Books Crazy about Cybils Girl Power and Women's Wiles It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

Monday Reading: Crafty and Awesome Girls in Picture Books – Meet Chloe, Zoe, and Violet

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Two of our blogging friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have inspired us to join this vibrant meme.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

Sign-ups for the Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge is still open. Do join us and sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the titles below to be taken to our blog posts.




Book borrowed from the Chula Vista Public Library. Book photo taken by me.




Photo Journal/A-Z Photo Challenge: H is for Hong Kong Skyscrapers

International Book Giving Day 2013 Blog Hop

Book Hunting Expedition (41): Bras Basah Love



Our current bimonthly theme in GatheringBooks is Crazy about Cybils where we give love to all the books that have been shortlisted and have won awards in the Cybils since 2006. These three picture books have been nominated for the Fiction Picture Book Category in 2012. Since they have a common thread and have a similar theme, I thought of putting them together here.

IMG_5322Zoe Gets Ready

Story and Illustrations By: Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books, An Imprint of Scholastic Inc, 2012
Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

It is a weekend and as the title says, Zoe is getting ready for her day. She is aware that what she wears would basically define how her Saturday is going to be like – there is innate gut-level wisdom there that made me smile. She has virtually no choice when it comes to school clothes or soccer uniforms, but today “Zoe gets to decide.”

“This could be a cartwheeling day – a bouncy, feet-in-the-air day. My toes will tickle the clouds.”

I just loved those lines. Or it could be an “exploring day” or a “blend-in day” or dare I say it, a “stand-out day?” There is a recognition that the outfit she chooses would speak volumes about her mood, her style, her character. I can foresee that this is the start of a Zoe series that would be enjoyed by a lot of children (and adults) the world over.

Crafty ChloeIMG_5325

Story By: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrated By:
Heather Ross
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2012
Borrowed from the Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This is a book that a lot of young artists who love to work with their hands would have fun with. It is clear at the start of the book that Chloe is no athlete, she will not win prizes or awards for video games, and as for dancing… well “she had the grace of a camel in roller skates” – so that’s probably out as well.

What Chloe is good at, is “making stuff.” I just love this young girl’s imagination. What other people would see as coffee filters, she could envision a potential flower hat for show and tell. She could also imagine (and create) a whole new outfit from Dad’s old faded shirts. Chloe’s craftsmanship and ingenuity are put to the test when she needed to find the perfect gift for her best friend Emma. She originally thought of giving her one of the Flower Girl Dolls that Emma loved but another one of their friends, London, has beat her to it. In fact, London was all smug and stuffy and high-nosed as she was holding on to what she feels is the absolute perfect present for Emma.


As Chloe’s smile faded, she announced that she also has a very special gift, one that could not even be bought in a store, something so pretty, and “it’s going to be very PURPLE.” Exactly what this would be, Chloe has absolutely no clue. I love how the story did not just end with Chloe creating something ‘crafty’ or special – rather, it shows her graciousness of spirit, her kindness, and her amazing resourcefulness.

IMG_5318take your mama to work today

Story By: Amy Reichert
Illustrated By: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2012.
Borrowed from the Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Now this is another fun book that both parent and child would enjoy. The entire narrative is told from the point of view of Violet who wants to give everyone a few tips on “everything you need to know” if and when the babysitter is sick and it is a snow day and it is ‘take your child to work day.’

As I was reading the book, I recalled that when I was a child, some of my happiest moments included being at my parents’ office. It was how I learned to type – not in a computer, no – but those old heavy typewriter keys with the delicious clack-clack-clacking sound. So I could understand when Violet noted that grown-ups would make such a huge fuss about a child’s presence and give them endless treats.


I was not as mischievous as Violet though as she shares with glee how she could be a “huge help” in the mailroom, ‘interview’ potential applicants, or how she made three copies of her image in the photocopying machine (1-1-1). I enjoyed this book’s illustrations as they are bursting with so much life and movement. It gives one pause as well about how we make our workplaces child-friendly. And the things that we take for granted as adults might be the same ones that our young children would regard with so much wonder and joy – Mommy’s office being a veritable playground.

Currently Reading…

It pains me whenever I return a book that I have not finished reading in the library – it seems like a discarded lover or an unfinished love affair – similar to Antonia Michaelis’ The Storyteller. I was quite productive though as I managed to finish a few books this weekend while I was traveling:


I can’t even begin to describe how much I lovelovelove this book: David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary. I finished reading it in two hours time. Will share my thoughts on this in a few months’ time – we have already thought of the perfect bimonthly theme to feature this lovely book.


My daughter enjoyed this book, Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, and now I could understand why. After reading it yesterday, I realized that it is absolutely perfect for our next bimonthly theme which we will be launching on Sunday. This graphic novel won the Cybils Award in 2012.


I thought I would finish this book as well while I was traveling. I only have  a few short stories to go. Interesting concept with Naomi Shihab Nye’s obscure lines, and her power of subtlety at its highest. Admittedly, it did not resonate with me as much as her poetry books, but I am enjoying her narrative style.

How about you, dear friends, what have you been reading this week?


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12 comments on “Monday Reading: Crafty and Awesome Girls in Picture Books – Meet Chloe, Zoe, and Violet

  1. I like the way you group your book responses together in themes. I really need to get The Lover’s Dictionary. I’ve heard such good things about it and I like many of Levithan’s other books. Thanks for the recommendations!


  2. Whew! What a busy reading week you have had. I read More and I think I need to read it again. And again. Maybe share it with students.

    Here’s my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Hope you will stop by and share your thoughts!


  3. Such a great week of reading. So many titles that I loved! I didn’t know there was another Traction Man book out. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I love Nye’s poetry, so I’m curious to see her short stories. And again, thanks for the Cybils’ love!


  5. therelentlessreader

    I always love seeing the books that you share, they are so gorgeous!


  6. Curious about Lover’s Dictionary… shall look forward to a review! Loved reading friends with boys– very very curious about this bi-monthly theme you keep mentioning. 🙂


  7. My daughter will love Crafty Chloe thanks for the post.


  8. Wow! This is the first time visiting this blog. There’s so much to explore! Contemplating joining your challenge…


  9. So many great titles captured here this week! I’m especially fond of Boy + Bot and Squid and Octopus. Thanks for sharing the Levithan title, I’m definitely going to be reading more of his (and John Greene’s) work.


  10. I love how certain books you read always inspire a future theme! Crafty Chloe was a new library book last year and my students love it – it basically lives in our “from the library” bin because the kids don’t want me to return it! It is a great book that explores some important themes!


  11. I didn’t enjoy Lies, Knives…. but The Lover’s Dictionary was good. David levithan is very good with coming up with original ways of telling stories.


  12. Love that Crafty Chloe book and will look for the Take your Mama to Work Today, Myra. The illustrations in this last one are wonderful to see. I keep finding good books at the library, & can’t seem to stop! Lots of good books available! Thanks!


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