Sunday, January 24, 2016

#IMWAYR ~ Memories from the Heart: A Special Book & a Special Bus Ride

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts  and Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, help share and spread book-love, by hosting this fun meme.  Check out their blogs for links to others who enjoy celebrating their reading weeks.  

I've been blessed to have connected with and made a lovely friendship with author/illustrator, Salina Yoon ~ all because of her beautiful book, Be a Friend!  I've continued to share this lovely book with many children and educators, most recently by opening a booktalk session by reading it aloud to about 50 educators.  Through the course of little snippets of conversations (via Facebook, Twitter, and blog comments), Salina has helped me realize something very important about my reading life (both personally and professionally).  

Because of her and her encouragement for us all to be, "Bold, Brave, and Shine," I've come to know that my niche in writing about books and reading is what I have been feeling all along in my heart ~ and that's exactly it, writing from the heart!  Making connections in the wonderful world of reading and writing, to myself.  How books and authors and illustrators impact me.  

After the announcements of the YMA, I attempted to get a copy of the Newbery Medal winning, Last Stop On Market Street written by Matt De La Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson.  I was unsuccessful.  Fast forward to this past week and I was luckily able to get a copy of this most amazing picture book!  

2016 Newbery Medal Winner

Upon my first reading of this important picture book, I instantly felt my heartstrings being tugged.  The first connection that I felt was the memory of riding the city bus with my own grandmother.  Walking from her house to the bus stop, waiting on the busy street to climb aboard the bus, climbing those big steps to put money into the coin collector, finding a seat, sitting by the window but looking around at all the others who were already on the bus and as we rode closer into town, those that got on and off, and oh, the buzzer cord that was tugged to sound the signal for the bus driver to stop at the next stop, and finally, to getting to pull the cord so that we could descend the steps onto the downtown streets.  Memories of walking on the downtown streets, peering into store windows, and eventually, heading into Woolworths (or as Grandma called, it the Five and Ten), to sit at the counter to order lunch.  How I wish I could remember what I ate ~ my guess is that it might've been a Patty Melt (those were one of her favorite diner/lunch counter delights).   


Of course, like many others I’m sure, I loved that so many of the characters on the bus, not to mention, CJ and his nana, are so real and so many of us can relate to them on a personal level, for one reason or another. 

Last Stop On Market Street is a picture book that I know will be an important read for many children.  It's a story that Matt De La Pena has told that will help many of its readers see themselves in a different way.  It will tug at their heart for one reason or another.  Most importantly, it is a book that will turn children into readers because through the reading of this picture book, readers will begin to realize that they can find what they need in the words of authors. 


  1. You memories of bus rides reminded me of some of my own. Unfortunately my rural, suburban students have likely never ridden a city bus. The book will be introducing a new experience to my students. Here's what last week was like for me. Happy reading!

  2. What a beautiful, wonderful post. I am now thinking of downtown Binghamton, you, Salina, and Matt. All connected by words. xxoo

  3. I remember window shopping with my grandmother in downtown Akron, but we had to drive in from the farm. Rode lots of city buses in Cincinnati, though. My ride was never as amusing as the Market Street bus!

  4. Love that you have a great personal connection to this incredible story. So much to offer for so many readers!

  5. I remember going to "the five and ten" with my grandmother, too, and with another one, went on my first bus ride trip. Market Street is indeed a treasure. Thanks also for sharing about your connection with Be A Friend and Salina Yoon. I love that book already, & so does on of my granddaughters. Connections are what make us smile, right?

  6. This book looks so wonderful. I have only seen parts of it read online. I need to get my hands on a copy!

  7. I had the same emotional reaction when I read this one - I grew up riding the bus and train around the city with my mother. Amazing how books can resonate so strongly with us.

  8. I have no memories of going places with my grandmother, but I do remember taking my grandmother out to the pub on her 70th birthday. She drank my sister and I under the table.

  9. Last Stop on Market Street is indeed a special special book. I am glad to be reading and re-reading it as it is one of the CYBILS finalists for this year. It is indeed one of a kind.