Boy, you can tell I have a lot going on, I only read 6 books in the last month and four of them were children’s books. I also had one audio that I was listening to, but it expired before I could finish it, so I’m currently back on the waitlist. April was full of more winter days than spring-like days. Many of our track meets were canceled and the ones we could have were pretty chilly. I’m now in full-on graduation mode and spending a lot of time getting things ready. We are at the point of all the “lasts”. Last band concert. Last choir concert. Patrick turned 18 last month and I just can’t even believe I have been a mom for 18 years.

I did take a few days for my annual trip to Minneapolis with my mom, her sister, and daughter. We have been taking this trip for nine years and it is just such a wonderful time. The mother/daughter/sister/cousin time is priceless and full of laughter….and ice cream.

This array of pansies was a welcome sight during our trip as it has seemed that Winter was never going to end. But, we had lovely weather and I think that Spring has finally arrived.

We ended the trip by seeing “Jersey Boys” at the Orpheum Theatre. Oh. My. Gosh. That was an amazing show! It’s the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Season and our moms loved reliving their younger years through those songs.

The month of May will fly by in a blink of an eye as we move through the end of the school year and graduation. I can’t stop that train, so I’m going to enjoy the ride and soak in all the scenery.

Make sure you check out all the wonderful books that were added to my shelves in May.

Currently Reading: LET ME LIE
Currently Listening: POPULATION 485
Up Next: I’m just going to focus on these for now with the limited free time that I have to read.

If you would like to purchase any of the books in this post, clicking the photo or title of the book will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you choose to purchase the book I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

By: Kimberly Stuart
Published: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Howard Books
Format: Paperback

Kimberly Stuart is an Iowa author and I’ll be reviewing her newest book for the Cedar Rapids Gazette in July. I’ve previously read and reviewed her book BETTER TOGETHER.

Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland? 

By: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
Published: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Format: Hardcover

I love finding great middle-grade novels to recommend to my daughter’s friends and my fellow teacher friends for their classroom. This one sounds perfect for summer reading.

Twelve-year-old Shayne Whittaker has always spent summers on the Maine coast, visiting her grandmother Bea and playing with her BFF Poppy. Both Shayne and Bea are collectors, in their own ways: Shayne revels in golden memories of searching for sea glass and weaving friendship bracelets with Poppy, while Bea scours flea markets for valuable finds, much of which she adds to a growing pile in her house that Shayne jokingly calls Junk Mountain. 

This summer, though, everything has changed. Poppy would rather talk about boys than bracelets, and Bea’s collecting mania has morphed into hoarding. Only Linc, the weird Civil War-obsessed kid next door, pays attention to her. Turns out Linc’s collected a secret of his own, one that could enrage the meanest lobsterman on the planet, his grandpa. What begins as the worst summer of Shayne’s life becomes the most meaningful, as she wages an all-out battle to save her friendships, rescue her grandmother, and protect the memories she loves the most.

By: Kathleen Glasgow
Published: August 30, 2016 – April 10, 2018, Paperback
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Paperback

This was the Target Book of the Month pick. I didn’t realize it was written for teens until I saw it in the teen section at Barnes and Noble. It is a 2019 nominee for the Lincoln Award which is voted on by participating Illinois High School students.  So, I’m guessing it’ll be a great read! GIRL IN PIECES is also a debut novel for Glasgow, which I love.

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

By: Jenny Jaeckel
Published: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Raincloud Press
Format: Paperback

Another debut novel and one I’m definitely intrigued to read.

For Abeje and her brother Adunbi, home is the slave quarters of a Caribbean sugar plantation on the Antilles Island of Martinique. Under the watchful eye of their African mother, the children thrive despite what threatens to break them. After a night of brutality changes their lives forever, it is their strength and extraordinary bond that carries them through. 

At the dawn of emancipation, Adunbi’s daughter Hetty finds her way to Quebec City as the maid to the slave owner’s daughters. There she discovers a talent for piano and meets a bold saddler’s apprentice named Dax Rougeaux. After buying her freedom, Dax and Hetty join a growing community of Afro-Canadians living free. 

In moving prose, author Jenny Jaeckel creates a brilliantly imagined epic, weaving a multi-layered narrative that celebrates the Rougeaux family triumphs while exposing the injustices of their trials. As each new member of the family takes the spotlight, a fresh piece of the puzzle is illuminated until at last, after a span of nearly two centuries, the end brings us back to the beginning. 

In her debut novel, award-winning author Jenny Jaeckel masterfully blends coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender, race, and sexuality, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing. A relevant work of love, determination, and the many small achievements that make up greatness, House of Rougeaux draws a new map of what it means to be family.

Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time
By: Michael Perry
Published: October 8, 2002
Publisher: Harper
Format: Audiobook

I remember this book coming out and being interested in it. I found the audio version in my library overdrive and downloaded it. It’s a short 6 hour listen, which is perfect right now since I don’t have a lot of free time. I can listen in the morning while getting ready and I will finish before my time runs out on the library loan.

Here the local vigilante is a farmer’s wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, the most senior member of the volunteer fire department is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), and the back roads are haunted by the ghosts of children and farmers. Michael Perry loves this place. He grew up here, and now — after a decade away — he has returned. Unable to polka or repair his own pickup, his farm-boy hands gone soft after years of writing, Mike figures the best way to regain his credibility is to join the volunteer fire department. Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, he tells a frequently comic tale leavened with moments of heartbreaking delicacy and searing tragedy.

From Fuchsia to Midnight Blue
By: Cruschiform
Published: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Format: Hardcover

This is a children’s book, targeted for elementary-aged readers, but I am loving this for me. I am a color geek and have skimmed this and can’t wait to set aside time to read every page. On one side is a full page of the color with the opposite page listing the name of the color and a description of something that color. I just think it is the neatest book. I won’t be able to wait to dive in and then share it with you.

What is the color white? The serenity of a snowfall? The peace of a dove? The purity of alabaster? This original and captivating exploration of color delves into the nuances of the universal palette while also explaining the history behind some of the terms used to describe certain hues. Elegantly designed it offers two-page spreads for 133 different shades. Each full-page of brilliant color faces a charming explanatory illustration and text of technical, scientific, historic, etymological, or linguistic terms. Two helpful indices present the colors in the order in which they appear in the book and also sorts them thematically in categories such as “Birds,” “Cloth,” “Modes of Transport,” and “Formulas.” The book also offers inspiration and guidance to painters and illustrators. Young lovers of art can understand why artists chose a particular shade over another. As fun to peruse as it is informative, this unique, cleverly designed book offers a wealth of surprises about the colors around us.

By: Mia Cassany
Illustrated by: Ana de Lima
Published: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

The gorgeous picture book combines geography and fantasy and looks like such a fabulous book.

Upside-down mountains, volcanoes that spew bubble gum, a gentle humpback whale keeping an entire city afloat. These and other wonderful worlds may not exist on Earth, but elsewhere–who knows? Each spread of this captivating book invites readers on a fantastic voyage. Ana de Lima’s whimsical, softly colored illustrations are filled with surprising details that reward close examination, while Mia Cassany’s soothing narrator is a nameless fellow traveler. A jungle where the animals exchange stripes, spots, and markings each time they sneeze, an archipelago made up of dessert-shaped islands and a lighthouse so tall you can draw a new galaxy with your finger are just some of the wild places to visit. Perfect for before-bed reading, or daytime dreaming, this stunningly illustrated book will delight young readers and encourage them to conjure their own imaginary places. 

By: Kate Hosford
Illustrated by: Abigail Halpin
Published: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A perfect book for a child who is waiting for a new baby brother or sister to arrive.

As a curious little girl awaits the arrival of her baby sister, she asks Mama many questions: “Will she have freckles?” “Will I have to share my blanket?” She helps Mama and Dad prepare to meet her little sister, singing her songs and knitting her a new blanket. But the most important part of getting ready is taking care of Mama. When Mama can’t see her toes, she counts to make sure there’s still ten. When Mama’s tired, she draws her a picture and gives her hugs. An honest and gentle exploration of the excitement and anxiety kids feel when welcoming a new family member, Mama’s Belly is ultimately a celebration of motherly (and daughterly) love and a soothing story for older siblings that even with the spotlight on a new baby, there is always enough love for everyone.

By: Laura Gehl
Illustrated by: Sarah Horne
Published: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

After reading and reviewing Gehl’s PEEP AND EGG books, I saw that this one had just come out. So I tracked down her publisher and begged for a copy of this one.  My nieces love their chickens and I bet they will love this book!

What a birthday girl wants more than anything from her Abuela are tickets to the amusement park. Instead, she gets a chicken. But this chicken is no ordinary chicken; it has plans! With a lot of hard work and help from lots of other animals, this chicken may just end up building the girl the best birthday gift ever!

By: Samantha Berger
Illustrated by: Julia Patton
Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love writing letters and supporting our US Postal Service. My mom retired as a rural carrier after 25+  years and my dad worked as a postmaster after he retired from his newspaper job. This book looks like a great way to encourage your kids to write letters.

A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snail’s trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful. 

Snail Mail’s playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

These next two books offer a unique way to teach kids about animals and the human body. Through 3D illustrations and unique lenses, kids can learn in a fun, interactive way. These would be great for a homeschool or classroom library and would make a great end-of-year teacher gift. 

A Lens Book
By: Valentina Facci
Translated by: Sally-Ann Delvino
Illustrated by: Alberto Borgo
Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Format: Hardcover

Do you know what the difference is between vertebrates and invertebrates? How are mammals different from other types of animals? How does a fish swim? How do birds fly? Why does a jaguar have spots? Answers to these fascinating questions and more lay inside Animals: A Lens Book, a fun and fascinating illustrated book that promises to provide hours of fun and learning for kids. Use the three different color lenses in the book’s cover to make discoveries about all different types of animals on each page. You’ll never look at the animal world the same way again after learning all these curious facts about our furry (and not-so-furry) friends. 

A Lens Book
By: Valentina Bonaguro
Translated by: Denise Muir
Illustrated by: Matteo Gaule
Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Format: Hardcover

How do bones and muscles work? What part of our brain helps us to see and hear? How does blood get from our heart to our other organs? Answers to these fascinating questions and more lay inside The Human Body: A Lens Book, an inspiring and creative illustrated book that promises to provide hours of fun and learning for kids. Use the three different color lenses in the book’s cover to make discoveries about all the systems of the body, including organs, the skeleton, the muscles, and more. You’ll never look at your body the same way again after learning all these curious facts about what makes us human.

I’m linking up with THE DELIBERATE READER for her monthly feature NEW ON THE STACK. To see other bloggers’ new books from April, click HERE.

As always, be sure to let me know if you read any of these. 

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