Sunday, August 31, 2014

Monday Reading


              Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys who started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Now, thanks to Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, there is one with a children's focus. Come join in to share your own reading!
Caminar – verse novel by Skila Brown
             Based on real events in Guatemala in the early 80s, this story breaks your heart. It is not the usual growing up story where one celebrates a hard passage. Yet, the ending of the choice made by the young boy who tells the story brings tears, is to be celebrated. Although he has survived much loss,, his decision holds true to the character he was at the beginning. Skila Brown’s poems circle in and out of  terrible tension, exceptional feelings, and just enough information to make us, the readers, want to find out more. The use of movement of words and lines can show action, sorrow, and happiness. I loved reading and re-reading the stories told, was saddened by the obvious results that are foreshadowed. The subtle connections within the poems make the book worth re-reading to see what was missed the first time, so I’m not only recommending the book, but sharing that it should be read more than once.  There is a glossary that translate the Spanish words and phrases included in the poems, and a short Q & A about real events from the author.


 
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach – written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt
              It’s a “nutty” kind of story when Scaredy Squirrel avoids the beach for several reasons, but ends up going to the beach for one last thing to complete his own beach at home. Mélanie Watt tells the story in great pictures of this zany character showing and telling why he dislikes the beach, but then how much he enjoys the beach, what’s been forgotten, and what needs to be added. It’s a silly (typical of Scaredy) story that will bring lots of giggles when read aloud!
It Looked Like Spilt Milk - written and illustrated by Charles G. Shaw
              Mysterious pictures, white on gray, with repetitive wording, “sometimes it looked like __________, but it wasn’t ________________. This was published in 1947, an older book I’m not familiar with, but reprinted, and came with a cd of it, too. Good for the youngest  being read to, or perhaps slightly older if you’re reading outside with beautiful fluffy clouds in the sky?



The House In The Night – written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes
               With gorgeous woodcut illustrations, black and white and touches of yellow light, Susan Swanson writes a story of bedtime. In the end remarks, she tells that the inspiration comes from a nursery rhyme beginning, This is the key to the kingdom”. And so this beautiful story begins, “Here is the key to the house,” the starting action of bedtime, the book reading, looking upon the moon and a starry night, slowly darkening into sleep. I imagine this will be in a pile of favorite night-time story books to read.


The Cats In Krasinski Square - written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson
             In the past years, after tragedies, often people share the story told by Mr. Rogers about his mother: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers.”   I thought of that when I read this book, a fictional story from Karen Hesse based on a real-life story. During the terrible times in the Warsaw Ghetto, there were those Jewish people who “passed” as Polish, and day after day helped all they could to bring food and other items needed to the Ghetto, sneaking it however could be done. This story is about the use of cats to deceive the dogs used by the Nazis to find hidden food. It’s told by a young girl who says: “I wear my Polish look,/I walk my Polish walk./Polish words float from my lips/and I am almost safe, almost invisible.” With help, she devises a plan to save those bringing food, and to save the food. It is those helpers who we also must not forget. Wendy Watson’s illustrations are a bit faded, reminders of those yellowed photographs seen from long ago. The book is a good introduction to younger children who may not know much about the Holocaust.

Currently: Reading Nest, by Esther Ehrlich, so far a poignant and well-written story, out Sep. 9th!
         Finishing A Separate Peace by John Knowles, for a book group.

38 comments:

  1. I forgot about THe Cats in Krasinski Square, as this was on my reading radar a while ago, and I love Spilt Milk--that one fell off my radar, too. Thanks for reminding me of several great titles--we don't have to always read whats new and trending! I just mailed A Separate Peace to Larkin, as I wanted her to read it before she went to college. One of my all time favorite books!

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    1. I've read A Separate Peace more than once with a book group, & the students bring fresh looks each time, enlightening me. The voice is just wonderful. Glad I reminded you of some titles, Melanie. Have a good week!

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  2. There have been a lot of novels in verse lately. I do try to recommend them to students, but they are the sort of books that end up being turned back in by the end of the day, so I'm hoping it's a short lived trend.

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    1. There are a few students who have loved certain ones, especially if they are about adolescents. I am amazed how many have been published, too.

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  3. Oh, I want to read Caminar! Thanks for reminding me of it!

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    1. It is good, but as I sad, heart-breaking to learn of this time.

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  4. Caminar is one of those books that keeps sneaking up on my blog reader and social media feed lately. I think I need to move that one up the TBR pile.

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    1. Yes, a good book to read, enjoy, and think about too. I know it might be hard for some students, but for certain classes, I wonder if it might make a great read aloud. I'd love to discuss it with some students!

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  5. I love The House in the Night! I need to look for Caminar.

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    1. Thanks Earl-Yes, The House In The Night is going to be one to own & use!

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  6. New Scaredy Squirrel?! How much fun! And this one is perfect for down here in Florida :) The House in the Night's illustrations intrigue me. I love woodcut art.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. I agree, this Scaredy Squirrel is good for you! Wish I'd had it on the beach in July! The House In The Night is wonderful!

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  7. I'm planning to order The Cats in Krasinski Square. I think it will be a great way to introduce my young students to the Holocaust. Also Karen Hesse is a favorite.

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    1. Yes, you're right, Margaret. It doesn't hide from what's really happening, but also shows inspiring action!

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  8. Great suggestions - will check out Caminar and the Cats story. I just finished reading Nest yesterday - working on my write up!

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    1. I won't have time to finish Nest today I don't think, but I am enjoying it, although it's sad. The Cats... is wonderful! Thanks, Katie!

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  9. You had a "throw back" picture book week :) I've seen several people comment about Caminar lately. I have Nest from NetGalley too, but not sure I'll get to it before release date. I have it on pre-order as well. Will look for your review next week!

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    1. Thanks, Michele. Yes, read a bunch of titles from the public & my school library-some from the 10for10 list. Glad you'll be reading Nest too!

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  10. The cover of Caminar is so gorgeous. Some lovely reading this week Linda. The Cats of . . . is such a powerful title.

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    1. Thanks Carrie, yes, as you read, I loved The Cats in Krasinski Square! Caminar is very well written. Perhaps your own children would enjoy it?

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  11. I recently discovered Scaredy Squirrel at the end of the year last year and loved it! And I remember reading "A Separate Peace" in high school English.

    Found your blog from the link-up on Jen's Teach Mentor Texts blog.

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    1. Glad to hear from you & will look for you too. Scaredy Squirrel was a silly delight! A Separate Peace should be a good discussion!

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  12. Hi Linda, the Cats in Krashinski Square looks really interesting to me. I recently finished a The Boy on the Wooden Box and the strength of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. I remember reading It Looked Like Spilt Milk a long time ago. Some books are just meant to be shared by generation after generation.

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    1. I recently read The Boy In The Wooden Box, too, Gigi. What a wonderful story. And yes, The Cats In Krasinski Square is a good connection to it, too. Funny about Spilt Milk. I have no memory of it, but it was cute! Thanks!

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  13. I've had Caminar out from the library and haven't gotten to it yet. I need to read it!

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    1. It's good, Holly, but as I think I keep saying, so sad.

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  14. Hi Linda! Some old familiar titles on your list this week - I love Scaredy Squirrel books but have not read his beach adventure yet. The Cats in Krashinski is not one I am familiar with but it sounds very powerful. The House in the Night - one of my favorites! Love the wood cut illustrations and the soft voice. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Adrienne, glad I offered one you will enjoy! I loved The House In The Night too. The woodcuts are gorgeous!

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  15. Thanks for reminding me of The Cats of Krasinski Square, and Caminar will be going on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Catherine. I hope you like Caminar!

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  16. Linda, I need to read Caminar! Tree Girl is one of my favorite books, and it is set during that time period, as well. The events were simply atrocious. I bet this one would be a great resource for teachers.

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    1. I didn't know that's what Tree Girl is about, Ricki. I've heard of it, but still haven't read it. Yes, I think Caminar will be a good one in several different ways.

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  17. I really appreciated Caminar. I am a novel in verse fan anyway, but I enjoy new settings and topics. It's so well written too. Scaredy is always good for giggles. I used to use Spilt Milk with first and second grade when I taught multi-age. Great one with repetition and room for imagination. I know we have the Cats story, but I don't think I have read it. I will next time it comes across my desk. Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Crystal. Happy to hear you enjoy verse novels too. I have one that was just loaned to me by a colleague-more to love! So many of you know about Spilt Milk; what a find for me! Thank you!

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  18. Love the books you share Linda. Will have to get these for sure. Hadn't heard about the cats - will be one to discover.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley. I hope you enjoy them all, but especially The Cats In Krasinski Square. It is terrific!

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  19. Hi there Linda, I love that you found and enjoyed Cats in Krasinski Square - so many layers that can be discussed in class. Caminar looks like my kind of read as well based on all that I've been reading about it. Excited to find it here. :)

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  20. The kindergarten teachers in my building use It Looked Like Spilt Milk every year. So cute!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!