This post connects to a kidlit meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS. Come link to their blog to check out all the terrific reviews by others.
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS where many others share all kinds of books they are reading.
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Finishing Choice Words by Peter H. Johnston this week seems so appropriate because I also read five marvelous picture books, with "choice words" indeed. Don't miss any of the following books! They entertained, made me think, and offered new ways to approach several different topics. I am grateful to the authors and illustrators for their fine work.
It's difficult for me to think that people could read this book and not realize that war is terrible, and nothing heroic can change that. It's such a gorgeous book, both story and the haunting art by Gary Kelley. I was teary by the end, and read it twice more. Go find this book and read it. And then you will realize the craft of the words, although also sad, and the beauty of the illustrations. It is poetry: "In November, grief arrived on the second hand, by sniper, shell, sleet, and snow." A young soldier tells the story in what he says is his "gilded daybook, his father's parting gift" The daybook serves another poignant purpose in the story, which you will see when you read it. Great book.
We All Went On Safari – A Counting Journey through Tanzania – Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julia Cairns
A wonderful new counting book takes readers on a journey through Tanzania, learning about the animals that live there and some names that are given to the children by the Masaai natives whose home is there. Beautiful and colorful illustrations are painted in bright primary colors with children walking along 'on safari' as they observe the animals on the journey. The backmatter is extensive, offering a short piece about the Maasai people, more Swahili words like the animal names along with the meaning of the children's names. It's a good book for beginners to learn about people from other countries.
The Princess of Borsht – Leda Schubert, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
The illustrations of this story seem just as if someone wrote it in a journal and then illustrated it. Happy sketching fills the pages around the words, of the young girl Ruthie, whose grandmother is in the hospital and says she must have borscht by 5 pm or she will starve! Ruthie gets no help from her father, who takes a nap, cannot find a written recipe, but gains help from a near neighbor, a Mrs. Lerman, who drops by to see how Grandma is doing. She claims to be the Empress of Borscht, and so the parade begins, as more neighbors drop in to add to the borscht recipe. Ruthie is overwhelmed, but manages the soup, adding a secret ingredient of her own. The deadline is met, with a surprise event at the end. It’s a happy book, about family recipes passed on, and those who care enough to be proud of their cooking!
Choice Words – Peter H. Johnson
How many quotes can I possibly put on this page, not the whole book, but I would love to. I guess I'm behind in reading this, but am very glad to have read it. I have talked about it all week with those I work with and support. Here's one: Under the sub-head of "I Wonder..." "exploratory talk brings multiple minds together in work to work on the same problems." I have taken a long while because I've read and re-read the over-arching concepts. Don't miss this book! I thought it was so inspiring that I wrote a poem of response, and you can find it here.
Annie and Helen – Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Raul Cólón
This recent book tells the story of the four months it took Annie Sullivan's gentle and clever teaching so that Helen could understand how language worked, its purpose, and that she could use it for the communication of whatever she wishes. The illustrations follow the story with realistic, vibrant pictures, a good beginning for young students to knowledge of these brilliant people.
The Ugly Vegetables – Grace Lin
One of my colleagues has chosen to do a 'food' year with her primary students. They will study gardens, growing in the wild, different cultures, cooking, and any other topic connected to food. We share many picture books and I count it as a pleasure whenever I can find a book about food that she doesn't know. I learn a lot from her about books, but also about teaching the youngest students in our school. Recently she shared this book with me, and I am excited to review it. It tells about a young girl who wonders why her mother is planting vegetables, digging deep into the earth with a shovel while the neighbors plant flowers with trowels. It is hard work. But when the vegetables are finally grown, harvested, and made into soup, the neighbors show up at the door with flowers so they can trade for a bowl of that wonderfully smelling soup. These are Chinese vegetables, which Grace Lin so beautifully explains in the story, and adds more information in the back matter, along with the recipe. Illustrations are so colorful, filling pages with happy scenes of gardening. It's a terrific book that celebrates cultural differences in quite a tasty way.
Still reading, and next:
I’ve been so busy that I can’t seem to get going with these first two, but they are good so far. And, just received The Raven Boys, trying hard not to start that too. Perhaps more time will appear magically for reading this week!
While He Was Away – Karen Schreck
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater