#IMWAYR July 29, 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 managed to accomplish a lot of reading this week, but not much else. I have been doing some writing, knitting, a bit of house work and playing with my granddaughter. This week I must get out into the garden since I have started having nightmares that the raspberry vines are out to get me. 


Poetry Friday July 26, 2019 EXPLORER


4 stars
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan & R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)

As someone who only knows the broad strokes of the history of the civil rights movement, I needed this book. It is one of many picture books now available that fill in the missing pieces for many of us. I especially appreciate the personalizing of this story. Students from all over will empathize with Lorraine and her family as they learn about the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968. Hopefully they will also make connections to the plight of workers today.


4 stars
Elvis Is King! by Jonah Winter & Red Nose Studio (Illustrator)

This is a delightful introduction to the life of Elvis. Although I knew much of this history, I appreciated learning about the background behind some songs and how his stage presence came about. I adore the three dimensional artwork. I think it's claymation. It reminds me of characters created by Ronnie Burkett, a Canadian puppeteer.

I was born around the time Elvis was just breaking into the world of stardom. His music was everywhere. Old time country music, Elvis, and early rock and roll was the soundtrack for my early years until I entered my teens when Motown and folk took over. Nonetheless, few ever argued that Elvis remained (the white) King of Rock and Roll.
I am thankful for the additional notes at the back of the book that explain how Elvis' popularity was the result of his singing black music for white audiences.

5 stars
Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul & Jason Chin (Illustrator)

This book is spectacular, but then, what else would you expect from Miranda Paul and Jason Chin? If I were still managing my own library, I would be tempted to purchase a couple of copies. It's perfect for children who are anticipating a younger sibling. Jason Chin's art shows two sides of a story. On one side of the page he shows a family getting ready for a new baby. On the other he depicts the development of the baby from embryo, to foetus to birth. Miranda Paul's brilliant, rhyming poetry connects it all.

The back matter contains four additional pages about baby development. I learned things I didn't know before reading this. Did you know that babies gulp amniotic fluid and that it is flavoured by things the mother eats?


4 stars
Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi & Hatem Aly (Illustrator)

This beginning chapter book has four stories featuring a grade two Muslim girl and her extended family. Yasmine is charming. I liked the stories and appreciated the many diverse secondary characters. I'm glad this book is out there.

My quibble is with the illustrations. Mostly they were delightful, but Yasmin's outsized eyes creeped me out. Maybe it wouldn't have been too bad if all the children has such large heads and eyes, but they don't. I prefer Hatam Aly's work in The Inquisitor's Tale.

4 stars
Katie Woo's Neighborhood by Fran Manushkin & Laura Zarrin (Illustrator) (Netgalley)

I enjoyed it. This one publishes August 1st. I will have a full review available next week.

4 stars
The Missing Donut (Big Words Small Stories #1) by Judith Henderson & T.L. McBeth (Illustrator)

Unfortunately, this book showed up only in black-and-white on my borrowed Kobo. I guess that's OK because it was only an experiment to figure out how to download books from my library.

Then I got intrigued and decided to read it. It's loaded with humour. I was charmed (I'm sure I would have been more so if the illustrations had been in colour.) This chapter book features five stories starring Cris, who likes things in a row, Crat, his cat, who likes to mix things up, and the Sprinkle Fairy, who creates big words in a factory in Sicily (where the best words are from.) Sprinklers are the Sprinkle Fairy's helpers. In each tale the Sprinklers sprinkle a new big word. This word is explained at the end of the story. At the end of the book is A Small Play On Big Words that uses all this vocabulary. It's hilarious. 
Judith Henderson is Canadian.🍁


5 stars
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny & Ralph Cosham (Narrator)

Wow! That was some ending. This novel takes place at a hidden monastery in Northern Quebec. Gamache and Beauvoir are the only lay people 
to ever enter. Their purpose is to find out who murdered the prior.
Then a superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec arrives on the scene bringing a different kind of trouble with him.
If the next book in the series had been available, I would have started it immediately.
Louise Penny is Canadian.🍁

5 stars
Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

This is the kind of YA novel I adore. It addresses big issues, but isn't overwhelmed with angst. S. K. Ali has created some brilliant characters that readers are sure to connect to. Adam and Zayneb each have a lot on their plates. Adam is dealing with a diagnosis of MS. Zayneb is in the middle of confronting an islamophobic teacher. Falling in love ends up allows them to help each other.

I especially appreciated how Ali articulates the small acts of racism Muslims have to deal with on an ongoing basis. In this way, the novel is both a mirror and a window.
Like her protagonist, Zayneb, S. K. Ali is helping to bring justice into the world. I thank her for it.
S.K. Ali is Canadian.🍁

4 stars
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

Jingwen and Yanghao are two brothers who move from China to Australia with their mother. Moving to a new country and learning a new language is hard enough. Imagine doing it nearly choked with guilt and grief.

Jingwen thinks that his life will get better if he and his younger brother, Yanghao, can re-create the cakes he made with his father before he died.
This book, a combination of graphic and text, is full of humour and heart. It’s about grieving, making cakes, learning to let go of heavy memories and starting over again. It’s about friendship and family and coming to terms with what and who you are.
I might have gained 5 pounds just reading it.


5+ stars
Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age by Darrel J. McLeod

This book is intense. I could only read it in bits before needing to take a break. Darrel McLeod's childhood was brutal. My heart ached for the child he was. In his award winning memoir he writes of his abuse, his love for music, his desire to help his family, his struggles with his sexuality, and his conflict with fundamental Christianity. Education, hard work, and supportive friends helped him heal. This memoir leaves us at his mother's funeral. I hope he writes more. I'm looking forward to reading how he managed to accomplish so much in his life.

What I've taken away from this book is hope. I hope you do too.
Darrel J. McLeod is Indigenous Canadian.🍁


I've just started Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman. I'm presently listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I'm still savouring my way through poetry by Peter Trower.


I am hoping to get to The Red Power Murders by Thomas King, The Write Thing by Kwame Alexander and Being a Girl by Hayley Long. 


#MustReadIn2018 16/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 10/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 17/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 35/25

Big Book Reading Challenge 4/4 1 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 242/333


  1. I liked what you wrote about Love From A to Z not being overpowered by angst. I have read a few YA's that fit that description (but happily not this week!). I haven't read this one, but might add it to my list. Thanks for the many great titles to add this week.

    1. I won't bother to finish a YA that has too much angst Aaron. I have liked all of S. K. Ali's work, and she's Canadian!

  2. I've heard so many wonderful things about Love From A to Z -- so glad to hear it's devoid of the typical angst I find in so many YA books. I'm also eagerly anticipating my read of Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born. I don't know if I'm ready for Mamaskatch (ever since I read The Glass Castle, I've shied away from painful memoirs), but I'm adding it to my list. Thanks for all these shares, Cheriee!

    1. I think Mamaskatch should be required reading for teachers who work with indigenous children and families. Nine Months is just glorious.

  3. So many wonderful books, Cheriee. I will look for most, including Mamaskatch, a new title for me. My youngest granddaughter is the donut lover of the family, even has donut pajamas! I will be sure to find The Missing Donut for her! Thanks!

    1. I look forward to what your granddaughter thinks of The Missing Donut. The real test of a book's quality is of course, what the target audience thinks.

  4. I loved the 3-D illustrations in Elvis Is King! I think that will draw a lot of young readers in to learn more about the famous singer. After I read it, I felt compelled to play his music in my car for weeks! Have a great week!

    1. I haven't started listening to Elvis, but did go to listen to my favourite cover of Heartbreak Hotel by John Cale. I'm not sure Elvis would have approved.

  5. WOW, you have some great reads here. I loved Love from A to Z. Did you read S.K. Ali's Saints and Misfits. I thought it was such a great book.

  6. Lots of great choices here! I'm currently reading ALL THE ANSWERS, by Kate Messner. Happy reading!