Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monday Review!




It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR


Yesterday's post reviewed one of Jacqueline Wilson's books about Hetty Feather, titled Emerald Star.  You should visit to check out what's next on the blog tour, and submit your name on the Rafflecoptor entries to try to win an IPad Mini.  

      I've read a few books this week in addition to the reading for the Blog Tour and for the books I'm reading with teachers and with students.  Nothing finished, but good conversations!

Here's my reading for the week:

Graphic novel:
A Bag of Marblesbased on the memoir by Joseph Joffo and adapted by Kris, illustrated by Vincent Bailly, translated by Edward Gauvin 
       I found this book on display at my library, a serendipitous find of a serious and
The French cover!
inspiring story.   In 1973, Joseph Joffo published his memoir of his constant movement with his brother, sometimes with the older brothers, and his parents throughout occupied France in order to escape the Nazis.  He was ten years old when he first left Paris with an older brother, Maurice.  As Jews, they had to lie, sometimes cheat, but so often they also helped others, even at their own risk.  Their quick wit saved them again and again. They traveled from city to city in the south of France, called the free zone, although it was often as harsh as the northern part ruled by the Nazis. 
         This is the graphic novel adaptation that tells that amazing story.  All but their father survived, but the boys say that they learned to be courageous from stories their father told, some of which are included in the early part of the book.  The art is so detailed, showing many, many people and settings that occurred in this harrowing, four year crazy life that many led at that time.  I think middle school and up will enjoy reading this specific tale that shows one small part of WWII, not in the Death Camps, but the challenges of staying hidden from anyone’s notice. 




Picture Books:
Mr. George Baker – written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth        
       It’s a book that brings some tears, about a little boy telling the story of his next-door neighbor, Mr. George Baker, the hundred year old man who is learning to read. The brief text along with the pictures tells enough to be inspired, for the friendship between these two unlikely friends, the boy and his neighbor, a drummer who still dances with his wife and rides the bus to school with all the kids, to learn to read.  A special book bound to bring conversation about the blessings of reading, how you’re never too old to learn, and how the little things in a friendship mean so much.


Carmine, A Little More Red – written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 
      I have never read this first book by Melissa Sweet, I suppose you could say her first book about the color red, and be reminded of A Splash of Red, and this year, Little Red Writing.  This particular book is filled with color and tells an “adapted” story of Little Red Writing Hood that uses highlighted words on each page that help tell the story a little girl named Carmine, on her way to Granny’s house to eat delicious alphabet soup.  Carmine loves to draw and paint, and takes her art materials with her as she travels to Granny’s with her dog, Rufus.  She also, as the story is told, loves to “DILLY-DALLY”, and stops along the way to paint a scene for her granny, becomes engrossed in the beauty of the red poppies, well you know some of the story.  But you must read this one, because there are more than a few changes, and Melissa Sweet adds such wonderful details in the illustrations that one must look and look some more.  It’s a great book, as they all are.

Daredevil, The Daring Life of Betty Skelton - written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy 
       Things have changed a lot since Betty Skelton was a little girl in the early 1930's (my mother's age).  Part of those changes have to do with women like Betty, who, according to this wonderful picture book for young children, flew her first solo at age 12.  Officially, she got her license at 16, but her dad let her take off secretly at 12!  That was just the beginning.  She was not allowed to be a pilot, either in the military or as a commercial pilot, because she was a female.  But she flew, wow, did she fly, as a daredevil pilot!  And in the 1950’s, when she retired, Betty went on to race cars, then boats, and trained as one of the Mercury 7, hoping to go into outer space.  Sadly, she was left behind, but her work was an inspiration for Sally Ride, the first woman in space.  The book is written in simple language for the younger readers, and illustrated somewhat like the early readers.  It is quite a story, among many about women who dared to do what they were not supposed to do!  

Poetry:
         Cowboy Up! Ride The Navajo Rodeo – written by Nancy Bo Flood, photography by Jan Sonnenmair 
         With amazing photographs, a narrative explaining the excitement of a day in the life of Navajo rodeo, and poems that describe the action-packed events, this book offers a new look at a culture students may not know about, in addition to the way poetry can be used for description. I didn't know anything about the Navajo rodeos, and now I see that it's an exciting time for both adults and kids. The photographs show just how challenging this sport can be! Here's the beginning of Bronc Riders: "No saddle or stirrups,/Are you crazy?/Got my lucky saddle hitched tight./Nothing to hold on to/but a braided rawhide rigging./Got my reins held right."

Next:  I have started Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes, and would love to get started with The Year of Billy Miller, too.  I have more Jacqueline novels to read, and a few picture books.  I have plenty to read, but our school's book fair is this week, so I'm sure I'll bring a few home and buy some gifts, to help the school of course!

23 comments:

  1. These are all amazing books - I will definitely be adding them to my list.
    Haven't stopped by in a while - have missed reading your posts - will be checking back and catching up. Hope all is well.

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    1. Thank you Beverley. Hope you find a book or two that fits for your needs!

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  2. I just picked up a copy of The Year of Billy Miller and plan to read it soon. Cowboy Up looks like something I would enjoy.

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    1. I've heard great things about Billy Miller & am looking forward to it too! Cowboy Up was a delight!

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  3. Ooo... Daredevil looks right up my alley! I keep adding good picture books that show women breaking the molds.

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    1. I have never heard of her, Maria, and wish I had! It was quite amazing to read all the things she did!

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  4. HI there Linda, I confess I haven't read any of Jacqueline Wilson's novels yet - I have to catch up! :) When I read your review of A Bag of Marbles I was reminded of a graphic novel I am currently reading myself, the riveting "A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, to Return" by Zeina Abirached. I had goosebumps while I was reading the first few pages, poetry in black and white graphics - so so powerful. You should check that out too. I love how books just happen to find us at the perfect moment. :)

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I will be sure to look it up, Myra. Yes, interesting how those books just seem to fall into our lives!

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  5. Such an amazing variety of books here, Linda, but the first one really captured my attention - it sounds powerful, an important book to have in one's library. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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    1. It is a good addition to a WWII, or Holocaust, collection, Tara. As I wrote, it showed a different side to hiding, out in plain site, but rarely staying in one place for long. A rough time!

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  6. Linda, I think you will love Billy Miller. I must confess to a tear or two a few times in reading this title. Just a lovely read. So happy to see Mr George Baker here. This book is more meaningful to me every time I read it and the illustrations . . . wow! A Bag of Marbles sounds incredible. Thank you for highlighting it here.

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    2. Can't wait to start Billy Miller for sure. You are probably why I found Mr. George Baker-it is a wonderful book, I agree! Hope you can find A Bag of Marbles! Thanks Carrie!

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  7. A Bag of Marbles sounds right up my alley--I need to get my hands on it!

    We also are part of the Jacqueline Wilson blog tour--her books are quite fun :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Yes I saw your name on the list, Kellee. They are fun, and interesting from a 'cultural' point of view, too. I hope you'll enjoy A Bag of Marbles.

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  8. My copy of Billy Miller is due to arrive any day. Looking forward to reading that one. Mr. George Baker sounds like my kind of book...a book that tugs at my heart. I will have to look for that one.

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    1. I started Billy Miller tonight and can hardly pull myself away, Leigh Anne. It makes me nervous, however, because too many have said it's a tearful book! So far, it's just nice.

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  9. Hey Linda, I posted my list of Mock Newbery Club books that you asked about. Would be interested to see if any of these match yours.

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    1. I'll check it out & see how much I can share. I don't have the list with me, but know most of them. Thanks very much!

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  10. A Bag of Marbles sounds like a good addition to the independent choices for our 8th grade's Holocaust unit. Daredevil and Cowboy Up are both on my TBR list, and I just got my copy of Billy Miller on Saturday. Can't wait to get started!

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  11. I hope you'll enjoy those three books, Catherine. And, as I said above, it's been hard to put Billy Miller down! Thanks

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  12. A Bag of Marbles caught my eye. It's in our store but I wish it was featured more prominently since it sounds so interesting. But, usually though, the perfect reader will end up finding it on our shelves without us even mentioning it!

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    1. I know that's what I do. I go for some book, then love to browse, to find something new. But I did enjoy it, Earl. Thanks!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!