Books Read in May 2023

Picture Books

Nell Plants a Tree
Anne Wynter and Daniel Miyares
Read for Librarian Book Group

I’ve long been a fan of picture books that track the changing landscape and this book fits the bill.

Middle Grade

The Lost Year
Katherine Marsh
Read for Librarian Book Group

Set during the early days of the pandemic, this is actually the story of Matthew’s grandmother and her cousins who lived in Ukraine in the 1930s when Stalin was starving the Ukrainians.

Simon Sort of Says
Erin Bow
Read for Librarian Book Group

Simon is relived to move to a town where no one has access to the internet. (It’s a satellite thing.) He goes about making friends who aren’t going to know anything about his life before he moved to the town and that’s the way he likes it. This book was very funny, which was a pretty big tightrope to cross given the subject matter.

Young Adult

When You Wish Upon a Lantern
Gloria Cho
Read for Librarian Book Group

Liya is mourning her grandmother and spending a lot of time at her family’s Chinatown store. Things have been awkward with her friend Kai since she threw up on him when he might have been trying to kiss her. Plus Liya and Kai’s families are feuding. And the store isn’t doing so well. But Liya has a plan to fix things.

What Happened to Rachel Riley
Claire Swinarski
Read for Librarian Book Group

Anna’s new in town and she wants the topic of her school project to be finding reasons why no one at her school talks to a girl named Rachel Riley. A budding podcaster, she is stymied in her investigation by her teacher, her parents, and most of the kids in school.

Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim
Patricia Park
Read for Librarian Book Group

Alejandra Kim is the daughter of Argentinean immigrants who were themselves immigrants from Korea. She lives in Queens, but attends a fancy Manhattan prep school and she has a laser-like focus on attending an elite liberal arts school in Maine.

Chaos Theory
Nic Stone
Read for Librarian Book Group

Really good portrayal of mental health and addiction issues at the teenage level. Also, just a delight to read. Yay, Nic Stone!

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Read for Librarian Book Group

Am I the only one who was surprised when this turned into science fiction halfway through the contemporary YA novel? I guess my anti-flap-reading m.o. tripped me up. Also, the cover isn’t leaning sci-fi.

Maureen Goo

An excellent view of the 90s through the eyes of a contemporary teen.

One of Ariel’s Growing-Up Houses

Ariel and I went for a walk in her old neighborhood. This was her house that her parents renovated with a Readers Digest series of books. They had to move when she was still in elementary school because the conditions in the neighborhood weren’t conducive to continuing to live there.

It looks like the people who followed behind her parents didn’t have access to the renovation books. But there were still some blueberry plants in the yard that Ariel’s mom had planted.

Milkshake and Craft at Creative Culture

I found out about Creative Culture from my friend. She posted a picture of the fanciest milkshake I had ever seen. The place to get that milkshake was Creative Culture, a DIY craft studio and milkshake bar.

It’s a pretty slick business model. Though we went for the milkshake, we stayed for a craft project.

We chose to do string art, which was one of their more economical offerings.

First, we pounded in all the nails, then discovered it was difficult to put the string on, so we removed the nails and went section by section.

Our finished art.

The thing that motivated us to visit.

Finding a New Home for the Kenmore Sewing Machine

This was a tough one, but it had the best result it possibly could. My mother decided to give away her sewing machine. This is the sewing machine that she used to make my clothing and also the machine I learned to sew with. It’s super heavy in that industrial way before plastics took over. Just a solid machine.

I posted on a buy nothing group and got a fairly quick response from a mom who wanted it as her daughter’s first sewing machine. Her daughter really likes 40s style clothing and the mom had been teaching her to sew on her own machine.

Now both mom and daughter have their own machines and this Kenmore is off on a new adventure.