MONDAY FUNDAY – November 21, 2016


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

This week I’ve got a bit of everything to share with you, so let’s jump right in!


I just finished re-reading a great historical nonfiction epic – In the Heart of the Sea: The  Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. In 1829, the Essex set sail from Nantucket in search of lucrative, oil-rich sperm whales. Just over a year into its journey, the ship was rammed by a massive, eighty foot long male sperm whale, and quickly sank, leaving its twenty crewmen stranded on three small boats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Fearing  the reported cannibals of nearby islands, the men decided to sail 3,000 miles to the safety of South America. While only a limited supply of food and water and little protection from the elements, the men would spend the next THREE MONTHS adrift at sea, slowly succumbing one by one to starvation, thirst and exhaustion. Twenty men would escape the Essex, but how many would survive the sea?


This gripping, true-life story inspired a young sailor and writer named Herman Melville, who worked elements from the account of the Essex into Moby Dick. Part history, part social commentary, part survival story, it’s little wonder that this gripping tale was adapted into a film – it’s an incredible page-turner that will have readers at the edge of their seats. This is my second read-though, and I’m whipping through it like crazy. Definitely recommended, though not perhaps for the faint of heart – as one might expect, this perilous journey is not without its gruesome moments.

I also recently finished watching the second season of a Netflix original anime series: Knights of Sidonia


The year is 3394. A thousand years before, the Earth was destroyed by a terrifying alien race known as Gauna. The last survivors of the human race escaped on hundreds of massive ships, but the Sidonia, with its 500,000 inhabitants, has lost contact with the other ships. Society has survived and thrived through the adoption of scientific advances such as photosynthesis, genetic engineering, cloning and asexual reproduction. Sidonia is under constant threat from relentless Gauna, and relies on mechanized, piloted weapons known as Guardians to keep the enemy at bay as they search for a safe planet to colonize.

In the first season, we met Nagate Tanikaze, a young man who was raised in isolation by his grandfather until the older man’s death. Tanikaze is your typical “chosen one” character – he’s awkward and weird and initially unpopular, but has incredible innate powers that eventually make him a hero and a leader. As the series progresses, Tanikaze has to adjust to his new role as a war hero, and builds relationships with his fellow pilots.


Knights of Sidonia has a very specific art style that’s unlike any other anime I’ve ever seen. The characters are drawn in such a minimal, simplistic way, and are often so over-exposed, that at times they are almost indistinguishable from each other. The action sequences, however, are beautifully rendered, and can be quite gripping to watch, with fantastic sound effects that bring the scenes to life. Similarly, the characters aren’t nearly as well developed as they are in other series – the emphasis is definitely on the larger storyline, and I don’t feel as invested in the characters as I could be. It’s a fascinating science fiction anime that really makes the most of the genre in terms of setting and world-building, but doesn’t quite give us as much character building and development as I would like. Still worth watching, though, if you’re a science fiction fan like I am!

Lastly, I finally got my hands on a wonderful new picture book from the reliably wonderful Sara O’Leary – A Family is a Family is a Family.


A teacher asks her students to think about what makes their families special. One child worries that her family is just too strange, too unusual, too special, and is hesitant to talk about her special family. As her classmates share stories about their own families, though, the child begins to realise that all families are special, in their wonderful own ways.


What makes A Family is a Family is a Family so special isn’t just its inclusive message, which has been addressed in picture books before. Rather it’s the sensitivity and subtlety with which O’Leary and Leng share their story that really sets this picture book apart. In their deft hands, A Family is a Family is a Family never becomes preachy, heavy handed or saccharine, and is instead a joyful, quirky celebration of family love. Clever, heartfelt and authentic, this is a new family classic that is a must-have for any library collection. Perhaps more than ever, it’s vital that our bookshelves be filled with books that celebrate and embrace the similarities and differences that make our world such a colourful and beautiful place. Highly, high recommended.

I hope everyone has a great week, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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  • Reply Cheriee Weichel

    I so agree with your comments about A Family is a Family is a Family. I’ve recommended that every school library should have at least one copy!

    November 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm
    • Reply

      Yes, absolutely!!

      November 21, 2016 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply Ellie

    Love the Idea behind A Family is a Family, I’m going to have to check it out. I hate when I’m reading a kids book and it is telling the kids how they should feel, instead of letting the message sink in.

    November 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm
    • Reply

      Exactly! So many authors don’t give kids nearly enough credit – they can smell a preachy book a mile away!

      November 21, 2016 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Stephanie

    I bought the Nathaniel Philbrick based on the reviews. Maybe it should be my next read. Perfect for #nonfictionnovember.

    November 21, 2016 at 7:47 pm
  • Reply Laurel-Rain Snow

    A Family is a Family is a Family looks very good…thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog. Enjoy your week!

    November 21, 2016 at 10:07 pm
    • Reply Jane @ Raincity Librarian

      It’s definitely a wonderful book, and perhaps needed now more than ever.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      November 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm
  • Reply Greg

    Oh I love that picture! Jump kitty jump lol. Nice books this week. I think it’s fascinating that whales rammed boats and fought back- I know they’re intelligent but it just seems amazing. and I’m not making light of the sailors’ plight, it sounds like they suffered horribly. I would definitely be interested in reading that. Also the anime- I didn’t know Netflix was doing their own original anime. Boy they are just branching out aren’t they?

    I love that picture w/ the kids in the cupboards.

    November 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm
    • Reply Jane @ Raincity Librarian

      It’s definitely an incredible story all around, with some really memorable characters, including the whale!!

      November 23, 2016 at 4:26 am
  • Reply Kathy Martin

    A Family Is a Family Is a Family does sound good. I’ll be adding it to my next Elementary order. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    November 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply

      That’s wonderful, I’d love to see it included in more libraries!

      November 25, 2016 at 9:44 pm
  • Reply Ms. Yingling

    I have a Philbrick title that sounds similar to this one- will have to check. I don’t have much in the way of manga, since our public library has a good collection, and the books fall apart so quickly. My daughter loved them in high school, though.

    November 21, 2016 at 11:43 pm
    • Reply

      Oh yes, manga just flies off the shelves here too, and some of the series have so many volumes, it can be tough to keep up!!

      November 23, 2016 at 6:59 am
  • Reply Crystal

    I want A Family is a Family is a Family now. Thanks for sharing it.

    November 22, 2016 at 1:42 am
    • Reply

      You’re very welcome, I’m happy to share it!

      November 23, 2016 at 6:51 am
  • Reply Bill

    One of the great things about book blogs is that your “to-read” pile continues to grow and I’m finding great things to purchase for my library. I didn’t do a IMWAYR post this week due to schedule / blogging issues, but Family is a Family is a Family sounds like a great addition to our library. I also want to explore anime too but haven’t tried it yet. Great post!

    November 22, 2016 at 2:51 am
    • Reply

      Oh I hear you, I’m always adding new books to my wishlist each and every week! I’ve been addicted to anime since I was in elementary school, and now that my partner is studying Japanese it’s even more fun to watch, because we can understand parts of the dialogue – lots of fun! Thanks for stopping by!

      November 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply Deborah

    I don’t actually read non-fiction but In the Heart of the Sea sounds amazing. Interestingly I was thinking it’d made a good movie when I read it’s already been adapted, so much check that out!

    November 22, 2016 at 3:00 am
    • Reply

      Yes, I haven’t seen the film yet, I really should, but sometimes when I really love a book I’m hesitant to watch the film version in case it can’t live up to the book!!

      November 25, 2016 at 9:46 pm
  • Reply Carrie Gelson

    I need to purchase A Family is a Family is a Family. There seem to be endless reasons to own this book.

    November 22, 2016 at 6:11 am
    • Reply

      It’s really worth getting!

      November 23, 2016 at 6:50 am
  • Reply Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Wow, that whaleship story sounds crazy and intense. I can’t even imagine being adrift at sea for three months. That anime looks fun though! I’ve never actually watched any anime, and that one probably wouldn’t be for me if it’s not very character developed, but I can see why you like if you like sci-fi 🙂 And that book about family sounds so sweet! Have a great week 🙂

    November 22, 2016 at 10:56 am
    • Reply

      Yes, it’s a gripping story – like they say, truth can definitely be stranger than fiction!!

      November 23, 2016 at 6:49 am
  • Reply Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Firstly – I love your cat gif. Super cute!

    I didn’t realise that In the Heart of the Sea was a book! I have the movie to watch one day when I get a chance. I love that it’s the real life inspiration behind Moby Dick.

    I just love the look of the Family picture book. I think it’s something I would love to get for our home library. I’m going to keep my eyes open for it in the future – thanks for pointing it out to me!

    November 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm
    • Reply

      I hope you get a chance to read Family is a Family is a Family, it’s really lovely.

      I must get around the watching the film version of In the Heart of the Sea, we’ll see if it lives up to the book!

      And yes – the more cats the merrier, I always say! 🙂

      November 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm
  • Reply Jennifer

    I NEEED that picture book! Thank you for putting it on my radar! Since I left the public library and went to high school I have lost track of children’s publications.

    November 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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