Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope

Nope, we didn’t march yesterday but I did stumble across the Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope book just sitting on the shelf at the library, so I checked it out and flipped through it last night.

It’s primarily photos from the last year’s Women’s March with the occasional quote from women sprinkled through.

I enjoyed looking back at last year’s signs while thinking about this year’s… same shit, different year. Keep resisting, keep fighting, keep marching.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

Tearjerker. And a fun, well-written tearjerker, at that. Ms. Bixby’s Day Off is exactly the kind of Cybil shortlist book that I love.

Have you ever had a teacher that you’d go out of your way to do something really special for — like create her “last day” dream? I’ve had teachers like that. I hope every kid who reads this book has had a teacher like that.


Rook should not be confused with The Rook (which I did when I first spotted it on the library bookshelf.) It also should not be confused with the first Pink Carnation book (which I didn’t really do but it sure as heck reminds me of that.)

It’s middle-grade/YA and there are a lot of similarities between the Pink Carnation and Rook, in all the good ways. It started a little slowly and I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading — and it took for freaking ever to read, and I’m not sure why. Yes, it’s more than 400 pages but middle-grade/YA should not have taken that long. (TW suggested Yoga and work are to be blamed, I suspect it’s Disney Emoji Blitz and work.)

Anyway, it’s totally fun and if there was a sequel, I’d read it.

The Edge of the Abyss

Lesbian pirates and huge sea monsters made their return in The Edge of the Abyss.

I thought this was a series but it looks like it isn’t. Probably? I went through most of the book thinking this is just a typical book two, existing only to set up book three and then WHAM … the last 50ish pages tied everything up quickly and neatly and there’s a sad little “The End” when it’s all done.


I enjoyed this one, almost as much as the first one. I’d like it to be a series but if it’s not, I’ll be (mostly) ok with it. I guess.

The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic is on last year’s Cybil shortlist is NOT on last year’s Cybil shortlist (I just discovered this when I went to link it to last year’s list. I’m so annoyed that I read this for no good reason. haha.) and I started it at the very end of December. I almost quit it at the end of December, too — when I figured out this was going to be about school shootings and when I figured out there was a Mastermind who was attempting to mastermind a … thing. (No spoilers.)

Instead of quitting it, I put it down til after the new year and tried again. The writing is wonderful. The ties between characters and the use of “the light fantastic” works rather than feeling like a gimmick. What didn’t work was the rest of the darn book.

I didn’t hate this. I won’t tell you not to read it. But, I did not love it either.

Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? A Guide to Happiness for Kids.

I can’t remember where I saw Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? but I thought it might be worth checking out for JMP.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite right. Besides the illustrations that portray people of color and disabled people as those who need help rather than those being helpful… the overall premise just doesn’t quite work for me. I think talking about these concepts with kids is important but I think there’s an awful lot of dependence on other people filling your bucket and we all know that doesn’t necessarily happen. (The co-dependence aspect is also potentially troubling, depending upon your child’s overall nature.)

2017 Cybils Shortlist

Here are the shortlists. I was thrilled to see “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus” and “The Hate U Give” on the list. I read both last year and they were excellent. I’m disappointed that they had to skip the audiobooks category, I was pretty happy to see that category last year and the Graphic Novel shortlists seem a little lackluster, but I could be wrong about that.

I’m not planning on reading them all (again) this year but I do plan on reading a bunch of them (again.)

Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy: Book 2
I Like the Farm
King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code (King and Kayla)
My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories (A Duck, Duck, Porcupine Book)
There’s a Pest in the Garden! (The Giggle Gang)
Tooth Fairy’s Night (Step into Reading)
We Need More Nuts! (Penguin Young Readers, Level 2)
What Is Chasing Duck? (The Giggle Gang)
Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras)
Heartwood Hotel, Book 2 The Greatest Gift
My Fantástica Family (Sofia Martinez)
Overboard! (Survivor Diaries)
Princess Cora and the Crocodile
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation
Wedgie & Gizmo

Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction

Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival
Danza!: Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet
Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion
Hatching Chicks in Room 6
Once Upon a Jungle
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist
What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures (The World of Weird Animals)
Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Fighting for Justice)
Lost in Outer Space (Lost #2): The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13
Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls
Red Cloud
Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
Zoo Scientists to the Rescue

Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Real Friends
Sure and the Shadow
The Big Bad Fox
The Dam Keeper
Where’s Halmoni?

Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction

A Face Like Glass
A Properly Undaunted Place
Last Day on Mars
Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded
Spirit Hunters
The Countdown Conspiracy
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

Fiction Picture Books

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)
Baabwaa and Wooliam
Big Cat, Little Cat
Creepy Pair of Underwear!
Flowers for Sarajevo
The Book of Mistakes

Board Books

Bears Are Big
Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear
Circle, Triangle, Elephant
Hair (Leslie Patricelli Board Books)
One Happy Tiger
Peek-a Moo!
When Your Lion Needs a Bat


Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
Keep a Pocket in Your Poem: Classic Poems and Playful Parodies
Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Middle-Grade Fiction

Amina’s Voice
Armstrong and Charlie
Caleb and Kit
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Junior/Senior High Non-Fiction

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story
Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d
Locked Up for Freedom: Civil Rights Protesters at the Leesburg Stockade
Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century (History (US))
Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human
Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights: From the Vote to the Equal Rights Amendment
How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World
The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

Young Adult Graphic Novels

Buddha: An Enlightened Life
New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man – New Super-Man (Rebirth))
Soupy Leaves Home
Spill Zone
Tyson Hesse’s Diesel: Ignition

Young Adult Fiction

A Short History of the Girl Next Door
Moxie: A Novel
Piecing Me Together
Saints and Misfits
The Hate U Give
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
The Lake Effect

Young Adult Speculative Fiction

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe)
Song of the Current
The Hearts We Sold
The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic
They Both Die at the End
Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Reading in 2017

Well, I think my decision to NOT do the Cybils shortlist challenge backfired. I’d hoped it would free me up to read a wider variety of books but instead I found myself at the library without a list, without any holds to pick up, with no direction at all so there were weeks at a time when there wasn’t anything really compelling on the library cart so I didn’t feel compelled to read. (On top of some pretty hectic months and a lot of Disney World.)

I’m not sure I really want to go back to focusing on the shortlist but I am going to regroup and recommit to reserving books I’m really interested in reading – every single week.

Here’s the breakdown for the year.

124. I think that’s my lowest total in about 15 years. Ugh. (OK It wasn’t, 2016’s total was 118… so yay! for improving?)

29 YA (Not bad, all things considered.)
12 Middle-grade/Children’s (I’m not unhappy with this, either.)
3 Graphic Novels (OUCH)
30 Non-fiction (Oy)
11 Audio (We need to do better, here. We spend a lot of time in the car…)
21 Cybils (I’m not unhappy with this.)

Reading in December

Seven! Not too bad, I thought it was worse!

1 Non-fiction
2 Cybils
4 YA

I’m calling this a pretty good finish for 2017

Gainesville Punk: A History of Bands & Music

I kind of like that the last book I’ll finish in 2017 is Gainesville Punk: A History of Bands & Music. Seems fitting somehow, after having Michelle home and Chris here, too.

We always do a lot of reminiscing about the old GNV, even if the old GNV isn’t all that old to most of the people we know here.

It was interesting to learn more about the history of punk in GNV. While it didn’t really touch the time Michelle spent immersed in GNV punk, the end of the book touched on the years when we moved here and Chris was trying to find his people. He spent a lot of nights at Common Grounds. (Yay for all ages shows!)

It was also fitting to read this book right after Wild Iris closed her doors. So many places have gone away but Hardback Cafe has re-opened, so there’s always hope, right?