Sunday, September 21, 2014

Monday - Books to Love!

             Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, started one with a children's focus. Come join in to share your own reading!
I'm also excited to visit at Michelle Barnes Today's Little Ditty with a poem of address I wrote for Irene Latham's September challenge. Come visit!

And-it's Banned Book Week-Are you reading as many banned books (or sharing them) as you can?
     
Revolution – written by Deborah Wiles

             Considering what recently occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, it saddened me to read this book about Freedom Summer, the history of the months during which the Civil Rights Act passed, 50 years ago, and the Voting Rights Act, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.  In these 50 years, some things have still not changed.
           The voice of 12-year-old Sunny who tells this story of her time in Greenwood, Mississippi, weaves in family conflicts, grief over her abandonment by her mother, figuring out the family dynamics when her father re-marries, and hard questions about the racial conflict. She often says she doesn’t understand. She often asks why everything can’t just go back to the way it was. The first might is a question we all should ask; the second shows the way so many children grew up, blind to the inequities surrounding them. Wiles intersperses the fiction with real-life photographs and news, cementing this “made-up” story with a firm under-pinning of truth. I was mesmerized and horrified, all at the same time.


          The following book also meets the challenge from Latin@s at KidLit (see the button on the right) to read more diverse kid lit. It's a terrific book you shouldn't miss! You can discover many great books not always heavily shared by checking this blog.

Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass – written by Meg Medina
               This book makes me want to run to the nearest high school to save all those kids who are living each day being bullied! Young Piedad (Pidday) Sanchez and her mother have moved to a better apartment, but that means a new high school. Piddy is sixteen, and smart, but also all of a sudden with curves, instantly offends another girl, leader of a “group” who sees her boyfriend take a long look at Piddy. The other girl, Yaqui Delgado, wants revenge. The first words Piddy hears at her new school is the title, “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.”  Piddy grows into a young woman that you will love in her story, pushed to the limits, figuring out who she really wants to be, finding in her heart to help a friends who also need the support, and also learning to love her mother all over again. Every one of the characters who surround Piddy are interesting and sympathetic, even Yaqui. It’s a story for older students to love and to learn from. Sadly, it’s a story that may fit more students than we’d like.

Frank! – written and illustrated by Connah Brecon


Frank is a cute and lovable bear who struggles with being on time, anywhere, but the story focuses on his being late at school. He has good reasons because he stops along the way to help, like rescuing a cat from a tree. Unfortunately, he becomes even later because the tree runs away with him still in it! Eventually, Frank manages to be on time at school, and just at the right moment for rescuing his classmates! The story feels like it's about small children who start off with good reasons why something happens, and suddenly the story becomes even bigger than the truth. Lots of imagination here in this book, and the pictures are filled with small asides in balloon speeches. The book is confusing at times, so it might make a good group conversation first, then let the kids take lots of time to examine the illustrations!

The Seven Silly Eaters – written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee

Just discovered, lent from a friend, a terrific picture book illustrated with all the humor pictures can hold by Marla Frazee, and a hilarious rhyming story of a family who keeps adding children who happen to be picky eaters. I began to feel a lot of sympathy for the mom, especially working so hard to please her kids. But it did all come out beautifully- will be a fun read aloud for young children.

Flashlight – written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd

              This makes me want to do a study of the magical things that one can discover by entering the forest dark. A young boy puts up a tent in the forest one night, and through his use of a flashlight, discovers the “night” is alive. After a while, a surprising thing happens, and he too becomes part of the discoveries. Each time I read through this wordless picture book, I saw more. With each page turned, Lizi Boyd gathers what’s been seen, showing through a cut hole, a tiny peek at what’s next. What a wonderful book!  It would be fun to do a study of the dark, pairing this with Lemony Snicket’s The Dark!

Belches, Burps, and Farts, oh my! – written by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Pranas T. Navjokaitis
              A few years ago, Artie Bennett entertained with the book Poopendous, an educational book about Poop which really was entertaining and educational. Now, with this book, he’s done it again, written an educational and funny, rhyming picture book all about those gases inside our bodies that one is taught never to discuss, at least in front of one’s elders. In our culture, we’re taught to say our pardons if any of these sounds escape our bodies. Yet, we all know that it happens, and we also know that young children especially giggle and giggle if those sounds pop out (pun intended). The illustrations are funny, filled with balloon speech asides, and clear illustrations when Artie Bennett explains what’s really going on. There is also plenty of information about other animals in the world who also burp, belch and fart.  The book is a fun and funny approach to learning about the biology of our bodies and others. 

NEXT: I said last week I was going to read Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory, & I will, but Yaqui Delgado called first. How does that happen? Do you have those things happen, thinking about one book, but somehow the other book calls louder? Hm-m. Well, at the end of the week I'm off for the week to a poetry workshop, so I know I won't be reading that book this time either, but soon! Right now, I hope to finish the second book by Marie Lu, Prodigy. And more poetry!

18 comments:

  1. I was thinking about a similar question this week, Linda: how do I decide what I'm going to read next? Because it isn't always exactly a decision. It really is more than a certain book is calling to me. I'm always reading several books at a time, and I don't understand the process by which one title takes over and becomes the main read. It's a mystery! I really loved Yaqui Delgado--one of my favorite YAs of the year for sure. I need to get back to Impossible Knife of Memory and finish it. Enjoy your poetry workshop! Hope you will blog about it!

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    1. I imagine I will write about this workshop. I went last year too & loved it, Elisabeth. So glad to hear you struggle with the choices, too. Makes me wonder about having a conversation with students about it. Glad you loved Yaqui Delgado, I thought it was wonderful, didn't want it to end!

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  2. Oh, Linda, I have many many books calling me :) I have books in order, but then what happens a book comes in for me at the library, or a new book is released that I must read now... So many choices!
    Revolution is one of those books. Hopefully I'll get to it soon!

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    1. I thought that everyone would understand, but it's a problem I'll never complain about! Hope you do get to Revolution, so good!

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  3. Yaqui Delgado was such an enjoyable read, so I am glad you liked it too! I thought Frank was a bit confusing as well. I've wanted to read Revolution for awhile!
    Thank you for sharing these great books, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Ricki. As we all agree, loads of books out there to enjoy, hurrah for authors! Hope you get to Revolution soon!

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  4. The Impossible Knife of Memory is a very good book and perhaps best when paired with something like Eleanor and Park. You will need a little post reading time to reflect. Flashlight is a sweet picture book and I really liked it.

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Julee. I want to read it, have read Eleanor & Park & loved that one. This time, I just know I didn't have time to get it done this week since I'm leaving. I agree, Flashlight is a wonderful surprise!

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  5. I had the same feeling when I finished Yaqui! I just wanted to go hug everyone, and give a good talking to to all the bullies.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kellee, it was a beautiful story.

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  6. Both of these novels are recent reads for me and I am huge fans of both titles. Incredible books. The Seven Silly Eaters is one of my very favourite books. I read it to my children so often that I have specific parts memorized. It is such a delightful read aloud! Flashlight looks gorgeous. Must find this.

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    1. Thanks Carrie, I know that you've read the novels, & am happy I finally got to them. You will love flashlight, so much to "see", with a flashlight, of course. Don't know how I missed The Seven Silly Eaters, except my kids are the wrong age & I wasn't so knowledgeable about pic bks so long ago, just middle school ones.

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  7. I am really enjoying Revolution. Yaqui Delgado is one of my favorites from last year - so relevant. I agree that Frank! is not exactly straight forward, but it was fun in a quirky way for me. Flashlight looks really cool. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Crystal, I've had 'Yaqui' since it came out, just getting to it, & so happy I did. Hope your week is super, too.

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  8. There are so many books for middle grade that I need to read that I have all but given up on YA. The only YA books I really seem to have a call for from my students are romances, and a little bit of dystopian fiction. Hard to read EVERYTHING!

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    1. And, just the opposite, I need to read more middle grade ones, Karen. It's a dilemma for sure. Thank you!

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  9. Yacqui called to me as well... Loved it. Tough book... Can't wait to read Flashlight! Have a wonderful reading week... :)

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  10. I love everything that Marla Frazee illustrates - there is a kind of energy and life and childlike fun to it. The silly eaters sounds like my kind of read as I used to be a very picky eater as a child. The cover of Flashlight did remind me of The dark. Will be on the lookout for the titles you shared here. I hope I get a chance to read Yaqui Delgado soon too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!