Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Reading - Great books last week!


           On Mondays, it's time 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. Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

          I read a lot of books this week. I had the time and I'm leaving for vacation this coming Saturday, so wanted to finished some longer books and the picture books I had from the library. I won't share all, but here are the ones I especially liked.


Bone Gap - written by Laura Ruby
         I recognize the mythological parallels in this story, but was first apprehensive about the Roza’s kidnapping. It seems so creepy to me to have something like this in a YA novel. Laura Ruby moves back and forth, chapter by chapter, from character to character, also with flashbacks telling more background, more secrets. As I began to read more, it seemed to be a warning from Roza to trust less those (this time, men) who take advantage of women, who might lure them by “carrying them across a puddle”. Instead, they may also “drop them into the puddle”. A long time ago someone asked me why I liked Anne Tyler’s Accidental Tourist so much, and I answered because I grew up in a small town and there we all knew each other well, the quirky ones with nicknames, the ones that everyone thought they knew “everything” about. Townspeople’s relationships and expectations are tough to change, and in this story of Bone Gap, it’s no different.
          Here is a story of growing up with those “names”. There live two boys whose mother left them to run off with an orthodontist. The older one, Sean, is always known as the superhero, and Finn, is called ‘sidetrack’ or ‘moonface’ because he never looks anyone in the eye. Roza, a Polish girl who is found injured in their barn, is helped and loved by them, and she in turn loves back, but then she’s gone again. No one believes Finn that a man in a black SUV has taken her. And there is Petey (Pricilla), the beekeeper’s daughter, who is thought to be no beauty, except by Finn. After all, he doesn’t always notice things, right? When a black and beautiful horse appears, when the corn becomes a river, I began to catch the myth and its power, and knew that all would be okay. Finally, I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful story, yet I’m still wondering how much others would understand, and how many might be perplexed at the strangeness of the tale?


Eden West - written by Pete Hautman
            I wasn’t sure about this book, wasn’t sure I wanted to read about a cult, the land of Nodd,
people of the Grace. It is a growing up story, but Jacob the main character has more challenges than the usual seventeen year old. All he knows are the rules of Nodd, 12 square miles in a lonely place in Montana, working to walk and mend fences, praying for forgiveness, following all the rules so he will be taken by the Ark, soon to come. Yet, I found Jacob’s voice as he shared his thoughts and the events of that year compelling. This specific year is not going well. There is a wolf, strange and harsh weather, a new family with one boy about Jacob’s age who rejects all that he is told about Nodd, and then there is the girl that Jacob meets while walking the fence. She enters the story and adds to Jacob’s questioning of what is right, what is going on in the world “outside”, his longing for more, but trying so hard to reject sinful ways. The story is poignant and worth reading about family and the pressures in growing up no matter what group one is in.

Crossing Bok Chitto , A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom - written by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges
          The Choctaw Native Americans lived across the Bok Chitto river from a plantation with slaves. Tim Tingle, a Choctaw storyteller shares a story of how a family was saved from slavery by a little Choctaw girl who had befriended a boy in the family. The illustrations are in the browntones of evening and night, when most of the tale occurs. It is one that will raise questions about our history, of the Native Americans and the slaves, and one that should be remembered, handed down through the years. There is good backmatter to help the reader understand more.


Welcome Home, Bear, A Book of Animal Habitats - written
and illustrated by Il Sung Na
          Oh my, this is a cute book and funny, too. Il Sung Na writes just a few words, and paints the illustrations realistic enough to begin to teach young children about habitats and why one suits one animal beautifully, and others not at all. Bear has decided that his place in the woods isn’t good enough so he travels the world to find a better home. Unfortunately, one is too hot, one too cold. Others are rainy or muddy or too deep (the ocean). You can imagine what happens, and so can the children who are reading the book!
One illustration from the book, so funny. Bear decides that
a hippo's life is just too muddy!
Sunday Shopping - written by Sally Derby and illustrated by Shadra Stickland
          I'm glad I discovered this at my library because it evoked a good memory of my own "shopping' in the Montgomery Ward catalog. My grandmother gave me a set amount of money and I cut out the items to purchase and added them up. I think it became a good practice in math, and in pretending to shop. This story shows a little girl and her grandmother looking at newspaper ads and spending their own "pretend" money on Sunday nights at bedtime. They choose good food (on sale), beautiful clothes (in favorite colors), and fancy furniture. At the last minute, the girl secretly buys a bouquet of flowers to give her grandmother in the morning. It has an added component; the young girl's mother is in the military and they find something for her too. Clearly there isn't much money in this home, but there is a lot of creativity, fun and love. The collage/painting mixtures of illustrations are delightful, filling with the girl and her grandmother and the "cut-outs" from the newspaper.

Good Morning To Me! - written and illustrated by Lita Judge

                Oh my, another wonderful book to laugh over by Lita Judge. (I still smile when I remember Flight School! This time, dear happy, but loud, Beatrice the parrot lives with a menagerie of animals in her house, a mouse, a cat, a dog and a goldfish. Beatrice is the early riser, and evidently has been told to be a little quieter early in the mornings, to let others sleep. Well she does try, but can't help being happy to see her best friend, Mouse, asleep, and wanting to say "Good morning, Mouse!" She doesn't have an "inside" voice, although she tries, and the later shenanigans she gets herself in to with the other animals are hilarious, and only saved by this dear, helpful mouse. The animals take center stage in the illustrations with both actions that make one shout "oh no", and funny expressions on all who suffer from Beatrice's antics. It is a darling book!

Night Animals - written and illustrated by Gianno Marino
              The animals get bigger, from a possum to a bear, and each one runs to escape something that’s coming, and they’re scared. It’s a funny book that young children will love, and perhaps it will help them think the dark can be kind of fun. There is more information given with the story, and the expressions and action shown by Marino in the illustrations make one smile all the way through.





Levi Strauss gets a Bright Idea, a fairly fabricated story of a pair of
pants - written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Stacy Innerst
            I imagine you can guess the bright idea, but I’ve never known what happened that made it work so beautifully. Only the backmatter tells what of the “true” story is known, but this story holds the flavor of the idea. During the California gold rush, gold panners’ pants wore out very quickly, and soon they were panning in their long johns. Some other person got the idea to sew new “hard-working” pants from tents. The Strauss brothers sewed a lot of pants and someone else had the idea for rivets to strengthen parts of the pants, but Levi went along as a partner, and the rest is “Levi’s” jeans. The story is told and illustrated in whimsical, cartoon-like pictures, making some fun out of a big part of history and a “need” that was recognized. Part of the text says: “They (the miners) were so overcome with gratitude, the men named their new gear after Levi himself.” Nicely told, fun to hear some parts of history in this way.

What's Next: I have a few books that I'm taking with me, including some on my Kindle. This week I'm going to read The Red Pencil. I haven't read it yet, and it's been on my list a long time! Happy Reading Everyone!

32 comments:

  1. Enjoy your vacation!
    Sign me up to read the strange and mythical Bone Gap. It sounds amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Kay. It is amazing, & I hope you like it!

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  2. Have a great vacation! Just ordered Night Animals and Good Morning to Me - my daughters will love those!
    Corrina
    My list is here: http://www.allensteachingfiles.com/2015/08/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-8315.html

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    1. They're both just so cute, Corrina. Glad you can get them!

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  3. wow, this is a great round-up, Linda! Adding them all to my to-read list!

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  4. Yes, I was perplexed by Bone Gap, too. But ultimately my aversion to the mythological elements was eclipsed by the powerful feminist message. But yes, this is one of those books where an understanding of basic mythology is important for understanding the nuance of it all.

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    1. I do hope that those who read it get that message, too, Beth. It is a book I'll be sharing a lot!

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  5. Bone Gap was a Kindle Daily Deal this week so I added it to my stack. I am not sure when or if I'll get a chance to read it. The other books look lovely too. Come see my weekly report here. Happy reading!

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    1. Hope you will enjoy it whenever you get to it, Kathy. It's certainly worth reading! Thanks!

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  6. What a great pile of books you read through. I too was apprehensive while reading Bone Gap. While things were bad, my imagine had gone way beyond. I too spent hours with catalogs at my grandmother's house. I listed the items on a piece of paper though and tallied the cost. I don't think my gram let me cut them out. It was fun to "shop" though.

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    1. Glad to hear your feelings about Bone Gap, too, Crystal. As for Sunday Shopping, I think it would be such a fun book to use for math activities. I remember loving doing that. Thanks!

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  7. You have some great picture books I want to check out. Flight School is one of my favorites so I look forward to reading Good Morning to Me!

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    1. Agreed! Flight School is just a wonderful book. And I really loved Good Morning To Me! as well. Enjoy, Lisa!

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  8. I haven't started Bone Gap yet - it's on my #mustread list, but I've heard so many ehh things about it, I've put it to the side. I think I'll have to be in the right mindset once I begin it! I appreciate your review.

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    1. Bone Gap is one I'm glad not to miss, Michele, and it was compelling. I did struggle with persisting through it, yet couldn't stop either. I'll look for your opinion whenever you share that you've read it.

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  9. You have so many great titles on your reading list this week, Linda! I'm curious about Bone Gap and Eden West. Both stories sound so intriguing! I will be featuring some Native American picture books next week. Glad to find another one! Welcome Home, Bear looks so adorable, and I immediately fell in love with Levi Strauss! Thanks for sharing these books today, and have fun on your vacation, Linda! =)

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    1. Thanks, Fats, I know it will be a lovely vacation! I'm so glad to add to your Native American books. There are several wonderful ones, aren't there? I think I discovered this one through Crystal Brunelle (see her link on the Monday links). All the books are good, though in quite different ways.

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  10. I had Eden West checked out a few months ago, but I had to return it because of holds, and then completely forgot about it! I just put another hold on it after reading your thoughts. It sounds very interesting.

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    1. As I said, it really was compelling to read this boy's thoughts as he struggled in this group. It is difficult to respect such beliefs, yet the story itself was well done. I'll be interested to see what you think!

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  11. You have my curiosity up with your review of Bone Gap, Linda - sounds mystical and allegorical, an unusual read for sure. So looking forward to those beach pictures!

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    1. Bone Gap was quite a read, Tara, maybe not for your students. You'll have to judge. Yes, the beach is going to be on my mind all week. The piles of things to take are building!

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  12. I hope you have a wonderful vacation! I know you will enjoy The Red Pencil--a favorite of mine last year. Lita Judge is just terrific, isn't she? I am very interested in Pete Hautman's new novel. I think he's scandalously underrated as a YA author.

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth. So far, The Red Pencil is building the background, and is a pleasure. I am surprised that I don't know any of Hautman's books. I looked for them, and they are many. I did enjoy this one, and will search for more. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

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  13. Enjoy your vacation!
    Bone Gap is on a lot of "Best of 2015" lists, so I hope to read it soon!
    Hautman did a wonderful guest post on the blog, so I am very much interested in that one.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Yes, Bone Gap is worth a read, Kellee. And I really enjoyed Eden West, so interesting, great characterization by Pete Hautman. I'm glad I won the book!

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    2. So glad Linda :) I'm intrigued by Hautman because, like Elisabeth, many people feel he is very underrated.

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    3. I'm going to look for more books by him. Thanks again, Kellee!

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  14. Ah! I am glad you liked Eden West! I didn't read it (it was a book that Kellee reviewed), but I've always wanted to read it. I really want to read Crossing Bok Chitto. It's been on my holiday wish list for Henry for quite some time. Thanks for sharing these books!

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    1. You're welcome, Ricki. Crossing Bok Chitto is a special story, one I had not heard before, and I liked knowing about it. Thanks!

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  15. So glad you enjoyed Crossing Bok Chitto! You have me really interested in Sunday Shopping. Might be an interesting combo with Paper Things.

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    1. I still haven't read Paper Things, but it's on the list, glad to know you think there's a connection. Thanks, Katie.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!