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It’s been an exciting week for books. I finished several terrific ones and found several other older ones that I want to share. My school bought a retired teacher’s collection and after our librarian went through it for the library, now I’ve been sifting through, finding books for use for a variety of reasons. There are old and out of date books, but I really enjoyed browsing through the 100's of books. I had the time and made piles for my colleagues and myself. I brought a few home to read.
Also, along with many others, I participated in the 10 for 10 picture book sharing that occurred last Friday. If you can, check out all those who linked up with Cathy at Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community or Mandy at Enjoy And Embrace Learning to find the lists.
First, I must give an acclamation for Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. Several of you readers have talked a little about it, and that’s all I can do, too. I don’t want to give away a thing. Here are two quotes that I liked, however: I smile. I have a strong feeling that I’ve just met two kids who will never make fun of my name. and also: I used to know which one was the real me, but now I’m not so sure. Now it’s like maybe there is no real me.
I’ve owned it for a while, but just had too many other things happening, but finally sat down and read Babymouse for President written and illustrated by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm. I know that others have reviewed and shouted about this to the rooftops. It did not disappoint. In these days of constant presidential campaign commercials (here in Colorado) it was refreshing to read a book that poked a bit of fun at all those promises and attacks. Babymouse is at her best when thinking about herself, but in the end, she figures out what being president really should be, and cupcakes are not a bad idea either.
One of my “finds” is a poetry anthology from the 1980’s titled Blackberry Ink by Eve Merriam, illustrated by Hans Wilhelm. In it I found such sweet and creative poems for young children, like a ‘time’ poem that begins “Is it robin o’clock”, plaintively using clock terms to share the wish for spring. Another is one about Halloween: “Up in the attic there’s a great big trunk/Full of jangling jellified Halloween junk:” It goes on to describe all the marvelous things found in that trunk.
Another book found is more recent, Somewhere In The World Right Now written and illustrated by Stacey Schuett. I've seen this book and just never picked it up to read it. What a great story, can be used for a bedtime story, a study about time for younger students, a text to imagine someone else across the world doing something different while students are in school, etc. It is filled with beautiful illustrations of one action, like people going home on an elevated train, with the background of parts of maps, all in a whirl of color. It's gorgeous to see and sweet to read.
Only Opal by Barbara Cooney - Another discovery is this lovely book with diary parts selected by Jane Boulton, and beautiful illustrations by Barbara Cooney. The back matter tells that Opal Whiteley did live with a couple after her parents died when she was seven. It is a true almost Cinderella story. The family didn't treat her well but she kept a secret diary and this book shares parts of it. We learn that she takes solace in the what she has of nature, a mouse named Felix Mendelssohn, a calf called Elizabeth Barrett Browning and a tree who is Michael Raphael. A stepsister found the diary and tore up the pieces, but Opal kept them, and later a publisher asked about the diary. Opal pieced it all back together and it was published. Isn't that a wonderful story! An inspiring book to inspire young students to keep their journals.
The Song written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri - This is a book published in the 80's with beautiful illustrations about a little girl who keeps saying she hears a little bird singing, and it sings through the seasons. For example, he 'began to sing in white. It sang of snowflakes and frosty windows and the sting of the wind." It's poetic, about parents needing to listen to their children, and about the goodness of friendship.
Say It! another by Zolotow, illustrated this time by James Stevenson in beautiful breathy watercolors. This is about a mother and her daughter going on a walk in the fall, with the daughter continuing to ask her mother to “say it!”. The mother answers in beautifully descriptive words about where they happen to be at the time, like “It’s a wild, wondrous, dazzling day.” Yet the girl only answers, “no, not that.” The ending is a surprise, but is really similar in meaning to the other book by Zolotow, The Song. It’s interesting that Zolotow has written two books so similar in intent, a message to parents to pay attention to their children.
Next: I must finish Eye of The Storm, by Kate Messner which was interrupted by Liar and Spy, and I have started Choice Words by Peter H. Johnston but haven’t gotten very far. I’m about to finish listening to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall which is wonderful. Perhaps another one of those will be good. School is beginning, so there is certainly less time.