#IMWAYR October 24, 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.

Life has been busy, but we have no company scheduled for the next while, the garden is sort of under control, and I feel like I might have my reading mojo back. Today is a catch up post from the last couple of weeks, but I hope to be back on track posting and responding regularly every Monday for the next while.

November 2nd is I Read Canadian Day!

The finalists for the Governor General Literary Awards were announced last week. Some I've read, but those I haven't are now on my wish list. 
I do my best to read as many books by Canadian authors as I can. Four of the titles I finished this week fit this bill. All the books I am currently reading meet that criteria. I'll be reading only Canadian authors in the near future. Next week I plan to do a blog post on the Canadian Authors I have read in the last year or so. In the meantime, here are some links to I Read Canadian Day from 2021.
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.


5 stars

A Spoonful of Frogs
 by Casey Lyall πŸ & Vera Brosgol (Illustrator) July 19th 2022

If you don't already have this in your school library, hurry up and purchase it for your Halloween collection. 
It's hilarious. It isn't obvious at first, but a witch is making a batch of soup on a cooking show. It actually sounds pretty good except for the cup of fly extract. Then she tries to catch a spoonful of frogs. If you have ever tried to catch a frog, you will appreciate the impossibility of getting one to sit on a spoon. Children of all ages will chuckle at the witch's antics as she tries to pull it off. 

I wish I had read this with my grandchildren to find out what they think of it. As much as I appreciated this book, (I am a sucker for these kinds of generational relationships) I wonder if they would find it as engaging.
It's the story of an immigrant family bringing a seed from home and planting it in their new country. In this case, the walnut tree grows tall while the boy who planted it becomes elderly and frail. He gives a nut from the tree to his granddaughter and tells her the story of how she came to receive it. Together they plant it in a pot and nurture it.
When he eventually dies, the girl and her mother plant the sapling outside beside the mother's and grandfather's trees.
I liked how this story shows us death in the larger context of the cycle of life, but doesn't diminish the young girl's grief.
I would pair this book with The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland.

When city hall doesn't have the information a young boy wants, inspired by his grandmother, he sets out to collect the data for himself.
He goes door to door collecting information about who in his neighborhood has a dog, and the dog's name. Not everyone has a dog, so he ends up collecting data about all sorts of different pets. Eventually, this data is used to create a dog park in the community.

Thanks to Myra @ GatheringBooks and Linda @ Teacher Dance for introducing this book to me. 

While this story is told from a child's point of view, I completely connected to it. While I miss my grandchildren and sons, this little person misses a grandparent. It's hard for all of us to live so far apart.
Suzy Lee's depiction of the grandmother had me thinking about the Korean grandmother of two of my granddaughters. At least I get to see our darlings once in a while. Since Covid, she hasn't even seen the newest, now two and a half, except through FaceTime. I am very lucky. 


This has been nominated for a 2022 Governor General Literary Award. Once you read it you will understand why.
Honestly, I wasn't sure I would like it, but the author is Canadian, and it has that nomination. I ended up completely enthralled. Time is a tricky idea. Julie Morstad provides multiple metaphors and concrete examples of what time feels and looks like. Her artwork is just gorgeous. 
As I was reading I wished it had been around when primary teachers would come to see me looking for a book on this very topic. I can envision using it with different ages as a springboard to thinking about time as a big idea and writing our own poems and books. I hope to get the chance to use it with students.

Dan Gemeinhart gets to me every time I read a book from him. I can't help but adore his characters. This one is a story about friendship and belonging. It's quirky, bizarre and full of sweetness with a hint of magical realism thrown in.
I started and finished it in one sitting.
Ravani Foster is a lonely boy who while staring out his window one night, sees a group of children move into the house across the street from in. He is befriended by Virginia, one of the girls. That friendship is the catalyst that changes all of their lives.
I especially appreciated the tone of the omniscient narrator. It is reminiscent of an old time story teller, every once in a while dropping in hints of what disasters might be coming next.

This bilingual tale (Spanish and English) is the story of a crew of Latino students who end up working together in their school cafeteria for community service.
We come to see them as unique individuals with different kinds of struggles, but just like the homeless mother and child they try to help, their differences are invisible to their supervisor who assumes they are all the same.

This was a lot of fun. Rose, a waitress and wanna be chef, serves a special dessert to a food critic and ends up getting an invitation to a cooking contest. If she wins she will be able to pay for tuition and living expenses at a top culinary school. It takes a bit, but eventually she convinces Fred, her best friend, to partner her. Winning half of $500,000 dollars will go a long way to help out his family's struggling restaurant.
The contest proves to be more harrowing than they could have imagined. By the end, they learn a lot about cooking, but even more about their feelings for each other.
I liked a lot about this book, especially the recipes for the different desserts! I'm hoping to get to making some macarons in the near future!


4 stars

The Merciless Ones
 (The Gilded Ones, #2) by by Namina, Forna & Filippa Suenson (Narrator) May 31st 2022

I'm certain that I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I hadn't just finished The Obelisk Gate before starting it.
In spite of this, I ended up completely engaged in this continuation of Deka's story. It's chock full of action, convoluted plot twists, secrets, and betrayal. It's fine enough that I would have started the next one right away had it been available.

This was brilliant. I was totally hooked from the get go. It's the story, set in a not to distant future, of genetic engineering gone terribly wrong. Logan Ramsay's mother was a brilliant geneticist whose misguided, but well meaning work, ended up destroying food crops. It resulted in a famine where 200 million people starved to death.
Her son, now working for a branch of the American secret service, ends up contaminated by a virus that changes his genome. He ends up with different kinds of super powers. His sister also has them. It turns out that their mother, once presumed dead, is responsible for both of them. She wants them to take up her work creating a race of super humans in order to save the world. The two siblings disagree with each other about her goals and end up in a conflict that will leave one of them dead.

3 stars

The Project
by Courtney Summers February 2nd 2021  πŸ

Unfortunately I did not finish this book. I tried my best and made it 75% of the way.
I don't generally read books that are considered thrillers, but I adored Sadie by Courtney Summers so I was determined to give this a go. The problem for me is that Sadie is a strong character, whereas Lo Denham is weak. 
In the end I abandoned the audiobook, downloaded the ebook and read the last 10% or so. I went and tried to scan through what I missed, but the violence was too much for me. The last bit was enough to satisfy my curiosity about what happened to the characters without having to vicariously experience the brutality.
What I liked most about the book was the insight I garnered about how people can be seduced into joining a cult.

Rachel Bird by Becky Citra  πŸ   
The Witch's Apprentice by Zetta Elliott October 22, 2019 πŸ
Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer October 18, 2022 πŸ
Ducks by Kate Beaton September 13th 2022 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 must admit that they are merely suggestions.

We, Jane by Aimee Wall April 27, 2021  πŸ
Butt Sandwich & Tree by Wesley King  πŸ
Crows: Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt  πŸ
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

I will deal with the rest of the pile of picture books by Canadian authors or else!

#MustReadFiction 22/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 14/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 61/100 four in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 15/25 one in progress

2022 Big Book Summer Challenge 7

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 238/250


  1. Thanks so much for this informative post, Cheriee, including all the reading lists! Your goals are truly inspiring. I've been reading 'wide' for my blog posts rather than focusing on Canadian writers, mostly because I read so much MG SFF (and many Canadian MG/YA writers focus on contemporary fiction). No reason why I can't review more contemporary titles, though. Thanks for the nudge!

    1. While I am not a huge SFF, but will pretty much read anything if it is well written. There is some remarkable work in that area by Indigenous authors. I really like the integration of culture into that genre. It reminds me of Afrofuturism. Have you read Gabrielle S. Prendergast's Nahx Invasions Series? It's very good!

  2. Nice looking assortment and variety of books. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. I really want to read The Midnight Children. It sounds great!

  4. So many of these sound amazing. I still need to read The Gilded Ones. Love the cover on The Midnight Children. Hope you enjoy your books. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

    1. Thanks Cheryl. The Midnight Children's cover isn't as beautiful as the writing inside!

  5. I marked a few but my list grows so long I think I'll never catch up! I'll be interested in what you think of "When Women Are Dragons". Thanks for so much, Cheriee! I've been reading more from Canadian authors, perhaps should mark them? Have a great week this week!

    1. I'm glad you have been reading more Canadian authors. Rachel Bird, by Becky Citra, the one I'm now reading, is so full of place it's like the setting is a character in the story.

  6. As a former elementary school teacher, I really appreciate the value in picture books. Great selection. :-)

    1. Thanks Meezan. Picture books are invaluable teaching tools for all kinds of things!

  7. Looks like some great books for you lately, Cheriee! I totally agree on Dan Gemeinhart - I love everything he writes! Invisible looks good - I am finally catching up on my backlog of graphic novels. And I LOVE Blake Crouch! Upgrade is already on my list of books to definitely get my husband for Christmas (shhh ...) ... then I can read it, too!

    Hope you enjoy your books this week -

    Book By Book

    1. If you get the book early, you could read it first!