Monday, January 25, 2016

MMGM- Sit, Stay, Love

My friends on the east coast were swamped with snow, and while I am very glad I don't have to fight snow drifts on my way to work for the next month, part of me wishes we had gotten epic precipitation that gave us a day off. That's winter for you. It makes me obsess about things like the fact that I am losing rather than gaining followers!

The gray skies get to us, the relentless cold makes it hard to get out of bed, and realizing that I will spend the next month planning my lesson for my next evaluation even though I could tell students how to find resources on culture in the 1960s in my sleep makes me want to hop on a plane to somewhere warm and tropical. Instead, I keep putting on a different wool skirt and jacket every day, biking in wearing 18 layers of outerwear, and trying to encourage children who would rather play Angry Birds on their phone than read that there are good books in the library. 

So! It's a good time for an evil plan, right?

It's the SEVENTH ANNUAL GUYS READ PINK MONTH! Hard to believe, but it's been that long. I've started to encourage boys already to pick up books with girls on the cover. My 6th graders were involved in my Shannon Hale project, so they are very egalitarian in their reading choices. Considering that this is STILL an issue, (Read Tamsyn Murray's account, Unsuitable for Boys, which shows that the same nonsense goes on in the UK). More information next week, and possibly a celebrity spokesperson, so stay tuned. 

Hang in there. Next week is Groundhog's Day. Maybe Punxsutawney Pete  Phil can be bought. (And it used to be Pete. I thought I was hallucinating. There was also Morton the Mighty Marmot of Mill Creek Park. Very scant evidence of either, except for this 1981 article from the Toledo Blade. )

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

25786942Howard, J.J. Sit, Stay, Love
January 26th 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there.

Cecelia is having a hard time-- her mother has left her and her father, and her father is struggling with a career change. He was a P.E. teacher, but after years in school has become a lawyer... but he takes cases that aren't terribly remunerative. When a fire damages the family home, Cecelia and her father has to move in with an aunt who does not care for pets. Cecelia spends a lot of time at the local animal shelter, helping out, and has recently found a pug with whom she has an instant connection. She knows she won't be able to adopt Potato herself, but she's not happy when the wealthy jock Eric Chung and his family do. Eric wants to prove to his very driven parents that a rescue dog can do well in a dog show, but Potato has bonded so closely with Cecelia that Eric has to ask for her help. Eric's sister becomes good friends with Cecelia, which helps both of their social lives, and Cecelia starts to realize that she really enjoys hanging out with Eric, even when they don't need to train Potato. 

Strengths: This had so many good qualities! It showed a girl with realistic problems (housing insecure, struggling father) who is still trying to do good things in her community. It has a multicultural element as well. There is some friend drama, and most importantly, there is a light romance between characters who have shared interests and a mutual respect and friendship. Plus the cover is adorable. Love, love. love this!

Weaknesses: Boo, Scholastic! Paperback only! Plus, I would have liked this more if the mother hadn't run off. It would have made it more realistic, I think. 

What I really think: This needs to be in hardback, and I need a LOT more books like this!

Ashman, Linda. Henry Wants More
Illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes 
January 26th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers Copy provided by the publisher

Henry is a high energy toddler who wants to participate in all manner of activities with his family. By the end of the day, everyone is tired and glad when Henry falls asleep. 

This is definitely a picture book for younger children, but I mention it here because it is one of the few instances I've seen (and admittedly, I don't read a ton of picture books) where the family includes an African-American mother, a fair-skinned, red-headed father, three children with complexions slightly lighter than the mother's, and no mention about race at all in the text. This is exactly what the We Need Diverse Books movement has been waiting for-- books about diverse characters that are not about diversity. 


  1. Sit,Stay,Love sounds great. Contemporary stories that are realistic and relatable to young readers can be tough to find. Too bad about this not being in hardcover. Scholastic must be pushing this one at book fairs rather than libraries and bookstores.

  2. Anonymous8:59 AM EST

    Boy howdy, I hear you on this one "...trying to encourage children who would rather play Angry Birds on their phone than read that there are good books in the library."

    Same here on no snow days this year. We were just commenting on that. Will be sure to get Think, Say, Love.

  3. Anonymous9:00 AM EST

    Okay...make that SIT, Stay, Love. Seem to be having Monday morning focus issues!

  4. Sit. Stay. Love. does sound good. Too bad it is only available as a paperback. Here's what last week was like for me. Happy reading!

  5. It's Punxsutawney Phil and he has his own facebook page, naturally:

    The schools here are closed today AND tomorrow. It's messy out there.

    Hadn't heard of Sit, Stay, Love but it sounds like a great read. In my years at the bookstore, any book with a dog in it was more popular than other books.

  6. Love that pink cover of Sit, Stay, Love, Karen! Can you get the boys to read it? It does sound like a great middle grade story. She's not a toddler, but nearly five, but Henry Wants More sounds like my youngest granddaughter, never stopping. Fun that someone actually wrote a book about this, plus wonderful to see diverse children, good for everyone.

  7. I love this line "This is exactly what the We Need Diverse Books movement has been waiting for-- books about diverse characters that are not about diversity" I agree so much with this sentiment. Here in Vancouver on the west coast we rarely ever get more than a skiff of snow and I can't remember, if ever, school was cancelled because of it. There is hardly anything better than a really good middle grade novel and so I'm looking forward to Sit, Stay, Love.

  8. Sit, Stay, Love looks like a fun book that the kids in my class would like. I prefer hardback books too, but paperbacks last for a while since the kids don't usually take them home. They have book boxes in the classroom for independent reading, and so they're not exposed to the elements as much. I was relieved that central Ohio didn't even get a flake of the huge storm! Hope you have an awesome week!

  9. I recently read about the "Where's Rey?" campaign, and the suggestion that toy makers didn't think that boys would want to a buy a toy set if it included a girl character. So sad that this is still a reality in 2016. Hopefully projects like this will help change the next generation of minds.

  10. A friend of mine got the Henry Wants More book, and I am green with envy. I really, really want it for my son, Henry! I will have to buy it. :) I am glad to hear you liked it!

  11. I didn't know about Boys Read Pink! Thank you for introducing it to me.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  12. Sit, Stay, Love does sound like a good book. Getting guys to read "girl" books is an ongoing challenge. I had some luck some years with doing so. Once they get past the cover, most boys enjoyed reading the "girl" books. One year during a author research project, one guy chose to be in a group with some friends who were girls. They chose (and drug him along) to study Lurlene McDaniel. THe guy was popular and withstood some teasing at first, but once he got into the books, he enjoyed them and recommended them.

  13. I super like the look of Henry Wants More and I like the sound of an evil plan hatched by a brilliant librarian to get kids to read read read! Angry Birds is so passe. Hahaha. Guys Read Pink sounds awesome. Do fly to Singapore - tropical whole year round. :)

  14. Anonymous12:17 PM EST

    Henry Wants More looks great. And Guys Read Pink sounds fun. These reading challenges are fun ways to "Read without walls."

  15. Henry Wants More is one that I needed to know about. Someone was just asking me for biracial families in picture books. I gave her some titles, but am happy to have another one to give her.