a middle schooler named Piper who is contemplating the kind of person she wants to be in life (after an assignment at school). I instantly felt like I could connect with Piper and her introverted characteristics and loved the sweet relationship she has with her father. I definitely chuckled aloud on more than one occasion (and that doesn’t happen often) to the many clever one-liners. I am more than excited to share this book with my MG students!

Shine! is set to arrive early November of this year, so keep your eyes out or PRE-ORDER now!

Special THANKS! to Random House Kids for sending this ARC for our #LitReviewCrew to read and review!

Here is a link to the author’s site, where you can read the first four chapters and pre-order: http://chrisgrabenstein.com/books/shine/

A favorite quote from the book:

“Nobody is just one thing. We’re like those constellations you’re always telling me about. You need to connect all the dots to see the whole picture.”

PB Review- Before You Were Born, by Deborah Kerbel and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo

I had the privilege of reading this book while sitting over coffee with a friend/fellow educator. We discussed that there is so much potential for this book- both at home and in the classroom! I envisioned how I would use it to teach descriptive language to my students. I also felt my heart warm thinking of my own children and reading this beautiful story with them.

The rich and vivid language in this text is truly delightful and the illustrations are so beautiful that they made me want to reach out and be a part of every picture on every page!

This hardcover is the perfect gift for new parents and a wonderful addition to any classroom, home and public library. I’ve already added it to mine!