Sunday, February 9, 2014

Monday Reading - More To Love

 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
        Cybil's winners will be announced on Friday, Valentine's Day! The finalists-all wonderful books-can be found here!

Happy Valentine's Day week all you book lovers!
“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.” 
― Sherman AlexieThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


           I just returned from our state reading conference, CCIRA. What an immersion in all things books! I had the pleasure of seeing authors and talking with different exhibitors about books and about reading ideas they promoted through their materials. 
           I will share more details in tomorrow's post, but wanted to say that reading was certainly ALIVE and WELL at this conference.

I saw Patricia Polacco, Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, David L. Harrison, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Henry Winkler, Lin Oliver, Donalyn Miller and Sharon M. Draper! There was much to celebrate in all these sessions!

Meets the 2014Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge
The Living – written by Matt De La Peña
          It seems a challenge to cram so many themes into one story, but Matt De La Peña has managed to write a book I could hardly stop reading, full to the top with “story." It has a social class tension; and is a weather-related survival page-turner, a romance straight from a 17 year old perspective, and an international disaster betrayal. And it all occurs all in eight days! Shy Espinoza, from the poorer section of San Diego, manages to get a summer job on a cruise ship before his senior year in high school, helping out his family as he always has. He’s a good kid with a kind heart, and it shows throughout the story in his work and in his friendships, but especially in his thoughts. As I neared the end of the story, I realized that it couldn’t possibly tie up the problems set by the end of the book. I was right. Book two, The Hunted, comes out in the fall. 


The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever-
written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
               I was immediately reminded of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, although this is perhaps even more informative, about a woman who didn’t let barriers stop her, one of those women we recently are discovering that we never knew about. Katherine Olivia Sessons had various important firsts in her life, including being the first woman graduate in science from UCal. After a number of homes, Kate moved to San Diego, noticed the lack of trees in a nearby park. She researched, sent letters to horticulturalists all over the world, to find seed and expertise about the proper trees and plants to grow. She started a tree “nursery” and used the growing trees and shrubs to plant in the park, and also gave to others so they could plant in their own gardens. This woman made a lasting impact in the look of San Diego, became an expert in the habitat for others. It’s an inspiring book!

Sophie’s Squash – written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
            Young Sophie goes to the market with her parents where they buy a squash. Not liking the plans for soup, Sophie names the squash Bernice, finding it’s just right for holding, bouncing on her knees, and loving. For quite a while, Bernice is the love of Sophie’s life until she finally realizes that it is feeling, and looking, not quite so bouncy. After advice from a gardener, Bernice is buried in the backyard and offers a surprise to Sophie in the spring. Love, indeed, can happen everywhere!  I love the illustrations, so bright and cheerful of Sophie and her family and adventures.

Wabi Sabi – written by Mark Reibstein and illustrated by Ed Young

           This was named the best illustrated book of 2008 by the New York Times and, I'm not sure how I missed this marvelous book, but I did! I just discovered it on the shelves of the school library, lucky us! Along with gorgeous collages by Ed Young, Mark Reibstein tells the story of a cat, Wabi Sabi, who politely asks her master what her name means. There is a path followed where the cat learns more than one example of true wabi sabi, but along with the answers Wabi Sabi hears, the one she feels at home seems to be the best one. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese way of living, including appreciation of a simple way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. This book was named the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2008. Each page tells the story in short prose, but ends in a haiku. There is also additional information in the back matter! I loved this, will certainly want to visit again and again!

Parrots Over Puerto Ricowritten by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbor, collages by Susan L. Roth
           This book, like Wabi Sabi recently reviewed, is also illustrated with beautiful collages, and tells the story of the special Parrots of Puerto Rico. Both books also are to be read vertically, the illustration soaring from bottom to top, this time rainforest. The tale is not a new one in the earth’s habitats, but tells of the thousands of Puerto Rican parrots that once flew in that island country!  Until people came to live there, the parrots had no strong enemies except for hurricanes that destroyed the tall trees in which they nested. Through the years, people cleared land (and those tall trees), brought in other animals that became the predators of the parrots, and killed many of the parrots for food, or kept them as pets. By 1967, there were only 24 parrots left! The book carries the story through to recent history, relating the efforts made by experts to save the parrots. They created save havens in which to help parrots reproduce, and then learned also how to help them return to the wild. The story shares the long history of these beautiful birds, and the success in recent years of increasing the population. Susan Roth’s collages are stunning, and considering how large they are, that they are collages, hundreds of pieces of paper have been put together to show us the parrots and parts of Puerto Rico. 

Manfish – written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Eric Puybaret

       Thanks to Carrie Gelson (who at There’sABookforThat gives me many terrific recommendations), I discovered this book that’s been out for a few years, and belongs in the group of terrific picture book biographies that all should be aware of. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau’s amazing documentaries on television, and although I was born by the ocean, we moved to land-locked Missouri before I could really experience it. It was a long time before I really “saw” the ocean, so Cousteau’s work inspired a love that I couldn’t find elsewhere. I loved the story of his constant curiosity for how things worked. Fascinated by machines, he built things, took things apart, and then discovered movie cameras! Eventually, Cousteau discovered the mystery and beauty of the ocean, thus beginning the lifelong passion we know of today. Eric Puybaret’s illustrations show that beauty too, and trace Cousteau’s growing up from his wish to fly (showing him pretending to ‘fly’ as he swam in the ocean), to his desire to breathe underwater (he invented the ‘aqualung’), and finally to buying an old warship which he christened the Calypso, and his many voyages of discovery which he so generously shared with millions. It’s a book that will delight, and there are many YouTube videos that are available online from the Cousteau films.

Next: I had to stop reading The Nazi Hunters: How A Team Of Spies and Survivors Captured The World's Most Notorious Nazi, by Neal Bascomb because The Living had to be back at the library quickly!  Now back to the adventure that's real!  

23 comments:

  1. Great books! And, it's always a thrill to see so many authors all at once!

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    1. Thanks Earl. It is a pleasure to have so many authors to meet and hear present. The conference was great!

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  2. Can't wait to hear about your conference! What an amazing list of authors! WOW! Love your list of books this week. Of course I love Manfish and The Tree Lady was another nonfiction favourite for me. I found The Living all consuming and was happy to be on dry land for days after finishing this title!

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    1. It was an intense 3 days, Carrie, still wondering how to share! Glad to hear you enjoyed The Living too! Hope you also are enjoying Far far away! Thank you!

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  3. I love your Sherman Alexie quote! I just read "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven", and Alexie's voice really shines through in his writing.

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    1. I thought it was a wonderful quote for this week, so happy you liked it! And glad to get the recommendation for his The Lone Ranger... Thanks!

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  4. Linda, don't you love discovering those titles you somehow missed? It's like getting a late birthday gift. Unexpected joy! Wishing you joy this week. xo

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    1. You are absolutely right, Irene. Wabi Sabi (& others of course) is just a joy! Thanks!

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  5. I'm not sure where to begin commenting The Sherman Alexie quote is perfect and your weekend sounds like it was amazing--what a great line-up of author all-stars! Sophie's Squash has been on my Amazon shelf for a while and I might need to move that along. Manfish is also there, I think from when Carrie reviewed it! I'll go looking for the Tree Lady and also for Wabi Sabi. Thank you, Linda!

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    1. I must say this is a line-up of great books, Melanie. I was lucky to find them all, at my library & at the school's! Hope you can find them, too!

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  6. Loved Wabi Sabi too! :) I'm scared to read The Living to be honest after another review I read, think I need to read when I'm not so close to the shore... Can't wait to read Tree Lady, thank you for the reminder... can't wait to get my hands on it. Oh boy to the Cybils announcements, another round of special noteable books (and apps!) Happy reading your way...

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    1. Yes, lots going on this week about books, Debbie-the Cybil's will offer more lists of great books! I understand about The Living. I didn't find it so scary, but if you live near the ocean, perhaps you would. Have a good week of reading!

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  7. I LOVE Sophie's Squash. It's beyond adorable. I have a feeling that'll be Izzy in another year or two.

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    1. Wouldn't it be funny, Stacey? I used to make flower dolls, so why not a squash?

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  8. One doesn't hear enough of the work of Jacques Cousteau, Linda - he was a familar figure in the South of France, and I remember seeing him here and there in my travels (my parents owned a place in that region). Manfish sounds lovely! The Living and The Tree Lady look wonderful, too. I do see a thematic resemblance ot Miss. Rumphius - an all time favorite.

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  9. So great to hear of your connection to Cousteau! And, hope you enjoy those other books, too! Thanks Tara.

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  10. Can't wait to read your thoughts on the conference. I might try to travel down for that one next year--pretty impressive line-up of presenters! I love Parrots over Puerto Rico so much. I was so excited when it got the Sibert! The Living is definitely on my TBR list. Really need to get my hands on Sophie, Manfish, and Tree Lady. Do I sense another book order?! These Monday posts really test my resolve to buy fewer books!

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    1. Our CCIRA is always filled with good people, Elisabeth, & the ones listed are just the ones I saw in sessions. There were other terrific people there too! Hope you can find the books you want-this week was a particularly good week!

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  11. The Living sounds phenomenal! I definitely need to bring that to the top of the TBR pile! I missed my state reading conference this year and definitely felt it. You have a long list of powerful speakers that you saw. I bet you feel so energized by that experience! Have a good reading week!

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    1. Thank you Andrea-Having seen what you like to read, I bet you'll love The Living-very good book. Yes, the conference was terrific! Sorry you missed yours this time.

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  12. Hello there Linda, I am slowly collecting titles of PBBs for a conference presentation that I hope to do sometime end of this year. Manfish sounds like a book I MUST find. And the book cover, just gorgeous! Wabi Sabi as I've shared with you is a personal favourite too. The haiku in each page - absolutely beautiful. So many new titles here! Thanks for sharing all these, dearest Linda. I hope you have a lovely Valentine week.

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    1. Thanks Myra-best wishes for a "sweet" week, too. So glad to be adding Manfish to your list!

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  13. It's fun to see what every one is reading. I think the parrot bok looks fabulous.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!