What I’ve Been Reading: September 2018

Welcome to Quick Lit, where bloggers link up with Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy and share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

September has been a bizarre reading month so far. I am in the middle of 4 grown-up books and have had to tear through tons of children’s books for librarian-y reasons.

I am on the Maryland Blue Crab Award Committee which “honors the best beginning and transitional fiction and non-fiction for children,” so a bunch of my reading has been for that.

Plus, I’m attending Black-Eyed Susan Tapestry 2018 next week where I will participate in a full day of small group discussions of the 2018 Black-Eyed Susan Award nominees. (The Black-Susan Book Award is “a children’s choice award for the state of Maryland. Each year since 1992, the it has been given to authors and/or illustrators of outstanding books chosen for the award by Maryland students.”)

As a result of being swamped with reading (a wonderful problem to have), my “What I’ve Been Reading” list this month is going to be different from usual. Since most of the grown-up  books I’ve been reading are the ones I described in my September TBR post, this list is going to be kids books only. No grownups allowed! 🙂

I’ll include short summaries from the publisher and will just give my star-rating for each. I’ll also give my thoughts on which young readers might enjoy the title. Enjoy!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:


The Acadia Files: Summer Investigations, by Katie Coppens
Summary: Acadia Greene wants answers. Who keeps stealing her blueberries just as they ripen on the bushes? Why is her hair curly? Why does the sun wake her up so early in the summer? Why does the tide submerge her sandcastles? How do rocks become sand? Acadia doesn’t set out to do science, but she has these important questions and her scientist parents refuse to simply feed her the answers. ‘Conduct an experiment,’ they tell her. ‘Use the scientific method.’ So Acadia gathers evidence, makes hypotheses, designs experiments, uses the results to test her hypotheses, and draws conclusion.

Rating: Four stars

Recommend to: Burgeoning scientists and kids who are just plain curious.


Five Worlds: The Sand Warrior, by Mark Siegel
Summary: The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves–and more to their worlds–than meets the eye.

Rating: Three stars

Recommend to: Graphic novel fans and lovers of fantasies with rich world-building.


Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer, by Alexander McCall Smith
Summary: Freddie Mole loves his family They are tight-knit, but they struggle day to day to make ends meet. Times are tough, and Freddie is determined to help. Then Freddie finds out about a job opening at a local circus–and he can’t believe his luck when he is hired. At the circus, Freddie sweeps and cleans and is praised for his work. One thing leads to another, and he’s asked to be understudy for some of the acts. The trapeze stunts are daunting enough–can Freddie face the lion’s cage?

Rating: Three stars

Recommend to: Kids who like reading about young characters who aren’t afraid of a challenge and are up for risky adventures.


How To Be a Lion, by Ed Vere
Summary: When Leonard the lion and his friend Marianne, a duck, are confronted by a pack of lion bullies, they find a creative way to stand up for themselves.

Rating: Five stars

Recommend to: EVERYONE, adults and children alike. This is one of my favorite picture books of 2018.


Jasmine Toguchi: Drummer Girl, by Debbie Michiko
Summary: It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths–tree-climbing, mochi-making, collage–none of them feel quite right to perform on stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yos, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent. When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Rating: Five stars

Recommend to: Readers who like realistic fiction with believable, strong girls as the main character.


Megabat, by Anna Humphrey
Summary: Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted . . . or is it? Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there. Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute. Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit. Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a light saber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!

Rating: Four stars

Recommend to: Readers who love animal stories, especially ones with unique animals who need saving (think Inkling from Invisible Inkling, by Emily Jenkins).


Science Comics: Bats Learning To Fly, by Falynn Koch
Summary: In Bats, we follow a little brown bat whose wing is injured by humans on a nature hike. He is taken to a bat rehabilitation center where he meets many different species of bats. They teach him how they fly, what they eat, and where they like to live.

Rating: Four stars

Recommend to: Kids who like reading for information and learning fun facts to share with their friends and family.


Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go To School, by Julie Falatko
Summary: Sassy and Waldo are good dogs, who keep their house safe (from squirrels, mostly), and worry about their boy, Stewart, who always comes home from school smelling of anxiety; so the two dogs come up with a plan to help him–they will dress up in a trench coat and attend school, posing as a new student, to find out just what is bothering Stewart.

Rating: Four stars

Recommend to: Young readers looking for lots of giggles. Dog lovers will especially enjoy it.


What have you been reading this month? Please share in the comments below!

4 responses to “What I’ve Been Reading: September 2018”

  1. Aimee Avatar

    These are some cute recommendations – thank you! I have a 5 year old who is interested in science, and I’m always on the lookout for books for her that show science-loving females. Do you think The Acadia Files series would be too advanced for her? I’m curious which age group you think would enjoy it most. Thanks again for your suggestions!

    1. Kristen Avatar

      I think it could be a good book for you to read with her, so you could explain anything that is a little more complicated. As an independent read, I think it would be good for 2nd or 3rd grade. Happy reading!

  2. Lauren Avatar

    Love your kids book recommendations, my go to for gifts

    1. Kristen Avatar

      Thanks! Feel free to email me if you need more specific recommendations!

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