Sunday, May 5, 2013

Good reading - Happy Times


           It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a kidlit meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTSThere 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

Poetry:
Goose Lake a year in the life of a lake – by David Harrison, illustrations by Sladjana Vasic
           I’ve had this e-book on my Kindle for a while, and read a poem or two when waiting somewhere, like at an airport, but today I re-read it through from the beginning to the end, as the author says, a year in the life!  I lived on a lake for several years back in Missouri, and loved it, missed it almost as much as my family when we moved to Colorado.  These poems took me there, remembering the turtles, the ducks, the shore birds, the cardinals!  The poem about a cardinal date really touched me because cardinals don’t live in Colorado, our loss!  



In this poem, David Harrison writes the Romance Beside The Water where “He/struts the fence” and “She, finds a limb/with a better view”.  I’ll let you get the e-book to find out what happens to this twosome.  Sladjana Vasic’s illustrations throughout the book are beautifully detailed, like superb field journal pages.  The illustration for the cardinals is a three-panel spread, showing the action that David describes.  Both words and drawing tell a wonder of a story. 
                And I just described only one of the poems!  Each one has a lovely introduction to the subjects, also great to read.  There are indeed poems to last throughout the year, from the eagle as “Royalty”, to my favorite, “Morning News” where we learn of clues of the night’s adventures through seeing early prints in the snow.  The poem reads, “I read quickly./Today’s wind soon sweeps/old stories out of print.”  And there are words like “fish are leaping,/tail dancing” when the ice finally melts.  I could continue with examples of many more, but I would rather you buy this book for your Kindle, or whatever place you have for e-books, and enjoy every page yourself. 
           This will be an excellent mentor text for both nature writing-prose and poetry, as well as field sketching!

Novel:
The Runaway King – Jennifer A. Neilsen
            In this second book, he’s still young, still rather full of himself, but the thing is that Jaron, formerly known as Sage in The False Prince, Is a “king” in every sense of that word.  He makes decisions that are not so popular, fights for what he thinks is right, his country and his friends, which also involve his friend, Imogen.  The Runaway King is the second book in the Ascendance trilogy.  This book moves quickly, with not one rest between scenes.  One action occurs, is completed, and then another crisis before any calm.  The story has tough villains and more heroes than one might imagine.  In addition, the extra characters are also being revealed more deeply, thus it is enjoyable to learn more about them, plus to wonder where the rest of their lives may end.  And, along with King Jaron, we’ll need to wait for the next book to find out. 

Fireflies – by Alice Hoffman, illustrated by Wayne McLoughlin
             I saw this brief book in a colleague's classroom, recognized the author, didn't know she had written for children, and borrowed the book.  It's a beautifully illustrated story of a young boy who cannot seem to do anything right.  He lives in a town where on May 1st, fireflies arrive at this beginning of spring.  Mysteriously, this particular year, they haven’t arrived, and it is very cold.  The setting is by a river, so all ice skate, all except Jackie, who cannot seem to improve, but continues to slip, slide and fall.  He is loved by his parents, no matter what can or cannot do, but too much teasing by others cause him to run away.  It’s a good story that will bring much discussion about being patient with one’s shortcomings and not patient with those who tease, but are bullies.  In his adventures, Jackie’s story shows that good things happen in the most surprising of circumstances.   It’s worth a look if you can find it!

Picture Books:
Spot the Plot A Riddle Book of Book Riddles– by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrations by Lynn
Munsinger
              My ‘book’ friend loaned this wonderful book to me.  I didn’t know it, and I’m glad I now do.  It’s a clever book of poetic book reviews that through the poems and illustrations, kids can guess just “what” book is being described. There are a couple I didn’t recognize, but some are old favorites, like the one that says to “Imagine a bull/who loved only flowers” or the very brief “Her hair’s the stairs.”  Can you guess them?  The illustrations are beautiful, bright watercolors with lots of details.  

The Carrot Seed - by Ruth Krauss, illustrations by Crockett Johnson

             Of course this is a re-read, this time with a granddaughter, who is four and fascinated by the process in this book. A little boy plants a seed. He waits, and waits, then waits some more, and despite the skeptics, continues to keep the faith. I hope you will find this on your bookshelf, tucked away as a favorite. It's a lovely story of imagination and warmth, patience and perseverance.

Professional:

Book Love – by Penny Kittle
            I don’t know why I took so long to review this book.  I finished it long ago, but have
shared some parts, re-read many parts, and recommended it to most of those I teach with who teach older students.  It is so inspirational.  I love what Penny says about teaching, EVERY.SINGLE. WORD!  I’ve read Writing Beside Them and return to it, too, again and again.  I believe that part of what she does in her books that is so inspirational is that she is there, teaching, and includes stories about herself and about her students.  It is a pleasure to hear about them and I certainly hope Penny doesn’t stop teaching or writing!


What’s Next – Finish Hold Fast by Blue Balliett, compelling and poignant, really want to find out what’s going to happen!  I’m not sure what’s next.  I have many on my TBR shelf, and more picture books from the library!  It’s a delicious dilemma!

14 comments:

  1. It is not nice making readers wait for the third book in a trilogy. Authors should be required to put book 2 and 3 out together! I did love that I enjoyed book 2 as much as book 1.

    Laurie
    Chickadee Jubilee

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    1. I just ran into a student who said the same thing! She was talking about the Divergent series, but I agree about the Neilsen books-I can't wait! Thank you!

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  2. Goose lake looks like a special collection, Linda. I am intrigued by Fireflies - it sounds like a text rich in meaning, and therefore wonderful for discussion. And, hooray that you read Penny's book - what an inspiration she is!!I read it over the summer and then again with a young colleague I am mentoring (who is headed to Denver this Fall - your turf!). Each read drove home how crucial it is for teachers to be as excited about reading (and up to date) as we want our kids to be.

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    1. I've re-read lots of parts of Book Love, Tara-amazingly inspiring! And I hope you will like Goose Lake-just a lovely set of poems set in nature. Fireflies is unusual; I wish I could read it aloud to someone!

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  3. Ferdinand! And Rapunzel! Haha. Like Tara, my eye was caught by Fireflies. Seems like a book that would speak to me. We are slowly fixing things around the house but I am leaving the setting up of my books in my shelves for last. Just looking at them stacked against the wall is enough to make me feel exhausted. We still do not have Book Love in our libraries - we should remedy that soonest. :)

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    1. I feel for you, Myra. I still don't have my books exactly where I want them, but continue to move them around! It's fun, but sometimes I wonder why I'm keeping all of them! I did sell so many in my sale, but I moved many too. Argh-the life of a book lover! Thanks & best to you!

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  4. It's nice to see such love being given to oldies but goodies like The Carrot Seed. I have been forlorn having to weed books out of my library. Books I loved as a child but kids just don't check out. Good bye dear Syd Hoff books. I will work hard to find you a home where you will be loved and read. It's funny, books sit on your shelves not getting checked out for years and then you put them on a table and slap a FREE sign on them and they are snatched up faster than a jackrabbit runs.

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    1. Some 'oldies' still are working, but others not so much, Julee. This same granddaughter loves Red Light Green Light by Margaret Wise Brown; I am surprised because I think it's a bit dull. I do agree about the giveaways!

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  5. I almost wish I had waited to read Runaway King! My students are also chomping at the bit.

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    1. It's a while yet, I know. I have them on my Kindle, but must get my school to get them, too. We have only The False Prince!

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  6. Thank you for the great book reviews, Linda! There are so many great books out there that I am eager to get my hands on! = )

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    1. I know, my list grows longer and longer! I just sit with my library site up & put many on hold. Hope you'll like some of these!

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  7. Great books Linda. Don't you just love The False Prince series? The Carrot Seed is a book I use as a metaphor for education (just keep weeding and watering and things will grow). I will be looking for Fireflies, looks really interesting.

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    1. Hi Gigi, yes, I loved the Nielsen books, can't wait for the third one! Good idea for The Carrot Seed! Thanks for the comment & hope you enjoy Fireflies!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!