Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Monday-More Reading!

          Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen atTeach Mentor Texts host this meme that encourages bloggers to share what books they're reading. Come check everyone's posts of their reading last week!
         It was terrific reading everyone's posts yesterday for PB10for10, and I managed to find over 20 books I wanted at the library. They're on the way!

     
I finally remembered to share this. I don't think I've shared
it with all you readers. It's at the library at Texas Tech,
 & I saw it when I visited my son and family in June.
HAPPY READING!

        This first book meets the challenge for reading more books by or about the Latino experience. Thanks to Cindy Rodriguez for hosting the challenge at her blog, found here.


Papá and Me – written by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

               The book title grabbed me because my son-in-law likes to be called Papa, so I read every picture book I can when I see it’s about a Papa!  It’s a story about a boy’s day with his Papa, filled with swirling illustrations that are filled with excitement and high adventure. No matter what they do, it’s full of love in their relationship, ending with a visit to the grandparents.




 Rain, Reign – written by Ann M. Martin


         Here is a poignant story of the ways people struggle, doing the best they can with who they are. Rose (rows), a 5th grader with OCD and high-functioning autism, lives with only her father, who works part-time as a mechanic in a local garage, had a tough childhood with abusive parents, then living in numerous foster homes. Rose’s uncle fills in the gaps, like taking her to school and back when she’s kicked off the bus, but also the loving gaps, understanding her needs better than her father. Classmates tease, not understanding Rose’s love of homonyms, and Rose ends up with an aide that helps her stop shouting out about people breaking rules. The arrival of Rain (reign), a stray dog her father brings home one rainy night brings a loving relationship for Rose, but also a frightening time when the edges of a hurricane hit the community and Rain disappears. Rose can’t understand why her father let Rain out to go pee during the storm. Sadly that is when the dog disappears, and Rose struggles with the fact her father broke the rule of not putting Rain’s collar on when letting him out. Rose’s father struggles with her constant asking “why”.  And Rose’s uncle struggles with helping his brother understand how to be a good parent. The story leaves us with some satisfaction of growth in each character, and also the concept that doing what is right is the hardest journey of all. I enjoyed it very much.
The Underneath – written by Kathi Appelt
                This Newbery honor and National Book Award finalist offers a magical connecting of three different groups, most immediately wrapping around the story of a family one would ordinarily think as odd, a mother cat abandoned before she gave birth to two kittens, and a chained up hound dog, all living deep in the swamps of east Texas and Louisiana. It’s the dark, wet swamp setting that also mesmerizes in this story by the author of  The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp, another animal story I still need to read. Appelt’s style is dreamy, causing not skepticism, but belief that this story that reaches back a thousand years has to be true. There is the loving hound, Ranger, chained for years, in disbelief that a cat could walk right up to him and offer kisses. That cat, abandoned, soon gave birth to Puck and Sabine, soon to become the adventurers around which the rest of the story happens. There is Grandmother Moccassin, trapped in a jar, plotting revenge for her only daughter, Nightsong, who abandoned her for human love. That human pairing becomes Nightsong and Hawk Man, a twosome who live in the Caddo tribe hundreds of years ago. The shocking antagonist, Gar Face, is given little with which to sympathize, yet there is something about his tragic life that saddens. Sometimes I thought that the short chapters were too repetitive, but when gathered together I found I couldn’t stop reading. I began to care about the story and its outcome. I’m very glad I read to the end. It’s poetic, magical and spiritual, leaves one with a need for other stories about spirits and the hidden life they lead.
 The Wonderful Book – written and illustrated by Leonid Gore

                What is it that makes us delight in bears as characters in picture books, or stories, too? They are well loved, and this book is a good example of it. A book is left in the woods, and different animals discover it, but believe it’s a “wonderful” thing for their own uses, like a table for mice, a cover for a weary fox, and a hat (as you can see on the cover) for a silly bear. I know there will be giggles when this book is read aloud. It’s for young children!
A Library Book for Bear – written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
                 It’s a new bear book, and a funny story about Bear’s trip to the library with Mouse. Bear thinks he has all the books he will ever need, especially about pickles. At the library, he continues to reject the books Mouse offers, like one about outer space. He even finds another about pickles, but it’s about dancing pickles, and is rejected with a huff! At the same time, story hour is happening around the corner, and Bear hears the words, “So the Very Brave Bear began to inch his way toward the treasure chest…” And the rest you’ll need to read the book to discover. It’s a delight, and I know it will have kids screaming for what’s next. The illustrations are lovely, showing such emotion in Bear and in the library. Much is also included about being quiet in the library, which Bear struggles with.
The Letter Home – written and illustrated by Timothy Decker

           This is a serious telling about World War I in a letter from a father to his son. With black and white drawings, the war is shown in its stark realities, the barren war zone, the loneliness of the front line trenches. It begins and ends with the journey over the ocean, to war and back again. I believe it might be useful to help students examine how much about war they learn by examining this simple story and the illustrations, which actually tell more than the words. 
NEXT: I have several ideas, but am not sure. Time for another YA book I think.  

24 comments:

  1. My current/next read is YA. I feel like I've been reading too many Middle Readers which isn't a bad thing especially since they've all been quite good.

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    1. It's always good to mix it up, I agree, Earl. Have a good week this week!

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  2. Great book choices! I was totally grabbed by your review of The Underneath. I loved The True Blue Scouts by Kathi Appelt (the book, although the audiobook read by Lyle Lovett was the best audiobook I've listened to so far) and A Library Book for Bear is one of my favorites this year. I never heard of The Letter Home, but will be looking for it. Thanks for sharing these with us.

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    1. Thanks, Alex, especially for sharing about the Lyle Lovett audio book. I'll look for it instead of reading the print book! Hope you enjoy that interesting Letter Home!

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  3. I'll have to ask my parents if they've seen the library/book man statue. That's where they both went to college! It probably wasn't up when they were there but maybe they saw it on a subsequent visit! I can't wait to read Rain Reign. I got it at nerd camp, just haven't gotten to it yet! Happy reading this week!

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    1. The statue was so great, Michele! Hope you enjoy Rain Reign-very well told story!

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  4. Two books for bears! :) Can't wait to read A Library Book for Bear... thanks for the heads up!

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    1. I think I need to create a list just for bear books! There have been so many wonderful ones recently, and there are some dear older ones, too! Hope you enjoy this one, Debbie!

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  5. I have tried a few times to start The Underneath and never make it very far, but I know I will try again and hopefully get through it. I did end up loving True Blue Scouts. I've read several good reviews now of Rain Reign and I'm eager to read it. Thanks for sharing several new-to-me picture books! Love that book statue.

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    1. The Underneath was slow, I know, but since I wasn't in a big hurry, I kept on, and really wanted to know what was going to happen. Now I need to read the True Blue Scouts to see how much swamp is in there too! Thanks Elisabeth. Hope you enjoy the pic books!

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  6. You know how I love a good bear book. The Wonderful Book is going on to my TBR!

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    1. Like I said earlier, time to create a bear list-there are so many wonderful ones!

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  7. I was very curious about your thoughts on The Underneath - I think it is too dark for a MG novel and that it should be shelved in the YA section. But that's just me. Didn't love it. Can't wait to read Rain Reign

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    1. I was compulsive with it, Carrie, couldn't stop reading it, although I don't usually have trouble dropping a book. I was reading it so our librarian & I could discuss whether it belongs in the library at all. I felt the antagonist (the worst one) clearly puts the book into YA. And there was some sympathy that I had for him that the book never showed-interesting. Rain Reign-very sweet.

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  8. Linda,
    Thank you for sharing your review of The Letter Home. I just put in a request to my library, and I am so excited to read it! I appreciate your recommendation. :)

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    1. It is an intriguing book, Ricki, certainly for older kids, even high school or adult. I hope you share what you think of it, too! Thank you!

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  9. First, LOVE the statue!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Rain Reign. I just got it from Netgalley, and any book which you sing the praises of, is a book I need to read.

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    1. Oh Kellee-can't wait for your opinion too! I really enjoyed it!

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  10. I just checked our library and was very disappointed to find out that The Letter Home is still unavailable in our libraries. I think it would take awhile if it is a recently published picture book. It would have been a perfect book for our current reading theme :(
    I borrowed The Underneath several times but never had a chance to read it - I'm not very big on animal stories. Hopefully, this novel finds me again soon. Rain Reign sounds like an important novel that would most likely help promote empathy as well for children who have different needs. Will be on the lookout for that one. :)

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    1. I hope that someday you will find The Letter Home, Myra. Rain Reign is going to be an important book for middle grades. The Underneath is not for everyone, & I'll have to talk with those who teach the older students to see if it fits any specific student. Thank you!

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  11. The Underneath is on my list to read. Reading your review, I'm even more eager to read it now!

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  12. I'll have to read Rain, Reign -- thanks for recommending. I started working with LD teens -- including those with autism and Aspergers -- just over a year ago. I'm learning so much from them! Can't wait to check out the book.

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  13. Great books! I so, so loved The Underneath. Just finished True Blue Scouts last month - definitely well worth the read (and you need fewer Kleenexes, bonus).

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Having a conversation is a good thing!