#IMWAYR March 16, 2020

Hello out there. It's #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.

This week I celebrated women's history month by reading some amazing books about amazing women. I needed all the feel good moments I got from them. 

I understand math well enough but still, grasping the idea of exponential growth of COVID-19 is overwhelming. It seems like we are readying ourselves for impending doom and trying to escape it. I guess that's because we are. On Sunday I went out to pick up a few library books I had on hold. I'm wondering how long the libraries will remain open. It's getting quieter and quieter out on the streets. There is still traffic - just not what it usually is. Lots of shelves in stores are empty. I'm now about ready to hunker down here at home to sew, knit, and read, but I worry about people who live pay check to paycheck, and those who don't have the kinds of options I do. I hope the rest of you are staying safe. Lets keep working to flatten the curve!

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

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


Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan & Anna Bron (Illustrator)

Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner


5 stars
Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan & Anna Bron (Illustrator) 🍁

This is a story about being forced to leave a land you love. It's about what we miss when we are away from our roots, and reminds us to be thankful for the diverse, multicultural communities we now live in here in Vancouver, Canada - my home town. Go and read my blog post to read and see examples of the gorgeous writing and art.

3 stars
Cat Knit by Jacob Grant

This is a cute story about a cat who befriends a ball of yarn. Cat isn’t so happy when Girl transforms Yarn into a sweater. Eventually Cat comes to appreciate Yarn’s new form. As a knitter and cat lover I wanted to love this more than I do.

5 stars
If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano & Loren Long (Illustrator)

Oh just Wow! I love this book poem so much! I had fun anticipating the next rhyme and bet readers will too! Loren Long’s illustrations are just dazzling!

The grammar didn't bother me one iota. In fact, the whole thing made me want t write my own stanzas following Julie Fogliano's pattern. It is a brilliant mentor text that I would love to share with students before going on to write our own.

5 stars
Mr. Gauguin's Heart by Marie-Danielle Croteau, Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrator) & Susan Ouriou (Translator) 🍁

This introduction to Paul Gauguin informs us how he became an artist. It's full of whimsy, sadness, and beauty. Isabelle Arsenault's art is perfect with Marie-Danielle Croteau's somewhat lengthy text. Based on real life, this would make an ideal starting point for learning more about this famous painter. I want to know more about the old man who taught him to paint!


5 stars
Helen’s Birds by Sara Cassidy & Sophie Casson (Illustrations) 🍁

Anyone who thinks wordless books are simple, should be given a copy of this wordless graphic novel. I've now read it three times and am pretty sure I will get more out of it if I spend more time with it. It's an emotional roller coaster.

It's about the relationship between the oldest and youngest generations. I wondered who Helen was until I read the back cover where it explains that this is the story of a friendship between Saanvi and her elderly neighbour Helen. It's a glorious bonding. They laugh, play games, and read together. Helen introduces Saanvi to the world of birds. Together they build bird houses and bird feeders. They watch eggs hatch and chicks grow. And then, the inevitable happens, Helen dies. But just like in real life, the world goes on. Big changes are in store for Saanvi as she grieves for her friend, grows up, and takes on the mantle of bird minder herself.
I would love to know how Sara Cassidy and Sophie Casson worked on this together. Casson's art has a vintage feel to it that isn't captured on the cover. It's line drawings filled in with mostly yellow, blue, red and green. It is spectacular. The image of Saanvi looking out her windows at the ambulance in the night gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Don't miss this.


4 stars
Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

Sweat Pea (Patricia DiMarco) is a loveable character that adult and kid readers are going to connect to. She’s going through a lot. Close friendships are dissolving and reforming. Her parents are getting divorced because her father has acknowledged he is gay. Even if they are still close friends, it’s not easy. When Miss Flora Mae, her neighbour and local advice columnist has to go away, she leaves Sweet Pea in charge of watering her plants and taking care of her mail. Sweet Pea can’t resist answering a few of the letters herself, ultimately making things worse for herself.

Sweet Pea is a large sized 13 year old. She is the ideal role model and mirror for readers like her, and the ideal window for everyone else. I hope this is the first in a series!

4 stars
It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison Levy & Robbie Daymond (Narrator)

When a group of students are forced into a Justice Circle for a week, their lives are changed dramatically for the better.

I couldn't stop listening to this. I stayed up late at night knitting because I wanted to know who had destroyed Theo's photographs.
This is one of those books that reminds us that we are so much more than what we see on the surface.


5 stars
Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito & Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

Georgia Gilmore was an amazing woman!  Working with a secret group of women who cooked to raise money, she was an important actor ensuring that the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a success. Following that, her home became a gathering place for civil rights readers. I am delighted to read about her and can't help but wonder how many other women participate in the background doing work that keeps social justice movements functioning. Are they still there while men work in the limelight?

The back matter contains additional information about Georgia Gilmore and on the last endpaper is a recipe for pound cake!

5 stars
A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice by Nadia L. Hohn & Eugenie Fernandes (Illustrator) 🍁

This vibrant picture book tells the story of young Louise Bennet and how she came to write poetry full of the vernacular of her country. I connected to this one as I am old enough to remember when if it wasn’t the Queen’s English, it didn’t count. I’m thankful for Louse Bennett and others who pushed through this barrier.

5 stars
Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy & Whitney Gardner (Illustrator ) 🍁

In this story of RBG, girls and boys will find an ideal role model for how to achieve their own goals and become the person they want to be. At the same time as they learn about the life of this important American Woman, they are exposed to the history of the women's movement from the 1960's on. It's also a really entertaining read! 

The main part of the book is in a graphic novel format. The clean lines and straightforward text make it easy to read. Legal vocabulary is explained in notes at the bottom of the page. It begins with RBG's birth and ends with her appointment to the supreme court. The following words only pages tell of her life after that. The back matter includes a timeline, a bibliography, and numerous pages of quotation sources.
This is ideal for students from 10 years to adult.


I'm listening to Swing by Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess. I'm still reading Nevers by Sara Cassidy because I put it in a safe place and couldn't remember where. I eventually found it in a different compartment in my work backpack... 


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is lined up to be my next audiobook. Other than that, I will continue pulling out books from the boxes and see what happens. I suspect my upcoming book club will be cancelled, but I'll still try to get to John Lewis' March trilogy.


#MustReadIn2020: 4/25

#MustReadNFIn2020: 3/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 9/25

100 books by Canadian Authors: 49/100

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 114/333


  1. Our librairies are closed as of today, Cheriee. What a strange time it is becoming! I noted many of your books & some are at my library, but now cannot request them. Hopefully in a few weeks! I loved If I Was The Sunshine, too, simply beautiful language! Thanks for all and best wishes to you and your family.

  2. Helen's Birds is a new title for me and I am trying to read more graphic novels. Schools are now closed for at least two weeks, our county libraries closed on Saturday until the end of the month, and our Governor just announced that restaurants will be closing at 5 p.m. today and remain closed until further notice. Stay safe Cheriee. Blessed to have lots of books in my TBR stack and a lot of time to read!

  3. Our libraries closed this weekend. I was lucky enough to borrow Dear Sweet Pea earlier last week, and hope to read it soon! Our schools are also closed, so the kids and I are trying to settle into a temporary routine. Stay safe, and have a nice reading week.

  4. I had never heard of Salma the Syrian Chef before. I'm going to have to check that one out!

  5. I made sure to get to the library on Saturday anticipating that they could decide to close. Luckily, I have more than enough books here at home to read! Many wordless books definitely aren't simple. I'll have to check out Helen's Birds because it's not one I'm familiar with.

  6. This is a terrific list. I have a pile of books from my library, but now it's closed for many weeks. I'll definitely start looking for these books when we're finally allowed to go back out into the world. Stay safe and healthy!

  7. Our libraries closed Friday evening. I have holds there to pick up but I was not going to be able to get over there in the hour's notice we got that they were closing. However, I have stacks and stacks at home, so that should keep me busy for some time! Hope you are staying healthy and have lots to read!

  8. congrats on launching your book ! Now is the time to gather more reviews and visibility, try usabookreviewers.com for reviews. Having 100+ reviews helps with sales and visibility