#IMWAYR December 30, 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 hope you all had, or are still having a wonderful winter celebration. We had a fabulous time with all our family Christmas morning. There were a lot of squeals of delight from the toddlers who seem to understand that Santa brings fun!
I actually finished up all my home made presents! Socks for my husband, sweaters for the children, and poinsettia brooches for many. Bottles of my mother in law's special (not so secret anymore) sauce, Sucre Au Crème, went off to friends and extended family. I'm trying to ignore the few remaining bottles because that stuff is addicting.

My want to read list on Goodreads was haunting me. Last Saturday I went through and weeded books that, however fabulous they looked, I had to admit I would never get to. It's now down to 863 - but after I finish creating my 2020 Must Read lists, it might be smaller.

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


#MustReadIn2019 December Update


5 stars
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel

Holy Carumba! Yes, this is about perspective, but the scope of it embraces such vastness as geological time. It's deeply philosophical. I would love to read this to a group of students and spend some time thinking about how we are like the stone as it,

sat where it sat
with the water, grass, and dirt
and it was as it was
where it was in the world.

How would we be seen and experienced by those around us?

5 stars
A Drop of the Sea by Ingrid Chabbert, Raúl Nieto Guridi (Illustrations)

I am a huge fan of this duo's work at anytime. Maybe it's because I am now a grandparent, but I tend to love these books that highlight the special connection between generations. The relationship between these two characters, the boy and his grandmother, is what this book is all about. I love the symbolic representation of them. So much is revealed in Guridi's abstract art about who they are. What strikes me as profound is that while the boy heads off to the sea to bring it back to his grandmother, this heading off and achieving more for themselves than we could, is what we as parents and grandparents want for our offspring.

5 stars
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

This beautifully illustrated book is rich with layers of meaning. Whether you are pondering deeply philosophical questions about our purpose in life, or helping students understand biomes and the interconnectedness of food webs, you need this book.

4 stars
Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time by Linda Sue Park & Brian Pinkney (Illustrations)

When Nya's little sister becomes ill on their walk home from getting water, she must find a way to carry both her, and the water home. This is a powerful message about how to manage what seems to be an overwhelming task: just take it a bit at a time. I appreciate that this companion book to Linda Sue Park's novel A Long Walk to Water might not be based on real characters, it's still full of all kinds of truths.


3 stars
The Crossover (Graphic Novel) by Kwame Alexander & Dawud Anyabwile (Illustrations)

I liked this well enough, but thought the original was superior. I missed the emotional connection I experienced in the first book. It might be that I knew what was coming, but think it might be something to do with replacing important chunks of text with images. I would like to see both books side by side to see how much of this takes place.


4 stars
Frankly in Love by David Yoon & Raymond J. Lee (Narrator)

I was fascinated by this window into the life of a Korean American teen. After I finished it I spoke with my Korean daughter in law about the parents' racism. She confirmed the truth of this and told me a few horror stories about friends and acquaintances of hers here in Canada.
I shouldn't be surprised. Although the specifics about the culture are unique, I've seen the 'marry in your own culture' issue come up with many different cultural groups. Teens born in Canada are caught between two cultures. I remember it as problematic for many of my Portuguese peers I knew in high school and saw it in the different students I met in my teaching career. The racism was pretty common too. A teaching friend's son was best friends with a boy in her class. His parents wouldn't let the two socialize outside of school because she and her son were white.
For the most part I liked and cared for the characters here. There were times when I was irritated by Frank, but to be honest, real teens, as much as I love them, can irritate me at times. I liked that he seemed to mature as the story progressed. Of course he really didn't have much choice given his father's circumstance. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. I hope to get to know Q better.


5 stars
Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

I’m gobsmacked. Nikki Grimes’ early life was full of terror and trauma. She shares her story in exquisitely fashioned verse. At times her words made me bleed for her. I raged. I feared. I wept. Huge chunks resonated profoundly with me.

In this bit, Nikki Grimes speaks for my own history:

Trauma is a memory hog.
It gobbles up all available space
in the brain,
leaves little room to mark
daily happenstances,
or even routine injuries
which are less than


4 stars
The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs by Fiona Robinson

Learning about Anna Atkins and discovering that she created the first book of photographs was fascinating. The art is just gorgeous. I love that it is based on the cyanotype impressions created by Anna. It really is the bluest of blues!

4 stars
The Dinner Party: A Symbol of our Heritage by Judy Chicago

Strictly speaking, I didn't actually read all this book. I did finish the section on how the project was completed, but I did not read all the mini biographies of the women who Judy Chicago referenced in this work. I will browse through them eventually. The photography is gorgeous. I have added seeing the piece to my bucket list.


I'm reading Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles. The audiobook I've got on the go is Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater. Will Patton's narration nearly makes me swoon. I've started This Place:150 Years Retold, a graphic novel anthology.


I will get to Look Both Ways:A Tale Told in Ten Books by Reynolds, Jason as my next audiobook. I plan to read Song Angel by Nancy Hundal, and White Rose by Kip Wilson. I've also got a pile more graphic novels.


#MustReadIn2018 25/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 12/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 26/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 98/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 416/333


  1. You accomplished so much in your 'must read' lists, but don't you mean in 2019? I loved A Stone Sat Still & Carl, was happy to see a short version of A Long Walk to Water in Nya's Long Walk for younger readers! I have Crossover on my 'must read' list, have more than one Kwame Alexander's books to catch up on! And, you've made me want to read Ordinary Hazards soon! Happy New Year, Cheriee!

  2. Even with all my lists, sometimes I lose my TBR list. And I'm sometimes glad I have a bad memory because then I don't remember most of them which ultimately and unfortunately gets replaced by others.

  3. Congrats on completing your gifts and your MustRead challenge. That sauce sounds lovely. I'm jealous. :) Ordinary Hazards is such a stunner isn't it. I know our lives are very different and yet I connected so strongly with the book. Have a wonderful New Year.

  4. I started to weed my TBR list, but I kept seeing all these books I really want to read and I realized I can't start them all today so I just gave up and went to the library.

    Looks like a great reading week, from the picture books to the poetry.

  5. I loved Drop in the Sea! What a great book stack you have here this week. I hope your best book you read this year is your worst next year :)

  6. I love A Stone Sat Still! Can't wait to get my hands on Carl and the Meaning of Life.

  7. Each Christmas I tell myself that NEXT year will be full of home made presents. In hindsight, it seems that with the birth of each child, we had less and less room for all my crafts (namely crochet and sewing). But I'm determined to get back into home made Christmas gifts. They're always so special! On books, I loved Stone and Carl. And I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Frankly in Love. The section you shared from Ordinary Hazards was amazing. I'm going to go look this one up. Thanks for the shares this week, Cheriee!