Link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. and Sheila at Book Journeys. Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki, our lists grow (and grow)!
Gaijin – written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
Koji Miyamoto, whose father has returned to Japan because his parents are ill, celebrates his 13th birthday on Dec. 7th, 1941, not a good time to be half-Japanese in the U.S. This graphic novel tells the story of this young adolescent and his white mother who are sent to what was called a re-location camp, first right outside San Francisco at an old race track. Their new home is a stall in a horse stable. Koji’s anger at nearly everything builds from the beginning. First they must sell all their belongings except for two full suitcases, and the ‘junk’ man pays them only $50. Sadly, the insults continue, fighting at school, then at the camp, a gang also harasses. Somehow, Koji doesn’t even fit in this group. He has freckles! The plot holds the reader’s attention through conflict between Koji and his mom, Koji’s fights and then the joining of the local gang. Friendship with an older man is like a lifeline; he gives Koji advice and helps him out of trouble more than once. It’s a good complex story that will hold young adolescents’ attention and hopefully help them understand the terrible times in war, even in America.
Once Upon An Alphabet, short stories for all the letters – written and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Wow! This is a great book, filled with little stories to tickle and delight. Sometimes the letters take us on a journey to other letters. Sometimes the stories end so quickly that one wants to re-read them again, and then again. And then, you laugh. I can’t wait to read some aloud to my middle school kids. They wonder about stories, and sometimes think they can’t write good ones. Is this a good mentor text? Yes. It may not have all the parts for long, long stories, but it has all the parts.
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - written and illustrated by Julia Sarconne-Roach
One of the picture books of 2015 is one others are discussing, and I managed to find it at my library! It's a fanciful story of a bear whose appetite for berries gives him both a nap and a ride to his new forest, a city. Through several amusing adventures, the bear's antics are caught out by a surprising thing. I won't tell what, but it's a clever end. Sarconne-Roach's illustrations are dreamy and good, like the story.
Still Reading – Black Raven, White Dove by Elizabeth Wein. I'm sorry to say I think I wrote more than I read this week, but it was fun! I am also reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart because I have a book group in my class that I'm starting this week. I didn't get to so many of the books I wanted to.