On Mondays, I'm lucky to link up to share books I've read that are for children and teens with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link to share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago. It's great to read about so many good books available, new and old! Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!
I completed a lot of books this week, and am about a third of the way into Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I'm not sure what to think yet. The writing is good, but I get shivers more than usual in a book, even one I know that's supposed to be scary. I'm getting a few hints of the unreal, so that actually makes me feel better. If it was real, I think I might stop.
FUN! In my organization of all my books, trying to fit many that moved home from school with me, I discovered an old book on a shelf titled The Delights of Reading, by an Otto Bettmann, published 1987, filled with quotes, notes, pictures, etc. I've had it a long time, didn't really remember it. Here is one cartoon I thought many of you would relate to. It isn't just us in the 21st century who are avid readers!
Two books read this week are awesome books totally different from each other, and they've both been talked about so positively. I hope some of you still haven't read them. I joined the twitter chat last Thursday hosted by Kellee and Ricki, and it was fun to see what everyone thought about Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beaseley. On the chat, Allison Beecher shared that there is talk of a sequel: good news to me!
Here are the books I'd like to share this week. This time, it seems that except for the PD book, a big focus is on animals. I must say that I do love books with lions and bears in them, and there have been many in the past few years.
It's a marvelous story, ended way too soon. "You never need an invitation to go home." After the awesome twitter chat with lots of good people excited about this book, I want to share my excitement too. The story is magical, will please so many kids who are in the midst of non-belief, maybe holding on to some magic from early childhood. Magical realism is what many call this kind of story, but there is a time when special relationships can hold magic, like this one between Grandpa Ephraim and the main character, Micah. Micah's parents are no longer there, so Grandpa is the caregiver, telling Micah fantastic stories of the Circus Mirandus,At one point Micah says: "Grandpa Ephraim was always saying things that sounded so important Micah wanted to wrap them up in boxes and keep them forever." And one of those things from Grandpa is "Sometimes we need to let go so that other people can have their chance at the magic." It's foretelling, but also shows the love in the relationship. For a while, the tension in the house grows with Grandpa ill and Aunt Gertrudis coming to care for him, adding her bitter ways. Jenny, Micah's new friend, helps calm some of it, and receives her own reward through her willingness to believe Micah's stories. If I've mixed you up, it's because there is so much good in reading this book, and I want you to read and figure out your own life's magic.
In such a short book, Cynthia Lord managed to write a deeply moving story that centers around friendship and change, grief from loss-of a parent, a dog, a real home, a friend; and learning how to look for what one has instead of what one doesn't. It is a lovely story with conflict, hope, and discovering what's important. I loved how Lord lets Lily, the main character, into our hearts through telling her story. Lily's grandpa tells her: Giving up and letting go are two very different things. Giving up is admitting you're beat and walking away. Letting go means you're setting something free. You're releasing something that's been keeping you stuck. That takes faith and more than a little courage." And Lily learns and grows up quite a bit this summer.
I read this book with the online group #CyberPD, and like the past years, it's always a tremendous learning experience. Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass don't take the teaching of reading lightly, include past learning for reader's workshop from Atwell, Miller, Gallagher and Kittle, but this time add the next steps of integrating digital reading with print. It isn't an either/or scenario, but builds on the foundation of the NCTE policies about reading, showing real examples called "Voices From The Classroom", adaptation of previous lists like beginning of year reading surveys, and many, many applications being used that you should know about. It's a terrific and recent professional book full of practical application and through explanations.
I noticed the beautiful cover at the library, then discovered it is by a favorite author, Catherine Rayner, who, among many books, did Posy, a very favorite book I love about a cat. Rayner's art is black outlining with splish-splashes of color, realistic and awesome. In this story, Norris, a patient bear, waits under a tree, staring intently at a plorringe, hoping it might fall any moment. What is a plorringe? Well, it looks like a peach to me, but others have mentioned mangoes. Norris waits, but there are two others also waiting, and closing in on a branch where the plorringe is growing. Tulip, a mouse and Violet, a raccoon crawl closer and closer to the plorringe, which Norris says smells like "honey and sunny days". They are just about to have a little lick when the inevitable happens, and you'll have to find the book to see what that is. It's a sweet and loving story to read to young readers.
Wendell Minor's gorgeous art makes this book special, showcasing twenty-two animals who live their lives at different times of the day and nigh or dusk. The illustrations show action that accompanies the brief text. There is extra information about each animal at the back. Minor shares that at one time or another, each one has visited his backyard, and encourages watchful eyes to see what might be discovered in their own backyards.
Sometimes there are times when it's the right thing to break the rules, and this story, about welcoming a lion into the library, is a beautiful one that will add to conversations about rules and morality. A lion begins visiting the library and finally one child asks if it 's all right for the lion to stay during 'library time. Miss Merriweather, the librarian, says yes, and although Mr. McBee, another librarian is not pleased about it, he too allows it. An accident happens, the lion must leave and they cannot find him anywhere. And he is missed. It's a lovely story, whimsical but with truth threading all the way through. Kevin Hawkes' soft illustrations set the satisfying and happy mood of the book.
I missed reading this earlier in the year, but am so happy to read it now, the perfect poetry picture book for bedtime reading! A little girl and her mother are on their way to bed, with this book! And as they read and look at the pictures, the mother shares all kinds of birds and the way they nest, ending each time by saying variations of "you nest here with me". The illustrations focus on the bird described, but add extra animals and scenes all along the way. Melissa Sweet's watercolor collages are stunning. You want to look and look! My favorite page is about the cowbird, with two startled cardinals looking at a strange egg with disbelief: "Cowbird, the uninvited guest,/Leaves her egg in a foster nest--But you nest here with me." There is extra back matter about each bird featured and a short piece about the avid birdwatching by the authors.