Thank you to Candlewick for sending me this review copy to celebrate the Paperback release of this beautiful love story/ murder mystery! Plus: a good part of this plot takes place around the winter holidays so this is the PERFECT time to dive into this one.
Echo After Echo focuses on Zara who has come to the Aurelia Theater in NYC , home to the famous director Leopold , to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love, because she has never actually been in love. She is more than prepared for her role as Echo – what she is not ready for is Eli, the beautiful and talented assistant light director for the theater, multiple murders within the theater family, and the pressure to be perfect when nothing is perfect.
AR Capetta weaves this story together so beautifully, that you cannot help but be captured by Zara and Eli and root for their new and young love. Normally, I hate theater/movie set books, but the murder mystery element in this one drew me to want to read this one, and AR Capetta kept me on my toes for the entire story. Zara not only is a character to root for, but despite her flaws, she is a character you want to be like – for her perseverance, her courage, and her unwillingness to be anybody but herself, even when it isn’t easy.
I gave this book 4.5/ 5 stars and would recommend it to high school students who love their theater classes or drama club, to anyone struggling with their own identity, and for lovers of cozy murder mysteries.
For the very first day of #BookADay I selected one of my students’ favorite anime series as a manga to read. I have also enjoyed this anime series and my students are always in the library asking if I have any more of this manga in stock. I really need to get more copies of all of them. Here are my thoughts: My Hero Academia is such a fun manga series that combines a love of superheroes and school stories. The main character Deku is so relatable because the author intentionally made him seem “plain” to the reader at first. This is something I think we can all relate to – not being terrible, but not being great, not standing out, not grabbing attention. Deku doesn’t have a super power like 80% of the evolved population of Earth, but his heart is one of a heroes heart.
This initial book follows as Deku moves from Middle School to High School and tries his best to get into his dream Hero Academy. This is a strong start to a series of unbelievable characters of all sorts and has some great little references to our favorite already known hero stories – Superman, Mario Brothers, etc.
I gave this series a 4/5 star rating and plan to continue to read this one. Great for manga fans of all ages – rated teen – but I am happy to put this in the library for 6-8th grade. Also great for those that love Marvel and DC movies and comics as well. Order the book Here on Amazon or Here on Bookshop.org – I do get a small kickback which I use to buy books for my school library. You can also preorder the bookmark I designed based on this book.
This is the beginning of a series of book lists that I recommend that you read “In Your Lifetime”. You can shop the “Books to Read in Your Lifetime” lists on Bookshop.org (and support me and small indie bookstores everywhere) or on Amazon.com (still supporting me if you shop from this link)
If I close my eyes, I can remember being a 3rd grader in the middle of our school library, surrounded by brand new books at the book fair. I can remember how they smelled, the shiny new covers, and the promise of a new poster to hang in my bedroom. Likely, the same type of memories have been made by children all over the United States for the last 30 or so years. But, in the midst of a pandemic, librarians are struggling to bring that experience to their students and still make out with a budget for their library. I was struggling with the options I had in front of me in August for my fall book fair, so when Junior Library Guild announced that they were offering book fairs starting as early as October, I jumped at the chance to be a pilot school. I have been a member of Junior Library Guild for going on 3 years now, and I have loved their services the entire time. I have sung their praises as much as I can to other school librarians who struggle with getting the right books into student hands each and every month. Normally, I pay for my subscriptions with the profits from the fall book fair, so it only made sense to jump on board with them and take the 40% JLG credit they were offering to libraries. Even better? They were shipping to home which meant I could share our shopping links with not only our school community, but with my own friends and family and my social media followers. Something I can never do with in-person school book fairs.
Junior Library Guild had an easy, user friendly set up that made it easy to select my goal, my favorite books, as well as let my teachers make wishlists. My website was set up within 30 minutes and all I had left to do was to advertise! I sent an email out about the book fair to our school community about a week before the fair, a reminder the Friday before it started and then every 2 days with new information during the fair. I gave updates on our goals along the way, recommended my favorite books, good $5 books, wish lists, books under $10, and student favorites in different emails. I added my book fair link to my instagram account and had a lot of activity from that with my followers. I stayed on top of advertising and it worked! I couldn’t have done it though without JLG checking in with me every step of the way and providing me with ways to be successful.
In the past, when I have had suggestions for better ways to run book fairs, the companies haven’t always been receptive to feedback. JLG took notes, asked me follow up questions, offered us a free shipping weekend, and then an extended weekend at the end of the fair. They WANT to set you up to be successful. On top of that, you know your students and families are getting quality hardback books (with the exception of some paperbacks which are labeled as such). The result? I get to keep the majority of my JLG subscription categories without any additional work, or waiting for funding to get moved into the library account! My students will have quality new releases all year long. I cannot wait to see the future of Junior Library Guild book fairs and how they will evolve over time.
*Note: This is MY opinion and I am in no way being compensated to write this post. I have had really good relationships with the JLG team and they did ask if I was willing to write about my book fair experience
Examples of some of the graphics I made using Canva during our fair to send to parents. Please do not copy or use these graphics as the book covers may no longer be relevant in the fairs. If you need any graphic work done you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you my pricing. JLG also has ready made use graphics!
Spend a day in the life of a livestock guardian dog! Jax the Great Pyrenees has a big job. After the Texas sun goes down, it’s up to him and two other LGDs to protect their ranch from predators. But when the lead dog gets hurt, Jax and a
young pup are the only ones left to protect the flock through the night. Told from the dog’s perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.
Spend a day in the life of an avalanche rescue dog! Ava is a chocolate Labrador retriever with a big job. She and her handler have trained for years to be ready to help people at their ski resort if an unexpected avalanche hits. But Ava quickly finds out there’s much more to being an avy dog than daring rescues. Told from the dog’s perspective, this riveting story also includes back matter about the breed and the role of the working dog.
I Am Ava is a short and sweet beginner Chapter Book that is both entertaining and informative. I spent 2 years of college working with the Aggie Service Dogs program that raises puppies, like Ava, to go and be service animals. Almost all of our service dogs went on to be companions to those with special needs. I knew there were other “jobs” for dogs, including search and rescue, but I didn’t know – and in Texas, never really thought about – that there are dogs specifically trained to help find people in the snow. Learning about Avalanche Search and Rescue dogs through the eyes of Ava was so fun! Since this small chapter book is less than 100 pages, this will appeal to kids who both love reading, and those that are a little more hesitant. I love that this book is fiction through the eyes of a dog, because this will appeal to all the fiction loving kids, but at the same time this book is heavy on the information as well, which will appeal to the non-fiction loving kids. There is just a little something for everyone. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars because I was intrigued enough to finish it in just one sitting! Something that doesn’t happen very often, even with the shortest of books. I would recommend this to my 2nd and 3rd graders who love animals, especially dog lovers, and anyone who loves to know more about dog workers and helpers!
Catherine Stier, a former Midwesterner, now lives deep in the heart of Southwest Texas, on the edge of the beautiful Hill Country. Her children’s books have received honors and awards from the Society of School Librarians International, the International Reading Association, and the Bank Street College of Education.
Stier has served as a frequent contributor to Woman’s Day Magazine and as a newspaper columnist. Her work has also appeared in Highlights for Children, My Friend, Child Life, and several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Antonio Express-News.
Stier’s lively and interactive Author’s Visit programs have entertained, educated, and inspired thousands of children. Visit Catherine Stier’s website at www.catherinestier.com for more information, activities, and free curriculum guides.
ONE WINNER: Hardcover copy of I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch (Book 1), hardcover copy of I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow (Book 2), $15 gift card to The Twig Book Shop, stuffed animal – adorable “Ava” Lab dog toy, dog stickers, dog socks.
I am hoping that this post will become a weekly discussion of my favorite diverse books. Now, more than ever we need to support diverse voices and make sure that our children are hearing them too so that they can understand a variety of communities.
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat Publisher: Candlewick Press Publishing Date: March 25, 2020 My Review: 5 Stars Age Group: MG – 4-8th grades Sensitive Content: classism, prison, children born out of wedlock, abuse of power Diversity: Christina Soontornvat is Thai and this book is influenced heavily on Thai culture Add on Goodreads Purchase on Amazon
Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Publishing Date: October 8, 2019 My Review: 3 Stars Age Group: MG – 4-8th grades Sensitive Content: bullying, death, homophobia Diversity: Jason Reynolds is a Black author and his characters in this novel span through different ethnicities, races, and across the LBGTQ spectrum Add on Goodreads Purchase on Amazon
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei Publisher: Top Shelf Productions Publishing Date: July 16, 2019 My Review: 5 Stars Age Group: YA Graphic Novel Sensitive Content: internment camps, homophobia, racism Diversity: George Takei is a Japanese American and gay Add on Goodreads Purchase on Amazon
Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo Publisher: Top Shelf Productions Publishing Date: October 23, 2018 My Review: 5 Stars Age Group: MG – 3rd – 8th grade Sensitive Content: bullying, monster fighting, some allusion to curse words Diversity: Ryan Calejo is hispanic and Charlie Hernandez brings in a lot of Latin American myths and legends into his story Add on Goodreads Purchase on Amazon
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani Publisher: Kokila Publishing Date: March 6, 2018 My Review: 5 Stars Age Group: MG – 4th- 8th grade Sensitive Content: death, violence, illness Diversity: Author is Jewish American/ Hindu Indian, characters in this book are in India and the MC is half-Muslim, half-Hindu Add on Goodreads Purchase on Amazon
So I am taking on the challenge to read through the 1001 Children’s Books in this massive anthology of children’s books, then I will rate and review them here and if I don’t think they belong on this list I will tell why.
Here is the Link to the Book if you are interested in purchasing your own copy if you are like me and love books about books: https://amzn.to/2RVa6mQ
I am going to be dividing this list up into sections of 10 – with the last post being 11 – so that it is not too overwhelming. As of right now I have no time table. I am hoping to find most of these from libraries so I don’t have to purchase too many of them.
So what credentials do I have to validate this list – or not ? I have a bachelor’s degree in education which requires children’s literature college credits and I have my master’s in library science in which I took many children’s literature courses as well. I taught daycare (toddlers through age 3 for 2 years, 3rd grade English Language Arts for 3 years, 5th and 6th grade language arts for a year, and I am in my 3rd year of being a PreK-12th grade librarian. I also serve on the Lectio Book Award committee (this is my 3rd year serving on this committee). I dedicate most of my free time to reading Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. I love reading and educating others about reading.
I am hoping to come up, along the way, a list of my own 1001 books every child should read by coming up with alternate titles to books that I didn’t think should be included in this anthology. I will be creating a spreadsheet and tracking all the books for my own anthology which will be shared with you all – complete with buy links.
My first impressions with this anthology is that a lot of the titles are older and therefore outdated. Part of this is because the anthology was published in 2009 so we have had over a decade of publishing since then, part of it is because it truly focuses on older books. There are not many diverse reads as this is full of the “classics” – or deemed classic by white men, and probably written by white men- but that doesn’t mean that newer and diverse reads shouldn’t be among the 1001 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime. So I have a feeling that I will be suggesting newer books to replace many of the titles listed throughout this brick of an anthology.
Maybe someday my own anthology will be published with more diverse reads, more literature written by women, and more interesting covers because the authors of the 21st century have been more inclusive than ever before and the technology we have to print illustrations has come a long way since the ages of the “classics”.
If you are up for this ride with me, make sure you are subscribed to my posts so you can get notifications when I post new things. Look for the first ten books coming soon!
*Hides Head behind Hands Because there are Too Many to Post* Let me just say I am real quick to add books to my TBR and then let them sit for MONTHS or YEARS on my shelves. I buy way more books each year than I read probably. Its okay though because I love them. Here are some of my most anticipated new releases.
4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year
This is the easiest of all the prompts for me because I spent WAY too much on a preorder for Wayward Son coming from the UK. Check it out. You can preorder it from Waterstones. The international shipping is what is making it expensive.
5. Biggest Disappointment
Also an easy one. If you watched my instagram stories for the last several weeks you would know how hard I struggled to finish Four Dead Queens. I just found it so flat and boring and I was really anticipating it because i had gotten it in 2 subscription boxes the month it was released.
6. Biggest Surprise
The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter! I LOVED this book so much and fairytale retellings are hit or miss for me. I either love or hate it. I wasn’t sure I would like this one since Snow White isn’t my favorite fairytale but the way this was told was phenomenal. read my entire review here.
7. Favorite Author (debut or new to you) Riley Sager writes fantastic thriller novels. I am so excited to read some more of his writing. He isn’t new on the writing scene but I hadn’t read anything of his until this year when I read Final Girls.
11. Book that Made You Happy There is just something about middle grade novels that just makes me so happy. They bring me back to my own childhood and the excitement of finding a good book to read in the school library or sitting in my bedroom reading all day because I wasn’t an adult and could. Here are some of my favorite middle grade reads of the year so far.
I really don’t know who to pick for this one because I have so many good supporters out there. I love everyone that supports me whether it be here, on Etsy or on Instagram.
So that’s it. The Mid Year Freak Out. And yes I am freaking out because as always there are too many books and not enough time!
My featured image for this post contains the pattern I made for my Spoonflower account which features the pattern on fabric, wallpaper, and wrapping paper. You can find it here. I also added it to my Redbubble so you can find this same pattern on mugs, pillows, home decor, and more. You can get the link to my Redbubble here.
Hello Followers! First off welcome to my new website erindeckerblog.com ! Please feel free to sign up for my newsletter on the tab at the top of my page to get updates and freebies sent straight to your inbox.
I am so excited that Heather and I have teamed up to do this Read-a-thon this summer. We had been chatting about our ridiculous TBR piles and how we would love to put some dents in them this summer. We figured other people may want to join us and how fun it would be to have a theme for the summer. Summer always makes me think of Road Trips and I said, “Hey what if we do a literary ROAD TRIP and travel through BOOKS” and thus RoadtripAThon was born!
Make sure you view my ReadaThon Calender here. If you know of a readathon, host a readathon, or love a readathon please let me know so I can add it to my calendar.
You Are Invited
What: RoadtripAThon 2019 Who:BibliophilePrints and CreativeChaotics on Instagram When: June 1st through August 31st 2019 Where: Sprints on Instagram stories, digital download here, physical shipped product here Why: Put a dent in your reading pile and potentially earn giftcards! How to Join: Follow the instructions below!!
If you would like a map you will have to purchase either the digital download or purchase a print out from Heather’s shop (links above) but you can pick from any of the following challenge groups to do for your entries as one “group”. Do one or all, it is your choice!
If you complete all 12 rounds you will have 12 entries. Remember if you complete 1–>4–>7 and want a second entry using 1, you need to read a different book for the second entry. Each entry should have 3 different books!
Heather and I also wanted to put ourselves on a bookban of some sort and then reward ourselves for each round, so we are only allowing ourselves to buy a new book at the conclusion of each round. If you decide to do the bonus entries and do a bookban you can reward yourself with a new ebook, regular book, or library book. Just snap a picture and post it with our handles and our hashtag for the challenge. So total if you do the bonus and all 12 rounds you can have up to 24 entries for the giveaway.
What do you get if you buy the Download/Roadtripathon Packet?
Questions? Just ask! Feel free to message either of us on instagram for more infomation.
I read 7 books this month, and with everything going on that feels like a HUGE feat. I was on several book tours this month and have been sent tons of books to review in May. I also attended TLA and brought home a ton of ARCs for this year and finished copies of books I am excited to read.
Here is what I read and some brief thoughts for each book
Arlo Finch and the Valley of Fire by John August – MG Fantasy Read for Lectio Committee, Selected for 2019-2020 school year
I loved this woodsy fantasy and had so much fun discovering the world that Arlo lives in with him. Would recommend to middle grade boy scouts, fans of camping books, and readers of MG fantasy. 5/5 Stars
The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange – MG Historical Fiction
This story is set in the early 1900s and a girl is trying to rescue her mother from mental illness and a doctor who is clearly taking advantage of the family. This book was dark and I thought it would have been better played out with an older protagonist and as a YA novel instead of MG. 3 out of 5 stars.
Panic Pointby Bill Briscoe – Adult Mystery Read for Lone Star Book Blog Tours
Read my review here
The Rainwater Secret by Monica Shaw – Adult Historical Fiction Read for Lone Star Book Blog Tours
Loved this historical fiction. The review will be up for the tour tomorrow so make sure you come back to find out why this was a 5 star read.
Dumplinby Julie Murphy – YA Contemporary
This adorable body loving book made me remember all over again what it felt like to be a teenager. Julie Murphy does an excellent job writing all her characters. I have known what it has felt like to be each of them at one point or another. 5 out of 5 stars – Bonus! I met Julie Murphy this month and she is wonderful!!
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys – YA Historical Fiction
FAVORITE READ OF THE MONTH – This will more than likely be in my top 10 of 2019. This book sucked me in and told an amazing story. Read my 5 star review here.
Scytheby Neal Schusterman – YA Dystopian/ Science Fiction
Another amazing 5 star read. This book showcases what would happen if we actually achieved a Utopia type world and the consequences that it could bring. Absolutely recommend to fans of The Hunger Games and other dystopia fans.
What did you read this month? Have you read any of these books? What would you recommend to me since I enjoyed *almost* all of these!