All Posts By

Melissa Nikohl

  • Educational Companies That Hire Teachers

    20 plus educational companies that hire teachers

    20 plus educational companies that hire teachers

    The past three school years have made teachers rethink their careers. Many educators feel stuck and aren’t sure how to get out. Including myself. Because, I think we’re taught that we can’t leave, being an educator is supposed to be a lifetime career. How can you leave when you’re told you’re just a teacher?

    So, I started researching educational companies and checking out if they had any roles that would fit my skill set. And they did! Instructional design, trainers, curriculum writing, etc. Of course, I encourage you to find positions that match your abilities, but these are good options.

    I also applied to non-educational companies with the same roles, but I didn’t have much luck. I believe that transitioning from the classroom to an educational company will lead to more possibilities with non-educational companies.

    But, because so many of us are feeling like it’s time to explore other options, I decided to share.

    Below you’ll find the list of educational companies where former teachers should work. Some of the companies you are familiar with like PebbleGo or Learning A-Z have a parent company. So, I listed the parent companies and made a note.

    Each company listed links directly to its career page.

    Actively Learn

    Age of Learning

    Amplify

    BookNook

    BrainPOP

    Cambium Learning Group– Includes companies like Learning A-Z, Lexia, Kurzweil, and more

    Capstone– Includes Pebble Go and more

    ClassLink

    Curriculum Associates-Includes companies like Mentoring Minds

    DreamBox

    Edmentum

    Edmodo

    Edpuzzle

    Epic Books

    Flocabulary

    Go Guardian

    HMH

    Imagine Learning

    IXL

    Kahoot

    McGraw HillIncludes companies like Achieve3000

    Nearpod

    Newsela

    Pearson

    PowerSchoolIncludes companies like Schoology

    Renaissance Learning

    Scholastic

    Seesaw

    I hope this list is helpful and gives you hope that there are jobs available for us in corporate America. I’ve had interviews with a few of these companies and one hired me! I wish you all the luck in your future career.

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  • The Best Coffee Shops for Working and Studying in Dallas

    Coffee Shops For Working & Studying In Dallas

    Coffee Shops For Working & Studying In Dallas

    If you made it here, you’re looking for a few coffee shops to get work done in Dallas. Just know that Dallas has so many locally-owned coffee shops you’ll never have to stop at Starbucks!

    Some of those shops are meant for a quick sip while others are places you can hang out a little longer.

    As a blogger, I’ve spent countless hours writing blogs and developing ideas in coffee shops. Something about them just makes me more productive. 

    You’ll find my favorite coffee shops for working and studying in Dallas on this list. Hopefully, you’ll find one of your favorites and a new shop to visit!

    Dallas Coffee Shop: Staycation
    Staycation Coffee
    Staycation Coffee

    Staycation

    IGstaycationcoffee

    Address: 201 S Texas Street

    Richardson, Texas 75081

    This is the newest coffee shop on this list. It opened in early 2022 and it is one of the coziest coffee shops I’ve frequented in a while. Since its opening, Staycation has been busy! You’ll want to get there early to be able to pick a place to work. They do have outdoor seating if the weather is nice. If you’re lucky, you’ll win free coffee for a month! I won in February! I absolutely love that they have a parking lot, so parking is not an issue!

    Dallas Coffee Shop pax and beneficia

    Pax & Beneficia Coffee

    IG: paxandbeneficia

    Address:5244 North O’Connor Boulevard, Suite 150

    Irving TX, 75039 There are also locations in Grapevine & Fort Worth

    Pax & Beneficia is a Turkish coffee spot, with traditional Turkish drinks and your everyday lattes. What I love most about this place is they’re one of the few places to grab coffee on popular U.S. holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). I really appreciate them as a single person! Parking isn’t too bad, but it is in a plaza with other businesses, I’ve personally never had an issue! 

    Xaman Cafe

    Xaman Cafe

    IG: xamancafe

    Address334 Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

    Just a little past Bishop Arts, you can find this gem. It is a pre-Hispanic concept coffee shop that is inspired by the owner’s family back in Mexico.

    Here you can grab your every day coffee or latte, or a specialty Mexican drink. I recommend trying something new. 

    If you’re hungry, they have a menu full of delicious food.

    If you want something stronger than coffee, they have a full bar and a speakeasy (Ayahuasca Cantina) in the back.

    Parking may be an issue depending on the time of day. There is only street parking and it’s pay to park.

    Wayward Coffee Shop
    Wayward Coffee Shop
    Wayward Coffee Shop

    Wayward

    IG: waywardcoffeeco

    Address: 1318 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208

    Wayward is one of my favorite places to get work done when I’m near the Bishop Arts District. It does get busy throughout the day and you may have trouble finding a place to set up. This is more often the case on the weekend. During the week it is less crowded.

    They have small bites to eat from the best donut shop in West Dallas, Moreish.

    Parking isn’t typically an issue. There is plenty of free street parking.

    Soirée Coffee Bar

    Soiree Coffee Bar

    IG: soireecoffeebar

    Address:320 Singleton Blvd. Ste 190 Dallas, TX 75212

    This jazz-inspired coffee shop is located in Trinity Groves. Soiree Coffee Bar is a great place to work Monday-Friday. It may not be the best spot on the weekends since they typically have brunch on Saturday and Sunday. 

    Don’t want coffee? Soiree also serves alcohol and Happy Hour is Wednesday -Friday from 3pm to 6pm. 

    Parking usually isn’t a problem, there’s a parking lot behind the shop and more parking in the lots across the street. 

    Native Coffee Shop
    Native Coffee Shop
    Native Coffee Shop. Dallas Coffee Shop

    The Native Coffee Company

    IG: thenativecoffeecompany

    Address: 4319 Alpha Rd. Dallas TX, 75244

    Native Coffee is a North Dallas coffee shop located in a church. The coffee and tea are great and they have enough space in the shop to find a place to hangout just about any time of the day.

    Native also has a conference room that you can rent/reserve for free if you need it for two hours or less. I facilitated my first Pinterest Class here and have attended multiple events and meetups in their conference room!

    Parking isn’t an issue, they have their own lot. Native is a little trek from where I live, but I make sure to visit 3-4 times a year. 

    Civil Pour

    IG: civilpourtx

    Address: 8061 Walnut Hl Ln Ste 924, Dallas, TX 75231

    Located right off of 75, Civil Pour is easy to get to and not far from downtown Dallas. It’s not your typical coffee shop because they also have an excellent selection of craft beer.

    Because this place is huge, you won’t have to worry about finding a space to get some work done. Civil Pour is located in a plaza, so there is plenty of free parking!

    And they stay open pretty late if you’re a late night coffee drinker. You can grab coffee until 9 pm.

    The Wild Detectives

    The Wild Detectives

    IG: thewilddetectives

    Address: 314 W Eighth St, Dallas, TX 75208

    If you love coffee and books, then The Wild Detectives is the spot for you. Located in the heart of Bishop Arts, The Wild Detectives is the perfect spot for coffee or cocktails. And they have a great selection of diverse books.

    There’s plenty of seating on the inside and the patio is also available for those super nice days.

    Parking can be tricky because it’s in Bishop Arts. I like going early on weekends or during the week to avoid the hassle. 

    What’s your favorite coffee shop to work in Dallas? Let me know in the comments!

  • Black Feminist Novels

    Black Feminist Novels to add to your to read list now.

    If you were watching social media last week, you saw that a White woman (Jennifer M. Buck) thought it was an excellent idea to speak on Black women’s experience with feminism. She named her book (insert eye roll), Bad and Boujee: Toward a Trap Feminist Theology

    If you haven’t heard of Trap Feminism, Sesali Bowen, coined the term years ago and Ms. Jen decided to copy and paste! She even got a $10,000 grant to assist her with the Columbusing. 

    Anyway, I sit on a lot of book lists, and this was one of them. After seeing Jen’s pathetic attempt to educate people on Black Feminism I knew it was time to share this list. 

    While there are tons of Black Feminist novels written by Black women available, here are a few of my favorites.

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not increase for you. ❤️

    Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist

    We have to kick off the list with the Queen herself, Sesali Bowen. I love Black feminist books, but Bad Fat Black Girl is hands down my favorite! Ms. Bowen is the Trap Feminist Originator! I was sold when I saw the names of the chapters. There are some really good Black feminist books, but this is the one I connected to the most. Amazon Link

    Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

    If you don’t know who Melissa Harris-Perry is, she is an author, journalist, professor, and former host of a MSNBC talk show. Sister Citizen is the oldest book (released in 2016) on this list, but the topics discussed are still as relevant as ever. Sister Citizen discusses topics like Hurricane Katrina, the stereotypes and myths about Black women, our favorite auntie, Michelle Obama, and more. This book, taps into how Black women are seen and the role it plays in our citizenship and politics. All of these books are political, but this one explicitly talks about it more than the rest. Amazon Link

    Black Girl, Call Home

    If you want your Black Feminism in verse, Black Girl, Call Home is the book for you. It is an amazing collection of poetry that covers Black Feminism and more. Like a few of the other novels on this list, it is infused with pop culture. While it is a much quicker read than the rest of the books on this list, it is still a powerful book. Amazon Link

    Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture

    Written by former Senior Culture Writer at Huffington Post, Zeba Blay. Carefree Black Girls is a Black Feminist novel that celebrates Black women and shares how Black women have been influencing pop culture forever. Amazon Link

    Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot 

    Hood Feminism identifies the problems with our laws, culture, and systems that historically and currently exclude women, specifically Black women. 

    Mikki Kendall not only wants us to see the flaws of our environments, but she shares attainable solutions. Amazon Link

    Do you have a favorite book that discusses Black Feminism? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Newish Novels by Women You Should Read Right Now

    Newish Novels by Women

    Newish Novels by Women

    Are you looking for some great books to add to your reading list? This list has some of the best newish (a year old or less) novels written by women. There are short stories, nonfiction, and books full of drama.

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not increase for you. ❤️

    The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

    The Three Mothers is a nonfiction novel that tells the stories of the women who raised Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Amazon Link

    Olga Dies Dreaming

    Olga Dies Dreaming is a great dramatic novel that will keep you turning the pages. Olga is a Puerto Rican wedding planner for the wealthy. Olga isn’t just wrapped up in family drama, but political drama too. Amazon Link

    Crying in H Mart

    Crying in H Mart is a memoir about a Korean American’s struggle with finding her identity and dealing with grief. This one is sure to make you cry, but it is so good! Fun fact, the author, Michelle Zauner, is a singer and guitarist for the Japanese Breakfast. Amazon Link

    South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

    In South to America, Imani Perry will help you learn and relearn the history of the South.⁣
    ⁣Perry takes a trip through the South, and we hop on that journey with her.⁣
    ⁣I love how this book blends history with her personal stories. Amazon Link

    Nobody’s Magic

    I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately, and this one did not disappoint. Nobody’s Magic is composed of three short stories about Black women with albinism. Amazon Link

    Black Cake

    So I LOVED this book (I mean I loved all of them lol), but Black Cake has some serious family drama! In Black Cake, we meet a Caribbean family that has a lot of secrets that spill out after the death of their matriarch. Amazon Link

    Bad Fat Black Girl

    I love Black feminist books, but Bad Fat Black Girls is hands down my favorite! I was sold when I saw the names of the chapters. There are some really good Black feminist books, but this is the one for me. Amazon Link

    Arsenic and Adobe

    Arsenic and Adobe is a super cute murder mystery. Labeled as a cozy mystery, it was so popular it was turned into a series. And because I want you to trust my reviews, I want you to know, I was not a fan of the sequel. It wasn’t bad, just not as good as the original. The third book in this series will be released later in 2022. Amazon Link

    If there’s a book that I need to add to this list, drop it in the comments!

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  • Fiction Novels by Black Women

    Fiction Novels BY Black Women

    Fiction Novels BY Black Women

    If you’re looking for some great books to add to your to-read book stack, these fiction books by Black women are the perfect books to add to your list. On this list, you’ll find drama, mystery, short stories, and some addictive chick-lit. 

    If you have any recommendations, drop them in the comments! I always love growing my to-read list!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not increase for you. ❤️

    Black Cake

    I loved this novel! It was a mixture of The Joy Luck Club and The Vanishing Half. Both are books that I love. Black Cake will wrap you up in this Caribbean family’s drama. Amazon Link

    Black Girls Must Be Magic

    The sequel to Black Girls Must Die Exhausted does not disappoint. Tabitha Walker returns and we find her life is just a little more complicated than it was before. But, complicated doesn’t always mean bad. This is the perfect follow-up to Black Girls Must Die Exhausted.  Amazon Link

    Wahala

    This one right here, whew! I’m not going to lie, it started a little slow for me. But, once it took off it took off! Adult friendships can be hard and Wahala shows how messy they can get. This book is full of twists and turns with an unexpected ending. Bookshop Link / Amazon Link

     

     

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

    This collection of short stories came highly recommended by my book-loving friends, so I had to check it out. Within the first few pages, I realized this book is for adults for real lol. Some of the stories are sexually explicit, but This probably isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own, but I’m glad I read it. Amazon Link

    All Her Little Secrets

    Ellice Littlejohn is the only Black lawyer at her company and one more she arrives to find her boss dead. And every piece of her life unravels after her discovery. This mystery/thriller novel will keep you on your toes until the very end. Amazon Link

    Ties That Tether

    If this novel isn’t chick-lit, I don’t know what is. But, I loved it. Azere is a Nigerian woman that is deeply attracted to a man that is the complete opposite of her family’s culture. I normally don’t do chick-lit, but this was good…real good. Amazon Link

    Nobody’s Magic

    Nobody’s Magic tells three stories about Black Southern women with albinism. Each story is different but equally powerful. We get to meet dependent Suzette, traumatized Maple, and magical Agnes. You’ll enjoy reading about how these women come into their true selves. Amazon Link

    Seven Days in June 

    Seven Days in June reminded me of Love Jones, but much better. The issues I’ve always had with Love Jones are non-existent in this book. Old flames get rekindled in this complicated love story. Amazon Link

    Are you loving these fiction novels by Black women? Share this list with a friend, on Pinterest, or anywhere else you want!

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  • YA Novels Written By Black Women

    Check out these ya novels written by Black Women

    My grown behind loves a good YA novel. These kids today just don’t know how good they have it. With the variety of young adult novels available today, there is no excuse for young people not to pick up a book! That made me sound old huh? Lol, well me and my reading homegirls love ya novels and I wanted to share a few of my favorites written by Black women. 

    If you have any recommendations, make sure you let me know in the comments. I love adding books to my to-read list. 

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not increase for you. ❤️

    Blackout

    by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

    This is a collection of short stories written by some of today’s best Black female authors. The stories are about new love, old love, rekindled love during a blackout in New York City. It’s a great short and engaging read.

    Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

    by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

     Alaine is a Haitian American from Miami. When she gets suspended from school, her parents ship her off to her family in Haiti.

    As part of her suspension, Alaine has to work at her aunt’s nonprofit to complete a school project,

    While in Haiti, Alaine learns a lot about herself and family secrets that were never meant to be uncovered.

    Written by the Moulite sisters, this book keeps the reader entertained through their amazing storytelling. 



    The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

    by Brandy Colbert

    Dove “Birdie” Randolph tries to be the perfect daughter who follows all the rules. Until she meets a boy and realizes sometimes the rules are worth breaking. 

    And her aunt comes into town and they begin to form a bond that her parents can’t begin to understand. 

    This book takes place in Chicago, and the mention of Portillos made my stomach growl. IYKYK!

    I love how perfectly imperfect Birdie’s character is. The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is a coming-of-age novel that you want to read. 



    You Should See Me in a Crown

    by Leah Johnson 

     You Should See Me in a Crown is another book about a Black girl in the midwest. Liz Lighty is ready to go off to college but high school and its drama are ruining her plans. 

    After a scholarship opportunity falls through, she has to run for prom queen to get the financial aid she needs. While running for prom queen, Liz gets to know a cool new girl that is just as weird as her. 

    Some YA novels can be a little dark and You Should See Me in a Crown definitely is not! There are a lot of sweet moments in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. 

    Slay

    by Brittney Morris

    Slay is a YA novel about a Black game developer (Kiera) who wants to create a safe space for Black gamers from around the world. So she develops a virtual reality game called SLAY.

    ⁣Kiera is a senior in high school who is struggling to manage her duties as a developer, her complicated relationship with her boyfriend Malcolm, and the big decision of college.⁣

    ⁣I loved that this book featured a Black female gamer because I know they are underrepresented in the gamer community. 

    Ace of Spades

    by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

    Devon and Chiamaka attend the prestigious Niveus Private Academy. These talented seniors expect their last year of high school to go as planned, but when they start receiving texts, exposing their darkest secrets, they realize that their senior year is nothing like they expected. The author, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a fan of Gossip Girl and she does a great job of using her love to create this YA thriller.

    Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

    by Brandy Colbert

    Black Birds in the Sky is a nonfiction novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Colbert does an excellent job telling the story of this horrific event and its aftermath. 

    The reader learns what caused a White mob to destroy a flourishing Black town and murder hundreds of innocent Black people. This is one of those books that you don’t want to call good because of its content, but it is written well. I finished it within hours of starting.

    I like reading YA nonfiction because of how concise the books are. They tend to be an easier read and you can always pick up another book to learn more.

    Chlorine Sky

    by Mahogany L. Browne 

    Teenage friendships can be extremely fragile. Skyy’s relationship with her former best friend is no different. This verse novel documents the realization that her longest friendship is over.

    Losing friends at this age is hard and Skyy doesn’t take it easy. But she begins to learn who she is through her voice, hobbies, and new friendships. 

    Am I missing something? What book should I add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2022

    BOOKS I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IN 2022
    BOOKS I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IN 2022

    These are some of the books I’m excited to read in 2022! Since I have not read them yet, the descriptions of the books are not my own. If I love them, you’ll find them on a future book list.

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not increase for you. ❤️

    The Maid by Nita Prose

    Adult Mystery/Thriller

    “A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.” Read more here: Penguin Random House

    Released: 1/4/22

    Amazon Link

    Black Girls Must Be Magic by Jayne Allen

    Adult Fiction

    Sequel to Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

    “In this highly anticipated second installment in the Black Girls Must Die Exhausted series, Tabitha Walker copes with more of life’s challenges and a happy surprise—a baby—with a little help and lots of love from friends old and new.” Read more here: Harper Collins

    Expected Release: 2/1/22

    Amazon Link

    Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

    Adult Historical Fiction

    “A spellbinding debut novel tracing three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter’s discovery that she has the power to change her family’s legacy.” Read more here: Penguin Random House

    Expected Release: 4/5/22

    Amazon Link

    Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston

    Middle-Grade Fantasy

    Sequel to Amari and the Night Brothers

    “After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze.

    But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about!

    The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope—so how can Amari refuse?” Read more here: Harper Collins Publishers

    Expected Release: 5/31/22

    Amazon Link

    Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

    Young Adult Fantasy 

    Sequel to Legendborn

    “All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. 

    But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

    Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

    When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

    If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.” Read more here: Simon and Schuster

    Expected Release: 11/8/22

    Amazon Link

     

    Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne

    Young Adult Coming of Age (Poetry)

    “A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A beautiful sophomore novel from a critically acclaimed author and poet that explores how words have the power to shape and uplift our world even in the midst of pain.” Read more here: Penguin Random House

    Released: 1/11/22

    Amazon Link

    Ashes of Gold by J. Elle

    Young Adult Fantasy

    Sequel to Wings of Gold

    “Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out.

    But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit—with half a foot back in Houston and half a heart that is human as well as god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past.

    When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve…because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed—it will be Rue herself.” Read more here: Simon and Schuster

    Released: 1/11/22

    Amazon Link

     

    Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

    Adult Historical Fiction

    “In this moving debut novel, two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s death and her hidden past—a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.” Read more here: Penguin Random House

    Expected Release: 2/1/22

    Amazon Link

    Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala

    Adult Mystery/Thriller

    Sequel to Arsenic and Adobo

    “Things are heating up for Lila Macapagal. Not in her love life, which she insists on keeping nonexistent despite the attention of two very eligible bachelors. Or her professional life, since she can’t bring herself to open her new café after the unpleasantness that occurred a few months ago at her aunt’s Filipino restaurant, Tita Rosie’s Kitchen. No, things are heating up quite literally, since summer, her least favorite season, has just started.

    To add to her feelings of sticky unease, Lila’s little town of Shady Palms has resurrected the Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant, which she won many years ago—a fact that serves as a wedge between Lila and her cousin slash rival, Bernadette. But when the head judge of the pageant is murdered and Bernadette becomes the main suspect, the two must put aside their differences and solve the case—because it looks like one of them might be next.” Read more here: Penguin Random House

    Expected Release: 2/8/22

    Amazon Link

    Wahala by Nikki May

    Adult Mystery/Thriller

    “An incisive and exhilarating debut novel following three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the lethally glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group—the most unforgettable girls since Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.” Read more here: Harper Collins

    Released: 1/11/22

    Amazon Link

    Turning by Joy L. Smith

    Young Adult Novel 

    “In this raw, searingly honest debut young adult novel, a former aspiring ballerina must confront her past in order to move forward from a devastating fall that leaves her without the use of her legs.” Read more here: Simon and Schuster

    Expected Release: 3/1/22

    Amazon Link

     

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  • 29 Picture Books to Celebrate Black History Month

    Check out these picture books for Black History Month. This book list has 29 books that can help children and yourself highlight some of the known and relatively unknown members of the Black community.

    29 PICTURE BOOKS TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

    This book list has 29 books that can help children and yourself highlight some of the known and relatively unknown members of the Black community. 

    I intentionally picked these books because many of us tend to focus on the same few Black figures, and this list allows us to explore members of the community who deserve the same recognition.

    I’ve included a brief overview of their accomplishments but, I encourage you to learn more about each person.

    And remember these books can be shared all year long! Black history is American history.

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon and Bookshop Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you. ❤️

    Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson

    1875-1950

    Accomplishments: Known as the Father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson was a historian who wanted to increase the study of African American History in the United States. 

    In 1912, he became the second Black American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University.

    In 1916, Woodson published the Journal of Negro History to help teachers with Black American studies. 

    In February of 1926, Dr. Woodson created Negro History Week, later (1976) turning into Black History Month. 

    His most popular book, The Mis-Education of the Negro was published in 1933. Buy on Amazon

    Florence Mills

    1896-1927

    Accomplishments: Florence Mills, also known as the Queen of Happiness was an international singer, dancer, actor, and prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance. 

    Florence was given her first Broadway part at the age of four and was the first Black woman to headline on Broadway. 

    She was featured in Vogue in 1925 and was the first Black person featured on a full page. Florence Mills was also the first Black artist to sing at New York’s Aeolian Hall. Buy on Amazon

    Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

    1874-1938

    Accomplishments: Born in Puerto Rico, Arturo Schomburg was an Afro-Latino historian and curator of African-American artifacts. 

    Schomburg collected more than 10,000 artifacts that showed the achievements of Black people and members of the African diaspora.

    Schomburg was also a prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance. Buy on Amazon

    Marian Anderson

    1897-1993

    Accomplishments: Marian Anderson is known for being a very talented opera singer. In 1955, Marian Anderson was the first African American to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera. She performed the national anthem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration In 1961. And in 1963 President Kennedy honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Buy on Amazon

    Bass Reeves

    1838-1910

    Accomplishments: Bass Reeves was the first African American to become a U.S. Marshal in the West. He arrested more than 3,000 outlaws. Buy on Amazon

    Barbara Jordan

    1936-1996

    Accomplishments: Barbara Jordan was a congresswoman from Texas and was the first African-American congresswoman to come from the south.⁣ She is known for her powerful voice; her most well-known speech was her opening speech for Richard Nixon’s impeachment investigation. Buy on Amazon

    Charles “Charlie” Luther Sifford

    1922-2015 

    Accomplishments: Charles “Charlie” Luther Sifford was a professional golfer. He won United Golf Association National Negro Open six times. Sifford became the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour in 1961. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Charlie Sifford with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Buy on Amazon

    Raven Wilkinson

    1935-2018

    Accomplishments: Raven Wilkinson was a ballerina from Harlem who began dancing when she was nine. 

    In 1955, Raven signed a contract to dance with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo of New York making her the first African American ballerina to join a major classical ballet troupe.

    Once Wilkinson retired, she began teaching ballet at the Harlem School of Arts and later became a mentor to Misty Copeland. Buy on Amazon

    Gordon Parks

    1912-2006

    Accomplishments: Gordon Parks was a photographer, film director, musician, and writer.  

    In 1969 Gordon directed The Learning Tree, making him the first African American to direct a major Hollywood film. 

    In 1970, Gordon Parks was part of the start up of Essence magazine and served as the editorial director for the first three years of its publication. 

    In 1971 Parks directed the box-office hit, Shaft.

    He would also become the first African American photographer at Vogue and Life magazines. Buy on Amazon

    Mabel Fairbanks

    1915-2001

    Accomplishments: Mabel Fairbanks was a Black-Native American figure skater. 

    As a young woman, Mabel was denied opportunities to compete in competitions and qualifying events for the Olympics because she was Black. 

    So, Mabel performed in shows nationally and internationally until she retired.  

    After she retired from skating, she became a coach and coached popular skaters like Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi. 

    In 1997, she would become the first Black-Native American woman inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Buy on Amazon

    Ethel L. Payne 

    1911-1991

    Accomplishments: Ethel L. Payne was a journalist from the South Side of Chicago who would become the “First Lady of the Black Press.”⁣⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣⁣As a young woman, she began writing letters to newspapers about discrimination against African Americans, fueling her growing interest in politics. ⁣⁣⁣

    In 1945, she would travel to Japan as a reporter for a newspaper, where she would document her observations. Her writings about the African American soldiers’ experiences in World War II would put her name in households all over the United States. ⁣⁣⁣

    Ethel Payne was the first Black woman to join the White House Press corps and the first Black woman to be a commentator on a national radio and television network. 

    In 1982 Ethel L. Payne received the National Association of Black Journalists, Lifetime Achievement Award. Buy on Amazon

    Elizabeth Lizzie Jennings

    1827-1901

    Accomplishments: About 100 years before Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, there was a school teacher named Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings. 

    In 1854, Lizzie tried boarding a streetcar in New York City but was denied a seat and brutally attacked. ⁣⁣

    Lizzie sued the company, driver, and conductor of the streetcar and won. 

    Her case helped the movement for equality on public transportation in New York. Buy on Amazon

    Effa Manley

    1897-1981

    Accomplishments: Effa Manley was the co-owner of the Negro League Team, the Newark Eagles. ⁣Under her ownership, In 1946 the Newark Eagles won the Negro World Series.

    Manley was also a civil rights activist and was the treasurer for the New Jersey NAACP.

    In 2006, Effa Manley became the first woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Buy on Amazon

    Jelly Roll Morton

    1890-1941

    Accomplishments: Jelly Roll Morton, Born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe was an early jazz musician in the 1920s who is known by some as the creator of jazz.  

    Historians believe he may not have been the creator of jazz, but he was the first jazz musician to put his arrangements on paper.

     

    Augusta Savage

    1892-1962

    Accomplishments: Augusta Savage was a sculptor during the Harlem Renaissance.

    In 1934 Augusta was elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, making her the first Black woman to join the organization. 

    In 1934, she opened an art studio in Harlem called The Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts. It would later become the Harlem Community Art Center. At her studio, she taught many artists including Jacob Lawerence and Gwendolyn Knight.

    In 1939, Savage was one of two Black artists asked to present their art at the New York World’s Fair.

    Today, you can find the Gamin, one of her most famous busts, at the Smithsonian Museum. Buy on Amazon

    Melba Liston

    1926-1999

    Accomplishments: Melba Liston was a self-taught trombonist, arranger, and composer from Kansas City, Missouri.

    In the 1940s she was the first woman trombonist to play in big bands.

    As a trombonist, she worked with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones. 

    She was also an arranger for Motown and composed music for films.

    In the 1970s she was the director of popular music studies at the Jamaica Institute of Music. Buy on Amazon

    Fannie Lou Hamer

    1917-1977

    Accomplishments: Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights leader determined to make a change. 

    In the 1960s, Fannie Lou Hamer worked in Mississippi as a voting rights activist. 

    In 1964 she spoke at the Democratic National Convention as a representative of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). The MFDP’s purpose was to challenge Mississippis’s all-white Democratic Party, which did not represent the rights and needs of its Black constituents.

    This televised speech led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

    Although she lost, in 1964 Hamer ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, to show other Black Americans that they can run for office. Buy on Amazon

    Bill Traylor

    1853-1949

    Accomplishments: Born enslaved, Bill Traylor discovered his love of art at a late age. When Traylor was 85 he began drawing. Using pencils and paint, he drew his artwork on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama. 

    In 1940 he had his first exhibit, Bill Traylor: People’s Artist. Buy on Amazon

    George Moses Horton

    1798-1884

    Accomplishments: George Moses Horton was a poet and was the first southern African American man to be published.

    Horton published his first book of poetry in 1829, called the Hope of Liberty. He would go on to publish three more books. 

    In 1978 Chatham County, North Carolina declared June 28 as George Moses Horton day.

    He is also the namesake of George Horton Middle School in North Carolina.

    George Moses Horton was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1996. Buy on Amazon

    Althea Gibson

    1927-2003

    Accomplishments: Althea Gibson was a fierce tennis player and golfer. 

    In 1950 Althea was the first Black tennis player to compete in the U.S. National Championship.

    In 1951 she was the first Black player to compete at Wimbledon.

    Gibson won the French Open in 1956 and 1957-1958 she won Wimbledon and The U.S. Open two years in a row. 

    Making Althea the first Black tennis player to win The French Open, Wimbledon, and The U.S. Open.

    ⁣She also would become the first Black golfer in the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1964.

    In 1971, Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Buy on Amazon

    Vivien Thomas

    1910-1985

    Accomplishments: Vivien Thomas was a medical researcher during the Great Depression that had dreams of going to medical school. He worked hard to save money to go to school but lost all his savings during the Great Depression. In 1930, he became a laboratory assistant that quickly excelled in the medical field. 

    With his research and inventions, in 1944 he assisted in the first open-heart surgery of a child. He helped create what is known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Blalock and Taussig never gave credit to Thomas when the procedure was documented in a medical journal. To this day, it is still commonly known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt.

    Thomas was presented with an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1976.

    In 2004, HBO released a film about Vivien Thomas called, Something the Lord Made.

    Mamie Johnson

    1935-2017

    Accomplishments: Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was the first female pitcher to play in the Negro Leagues and only one of three women in the league.

    Mamie Johnson began playing for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953. She pitched and played second base, eventually replacing her teammate Hank Aaron. 

    Johnson credited Satchel Paige for perfecting her curveball. 

    In 2008 Johnson and other Negro League players were drafted by MLB franchises. Mamie Johnson was drafted by the Washington Nationals. Buy on Amazon

    Junius G. Groves

    1859-1925

    Accomplishments: Today, we would consider Junius G. Groves an agricultural scientist. In one year, he grew around twelve million potatoes. Rightfully earning the name, The Potato King. 

    His success in farming would make him one of the wealthiest Black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    He was so successful, Union Pacific Railroad built a railroad spur (similar to a stop) to his property because of how many potatoes he shipped from his property. 

    He also built a community center, church, and golf course (for Black citizens) in Edwardsville, Kansas. Buy on Amazon

    Raye Montague

    1935-2018

    Raye Montague was an engineer that worked for the U.S. Navy.

    During the Vietnam War, she was given a month to design a warship. Montague completed it in 19 hours.

    In 1972 Raye Montague received the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award for her design.

    Raye Montague also taught at U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland 

    Known as the U.S. Navy Hidden Figure, many of her ship designs are still used today. Buy on Amazon

    Lewis H. Michaux

    1895-1976

    Accomplishments: Lewis H. Michaux was a civil rights activist and owned the National Memorial African Bookstore (1932-1974) in Harlem. 

    The bookstore not only sold books but was a meeting place for some of the most notable African Americans at this time. Muhammed Ali, W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Earth Kitt, and others were regular visitors of The National Memorial African Bookstore. 

    Malcolm X was known to give his speeches at the bookstore. 

    Lewis Michaux’s bookstore would become the most prominent place to find books by and about African Americans during this time. Buy on Amazon

    Mary Fields

    1832-1914

    Accomplishments: In 1895, Mary Fields also known as Stagecoach Mary would become the first Black woman to become a mail carrier. Her official title was a Star Route Carrier, and she would travel by stagecoach during the harsh weather of Montana. 

    Mary did whatever it took to ensure her cargo was delivered safely. She fought off wolves, thieves, and had no problem traveling the dangerous mountain trails.⁣⁣

    Stagecoach Mary was a Star Route Carrier for 8 years, quitting in her early 70s. Buy on Amazon

    Patricia Bath

    1942-2019

    Accomplishments: Dr. Patricia Bath was an inventor and ophthalmologist. 

    Dr. Bath became the first African American to finish an ophthalmology residency in 1973. 

    In 1983 she helped create UCLA’s ophthalmology residency program and would become the chair of the program. Being the first woman to hold that position in the U.S. 

    In 1986 Dr. Patricia Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a device to treat cataracts. In 1988 she received a patent for her invention and she became the first female Black doctor to receive a patent for a medical device. She also has patents in Japan, Europe, and Canada. Buy on Amazon

    James Van Der Zee

    1886-1983

    Accomplishments: James Van Der Zee was a photographer known for his photos from the Harlem Renaissance. Van Der Zee photographed celebrities and people around Harlem.  

    In 1969, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed an exhibition called Harlem on My Mind, that showcased Jame Van Der Zee’s work. 

    In 1979 he was awarded the Living Legacy Award by President Jimmy Carter and the recipient of the International Black Photographers. Buy on Amazon


    Bessie Smith 

    1894-1937 

    Accomplishments: Bessie Smith was a blues singer known as the Empress of the Blues.

    Bessie worked with many performers, including Ma Rainey, who helped Smith navigate the vaudeville circuit. 

    Bessie’s unique voice helped her become a successful recording artist, Downhearted Blues was one of her first tracks and sold about 800,000 copies.

    By the end of the 1920s, Bessie Smith would become one of the highest-paid Black performers at that time. 

    This list was so much fun to create! I hope you found some new faces to recognize all year long!

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  • YA Mystery/Thriller Books to Read in 2022

    YA MYSTERY/THRILLER BOOKS TO READ IN 2022

    YA MYSTERY/THRILLER BOOKS TO READ IN 2022

    These YA Mystery/Thriller novels are must-reads for 2022! I’ve said this a few times, but I’m extremely jealous of the variety of Young Adult novels available today. I remember as a kid jumping straight from middle grade to adult novels because of the lack of books available. 

    On this list, you’ll find ghosts, murder, and mysteries to solve. Enjoy!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    I’m also a Bookshop Affiliate. Bookshop works with local independent bookstores to deliver books to your door. You can shop this entire list on Bookshop here.

    Firekeeper’s Daughter

    After a family tragedy, Daunis decides to attend a local school for her first year of college. I’ve come across very few YA novels with natives (Daunis is half native) as the main character. 

    Goodreads gives out awards each year and I was disappointed when my choice, Ace of Spades, didn’t win the Young Adult category. So, I wanted to read the book that beat out my favorite. And Firekeeper’s Daughter rightfully won. It’s really good yall! 

    Firekeeper’s Daughter Bookshop Affiliate Link

    White Smoke 

    Marigold and her family leave Cali to move to the midwest after her mother gets an opportunity to move to a new house for free. When they pull up to their new home, something is instantly off. The people in this neighborhood aren’t welcoming and are a little creepy. Marigold and her family find out quickly that this golden opportunity to start over, may not be so golden after all. 

    White Smoke Bookshop Affiliate Link

    The Taking of Jake Livingston

    So this book is more on the Thriller/Paranormal side. It wasn’t what I expected, but I couldn’t put it down. Jake can see dead people. They are all pretty harmless until he meets one who left the living world after committing an unspeakable act. Producers love turning books into movies and I would love to see this novel on the big screen.

    The Taking of Jake Livingston Bookshop Affiliate Link

     

    The Girls I’ve Been

    The Girls I've Been

    Nora has been a lot of girls because of her mother’s conning lifestyle. When she is put in the middle of a bank robbery, Nora hopes one of the girls she’s been can save them all. 

    The Girls I’ve Been Bookshop Affiliate Link

    One of Us is Lying

    Detention isn’t supposed to be deadly. But after detention at Bayview High a classmate is found dead. And he didn’t die of natural causes, he was murdered. The victim was set to reveal some juicy secrets about his classmates before his untimely death. Now, everyone in the room is a suspect. I thought the ending was surprising! There is a sequel, One of Us Is Next, but I haven’t had a chance to read it just yet. 

    Everything on film these days is from a book, and you can check out the tv show based on this book on PeacockTV. I haven’t seen the show, so let me know how it is in the comments!

    One of Us is Lying Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Ace of Spades

    Devon and Chiamaka attend the prestigious Niveus Private Academy. These talented seniors expect their last year of high school to go as planned, but when they start receiving texts, exposing their darkest secrets, they realize that their senior year is nothing like they expected. The author, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a fan of Gossip Girl and she does a great job of using her love to create this YA thriller.

    Ace of Spades Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Monday’s not coming 

    ​​Claudia has been gone all summer. On her first day of school, she expects to see her best friend Monday. When she arrives at school, Monday is a no-show, and nobody but Claudia seems to notice. Claudia instantly knows something is wrong and begins looking into her disappearance immediately. And she doesn’t stop until she finds Monday.

    Monday’s Not Coming Bookshop Affiliate Link

    A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

    If you’re looking for a murder mystery, then this is the book for you.

    Everyone thinks that high school senior Andie Bell was killed by her boyfriend, Sal. But Pip, a student from the same high school, doesn’t believe that’s true. So, for a school project, she decides to dig up the truth.

    I couldn’t put this book down! Since I’ve read this book, it has turned into a trilogy, Good Girl, Bad Blood and As good As Dead. You’ll definitely want to finish the series after reading the first book.

    A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Bookshop Affiliate Link

    There are a few more books I may add to the list. I want to finish reading them first! If they’re added, I share them on IG first! Be sure to follow me.  

    Let me know in the comments if there’s a YA Mystery/Thriller that I should check out next year!

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  • Books to Read in 2022

    BOOKS TO READ IN 2022

    BOOKS TO READ IN 2022

    At the beginning of the year I always start fresh with a brand new book list. I usually add new releases of course, but my favorite books to add are books I wasn’t able to read the previous year. 

    So I created this list to help you create a great reading list for 2022! These books are my favorite books I read in 2021. Think of this as a in case you missed it list. 

    On this list you’ll find nonfiction, YA novels, middle grade novels, and picture books perfect for 2022!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    I’m also a Bookshop Affiliate. Bookshop works with local independent bookstores to deliver books to your door. You can shop this entire list on Bookshop here.

    Just as I Am

    Before Cicely Tyson left us, she gave us a gift, her story. And it is a beautiful autobiography. I listened to the audiobook, and I was cracking up at the stories about her as a little girl. She was a feisty thang. 

    We walk with her through motherhood, marriage, and how she fell into acting. If you’re into Hollywood gossip, Ms. Tyson has all the stories. She knew everybody! From Marilyn Monroe to Denzel Washington, she had a story about them all. My favorite story was about Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. 

    This book is easily one of my favorite books of all time, so much so after I listened to the audiobook, I bought a physical copy. And it’s a BEAUTIFUL BOOK! Bookshop Affiliate Link.

    Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

    I love Rachel Maddow! Her storytelling is top-notch. So, after I listened to The Bag Man Podcast, I had to read the book. Bag Man is all about a vice president that many of us millennials don’t know.  

    Spiro Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the U.S. and served with Richard Nixon. He was forced to resign after being investigated for criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion, and tax fraud. Once you read this book or listen to Maddow’s Podcast, you find similarities with someone who recently lived in the White House. Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream 

    Making Our Way Home is a beautiful book written by the incredibly smart and talented Blair Imani. I’d never heard of Imani until I read this book, but she creates a lot of content on Youtube about politics and history. 

    This book covers different issues within the Black community during the Great Migration. It also highlights the experience of some well-known members of the Black community. This is a book to read from the library and then own in your home. Bookshop Affiliate Link

     

    Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery)

    Arsenic and Adobe is a super cute (yes cute!) murder mystery book that I couldn’t put down! Lila has just moved back home after her failed relationship and she starts working at her family’s restaurant. One afternoon, a familiar face shows up for a meal, but suddenly drops dead. And of course, Lila is the number one suspect. 

    There’s a sequel that is expected to be released in 2022! Bookshop Affiliate Link

    SLAY

    Slay is a YA novel about a Black game developer (Kiera) who wants to create a safe space for Black gamers from around the world. So she develops a virtual reality game called SLAY.

    Kiera is a senior in high school who is struggling to manage her duties as a developer, her complicated relationship with her boyfriend Malcolm, and the big decision of college.

    ⁣I loved that this book took me back to my senior year and had me reflect on the choices I made that year. 

    And I loved how they highlighted that Black Girls can be gamers too! Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Legendborn 

    Just months prior, Bree’s mother dies. She jumps at an opportunity to attend the University of North Carolina-Capel Hill’s summer program for high schoolers. But instantly, it isn’t what she thought it would be. Magic is the last thing Bree expects to encounter.

    Bree finds herself in the middle of a secret society of demon hunters. Yup, demon hunters.

    Legenborn is set to be a series, and I definitely see why. It is a page-turner full of action and teenage drama! Bookshop Affiliate Link.

    Ace of Spades

    Devon and Chiamaka attend the prestigious Niveus Private Academy. These talented seniors expect their last year of high school to go as planned, but when they start receiving texts, exposing their darkest secrets, they realize that their senior year is nothing like they expected. The author, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a fan of Gossip Girl and she does a great job of using her love to create this YA thriller. Bookshop Affiliate Link

     

    Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, 1)

    It’s pretty obvious why Marsai Martin is turning this book into a movie.⁣

    Amari & The Night Brothers is the first book in the Supernatural Investigations Trilogy.⁣

    ⁣Amari’s brother is missing, and she’s just gotten in big trouble at school.⁣

    ⁣When Amari receives a nomination to attend a summer camp where her brother worked, she jumps at the opportunity to attend, intending to find out what happened to her brother.⁣

    Amari has no idea that this secret summer camp is going to throw her into the supernatural world.⁣

    Every time I read a fantastic middle-grade novel, I wish I still had my 5th graders! Ugh! They would have loved this book!⁣ Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Clean Getaway

    Scoob and his Grandma go on an unforgettable road trip that doesn’t end as expected.⁣

    ⁣Scoob learns that his Grandma and Grandpa took the same road trip years earlier with the help of The Green Book.⁣

    ⁣I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had excellent historical references that could lead to more research and discussions with your students or children. There are so many things you could do with this book. If I still had 5th graders. Bookshop Affiliate Link

    The Awakening of Malcolm X

    In The Awakening of Malcolm X, we meet him minutes before he’s sent to prison. ⁣

    Throughout the book, we go back in time to learn about Malcolm X’s past. 

    The flashbacks are great for readers who haven’t read his autobiography because they give readers the background information they need to understand who Malcolm X was before we went to prison.⁣

    And the ending was perfect because it was just the beginning. ⁣

    If this book is your introduction to Malcolm X, it will leave you wanting more. ⁣

    His daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson did a phenomenal job putting this novel together. ⁣Just wow.❤ Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Stella’s Stellar Hair 

    When I saw the cover I immediately knew that the illustrator was the same illustrator from Honeysmoke…so I was already sold.⁣

    And I’m glad I picked it up!⁣

    Stella doesn’t know what to do with her hair!⁣

    So, Stella hops on her hoverboard to get help from her Aunties…who live on different planets in the solar system. 🌌⁣

    My favorite part of the book is the back, where we get facts about the planets and what hairstyles would be best for each planet. ⁣

    So cute!⁣ Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Every Night is Pizza Night 

    Pipo thinks Pizza is the best meal in the whole wide world. And she thinks that everyone thinks the same thing until she cooks dinner with her neighbors. Pipo learns that everyone has their favorite meal that they can eat over and over again! I love books about food and this is a book I need to add to my PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT FOOD FROM AROUND THE WORLD book list. Bookshop Affiliate Link

    Help Wanted: Must Love Books

    Shailey loves bedtime stories with her dad. ⁣

    When her dad gets a new job and no longer has time for her, she FIRES him!🤣⁣

    And then she puts up a Help Wanted sign.🤣⁣

    She begins interviewing our favorite storybook characters to fill the position, but it doesn’t work out so well!⁣

    My students were yelling and jumping in their seats when they saw a character they knew.⁣

    They also started rolling their eyes at Shailey’s pickiness.⁣

    They loved this book! ⁣

    Of course, the book ended happily ever after!⁣ Bookshop Affiliate Link

    THIS IS MY ROOM! (NO TIGERS ALLOWED)

    Do you love books with unexpected endings?⁣

    I do!⁣

    I know I say this ALL the time, but this book is super cute!

    I’m definitely adding it to my books as gifts list.⁣

    Jojo decides this is the night she is sleeping on her own.⁣

    But, she gets some unexpected guests that make it really hard for her to stay out of her big sister’s room!⁣

    My students and I used this book to work on making predictions and my students had so much fun. They were shocked at the ending…literally, their mouths were open!😲⁣ Bookshop Affiliate Link

    That’s my list! I hope some of them caught your eye and you’ll bring in the new year with a great book! 

    What were your favorite reads of 2021? Let me know in the comments below.

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