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It was a great week of reading, some finds in my school library and some read at a bookstore made the week fun.
This book meets the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit reading challenge that shares more books from Latino authors or about Latino people. You can read about the challenge by clicking on the sidebar button.
Love And Roast Chicken, a trickster tale from the Andes Mountains – written and illustrated by Barbara Knutson –
The first reason I found this book is because of the beautiful cover. With bright colors emphasized by black outlining, it is so appealing. The story follows the usual structure of a trickster tale and while the back matter says in the Andes mostly the trickster is a grey fox, this time it’s a guinea pig, or “cuy”-guinea pig in Spanish, mixed with the ancient languages of Quechua or Aymara (what is spoken in the Andes). Other Andean words are included in the story, like “pobrecito” (poor little thing) and “Que ridiculo” (how ridiculous). The dear guinea pig finds himself in various scary situations, which he smoothly talks out of, tricking the fox time and again. It’s a book to use for predicting, with lots of laughter at the fox who keeps believing that CUY again and again.
adult novel-am very glad I read it!
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – written by Gabrielle Zevin
I don't want to give anything away. It's a good, satisfying story. It's a sweet love story oftwo people, of a father and his child, and of a man and his books. There are parts that surprised, and parts that I expected. Since I'm a reader, too, I loved the parts at the beginning of each chapter that spoke of a piece of writing, part of a book, a short story, advice from the printed word. The characters are complex with backstories that help them be understood, but are mysterious until we're let in on the secrets. And there are secrets, tantalizing ones. Gabrielle Zevin lets us in on them, but doesn't allow other characters to know the secrets for a while, or never. A.J. Fikry's demeanor changes, and we hear his thoughts about this, sometimes bad, sometimes not, but it is his kindness learned that stands out for me. I hope if you choose to read it, you will thoroughly enjoy it.
middle grade novel - wow!
Boys of Blur – N.D. Wilson
I don’t know this author and evidently I’ve been missing some good books, written earlier. According to N.D. Wilson, he wonders why there aren’t more magical and fantastic stories in the U.S. (like in Great Britain). Well, he’s written one, set in the town of Tapir, beside Lake Okeechobee, with the cane fields alongside. The action starts so fast it’s difficult to put the book down, and Wilson writes tightly, no extra descriptions, just the facts readers need to know. Basing the story on some parts of Beowulf, we meet Charlie, a mixed-race family evolved from an earlier abusive father and a brave mother who managed to make the break with Charlie and re-marry. This conflict touches the parts of the story that are magical, the dark parts within the swamp, those who are fighting those named the “Gren, and their evil mother” who are trying to destroy the world with the tricky infusion of feelings envy, jealousy and anger. There are parallels between the stories, hidden deftly, but they are there. Charlie manages to overcome scary injuries to keep on with his quest, helped mostly by a second cousin, Cotton. You’ll need to read this so you can share it with those students who adore adventure fantasy. Here’s the first line: “When the sugarcane’s burning and the rabbits are running, look for the boys who are quicker than flame.” Later on the same page, “Out here in the flats, when the sugarcane’s burning and the rabbits are running, there can only be quick. There’s quick, and there’s dead.”
picture books - 3 wonderful ones!
The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend – written and illustrated by Dan Santat
How wonderful that there is a book for children that goes beyond the thought of imaginary friends, the part that shows where they are born (created?), and how they manage to travel to one’s friend. That is this story, and a sweet one it is, with beautiful full illustrations, both realistic and imagined.
Flight School – written and illustrated by Lita Judge
Of so many books read recently, this is a favorite. Lita Judge’s illustrations make me smile every single page, and the sweet little penguin (with the 'soul of an eagle') is so persistent and passionate about wanting to learn to fly, and then willing to try just about everything, even accept help from friends. There are lessons to be learned in this book, and not just about flying.
What a wonderful story, about a sweet little boy trying to find the perfect gift for his mother's birthday. He begins with a perfect rose, but to help others, keeps trading his "finds" for someone else to use. The illustrations are gorgeous pages, filled with small details of old Vienna. The back matter explains that some of the people Oskar encounters are actual well-known people at the time, like Klimpt the artist. I bought this for my daughter for mother's day because her children call her 'Mama'.
Swing Around The Sun – poems written by Barbara Juster Esbensen, each part illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, Janice Lee Porter, Mary GrandPré, and Stephen Gammell in turn
Beautiful poetry book that has a four seasons approach, employing four different illustrators that show off the poems beautifully. Terrific to see and to read the poems. There's something for everyone in this collection.
Next - late to the reading, but beginning Mark of The Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson, from NetGalley. So far, starting well. It's time to choose one of my #MustReadIn2014 also. I'm traveling Thursday to Sunday to see my son and family in Texas. It'll be fun to take the kindle...