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!