#IMWAYR July 2, 2018

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

It was a very hard week. We got news of my youngest sister's unexpected death. You can read the poem I wrote for her here.

Thankfully I have these two little monkeys 
to remind me of the joy in the cycle of life. This photo was taken by my partner to celebrate their first birthdays. 

On Sunday we celebrated Canada Day. This poem by Shane Koyczan reminds us of who we aspire to be.


4 stars
Maude: The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton by Lauren Child & Trisha Krauss (Illustrator)

This is delightfully dark and twisted. I’m not going to be reading it to my groups of kindergarten and grade 1, though older groups will probably enjoy it.

5 stars
Naked! by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi(Illustrator)

This book is full of so much joy and humour! It takes me back to the days when my boys were young and loved to run around without clothes on. 
I read it by myself and then with my granddaughter. Even she was mesmerized (although I did read it fast and full of expression) I'm now almost caught up on these two artist's work and am waiting for my library to bring in I'm Sad.

The rest of these picture books are from MacCorkindale School Library where I worked weeding this part of their collection last week. 

4 stars
Toad by Ruth Brown

Being a fan of all things frog and toad, I had to read this book. The front cover sucked me and then I was delighted by that gorgeous artwork and the delightful language. I can imagine using this a writing mentor because the text is juicy with descriptive vocabulary. In the end we discover that many of toad’s qualities that make it, “A muddy toad, an mucky toad, a clammy, sticky, gooey toad, odorous, oozing, foul and filthy, and dripping with venomous fluid.” are the qualities that keep it safe!

4 stars
Goodnight World: Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Native Northwest Artists

Beautiful illustrations by different indigenous artists from different West Coast Nations have come together to combine their cultures into this version of the classic goodnight book.

The contents page names the individual artists and their nation. In small print on the opposite page are a few quotes. I leave you with this one.

“Good night world

rest in peace
wake up renewed
embrace the magic that we live in
blessings to all that surrounds us
respect all that is offered
share the spirit within”
From Corrie Bulpitt, Haida

3 stars
The Fabulous Song by Don Gillmor & Marie-Louise Gay

I should know better than to read books I am contemplating weeding. It’s just the cover drew me in and then I had to keep reading. It’s the story of a homely baby named after Frederic Chopin. Although his parents try to get him to play some kind of musical instrument, Frederic seems to be a failure. In the end it’s quite remarkable what he accomplishes.

4 stars
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest & P.J. Lynch (illustrator)

I almost weeded this book and then I stopped to read it. It isn’t a picture book for younger readers but the illustrations are stunning and the story of immigration is a very important one.


4 stars
Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1)by Asia Citro & Marion Lindsay (Illustrator)

This is the first in a delightful series about a young girl who follows in her mother's footsteps by treating magical animals who are ill. Although there is a magical component, Zoey uses the scientific method to figure out what might be wrong and how to help them. This combination is integrated into solid story telling that I am sure will entertain many young readers!
I'm not sure I would have picked this up, but it was recommended to me by my niece who told me it was her five year old daughter's favourite. I'm sure glad of the push. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.


4 stars
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz & Renée Watson

I would have read this in one sitting except that I had to stop and eat supper. The young Betty Shabazz, who became an activist in her own right, ended up marrying Malcolm X. While this is a fictionalized account of her life, it is predicated on real people and events. The end is filled with pages of additional information.

As a reader not only was I introduced to this amazing woman, I learned much about the culture of black communities at the time.

4 stars
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

So far I am loving everything Alan Gratz writes. This delightful MG novel features quiet, hard core reader, Amy Anne, who ends up becoming an activist when her favourite books are banned from her school library. I especially loved the surprising way AA and her friends worked together to solve their problem!


I didn't make much progress on Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate because I had no capacity to focus and it's a heavy topic on top of everything else. I've started The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg and Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini.


I'll pick up the 13 books waiting for me at the library on Tuesday and will see what is in the pile that appeals to me first. The Sweet Spot by Stacy Barnett Mozer is one of them. I'm excited that the library finally has it so I think I will start with that.


#MustReadIn2018 17/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 5/12 1 in progress

#BigBookSummer 1/4 1 in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 10/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 225/333


  1. I've never read a Zoey and Sassafras book, but it sounds like I probably would enjoy it and student would, too. I love Alan Gratz, too. He has a new book coming out, in the fall I believe, which I am looking forward, too.

    1. They are ideal for younger readers. I love that the main character is a young black girl in a black family!

  2. I am so sorry about your sister. What a horrible week! I had been on the fence about Betty Before X, and the title still bothers me, but your review makes this one sound like one I really want to read. I had to return Refugee to the library before I got around to reading it, so I still haven't read anything by Alan Gratz! Ban This Book looks like one I'd enjoy too. You feature several PBs that are unfamiliar to me, so off to request.

    1. It wasn't until I read the book that I actually figured out the title. I think women can get overshadowed by their partners and it important to understand that she was a powerful person in her own right.

  3. I am so sorry about your sister's passing. I read your poem and it was beautiful. I haven't read anything by ALan Gratz, but Ban This Book sounds interesting.

    1. Some of his work is a bit to terrifying for me, but that just proves what a gifted author he is!

  4. Cheriee, I am sorry to hear of the death of your sister. Hugs to you and your family. The joy of those grandbabies must help a bit, but it is never easy to say goodbye to a part of us.
    We have the book about "Jessica" at the store & I do like it. And, I'll look for the Alan Gratz Ban This Book, a new one by him that I didn't know. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks Linda. I love that Alan Gratz embeds social issues into his book.

  5. I am so very sorry to hear of your sister's unexpected death. What a heartbreaking week! I've head two losses of friends (my age) this week, so even though I didn't personally know your sister, this news adds to the heaviness of my heart. Life seems increasingly fragile. You'll definitely be on my mind (and in my prayers) this week, Cheriee. That photo of your grandbabies is GORGEOUS! Oh my, what little beauties.

    I have Ban This Book on my TBR list. I really enjoyed his Refugee and feel like it's time to get into more Gratz writing! I've wavered on Betty Before X, but this sounds like one I might enjoy. And I'm off to look up When Jessie Came Across the Sea -- sounds especially important right now. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful titles!

    1. It seems that grief is cumulative isn't it? We also went to another friend's memorial last week. It was all too much. Thank goodness for the babies!

  6. Cheriee - I am so very sorry to hear about your sister. I hope that memories of happy times you spent together will help to comfort you during this difficult time.

    Those twins are adorable, and that poem was awesome!! Now I want to move to Canada (especially given what we are dealing with here these days! lol)

    Looks like some great books for you. That's an Alan Gratz novel I hadn't heard of yet, but it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the heads up.


    2018 Big Book Summer Challenge

    1. Sue I think we always get great immigrants from America. Some of our friends are draft dodgers from the 1960's and 70's.
      This Alan Gratz novel is a good as the rest of them!

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. In time of grief, it is comforting to have family especially those dear babies. Your description of Maude intrigues me so I will have to see if my library has a copy. I just LOVE Zoey and Sassafras. I introduced the series to second graders this year and one student dressed up as Zoey for book character day. There are 5 current books in the series with the 6th being published in the fall. Have a good week!

    1. That is very cool! I had no idea there were so many in the series. I'm happy to have so many to look forward to!

  8. I am sending you thoughts of warmth in this difficult time. I am so, so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. Please know that I am thinking of you often, and reach out if I can help you in any way.

    Thank you for sharing Betty Before X. I have wanted to read this one, and you just reminded me of it!

    1. Thanks Ricki. I am thankful to be part of a large family that can support each other.

  9. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister. I'm definitely praying for comfort and peace for you and your entire family during this painful time. I was very moved by your poem. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Your poem is beautiful.

    I really enjoyed Ban this Book. It’s great to see so many books celebrating book love. I’m also excited to see The Sweet Spot on your list for next week. I hope you enjoy it.

  11. Sorry to hear about your loss. I have always liked the poem that you shared.

    Ban This Book was really good. I had an older Alan Gratz book in my post for this week. After Refugee, he became very popular here. Kids are searching for his books actively. I just got a few of the historical fiction late in the year, but I haven't really had time to read them yet.

  12. Sending all the love and healing and condolences to you and your family. And look at those ADORABLE children! <3

    I want to read Ban This Book--I really like Gratz.

    Hope your week and reading goes well this week!

  13. We were very fortunate to have PJ Lynch as our keynote speaker here in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children's Content last year. I got to ask him one question about When Jessie Came Across The Sea - he was such a wonderful speaker. That photo was precious. Such bright smiling faces - so awesome.