Sunday, August 26, 2012

Books for All Ages!


          Jen and Kellee host this kidlit meme atTEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Join them and the other bloggers who are sharing what they are reading.

          It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers reviews of all kinds of books.  

        If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!


The Boy Who Loved Words – Roni Schotter, Illus. by Giselle Potter
       "Upon my word!" you may say. "How lucky I am!" are words you would hear from me after reading this book, and you will also see those words a number of times in the book. Roni Schotter tells the story of a young boy who collects words, and notices things for much of his life. He is lonely and feels set apart, but carries on with his word gifts! Words-both beautiful and intriguing-float around the man, pleasing, but not without experiencing loneliness still. At last he hears a lovely song, and thus begins a new part of life, with his wife, but that's the last of the story which I'll let you read. It's a great story, whimsical too, with numerous uses in the writing workshop.


The Gardener, The Librarian and The Journey by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small

       The Librarian has been mentioned numerous times in the past days, and I am lucky to have found it at my library! It tells the story of a young girl named Elizabeth Brown who reads and reads, in fact she grows up doing the same thing, reading! David Small's illustrations are delightful, filling the pages with Elizabeth's books so much that one thinks there can't be any more on the page! Too many books can be a problem, as so many of us know, and this story solves that dilemma quite happily. I can't wait to share this with different students. 
       David Small won the Caldecott Honor award for the beautiful illustrations for The Gardener.  They are in watercolor, a little faded to give a hint of the past, and telling a story of a young girl who needs to be sent to the city during the Great Depression because of the family's economic needs. The story is told in letters that seem to take place over a "season".  during that time, the little girl, named Lydia Grace, learns to help her Uncle Jim and his workers in his bakery, and in turn, she teaches the workers how to garden.  There is a surprise at the end, which is both satisfying and heartwarming.  I love the letters, especially the P.S.'s!
       The Journey This particular book by Stewart is about a certain week in a young Amish girl's life when she is given the privilege of a trip to a big city as a birthday gift from her Aunt Clara. Again, Small's watercolors add such joy to the story, with a myriad of details that can be found in a city. The girl shares diary entries to tell the story. While she loves being there (she writes: "I feel like happiness has rushed up and grabbed me from behind," the reader also sees that every glorious site in the city reminds her of the particular things at home too. For example, when she looks over the city from the hotel balcony, the next page of the book shows another view, the view that she has at home when looking out over the land from a porch. It's a sweet book, emphasizing the theme of 'home sweet home'.

We Are In A Book – Mo Willems 
       I have checked out many Elephant & Piggie books, and loved every one. This one is a favorite and I bought it, because I wanted to be able to use it often, or share it again and again. No matter the plot, although it's fun, I just love the smiles on these two favorite characters. They make me smile to see their glee at something very exciting to them. It happens every time. When they smile, so do I. This time, they discover some awesome ideas because they are in a book. It's another priceless and fun story to read aloud.
 Woolvs in The Sitee – Margaret Wild, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas – This is such an intriguing picture book, definitely for older students.  I’m not sure if it’s in the future, or if it’s a metaphor for children at risk in their own environments.  It’s a book to be read aloud and discussed, about helping each other and about facing fears in order to make life better. 


Rocket Writes A Story – Tad Hills – If you enjoyed How Rocket Learned To Read, here again is another story about Rocket’s challenges in school, this time finding ideas for a story.  The little yellow bird appears again as his teacher, with helpful writing advice.  I imagine that many teachers of younger students will use this for writers workshop conversations. 

Footprints in the Snow - Mei Matsuoka – This pleasant looking wolf is tired of being thought greedy, nasty or scary, so he begins to write a different story showing that he is none of those things, until his natural instincts almost overcome.  The illustrations are simple, yet stylistic and include many details.  When the wolf ventures into the snow to talk with animals, we see their own realistic tracks moving across the page.   During the reading, the eye is caught again and again with the beautiful drawings. 

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - I needed to re-read this book for a book group I've been asked to facilitate because of a summer reading assignment.  I had forgotten how much I love Gary Schmidt's writing, & it might cause me to re-read Okay For Now & Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, too.  If you haven't read The Wednesday Wars yet, you should, & then put it into the hands of your students.  It's just wonderful how not only the main character is one you will care very much about, but almost all the other characters too, including the antagonist father.  How much we as adults can see in this father who has made his goals to be successful in order to take care of his family.  He has sadly forgotten that he just needs to love them.  There is so much to discuss in the book, yet Schmidt's continuing theme in the 3 books I've read are that the young male main characters must figure out what is the right thing to do in life. 

Next:  I still need to finish Small As An Elephant by Jennifer Richards Jacobson, then I'll start Remembering Mrs. Rossi, by Amy Hest, which was reviewed on Teach Mentor Texts last week.  I was lucky to find it at the library. I also have a few poetry books to read & share.  

33 comments:

  1. Wonderful books on your list. I just bought The Library and I LOVED it. And Gary Schmidt, amazing. Can't wait for his newest book this fall.

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    1. Oh, so, so excited to hear Schmidt has a new book out. I think they're amazing too!

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  2. Any week that includes books written by Sarah Stewart is a good week in my book.

    Happy reading!!

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    1. Thanks Colby, now that I've found her, I agree.

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  3. Whew! Sounds like you had a great reading week. I know I've read Wednesday Wars at some point, but don't remember it clearly. Maybe I'm due for a reread of that one.

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    1. It is worthy of a re-read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks, Maria.

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  4. Pickle loves the Elephant and Piggie books so much. They are so funny.

    You read so many beautiful books this week. I miss the picture book stage -- we used to get huge stacks of picture books out of the library when my kids were younger.

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    1. There are such good stories in them, Katya. Maybe you should look for those for older kids?

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  5. My kids (and I) all liked The Wednesday Wars. I'm going to have to find The Boy Who Loved Words!

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    1. Glad to hear you liked it too. The Boy Who Loved Words is a delight.

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  6. So many great books. I enjoyed The Boy Who Loved Words too and We Are in a Book is a favorite for sure.

    I will have to put Footprints in the Snow on my TBR. Thanks.

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    1. I thought the 'footprints' book was great & a new look at other's perspectives.

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  7. Oh, such treasures here, Linda! I love the partnership of David Small and Sarah Stewart, always lovely books that leave you happy and wistful. Wednesday Wars is a book club favorite in our classroom, for all the great resons you mentioned. You have been busy reading, as usual, and I love the way you grouped the covers together to form a reading quilt - clever!

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    1. So great to hear from you Tara. I hope you've had some superb restful days before you start. Thanks for all. I just had my first conversation today about The Wednesday Wars & they loved it!

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  8. Love all of the books by Sarah Stewart and David Small. They are such a talented duo! The Wednesday Wars is so good, but I am due for a reread as well.

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    1. Yes, re-reading it was a really pleasant time. And I'm so happy to have discovered the Stewart/Small books. I guess that's why I love reading everyone's ideas about books! Thanks.

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  9. Can't wait to get to The Gardener in my picture book TBR--they're such a great pair! My only Gary Schmidt book was Okay for Now and it blew me out of the water. I really need to get to his other books. Do you have a favorite from him?

    --Lorna

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    1. As you see above, there is a new one coming out, but my other favorite is Okay for Now, although I really liked the LIzzie Bright one too (a Newbery honor I think). They are really good, & foster such good lessons in approaching books deeply. Hope you'll like them too, Lorna.

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  10. I love The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now - both so much that I would definitely reread them! How wonderful to read 3 David Small/Sarah Stewart books. I am such a fan of this team. I want to own all of the titles. Have you read The Friend? (also by Stewart/Small) I loved this book in particular.

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    1. Wow-thank you for the 'new' recommendation. I guess I'll need to do some real research in this team to find all of their collaborations.

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  11. Linda, thanks as ever! I've re-read OKAY FOR NOW and listened to WEDNESDAY WARS a number of times! LIZZIE I don't feel called to re-read, though I did appreciate the experience. Looking forward to Schmidt's October release.

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    1. Don't you wonder what he will write about this time? Glad to hear once again we're on the same page... Thanks Irene. I've ordered your new book!

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  12. Oh, do read OKAY FOR NOW! I thought it was even more powerful than THE WEDNESDAY WARS, which I loved. LIZZIE is next on my list...

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    1. I have read it Natalie, it's just that after enjoying the 2nd time for The Wednesday Wars so much, I think I'll re-read Okay for Now again, too. I agree, it is wonderful, & so is Lizzie. I hope you saw that there is a new book out this fall? Thanks!

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  13. The only one of these I've read is Elephant & Piggie and you reread one of my favorites. I have read Okay for Now, but never Wednesday Wars- everything on your list looks so great.
    I, too, am looking forward to Schmidt's newest.

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    1. Oh, and-
      Happy reading this week! :)

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    2. Thanks Kellee-many good words out there!

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  14. You have been reading alot and given an incredible number of good reads! Can't wait to get my hands on a number of them. Can't believe tho I haven't read any of David Small/Sarah Stewart!

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    1. I hadn't either Beverley until I 'think' I saw them discussed on the 10 for 10 picture book round-up. Please find them. You'll be pleased!

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  15. What a great list of books! Oh, I love The Gardener. I'm off to look at The Boy Who Loved Words -- how did I miss that! And I want to see what the 10 for 10 picture book round-up was all about. Thanks for the great reviews.

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    1. If you look at my last week's Monday Reading post, the links are there. Lots of blogs linked up to share their favorite PB's on Aug. 10th. The Boy Who Loved Words is such a good book for writing. Hope you can find it. thanks Jeanne!

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  16. Hi Linda, these are indeed great selections. I, too, have just recently discovered The Library and would definitely feature it before our bimonthly theme ends. It is beautiful, isn't it? I love the husband-and-wife collaboration. I think I reviewed The Gardener as well. You made mention of Woolvs in the Sitee in one of your comments as well in our blog, it's also one of my absolute favorites. In fact, I've written a review of the book here: http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/woolvs-in-the-sitee/

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    1. I will return & find your reviews, Myra. I am especially thrilled to find these books by Stewart & Small, & really want to see what you have to say about Woovs In The Sitee-fascinating!

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