Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Monday - Mostly New Books!


           Every Monday, different bloggers link up to share books read that are for children and teens with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link o share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago. You'll discover so many great books.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!


I’ve loved Pam Munoz Ryan’s books a long time, read them on my own and with numerous book groups. This new book, Echo, fills one with such beautiful connections that one struggles to stop reading in order to do work, cooking, other things that must be done. In this, music is a the brightest thread that binds, the music of a magical harmonica. Or is it the strength of family relationships? There are three main characters that, through the music of a special harmonica, find that they can do the right thing, even when it’s scary, even when it’s dangerous.
           Otto, a little boy, finds himself lost in a forest, and encounters three sisters with a sad tale of a prophecy that somehow he must follow. It may take a long time, but Otto soon realizes that his journey, after being found, is just beginning.
            Three additional stories mesmerize with tales from the Holocaust, an orphanage, and a migrant worker’s home. My only dismay is that while becoming engaged in the stories, I am always left with wanting more. This book is created in a different way, makes one wonder, worry and still enjoying the telling with each page. I had tears when the first character played his goodbyes on the harmonica: “Lullaby, and good night, with pink roses bedight. . .”  The ache of leaving something precious occurs with each character, and yet they do leave for good reasons, and they survive. There are many beautiful songs shared in the book, tightening the thread that binds the story. I loved it.


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          I just read a wonderful interview by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater with Lee Wardlaw at The Poem Farm - here! And then I walked into my library and there was Won Ton! This is the sequel to the earlier story, Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told In Haiku. And it's just as fun, with full feline emotions because there is a new family member, and from the book cover, you can easily guess who it might be. The story moves from wonder through shock, disgust, and finally, well, you'll need to read it to discover the ending. My favorite line by Lee Wardlaw: "Woe is meeee-ow! The crowd howls." Full color spreads by Eugene Yelchin fill the page with great scenes that enhance the story.
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          Oh the anticipation built into this book. One wonders and wanders with this man who is followed and followed by a skunk, yes, a skunk! The prediction possibilities with young children will  fill the discussion, and the surprise at the end, perhaps predictable by older children, but it is funny. The way Patrick McConnell illustrates reminds me of the older limited-color picture books, and the style is cartoon-like, sparse, and just enough.






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        Recent news about the value of play has been good to see. Here is one article from the NY Times that you might want to read, "Let The Kids Learn Through Play".  And when you finish that, you can read a briefer illustration of the importance of play by reading this book, This Is Sadie. Hm-m, is that Sadie on the cover, or a young fox? "The days are never long enough for Sadie. So many things to make and do and be." And, we discover that Sadie's perfect day "is spent with friends. Some of them live on her street, and some live in the pages of books." Just imagine what that page looks like! It's a lovely book, a good time to read and enjoy with some young "playful" child.
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         When one peeks through a hole, one can discover a different perspective, and this is exactly what LeUyen Pham has done in her delightful book. Each double page asks a similar question, and there is a "peek" of something through a die-cut hole. When the page is turned, an entirely new perspective appears. For example, one page shows a "little fish", a fish with a fishbowl drawn around the hole. But turning the page reveals that same fish in a school of bigger, different fish. And the words replace "little" with "No, a brave fish." It's a clever idea, and was fun to read. Once one gets going, there's opportunity for guessing what's next. One lovely page shows the "little line", but when that is turned it becomes "inspiring" with quick sketches of well-known masterpieces and one that's a surprise. Each page invites discussion, and the illustrations are lovely, differ in detail from page to page.

What's Next: I'm traveling to the All-Write Conference this week, then immediately going to Missouri to visit family. I've downloaded two books, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel  and Digital Reading: What's Essential by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass, this summer's #CyberPD with Laura KomosMichelle Nero, and Cathy Mere. I bet I'll find a few more books, don't you? See you at the end of the month, and some of you in Indiana!

33 comments:

  1. Great reads this week, Linda! I still haven't read Won Ton & Chopstick and didn't realize it was a sequel. I need to hunt those two books down!

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  2. Isn't it great that the value of play is being confirmed again? I haven't read any of these titles yet! I'm hoping to get to Echo during the summer because I have loved everything else of Pam Munoz Ryan's.

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    1. Some of our primary teachers have said that they feel part of their plans needs to be to teach the students how to play, interesting! Hope you enjoy Echo, Cheriee.

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  3. Great books this week! I really enjoyed Echo. Niki Barnes recommended it as an audio book too b/c the music is included. I added that to my list as well!
    I really enjoyed LeUyen Pham's new book. I added it to my books to use for growth mindset - looking at things in different ways!
    See you Wednesday!

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    1. Yes, There's No Such Thing As Little is a good way to introduce growth mindset, stopping the stereotype thinking. Can't wait for All-Write, Michele. Thank you!

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    2. I didn't know that the audiobook for Echo included the music! Very cool, and good to know! Thanks, Michele!

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    3. I did not know the audio book included music - now I am going to need to get a hold of that and listen to it.

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  4. Linda, I'm so glad you loved Echo! It is probably my favorite 2015 release so far! I'm very intrigued by all of the "picture books" you reviewed, but This is Sadie! and There's No Such Thing as Little are definitely tops on my list. I notice that you teach gifted students-- I do as well; I love finding books that I can read with them that have deeper themes, symbols, etc. Growth mindset is a big plus for me, too! Thanks for sharing some great titles!

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    1. You're welcome, Virginia. I didn't know that you teach gifted students too. We'll have to be sure to share books that seem to fit well. I did love Echo a lot as you can see by my review.

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  5. I have heard so many great things about Echo, but its heft and thickness has turned me off a bit. BUT I know I need to read it so I think I'm going to give the audiobook a try very soon.

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    1. Echo was a little tough at bedtime, I agree. I hope you enjoy it, Beth. I think as Michele shared above that the audio must be fabulous. The music in the book is key. Thanks!

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  6. Of your books this week, I've read and loved This Is Sadie and am eager to get my hands on the others. The anticipation of new books! Enjoy the All Write Conference. I had hoped to come this year but it's a delicate time for my son. Maybe next year! I always love the tweets from that conference. Station Eleven is one I'm hoping to read this year. I think it turned up on just about every "Best of 2014" list I looked at last year! I just got my copy of Digital Reading too--hoping to start this week. Safe travels!

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    1. So far, Station Eleven is really intriguing. I'm interested in seeing how it goes as I get deeper into it. I just read The Road with a group of students this year so a comparison is inevitable. Hopefully someday we'll get to meet, Elisabeth. Hope that son's finger is healing!

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  7. Great list! Several of these are already in my TBR stack (Echo, Sadie), and I cannot wait to get to them. Looking forward to jumping into #cyberPD soon too!

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    1. Yes, the #CyberPD looks interesting. It's always a pleasure to see what others have to share. Thanks, Katie.

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  8. Fabulous books! Looking forward to seeing you at All Write.

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    1. Thanks, Katherine, hope we will be able to visit at least a little! See you this week!

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  9. You sparked my interest the other day about Echo...was it in your Celebrate this Week post that you mentioned you were reading it? I ordered this book awhile ago and it has been sitting on my coffee table. I think it will be the next one up for me!

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    1. I mentioned it sometime last week, Jennifer because I was supposed to be writing evals & it kept calling me to read! I did adore it.

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  10. Linda - I also wrote about Echo today - how funny. Here is my post on it - https://wordsfromjl.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-fiction-and-history-2/

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  11. I really liked Won Ton and Chopstick. It was adorable! I was happy to read your review of Echo. I've heard really mixed reviews, but I think I am going to be in the love-it camp!

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    1. I did see others who were not as happy about it, Ricki, & I did want more story, but I say that about other books, too. Yes, Won Ton is a great story.

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  12. I finally got to Sadie this week. Such a great book! I have Echo on my TBR list. The other picture books look fun. Have a great time at All-Write. :)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. This Is Sadie was just wonderful; illustrations were such fun, too.

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  13. Hi Linda,

    Have fun at All-Write. It is a conference we wanted to attend but we had a conflict this year. Hopefully we will get to attend next year. Thanks for telling us about Won Ton. We can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thank you. I wish you were coming! Enjoy Won Ton-what fun it is!

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  14. I have read and loved every title here except the last one which is on my TBR list. Enjoy All-Write!

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    1. Not surprised. So many of the books we all share are then read & reviewed (& loved) again. Thanks, Carrie.

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  15. I was waiting for your recommendation and now I have it. Echo is going on to my TBR list. Thanks! And so is There Is No Such Thing As Little.

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    1. I imagine Isabelle will love the 'little' book, much fun. Hope you enjoy Echo, yourself, Stacey.

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  16. Hi there Linda, I love the way you described Echo. So lyrical, so beautiful. My husband just gave me a copy of the book, and I really am looking forward to reading it very very soon. My soul craves for poetry.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!