Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2020) Nominees Round Up, April 30 Edition

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable (Author) and Ellen T. Crenshaw (Illustrator)
Roaring Brook Press: First Second
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
ISBN: 9781596437098

Amanda “Mads” does not understand kissing.  Kisses 1- through 7 were nothing exciting at best, and hardly tolerable at worst.  Kiss number 8, with a girl, threw her for a loop. As her own experiences run parallel to a family history she previously knew nothing about, Mads discovers much about kissing, and about herself.

Kiss Number 8 is quick-paced with excellent illustrations, especially showing teen body language and facial expression.  There are no chapters (although there are places that the story breaks) making this book hard to put down. The characters are all fantastic, in their stories and their illustrations.  The illustrations add an alternate, sometimes even contradicting, version to the text, to show that events are sometimes recounted in ways that do not reflect the reality of what happened.  Readers will identify with Amanda making mistakes. Set in 2004 in a rural catholic school, overall the story is very LGBTQ positive.

Those who enjoy reading about friends, relationships with family, romantic involvements, and exploring self will enjoy Kiss Number 8. Fans of Drama by Raina Telgemeier and Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, and Bloom by Kevin Panetta will like this.

Cathy Outten


P is for Pterodactyl by Raj Haldar & Chris Carpenter
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Sourcebooks Inc.
Publication Date: November 1, 2018
ISBN: 9781492674313

This isn’t your standard alphabet book.  While letters A to Z are covered, the word entries are filled with examples from the English language that are exceptions to the standard rules and most commonly start with a silent letter.  These really are like the subtitle says, “all the letters that misbehave and make words nearly impossible to pronounce.”

Told with humor and whimsy, this alphabet book will appeal as a quick pick because the examples used are some of the most troublesome in the English language and often part of the regular teen lexicon.  The illustrations also help to demonstrate not only the example word for the letter, but also additional words that start with that same letter that can be tricky like E is for ewe, euphoric and eulogy.

This is a fun book for readers to peruse while hanging out in libraries, for teachers looking for icebreakers when introducing new units of study, or even English language learners needed examples of the rule-breaking words.

Recommended for fans of similar previous Quick Pick titles like Stick Man’s Really Bad Day (2012), Star Wars: Jedi Academy (2013), and 67 Reasons Why Cats are Better than Dogs (2016).

Jessica Lorentz Smith

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.