Sunday, September 6, 2015

It's Monday



          Visit Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  Others join Sheila to share adult books at Book Journeys
        Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

        Woo Hoo! New IMWAYR badge! It's beautiful!

ADULT

Little Woman In Blue - written by Jeannine Atkins
          I know this is a fictional biography, read Jeannine’s words in the author’s note: “But because much was missing as I researched in libraries, historic houses, museums, and at riverbanks, I drew upon my imagination to develop my sense of May. Much as a portrait painter begins with a particular face that changes as she chooses colors and brushstrokes, I began with descriptions of real people, places, and events to form impressions . . . to create scenes that comprise a work of fiction.” The voice of the characters blossomed through the descriptions of the surroundings and the social mores of that time. Through Jeannine’s words, we learn that “it’s hard to please editors in a city where some ladies put books by men and women on different shelves to avoid a hint of scandal.” When I read, I know that I am beginning to love the characters when, in my mind, I begin talking back to them, even shouting, “Oh no, don’t let that happen! or “Wow, Wonderful that she was determined in her actions, however her private thoughts wavered.”
             This story of May shows the strong relationship between the two sisters, Louisa and May, yet with such different life approaches, they both loved and clashed in the way they lived their lives. We all know Louisa May Alcott, but until this book, I admit I thought of this sister as the Amy of Little Women, vane, artistic, the one who got to go to Europe on a grand tour. One early description of May’s thoughts is a thread of who she was that carried throughout: “If she were quiet enough, would the bird tell her something? Such a soft whoo whoo must matter. This was the sort of faith she sometimes felt when drawing. That a sound or sight was important just because it was there. And if she kept looking, listening, and drawing, she would know something she hadn’t when she began.”  Despite setbacks, grief and through success and love, May never stopped pursuing art. In this lovely account of May Alcott’s brief life, Jeannine Atkins shows May’s inner questioning of women’s roles in society at that time, that they cannot have both the passion of art and of marriage. And she shows May choosing “more”, an admirable and risky choice, sometimes even today. I loved knowing more about this woman in America’s literary past, now more fully shown and loved in A Woman In Blue by Jeannine Atkins.    

MIDDLE GRADE
         This book is on my #MustReadIn2015 list. See above!
The Shadow Throne - by Jennifer Nielsen (final of the Ascendance Trilogy)
            I wish I hadn’t put this off so long because I had forgotten some of the parts in previous books that the story referred to, but I enjoyed reacquainting myself with the major relationships, the key players who are either so loving and likeable or are downright despicable. Once again, with Neilsen’s writing being never dull, I can’t share much of the story or will give it away. This time, Jaron’s fight for his country creates tension among all his followers, Mathias, Roden, the pirates including Erich, and Mott. He is in the fight of his life for Carthya against the evil King Vargan who has woven a web of lies in order to bring other countries in to fight with him in order to overcome Carthya. Regent Harlowe is there, true to form in his loyal quest to protect this boy king, and the intrigue of the romance now involves two: Amarinda, Jaron’s betrothed princess and Imogen. Neilsen has managed to complete the puzzle of the ending by placing the final pieces exactly where they fit. Loved it.


PICTURE BOOKS

PICTURE BOOKS
Rufus the writer - written by Elizabeth Bram and illustrated by Chuck Groenink
         This young boy, Rufus, decides to open a “story stand”. Instead of selling lemonade, he sells his own created stories, illustrated too! Friends stop in and are delighted that they might be able to buy or trade something for a story, and the stories are included in this delightful book, with pictures! I can imagine all sorts of ways to use this in a workshop setting. Rufus shows imagination in his stories, with detail and story parts that young students can identify, then write their own, and perhaps, like Rufus, write them for someone else!

Deep In The Sahara - written by Kelly Cunnane and illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
          Lalla, a young girl in the Sahara watches others in her town wear a “malafa”, the beautiful head covering scarf worn by Muslim women. She, too, wants one, to be mysterious like her sister, beautiful like her mother, and to look like royalty like her grandmother. Finally, the ending means growing up, and Lalla receives her lovely “malafa”, and goes to pray with her mother. The language is sparse and beautiful. The opening begins with “Deep in the Sahara, sky yellow with heat,/rippled dunes slide and scorpions scuttle.” And the illustrations are the first published in the U.S. by Hadadi, a native of Iran, with many published books elsewhere. The cut paper art fills the pages with gorgeous scenes, color standing out in the dress worn by the people. The story shows well how all children no matter the culture want the symbols of growing up.

The Princess and The Pony - written and illustrated by Kate Beaton
           When one wishes for lemonade, but gets a lemon instead, what’s a princess to do? In this story, she figures out that all things are not necessarily what one things upon first look, and the small and squat pony turns out to be more than imagined. Cute story in looking at perspective from more than one person in the book. The illustrations are imaginative in the characters especially, like warriors turning into sweet teddy bears.

All for a Dime - written and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
    Bear and Mole and Skunk, all friends, decide to go to Market Day with something to sell. Bear picks blueberries, Mole digs worms, and Skunk makes perfume. Well, you might be able to figure out what happens. Bear sells a lot, and the other two have no customers. They pretend to buy each other’s wares with a dime one has, and they switch places buying and selling. What great friends they are, and the best ending is Bear’s contribution at the end. It’s a wonderful story of friendship and helping each other, plus the pictures fill the pages with happiness, bright and colorful.

by mouse & frog - written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman
            Things are quite mixed up in this story, a drawing begun quietly by mouse until frog intervenes with “jumping” enthusiasm. I loved each part, the ones where mouse is offended, frustrated, but frog’s energy does win mouse over, and delightful things happen. Deborah Freedman adds her own energy in the creative pencil drawings, made-up stories and colored details. This is a book that needs more than one reading and looking.  The lesson learned: collaboration is fun!

The Best Book in the World! - written and illustrated by Rilla Alexander
        Graphic illustrations carry a little girl in many directions when she reads a book. Fun to see what happens on each page. The story goes from cover to cover, showing so many exciting adventures inside a book.

NEXT: Lost In The Sun by Lisa Graff (finally found a copy!)

29 comments:

  1. Rufus the Writer is one of my favorite new picture books for inspiring writers. I haven't read any of the others, but definitely going to check them out. Deep in the Sahara sounds great for exposing students to ideas from different cultures. The Princess and the Pony and The Best Book in the World both sound like fun. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa, hoping you'll find some of these and enjoy them as I did. Have a good reading week!

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  2. Nice assortment of books. I still have the whole Ascendance trilogy on my stack. Here is my Monday Report. Happy reading!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. If you do start reading the Neilsen, I suggest that you read them all together. I waited too long as I said above, and had forgotten some of the story. They are well done and fun middle grade stories.

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  3. Rufus the WRiter sounds like so much fun! Deep in the Sahara sounds beautiful, too. I love the opening lines you share.

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    1. Both are good for different reasons, Kay. Hope you find and enjoy each one. Thanks.

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  4. Awesome list! I especially love Rufus the Writer! I'll have fun checking some of the other titles out. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Enjoy, Jana. Hope you like all that you find!

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  5. I have not seen Little Woman in Blue. Sounds great - I will add it to my list.

    A great set of picture books - Looks like you have had fun reading this week.

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    1. It was a good week, Joanne, and I got to read many of these to my granddaughters, who also loved them. I hope you'll find Little Woman In Blue. If you loved Little Women, you'll really enjoy a different look at the family. Thanks!

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  6. Glad many IMWAYR's are sharing Rufus! And I hope you enjoy Lost in the Sun. It definitely grew on me.

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    1. I think I will like it, Earl. So far, it's started well. Yes, Rufus is a very cute book, one for everyone to have in class, for the younger ones at least. Thanks!

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  7. Ah! Yes! Rufus. Thank you for reminding me to come back to this one!

    I very much enjoyed Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendance Trilogy. I cannot wait to carve out the time to read her most recent, unrelated, A Night Divided.

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    1. I just got A Night Divided, but have a few others to read first. I'm excited to read another story about the Berlin Wall. Rufus is very fun, isn't it? Thanks, Melissa!

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  8. We are big Jennifer Nielsen fans too - Tammy just started reading her new book, Mark of a Thief. She has only read 4 chapters and can't put it down. http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Thief-Book/dp/054556154X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1441661195&sr=8-3&keywords=jennifer+nielsen

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    1. Another one? Wow, I didn't know. As you see I just found A Night Divided, now will be sure to put this on my list. Thanks much!

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  9. I loved The Ascendance Trilogy. I know what you mean about putting series books off, though. You forget so much! That drives me crazy. I've sworn a couple times not to read a series until all the books are out, but I never stick to that. ;-) Her next series, Mark of the Thief is going to be just as good. Of course, I read the first one and now have to wait. Ha.

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    1. As you can see above from Claire's comment, & my reply, I didn't know there was a new series from Nielsen. I'll wait a while, read A Night Divided first. And there is the new Marie Lu series, too! Thanks, Holly.

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  10. I love the Ascendance Trilogy, wish there was more. I loved her writing to and is looking forward to reading her new series.

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    1. Yes, I guess you can see that many of us have loved it. I'm looking forward to the next one. Thanks, Ashly.

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  11. Rufus the Writer is on my wish list! Looks fantastic. I too am a huge fan of The Ascendance Trilogy - read them all with my children!

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    1. Yes, all are wonderful books. We are lucky to have so many. Thanks, Carrie.

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  12. A new badge, and yet, we forgot it at our blog.
    Kellee and I are a bit busy, can you tell? :) Thanks for sharing these books, Linda. I hope you have a marvelous week!

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    1. Yep, I know you are busy. Thanks for stopping by, Ricki, even on your birthday! I hope you have a great week, too!

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  13. The False Prince series is such a hit in my classroom, I know I need to read them eventually! Mostly when all my blogging friends rave about them too!

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Hard to start with all three books, I understand. Maybe someday, Kellee. You read plenty of other good books! Have a better week this week getting into the swing!

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  14. I loved Deep in the Sahara - I am so glad that you enjoyed it too. I have to find Rufus - sounds like a fun picturebook. I've read so many great things about Lost in the Sun, I think I have to find that one for myself. :) Have a great reading week!

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    1. I suspect it was from you that I discovered Sahara, so thank you Myra. It is gorgeous. I hope you find Lost In The Sun. FYI-I already finished it, couldn't stop. Thanks.

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  15. Little Women in Blue sounds like a book I would love to read. Thanks, Linda.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!