Sunday, January 13, 2013

Love The Library!

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.      Groucho Marx

         It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  Lots of great books here, as well as in another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS.
         REMEMBER:  Use the hashtag #IMWAYR to share on twitter!

        I love the library one block from my new home.  I can drop in on my way home from anywhere to discover what's new, along with having books from other libraries sent over within a few days.  We are lucky to have libraries and I'd like to give a big shout 'HURRAH"  for mine!



Starry River of The Sky – Grace Lin
         A beautiful story of a young boy Rendi who has run away from his unhappy home and finds himself working at a small village inn, the small village of  Clear Sky.  He observes that all is not exactly okay there, like the moon is missing.  Rendi keeps saying he will leave as soon as a guest comes so he can sneak a ride on the guest’s cart.  Well, a mysterious guest does come, a storyteller who, throughout the book, relates stories to help all who are there understand what is going on.  Grace Lin weaves/re-tells Chinese folk tales in between telling about the inhabitants of the inn.  The illustrations, also by Lin, are gorgeous.   This would be a terrific read aloud.  


Black Dog – Levi Pinfold 
        This book is one to savor, a whimsical allegory that supports the idea that young people see things more realistically than all the older ones.  When the family members look out the window, they see, successively, a larger and scarier black dog, all except the child called Small.  She goes out to find the dog, and little by little, she helps the dog create who it really is, a nice black dog.  Is this about stereotypes, or prejudice?  Or is it just a fantastical story where the littlest saves the rest of the family?  I guess each reader will choose what it is.  As much as the story, I love the illustrations, of mostly the house filled with warm and comforting things, along with whimsical creatures hiding out in the pages, like a small horse and rider that appear alive in an older brother’s room.  One can look and look and still see something new as you re-read.  This is quite wonderful!

Mr. Zinger’s Hat – Cary Fagan, illus. by Dusan Petriete
        Wind takes Mr. Zinger’s hat, and off a little boy named Leo goes to retrieve it.  He has watched Mr. Zinger walk around each day muttering to himself.  Leo is lonely and observed that sometimes Mr. Zulage could  be too.  What transpires is a terrific mini-lesson for writer’s workshop, of how we write, and how we figure out what the characters are—by asking questions!  It’s very fun to read.

Farmer’s Garden Rhymes for Two Voices – David L. Harrison, illus. by Arden Johnson-Petrov   
          This is a delightful book gives young readers a chance to read poetry about things in the garden as the dog wanders through, asking questions like Redbird, Redbird, Why do you sing?  and the other voice: I sing for joy!/It’s spring/It’s spring.  Early readers will enjoy reading this in alternating voices for a small performance project.  It’s very sweet.
          

A Perfect Day – Carin Berger
          I can imagine keeping this book always available in case of snow, The pages tell the story of a big snow where kids sled, ice skate, make snow angels and snow men.  Emma makes the first tracks and then Leo came by on skiis.  Others got into a snowball fight and then all made snow angels.  There is an icicle stand and a snow fort.   Carin Berger’s cut paper collages illustrate the story with realism, yet the characters are more whimsical than real.  Finally, the day is done and children trail off to “warm hugs and dry clothes and steaming hot chocolate”.  It’s a warm, friendly book to add to your winter collections.

A Child’s garden, a story of hope – Michael Foreman
           Michael Foreman has offered a story of a little boy, probably in a prison camp who discovered one green shoot, and nurtures the plant.  It grows against all odds into something of beauty, and large enough for children to play by and under.  Sadly, soldiers on the “other side” come to rip it down.  And then winter comes, but spring brings another shoot, only this time on the other side of the fence.  What happens next is that story of hope referred to in the title.   The illustrations are in black and white except for the plant and the plant filled with beautiful words.  The book reminds me of Jaqueline Woodson’s book, The Other Side.

You Are Stardust – Elin Kelsey, artwork by Soyeon Kim
           This is a first picture book by both artists, and a beautiful one.  Elin Kelsey is an environmentalist and interested in bringing nature to children.  The book is non-fiction, showing the connection of humans to nature in most beautiful ways.  She tells of starting life as a single cell, just like all the creatures of the earth and of the brain’s electricity that powers thoughts and stronger than lightning.  You learn that we sneeze with the force of a tornado.  Every page is spare of words, but the 3-d collages of Soyeon Kim complete the story.  The stories are shown with drawn and cutout drawings, hanging in the air with a backdrop of stars.  Amazing to see!  This will start many conversations, and if you are interested, the backmatter gives a note from the author with a link to a site with all the science involved:  www.owlkidsbooks.com/stardust  I hope you can find this book and savor it!

NEXT:  Still reading:  The Marble Queen by Stephanie J. Blake, Book Love by Penny Kittle.  I hope to begin The Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes, plus I'm avidly reading and re-reading the Cybil's poetry finalists books, all of which are amazing.  This is going to be hard work to choose one winner!

31 comments:

  1. Linda
    I just love walking around in a library without even getting out a book, it feels like an 'at home' place.

    I have just ordered Penny Kittle's book, it will be a few weeks before it reaches NZ.

    I think this year I need to add more picture books to my reading, and think how I can use them as mentor texts. Mr Zinger's Hat sounds great.

    Happy reading for the week.
    Kathryn

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    1. Kathryn, Mr. Zinger's Hat will fit your goal well, I think. It is a great story for writers! Thank you!

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  2. I have GOT to stop reading blogs that feature picture books! I have seen half a dozen that look good. Now I really want to read A Perfect Day. (One of my favorites as a child was a Whitman picture book called My Very Special Day!)

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    1. I know, I know; my list grows longer & longer. The art in A Perfect Day is just lovely! Thank you!

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  3. You have many books here that I have never even heard of! I can't wait to get my hands on A Child's Garden and Black Dog. I actually have a few extra minutes today when I'll be near the library. I hope that ours has the selection that yours has!
    Thank you, Linda!

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    1. I did request a few too, & of course got the titles from our Monday sharing! Both those books are worthy of reading, Melanie. Hope you find them!

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  4. I adored Starry River of the Sky, such a beautiful book. I need to get Black Dog and Mr. Zinger's Hat. Look amazing.

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    1. Yes, the Grace Lin books are terrific. They make me want to do a more thorough study of myths-so interesting. Thanks Katherine.

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  5. Hi Linda, I was just thinking that Starry River of the Sky could be part of our Project Splash! Asia. I would definitely look for that one. I have a copy of Black Dog but I am still immersing myself with the fiction picture book nominees that I also borrowed from our libraries. I am savoring the six finalists that are waiting to be read in my shelves as I sense the gradual build-up to that time when I get around to finally reading them. You are Stardust and A Perfect Day also caught my eye. I have Ninth Ward on my shelves (I think I must have won it in a blog-contest several years back) but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet - I heard it's beautiful. Have a great reading week, dearest Linda!

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    1. I know you're reading more nominees, Myra, just as I've been doing with poetry. I need to come read what you're telling about! Keep a look out for You Are Stardust; the art is unique.

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  6. Black Dog and Mr. Zinger's Hat, now on my list! Both look like great read alouds.

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    1. Both are just great, Lee Ann, for imagination, for conversation, for writing!

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  7. Great crop of goodies, Linda! I am happy for your proximity to a library. We were once that close to a library and I enjoyed it very much!

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    1. I think it will be just great, Tabatha. The hardest part is to stop checking out more books! Hope you can find some of these books that look good to you! Thanks!

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  8. Oh I would be in heaven if I only lived a block from my library! :)

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    1. I just moved to my new home, Beth, & I'm just getting used to it. I think it's going to be great, as you said. Thanks!

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  9. I really want to read Starry River and A Child's Garden. My library is on my way home and I LOVE it!

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    1. Before I moved, my library was in my neighborhood, just not this close. I'm sure you drop in often, Gigi!

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  10. I liked your connection between A Child’s garden, a story of hope and The Other Side. I never thought of the two together before, but now that you mention it, I can see the connections one could point out to a reader.

    How lovely to live a block from the library, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Stacey. I believe for older students, the connection almost should be made, or discussed. A Child's Garden is beautiful, but so remote, I'm not sure personal connections might be readily made. But in The Other Side, that's "our" history, that we need to know & even own, so connecting the two can show similar thinking in both antagonists. Just my opinion, of course. It is great to be so near the library!

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  11. Linda - What lovely books you read this week! Loved your review of Black Dog - so true - the reader really does get to decide for him/herself. Planning to share this with my literacy group to practice predicting from the pictures. Such a rich story. A Child's Garden is one I often share at Remembrance Day - so much discussion always follows. I really treasure this title. Need to get my hands on Mr. Zingers Hat. Hearing many great things!

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    1. Thanks Carrie, there are certainly some beautiful books available for us to use, aren't there? I hope you'll like Mr. Zinger's Hat, & I'm glad to hear what you do with A Child's Garden. Also, hope you'll blog about Black Dog-so intriguing to me!

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  12. Sounds like some great reads! Will add more to my list.
    I haven't been to the library in a while. I must get back -we got out of it because of construction all around which made it difficult for months to park and get at it.

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    1. Oh, hope it's all fixed now & you can return. I really am thankful for libraries! Thanks, Beverley!

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  13. I have Starry River of the Sky in my TBR pile... looking forward to picking this one up soon. :) And one block away from your library?! That is awesome!

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  14. Nice choices! I added You Are Stardust to my latest library haul :)

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    1. Hi Maria, and thanks! I imagine you will especially like it-science based for the young ones!

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  15. A perfect day looks like a great book to add to our school library for its winter collection!

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  16. A Perfect Day looks like it would great for the winter-book collection at the library -- we get enough snow here that the kids can do all of those things.

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    1. It's a wonderful book, Katya. Hope you can get it!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!