#IMWAYR MARCH 25, 2019

#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.

I am enjoying a blessed time of relaxation here in our house in the small town of Oliver, B.C.  I have a list of chores to do and while there is company to invite over and friends and family to go see, in spite of this, I'm still feeling rested and calm. 

My biggest problem is that I have finished up all of the fiction titles I brought with me. I have no idea what I was thinking. I even cleaned my bedroom here thinking that maybe one of them got lost. No such luck. 



I went through this book once, but knew then that I needed to delve into it more deeply. I finally made time, but even after poring over it, I'm sure there are more connections to be made. Blexbolex takes us through a few cycles of the seasons. Each go round captures images that provide a captioned snapshot of an event. Some, like leaves changing colours in fall, and nests in spring, are predictable. Then in the middle of one season is, unexpectedly, a car crash, reminding us that our lives and deaths are inextricably linked to these perpetually cycling seasons.

Gorgeous! Wonderful! Important! Your voice matters and don't you forget it!
Shhhh. Don't tell anyone how subversive this book is!

I would give this beautiful book more stars if I could. Juan Felipe Herrera takes us through his life in this poem, and at the same time, inspires readers to image who and what they might become. Lauren Castillo's illustrations incite his words to fly off the pages.

This is the story of a young boy visiting his father in prison. Zaü's brown toned illustrations create a somber ambience for this complicated book. It's full of love and sadness and anger; all of it completely authentic.


This is a brilliantly simple, and fun way to introduce coding. A section in the back matter provides additional information.

Every primary group I read this one to loved it. It's the perfect nonfiction picture book for that age group. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and talk about what they are wondering about and what they have noticed. My favourite conversations were about why all the male birds were so colourful compared to the females. A kindergarten student surmised that, "The mom's have to be camouflaged because they have to be safe to look after the babies."
The artwork is absolutely glorious! I loved this book so much that I sent a copy along for our granddaughter in law in Korea.


This essential read tells the story of two indigenous girls growing up in a city. The two best friends carry huge weights on their shoulders as they navigate their way through an urban world full of danger. The art is just stunning. Go read my blog post if you want to know more and see some of the images. Even better, go and purchase your own copy.
Both of these creators are Canadian.🍁

Imagine if Tim Federle's Nate was into hockey. Throw in a hint of David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy. Add a figure skating, queer hockey player. 
Bitty, (Eric Bittle) is a talented player, but he's terrified of getting checked. He also happens to be a wizard at baking pies.
Imagine it as a graphic novel. Imagine that it's a love story. It's about love for the game of hockey. It's about the love for teammates. It's about the love of one person for another. As weird as it all sounds, it works because it's so chock full of sweetness.


This is more than a picture book and less than a novel. It's a story about childhood, written for adults. Using the vernacular of his nephew’s Harlem community, this book provides a window into a young black boy’s experience in the 1970’s. While the story is illustrated, it’s not a picture book in a traditional sense. It’s more like an illustrated short story. It doesn’t follow a traditional story arc. Rather, it’s a string of anecdotes that reveal what ordinary life was like for children living there at the time. It isn’t without trauma as is shown when TJ, the little man, imagines cops on the street searching for someone. Adults are mostly kind, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own issues.
I can imagine readers gasping at the thought of sending a four year old to the store. This resonated as normal for me since a dozen or so years earlier than this, when I was only four, my mother regularly sent me off to pick up groceries for her. (You can bet I never sent my four year olds anywhere on their own!)
I decided to read the story before reading the forward, afterward, and additional notes. I'm glad I did, but these additions provide important background knowledge about the community at that time.

3.5 stars
The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

After his older brother's death, Peter Lee's mother sinks into a deep depression. Baseball was something the family celebrated together, so he concocts a plan to play baseball as a way of bringing her back to them. Whether it worked or not you won't find out in this book, but it does mend the schism between Peter and his father that was growing prior to the tragedy.

I want to say I loved this book but the truth is I only loved the last half of it or so. I'm tired of books where there is a death in the family. It's worse that the mother's sinking into such a deep depression as a consequence, didn't feel authentic to me. Perhaps it would feel more realistic if there had been previous signs of mental health issues, but there weren't. As a parent I can't imagine ignoring my living children, no matter the catastrophe.

4 stars
Missing Mike by Shari Green

Shari Green writes the kind of middle grade novels that I love best. Her stories and characters are full of heart and soul.
Cara and her family are forced to evacuate their home due to encroaching wildfires. She left her dog, Mike, alone for a few moments when they had to go, but he ran off, so they had to leave without him.
They end up staying with a host family in the nearest, safe, large centre. Even though Cara, and her new friend, Jewel, do everything they can to find Mike, there is no sign of him.
In spite of the loss, sadness and heartache that overwhelm people at a time like this, Shari Green shows us the silver lining. Evacuated families are greeted with kindness and support wherever they go. Cara's host family goes out of their way to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Ultimately this book is a look at what home means to us. By the end, Cara is beginning to realize that it is much more than a house.
For the last few years we have sat on the back deck of our home in Oliver and watched wildfires burning. They were close enough that we could see trees candling. We were lucky to not have to evacuate, but others in our small town ended up having to leave their houses. We listened to the news of people in other parts of the province having to leave and ending up with nothing to go back to. Everyone in the province had to deal with the smoke that blocked out the sun. I appreciate the author for personalizing this experience for readers.
Shari Green is Canadian.🍁


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi with Dominic Hoffman narrating, is a brilliant but hard listen. I reached a place where I was afraid of what would happen next and had trouble making myself go back to the book. It's the problem with audiobooks. With text I can quickly skim over the terrifying bits. I did force myself to return to the book and am glad I did. I should finish this one soon. I'm also reading, as an ebook, Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith, one of the indigenous titles on my list this year (and one of the Netgalley titles that I need to review from ages and ages ago). Even though much of the history isn't new to me, it's still a heavy read. I've downloaded On the Come Up by Angie Thomas as a digital fast read. While, I've got scintillating stuff available, I miss something I can hold in my hands with real pages to turn!


I plan to get to All Systems Red by Martha Wells and Wicked Nix by Lena Coakely. My next audiobook will probably be either Blended by Sharon Draper, or Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. It's going to be difficult to decide. 


#MustReadIn2018 7/25 1 in progress

#MustReadNFIn2018 5/12 

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 5/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 21/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 108/333


  1. I have yet to read Say Something! It sounds powerful. Have a great week!

  2. I'm happy that you loved Imagine, Say Something! & Hazelnut Days - each one wonderful I agree. And also, Where The Heart Is, a new middle grade that touches on issues for the younger readers who need it, too. Thanks for sharing Surviving the City, on my list, Cheriee. Enjoy your time there in Oliver!

    1. Each of those picture books are important and beautiful! Where the Heart Is is full of heart and soul that will indeed meet the needs of many younger readers.

  3. I have a number of these on my TBR list and I'm looking forward to purchasing a copy of Say Something as a gift to my dear friend and neighbor. I hope you enjoy On the Come Up -- I have it on hold and I'm maybe 3rd in line. So fingers-crossed I'll get to that by April. And I can't wait to see what you think of Wundersmith. I enjoyed that one even more than Nevermoor. I wish Townsend would just get my book #3, already. LOL The Way Home Looks Now is new to me and I'm adding it to my list. I always look forward to reading your new titles and shared experiences with them, Cheriee -- thank you for sharing!

    1. I am so excited about Wundersmith. The worst thing about working on call is that I never really know if students like books I recommend. I have recommended Nevermoor a lot!

  4. Glad you're having a nice time relaxing and reading. I also thought Say Something and Imagine were both wonderfully uplifting books. I love everything that Lauren Castillo contributes to! Lots of other unfamiliar books to add to my list. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    1. I'm also a Lauren Castillo fan. I've ended up putting holds on books of hers that I haven't read yet.

  5. You have a lot of my favorites from this year on your list! I LOVED Imagine, too. I could just frame the artwork and plaster it all over my house. I thought How to Code a Sandcastle was just so, so clever. It made me want to learn to code!

    1. I feel that way about the art in so many picture books Ricki! Once upon a time I could do simple code. I loved how basic and easy it seemed from this book.

  6. I hope you like the Murderbot book. Good luck on the wild fires staying far from your home.

    1. Thanks Beth. I've started it and so far I'm into it!

  7. I know exactly what you mean about running out of books to read while away from home/access to books/libraries. That is my biggest nightmare - hence I usually end up bringing more than usual, but I would rather have that problem, than have too little! :) I fell in love with Imagine last year - I was also wondering if Hazelnut Days is a picturebook? I can't really tell by the format. :)
    Have a great reading week!

  8. Missing Mike is one my TBR list and planning to read it during summer once I have more time. I just received Say Something from my last Scholastic Book Club order. Can't wait to read aloud to students.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing Surviving the City. I will look for it. I too love Imagine. I have ordered Say Something and look forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I know someone whose mother was unable to care for her remaining children when she lost several of her other children in an accident, so The Way Home Looks Now seemed all too possible. Grief can really affect people in difficult ways.