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!
It's been a couple of weeks since I posted, but going to the All-Write Conference, then on a family trip didn't offer much reading time at all. I do have a few books to recommend, however!
Crenshaw - written by Katherine Applegate
I am happy to have received a copy of this new book by Katherine Applegate from Net Galley. It’s a story of magic that will be a brief read aloud to begin discussions about family, friendships and loyalty, the needs of children who are often left out of conversations about serious topics, and resilience. Is there a time when children are asked to cope with too much? Do parents and other adults in their lives assume too much when children just say, “it’s okay” or “I’m all right”? The main character Jackson, a boy who’ll be in fifth grade, has already dealt with living in a van with his parents and little sister, and sees that it may be happening again. There’s little money for food, and certainly not enough for rent, and Jackson sees it all happening again, remembers that “other” time, when dealing with being hungry, not much room to sleep, and washing in public restrooms was tough. A large cat, Crenshaw, appears again, this time in a bubble bath of all things. Don’t worry; he’s imaginary, and has arrived (like last time) to help. The story weaves in and out of the past and present, showing Jackson’s thoughts about what kind of person (who wants to be a scientist) has imaginary friends and what is “real” in his life (parents having to move out again). Applegate crafts a good story with a sweet character who learns a few things about families and friends.
The Gathering Books blog holds a challenge to read award-winning books each year. You can click the picture on the right to find out more about it. The following book won numerous awards last year.
Station Eleven - written by Emily St. John Mandel
awards: Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and The Morning News Tournament of Books
Finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award
Longlisted for the Bailey's Prize (formerly the Orange Prize) and for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Named best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly and BookPage
I do love dystopian novels, and this one, for older teens and adults, was beautifully intricate moving back and forth in time from each of the major character’s lives. Mandel tells a grim story that begins with Arthur Leander, a famous actor, dying onstage by a heart attack during a King Lear production. Those we meet in this brief opening scene, a child actress names Kirsten and an EMT names Jeevan, will return as driving parts of the plot. As Jeevan walks home from the theater, he receives a call from a friend at a hospital telling him of a terrible flu spreading in New York City, one they’ve recently heard about only in Europe. Back and forth in time the story emerges, with a main part being a Traveling Symphony moving from town to town, surviving in this changed world with no electricity, no cars, only ambulatory by walking and pulling a wagon with horses. The writing is lovely, taking us on the journey of an actor who moves from wife to wife, of a man who thinks for himself in order to survive, and of a young girl who grows up in a different world than she thought she would. She says: “This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air.” As I read the book, I thought more and more about the things I take for granted, wondering how I might survive in this new world Mandel wraps into her story. I enjoyed it very much.
Here are older books found at my library sale, and worth a look.
Cat’s Night Out - written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen
This is a wonderful counting book, Klassen’s first book for kids! Different numbers of cats dance different dances in their ‘night out’, two and fours, fourteen and more, all different dances, clever rhymes illustrated with cityscapes on each double page. For example: “Ten cats line-dance, keep the beat/in rhinestone boots on Easy Street.” It’s a book with rhythm, clever rhymes, silly cat dancing, and an ode to jazz.
Can You See A Little Bear? - written by James Mayhew and illustrated by Jackie Morris
With so much to see and find, this book for younger children, pre-school and younger elementary can be enjoyed for many reasons, including finding what little bear is doing next. There are circus performers, entertainers, hot air balloons and more as little bear goes adventuring. Toward the end, one can see little bear heading home for tea and toast, and bed! Illustrations by Jackie Morris are bold, colorful and filled with details that include other repeating animals, too.
Umbrella - written and illustrated by TaroYashima, a Caldecott Honor book in 1959. Yashima is also the author/illustrator of Crow Boy that also won the same medal.
For pre-school or early elementary children, it’s a sweet story of the excitement of waiting for rain (patience learned) and finally getting it, because little Momo (which means ‘peach” in Japan) just received an umbrella and rain boots for her third birthday. It’s also a growing up book as the ending shows. Yashima’s illustrations are beautifully soft watercolors. The page with others and Momo walking home with her father after school is gorgeous with all the colorful watercolors.
The Best New Thing - written by Isaac Asimov and pictures by Symeon Shimin
This isn’t the greatest story, but I bought it because it was by Asimov. He tells the story of a brother and sister who live in their own little world out in space, without gravity. It shows them drifting around the rooms, slurping milk that’s formed into a ball, and hugging their parents from “above” them. The conversation also includes talk about the differences between where they live and earth, and show the children very interested in those. They are planning to travel to earth, and need to exercise their muscles to prepare for the earth’s gravity. When they arrive, it takes some adjustment, and Rada, the little girl, says “The floor is holding my foot.” It’s an interesting way to describe it, and makes me want to experience the change too. This would be a good introduction to outer space and how different it is to experience no gravity, and life in space.
Now Reading: Finally, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater! I am going through, weeding out the hundreds of books I brought home that were at school, collected over a lot of years! I'll sell some, give away some, and keep the rest. This will probably be my "re-reading" summer!