#SurvivalStories2021 Binge-Read Book Series Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

Launch of July – September Reading Theme: Series and Themed Stories (plus Molly Lou Melon)

Well hello there, beautiful Molly Lou Melon!

Myra here.

We are very excited to launch our July – September 2021 reading theme:

Binge-Read: Book Series Marathon

typorama 13

We thought that summer is the perfect time to finally binge-read on book series that we have been positively aching to read for awhile now. However, we recognize that while our good intentions count for a great deal, we may fall short of these expectations. Hence, we are expanding this quarterly theme to include books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:

  1. Books that are part of an ongoing series
  2. Themed stories: books that are technically not part of a series, but fit a specific theme – e.g. intergenerational stories, nature-themed stories
  3. Short story collections
  4. Narratives of a similar genre 
  5. Stories written by same author

To launch our reading theme, here is a dose of Molly Lou Melon!


Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Patty Lovell Illustrated by David Catrow
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons (2001)
ISBN: 9780399234163 (ISBN10: 0399234160) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I read this book back in 2016, and Fats has written a lovely review of the book in the same year here. I re-read it for our current reading theme, and it managed to move me in pretty much the same way.

Screenshot 2021-05-29 at 2.22.53 PM

The story reframes one’s insecurities and perceived inadequacies to one that is hopeful, encouraging, and generally affirming. Molly Lou Melon is very fortunate to have a wise, loving grandmother who countered each peculiarity with singular joy and enviable light-heartedness.

Screenshot 2021-05-29 at 2.23.17 PM

While there is of course the usual nay-sayer as embodied in the name-calling bully Ronald Durkin, Molly Lou Melon responded to his taunts with charm, grace, and generosity of spirit. What a beautiful story. It simply becomes more heartfelt and uplifting with each re-read.


Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Patty Lovell Illustrated by David Catrow
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons (2020)
ISBN: 9780399260025 (ISBN10: 0399260021). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

In this latest story of Molly Lou Melon, it is clear that she not only has a wise grandmother, she also has an awesome mother who has taught her a few important things about life:


This clear injunction about taking responsibility for the things that one has done, whether they be good or bad, is something that our politicians can definitely take to heart and practice. 

In this story, Molly Lou Melon is no longer the new kid in school, but a gravity-loving, bespectacled young boy with ears that stick out named Garvin Grape. Since Ronald Durkin has now been effectively Molli-fied, and thus, kinder and more empathetic – a new antagonist is seen in the person of Bettina Bonklehead.


Naturally, Molly Lou Melon is having none of it. In the words of Molly Lou’s mother:

You have a strong voice. Use it to speak up for anyone who might need your help.

And so she did. I just found out that there is actually a second book that came out in 2012. Unfortunately, it isn’t in our Overdrive, but I am sure it is definitely worth checking out:


Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow (Amazon | Book Depository)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “Launch of July – September Reading Theme: Series and Themed Stories (plus Molly Lou Melon)

  1. Completely Full Bookshelf

    What a wonderful reading theme you all have picked! I was thinking recently about how many book series I needed to catch up on, but I’m honestly not interested enough to bother! (Although now that I think about it, I actually would like to read Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo.) Regardless, this series looks completely delightful! I love the themes of self-acceptance and standing up for others, and I can imagine many kids would find those helpful. And the art style is very interesting—it grew on me as I scrolled through the review! Thanks so much for the great post!


  2. Love the reading theme and the book featured. Definitely something I will pick up – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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