Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Good Week Reading!


       It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a kidlit meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  There are so many great posts to read, so many good books to discover!
        Plus, there is a terrific meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers more reviews of all kinds of books, adult and children.   

Don’t forget to tweet at #IMWAYR

          It was a terrific week of reading finishing a wonderful middle grade book and reading both some books I found at the library that had been recommended by some bloggers here on Monday, and discovering other books from friends.  

Chapter Book:
Hold Fast – written by Blue Balliett
              How can I show off this book enough to have you read it?  Perhaps if you know that I would use the title and write you should “hold fast” to it?  Maybe if you saw how many sticky notes I used marking passages I wanted to re-read?  It is a poignant story of a family who dreamed for a home more than one room, of a man who was both smart and innocent who made a decision for good that was not, of the language “free and plentiful”-threading its way through the story and so, so important. 
           Early Pearl, the main character, is as strong as a young girl can be, keeps her family, and herself, surviving the biggest challenge, homelessness.  We read her thoughts as she looks out a car window, being transported to a shelter: “how lucky the other people in their cars must be: people who knew where their fathers were, people with homes to go to, people who talked and laughed as they drove, people who weren’t scared for their lives.” and “Their cozy one room rental in Woodlawn now seemed luxurious.  Privacy!  The freedom of choosing what and when to eat, of knowing that when you closed your eyes at night, you were safe from strangers!”   Finally, the poetry of Langston Hughes plays a large part in this book, and Early thinks, “How can dreamers hold fast to their dreams when every part of life goes to survival?”  It’s a beautiful book, not to miss!


Picture Books:

This Child, Every Child, A Book about the World’s Children – written by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
        The story follows the United Nations Rights of The Child, comparing children’s lives in health, education, homes, etc. from all over the world.  It is perfect for use in a multi-cultural study.  There are fascinating contrasts between “us” and “them”.  The pictures are beautifully detailed, looking at the ways children are different, but yet with the same needs. 

Seed by SeedThe Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman – written by Esme Rajii Codell, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins
           I loved this story of Johnny Appleseed, especially the fact that the author included many small moments, like the way Johnny wore shirts cut out of feed sacks.  And that not only did he carry seeds to plant or give away, but he was a traveling self-appointed librarian.  Evidently, Johnny carried parts of texts to hand out as he traveled through the land.  It’s an inspiring book, relying on a organization that follows several perfect precepts like “Use What You have” and “Try to make peace where there is war.”  One could use this for a beginning study of Johnny Appleseed, a way to set personal goals, and to follow in Johnny’s  footsteps.  The illustrations are mostly gorgeous full color spreads with some small scenes introduced along with the text.

“I Have A Little Problem,” said the bear - written by Heinz Janisch, illustrated by Silke Leffler
           My dear “book buddy” brought this book to me, one I might never have found, a delightful story about the need to really listen when someone is trying to tell you something.  What a terrific story it would be to use when discussing listening respectfully.  This bear has a little problem, but each person encountered in the story is so busy thinking that their area of expertise is just what the bear needs that he doesn’t get a chance to tell what the problem is.  He gains a hat, a scarf, glasses, and so on, but finally, one good listener actually stops to listen.  The illustrations are filled with the details of each encounter, while the bear stands quietly, not solving his “little problem” at all. 
          
What Pete Ate from A – Z (really!) – written by Maira Kalman
          I would guess one could spend a long time with a young class exploring language in this extraordinary alphabet book from Maira Kalman.  In it, she simply tells what her sweet (but hungry) dog eats and it is not ordinary!  Here is the fun of the M page:  “I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, But, he ate Bennie’s money.  Holy Mackerel!”  And of course, there are those wonderful pictures by Kalman, of money and a mackerel!  It’s quite a silly book and fun to see, too.

Sam & Friends Mystery, Dracula Madness – written by Mary Labatt, illustrations by Jo Rioux
              An early reader graphic story features Sam the dog and a new neighbor Jennie, exploring the neighborhood, searching out a mysterious old house with an even more mysterious inhabitant.  The lesson of ‘things are not always what they seem’ is clear in this adventure.  There are several books about Sam, who seems to be a dog whose thoughts can be read with special powers, enabling him to communicate.  Cute!

Next:  Yes, I will admit it, until this week, I still had not read Gae Polisner's The Pull of Gravity.  I am nearly halfway through and loving it, sorry I didn't start it sooner!  Next is Joan Bauer's Almost Home, and a new pile of picture books from the library.

17 comments:

  1. Hold Fast and This Child... are now on my summer reading list. Thanks, for the suggestions, Linda!I'm thinking of doing a book club for "children of the world" - using Deborah Ellis' books and others like it. This Child would be a perfect choice to add to my kids' reading for that - a sort of global awareness that our students sorely need.

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    1. I love Tara's idea of a global child book club! Also, HOLD FAST is on my shortlist. Thank you, Linda!

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    2. Thanks Tara & Irene. Yes, This Child is a perfect fit for the 'children of the world' book club. What a terrific idea. You might find more book ideas on the Teaching Tolerance website too.

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  2. Oh wow, Linda, you had me convinced to get a copy of Hold Fast. Sounds like a definite must-read. I love books that twist and turn with life's unexpected meanderings. I own a few Baillett books but haven't had a chance to read them yet. The picture books sound awesome too! I have a little problem sounds like something I'd love and enjoy too! :)

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    1. Thanks Myra-the Hold Fast is terrific, and the Bear book-really worthwhile, too.

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  3. I still need to get to Hold Fast . . . my 11yo tried it, but walked away. Thinking maybe the way to go with it will be as a read aloud. Almost Home will be a great book to pair with Hold Fast. I hope you enjoy it. I love the premise for What Pete Ate! Thanks for sharing, and have a great week!

    Lorna

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    1. Thanks Lorna-I wonder if the Hold Fast doesn't need more support in background, & would be a good read aloud & discussion for those who are most in need. Hope you have a good week too!

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  4. Love your review of Hold Fast!! Thanks for the heads up about This Child, Every Child- shall anticipate purchasing!
    Enjoy finishing up The Pull of Gravity, I simply loved it!

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    1. So glad to hear you loved The Pull of Gravity too! Thank you!

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  5. I absolutely loved Hold Fast and after our conversation on Good Reads, I've decided to do it as a read aloud next school year. The message is so powerful. Now, I need to check out a few others you've listed. Thanks!

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    1. Wonderful Julie-hope you tell about the experience next year.

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  6. Hold Fast had such beautiful language! I hope that students love it as much as the teachers/adult readers I've seen rave about it.

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    1. That is my hope, too. I just donated my copy to our library, so guess I'll see who will try it. I'll book talk it in the class I'm going to work with these final weeks.

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  7. Well you convinced me - just moved Hold Fast up my TBR list! Thank you! Just requested it from my public library. I Have a Little Problem is quite delightful. My class found it very amusing!

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    1. I'll look forward to seeing what you think about Hold Fast, Carrie. And, I think I might have to buy "I Have A Little Problem" for a mentor text. It is just great!

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  8. Hi, Linda!

    I absolutely loved HOLD FAST! I do want to reread it. And I loved ALMOST HOME as well. Also, my students picked SEED BY SEED to be one of our Mock Caldecott titles.
    Great titles here!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about Seed by Seed. I thought it was really good & am happy to hear about your students' pick! Love also to hear about Hold Fast in your eyes!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!