#IMWAYR MAY 6, 2024

Welcome! 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. Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next.

This week's post is a couple of weeks of reading. We were away in Vancouver, BC, visiting with family and celebrating one of our granddaughter's birthdays. On her birthday we took all the grandkids to Kidsbooks and let them each choose one book. We also had wonderful visits with other friends while we were there, even if it did rain everyday!

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.



I read and reviewed the first of these next two books ages ago, but checked both out from my local library to take with me when I visited my grandkids. Both these books have an interactive component that breaks the fourth wall. I ended up adding a star to my review because both of my granddaughters, the four year old and the six year old, loved these. The six year old took them to bed with her to read before falling asleep. 

5 stars

Butterflies Are Pretty ... Gross!
by Rosemary Mosco, Jacob Souva (Illustrator)

You can read my full review of this book here

This book is full of the same kind of hilarity and information as the Butterfly book.

Like all of Gravel's books, this one is loaded with humour. She breaks the fourth wall and has her illustrations speak to us about her. 

She writes about five different microbe families: bacteria, viruses, fungi, protists and algae. It's amazing how much information Gravel packs into this book. There is even a section on Bacterio Phages - something a lot of adults know nothing about!
This was a huge hit with my two granddaughters! As soon as she saw the author's name, Ada, the six year old, told me Elize Gravel was her favourite illustrator. When we finished reading the digital copy, she asked me to purchase the book for her. On Sunday when we went to Kidsbooks, she got her own copy. 


This is the first of Kate DiCamillo's new chapter book series. It's a charming retelling of the Lion and Mouse fable. In this version, Orris, a rat, rescues Timble, an owl. Soon afterwards the two of them become best friends. 
Carmen Mok is an award winning Canadian illustrator. Her artwork is gorgeous! 

4 stars

Swimming into Trouble
by Angela Ahn, Vicki Kim (Narrator) & Julie Kim (Illustrator) February 13, 2024 πŸ

An ear infection sidelines Julia Nam just before it's time to swim for their "Personal Best Day (PBD) — the most important day for all of the swimmers. If their times are good enough, they can enter a big regional swim meet." Instead of swimming, Julia is forced to hang out at her parents’ sushi bar. It's located in the community centre overlooking the pool where she watches other members of the team practice. Julia is so desperate to be part of PBD, she ends up getting herself in an embarrassingly 'sticky' predicament. 
I appreciated a lot about this chapter book for strong readers. (It's more of an illustrated novel given the amount of text on the pages.) I loved how the different people at the community centre were like extended family to Julia and her parents. I love that Julia's parents are Korean immigrants. I loved Julia and can hardly wait to introduce her to my granddaughter, Ada, whose mother is also a Korean immigrant. 
Swimming into Trouble is the first in the Julia on the Go! series. I'm looking forward to reading more of her adventures.

Thank you Max for the heads up about this book. It is delightful.
It begins with a Rapunzel type princess, Princess Sadie, locked in a tower. Along comes Princess Amara who asks her permission to rescue her. When Amara's grappling hook slips, Sadie rescues her and the two of them end up trapped in the tower. Luckily, Princess Amara's unicorn is able to liberate them both. 
While they are escaping, Princess Sadie is haunted by negative messages in her sister's voice. Sadie thinks she should return to her tower, but Amara helps her overcome her learned helplessness by convincing her to come with her and find someone to rescue. Soon they come upon Prince Vladric, trapped in a tree. He does not want to be rescued by princesses. Amara is ready to abandon him, but Sadie reminds her of the role of the hero, "How does a hero decide who's worth saving?" After they rescue him, they find out he was thrown into the tree by an ogre. How the three of them deal with the ogre, isn't by slaying him, but rather by befriending him. 
When Sadie's sister kidnaps Amara, the other three friends set out to rescue her.
There is so much to love about this book. I love that all these royal children are dealing with gender based parental expectations. I adore they way the usual fairytale tropes are upended. On the surface this might seems like a simple adventure kind of tale, but it is full of depth and important messages about how to be a good person and live your best life with others. 

I started this and then put it aside for a bit because I thought it was just going to be a romance book. I'm so glad I went back to it. It does begin with what could be a teen romance, but then it ends up being a fabulous sports book.
Tre Brun is a young Chippewa teen growing up on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota. Although he is only a freshman, he wants to play on his school's varsity basketball team, just like his father and older brother. 
The writing about basketball held me in thrall. Yet this book is so much more than a sports novel. 
It's about growing up indigenous and having to deal with racism when you leave the reserve and when playing basketball against white teams. It's about coming to terms with death. In Tre Brun's case, it's his older brother, but according to the author, it's all too common that Indigenous youth have to deal with the death of someone close to them. 
Jesse Nobess, the brilliant narrator, is from Winnipeg, MB, and his father’s side of the family is from Pinaymootang First Nation.


This is an important, comprehensive, sex education book for our times. 
"The 150 entries cover key ideas about identity, relationships, self-image, sex and body positivity—and no topic is taboo. From bisexuality to Kamasutra to #MeToo, Naked offers answers to questions about sexuality that teens have always had but have been afraid to ask. What is consent? What does gender fluid mean? What kind of contraception should I use? With contemporary examples, vibrant illustrations and additional information and resources for young readers with more questions, Naked is essential reading for today's teens."
Although it says it's for teens, I think this is an important reference book for all ages. I learned a lot from it, so I think it's one of those books you want to have on your shelf if you have MG and older children, or even just to have around if want to check something out for yourself. 
I contemplated getting this for my grandkids, but since the oldest of them is only six, will probably wait a while in case something even better shows up. I did tell their fathers about it. 


This was an interesting time travel novel for me since I was about the same age as these characters at the time this book was written. Given that it has queer characters (gay, trans, and bisexual) it must have been an eyeopener at the time. 

4 stars

Mindful of Murder
by Susan Juby & Lisa Larsen (Narrator) πŸ

If you, like me, are a fan of cosy mysteries that are loaded with humour and heart, this is a book for you. Helen Thorpe has been a Buddhist nun, the manager of a spiritual retreat, and most recently has completed butler training. When she gets news of the death of Edna, the owner of the retreat, she has to return and finish up her former boss' plans to determine which of her nieces and nephews will take over the retreat.  
Almost as soon as she arrives, Helen notes that something is fishy about Edna's death. Soon four potential candidates arrive to partake in three courses so Helen can determine who is most worthy. Two of her fellow butler students arrive to help her run the retreat. All kinds of secrets and machinations are uncovered before Helen identifies Edna's murderer. 
Susan Juby has created a cast of wonderfully quirky characters. I enjoyed this book so much, I didn't want it to end. 
Klein's writing is honest, sharp and brilliant. This comprehensive analysis shows us that we are more connected to one another than we might want to imagine. Beginning with her personal history of being confused with Naomi Wolf, she makes profound connections across political and cultural spectrums. Ultimately she shows us that the polarization we see around us at a macro level, exists also at the micro one.  
This was a reread for me for a bookclub I am part of. I got much more out of it this time round. What struck me most was the pipikism - ”the antitragic force that inconsequencializes everything—farcicalizes everything, trivializes everything, superficializes everything.”


Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop by Hwang Bo-Reum & Shanna Tan (Translator) January 17, 2022

The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann January 12, 2021

Woke up Like This
 by Amy Lea
September 5, 2023 🍁


Denison Avenue by Christina Wong & Daniel Innes (Illustrator) πŸ


#MustRead2024 9/25 two on the go

NonFiction 15/24 one on the go

Canadian Authors 24/50 one on the go

Indigenous Authors 8/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 86/200 


  1. I have Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop on my Kindle but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder!!

    Have a great week!

    1. I'll be looking forward to reading what you think of it.

  2. Great looking assortment of books. Rez Ball caught my attention. I'll have to look for a copy. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. I'm glad something piqued your interest. Rez Ball is a great book!

  3. Wow! You've made me want to check out so many of the books on this list! The first two picture books sound like they're both informative and funny - a great combo for kids. And I've been meaning to pick up Orris and Timble, but I didn't realize it was a Lion and the Mouse reimagining - very fun! I'll have to see if I can get Naked in at the bookstore where I work - sounds like a great YA non-fiction read. Thanks for sharing these!!

    1. Just as an FYI - your link to your full review of the butterfly book doesn't work.

    2. Thanks so much Nicole. I've fixed that link. You can read it here. https://dickenslibrary.blogspot.com/2021/03/butterflies-are-pretty-gross-by.html

    3. Both those books are really proven brilliant by my grandkids!

  4. I just started Rez Ball, Cheriee, so far, I'm liking it. I'm glad to read your review, too, plus the mysteries, though you've added several already to my list. I'll do my best to get to them. I hope to find the new Kate DiCamillo series book, too! FYI - your link on the site takes us back to Unleashing readers again! Have a great week ahead!

    1. Thanks Linda. I guess the link mix up is what happens when you try to post in the middle of rushing around to get to work!

  5. I absolutely wish there had been books like NAKED, and better sexual health education and openness when I was growing up - I was raised and educated in a religious environment, and it wasn't until I was in a secular college that I realized how much about my own body I didn't know! There was so much guilt and shame around the human body, and as a parent I'm a big proponent of body neutrality - the body is what is it, there's nothing good or bad about any part of it! When we provide young people with information, they can make safe, informed, thoughtful decisions - isn't that the entire point of education? Though I think it did alarm my in-laws the first time they heard my toddler refer to his penis.. ;-D

    1. I really wish it had been around when I was young too. As a nice Catholic girl from a nice Catholic family I knew almost nothing. Starting my periods, even though I wasn't entirely ignorant (thankfully I have older cousins) was still mortifying. I've worked hard to become more comfortable with sex over the years, but I still have a long way to go. I really appreciate how ordinary this book makes everything.

  6. What a fun-looking collection of books! Have a great week! :-)

  7. I've been curious about Orris and Timble. I have to get a copy to check out.

    1. It's good, but to be honest, it's not my favourite DiCammilo book.

  8. What a great birthday present for your granddaughter!

    I had Rez Ball on my to-read list but forgot about it. Glad to be reminded of it again here. Thanks!

  9. OK, first, I'm so excited that you read Princess Princess Ever After!! I really appreciate the shout-out. And I love your review of it—I agree, there is an amount of depth in terms of gender expectations and human relationships that you wouldn't expect in such a short and sweet book. K. O'Neill is unlike any writer I've ever read before.

    And I got so sucked into all your other reviews, as always! I love that your grandkids enjoyed so many of the books you shared with them, like the flower and butterfly books and the Elise Gravel book. (Also, I'm so glad you all had a wonderful trip to Vancouver!!) Naked sounds like a book I'm glad exists—I will bet literally any human would learn something from it, since we talk about those topics so little (even when we need to!). I also added Doppelganger to my TBR list—any book that can tackle the chaos of the world and come up with an explanation sounds like one that would make me feel better!

    Thank you so much for all the thoughtful reviews, Cheriee—stopping by your blog is always such a treat!!

    1. I too am a fan of K. O'Neill. All her books have deep messages that underpin them - no matter how light they might seem on the surface. I adored The Tea Dragon Society series and Aquicorn Cove. As soon as I finished this one I went to my library to see what else of hers I might have missed. I've just put a reserve on The Moth Keeper.

  10. Thank you for sharing your reading with us, especially the children's books. I feel like I miss hearing about good kids' books now that I have stepped away from the Cybils.

    1. I really miss reading those quality graphic novels, but on the other hand, I don't miss the pressure to find them and read them!

  11. I am glad you had a nice visit in Vancouver with family and friends. That sounds like such a fun time! Princess Princess Ever After sounds adorable! I will have to check out Mindful of Murder. I enjoy a good cozy mystery and the way you describe this one, I am sure I will like it. I hope you are having a great week!

    1. It is the strangest murder mystery. Because the protagonist is a Buddhist nun, she remains calm and centered when the rest of us would be terrified! I loved this about it.

  12. I just read the latest title in the Tales of the City series. I remember binge-ing the series one summer.

    1. I'm glad I read this one, but don't think I'll be reading the rest of them.

  13. I remember binge reading the Tales of the City series too when I was maybe 15? I'm going to recommend the Susan Juby title to my mom, as she loves mysteries. Just when I think I'm a completist with Kate DiCamillo, there's a new book! Looking forward to that one. Rez Ball sounds like a book I would love, so adding that right to the list.

    1. I hope your mom enjoys Mindful of Murder. This isn't my favourite DiCamillo book, but it's still wonderful.