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!

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!

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.



January Hiatus

I’ve been posting daily book reviews since February 20, 2015, and I’m ready for a break.  I love doing this blog, but as you can imagine, it’s time-consuming to read and review a book every day.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about shutting down, but I’m not ready to call it quits for good.

I’ve decided to take the month of January off.  It’s a good time, since I’ve read and reviewed most of the 2016 books I want to, and it will be a few weeks until I can start getting my hands on 2017 books.  I’ll use the time off to decide whether or not I’ll continue reviewing in 2017, and get back to you no later than February 1.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear feedback about the blog, so please feel free to leave a comment or email me at jkdhamilton@gmail.com.  Thank you so much for reading my reviews, and I will be back in a few weeks!

5 Favorite Poetry Books

I’m neither an expert in nor a huge fan of poetry, but there was a pretty good selection in 2016.  Here were five that I really liked:

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams brought to life by Ashley Bryan.  Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Ashley Bryan really did bring these men and women to life, using historical documents as a springboard for his imagination to create lives for each of these eleven through art and poetry.

Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri.  Published by Chin Music Press.

A beautifully illustrated retelling of the brilliant, tragic life of Japanese poet Misuzu Kaneko, complete with translations of many of her deceptively simple poems.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo.  Published by Candlewick.

The history of Art Kane’s 1958 photograph of 57 jazz musicians against the backdrop of a Harlem brownstone, told with poems in the voices of the subjects and the bystanders watching them.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary School by Laura Shodd.  Published by Wendy Lamb Books.

Eighteen fifth graders share their hopes, dreams, and fears, as they prepare for the closing of their school in June; they use a variety of prompts and poetic forms that are explained at the end of the book.

Echo, Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer illustrated by Josee Masie.  Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Second verse same as the first…only backwards to completely change the meaning.  Super cool poems in two voices for Percy Jackson fans.