Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday Reading Recap

           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.




34 comments:

  1. Nice assortment of books. I haven't read Circus Mirandus yet but Library Lion is one of my favorite books to share with students in the media center. Here is my weekly report. Happy reading!

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    1. I am glad that I finally got The Library Lion. It must be a treasure for librarians everywhere. Thanks, Kathy.

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  2. I read Circus Mirandus a couple weeks ago and it was a lovely, sweet read. I think the concept of "Seeing is Believing" vs "Believing is Seeing" is one that is great to explore.

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    1. I'm sorry that I won't be able to share Circus Mirandus with a class, but I will with my granddaughters! Thanks, Corrina.

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  3. I remember loving The Bear Who Shared when I read it but I don't remember that much about it at the moment. I think I'm going to have to go back and reread that one!

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    1. The story is sweet, but I think I'm in love with the illustrations even more. Hope you enjoy it again, Beth.

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  4. I'll have to come back to this post. Our library system is down until 9 am, and I have several books I want to request - The Bear Who Shared, Posy, and A Handful of Stars. I popped into the Circus Mirandus chat late. Loved the book, and especially your review of it! I'm printing it off to slap on the book for our next book club meeting. Library Lion sent me off in search of a favorite book about a bear in a library...couldn't find it, he gets left behind when his owner moves. Anyway I did pull several favorites from the shelf for you to share with your grandgirls - Grandma According to Me, Laura Charlotte, and Somebody and the Three Blairs. Happy reading!

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    1. Oh, wonderful, will look for them right now, Ramona! Hope you can find the Catherine Rayner books, great art and stories!

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  5. A great week of reading, Linda. I loved Handful of Stars and Circus Mirandus, too - joyful reading! I missed out on the chat - and I'm sure that must have been great fun.

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    1. Those two will be fun for you to share this year, Tara. The chat was good, wonderful to hear from others about the book.

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  6. Great books to share, Linda! Glad you were able to join the Twitter chat. It's been fun getting together informally to chat about great books! Daylight was finally ordered at my library, just put it on hold. It's one I've been anxious to read!

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    1. Daylight wasn't an exciting book, but Minor's art is gorgeous. Yes, I enjoyed the chat a lot, too, Michele.

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  7. Linda - a great set of books. I have not looked at Circus Mirandus yet. I am excited to spend some time with it. Thanks for sharing. Daylight Starlight Wild LIfe looks great as well. I need to take some time to look at picture books more. I have had my head in MG novels all summer.

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    1. I don't read so many MG books because I still lean toward YA and picture books, but I always enjoy them anyway. Hope you like Circus Mirandus!

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  8. Ooooo... what a lovely list, Linda! So many new books here for me to take note of. I have not yet read Bone Gap but am so curious about all the reviews about it - some really loving it and some rather creeped out by it! I enjoyed Circus Mirandus SO much and it reminded me very much of the Night Circus (adult) which I loved. Daylight Starlight is now on the top of my list to find, as is The Bear Who Shared. I so loved your find of the book of quotes about reading. The one you shared is priceless! I sometimes clean the shower while I'm having one to save time! Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Enjoy the picture books you can find, Adrienne. I loved them all as you can see. The cartoon spoke to me too. There are so many times I try to do two things at once, especially reading!

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  9. What a wonderful bunch of books! I started Circus Mirandus, but ran out of time to finish it before the next person needed it at the library. I can't wait to start up again. That cartoon is hilarious. I have done some similar things over the years. ;)

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    1. Happy to give you a chuckle, Crystal, & hope you find Circus Mirandus soon. It was a delight.

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  10. Bone Gap is fully Magical Realism to my mind, although it's unlike any other Magical Realism book I've ever read! It's my favorite YA book of this year (so far!) but it is DEFINITELY unsettling.
    I went to put The Bear Who Shared on my to-read list and I found out I'd already read it! I think that is a sign I am reading TOO MANY BOOKs, haha!
    I have the Circus Mirandus audiobook checked out right now and I'm hoping to get to it this week or next week. I've heard nothing but great things!

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    1. I've done that with books, too, Hannahlily, too many picture books running through my weeks! Circus Mirandus is definitely magical realism too, but also very different from Bone Gap. It's readers like you who say it's a favorite that keep me reading it. It's compelling for sure. Thanks!

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  11. I do want to read Circus Mirandus! And the picture books look like fun, especially the Lion in the Library. I do like the cartoon. It makes me appreciate my audiobooks.It's much easier to clean and read with my ears!

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    1. Yes, audiobooks have been a huge plus in our reading lives, haven't they? Hope you get to Circus Mirandus soon! Thanks, Kay.

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  12. I am so glad you were able to participate in the chat, and now you are already prepared for the next one! Hope you will join again!

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. I can't be there for A Handful of Stars, Kellee, will be on vacation during that time. But I'll be sure to join you in September. Happy reading to you, too!

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  13. That cartoon! Oh my goodness. I would laminate and frame it! It was so nice chatting with you about Circus Mirandus this week. Library Lion is one of my favorite picture books. :)
    Have a very happy reading week!

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    1. Thanks, Ricki, glad you liked the cartoon. I thought it was so funny that a long time ago women were still amazing readers! Hope you have a good week too!

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  14. I love the variety of books that you shared here - from gorgeous picturebook titles to a PD text to YA fiction! I have been meaning to read Circus Mirandus for a long time now - it does sound like a really special book. And yes, Bone Gap too! I'm just happy I finished reading Echo last week, that felt like a tremendous achievement for me with all the work I still have yet to do! :)

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  15. Thanks, Myra, I know you're busy with the research. I'm surprised you're getting any other reading done. Hope you enjoy the titles whenever you can!

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  16. I'm in the middle of Circus Mirandus now and loving it, though I had to set it aside to read Penderwicks in Spring, which is a 7-day library loan (REALLY loving Penderwicks!). You share several PBs I'd really like to get my hands on. I loved Posy and didn't realize the author had other books, and Wendell Minor is one of my favorite illustrators. Sounds like the message of "You nest here with me" might be a nice one to share with my son when he's in a certain kind of mood. Thanks!

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    1. I've only read the first Penderwicks & did like it, just haven't gotten back to others. This Bear Who Shared was a surprise to me, too, and I loved both the story and her illustrations. Thanks, Elisabeth.

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  17. Wow - great reading list this week! I definitely want to read Franki and Bill's book! Circus Mirandus and A Handful of Stars are two books I definitely want to get to before school starts!

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    1. Thanks, Holly, they're all worth reading!

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  18. Some great-sounding books, Linda! I love what you have to say-- and the way you say it--about Circus Mirandus. You capture many of my thoughts in your description. I knew that I had read about a monthly Twitter chat of various titles, but I couldn't remember WHERE I had read it. Now I know it's over at Kellee's blog! Maybe I'll get my act together on that one now! I love Cynthia Lord, and A Handful of Stars is actually sitting in a stack just waiting for me. When I saw who had written and who had illustrated You Nest Here With Me, I knew that it would be one of my next purchases! About Bone Gap... not sure if I'll get to that, and not sure I want to-- I'm so not good with scary book! LOL! Thanks, Linda, and have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Virginia, hope you will join that next chat. I didn't write it down because I'll be on vacation, but if you write her on her blog, or on twitter, she or Ricki will reply. It was a lot of fun to talk about Circus Mirandus with others. What a dear, dear book!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!