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 read about some amazing books.
On Oct. 1st, the nominations for Cybils awards opened. You have until Oct. 15th to nominate a favorite book in several categories from YA to easy readers, poetry to apps! Go here if you want to know more.
Sun Moon Stars Rain – written by Jan Cheripko
I met Jan Cheripko at my recent poetry workshop, and what an interesting man he was, has written several books, and like all authors, loves his characters. And it shows in this book I discovered and read while I was there. They have a library of recent published books, and I was drawn to the cover and the title, a line from an E.E. Cummings poem.
Danny Murtaugh, 17, has just dropped out of college as a music student, saying it's because he found his girlfriend with another boy, but there is a melancholy feel about him that is mysterious and draws one into the story. We learn about his father's tragic drowning, his mother's anxiety over Danny dropping out, and that his love of photography takes him into the woods which is off-limits by a wealthy, but grumpy older man, fighting to keep his land from being taken by the state. It has a river running through it, and a dam may be needed. Sound complicated? It is, and then there's this girl, a new waitress at the local dinner, with whom Danny becomes entangled. Religion also plays a role in Danny's life as he shares what's going on during this particular time in his life. With all that, the story grabbed me immediately and I was immersed in the passion and depth of each character in Jan Cheripko's story. There are a few more I haven't even mentioned. Definitely high school and up, and well worth reading this introspective book about figuring out what one wants to be.
Many of you will recognize most of the picture books I'm sharing today, because the recommendations are from you. This is a fabulous group, so thank you!
Ruth and the Green Book – written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and illustrated by Floyd Cooper
This is the story of the challenges of travel for African-Americans in the times after World War II. Jim Crow laws had been passed that were supported by the state governments, which meant that many businesses could still choose to serve only white people. A young girl, Ruth, and her family are traveling to see her grandmother in Alabama. They live in Chicago, and have just bought their first car. They struggle with finding places to buy food, even to stay the night, but fortunately they know they will be welcomed at Esso stations, and there they discover the Green Book, a book that lists all kinds of services where African-Americans are welcomed. Sometimes it’s just someone’s home! This would make a good introduction to Jim Crow laws and the challenges faced before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, the year the final Green book was published. There is a additional information about these times, and the book’s beginning. The illustrations are bold and beautiful portraits of the family and their travels.
Hook – written and illustrated by Ed Young
Nearly a wordless picture book, the story of a found egg, the caring of a mother hen who adopts the eaglet that emerges and a young boy is so lovely I turned the pages slowly, then started over more than once. The story entertains by giving voice to the mother, who says to her new one, “You are not meant for earth,” and showing the boy helping the eaglet try to fly again and again. I’ll leave the ending for you to see and celebrate when you read the book. The charcoal drawings are simply and beautifully done. It’s almost like a “sketchbook” of a story.
Warning-Do Not Open This Book – narrated by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Warning: Do Not Read This Book if you’re not prepared for falling off the chair laughter. It’s silly and funny, & I think everyone will love it. By opening the book, the author insists that animals, monkeys first, will be let loose to do havoc, and yes, they do, along with a few others. Just enjoy, end papers too.
Sparky – written by Jenny Offill and illustrated byChris Appelhans
The name of the little girl in this book is unknown, but she is persistent, managed to talk her mother into getting a pet, and the pet she got was a sloth. She named her new pet Sparky, and did her best supporting him to be himself, although a small trick or two might have helped. I really was not sure whether to laugh or cry about Sparky and its owner. But eventually, she accepts him just the way he is, slothful.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Qin Leng
It’s a beautiful, loving story of the memories of a grandfather who is an accomplished violinist, who played for her when she visited him, the classics, but also beautifully imagined pieces like “a crow cawing for her seven chicks” and “the sound of raindrops on the oil-paper umbrella Hana twirled under during summer storms.” When Hana, a beginner, decides to play for the school’s talent show, her brothers think she’s foolish, but what happens on stage is a sweet surprise to everyone.
Beautiful Oops – written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
I know most everyone has already seen this one, but I finally got it from the library. What a terrific book to have for all kinds of projects, but especially just exploring all kinds of media, and inspiring someone to create--anything!
The Angry Little Puffin – written and illustrated by Timothy Young
This book came out at the end of September, and is a great example of a mix of non-fiction and clever story-making. One little puffin speaks out because he has to stay in the penguin house, and is so, so upset that everyone who comes to see the animals here says over and over, “Look at the cute little penguin!” However, excitement grows as a wonderfully smart little girl arrives, and manages to win this little puffin’s heart, and gratitude. It’s a cute story, would make a good conversation about careful looking for clues when identifying animals. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and show the puffin’s emotions well.
The Napping House - written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood
It’s a sweet little rhyme after The House That Jack Built, only starting with a napping grandmother, all the way up to a flea! A flea you ask? How are they connected? It’s cleverly shown in wonderfully exaggerated pictures, and clever in the rhyme—“on a cozy bed/in a napping house,/where everyone is sleeping.”
The Umbrella – written and illustrated by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert
Wow, what a terrific adventure tale. In a wordless picture book, it’s good to look carefully. I’m still not sure I noticed every detail, but found things I’d missed on the third time through. It’s a story of a curious little dog who in the swirling windy day in autumn, notices a red umbrella, and off he goes! He travels the world, gets into some scary situations, but is saved each time, often by surprising things. You’ll need to see the book to thoroughly appreciate the creativity and skill in this picture book.
Next: Will definitely finish Prodigy by Marie Lu, and I probably will read one of the Newbery books others are putting on the "list". I have some catching up to do.