Sunday, January 19, 2014

Challenges met this week!

          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
Happy Reading Everyone!
I read books that met the three challenges on the sidebar this week.  Week by week this year, I hope I can find time to read all that are on my list found here in this post.  Go to Carrie Gelson's post here to discover what it's all about and who's participating (tweet at #MustReadin2014), or go to Gathering Books with Myra, Fats & Iphigene to see their challenge!    

The Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge is here!

        I've kept seeing this book of poetry from two important writers and Caldecott winning illustrator in reviews, so decided it was a book I wanted to own. I imagine this will be used to learn, but would be thrilled to also use it as a mentor text for older students who might research and write their own poems about their lives, including the historical background of their personal heritage.  Wouldn't it be a fabulous project!  
       Yes! We Are Latinospoems by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, and illustrations by David Diaz

           How to compress the experiences of 12 different Latinos or Latinas in the United States in order to show both the variety and the richness of the cultures in brief poetry and prose sounds like a challenge to accomplish, yet these two authors have managed that very well indeed.  This book chronicles the stories of twelve different immigrants who live in the U.S., all with important heritages to consider, including varied and interesting backgrounds along with the stereotypes that are often faced in their daily lives. The poems are written in first person, with a second part showing background history of the person’s culture.  Included are those from Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba and Nicaragua, Guatamalan Chinese, Japanese from Peru, and seven others. There is an introduction explaining what makes someone Latino, and additional information at the end. Poems, poignant in the frustration of having to explain misconceptions often, but remaining proud of the personal cultural heritage, show much feeling in the few pages of each one.  Here are a few memorable lines: “”If you would let us call you/Joe or Mike,/It would let you blend in.”  “Abu Amaya gets animated,/and there is the same sadness/in both,/the same outrage/in both,/and in both the same pain/for a dream that was destroyed.”   Illustrations by David Diaz (Smoky Nights) are silhouettes, showing one scene from each story poem, including beautiful detail.  This is a poetry anthology every middle and high school should own, hopefully more than one copy!

Everybody Cooks Rice – written by Norah Dooley and illustrated by Peter J. Thornton

         I reviewed a similar book by this writer and illustrator last week. The books are all similar in structure.  There is something that takes the young girl on an errand to the neighbors’ houses, where she shares a little about them, and learns about the food being prepared with some brief explanation of the cultural background of the food.  For a picture book, it gives an amazing amount of information. The girl is willing to try all the different recipes, sometimes loving them, sometimes calling the spices “interesting”.  This story takes the girl on a walk to look for her younger brother.  She visits Mr. and Mrs. D. from Barbados cooking their favorite dinner, black-eyed peas and rice, and also learns that in Barbados, one can swim year-round and fish too! Next, she visits a young girl who is cooking for her mother who is working late.  The girl shares she’s cooking a favorite rice dish, cooked with turmeric given to her by her grandmother from Puerto Rico.  The people are from several different places all over the world, and so are the recipes, most of which are shared in the backmatter!

Everybody Serves Soup - written by Norah Dooley and illustrated by Peter J. Thornton
         And here is the third book in this series. As I said above, the books are all similar in structure.  This time, the girl helps her father shovel snow from a big snowstorm, and the idea of a birthday present for Mom emerges as she goes from home to home trying to earn money by shoveling.  We meet neighbors’ children (a few), and we learn the wide variety of soup being prepared at neighbors’ homes.  The neighbors share their food and the recipes, also shared at the back of the book. It’s a lovely sharing of how similar every family is on a cold and snowy day. Each one was cooking soup, like Mrs. DeLoach’s Southern Corn Chowder, Mom and Anthony’s Italian Lentil Soup, and Mrs. Max’s Beet and Cabbage Soup.  There is much to learn and discuss while reading this book aloud to younger children.
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Go to Carrie Gelson's post here to discover what it's all about and who's participating (tweet at #MustReadin2014), or go to Gathering Books with Myra, Fats & Iphigene to see their challenge!    

             Rump – by Liesl Shurtliff  (mustreadin2014 & Myra)

         Quite a bit of magic has to happen when one becomes twelve and only has half a name, and the name is not distinguished, but only seems to serve as something everyone teases about--Rump. Thus begins The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, a story with inspiration from the frustration of the author's own name, Liesl, as she describes in the author's note at the end of the book. Like the story, Liesl Shurtliff shares her loneliness at not even being able to find her name on the souvenir "personalized pencils and key chains" in gift shops, compounded with the teasing. Thus the story, Liesl's imagination of the story, happens. It's a sweet story of magical times, where there are decent living trolls and good witches with secrets to share, and annoying pixies who mean only to find gold, and keep it! There are bullies and villains, and then there is Rump, a wonderfully thoughtful young man who makes mistakes that turn into tangled messes. Luckily, he becomes smarter in his thoughts and actions as the book moves on, and finally figures out some important things about his life, and about what he needs. I don't want to give anything away, but do think this would be a wonderful read aloud for discussion about adventuring and making decisions but first wondering about the consequences, plus so much about the treatment of others, and judging too quickly by stereotyping. The language in the story is beautiful. In one part, Rump is leaving his village to seek some answers, and expresses that he would like 'to carry a memory' about his Gran, with whom he had lived because his mother had died after his birth. I thought that was a lovely idea, to carry a small object from someone, and call it "carrying a memory".

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        Here are three picture books I enjoyed this week:    
The Animal Book – written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
        There is much to admire in this recent book by Steve Jenkins, hundreds of interesting facts offered about animals, an encyclopedia of animals largest to smallest, those that hide well, and those that are the top of the food chain.  It is divided into sections including the organization of animals, how they become families, their senses and defenses, and a timeline of the story of life—wonderful. The illustrations show off the words of course.  One of my favorite pages is the double-page spread of the Siberian tiger, telling that this is “life-sized”.  If one holds the book up to one’s face, wow, it’s more than double the size of us humans! There is a glossary plus a bonus section at the back that shares, in detail, the long process of creating a non-fiction book.  I hope everyone can find this and savor the work in this book, the information given, and the creativity that is evident.

Seven Little Bunnies - written by Julie Stiegemeyer and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant

             I found this at my library, had the pleasure of attending a poetry workshop with Julie. It’s a simple bedtime story with a sweetly rhyming part about each bunny, trying so hard to do one more thing before going to bed. The rhymes are wonderful, each ending with “Cozy, dozy, drowsy…drop.” For parents, you’ll understand immediately what’s happening because children do it too. They want to do just one more thing, and boom, they’re asleep.  For my granddaughters, they loved the lively and colorful pictures by Laura Bryant, and the rhyme, nearly memorized by the four year old because we read it so many times the day she visited.  It’s a terrific bedtime book!

A Home for Bird – written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
          The illustrations are wonderfully done, including bright colors and sweet-looking animals. with full page scenes that are gorgeous. Vernon, the frog is out foraging and finds a quiet bird, and the adventure to find a good home for quiet and shy Bird begins.  There is a hint about Bird in the opening drawing, shown before the title page, but even my four year old granddaughter said that Bird looked different.  She didn’t know how, but caught that something was ‘up’.  And it is, there’s a surprise at the end!  In the meantime, dear Vernon introduces Bird to some friends and different ideas are tried out until the perfect place is found. Fun book!


The Tree - written by Dana Lyons and illustrated by David Danioth

              If you've ever spent time in the Pacific rain forests, you will begin to understand this song. The story is told by an ancient Douglas fir, of all it has seen in its long life of eight hundred years. The author shares that he spent time with this tree, listening to its 'song', thus the book was born. The words are beautifully illustrated by David Danioth in full colors, showing the forest life like the views of young owls learning to fly and feeling a grizzly's claws.  When it projects its future, concern that it might be cut down, it asks, "who will take refuge in my shadow, if my shadow falls no more?"  The book will add to books that celebrate and urge to protect the gifts of our earth.  Proceeds go to several organizations, and added stories are at the back of the book.

Still Reading:  The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson, and two professional book, plus Views From A Window Seat by Jeannine Atkins. I just received the NetGalley of Ophelia And The Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.  It has started very well! 

34 comments:

  1. The Animal Book is absolutely stunning. I only have to scan it in into inventory and before I know it I'm raving about it to whoever's in the store and they end up buying it!

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    1. Yep, I totally agree, Earl. Everyone should have it available to students-awesome, & thanks!

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  2. I've been trying to encourage teaching narrative techniques within informational books and Norah Dooley's books sound like they would be good mentors for that. I love the books that I read by Philip Stead--I will have to be on the look out for A Home for Little Bird. Thanks, Linda!

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    1. I hope you will be able to find the Dooley books, Melanie. They would work well for your purpose! Stead's illustrations are wonderful in this book! Thanks!

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  3. I've seen Rump reviewed a few times and I'm intrigued. Will have to read it for sure now. Lots of variety in your books this week!

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    1. Thanks Beverley. I hope you'll enjoy it!

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  4. Enjoyed Rump as well, loved all the picture books you shared, added many to my TBR pile, thank you! :)

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    1. You're welcome. Hope you find them all enjoyable! Rump was pure fun!

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  5. Wow! You read some fabulous books. Rump is one I absolutely love. One, I can't bring it up in class without students giggling, which is a fun entrance into book talking it. Two, the story is a great read. Can't wait for her to write the companion book!

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    1. It was a delight, I agree. I haven't read a book that quickly in a long time! Thanks, Katherine. This new one, Ophelia and The Marvelous Boy, is moving quickly too!

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  6. Linda, I, too, loved Rump. I thought it was a great retelling of the classic fairy tale. My 9yo daughter likes the fart jokes with the ogres. Go figure.

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    1. Of course she does! I know if I did this as a read aloud, even my middle schoolers would have laughed! Bathroom humor… Thanks, Mindi!

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  7. A lovely selection of reads, as usual, Linda. The Latino poems sounds fabulous - there are voices my kids just don't even think to think about, and this would be a wonderful way to introduce the idea of multi cultural voices. I Have Rump sitting in my book pile - now I can't wait to get to it!

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    1. I wish I could do a lesson with the Latino poetry, Tara. I know it would touch the students! Hope you like Rump!

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  8. Linda - thanks for all the new books - Yes, We are Latinos is perfect. Our district has a writing project that is a cultural memoir. Students are to interview family and write about their culture. This and the Everybody cooks books would fit right into that work.

    You will love Ophelia - I have not read The Orphan Master's Son so will look for that this week.

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    1. Your project sounds marvelous-makes me want to be in the classroom again! I'll certainly share with my colleagues! Thanks Joanne!

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  9. I too enjoyed Rump this week and agree that it will connect with kids on many levels. I'm excited to share that as the Book Fairy with fourth graders this week. Being a Pacific Northwest kid, I need to find THE TREE. Doug firs are truly awesome. And indeed, wasn't The Animal Book, amazing? I gifted it to several people over the holidays. So much to pour over!

    Lorna

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    1. Oh, will be exciting to share Rump I think, and hope you can find Tree-it was so beautiful! And, The Animal Book is one I'm going to need to purchase-so "filled" with amazing info! Thanks Lorna!

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  10. Yes! We are Latinos looks interesting. I'll have to check that one out.

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  11. Hi Linda, Rump is surely a favorite. Many of the other titles are new to me so thanks for sharing them. I am hoping to do my must read post this week. Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you Gigi-looking forward to it-be sure to post on FB, too!

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  12. Thanks for reminding me about the Latin@s in Lit challenge. I really want to participate in that. If my older son and I ever finish our read-aloud of Doll Bones, I think we may do Rump next. I have really been wanting to read it, and from what I've read, it makes an excellent read-aloud. I just put Animal Book into my Amazon cart today--I like to read the SLJ Battle of the Books Contenders, and this is one my library doesn't have. Sounds like a great one to own as a resource. Thanks!

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    1. I agree about The Animal Book-& I too am following that Battle… Hope you do join the Latin@s in lit-will push me to find more books that ordinarily I wouldn't find. Thanks, Elisabeth!

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  13. Maybe it's the snow yesterday still clinging to the trees, and the fact that I shoveled our steps and path to the car...or that I love soup on a cold day and we had beef stew yesterday...or just that I like pictures of towns and houses on books and it reminded me of Barbara Cooney...or that it would have given me the opportunity to do other soup books that I have...or that we could have made soup in class... at any rate, I was drawn to "Everybody Serves Soup".

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    1. I think you just wrote a poem Donna! Yes, for all those reasons you will like this book, & there are recipes in the back, I guess I forgot to add, just like the rice book! I am making potato soup tonight-haven't made it in a while, but even with our warmer weather, the nights are cold & it will be just right!

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  14. Rump was one of my all time favorite books of the year. It is such a clever story.

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    1. Yes, agreed, I really liked it! Thanks!

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  15. The "Everybody Serves" series is perfect for a multicultural/diversity unit! Thanks for sharing these. I adore Home For Bird (and Hello, My Name is Ruby) both by Philip Stead. Rump was one of the best read-alouds - many LOL moments with my grade 4's and 5's - very "boy" humor! Steve Jenkins - what can I say? I love his stuff. My only issue with this book is that there is just TOO much to look at! Thanks, Linda!

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    1. So thrilled you enjoyed and 'perhaps found' all these books. Yes, I loved My Name Is Ruby, too-adore the art! And again, The Animal Book is awesome!

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  16. So pleased you enjoyed Rump - I am on my second read aloud experience with this book - first to my own children and now to my class - must admit there is some kind of magic as I read aloud this title. Children LOVE it. One of them asked to hug it at the end of the day. I am reading The Animal Book a few pages a day to my children - we are learning lots together! Happy Reading this week!

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    1. Thanks Carrie-What a good idea to tackle that amazing book a few pages at a time! It is awesome! And, I told the kids on their blog that I heard the author of Rump had another book coming out. Don't know if it's connected to Rump or another re-telling. It was such a warm book, despite the trouble! Thanks!

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  17. Rump's story sounds fascinating, Linda! I don't think I've seen this book yet so thank you for introducing me to it. Philip Stead's books and art are so wonderful, don't you think? Home for a Bird looks as adorable as A Sick Day for Amos McGee. And I agree with you, that carrying objects as a means of carrying a memory is a beautiful thought, indeed. Happy reading this week, Linda! =)

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    1. Thanks Fats. As you read, I enjoyed all of these books quite a bit. I hope you do find Rump sometime; it was such fun!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!