It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/05/15

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


So many books, so little time! I’m very lucky in that so many amazing children’s books cross my desk every day. I’m trying to shorten my list down to a manageable length, let’s see how well I do…..

Title: Buster the Very Shy Dog
Author/Illustrator: Lisze Bechtold
Publisher: First Green Light Readers Edition
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s Summary: Buster, a very shy dog, does not get along with the other pets in Roger’s house, especially bold and popular Phoebe, but soon Buster discovers his own special talent.

My Two Cents: The two short stories in this collection are sure to bring smiles to the faces of shy or self-conscious children, particularly those who think they have more popular or talented siblings or friends. Buster the shy dog wishes he could be outgoing and talented like the other dog in his family, but he eventually realizes that being quiet, shy, and a good listener can be just as important.

Title: Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret
Author/Illustrator: Bob Shea
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s Summary: Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests–making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade–goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles’s leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what’s wrong. Sparkles doesn’t want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won’t want to hear. What Sparkles doesn’t know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?

My Two Cents: This silly reader is perfect for fans of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie series, and a great option for independent or paired reading. Kids can take turns reading the parts of Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony, who face a major challenge in their friendship when Sparkles confesses that he’s tired of playing ballet. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly unique about The Totally Secret Secret, but it’s a nice, fun offering for kids who’ve exhausted the library’s Elephant and Piggie selection and are looking for something similar to read.

Title: George
Author/Illustrator: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Novel
Publisher’s Summary: When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part– because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte– but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

My Two Cents: Sometimes a book touches you so strongly that you don’t even know how to begin talking about it. More than anything, reading George made angry. Angry that we live in a world in which children have to hide their true identities and live false lives because they’re terrified of how other people will react to them. I just wanted to climb into the pages of the book and hug George and her family, and tell them that they weren’t alone, and that there were people out there who would support them and love them and fight for them. I can only wish that every child finds a best friend like Kelly, who embraces George as she is, and encourages her to be herself. I can only hope that every child has a school principle like George has  and a family who is doing the very best they can for their child. I could write about George for pages and pages, but I’ll just say that this isn’t just a socially important book, it’s also a very good book, and one which takes a potentially unfamiliar topic such as transgenderism, and gives it a very real, very human face. Highly, highly recommended.