Must Read in 2019 | Year-End Wrap-Up
The #MustReadin2019 reading challenge is hosted by Carrie Gelson of There’s a Book for That. This is my 2nd year participating. I started out with 17 titles and then ended up adding 4 more because of this beautiful graphic that I saw on Twitter that was posted by debut author Karen Strong who released Just South of Home in May of this year. One of the 5 books pictured was already on my original list (A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée).
Here is the original graphic that I posted at the beginning of this year. I tried keeping it to a manageable number in an attempt to read them all. I ended up reading 14 out of the 21 that you see between these two graphics. Considering that I read about 150 books this year, I’m not doing too bad. I didn’t get to review every book that I read and I had to be okay with that. I think it’s better to enjoy reading than it is to get hung up on whether or not I was able to write a review. When I don’t get to review it, I will still rate it on Goodreads and other platforms.
The books that I did not get to read will not go forgotten as they are still on my radar to read and share with students and will likely get moved over to my Beat the Backlist 2020 Reading Challenge. It’s hosted by Novel Knight. I’ll share more about that later. In the meantime, you’ll find the books I completed marked below and the snippets from the reviews that I wrote as well.
Happy New Year and thank you for joining me on this journey.
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks
by Alice Faye Duncan
This tribute follows the poet’s life from her youth when the first ember of a dream to write was sparked, and it highlights her growth as she learns to “labor for the love of words” – drafting, revising, and rewriting. All the while her parents encouraged her and made room for Gwendolyn’s gift to be fanned into a flame. Studying the work of other writers, honing her craft, and writing poems about life in Chicago. Read my full review here.
The Roots of Wrap
by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Roots of Rap, 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop is an incredible work of art with a value that far exceeds its humble price tag. Each page is a brilliant expression of the creativity and passion that is rap music and hip-hop culture. Paying tribute to poetry, street rhymes and phat beats; storytelling in its many artistic forms. From breakdancing and boom boxes, to deejays and block parties; brothers with funky-fresh rhymes and queens rocking the mic. This is an ode to hip-hop that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in the picture book format. Read my full review here.
by Michelle Meadows
Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins is a lyrical tribute that both informs and inspires. Providing the reader with an introduction to the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera House. It will inspire them to excel beyond any barriers to reach heights never once thought possible. The illustrations are warm but those lines! I love Ebony Glenn’s lines. They are graceful and on point, capturing the beauty of each balletic motion, and will surely tickle the fancy of every ballerina’s heart. Read my full review here.
by Tami Charles
It is inspiring to learn about a woman who challenged the norm and pursued something she was really good at in spite of the obstacles she faced; defying the prevailing mores of the time, and becoming the first African American woman stagecoach driver (in 1895)! She was hired at the age of 60 in the town of Cascades, Montana, to do a job that was previously thought to have been one that only a man could do. She proved herself to be faster than most, tough when the stagecoach needed protecting, and smart. She was as a trailblazer who paved the way for other women who would become stagecoach drivers and deliver mail across the United States. Read my full review here.
by Jerry Craft
Jordan Banks is the new kid at one of the best private schools in the state that offers a wealth of academic and extra-curricular opportunities and experiences for its students and while its prestige is praiseworthy, it is woefully lacking in diversity. Jordan is one of a small number of students of color at the school but just like every other twelve-year-old middle school student has to navigate making new friends, avoiding awkward crushes, getting good grades, and making time to do what he loves most-drawing cartoons. His art is embedded throughout the text and gives the reader an inside look at Jordan’s thoughts on well, just about everything. His drawings are informative, oftentimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, and honest. This book is sure to be a hit and I cannot wait for its release in early 2019. Read my full review here.
The Dragon Thief
by Zetta Elliott
Kavita has a new pet named Mo. It’s a dragon and it breathes fire! She deftly acquired it recently from a witch’s apprentice who really should have been paying better attention to all three of the magical creatures in his charge. That apprentice was Jaxon, her brother Vik’s best friend. It was Jaxon’s job to deliver the dragons back to the realm of magic and when one went missing, he thought it might have been flying around Brooklyn, but it was actually with Kavita and she was desperately seeking a way to keep it out of sight. Hiding the dragon, however, was becoming more difficult by the minute. What once fit inside a mint tin had now grown to the size of a cat! Read my full review here.
by Anika Aldamuy Denise
Planting Stories follows “la vida y el legado of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City.” She traveled from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York (in 1921) for her sister’s wedding but soon called the city home as it was “alive with hope and possibility.” Carrying the stories Abuela would tell of home in her heart, she shared them and planted each one like seeds in fertile ground. She was a storyteller who became a published author and puppeteer. Read my full review here.
For Black Girls Like Me
by Mariama J. Lockington
Makeda June Kirkland is a transracial adoptee. An 11-year old Black girl with a White mother, father, and sister. Her move from Baltimore, MD to Albuquerque, NM, also makes her the new girl at a new school where she is grossly misunderstood by her peers. She’s trying to come into her own in a world where she often feels like she doesn’t fit in. As it is said in the book’s blurb, “For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?” Read the full review here.