And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. Great books are being shared!
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Thank you Jen, Ricki, Kellee and Sheila for all you do to help us share books!
This book fits the challenge to read more books from a Latino perspective. See more at Latin@s In Kid Lit here.
Abuelos – by Pat Mora, illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling
This story tells of a tradition that the author discovered in Santa Fe, New Mexico of a mid-winter masquerade where villages dress in scary costumes, bonfires are lit, and children are chased by Los Abuelos, reminding children of the need to mind their parents and learn their prayers. It is reminiscent of community traditions everywhere and the story told is that kind of scary that everyone likes. Young Amelia tells the story, and after some chasing and screaming around the bonfire, she discovers that one abuelo especially seems familiar, her Uncle! The night ends with wonderful food and dancing. It’s a story to share and find common parts with other celebrations, like Halloween.
One Came Home – by Amy Timberlake
I finally finished this book, raced through the final half is a better description. It is a slow
story at first, with some repetition, or perhaps one can call it, need of emphasis, at the beginning, but the story unwinds with breathtaking speed later. Georgie, a thirteen year old in a small Wisconsin town who helps out at the family’s general store, chooses to involve herself in a search for her older sister who has ‘run off’ or disappeared’, yet there is a body in a grave that other family accepts is that sister. Amy Timberlake has written a tale that Georgie tells herself, that is involved, with people so entangled, and has set the action in 1871, one of the years of the great passenger pigeon nestings. I connected immediately because of my love of John Muir’s descriptions of seeing those swarms of birds, blackening the sky, and then my sadness that they are now all gone. The determination and grit of this young woman is tantalizing, and the story-telling voice seems very real. Georgie’s thoughts fly all over the place, and sometimes she doesn’t keep them to herself either. How realistic she seems, how like the thirteen year olds I know today! I enjoyed the book thoroughly.
Cricket Never Does – A Collection of Haiku and Tanka – by Myra Cohn Livingston and illustrated
by Kees de Kiefte
I was delighted to find this older book at a favorite used bookstore by Myra Cohn Livingston filled with her beautiful haiku and tanka. Because I’m been trying to write in these new forms, it felt like the book was waiting for me. It’s divided by seasons, and in each, one can find such images that almost seem celebrated. I will share just a line from each season: Spring-‘shiny colored tents’ (umbrellas in rain), Summer-about bees-‘in their orange-and-black striped sweaters’, Fall – leaves – ‘these yellow birds”, and Winter – “Piles of ragged leaves”. Hope you can find a copy. I see that Alibris has several used copies available.
Ian’s Walk, a story about autism – by Laurie Lears, illustrations by Karen Ritz
It’s autism awareness month, and I thought I’d share a book that our library had that Gigi McAllister recommended on her blog, The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog here!. This story, like Rules by Cynthia Lord, is told by an older sister whose younger brother is autistic. The book tells of a walk to a nearby park, and we discover that Ian likes different things through his senses, and sometimes that means embarrassment for Julie. For instance, instead of wanting to see the food a restaurant offers, Ian only wants to watch the ceiling fan go around. And he loved the taste of some kinds of “pops” cereal instead of wanting pizza. The compromise comes when Julie is okay with Ian’s wishes, and does the same things, trying to figure out why he likes things that are different. The book shows worry and frustration on the part of the sisters, but also love and patience. It will be an interesting book to read and discuss with students about differences.
Next: More picture books from the library, or my own, plus the pressure has been intense, so I'm staring A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd! Fun to anticipate right now as I write this. I also have to start re-reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for a book group. Happy Reading Everyone!