Lots of books to share, two weeks' worth, and I didn't share them all! It's two weeks worth because I had company last weekend, a joy, but less reading!
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!
Nimona - graphic novel written by Noelle Stevenson
At first I struggled with the small print, but that soon disappeared as I was thrown into this mysterious alliance between seemingly a little girl, but with magical powers and the villain, or was he, the infamous Lord Ballister Blackheart. Nimona chose to appear to fight the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, and Blackheart’s enemies, particularly Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. She made a terrific sidekick who surprised him and me more than once. I am not familiar with this comic group at all, and am grateful that it has been made into a book. What surprises there are in store for readers, and questions in scenes that caused more than one looking back, and poring over the pages. I enjoyed the adventure and the action, the deeper characterization of the main characters, which are not shallow stereotypes, but to be both loved and hated. And, I hope to see Nimona again.
Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk - written by Liesl Shurtliff
I loved reading Rump, and raced through this adventure of Jack and his beanstalk, a lovely, known-to-be-naughty, boy who thinks before, during, and sometimes after actions. It all works out, but not before Liesl Shurtliff gives us the real look of a giant ruling his kingdom with such a lust for gold that his people are starving. Jack admirably ends up climbing the magic beanstalk because his father has been grabbed by giants along with his village too. Fortunately, Jack figures a whole lot of things out just in time! There are lots of allusions to other folk and fairy tales that also make this story good, and one thing I really loved is that Jack has a little sister with grit and charm, too. He wouldn’t have survived without her help! I’m now looking forward to Red!
find me unafraid - written by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner
The opening begins with part of the poem “Invictus” by William Earnest Henley, with the final lines foretelling this stunning story of Kennedy and Jessica: “And yet the menace of the years/Finds and shall find me unafraid.” These two young people have managed to start two schools for young girls, a health facility, a water tower, a community center for economic empowerment, and numerous toilets throughout what is know as the largest slum in Africa, Kibera, on the edge of Nairobi. Thus far, a few leaders in other slums in Kenya are working to follow their path.
You might find this story of hard work and determination difficult to believe, but my hope is that when you read, you will find your own inspiration for change, and the knowledge that when one persists with a dream, amazing things can happen. It’s a love story of two people meeting, two you might never imagine would meet, who’ve accomplished so much, all in their twenties. And that work is just starting. I’ve followed this story since its beginning because Jessica was a student at my school, and I know her family, had her brother in my class. I have told the story, and followed their blog, and been so proud to see what they are doing.
Yet, until I read this whole story, I had no idea of the terrible poverty Kennedy faced, the courage that he, then Jessica, showed in order to carry their hopes and rather fantastical dreams so far. Here is one telling moment to share, among many. In one of the tiniest beginning threads, Kennedy, Jessica and a small group of friends gathered to talk of the needs of the Kibera slum. Kennedy is convinced that change can only happen from within a community. He says: “We are here to start a movement. A movement starts with urgency, when you have been pushed to a wall and all you can do is bounce back. That’s what we are doing here. We are bouncing back.” This group that gathers in a tiny shack in Kibera begin to develop a list of the challenges they face: crime, violence, domestic abuse, rape, hopelessness, sanitation. Then they write a second list of actions to counteract the problems. They have one pen, and one takes notes. It’s a story to read, to share and to celebrate!
Double Happiness - written by Nancy Tupper Ling and illustrated by Alina Chau
In verse by verse, page by page, we see Gracie and Jake move across the country, leaving all that they love, their Grandmother Nai Nai, aunt and uncle, their beautiful Golden Gate bridge with city streets and trolley cars. Nai Nai gives them each a box and tells them to find four things each as they journey, to remember before, and to help greet their new home. It’s a sweet book, beautifully illustrated. On one page, Grace draws all the things about the day of leaving that she wants to remember. Alina Chau creates it like a child’s drawing, and it is wonderful. The poems are written in first person, moving from hour to hour: saying goodbye, happenings at the airport, arriving at their new home. Grace looks out the window with the teddy bear her grandmother gave her: “Maybe you’ll like this room…maybe? See the mountains!” I count my treasures: ye, er, san . . . I still need one more.”
Four books about imaginary friends. I am amazed how children often imagine things that help them overcome fears, and one of those things has a lot to do with imagination. These next books treat that theme in quite different ways, all authors and illustrators using their own wonderful imaginations.
Leo, a ghost story - written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Leo really is a ghost, and lives a happy life in an abandoned house, until people move in. They are terrified of his hauntings, and he decides to move out into the world, only no one can see him. That makes it hard to make friends, until one little girl does see him, and they have fun playing, until he tells her he’s really a ghost instead of her imaginary friend. You’ll need to read the book to see how it all turns out for Leo. Christian Robinson keeps the story illustrated in blue tones, with Max in outlines only, easy to believe he’s not really there, or is he? This might be a good story to help children to be less afraid of ghosts.
Phillip is a little boy, and Brock, his imaginary friend, having all kinds of adventures, but there is trouble when they go to an amusement park, Phillip falls asleep, and his parents “forget” Brock. The imagination shown in the illustrations is delightful, Brock in crayoned form, and the rest of “life” realistic. The ending is sweet when Brock is found, but with another young girl and her own imaginary friend. It’s very fun to read, with a few surprises along the way.
Lenny & Lucy - written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Another sweet story about the loneliness of moving, with starkly gray and snowy woods filling the pages on the journey to a new house, Peter, a young boy, said: “I think this is a terrible idea.” The only one who seems to have heard him is his dog, Harold. In the days to come, Lenny & Lucy come into being, real characters, who seem to come to life, at least in Peter’s imagination. The story intrigued both myself and my granddaughter who kept asking, “Are they real?” Everyone needs to read this book, to see the wonderful couple that help Peter face his fears in a new place.
The Tea Party In The Woods - written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi
A young girl, Kikko, sets off to catch up with her father so they can deliver a pie to her grandmother. It’s lonely to walk in the woods by herself, but she soon spies her father and is relieved. What happens next is a welcome few would imagine, except a young child, in need of some companions. It’s a lovely imaginative tale, with snowy woods and a house full of animals Kikko has never seen before. In beautifully charcoal-drawin illustrations, it’s all black and white with bits of color in a stark snowy scene, like Kikko’s yellow hair, and a red hat or two.
kindness, in different ways, and the end is good: happiness!
Little Elliot-Big Family - written and illustrated by Mike Curato
Mouse leaves for a family reunion and Little Elliot goes out for a walk, but sees so many families having fun together that he finds he’s very lonely. He does find a family, and it will be a nice surprise for everyone. I loved the way we learn just how many “are” in mouse’s family, so clever.
Nerdy Birdy - written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies
This is going to be a continuing favorite. This bird is a nerd, andfinally finds his niche, others who invite him into the group of others like him, other nerds. No longer does he feel alone, and he has a fine group of friends. But along comes someone who is different, another kind of nerd? And the group, sad to our Nerdy Birdy, says this new one is just TOO weird. What comes next is beautiful, and will show the best part of accepting others just as they are. The pictures work beautifully with the story, cartoon-like and colorful with easily read expressions. The story will begin so many conversations about differences, acceptance and kindness.
Whose Shoe? - written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
With Ruzzier’s boldly colored, simple illustrations, and Bunting’s funny story, young children will delight in seeing where this shoe might end up, and what shoes all sorts of animals wear. A mouse finds a pretty blue tie shoe, and wants to find the owner. He asks all sorts of animals like a myna bird, a hippo, and a kangaroo, but cannot find the owner. It’s a fun surprise to see where the shoe finally ends up.
Now Reading: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Terrific so far!