It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS. And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS. These sites host a meme where many link up to share the book's reading the week previous. It's always fun to visit other's sites to hear what they're reading! And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers more reviews of all kinds of books, adult and children.
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------Jen, at TeachMentorTexts is participating in a big giveaway for a Kindle Fire HD. Check there for more information!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” — Sherman Alexie
The Breadwinner Trilogy – written by Deborah Ellis
Can I Play Too? – written and illustrated by Mo Willems
What can I say, another wonderful Elephant & Piggie book that I hadn't read! And it's full of laughs, and like all of them, it shares some lessons for living. How does one adapt play when one of the friends isn't able to do everything? It celebrates differences in a wonderfully lighthearted way.
The Purple Balloon - written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
There is a preface to this story that says, regardless of religion or cultural background, children who are ill and dying often draw some kind of balloon, thought to mean that a part of them will stay forever in our world. Chris Raschka has used potato prints and colorful balloons to tell a story of feelings when death is in our world. They represent all the different people involved who help, the young child who is ill, and the various feelings swirling around. If one has a child in one’s life, friend or student, this is a wonderful book to support you, and to use with young children who need help understanding what’s happening to a friend or a relative.
Red Hat - written and illustrated by Lita Judge
Author of the Red Sled tells a second “red” story about a young boy who leaves his red stocking hat on a line to dry outside. This ‘almost’ wordless picture book tells what happens after that as various animals play with it. Unfortunately, it begins to unravel and at the end, all that is left is a pile of tangled yarn. I love the beautiful full-page pictures of the outdoors, and the bear, raccoon and rabbits. The sole text are words spoken byt the animals as they play with the hat, like “roweeeee” by the bear and “eeeeee-eep” by the rabbit. When the hat is totally unraveled, the animals leave it back on the line, tip-toeing away saying “Doot-do-doo”. There is more, and kids will love the ending.
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas – written by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Sue deGennaro
This is a delightful book about being clear about what is important to you in friends, or in this case, about a prince’s future wife! Tony Wilson includes a bit about the test for princesses with the pea, but adds in more flavor as this particular prince decides to test with a package of frozen peas. And after looking at a variety of princesses, he looks again at his best friend, Pippa. It’s a cute book for older primary students and would be fun to pair with the original princess and the pea story and have good conversations about the similarities and differences.
Mr. Reaper - written and illustrated by Tatsuya Miyanishi
This is Mr. Miyanishi’s first book to be translated into English. He is a popular children’s book author in Japan. The story is told by a reaper who isn’t seen, but tells of a hungry wolf who finds a small pig when he is out hunting. The wolf is very excited until realizing the pig is ill and he can’t eat sick pigs. So he brings the piglet back and does everything he can to nurse it back to health. The book introduces several questions about actions, what is right and what is not. It’s definitely for older students if one needs to discuss death. The illustrations are cartoon-like, yet also rather close to folk art. They take the time to help tell the story well. It’s such an interesting book about dying and I hope many will become aware of it.
Ladder to the Moon – written by Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
This book is absolutely gorgeous. Maya Soetoro-Ng says she wanted to write a story based on her own grandmother, wishing she was still living so she could pass down learning and stories to Soetoro-Ng’s own daughter. It is a story of the little girl Suhaila’s dream that her grandmother, Annie, comes to her in the night to take her to the moon, climbing up a golden ladder. The moon represents a kind of heaven and the two talk, but also look down to see others who are gathering (dying) to travel up to the moon. One time they come from a giant wave, and in this dream-like story, Grandmother Annie and granddaughter Suhaila gather some up into their arms, “drape scarves around their shoulders. They swung the children round and round until they could all laugh again, loud and long.” It’s a dream-like story, and will take a special reading and conversation with children to see what they think, too.
The illustrations are magical, illuminating the path to the moon, and from the endleaf “reminding us that loved ones lost are always with us and that sometimes we need only look at the moon and remember.” There is one page showing various people with words from different languages surrounding their heads, something like haloes. The illustrator shares that these are parts of stories from different cultures about parting with loved ones. I definitely believe this is one to read and cherish.
Any Me I Want To Be – Poems by Karla Kuskin
I love the poetry of Karla Kuskin. If I can ever write one poem even close to what she does with words, I would feel fortunate. At a recent library sale I found this anthology by her, published in 1972. Every poem is written from that ‘something’s’ point of view. There are poems about things in nature, like trees and leaves, and things manmade, like bicycles and mittens. It is a treasure, will be wonderful to use in a poetry lesson where students can imagine their own personas. Karla’s introduction talks about this idea of trying on different lives. One favorite is speaks in the voice of a kite, where the rhyming is wonderful, which ends “Where I float:/Birds sing./One thin thing there is/That holds us close together:/Kite string.
My Happy Life – written by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson
This book for younger readers was first published in Sweden. In the flyleaf, Rose says she writes stories for her friend Eva to illustrate. Eva doesn’t know the story until Rose is finished, and Eva doesn’t know what the illustrations will be like until they are completed. It sounds as if they are quite popular in Sweden. It was a sweet book about Ella, a girl just starting school, whose mother has died, which is treated rather practically, and who doesn’t know anyone at this school. Finally, Ella makes a wonderful friend, Dani, and they do many fun things together, in and out of school. Sadly, Ella and her father must move away and both girls are sad. The book takes us into simple statements of happy and sad feelings and what a young girl must think about the things that happen to her, mostly happy. There are several stereotypes in the book that I didn’t care for, but I can see it might be a fun story for young readers to enjoy.
Oh, so many to choose from. I think I'm going to read Beholding Bee, by Kimberly Newton Fusco next, then The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Both keep coming up in the next, great book to read!