Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's Monday-Reading Pleasures

Link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. and Sheila at Book Journeys.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

Wow, I haven't posted since April, but I haven't read much either, except thousands of words in Washington D.C. Museums! Most of the following books were read before my class trip. Lately I've had the pleasure of a NetGalley copy of Rebecca Stead's new book, Goodbye Stranger and am enjoying it very much. 

Here's what I want to share:


All The Bright Places - written by Jennifer Niven
              Two characters traveling in different high school circles, Violet and Finch, are thrown together by an unlikely occurrence. They both stand on the edge of the school’s bell tower, unable to move, ready to jump? And then we the reader are thrown into the story of this pair, each taking a turn at sharing their lives, with all the joy and hurt that happens to high school seniors, and a bit more tragedy than most. Bullying and death of a sibling enter the mix, too, along with a geography teacher whose assignment offers a beautiful backdrop to Violet’s and Finch’s lives and relationship. The discoveries made about life and about each other bring tears. The families juxtaposed against one another seem to be reflections of our society’s challenges in facing death and mental illness. It’s a book hard to read and equally hard to leave. One quote: “The air is already heavy with summer.”





Previously - written by Allan Allberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingman
            From a little girl, named Goldilocks, running madly home after having climbed out of another house’s window, to a boy named Jack, the one with the hen, and then another one (who usually goes with Jill), Allan Allberg has written a hilarious story--backwards. I think those who are reading this will enjoy it most if they are familiar with quite a few fairy tales and Mother Goose rhymes, but it is a clever tale of all those events that happened “previously”. The illustrations are colorful, whimsical, and filled with hints of the stories.

Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace - written by Tony Johnston and paintings by Susan Guevara

           My words seem small when trying to describe the beauty of these poems and illustrations in this book. Most of the poems appear to be about people in the middle east, but most could be from anywhere there is turmoil, lately in the U.S. too. In the title, opening poem, Johnston writes: “Child on the other side of the world. . . I am calling. Can you hear my voice? . . . I dream you a safe shore.”  And in the middle, a poem titled “Overheard in a War Zone”: Give us this day our daily bread/and please, Lord, give us tomorrow.” The final poem speaks of weaving together, ALL of us, and “A world/with peaks of kindness.” It is a thoughtful, urgent book, hoping for something good to happen in a torn world.

Yard Sale - written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

           Little Callie’s family is having a yard sale. They’re moving to a smaller place, an apartment, and need to get rid of quite a few things. The underlying message is that they’ve lost their home. There’s a little bit of money talk between Callie and her next-door neighbor friend. Neither really understand, but stay helpless as they watch the belongings sold, including Callie’s bicycle. Lauren Castillo’s helps tell the story with her wonderful kid-friendly illustrations, simple and colorful. At the end, the real lesson comes through. The belongings don’t matter, and what does is that “they” are together.  This will be a sweet book to share and discuss that will touch some children’s lives who are moving, and need to say goodbye to some beloved things.

For all you book lovers! At the National Gallery, I discovered a beautiful painting by an artist I didn't previously know, John Frederick Peto, who died in 1907. Here's a picture:

27 comments:

  1. I've just finished Goodbye Stranger. I loved it and look forward to reading your comments next week. I'm waiting for the audiobook of All The Bright Places. Only one more listener to go and it's mine. Reading your review just makes me wish I had it in my hands now! Previously looks like a hoot to read and Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace sounds like the kind of book that might haunt you afterwards. Yard Sale just arrived in the library, but I haven't had time to get to it. Happy reading this week.

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    1. Thanks Cheriee, hope you love All The Bright Places as I did. I am nearly finished with Goodbye Stranger-such voices in this story!

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  2. Glad your back, Linda! What a great painting you found! The books you've highlighted are so different, yet all sound wonderful in their own way. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Isn't that painting wonderful? So happy you enjoyed it! Thanks, Catherine, glad to be back!

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  3. I love Previously! I am also a big Eve Bunting fan, but have not read Yard Sale. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Hope you like Yard Sale-very sweet. Isn't Previously wonderful? It's a creative idea I haven't seen before. Thanks, Jane.

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  4. I have been hearing so many good things about All the Bright Places that I am sorry I didn't take an ARC when it was offered. My stack of ARCs was too high to add anything else. Come see what my week was like here. Happy reading!

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    1. I hope you can find a copy to read sometime, Kathy. Will check out your reading!

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  5. All the Bright Places is certainly a book I want to set aside to read this summer. Previously sounds like fun - perhaps the genesis for a fun writing project with my kids? I love that Peto painting, Linda - a box of treasured books? This will no doubt be a week to adjust to getting back to routines - welcome back!

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    1. We have so, so much to complete this week, Tara, but will get through it! The students are so excited about everything during this time of year. Hope you'll enjoy All The Bright Places some time! Thanks.

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  6. Did you catch the "cameo" in Yard Sale?? I didn't, I had students point it out!
    Previously is a book I purchased many years ago. It was around then I started to see the power of using mentor texts!
    All the Bright Places was full of lines that I wrote down.
    I'm anxious to read Goodbye Stranger. I've heard some mixed reviews....
    Have a great week, Linda!

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    1. Yes, I saw the surprise in Yard Sale, didn't want to say, but how fun it is! Glad you enjoyed All The Bright Places, too, Michele.

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  7. Previously caught my eye. I'll be seeking that one out at the library this week.

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    1. It is such fun, Beth, and perfect for about third grade & up, who might begin to recognize what's next!

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  8. Can't wait for the new Rebecca Stead! She's one of my very favorite authors. All the Bright Places is on my TBR pile--maybe I'll get to it this summer. Welcome back!

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    1. I'm enjoying it a lot, Elisabeth, a mixed bag of characters working through their lives, just like my students!

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  9. OH would love to read Goodbye Stranger - I love her books - When you Reach Me and Liar and Spy. I also have All the Bright Places on my reading list.

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    1. I've enjoyed all Rebecca Stead's books too, & love that she surprises each time. Thanks, Joanne.

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  10. Hello Linda! Yard Sale was one of my favorite spring books this year! All the Bright Places sounds like a heartbreakingly beautiful book and I am looking forward to reading that one. I just ordered Previously - can't wait to see it! Thanks for your picks this week!

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    1. You're welcome, Adrienne. Yard Sale is just right with the story, lots of compassion in it. Enjoy Previously, much fun!

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  11. We can't wait to read Yard Sale - Eve Bunting's books are always so powerful. Thank you for telling us about Rebecca Stead's new book - We are ordering it now.

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  12. I must get a copy of Yard Sale. I was just given a gift card for a bookstore and this might be part of my purchase. I really loved All the Bright Places - it's now on a top shelf waiting for my daughter to get a little older - I know one day she will love it!

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. Hope you like Yard Sale. It shares a story with so many feelings that will touch children who might be going through similar challenges in their lives.

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  13. My oldest recommended All the Bright Places to me. The mixture of hope and hopelessness tugged my heart.

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    1. It was both a pleasure and heartbreaking to read their stories, Terje. I agree with you about the heart touching!

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  14. I remember catching my breath time and again as I read All The Bright Places. It is a beautiful and difficult-to-forget read. I love Tony Johnston's poetry, I recall featuring Voices from Afar for our war and poetry reading theme. So powerful.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!