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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Komos, Michelle 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!