A week off

I was fortunate enough to get a Baker and Taylor grant to attend the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona this year.  I’m leaving tomorrow morning and will be back Saturday night, so I’m taking a short vacation from the blog.  Don’t worry, I have a stack of books to read on the plane, and will be up and running again no later than next Monday.  Is anyone else going to AASL?  Let me know, and maybe we can meet up!

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Published by Chronicle Books

Summary:  Think you know about the Statue of Liberty?  Chances are, you will learn something new if you read this book.  It starts in France, where the Statue herself started, and describes the creation and construction of it, first in France and then again in the United States.  It was brown for about 35 years until the copper turned its current shade of green.  The author relates some quirky details about different parts of the statue, then focuses on one specific part: her right foot, which is lifted as though she is walking away.  Where is she going?  He concludes that she is an immigrant, like all the other immigrants she has welcomed over the years.  Immigrants don’t stand still.  They are always moving forward, and like them, the Statue of Liberty is moving toward the ocean to greet the people who continue to come to the United States.  Includes a page of sources for further reading.  104 pages; grades 2-6.

Pros:  A quirky, moving book that is part history and part celebration of immigration, told in a conversational tone and beautifully illuminated with unique cut-paper illustrations.

Cons:  Nonfiction? 104-page picture books?  About the Statue of Liberty?  Or immigration?  It’s hard to know how to categorize this 104-page picture book that jumps from one topic to the next.

If you’d like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

Amazon Affiliate

I’ve recently signed up with the Amazon Affiliate program, and will be including a link to Amazon at the bottom of each review.  I’ve added links to my last four reviews, and hope to (eventually) add them to other previous reviews.  If you click on the link, then buy the book from Amazon, I get 4% of the sale.  Blog design is not my specialty (I’m sure you’ve noticed), and I’m sure there’s some more aesthetically pleasing way to incorporate this link, but this is my best attempt for now.  I’m still learning about this process, so if anyone has any helpful hints, I’d appreciate them.  Please feel no obligation to shop through my blog, but if you are planning to buy a book, thanks for clicking on the link!

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

Published by Disney-Hyperion

Summary:  Beatrice Zinker is unlike anyone else in her family.  Her first word was “Wow”, not “Mom”, and she does her best thinking upside-down.  She goes her own way at school, too, but her second grade teacher and her best friend Lenny appreciated Beatrice’s unique qualities.  The first day of third grade, though, doesn’t go so well.  Her teacher, Mrs. Tamarack, has heard about Beatrice, and is determined to keep her in line.  Lenny shows up with a new girl, Chloe, and doesn’t want to carry out the plans she and Beatrice made at the end of second grade.  But even a fall from a tree and a bloody nose can’t deter Beatrice, and by the end of the day she has even managed to win over her bossy older sister. 160 pages; grades 2-4.

Pros:  Fans of Ramona, Junie B., and Clementine will enjoy Beatrice’s humor and resourcefulness.  She is unafraid of being who she is, yet kind enough to find ways to include her friends and family.  Plenty of zany illustrations help set the tone for Beatrice’s story.

Cons:  Mrs. Tamarack was still a meanie at the end of the story.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

AASL Conference

I am excited to be attending the AASL conference in Phoenix this November.  If anyone else is going to be there, I’d love to meet up!  Also, I am staying in an AirBnB about a mile and a half from the conference.  It’s a two room guest house, so plenty of room for someone else if you’re in need of an inexpensive place to stay.  Email me at jkdawson115@gmail.com if you want to talk more.

I’m Back!

Happy new year!  I’ve enjoyed having the month of January off, but am ready to get back to work!  I’ve started reading 2017 books, and will start reviewing them tomorrow morning.

Thank you for all your messages!  I got many emails and comments, and it was gratifying to hear how many people out there are using the reviews on this blog to choose books for kids, whether it’s for a library, classroom, or family.

As many suggested, I may slow down the pace, possibly taking a day or two off each week, and going on an occasional vacation.

What did I read in January?  I finished up some 2016 books, like Slacker by Gordon Korman, I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings, and Life in Motion by Misty Copeland.  I was planning on posting reviews of these, but I spilled water on my laptop, and am pretty sure the reviews I wrote are gone.  I recommend all three, although read I Am Jazz first if you’re planning to put it in a school library.

While I was gone, ALA announced all its award winners.  What did you think?  I was pretty happy overall, although I was disappointed The Wild Robot and Some Writer! didn’t get any recognition.

Well, onto 2017!  I do enjoy hearing from you, so feel free to comment or email me (jkdhamilton@gmail.com) any time.