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.
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!
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 Seed – The 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.