Monday Reading - Lots Going On
Happy Reading everyone!
And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. Great books are being shared!
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Finished Rose Under Fire that met two challenges on the sidebar this week. Week by week this year, I hope I can find time to read all that are on the list in a page posted above. 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!
Rose Under Fire – written by Elizabeth Wein
I finished this and handed it to my daughter-in-law, to whom I had already given Code Name Verity. She was visiting and flying home, so I copied some pages I particularly loved and wanted to keep. If you’ve not read the book, these references won’t be meaningful, but they are important. Like Code Name Verity, I loved this book, too. From the beginning, I thought the voice marvelous, the typical excitable American, and privileged, girl, maturing through experience like the usual adolescent. Except this young woman is no ordinary adolescent, but an experienced pilot, and although female, very needed for airplane deliveries all over England. When this lovely Rose Justice, for that is her name, finally has a chance to get to France, it isn’t the good thing she had imagined, and that’s when she grows up. You’ll need to read the book to discover the beautiful remainder of this story. This young woman is also a poet: “Hope has no feathers”, the kite poem; and “The Subtle Briar”: When you cut down the hybrid rose,/its blackened stump below the graft/spreads furtive finger in the dirt…” show sensitivity both on the part of the author and the character, and the poetry is not over done, but is needed in the challenges that Rose faces, an integral part of the plot. Remember, she’s Rose Justice, she’s a pilot!
Serf – written by Dan Hallagan, illustrated by Tom Walker
This is a first book in a multiple book series titled Climber. Dan Hallagan has created an intriguing world in which a creature is born immediately knowing everything about a world, but not about this particular world. It is filled with the lowest scum, the serfs, all the way up to the highest ranked of these strange creatures, the earls. The creatures all generally look the same, but as they progress in rank, they grow physically, so when born, the main character Cornelius describes himself, and others like him, as a “walking cue ball”.
The overarching plot is that Cornelius has been called by a ‘higher power’, from hell it seems, because a teenager has wondered what hell is really like. Thus, Cornelius has been brought by this power in order to tell his story. It’s confusing, but as I read, I began to understand this world, at least the part that Cornelius is understanding, for he is telling “his” story, and this is the beginning of his life on Wroth, this new world. This is a book for an early teen, not necessarily my favorite kind of book. It has violence and some curse words, and is filled with hateful attitudes. Yet as I got deeper into the plot, I began to like this Cornelius, and the way the author is characterizing him. It would be interesting to read with a group of young teens. I wonder if they will see that this meanest character supposedly from hell really lives his life with admirable values, knows right from wrong and always sticks up for the downtrodden? There are parts that I really want to know more about, and I imagine I’ll read the second book soon, to see if I discover more. It’s very intriguing.
Poems to Learn by Heart – collected by Caroline Kennedy and paintings by Jon J. Muth
This collection is a fine one to choose for a school library with so many poems for everyone’s taste. A group of NYC students helped in the choosing, which is nice. There is a wide variety of poetry divided into ten sections like poems about the family, sports and games, nature and war. Caroline Kennedy writes a nice introduction to each section, emphasizing the importance and fun of memorizing poems, along with including tips to do so. Jon Muth’s paintings serve as beautifully enhancements to the poems and do not overpower them. Eve Merriam’s poem, ‘Catch A Little Rhyme’ closes the book beautifully. With a limited budget, this anthology will help serve numerous ages and purposes.
The Pet Project, Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses – written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
A young girl sets off with her journal looking for the perfect pet, making field observations in verse all along the way. Because her parents are scientists, they insist she do some research before she makes a decision. The journey is filled with her amusing experiences captured as she wanders to a farm, a zoo, and the woods behind her house. Readers will be surprised at her conclusion! The book will be a fun read to introduce how to share one’s adventures by writing in rhyme. One example: “Never take a tiger home,/no matter how he pleads with you,/’cause if you take a tiger home,/we’ll soon see how he feeds with you.” Ohora illustrates the funny details in a graphic style.
Gone Fishing – verse novel, written by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Finally, I was able to read this book. What a joyful story-telling, in verse, with field-like sketches of what’s going on during the fishing time. The books tells about a young boy, Sam, who is so excited to be going fishing with his dad until his little sister, Lucy, talks Dad into coming, too. The jealousy of big brother to little sister keeps the tension going until at last Sam realizes that Lucy has done a nice thing for him, and he should be happy to have such a loving sister. Clever is writer Tamera Wissinger, for each poem is labeled as to structure, and the back of the book explains about the structural terms used, plus more about how poetry works. It’s a perfect book for young students who loves to write and want to know more!
Lost Cat – written and illustrated by C. Roger Mader
This is Roger Mader’s first story for children, and a beautiful one too. Full of drama because a cat becomes lost when its owner moves, the cat looks for a new home. From a cat’s POV, looking means looking at shoes, and this cat meets a few possible new owners, Ms. Muddy Boots, Mr. Cowboy Boots, and others. For one reason or another, no one really fits. It has a good ending, but suspense until those final pages. The illustrations are realistic full color paintings, gorgeous. I especially loved the double-page of the cat, lost in the woods. It’s a great book for plot simplicity that young children will love.
Down, Down, Down, A Journey To The Bottom of The Sea – written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
In pictures and words, Steve Jenkins’ books always teach and entertain, and this is another example of his beautiful books. Although I think there might have been even more information shared, I enjoyed the book, and suspect it will be a great introduction to the mysteries of the bottom of the sea for young students.
Alpha’s Bet –written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Delphine Durand
This is such a clever book, perfect for young readers to predict the “next” letter that Al Pha will choose in his creation of the alphabet’s order. I hope I am able to read the book aloud to a class soon. The illustrations are filled with details that not only does the story entertain, the pictures are ones to enjoy over and over.
Same, Same but Different - written and illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliott lives in America and Kailash lives in India. They start a relationship by being pen pals, learn that they love to play outside and climb trees, have pets, and ride a bus to school. They learn that many things in their lives are the same, same but different. It’s a terrific book to begin conversations about differences being interesting and similar, just a little different. The illustrations are happy pictures, showing fun in both places to live.
I’m prepping for an assignment for older students & wrote about it last Friday here, but also here are picture books we’ll be using too. I thought you all might enjoy the list. If you have more ideas, let me know in the comments. Many wrote me in the comments last week too-great to hear from everyone.
The Name Jar - written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi
The first thing on the bus on the first day of school, Unhei is teased about her name, so in class she says she doesn’t have a name. Those in her class are kind and begin a name jar to help her choose a name. Through much thought, and some friendly gestures, Unhei (pronounced yoon – hye) decides her name, which means Grace, is a good one to keep. There is a nice surprise at the end.
Chrysanthemum - written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
I imagine most of know this book, but if not, you’re in for a lovely treat. It’s the start of school, the first day for this darling little mouse. Unfortunately, although before this she has always adored her name, she finds herself being teased and teased about it. It’s too long and barely fits on the name tag, the other students say. Mrs. Twinkle, the music teacher saves the day, but I won’t tell the surprise at the end. Henkes’ sweet drawings keep the reader looking and looking for all the details, including dear Chrysanthemum.
My Name Is Yoon – written by Helen Recorvits and illustrated by Gabi Swiatwska
A young Korean girl has immigrated to America with her family, and first doesn’t lik the straight lines and circles that make her name in English. It’s not as pretty as the Korean characters. Instead of practicing writing Yoon, she writes other words on the paper from her teacher, like cat and cupcake. The illustrations are beautifully and whimsically done, like on the ‘cat’ page, showing Yoon as herself, but half cat. The cupcake becomes a way of friendship too in the story, and slowly Yoon knows that different is okay, and that Yoon is really a beautiful name.
My Name Is Sangoel - written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed and illustrated by Catherine Stock
These are the two authors who also wrote Four Feet, Two Sandals. Khadra is the director of the Pittsburg Refugee Center and Karen lives in Pittsburg. The illustartions are realistic, muted watercolors that follow the text. Sangoel, his mother and sister immigrate to American from a camp in the Sudan, escaping war and poverty, helped by a group who also settles them into an apartment. Imagine learning about escalators, stoplights, and cooking on an electric range. Also, it’s a challenge going to school where so much is different, including one’s name. Sangoel endures some teasing, but finally creates an idea for telling everyone how to pronounce his name, the pronunciation that is “Sun-Goal”. His idea motivates classmates to do the same thing, and all turns out well. You’ll need to find and read in order to enjoy all the details of this wonderful story.
Next: I'm reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell-so good!