July 2021 Reads and Reviews

July 2021 Reads and Reviews

What a month of reading! I read 30 books this month. Check out my stats below and my thoughts of each middle grade and picture book below. Please comment if you’ve read any of these books and what your reading month was like. Happy reading and thanks for visiting.

What About WillWhat About Will by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh. My. Goodness. I could not put down this book in verse. The emotions were so raw and powerful throughout this entire book, but it wasn’t draining. This is an important book to show what kids go through, when to ask for help, and to know that no matter what may be going on, you are never a long. It’s a must read.

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The Verdigris PawnThe Verdigris Pawn by Alysa Wishingrad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for sharing an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was IMMEDIATELY drawn into this world-which can guarantee it is a great fantasy. I loved the intrigue, the politics, the unknown on who to trust…it was all so good. I highly recommend this adventure to all who love found families, Middle Ages, and healing magic.



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My Sister, DaisyMy Sister, Daisy by Adria Karlsson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautiful story showing the transition a family makes when a member is transgender.

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Time Villains (Time Villains, 1)Time Villains by Victor Pineiro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank your Sourcebooks for sharing this book with LitReview Crew! I love a book that makes me laugh while also keeping me on the edge of my seat and that was this book! It also makes me think…who would I invite for dinner and what could possibly go wrong? Hmmmm….

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Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race MassacreUnspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a great account of what happened during the Tulsa Race Massacre and the illustrations just bring the emotion and pain to the front. Definitely a must read for everyone.

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Allergic: A Graphic NovelAllergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love graphic novels and this one will easily become a favorite in my classroom. The story of wanting something so bad, like a pet, and feeling like it is the only thing you want…and then to not be able to have it is just devastating. The emotion in this book was so real. I highly recommend.

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Taking Up SpaceTaking Up Space by Alyson Gerber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that I didn’t know I needed nor would I think I would connect with so strongly…BUT I DID. I poured all of my attention into this book, felt everything so deeply, and just wanted a happy ending. This book will make you think-about food, about our relationships with food and our loved ones, happiness, self-care, and body image. This is a must read for all, but middle schoolers will get the most out of it because they are going through such a rough time and this book can bring some reassurances and some help. Thank you Alyson Gerber and Scholastic for sharing this with the LitReview Crew in exchange for an honest review.

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StellaStella by McCall Hoyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you Shadow Mountain publishers and McCall Hoyle for sharing this adorable and heartfelt novel with me! My daughter and I read it together and we laughed so hard at some of the things Stella would do but we also were so heartbroken at all the things she didn’t understand. This is a great story of loss and new families and new beginnings.

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Kiki Kallira Breaks a KingdomKiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WHAT AN ADVENTURE! I connected with Kiki so strongly in her worrier personality and the struggle she faced with wanting to be brave, but not knowing how to. This was a great story of found family, friendship, and finding your inner warrior-but also about being yourself. I loved the messages in this book! I also LOVED the twist at the end.

I listened to the audio and the narrator was phenomenal.

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Harry Versus the First 100 Days of SchoolHarry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept of following a boy through the first 100 days of 1st grade was so interesting and unique-which is why I chose to read this book. I really loved how the author set up each day, some longer than others, and showed how Harry evolved throughout the story. The ending was simply adorable as well.

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Attack on Pearl Harbor (Ranger in Time #12)Attack on Pearl Harbor by Kate Messner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love that Kate Messner is on a mission to bring history to kids in a real and fun format. Her Ranger in Time books are easily enjoyable because Ranger is simply wonderful. And then, her history woven in and the facts at the end pull it all together. Fantastic books.

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Missed Meal MayhemMissed Meal Mayhem by Jarrett Lerner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

3 things:
1-Mr Toot’s Toot Power
2-Teamwork
3-Everyone has a story

Jarrett Lerner has done it again. He has brought humor and life messages together in such a fun and relatable way. I will always read his books and purchase them for my classroom.

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The Girl from the SeaThe Girl from the Sea by Molly Ostertag
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Adorable love story

I devoured this book!!! I loved the themes of finding yourself, being yourself, and living your life. It’s also a great story on coming out to your friends and family-the stress that comes with it and the aftermath. Great LGBTQ+ story.

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The Usual SuspectsThe Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great mystery that covers so many important topics about school and students. I really loved the rawness and the honest narrator. There are some middle grade books that need to be read by teachers, and this is one. This book will open adults’ eyes to how we treat kids, especially those with labels.

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The LandThe Land by Mildred D. Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first book in the Logan’s Family Saga was powerful. I have only read Roll of Thunder, and this book was just as good. It also broke my heart, but left me with hope-especially knowing where the family is in book 4 with their independence and land. But this beginning was tough-as would be historically accurate-and is a must read to understand post-slavery and reconstruction times in the south.

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Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time, #1)Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great way to teach history for kids!
3 things I loved:
1-time travel (very magic treehouse-ish)
2-suspenseful chapters to keep you reading
3-Ranger!

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Larger than Life: President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Passing of the Voting Rights ActLarger than Life: President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Passing of the Voting Rights Act by Anne Quirk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Middle grade needs more texts that fill the informational/biographical/autobiographical hole that I feel there is. I think this book is a great length and is visually appealing in a way that will bring more young readers to it.

3 things I liked:
-quotes at the beginning of chapters
-raw honesty of the author on his behavior and personality
-discussion questions/author interview at the end

Thank you to Norton Young Readers for sharing this book with the LitReviewCrew!

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WishtreeWishtree by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a uniquely written story on kindness and acceptance. I love how it is a tree’s point of view. I loved the names of the animals and the people and their meanings. What a thoughtful and carefully crafted story that will stay with me forever.

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Ophie's GhostsOphie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook and it has one of my favorite narrators, Bahni Turpin. This book was spooky, suspenseful, and a great mystery! I absolutely devoured it and can’t wait to share with students!

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Sydney and Taylor Take a Flying LeapSydney and Taylor Take a Flying Leap by Jacqueline Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful early reader full of vibrant illustrations and strong themes of friendship and ideas.

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The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow (The Okay Witch, #2)The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved the sequel just as much as the first!! This book has Moth up to her same ways-causing mischief while trying to discover who she is and where she fits in the world. I love the focus on family and friends and being true to yourself. This book is a great fit for fantasy lovers, but all types of readers would enjoy this story.

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Attack of the Killer KomodosAttack of the Killer Komodos by Summer Rachel Short
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great adventure science fiction book!!! All of these creepy creatures turning up at Yellowstone National Park had me so creeped out but also kept me turning the pages so I could meet more creatures and find out how it would all end! This book will be a favorite in the classroom.

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Too Bright to SeeToo Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you Dial Books and NetGalley for sharing a copy in exchange for an honest review. This was a fast read full of so much emotion. I loved the ghost story mixed with self-discovery.
3 things about this book:
1-strong emotions
2-mystery
3-finding and being yourself

I hope you read!

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What Is Love?What Is Love? by Mac Barnett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you Chronicle Books for sharing a copy of this beautifully written and illustrated book for the LitReviewCrew to read and review.
3 things I loved:
-The journey to find the meaning of love
-How everyone explains love differently
-The need to discover the world’s answers on your own

Simply lovely.

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I am a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

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