Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Monday...



  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.  Great books are being shared!
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR
        Don't forget the Cybil's winners will be announced on Valentine's Day! The finalists-all wonderful books-can be found here!

             It’s been a good week of reading and finding wonderful books, many of which I find because of those who share on “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading” with Kellee, Ricki and Jen. Thanks everyone. I hope you find a few books here you will enjoy.

          For the CORL challenge at Gathering Books (see on the right), and #MustReadIn2014 (see above).
far far away – written by Tom McNeal
               I think I am a reader who loves variety. I love mystery, newly created worlds whether fantastical or dystopian, and sentimentality. I like characters who touch me, whether humans or animals, and in the case of this story, ghosts. Jeremy Johnson Johnson has heard “voices” since early childhood, and although he is teased throughout his small village because of it, he is comforted by the voice, who happens to be one of the Grimm brothers. Through teenage yearnings to do something out of the ordinary, Jeremy is talked into a small adventure by a girl he knows from high school. Smart and pretty, Ginger wants adventure. One night, Jeremy, Ginger and two of her girlfriends set out to play a trick on the town baker. It is a trick, but with far-reaching consequences the teens rarely expect, and this time, Jeremy’s ghost, supposed to be his protector from The Finder of Occasions, is also caught up in the events that happen next. I don’t want to spoil your read. The pages turn easily, sometimes quickly in extreme tension, and the characters grow ever more endearing as the plot thickens. There are fairy tales told and lived within this book! ”When the king’s son sees the portrait of the princess, his love for her is so great that if all the leaves on all the leaves were tongues, they could not declare it.” I loved the story, believe it’s definitely YA and older.


           Meets 2014 Latin@s in kid lit challenge. (see on the right) – book illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Gandhi A March To The Sea - written by Alice B. McGinty & illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
              It’s Gandhi’s story of his beginning commitment to change and independence for India. For younger students this book will be a lovely introduction to this great man in our world history. Some basic background is given, and the words used to tell the story are poetic, and I am especially touched by the illustrations of Thomas Gonzalez (14 Cows for America and Sonia Sotomayor: Supreme Court Justice). They are beautiful and my favorites are especially those showing Gandhi alone, speaking to thousands, marching alone when many tired and stopped marching, and finally, bathing when he reached the sea. It took seventeen more years to achieve freedom!  A book to savor!

The Storytellers - written & illustrated by Ted Lewin
             I was waiting for a meeting with a teacher in her classroom and noticed a group of books she’d labeled “stories” and found this beautiful book. It is set in the ancient city of Fez in Morocco, where there are still old markets something like those long ago. A young boy, Abdul, helps his grandfather set up their rug and equipment in the morning, for the grandfather is a storyteller, not a wool-dyer who must work very hard to twist the wool from the dye dipping or those who pound metal into huge bowls, too noisy. Their spot is just outside the gate to the city. Thee they lay the rug, and Abdul releases a white dove, which flies up to land on the storyteller’s head. When enough of an audience arrives, Abdul throws the dove up into the air, and when it returns, the grandfather says it has brought a story. He announces, “Kan ya ma kan”, or “This happened, or maybe it did not. The time is long past, and most is forgot.”  All day Abdul helps while Grandfather tells stories. Part of a story is given also. The illustrations are filled with details of the market, and of Abdul. It’s a wonderful book, one that may help with launching a story-telling unit, but definitely also gives a great look at markets in other countries.

Once Upon A Memory - written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Renata Liwska
               This is a gorgeous and sweet book, in poetry, asking questions about remembering. A young boy, with his stuffed animals goes on an adventure, musing about different objects, both large and small, imagining their memories of “being”, all the way to the world. For example, “Does a cake remember it once was…grain? Does an ocean remember it once was…rain?”  I imagine memories coming forth, in prose and in poetry, through using this book as a mentor text. Please find and read!




Posy – written by Linda Newbery & illustrated by Catherine Rayner
             I found this sweet poetic book (for all cat lovers) about a kitten name Posy, who romps and rolls through the book doing mischief just like every kitten you’ve ever known. The ‘sketchy’ look of the watercolor illustrations show so much movement as Posy moves through the story, all action!  According to the story, she’s a “playful wrangler” and a  “knitting tangler”, but also a “leaf collector” and a “sock inspector”, but you’ll need to find the book to discover what else. Fun book!

Bully - written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
          I know that every time I pick up a book by the wonderful storyteller Patricia Polacco that it will be a terrific memory or a lesson to learn, or both. This time, Patricia tells the story of Lyla, new to her school, keeping a low key profile until she sees that the popular girls aren’t so nice, and she pushes them away to return to her old friend, a boy named Jamie. Thing are worse before they better and the story introduces a bully that might be recognized as a cyber-bully on Facebook. Only two years later, it’s my understanding that it’s Instagram and a couple of others that are the “new” Facebook. The book’s illustrations portray the looks and the feels of kids who play and those that play it cool-terrific! 

Up The Creek - written & illustrated by Nicholas Oldland
            I was visiting a teacher and noticed she had this book, one I recently bookmarked because of a review I’d read. It’s an amusing tale of a beaver, a moose and a bear that take off on an adventure in a red canoe. Through many mis-adventures, the three finally learn that it really is helpful to work together. I’d love to read and discuss this with a group of younger students. The illustrations are bright and simple, good to view with the sweet three animals in all their expressions of dismay, frustration, and success.

Crankenstein - written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Dan Santat
              Hilarious book that is easily appreciated if you sometimes have a cranky child, turning into CRANKENSTEIN!  Sometimes it’s MEHHRRRR! When he (or she) has to get out of bed, sometimes it’s from waiting in line. And sometimes, Crankenstein goes away, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why. Funny and recognizable, full pages of MEHHRRRR by Dan Santat!

Brimsby’s Hats – written and illustrated by Andrew Prahin
             I can’t wait to share this with other teachers who can then share it with their students. What a sweet story about friendship, creativity and ingenuity. Brimsby has spent a long while making hats and having tea and conversation with a friend, until his friend goes away to become a sea captain. Brimsby is lonely, and goes looking for friends. He finds a tree full of birds, yet it doesn’t work out so well because they’re too busy keeping warm, digging snow out of their nests, and so on. Brimsby is sad, but doesn’t give up, and finds a way to be friends through his creativity. The illustrations are softly colored, showing a lot of detail that enhances the words.

A Piece of Chalk – written by Jennifer A. Ericsson and illustrated by Michelle Shapiro
                 This book was found by my picture book buddy, who loaned it to me because she knows I participate in the Chalk-a-bration at the end of every month, hosted by Betsy Hubbard at her Teaching Young Writers blog. A little girl works hard to draw a beautiful picture on her sidewalk, and even in the rain, everything turns out beautifully. The illustrations are sweet, including pets, green grass and blue sky, a perfect day for chalking.

Rosie Revere, Engineer – written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
            This is a wonderful book to review this week because of Pete Seeger’s passing. It reminds me of the song I’ve heard him sing, and that his half-sister Peggy wrote, “I’m Gonna Be An Engineer”, protesting for women’s right to work at any job!  This is a rhyming story of Rosie, who secretly built her inventions out of “found” treasures in the trash. She creates many kinds of things, like a hot dog dispenser, but what she ended up wanting was to fly, especially to help a great great aunt who’d come to visit. The story is supportive of anyone who wants to do what is not expected, and of anyone to tries and fails, but learns that the failure is important. As her aunt says, “The only true failure can come if you quit.”  This team also collaborated on the book, Iggy Peck, Architect. David Roberts fills the pages with delightful children and contraptions. There is also some information given about other strong women, including the story of Rosie the Riveter.

The Boy Who Loved Math – written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
             I have always said I loved math, and finding this book was a wonderful thing to read. Although I have read about Paul Erdos, I loved hearing even more about him from Deborah Heiligman. Luckily for young children who love numbers and problems with numbers, Heiligman has written this book for them, including how he lived in his own way (he hated rules), but was so generous with his thoughts and work in the world of mathematical problem solving. There is terrific back matter from both the author, who writes about the beginnings of her story about Paul and her insights about him. Also, illustrator, LeUyen Pham, explains what the numbers mean on each page of her illustrations. For those children who find they think about numbers more than anything else in school, this book will be a pleasure.

Now Reading:  The Nazi Hunters: How A Team Of Spies and Survivors Captured The World's Most Notorious Nazi, by Neal Bascomb. And I have a new pile of picture books!  

26 comments:

  1. The Boy Who Loved Math is indeed great. I always enjoy it when the illustrators share their process. There should be more of that with picture books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Earl! I do too, & it's always so interesting. Glad you liked it too!

      Delete
  2. Hello Linda! What a lot of wonderful books you have shared this week! I know many of the picture books, but new for me Brimsby's Hats and A Piece of Chalk - both look great! I adore Once Upon a Memory and also have shared Bully with many teachers. It's a very important book to share with older students. Love you cover collage! How did you do that? Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Adrienne, happy you found a few that are new to you. I did the collage on Kizoa-wanted to try something different!

      Delete
  3. I so loved The boy who Loved Math - was even hoping it might get some medal love last week. Such an inspiring title. My students loved it. I plan on starting Far Far Away later this week so I was very happy to see that you liked it so much. It seems to be such a different book. I am really looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Boy Who Loved Math can stretch across many ages I believe. It would be fun to see what the older ones can find in the illustrations! Far far away was really interesting, and quite an adventure, Carrie. I'm interested in seeing what you think. Thanks!

      Delete
  4. We both enjoyed Rosie Revere, Engineer this week! :) Good to read your opinion about it! Brimsby's Hats sounds lovely. So happy you enjoyed Once Upon a Memory as well, such a special book by amazing creators. Really appreciate reading what you think about Far far and away, I was concerned that it would be too mature for my primary students... I do want to read it still! Happy reading week to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie-yes, Far far away is definitely not for the younger ones, and it's complicated too, so for mature readers. I did love Once Upon A Memory-will need to purchase that one!

      Delete
  5. I enjoyed Far, Far Away, too. I agree it is YA. I thought maybe it would get a Printz Honor. I loved Once Upon a Memory! I need to get the Ghandi book, and I have Nazi Hunters from the library! Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've enjoyed Nazi Hunters so far, fascinating and terrible at the same time! Glad to hear you too liked far far away, Holly. What a story! Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Wow, so many new books that I don't know where to begin, Linda! Far, Far Away looks like a book to have in my library. Somehow, these days, I cannot have enough books that touch upon the theme of think before you act (Instagram, Facebook...need one say more about the trouble our kids get into when they post first and think later?). Bully is definitely another one to have, for the same reason. Polacco is fearless on this subject, and her art work really reaches our kids on a gut level. And Rosie Revere - as you say, with Seeger's passing and listening to his songs again, this is another book that remains timely - a must share with our kids (girls especially!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you have enough time, I'd love to hear if you think Far far away is a good one for your 6th graders? It seemed very mature to me. Yes, love Rosie Revere, should have linked back to Saturday & Pete perhaps. Thanks Tara!

      Delete
  7. So many wonderful books this week! My TBR list just grew by several titles! I loved Posy--clever and creative rhymed writing and energetic art capturing the essence of what it means to be a cat! I'm reading Far, Far Away right now--finding the categorization to be a challenge. I agree with you--definitely YA, but the characters seem much younger to me. Have to keep reminding myself of their age. Think this book would have be a hard sell in my high school classroom, but can't really imagine reading it aloud to my 5th grader at all. Don't really know who the readers are for this book, so I'm looking forward to reading more of my online teacher friends' thoughts about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of the time I actually thought that it was for an adult, Elisabeth. It is complex in parts, especially when one gets into the fairy tales. The kids don't seem young to me, but innocents, maybe because they're in this little town/village? Or maybe because the author didn't want to tell everything that was going on? It reminded me sometimes of the eccentricity of Anne Tyler's characters, The Accidental Tourist for example. Posy is a darling book, I agree!

      Delete
  8. Far, Far Away was so unique. I found myself completely engrossed in the story. I have it in my teen collection. Have a great week! ~Megan
    http://wp.me/pzUn5-1QJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it would be fun to all have a conversation about far far away, see my comment above. It is a small, isolated town where 'strange' things can happen. Glad to here you enjoyed it Megan!

      Delete
  9. So many great titles! I added Once Upon a Memory to Goodreads so I can find it the next time we're at the library!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hope you love it! I just thought it was wonderful!

      Delete
  10. Great books Linda! I agree with you about Far, Far Away, definitely for the older crowd, but I loved it. Once Upon a Memory looks really sweet. My daughter gets called Crankenstein now whenever I wake her up and she growls at me. Enjoy your week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed far far away too, Gigi! Yes, there are a number of ways Crankenstein can be used, aren't there (ha)? Hope you love Once Upon A Memory!

      Delete
  11. A beautiful description of Far Far Away! I too can fall in love with all types of stories, and this is one that I found myself instantly immersed in. I just requested Once Upon a Memory from the library, thanks for suggesting it, I hadn't heard of it until now. The same artist for Posy did Iris and Isaac, a sweet friendship story with gorgeous illustrations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that you enjoyed far far away too! And thank you for the recommendation of Iris and Isaac. Will look for it. I thought Posy was enchanting!

      Delete
  12. So many great titles, Linda! Somehow, Far Far Away really hasn't been on my radar, but it is now. All the picture books sound great, too. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Far far away is a Nat'l Book Award Honor & I wondered about the Printz for it too, but not this time! Hope you find some favorites here, Catherine!

      Delete
  13. As per usual, you have some amazing books here, dear Linda! And I am happy to share with you that we do have Once Upon a Memory in our public libraries, but it's so popular that 2/3 of our 31 available copies are out on loan! Oh wow! I hope I would be able to chance upon it this weekend. I'm glad my 9-14 year olds didn't choose far Far Away for our book of the month for the book club, sounds like they'd have to be a little older to read this one. I was intrigued by the book trailer and so included it. Sounds YA indeed. Perhaps for my adult book club this would be a great choice, will recommend! Love all the other PBs too, will check most of them out, particularly Rosie Revere. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The regular story part of far far away is good & fine for your group, Myra, but it does get very creepy, so without telling you more, I wouldn't recommend. For you in your latest study of fairy tales, you should love it! It also gets rather complicated with the language & the tales. I'm just not sure about it for younger, maybe 14 years & really mature readers! Do check it out & let me know! Hope you can find Once Upon A Memory-I just thought it was terrific!

      Delete

Having a conversation is a good thing!