Sunday, April 20, 2014

Monday Reading Pleasures Wrap-Up

                 Thanks to Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS, and Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS for hosting this community sharing!
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR


     The next two books fit the challenge to read more books from a Latino perspective. See more at Latin@s In Kid Lit here.


My Name Is Celia, The Life of Celia Cruz – by Monica Brown and illustrated by Rafael López
             I remember watching certain old tv shows when I was young, and loving the beat of Latino singers and watching them dance. This might have been one of them, but in my world, we didn’t know many famous singers who were from Cuba. This story, about her youth in Cuba in a loving home, hearing her father sing, and finally going off with her cousin to enter singing contests, is Celia Cruz’ story, the story of the singer who brought salsa to the US and to the world. She and her husband immigrated to the US at the time of the Cuban revolution, moved to New York City, and began her career. The book is gorgeously illustrated by Rafael López, famous for his murals that are seen in places all over America. His murals, known as magical realism, are vivid swirls of color that help tell the “also-vivid” story of Celia Cruz. The book is enhanced by its being bi-lingual.


Soccer Star – by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão

           Through showing one Brazilian boy’s story of dreams of becoming a soccer star, the author  gives a glimpse of children in Brazil who have risen out of poverty through soccer. Like basketball and football dreams in the U.S., children who love a sport, and play it every time possible to improve, some do escape their tough lives. Through the story, on his way to take his little sister to school and then to the fishing boat where he works, Paulo meets his other teammates at their jobs.  Mina Javaherbin smoothly shows that all the boys are working, “not” going to school. One dives for tourists, another paints floats for parades, an still another shines shoes. The wording is so clever, sharing dreams even there, like in the visit with the boy who shines shoes, Paulo says “I know that one day his fancy footwork will score us brilliant goals.” At the end of the day, the boys have a game, even though tired from a full day of work. The illustrations are beautiful realistic depictions of each part that is told. The book will be wonderful for children who are in similar situations (mother leaving for a long work day, taking care of younger siblings).

Lila and the Secret of Rain – by David Conway and illustrated by Jude Daly
         There are many stories told about calling for rain, and this is another, set in a village whose wells and crops are drying up because of the lack of rain. Watercolor illustrations are filled with hot sun, blue sky, and browntones of a desert-like land. Lila’s grandfather tells her a story that he said was told to him of “the secret of rain”. One must climb the highest nearest mountain and tell the sky the saddest stories. Lily listened, and followed her grandfather’s advice. Can you imagine what happened? The words in the story are poetic: “the sky was ebony with emotion”. I feel it would be a good addition to a collection of myths in storytelling.

A Beach Tail –by Karen Lynn Williams and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

               Karen Lynn Williams, known for the wonderful Four Feet, Two Sandals, has written an amusing circular tale of a little boy who draws a lion, named Sandy, and is told not to go into the water and not to leave Sandy. Well, with the aid of a stick, the tail grows longer, around a horseshoe crab, a sinking sand castle, and so on until all of a sudden, the little boy Gregory looks up and doesn’t know where his father is. Luckily, he knows to follow the “tail”, and that is the tale told in the book. It’s a fun story for predicting, with a little tension too for young readers. Cooper’s illustrations fill the page with ocean, sand and shore creatures to wonder over.

Following Papa’s Song – written and illustrated by Gianna Marino
            Gianna Marino has also written Too Tall Houses and Meet Me At The Moon. This recently published book was loaned to me by my great book buddy, and it is another treasure. With beautiful illustrations in different shades depending on the ocean depth, a whale baby learns about the ocean and what he can see if he dives deep, but also that he’ll always hear his papa if he listens, and thus be able to find him. It’s a sweet book for young children, but I also take it as a metaphor for all of us who still “listen” for our papas.

two poetry books

Farmer’s Dog Goes to the Forest – poems for two voices by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Arden Johnson-Petrov
          I need to find the first book of this duo because I love this one for the youngest readers. It follows the pattern of ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ but distinguishes itself by letting the animals that Farmer’s Dog sees answer with factual information about themselves. I know children will pick up the pattern easily, and hope each poem will also help them learn new words and search for more information about the animals. For example, when the dog sees a crow, he asks: “Crow, crow,/why so proud?” and the crow answers, “My eyes are sharp,/my voice is loud.” There is more to this poem. It would be such fun to have students pair up and read these aloud to each other. The illustrations are forest-based, placing animals in their true habitat.

I haiku you - written and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
            I know I’m late reading this book, and am glad I finally did. It’s full of haiku love for diverse things in a child’s life, like Popsicles and lemonade and teddy bears. The illustrations are cute cartoon-like drawings; the haiku keep the tradition of 5-7-5 syllables.

Next: Still reading A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, have started the book group reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. What a terrific book it is. And I have Miss Emily, a verse novel by Burleigh Muten. 

Such a lot of great books to read! Hope you all have a happy week of reading!

26 comments:

  1. I really hope you enjoy A Snicker of Magic since you seem to love words as much as the character does! Have a great reading week! -Earl!

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    1. So far it's been good, Earl. I've just had many other things going on to read it fast. Hope your week is great, too!

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  2. This is a tantalizing list, Linda! Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Jane. Lots to love here!

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  3. Ahhh! I hate when I see interesting books and my library doesn't have them! I'll have to keep checking. Soccer Star looks very good! Keep reading Snicker slowly. It's one that's meant to be savored over!

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    1. I was lucky to get Soccer Star, Michele, but had to wait for it from the library. Hope you'll be able to find it soon. And I will read, and savor, A Snicker of Magic-so far, delightful! Thanks!

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  4. What a wonderful selection of books, Linda! Thanks so much for bringing these to our attention! = )

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    1. Thanks Becky, hope you'll find some that you enjoy in these titles!

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  5. I am excited about My Name Is Celia--hoping to get that one at the library this week. I am really loving the books I'm reading for the Latin@s in KidLit Challenge!

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    1. I'm enjoying the books too, Elisabeth. The lists and recommendations I'm finding have opened my ideas to even more great books!

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  6. Ah, the haiku book looks like a must, Linda. I'll be interested in your thoughts about Snicker, too - it's become quite a sensation in my classroom.

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    1. The haiku book will serve beautifully as a mentor text for diverse haiku, although not really the original intent, Tara. Snicker is going slowly, and mysteries are appearing. I'm reading it slowly because of so much else to do.

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  7. I just put Soccer Star in my Amazon cart as I think it would be a great mentor for our sixth-grade narrative writing that goes along with our studies of Brazil. Thanks for that! Beach Tail was cute--another good example of a narrative mentor for younger children with great descriptions and illustrations. I'll be interested in your reaction to A Snicker of Magic--it's another book without much of a strong parent!

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    1. Melanie, I went on the search for books I've read recently about kids who needed to raise themselves because of weak mothers. There is a book about a young girl whose mother got custody, but kept leaving the girl alone in their trailer-& had another baby too. I cannot remember the title, but it was heartbreaking. It's something I hadn't thought of, but there have been several. Beholding Bee is one of them. I'll let you know about Snicker!

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  8. Looks like some great books! Thank you for sharing them as many were new to me.

    Happy reading this week!!

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    1. Thanks Kellee-hope you can find and read!

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  9. Linda, I haven't read the I Haiku You book yet, so you aren't any later than me! I love that Soccer book--I bet my husband would love it. He plays on several teams. I am going to have to nab a copy. :) Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Ricki. I imagine your husband would like it. It's a sweet, along with heart-breaking, story.

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  10. Oh dear Linda, so many wonderful titles here! I Haiku You caught my eye - would try to find that one. Soccer Star and My Name is Celia are definitely two additional titles that I must consider including in my multicultural text-set - they both look wonderful, as well as Lila and the Secret of Rain. The Floyd Cooper book cover looks gorgeous too! So many great titles, Linda, truly. Thank you for this beautiful spread. :)

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    1. You're so welcome, Myra. I'm trying hard to search for some diverse titles, & am so glad you've found some here that look good for you, too. In their own unique way, they are all terrific!

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  11. I still want to get to I Haiku You. I have heard so many positive things about it. I loved Soccer Star & My Name is Celia. I bought Lila earlier this year. Great titles here!

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. I was so taken by the Lila book, would love to search for other books that show stories about bringing rain. The stories are special.

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  12. Late checking out your post Linda - I was away with no internet. I also loved Soccer Star - It made for a very powerful interactive read aloud with my students. I need to find Papa's Song - just the cover looks so gorgeous! I echo everyone else here - some really gorgeous books on your list this week! Are you enjoying Snicker of Magic? I'm slightly afraid to read it with all of the hype.

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    1. I think I ordered Soccer Star because of you, Carrie-loved it. I'm trying to be pickier about the picture books-so many out there that it's time to choose well. Snicker is good, and I'd probably enjoy it more if I had more time to read faster. I am also reading The Graveyard Book with a group now & have read it before, but forgotten how wonderful Neil Gaiman is. So both books plus some other PD work takes a lot of time. I imagine A Snicker of Magic will be good.

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  13. I have just requested Following Papa's Song from the library after seeing this review! Thank you for sharing. Your two poetry books look fun as well!

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    1. Thank you. Hope you enjoy all of them, especially for the younger ones this time.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!