Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's Monday, and Busy!!

          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. Thanks to all these blogs we are able to discover many, many new books!  Thanks Ricki, Kellee, Jen and Sheila!
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

This time, too, I am linking with Myra, Fats and Iphigene at Gathering Books for their Award Winning Book challenge, having read two books who have earned awards.   

I browsed in our school library this week and chose a few picture books that looked interesting, along with reading Soldier Bear.  We are lucky to have a great library.  


        In 2012, Soldier Bear won The Mildred L. Batchelder Award, given to an American publisher to recognize the year’s most outstanding translated children’s book published in the United States.
Soldier Bear – written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman


       Based on real events is this imagined account of a bear that accompanied five Polish soldiers who traveled from their beloved Poland to the British Isles then to the middle east, where they found a bear cub in the middle of a desert, finally to Italy, then to Scotland, and home.  The adventures also involve two dogs and a monkey-a total menagerie that traveled with these men. In the earlier parts of the story, they had to gain permission to keep the animals, but soon, they endeared themselves to whole camps, providing comic relief and love in this time of such hardship.  It’s a fascinating story of love and patience along with the sadness of war.  At the end are pictures of the bear and one of the soldiers along with a little bit more information.  I found the book a little slow at times, although I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.  Some of the students at school, middle grades, have read and enjoyed the book.


Dawn – written and illustrated by Molly Bang
            When a shipbuilder rescues an injured goose, soon after it is healed and released, a mysterious young woman shows up at his door.  Soon after, they fall in love and later have a child.  The woman shows her talents in sail-making, one time weaving the softest, but still strongest sails for her daughter.  When another man wants sails for his schooner, the woman refuses, saying that the special sails are only for the family.  What happens at the rest of the story is Molly Bangs beautiful interpretation of the Japanese folk-tale, The Crane Wife.  It’s a lovely and mysterious story that will inspire much conversation.

One Hen, How One Small Loan Made A Big Difference – written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
          For many during this holiday season, this is a time for gift-giving in a variety of ways, including donations to organizations that aid many in third world countries through giving small loans so that people might open a small business and improve their lives. This beautifully illustrated book uses the structure of this is the house that Jack built to tell the story of a young boy named Kojo who begins with one hen, ending with an education, a large poultry business which becomes the largest in West Africa.  Each full page spread relates the “next” exciting step, including so many details.  One can’t wait to read on to see what will happen next.  The back matter tells a true story of a “real” Kojo, and other information about how to help in this way.  It’s a great book!

The following book is a Pura Belpré honor book award winner.

Dear Primo – written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
         This picture book alternates information from letters between two cousins, one in New York City and the other in Mexico.  The author is from Mexico, but went to school in the US, high school and college!  The letters show connections between the two cousins using a mix of Spanish and English.  In the letters, the cousins discuss what they do when they play, favorite things to eat, what sports thy like, etc. A sprinkling of Spanish words is used throughout and it includes a dictionary of those words at the back.  The author/illustrator says he was inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs and other cultures of Mexico when he created the pages for this work.  After exchanging much interesting information, the cousins decide what they needs to do, they need to visit each other!  It’s a fun book that shows how much we have in common, despite differences.

Currently:  Along with those professional books, I am reading two books by Jeannine Atkins, her poetry novel, Borrowed Names and book about writing, Views From A Window Seat--enjoying both very much.  Up next, The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata.

22 comments:

  1. One looks like it has beautiful illustrations. I've never heard of Dear Primo but I wonder if it might pair with Same Sun Here because of the letter writing. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Linda!

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    1. It could pair a bit, Jen, but this book, Dear Primo is for quite younger children. The letters are brief. One Hen was beautiful! Thanks!

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  2. Interesting books! I'd like to read ONE HEN. Sounds really good! I'd like to read The Thing About Luck, too, especially since it won the National Book Award!

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    1. One Hen came out a few years ago, but is still appropriate and very good, Holly. Yes, I'm excited to read The Thing About Luck to see why it won! Thanks!

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  3. Dear Primo and Soldier Bear both sound really interesting. I will have to look for those books. Have a great reading week, Linda!

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    1. Thanks Andrea-yes, both good in their own special ways! It's so busy, I hope I can sneak in some good reading!

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  4. I've gotten some good ones from you this morning, Linda! I like the idea of paring One Hen with Beatrice's Goat. Dawn sounds like a beautiful book. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Oh, thanks for that title, Melanie. I will look for it. Yes, I imagine they will make a good connection!

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  5. I am familiar with none of these books, Linda - and they all sound unusual and lovely stories that will encourage students to think and talk. Thank you!

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    1. Hope you find and enjoy them, too, Tara. Thanks!

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  6. Dear Primo sounds wonderful. I wish I had that when I was teaching in RI since most of my students were bilingual (English/Spanish).

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    1. I suspect they would have connected to it, Stacey, and perhaps it might spark some letter writing to relatives. Thank you!

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  7. Soldier Bear sounds intriguing, Linda, and Dear Primo sounds like a good addition to one of our 2nd grade social studies units. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. They're both worth a look, Catherine. Hope you like them too!

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  8. I LOVE One Hen! It's a great book to stimulate discussions and I often pair it with other books of a similar theme - Jeanette Winter's Wangari's Trees of Peace and Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams. Soldier Bear is one I will be checking out! Thanks for your list this week!

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    1. Thank you, too, for the other titles. I'll certainly note them. I know Wangari's Trees of Peace-beautiful, but not Four Feet, Two Sandals.

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  9. Hi there Linda! I've heard of Dear Primo and can't wait to read that one. Your review of Soldier Bear actually reminded me of Tomi Ungerer's Otto the Autobiography of a Teddy Bear. I have a feeling they'd be great companion books. Thanks for another AWB review! Here's the december linky for the AWB reading challenge: http://main.gatheringbooks.org/?page_id=528

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    1. I thought I had linked up, Myra, but will check with this link! Thanks, and also for the Otto/Ungerer book. I vaguely remember it, but will look for it in my library. I'm sure it's good!

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  10. I love your book suggestions, Linda! I just got "Counting by 7's from the library and plan to start it this weekend. I'm going to look for these titles now. Thanks for your suggestions. =)

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    1. Thanks Bridget, I've missed your poetry lately. Sometimes my Feedly seems to play tricks on me and skips some blogs-wierd! I hope you like Counting by 7s. As you probably saw, I adored it!

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  11. I want to read The Thing About Luck as well. We can't even order it in our store right now. Soldier Bear sounds interesting.

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    1. Thanks Earl-Did The Thing About Luck go out of stock? Soldier Bear was interesting-all those 'little' stories...

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Having a conversation is a good thing!