Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monday Reading - Books of Kindness

   On Mondays, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want everyone to know about. If you visit, you'll be sure to find a book or more that you know you'll want to read! 

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   


Be sure to go here to Mark's post at Jackett Writes for line number twenty-five of her own creation, the April Progressive Poem.

Beautiful new poetry!

      Reverso Poetry, invented by Marilyn Singer, the author of her third book-above-of reverso poems, has managed to tell some well-known myths in these poems. They are clever, of course, and will be a new way to introduce myths to children, or a new form of poetry to try with students. Once reading these brief looks at the stories, everyone will want to know more. They are full of tragedy and triumph, drawn in bold colors by Josee Masse, who creates her own reverse paintings to illustrate the myths.


I thoroughly enjoyed a bit of a Downton Abbey tale, an entire soap opera season, and a clever story of a wealthy family whose secrets were finally revealed after seventy plus years of mystery. Some secrets I could figure out, some surprised. The characters are fully developed and pleasing, even the naughty ones. Kate Morton moved the scenes back and forth in time across decades which at first was somewhat confusing, or frustrating only because I didn't want to let go of the part I was reading at the time. It's a page turner, some predictable, but that made it safe too. It was good to be able to depend on certain things. 


            I read a few pages one evening, then started to read a few more the next morning. I didn't get up until I finished. There are a number of people I've known that have died of cancer, and each in his or her own way have tried hard to survive, the illness and the treatments. At the end, they are simply tired, of being sick, of watching loved ones try hard not to cry, and cry quietly anyway. In this book, a young boy, Mark, has done treatments with cancer returning since he was five. He's now twelve, and tired. His cancer has returned, and he wants to die. Because his grandfather, who has also passed, was a climber and promised Mark that someday they would climb Mt. Rainier together, Mark plans carefully, and decides to run away to climb, and to die. His friendship with a girl, Jessie, and the strong bond with his dog Beau who goes along on this amazing journey are both huge parts of the story. Mark and Jessie also write haiku, with and for each other. We see Mark's writing through the book, and Jessie's need to keep a secret. Friendship, loyalty, and perseverance keep Mark safe as he meets more obstacles than it seems he might overcome. I'm sorry I've missed this book so long. It is a treasure of a story. The thoughts of Mark throughout are important for everyone to read, as are Jessie's because they do seem to be "the honest truth".

It was time to introduce my old typewriter to my granddaughter when we read this book together. We even practiced writing a few words, and wondered what would happen if we typed "dinosaur" or "wind". In the book, three children find an interesting carousel with a bee carrying a box, and in it--a typewriter. Only nine words are typed, but they take these kids on quite an adventure, including a giant crab. Magical and colorful illustrations fill the pages. Of course we had to read it more than once!



This is a sweet story of giving and kindness. Children in a village visit Babba Zarrah to sit on her huge story blanket and listen to her stories. She notices more than one need among her neighbors, like socks, a warm scarf, etc. and suddenly the blanket has become smaller, and smaller still! The villagers return the favor with their own kindness. It's a parable of course, filled with happiness and illustrations that make you smile.










My granddaughter, Imi, chose this book at the library, a cute story about Pippi and Burt who are tired of the crowded mayhem of their own home (nest). They fly off to find what they believe will be a better choice, but soon find their nest is much less scary and hazardous. Surprises happen on the pages through a bit of camouflage, and Burt and Pippi find themselves on top of a turtle, a running cheetah, and more! Home Tweet Home seemed never better. The line illustrations help tell the tale well through the cutest expressions, as you can see by the cover.







Sweetness in this family are nicknames shared by a little girl, like "Homemade Love". The gorgeous illustrations by Shane Evans help tell the story of "Girlpie", what her Mama calls her. And when she makes a mistake, her parents let her pick up the pieces and start again. When a child is upset through an accident of some sort, this may be a book that helps tell it's okay, that love is still there. The ending at bedtime will make it a bedtime story too.












The loveliest line in this book is from Mama Bear: "May I stay with you tonight? I am so frightened of the storm!" And of course, this little bear, on a stormy evening, welcomes his Mama, and later his Papa too, speaking about how loud the storm is. For those who have children who are scared of storms, this book is perfect. Bright colors fill the pages of a loving family taking care of each other. The ending is perfect.








Now Reading: Booked by Kwame Alexander and At Day's Close: Night In Times' Past by A. Roger Ekirch, a long and densely researched history of the night before the industrial revolution. It will take a while to read, but it is fascinating. Some of the stories still touch us, but imagine what night was like long ago with only candles or lanterns to show the way, unpaved streets, uneven roads, fairies and haints, thieves and murderers, etc. 

27 comments:

  1. I love the cover of Echo Echo and want to read some of this reverso poetry. There are a lot of picture books here I want to read. (especially The Story Blanket) I agree with you that The Honest Truth is a powerful read.

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    1. Thanks, Cheriee, hope you enjoy Marilyn Singer's book(s) of the reverso poetry. The Story Blanket is a fun story.

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  2. What a fantastic selection of books! Books have such power to encourage, help, support and maybe even heal young readers. Thanks for sharing these!

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    1. There is good support and kindness found in each one, Jane. Enjoy!

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  3. I just ordered The Honest Truth to read with my son. I've read so many good reviews and it seems like the kind of story he really gets into. I just hope the cover is appealing enough for him to choose it because he is very much a book cover chooser when it comes to book. All of these PBs look wonderful to me! Bill Thomsen is so brilliant--can't wait to see that one in particular.

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    1. I hope that he does choose the book, Elisabeth. It's quite a wonderful adventure. And, all the books are worth a look, but I think The Typewriter is more suited to your son. It shows older kids in it, too!

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  4. We are always amazed at Marilyn Singer's reverso poems - Love Echo Echo. After reading your post, we will definitely read The Lake House. We are big Downton Abbey fans!

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    1. The Lake House was a lovely read, a first adult read in a long time, and it certainly kept me going, as Downton Abbey did. Yes, the reversos are marvelous.

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  5. How fun that you introduced your old typewriter to your granddaughter. Literati, my favorite bookstore in Michigan, has an old typewriter in their store that they leave out for people to type messages on and they post the best ones on the wall. So I thought about Literati when I was reading that book.

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    1. I am also amazed at how much finger strength it takes to type, Beth. When I remember the many pages I typed for college classes, trying so hard not to make an error. Thanks for telling me about this bookstore tradition.

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  6. I loved The Honest Truth, even though it was tough to read. For sure, you want to have a box of tissue handy when you read it! Several of my 5th graders have read it and enjoyed it, too. And how adorable was Stormy Night?! I loved it! I need to check out some of the other interesting titles you have. Have a great week!

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    1. I'm glad to know that some of your students liked The Honest Truth, too, Jana. It is a special story! We have storms tonight & some of the next week, so I will keep Stormy Night in mind. Happy Reading!

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  7. I saw your review of The Lake House on Goodreads and it made me pack it to read this summer in West Palm Beach! The last Kate Morton book I read was 4 years ago during Keegan's last lengthening! Apparently I read her books when she lengthens :)

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    1. It's definitely a good one for the beach, Michele, just as I said, a kind of soap opera, entire season! I will try another this summer too!

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  8. So many good books--it's hard to decide which I most want to read. BOth Echo and The Honest Truth sound amazing. THe others look like fun, too.

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    1. Thanks, Kay, both are good to read and enjoy.

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  9. Books of Kindness! What a great theme! I have The Honest Truth on my #mustreadin2016 list, and your review made me even more excited to read it!

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    1. Amazingly, The Honest Truth is not on my Must Read list, but I kept hearing so much about it, and now he has another book out that I also want to read, so got it. I did love it a lot! Thanks, Ricki!

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  10. We read The Honest Truth in our book club this year. I agree with you that it's a treasure of a book. We enjoyed discussing it. I picked up The Story Blanket at NCTE 2014 and I love it. Now I'm off to request some of the titles you've recommended. Night Gardener was on my holds shelf at the library today! And Echo Echo is in my book club poetry bin. Time to dig it out and read it.

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    1. Agree with you about The Story Blanket for sure. It is the nicest story! So glad to hear that your club read The Honest Truth. Now I want to read his next one! Thanks Ramona, I hope you love The Night Gardener and Echo, Echo.

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  11. I'm glad you enjoyed Homemade Love. :) I want to read The Story Blanket and The Lake House sounds like a great book for me to read this summer. The typewriter in my library gets used every single day. They are fascinating things. The students are always amazed at how hard you have to push. They always tell me the ink doesn't work then I sit down and type and they see that it is still quite dark. They just have to type like they mean it. ;)

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    1. Yes, typing means one needs strong fingers, I know! And as you saw me write above, The Lake House would be a wonderful vacation read. I read it for my book group coming up. Homemade Love is very sweet, will share with my granddaughters for sure.

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  12. Wow, so many great books! My students LOVE Echo Echo, and it is still in the running for our poetry bracket. The Honest Truth sounds like a really important book.

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    1. I hope you find and read The Honest Truth, Katie. It's truly great. So glad to hear that your students love Echo, Echo.

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  13. I really love the look of the Bell Hooks picturebook - just pinned it and The Story Blanket too - really looking forward to finding it.

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    1. Both are very sweet, Myra. I hope you enjoy them!

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  14. I've got Echo Echo on my library list. Reverso poems got even my poetry-averse boys smiling.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!