Sunday, March 16, 2014

17/31 It's Monday - Happy St. Patrick's Day!



          Happy Reading everyone! Day Seventeen of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

           Tweet at #SOL14  

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 shared!
           Tweet! at #IMWAYR

       I hope you noticed that there is a little more green in my post today, because I want to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's quite wonderful about my reading today because I'm reviewing Irish novelist John Boyne's recent children's book that is coming out on March 25th! 
     Here's the website of Children's Books Ireland (CBI).  And here is a list of 10 great Irish children's authors.  Finally, here is the shortlist and the winner of their big award, the CBI award - best children's book of the year.  There are a few I've read and recognize in the list; you will, too!
         Find my review of Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas, coming April 1st, here!

chapter book

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave – John Boyne
          I am thrilled to have had an advanced copy of this from NetGalley. This latest war story by John Boyne, whose book The Boy In The Striped Pajamas has touched so many, begins on the day that World War I begins, that ironic “war to end all wars” that still feels like tragic loss in different ways from today’s war in the middle east, but it also connects with those who are now suffering from PTSD. They didn’t call it that in the first world war, starting in July of 1914, almost a century ago now! In fact, they had few names for it, but hid those afflicted in hospitals, sometimes still believing that the soldiers were faking it to get out of fighting. But in this book, that is what occurs.


        Young Alfie celebrates his fifth birthday on the day the war begins, and it is past his ninth birthday when it ends, a long four years of sadness and deprivation, heartache and secrecy. Alfie is a smart young man who takes on responsibilities we would wonder at for most five year olds today. I don’t want to give away the events that occur on Gramley Road, but they are not new. Boyne includes in this small, poor community, the eager who believe the war will end within months, those who believe stereotype stories and betray some who have been their neighbors and friends for years, and secrets within families-a refusal to face what is real. The young boy is brave because of his love for his father, and sets off on an adventure that will have you not stopping until there is a conclusion. Great, readable book!  It arrives on March 25th!

poetry
Please Bury Me In The Library – poems written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Kyle M. Stone
           I just discovered this delightful book, filled with words and illustrations that will make any book lover shout “hurrah”. There are whimsical poems like “Summer Reading At The Beach”, serious ones, like the “Three Haiku”, and one of my favorites, the title poem: “Please bury me in the library/in the clean well-lighted stacks/Of novels, history, poetry,/Right next to the paperbacks.” I love books about books, and this one is a terrific addition to a collection.
picture books
Irena’s Jars of SecretsMarcia Vanghan, illustrated by Ron Mazellan
                   This is a story based on the facts of the life of courageous Irena Sendler, part of a Polish secret organization who helped people survive in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. It is thought that she saved more than 2500 children by smuggling them out and placing them in foster homes in Warsaw.  It is good to find brief stories for younger children to read of the many heroes of this time. The pictures by Ron Mazellan (who also illustrated The Harmonica) are beautiful paintings, and additional information along with a glossary is in the back matter.
      There was a death in my daughter's family of a dear cat last week, so we found a few books to help everyone, children and adults. FYI-Cynthia Rylant also has a book titled Dog Heaven, for those who would like that. 
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney – Judith Viorst, illustrated by Erik Blegvad
              For anyone who has lost a pet, this is the book that will help the conversations with children, and it offers a message of love for adults too. A cat has died, and the family buries it in their back yard, holding their own ceremony of goodbye. The child in the story is very sad, but comes to some satisfaction in saying goodbye at the end.
Cat Heaven – written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant
             Losing a pet is hard, yet Cynthia Rylant offers much comfort in both her poetic words and pictures  in this sweet book of her imagined heaven for cats.  If you’ve suffered some loss, you will love this sweet story of cat shenanigans, even in heaven!
Love Monster - written and illustrated by Rachel Bright
           My almost five-year-old granddaughter loves all things about monsters so when I found this at the library, I checked it out for her next visit. It is bright, cute and colorful, but it isn’t going to be a favorite. Maybe because the problem wasn’t stated well enough, I don’t know, but my granddaughter and I thought it was a bit of a ho-hum story, and when the monster only found another friend that looked just the same, even I wondered why. Couldn’t all the mixture of fluffy and cute animals (read people) have a good time together? And in the page that showed nobody loving a “slightly hairy googly-eyed monster” I didn’t like it at all. It felt as if the book was teaching children to dislike those who are different.

Bully - written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
             It seems that everyone is writing something about bullies. Although this is brightly illustrated with few words, it teaches a good point. A bull-y runs around calling other animals names when they offer to play—a pig is a “pig”, a turtle is a “slowpoke”, and a chicken is a “chicken”, a goat finally stands its ground and calls the bull a BULLY! The bull-y backs down, seeming to realize that it’s being a bully by its actions and everyone is much happier. The book will start many conversations I would imagine, about how easy it might be to fall into the bully trap, and how easy it might be if one stood up and said, “don’t do that” to a bully. I liked it.

Rabbit Moon – written and illustrated by John Rowe (This pic wouldn't work in the collage.)

        I love moon books, and this is another that would be such fun to read to young children. It’s a
fanciful story about a rabbit who loves to gaze at the moon at night, but one night notices it is not there. He finds the moon (really just a drawing) and tries all sorts of ways to send it back to the sky. There are surprises that will make you laugh, and finally the rabbit finds the real moon. The illustrations are spare, with a few other animals beside the rabbit in on the action.

NEXT: I've had my current book I'm reading a long time and just wanted to read it. Perhaps adolescents might like it, but it really is meant for adults. It's a story of a used bookstore, a memoir titled The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch. Thus far, it's good. After that, Paperboy, by Vince Vawter (from my #MustReadin2014-see page at the top).

48 comments:

  1. The poem you shared from Please Bury Me in the Library sounded great. I'll have to look for it. Those cat/death books you mentioned have surprisingly (sadly) been very popular at our store. It's kind of heartwrenching when customers start crying because of their loss but we're glad we can somehow help them by finding a perfect book to help them deal with their situation.

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    1. I think it's lovely that you keep them in stock ready for your customers, Earl. They aren't new. Hope you enjoy the poetry.

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  2. Linda, your Monday posts make me yearn for more time to read! I love memoir and bookstores, so that adult read is going on my list. I just passed Paperboy (I still haven't read it) to a student last week. He's a bit of a reluctant reader, but seemed to be interested. Please Bury Me in the Library has been on my favorite list for awhile, glad you discovered it. Happy Reading!

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    1. I've heard Paperboy is so good and just never got to it last year. I'm glad to hear about your student! Thanks, Ramona!

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  3. Your book list makes me a bit wistful today. I'll need to read the 10th thing about Barney again - it's been a while.

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    1. Thanks Anita, it really is special, and I'm happy it's still available. Earl (first comment) works at a bookstore. Thank you.

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  4. Alfie's story is one I need to read! Otherwise I am with Ramona, I need more time to read! Perhaps when this testing season is over. Thanks for great recommendations.

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    1. Hope you find that time, and Boyne's book soon, Jaana. Thanks!

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  5. You got a lot of reading in this week, Linda. I've given Cat and Dog Heaven many times to people when they've needed it. (Cynthia Rylant wrote these, although both she and Cynthia Voigt are incredible.) I loved The Boy with the Striped Pajamas, so I'll watch for the release of Stay Where You Are and Then Leave. Sounds like an important book to read. Thanks so much for all of the recommendations, Linda. Have a great day.

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    1. Melanie, thanks very much for the correction-the Voigt just came out so naturally I guess-love them both. I fixed it! Hope you do find the book by Boyne & enjoy it.

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  6. It has been quite a while since I've read Please Bury Me in the Library. I'm going to have to pull it out when I get back to school. I also thought the Bully book was well done. Very easy for my younger students to understand. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Glad to hear the Bully book was good with the younger students. I thought it would be. Thanks!

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  7. I did like Stay Where You Are and Then Leave. My students aren't as fond of homefront books set during wars, but this was intriguing.

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    1. Good to hear about this book. I found it read very fast, wanted to know what was next!

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  8. I love your book reviews. How lucky you are to get advanced copies to review. Maybe some day down the road when more time is created in my day....

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    1. I do feel lucky, Deborah, and then I get caught up in what to read, the new one or the older one. Guess that's a good dilemma. Thanks!

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  9. I am so looking forward to the John Boyne book, Linda. You managed so much reading this week! Both the "pet books" you shared are marvelous to have on hand to read and discuss as the need arises - as it does, from time to time.

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    1. I hope you like the Boyne book, Tara! As for the pet books, the teacher who loaned it to me said she looks for them at garage sales, etc. so she can have them to give to students who need them. Isn't that great? Thank you!

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  10. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Linda! I love John Boyne's work and eagerly look forward to reading this one. Thanks for your review of Stay Where You Are and the others as well.

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    1. Happy St. Pat's Day to you too, Michelle. I need to find some of Boyne's adult books too-also look good! Thanks!

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  11. Good to learn about CBI, thank you, new to me... Happy reading week to you!

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    1. I imagine you will recognize some good books there, Debbie. Happy reading to you, too!

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  12. Thanks Linda for the book recommendations. I just became a member of "Good Reads" and will add them to my reading list. As a history teacher I am especially looking forward to "Stay Where You Are And Then Leave – John Boyne" and "Irene's Secret Jar." One of pet hamsters just died and we had a funeral. These books would have been great for that. Happy St. Patty's Day!

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    1. I'm on Good Reads, too, Latisha-will look for you! Glad you could find some books just for you today.

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  13. Bury Me in the Library. What a great title for a book. I wish I had thought of it. I recently read Love Monster while in Barnes and Noble. I am so glad to hear you also have grandkids. They are so much fun. I love being a grandmama. .

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    1. The poetry in the "library" book is terrific, Julee. I wonder what you thought of Love Monster? Yes, I love my grandchildren & being with them!

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  14. I love Bully - it was a powerful little book in my classroom. This is the magic of Laura's books - very few words but with very big impact. The tenth . . . is such a special book. Have you read Remembering Crystal? Another wonderful book about dealing with grief - perfect for younger children.

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    1. I looked up Remembering Crystal, sound very nice, too, Carrie. Thank you very much for it. The books have been good to have! Also glad to hear that Bully has been good in your classroom. I suspected it would be. Thank you!

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  15. Linda, Great sharing today. I am behind on the IMWAYR post.

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    1. Thanks Jone, always like hearing your reviews-maybe next week?

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  16. Great selection, Linda. The moon one looks particularly up my street.

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    1. It is the cutest book, Catherine. I certainly loved it. Like you, I do like the moon books!

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  17. More great books! Love the sound of the John Boyne book. And too bad about the monster one - I am always looking for a good monster picture book! Saying Goodbye to Lulu (author? yikes! I forget) is one of my favorite for dealing with death, loss of a favorite pet. It is sad! Thank you for sharing all these great leads.

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    1. Thanks for that title new to me, too, Maureen. That's great to hear. Have you seen The Monstore? I bought it for my granddaughter & she loves it. See if you can view it first, though. She's nearly 5, & the book might be a little complicated for threes. Thanks!

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  18. I am so looking forward to Water Can Be.... A Leaf was wonderful. Have a great week.

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    1. Yes, it's going to be delightful to see it for real. I had an e-copy! Thanks, Crystal!

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  19. My mom passed The Little Bookstore along to me recently, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Sounds like the kind of book I enjoy but often struggle to make time to read. Cat Heaven! Oh my gosh, I may be able to work up a tear just thinking about that book! It's one of my top ten crying books for sure.

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    1. I've had The Little Bookstore for a long time, but just needed something soft for a change-it's nicely done, and interesting to see how people do things. Yes, Cat Heaven is wonderful, as is Dog Heaven. Thanks Elisabeth!

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  20. O love all the books you share and review. Will have to get Boyne's book. Loved his other one. Disturbing but so well written.
    The Tenth Good Thing about Barney is one I always shared with the class before we read Because of Winn Dixie. Then compared and made our own lists.

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    1. Good connection between those two books, Beverley, both so sweet. I hope you like the Boyne book! Thank you!

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  21. I love that you used green font in your post today! :-) I've wanted to read other John Boyne books since I loved The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but haven't gotten around to it. I need to read this one! And of course I have to get Please Bury Me in the Library! ;-)

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    1. Loads of books to enjoy, aren't there, Holly. Until I researched him, I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't know he has written well-reviewed adult books too! Sometimes I think I concentrate too much on the children's books. Glad you enjoyed the 'green'! Thanks, Holly.

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  22. Thank you for these books. I've got Water Can Be on order. Looks like I'll have to order a few more. I am especially intrigued by the John Boyne and Cynthia Rylant choices. Love everything Rylant does and Boyne's story sounds overwhelming. I wonder if our kids can relate.

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    1. The Rylant books are marvelous, for special purposes. As for the Boyne book, I think it would be so interesting to see how they felt about all this 9 year old boy does & manages. It's different, but similar to when I read Hatchet with a group. We talk about the traits needed in order to do hard things, & we wonder if we "really" have them. Good question Julieanne!

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  23. Good luck on your poem tonight and tomorrow, Linda! I know you'll do great! Can't wait to read it!

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    1. It's going to be quite a 'something". I do have an idea, actually, now to craft it into something! Thank you for the wishes!

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  24. Linda, I haven't heard of any of these books, so I am very happy you shared all of the great titles with me. I am particularly interested in reading STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND THEN LEAVE. I hope you have a wonderful week--I am sure we will chat soon!

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  25. I've been meaning to find BULLY for the longest time and wanted to include that in my text-set for my higher degree class. We will be touching on bullying as well for my preservice class, so I'd search for this title by Seeger and see whether it would be good for a read-aloud with would-be teachers. Stay where you are and then leave also caught my eye. The only John Boyne novel I've read was Barnaby Brocket, which was also illustrated by the talented oliver jeffers. Will take note of this title so that we could include it in our upcoming War and Poetry reading theme. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!