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Showing posts from May, 2016

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

I picked up In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall on the recommendation of several people in the kidlit community who insisted it needed more attention due to its being a much needed portrayal of Native/First Nations people. Now I have read it and I agree whole heartedly.

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy despite his last name and lighter coloring (both due to his paternal grandfather). He is bullied at school for not being white and also for not being "enough" Lakota. Over his summer vacation, his grandfather takes him on a special road trip. Together they retrace the steps in the life of the famous Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse. Through this journey Jimmy learns more about the past of his people and about himself.

In all honesty, the parts with Jimmy and his grandfather are not shining examples of excellent characterization and dialogue. However their part is just the frame for the bigger story. The main point of the book is to tell the story of Crazy Horse and life…

Peas and Carrots

Peas and Carrotsby Tanita S. Davis is a wonderful book about life, family, friendship with two very different perspectives on both.

Hope is used to the revolving door of foster kids that go through her family's home. It's often hard on her because she wants to care for and protect those kids, but then they always have to leave. Dessa's presence in her house is hard on Hope for different reasons. This is first time her parents' have taken in a foster kid the same age as her. They share a bathroom, go to the same school, and Hope is supposed to stick by her and befriend her. But Hope and Dessa are like oil and water. Dessa is only there to make sure her younger half brother is being properly cared for. She's not there to make friends. She certainly isn't there to find a sister and a home. Her motto is if you don't own anything, they can't take it away from you. Dessa thinks Hope is spoiled, naive, and soft. If Hope is completely honest, she's a little …

Birthday Books

It is birthday month in the Painter house. May is actually harder on our budget and time than December, if you can believe it. We have three birthdays and an anniversary. Two of those birthdays belong to my children, and I like to share what books I'm purchasing for them every year.

For LM (who turned 8 yesterday):

 For Bit (who turns 12 next week; no one tell her):


And a card that lets her know I've pre-ordered these for her:


If you are wondering why Bit has two more and thinking that is unfair, it is because she is my voracious reader. LM is harder to please.

I love giving books as gifts! What are some books you enjoy giving to others?

Shorter Musings MG Edition

Here are some shorter musings on some recent MG reads.


The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh
This is a story of a young orphan adopted and moved to a village where strange things happen and her guardian warns of tricksters. After making a new friend, Mary begins to wonder if she can trust her new guardian and what exactly is happening in the strange small village she now calls home. This is a lovely story reminiscent of many that have come before it, but that has its own special tone and feel. The characters are delightful and bring the tale to vibrant life. This is a great addition for any elementary classroom or library.

The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers
This is an incredibly well done story about a girl who falls into an old well during a mean club initiation orchestrated by girls at her new school. Once Kammie is in the well, she has a lot of time to think about her life, and Rivers balances what is happening in the now with flashbacks Kammie has to what brought her t…

Some Kind of Happiness

When I read MG, it is often a balancing act. I read MG as a teacher who wants to have great books to put in the hands of kids that will excite them about the world around them and what they can learn about it from books. I read MG as a mom with kids who I want to inspire and (at some times) protect. I read MG as myself just because it's some of the best literature out there and I love it. Sometimes the these three different roles of mine are in disagreement. More often than not they are in agreement. I usually am aware of all three roles whenever I am reading though. Rare is the book that comes along and makes me forget all of that and just live it. Some Kind of Happinessby Claire Legrand was one of those rare books.

Finley Hart is spending the summer with father's family who she has never before met. Her parents are having problems and feel a couple of months to figure out their next step will be a good thing. Finley finds herself surrounded by cousins she has never met, aunt…

Summer Days & Summer Nights

I throughly enjoyed My True Love Gave to Me, I have a thing for romance and holidays. When I found out that there was going to be a summer collection to accompany it, I was so excited. I was grateful to have an ARC as it was easy to pick up and put down in the busy week I was moving. I didn't enjoy Summer Days & Summer Nights as much as the holiday story collection. I expected it to be lighter and fluffier. (Look at the cover! Doesn't that cover scream fun, light, happy.  The cover vibe does not match vibe of many of the stories.)

"Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail" by Leigh Bardugo*
This is a lovely romantic tale where the real world meets the fantastical. It is a marvelous way to start the book. If the entire book had continued like this story, I would have enjoyed it far more. This is a story about the disconnect between summer and the school year. It's about late afternoon ice cream cones, sticky bike rides, lazy days beside a lake, and the mystery of a summer b…

WoW: Rose & Thorn

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with—curses that will put her into her own fairy tale and a century-long slumber. Accompanied by the handsome and mysterious Watcher, Griff, and his witty and warmhearted partner, Quirk, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to her story. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the fairy tale they are trying to avoid?

Set in the world of Sarah Prineas’s Ash & Bramble fifty years later, Rose & Thorn is a powerful retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale where the characters fight to find their own Happy Ever After.


I loved last year's Ash & Bramble.  I have several …