Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Reading Frenzy This Week!


Jen and Kellee host this kidlit meme at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Please take a look at all the great books people have read & are writing about.

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

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

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  There are old and out of date books, but I really enjoyed browsing through the 100's of books.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.  

26 comments:

  1. Thanks for these recommendations! Somewhere In The World Right Now especially caught my eye, as the school where I teach has a high immigrant population, and our kids are always wondering what they're relatives and friends are doing back in their home countries.

    Also can't wait to get my hands on Liar & Spy!

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    1. Thanks Natalie. I bet they would love this book. It isn't just for the little ones.

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  2. Linda, such a rich post filled with so many titles that I am definitely adding to my To Be Read and to Be Borrowed from our library list. I read your comment about the boxes of books from the retired teachers' collection - I am literally salivating!!! How awesome and such a lovely lovely initiative. I love both OLD and NEW books alike. Always something new to discover and unearth.

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    1. I guessed that you would love to go through the boxes! It is certainly fun! Thanks, Myra.

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  3. What a great reading week! Loved Liar & Spy and Babymouse as well. And I simply adore The Penderwicks. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks Katherine. I can so imagine young students loving The Penderwicks. This first one is great fun!

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  4. We both read Babymouse this week. :-) I'm really looking forward to reading Liar & Spy when it comes out.

    Only Opal looks really interesting.

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    1. It was really a good find-both sweet & a really amazing story about this woman. Thanks Katya! The Babymouse books are such fun.

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  5. Enjoy what remains of your quickly vanishing summer! I'm looking forward to the newest Babymouse, and I must do something catching up with Rebecca Stead's works. A significant reading oversight on my part. I love hearing about your older finds. I recently read a Zolotow book for the Caldecott Challenge, The Storm Book from 1952. Have you read that one? Very lyrical.

    Have a great week!

    Lorna

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    1. I have The Storm Book from long ago, one of the few I do know. She is poetic, kind of reminds me of Jane Yolen of today. Thanks Lorna.

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  6. Liar and Spy truly is fantastic! Many wonderful lines in that book! I think you will enjoy finishing Eye of the Storm. I found it so dramatic. Messner writes such a wide variety of books! Enjoy the Penderwicks. I can't wait for the next title to come out. I think there are 5 planned altogether.

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    1. I now love The Penderwicks. Listening to this first one is just delightful so must look for the next! I didn't know there were going to be five! I think our library has 3 so far. Messner does write in different styles, doesn't she? I have Capture The Flag for reading soon. Thanks, Carrie.

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  7. Lots of great books! Liar and Spy looks really good and I know my students will be looking forward to reading Babymouse for President in my school library! :)

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    1. You 're so right! Both are great for different reasons.

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  8. I ordered Babymouse for President for my library a month before it was published and it still hasn't come in! Ag! Can't wait to read it :-) Loved Liar & Spy. Stead is sucha fabulous writer.

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    1. Wow, it must be really wanted! Hope it arrives soon. I'm sad I'm already finished with Stead!

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  9. Lots of good reads! Somewhere in the World Right Now has such a soothing cover. We're going to pick this up to add to our bedtime story rotation. Thanks!

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  10. Can't wait to read Liar and Spy! I adore Stead!

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    1. As I said above, I'm rather sad it's done. Now we have to wait for the next one.

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  11. Linda,
    I only know some of your next reads and Liar & Spy- I love Mondays because I get to hear about new books.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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  12. These are fabulous suggestions, Linda. I need to check out Only Opal; the idea of one's stepsister tearing up a journal, but the words persevering! It speaks to the power of words. Thank you for sharing these.

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    1. Thank Maureen, I hope you find this book. I liked it very much & wonder if there's more out there about her.

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  13. Getting to go through boxes of books sounds like a lot of fun! You definitely seemed to find interesting titles. Most of them sound so charming!

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    1. Thank you! It was fun, & I still have more to read & review!

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