#IMWAYR July 6, 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.

We had a few really cool days last week which enabled me to get out into the garden and get the weeding under control. As of Saturday the heat has returned so I'll be only out there early in the morning or after supper except for going out to make sure my seedlings don't dry out.
We have slowed down with the renovations. After talking to friends who told us that they took up to four years to finish the work on their house, we are trying to relax and take our time. It's not like we, or the house, are going anywhere, and at least our bedroom no longer has carpet in it!

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.


4 stars
When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith & Nicole Neidhardt (Illustrations)

This simple book explains in what kindness is. Each page makes statement explaining one aspect of kindness. Each sentence is accompanied by an illustration. The book talks about how we can be kind to each other, to our families, friends and neighbors, and to the planet. It continues on explaining the feelings we get when we are actively kind.

Nicole Neidhardt’s bold illustrations show indigenous people in of different skin tones, but the messages of kindness are for everyone. Her artwork turns this simple book into a thing of beauty. She explains that she integrates  “ Navajo identity into my everyday contemporary reality. I explore this relationship through the media of painting, reflective mylar stenciling, and painted collage. “
This is a beautiful book. It’s ideal to read to a group of younger students at the beginning of the school year. It’s one I’m looking forward to sharing with my three year old grandchildren.
I appreciate that it shows us the power each of us have, no matter our age, to make the world a better place.

It won't be published until October 13, 2020, but you can watch Monique Gray Smith reading this book here.


5 stars
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson & Rebecca Huang (Illustrations)

This was a fabulous read for all kinds of reasons. I had never heard of Wu Chien Shiung before this book. I was fascinated just reading about her parents' work to set up a school for girls in the early 1900's in China. Then they sent their daughter off to further her education in the nearest educational center to support her learning. I've been thinking about how that 50 miles was so far from home compared today when it's hardly worth thinking about. Then she ended up travelling even farther from home to learn more and more about physics. She ended up in the United States where she worked on some of the most important problems of the time.
I appreciated the additional information in the back matter. There is more information about Wu Chien Shiung, a glossary which explains the physics vocabulary, a bibliography and suggestions for further reading.
Rebecca Huang's stylized illustrations reveal so much emotion in the characters while her swirling numbers, formulas and symbols show what is going on in Wu Chien Shiung's head.

While Teresa Robeson was born in Hong Kong and now lives in Indiana, she was raised and went to university in Vancouver BC. Does this mean I can claim her as Canadian?


4 stars
Rick by Alex Gino (author and narrator)

This is the story of a young boy who is trying to figure out his sexuality. He's not  attracted to boys or girls. He joins the after school Rainbow Club where he makes many new friends. Unfortunately his best friend, Jeff, is a homophobic bully who is always getting into trouble. I liked that Alex Gino showed Jeff as having some positive qualities. I just wish I understood more about how he became the person he was. I can't help but wonder if he can be redeemed and become a better person.
As a grandparent I especially appreciated Rick's connection with his grandparent. It's this relationship that helps him find the courage to end his friendship with Jeff.

4 stars
Dig by A.S. King & Mike Chamberlain, Tonya Cornelisse & Kirby Heyborne (Narrators)

Dig is a book that was on my 2019 MustReadList. I started it way back when, but had to send it back to the library unfinished.
This time I was engrossed in the audiobook from the start. It did take me a bit to get all the characters sorted out, but when I did, I was wowed. ( To be honest, I've never read, or listened to any of A. S. King's novels that didn't wow me.) This book tells the story of six teens, five of who are related although they don't know each other. It's a ghost and murder mystery, although you won't figure this out at first. It's a book that speaks out against racism.

Once I got the characters sorted out, I was infatuated with each of them. In their own ways they are unique, quirky and honest. Together they create a beacon of hope for the future of their family, their world and maybe for us too.

5 stars
Don't Stand So Close to Me by Eric Walters 🍁

This tells the story of a teen girl, Quin, and her friends in the first days of the Covid 19 pandemic. At first they are all excited to be getting a longer spring break. Then the boredom sets in and they struggle to deal with online schooling. Quin lives next door to one of her best friends, a class clown and the two of them are lucky to be able to spend time together all the while social distancing. While the story is told from these young people's perspective, we get to know more about how it affects other people through their parents and extended family.
These youth filled me up with hope as they go out of their way to support their community and each other in different ways.
Eric Walters writes wonderful characters who I came to care about. I can't help but wonder if he will write a sequel so we can learn how they are doing as the pandemic continues.
At first I assumed this novel was set in Ontario Canada, but by the time I finished the book I realized it could be almost anywhere in North America. With the virus raging out of control in the USA, but more or less under control here in Canada, I can't help but wonder how these young teens' lives would differ depending on where they live.

The hardcopy version of this book won't be available until September 22, but you can download the ebook now.


I'm still reading The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole. It's a hard read but it's giving me a thorough understanding of what it means to be black or indigenous here in Canada. I'm almost finished Half-Breed by Maria Campbell. I've just started Nanaimo Girl by by Prudence Emery. When that is done I'll get back to Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King.


I'm hoping to get to A Matter of Malice by Thomas King and The Year We Fell From Space by A. S. King. My next audiobook will be The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus.


Big Books Summer 2020 3/10

#MustReadIn2020: 13/25

#MustReadNFIn2020: 5/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 15/25

100 books by Canadian Authors: 97/100

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 199/333


  1. I'm impressed by how fast someone has written a novel about the pandemic (although I guess there wasn't much else to do while social distancing)! When We Are Kind sounds like a very sweet book, and Queen of Physics sounds quite interesting—I have never heard of Wu Chien Shiung before today, so I'd be curious to learn about her. Rick sounds great as well! Thank you for the great post!

    1. I think it took Eric Walters six weeks to write and he had beta kid readers from Canada and the USA! I hope you find copies and time to enjoy these other books.

  2. It didn't take long for books about the pandemic to get out into the world!

  3. Dig completely gutted me in the best possible way. I saw so much of my own family in that story which makes me want to work even harder on being an anti-racist.

    1. Oh yes! Such a dysfunctional family. Mine had it's problems, but we don't come close to this one!

  4. I too am amazed at how quickly they get a COVID book out. It certainly seems interesting.

    1. Eric Walters is amazing. The book went from conception of a story to digital release in 41 days! He says that, "Some of the royalties from the book will be donated to Hope House, a poverty relief agency based in Guelph."

  5. Thanks for the review of When We Are Kind. The #classroombookaday class I sponsor will be kindergarten next year and am looking for good picture books for that age group.

    1. I think it's perfect for these younger children!

  6. I always enjoy seeing the Canadian books on your blog, especially the First Nations ones!

    1. Thanks Beth. I love being introduced to new books from you too!

  7. I could sure go for some cool weather about now. It's been so very hot, but I am thankful for a couple evenings that ended in a nice rainstorm -- cooled things down just before bed (even if we were back up around 100 the next day). I'm glad to hear about the Wu Chien Shiung biography. I need to hunt down a copy of this one. And now I simply HAVE to add Don't Stand So Close to Me to my list. I was curious about this one, but since it was already written, edited, and published as an e-book when we're only four months into the real life experience of COVID-19, I wasn't sure if it would be well-written. But we're talking about a very experienced author, here. I'm betting this one will be a hot title as kids start back to school pretty soon! Thanks for sharing, Cheriee!

  8. You can absolutely claim me as Canadian because I have Canadian citizenship! My family immigrated there in '72 and I lived there until I got married (to an American) in '89. Thank you for sharing and appreciating my book! There is so much to admire about C.S. Wu. I can't imagine doing all that she did in the face of so much opposition.