#IMWAYR September 12, 2022

Welcome readers!
 It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next.

Our son and his family have come and gone. After a couple of days of rest, we began to try and get the house back in order. One week later, we are still finding bits and pieces of toys hiding in odd places, but the garden is almost under control and I am managing to squeeze in time to actually read with my eyes!

I'm sharing a couple of weeks worth of reading in this post. I hope to get another one in next weekend, but we are heading to Vancouver on Saturday, and it will all depend of how crazy life is there. 

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

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


4 stars

Alligator Pie: The Beloved Canadian Classic
 by Dennis Lee & Sandy Nichols (Illustrations)  πŸ 
October 14, 2014

Dennis Lee's collection of poetry, Alligator Pie, first published in 1974, was a favourite of my children when they were growing up, so when I found this board book, I had to purchase a couple of copies for my grandchildren. 
It's a delightful rendition, but to be honest, the meaning depicted in these images, is not what I have had in my imagination across the years. It was pie made from alligators, not pie pilfered from them. 
Still both the grandkids enjoyed this and we read it a number of times while they were here. And just like when my boys were young, we composed additional verses for the poem. 

4 stars

Stanley's Train
by William Bee January 1, 2019

This bright and cheerful book delighted my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, and her 5 year old sister was happy to snuggle in while we were reading it.
Two hamsters, Stanley and Charley take a load of other hamsters to the beach for the day. The riders have as much fun on the train as they do at the beach.


5 stars

The Mitten: An Old Ukrainian Folktale
by Alvin Tresselt & Yaroslava (Illustrator) January 1, 1989

The grandkids brought this with them when they came to visit. The youngest, only 2 1/2, wanted it read to her again and again. The story and illustrations are delightful. What surprised me about the book is how engrossed she was in the story given how much text is on a page.
It's a cumulative tale that begins with a mitten dropped by a boy when he is out collecting wood in the wintertime. First a mouse climbs in to keep warm. Next a frog comes along to join him. The number of animals grows in number and size until the mitten splits open.


4 stars

Hoggy Went-A-Courtin'
by Ethan Long June 14, 2022

Hoggy has a lot to learn about getting along with others, both off and on the basketball court. Luckily he has a smart little sister who isn't afraid to let him know sharing is what it's all about.
Both the 2 1/2 and 5 year olds enjoyed this. 


5 stars

Cornbread & Poppy at the Carnival
by Matthew Cordel May 3, 2022

Ada, my five year old granddaughter, and I were delighted by this book. The sweetness, combined with the humour are certain to please all readers.
We learn that Cornbread is full of anxiety about all kinds of things, but that Poppy is always there for him. When Poppy convinces Cornbread to go to the carnival with her, the roles end up being reversed. They are having a wonderful time until the two friends get into a huge argument over a peanut.
The first in the series became available as an ebook from the library and we read it the next day. Then we reread this one. 

3 stars

Azmina the Gold Glitter Dragon
by Maddy Mara May 4, 2021

To be honest, if I wasn't reading this book to see if I thought it would work for my five year old grandkids, I'm not sure if I would have finished this. I'm glad I did because I found some redeeming qualities in it.
It's a chapter book that celebrates the power of friendship, working together and raising our voices against evil.
All this happens in a magical world where three girls are transformed into glitter dragons. When this special world is threatened by dark forces, the queen sends them on a quest to find ingredients for a magic potion. Even if they do collect all of it, they still have to figure out what to do with it.


4 stars

New from Here
by Kelly Yang & Justin Chien (Narrator)

Based on her family's own experiences of moving from Hong Kong back to America at the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, this novel tells of a family's tribulations once they reach America. Much of this: the fear, the home schooling, the shortages, the price gouging, and the racism, are part and parcel of what we all know happened and continues to happen.
What I appreciated most about this book is how Kelly Yang puts it all into the perspective of one family. I like that she highlights the positive aspects of public education and teachers who teach within the system.
There were times when I cringed at some of the choices Knox, the main protagonist, makes. I also couldn't believe the children's mother wasn't more aware of what they were up to - especially with regards to the garage sale. Letting them make so many choices unsupervised seemed irresponsible. I'm willing to acknowledge that perhaps this is just because she isn't used to being a single parent.

4 stars

Dragons in a Bag
by Zetta Elliott (Author and Narrator) & Ron Butler (Narrator) October 23, 2018 πŸ

Jaxon, a young black boy, is dropped off at a cranky old woman's place when his mother has to go to court. The woman, who turns out to be a witch, is full of fascinating surprises. When she takes Jaxon with her on a mission to deliver newly hatched dragonlings, all sorts of mishaps occur. Jaxon ends up with the three little creatures, but by the time they are delivered to their rightful owner, one of them is missing. 
If it had been available, I would have started The Dragon Thief right away. 
Zetta Elliott was born and raised in Canada, but now lives in the United States. 


 by Cynthia L. Copeland
January 7, 2020

Once I started reading this, I couldn't put it down.
It is a semi fictionalized biography of the year Cynthia Copeland was in grade 7. 
Grade 7 is a tumultuous year. She and her best friend become estranged. She experiences her first romance. With the help of one of her teachers, she ends in a mentorship program with the local newspaper's female reporter.
Maybe her life didn't exactly unfold like it does here, but the essential bits are true.
I was at university at this time and remember clearly the political and cultural reality that she writes about here. It was an exciting time to be a woman. 
While the graphic novel format enables readers to better understand this historic time, it also reveals a world of whiteness. As feminist as this book is, it's good to remember that is only a small slice of what life was like for the rest of the people in her country and mine, especially for BIPOC & LGBTQ people. 


4 stars

The Vanishing Half
 by Britt Bennett &
Shayna Small (Narrator) June 2, 2020

Two black sisters from a town of light skinned black people, leave home to head for a better life. One of them abandons her sister and starts a new life passing as a white woman. Not even her husband knows her secret. The other marries a dark skinned man. When he becomes increasingly abusive, she returns to her home town to raise her very black skinned daughter. In time the two cousins connect.
This is a thoughtful look at many complicated aspects of racism.


5 stars

Stories of MΓ©tis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me
 by Bailey Oster et al August 6, 2021  πŸ

I appreciated reading the many stories of these strong, proud women.
It is history told from the perspectives of different Metis women. If you have read anything about Louis Riel and his work for his community, you already know important information about the Metis people. Historically they are a mix of white men and indigenous women, but this alone does not make one Metis. It's predicated on a rich matrilineal heritage with a unique language and culture. The Metis people dealt with much of the same horror as Indigenous people of Canada. Unlike Indigenous people who had some land to call their own, the Metis ended up living on road allowances and squatting on Crown land.
This book is organized into different sections. Each section alternates English text with a translation into Northern Michif, the Metis language. Michif is a combination of Cree, French and occasionally English. There are many different dialects.
This is an important read for all Canadians and people interested in women's issues and justice.


Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt May 3, 2022

Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather Smith September 22, 2020 πŸ


I've had these books on my up next list for a number of weeks now.  I do mean to get to them but have to admit that they are merely suggestions.

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas May 17, 2022 🍁

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers July 12, 2022

The Heaviness of Things That Float by Jennifer Manuel April 1, 2016 πŸ


#MustReadFiction 20/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 14/18

Canadian Authors 54/100 one in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 15/25 one in progress

2022 Big Book Summer Challenge 7

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 212/250