Sunday, May 29, 2016

Monday - From The Beach

This time, from the beach! My family doesn't arrive starting late Wednesday so I have some time to write and read.  
              Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. 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.   
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picture books
 It's a re-read and and I still loved it! The story of two friends trying so hard to outdo each others is priceless. As they argue back and forth, and build the houses higher, they find that it isn't working out as they imagined. Neither is satisfied, and both end unhappy. The rich and warm colors of illustrations that fill the vertical pages are fabulous.






           All the regular things that happen going to camp, being nervous, slowly learning that it's lots and lots of fun, happen in this story. However, the "being" going is not a child, but the family dog, off to learn how to be a wolf! Andrea Quill makes the expressions realistic enough that you'll laugh out loud as you watch the transformation. Coming home makes a beautiful and surprise ending, too.




         First published in France, a wonderfully imaginative story inspired by the statue of a lion in Place Denfert-Rochereau in Paris. It's a huge book with each page filled with drawings of this lion as he explores the city, using collage cut-outs of people walking, looking out windows, buildings, baguettes, and more! The lion is bored with his grassland home, and sets off to seek "a job, love and a future".  Those who know Paris will love it even more, but it was my young granddaughter who found it at the library. I'm glad she did!


          For the younger set, a marvelous debut picture book by an award-winning illustrator. A little boy and a "very" large elephant play a game of hide and seek. The elephant warns the boy that he is very good at hiding, so watch out. As you see from the picture below, that elephant really is good. . . The colorful, rather faded illustrations soften the story, told only in dialog. There is a surprise in the end, another hide and seek game is on!

young adult/adult



           Caden Bosch is a fifteen year old with life going well, with lots of friends and talent. His life begins to spiral into a different kind of life story when he notices that several kids at school want to kill him. The challenge is that these thoughts and others are untrue, but are all symptoms of Caden's mind changing, deepening mental illness. The story Caden's sees in his mind shows a ship with characters both recognizable and connected to his "real" life, and bizarre but recognizable in what they're doing to him. He is headed to the depths of the ocean, "challenger deep". "What's going on?" (Caden thinks early in the book.) "I'm in the back car of a roller coaster at the top of the climb, with the front rows already giving themselves over to gravity." 
           Shusterman's writing is tough to read, but everyone needs to read this story, and try hard to understand that mental illness is not to be dismissed as "thinking wrong", but is truth to those who suffer from it. In one part when Caden is a patient in a psychiatric ward he speaks of those who commit suicide. "Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug." The story is written in short bursts, showing Caden's mind switches in brief chapter after chapter, at times only a page. Drawings throughout are by Shusterman's son, whose own mental illness is selected in the story. In the author's note he explains that they come from his son's "depths" as he moved toward "challenger deep". It is good to think that this book may end in the hands of some student somewhere who finds that someone understands, that he or she is not alone.

Just finishing: an adult book I've wanted to read for a while, and hard to read: Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea, by Barbara Demick. Although it was published in 2009, I did some research, and things have not changed in this country, not at all. 

Next: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Several people have said this book is fabulous so I put it on my kindle for my trip. 
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20 comments:

  1. Thanks for these reviews, Linda, and enjoy your quiet reading & writing time at the beach before family arrives. :)

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I'm enjoying every bit. It is wonderful here!

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  2. Challenger Deep sounds intriguing. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. It is both intriguing & heartbreaking, Kathy.

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  3. Serpent King is on my TBR list as well. That Have You Seen an Elephant looks lovely. I read an elephant book last week called How to Cheer Up Dad but the elephants there were more adorable than lovely. If that even makes sense. Oh, and A Lion in Paris. I want to go back to Paris! Didn't understand a word they were saying but it was so beautiful!

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    1. I'm excited to get started with A Serpent King! This Elephant book was delightful, loved reading it aloud to my granddaughter. And you will adore A Lion In Paris, especially since you've been there.

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  4. I decided you must have written before the beach, but no, it looks like you have some time there on your own. I love that one of the grand girls found A Lion in Paris! There are so many ways to learn about books, but I still love the accidental discovery. Happy beach time! I love the pics.

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    1. Thanks Ramona, I have till late Wednesday to mess around on my own. Last year it was the end of the trip; this year, the beginning. Imi loves going to the library to look, & often will choose something I haven't even noticed! Hope you find A Lion In Paris, quite the book!

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  5. I loved Wolf Camp, so sweet!! And definitely a story that kids will be able to relate to - going to camp so often inspires a blend of excitement and nerves. :)

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    1. Yes, I know that many kids who go to camp, or are going for the first time, will love it, Jane.

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  6. I've been wanting to read The Serpent King and Challenger Deep for a while. I'm going to have a difficult time choosing which books to start with this summer (not a bad problem to have!). Hope you're having a good time at the beach!

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    1. I'm loving the beach, Jana, don't get to have the ocean very much, so it's great to be here. That is a big problem. I imagine either book will be good. Challenger Deep was terrific, and sad, too.

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  7. I have Challenger Deep from the library right now. Really need to get to it before it's due back, but I know it's going to be a tough read. Hope you're enjoying your time at the beach. Love all those picture books too!

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    1. Thanks, Elisabeth, Challenger Deep is tough, & yet I'm glad to try to understand what those with mental illness are going through. I thought the writing was terrific.

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  8. Absolutely loved Challenger Deep. I have been hearing such great things about The Serpent King. Will definitely have to read that one soon!

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    1. I have started it, but it's early. So far, good!

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  9. Challenger Deep sounds like a heavy read. I have a family member who is bipolar so it might be a good book to understand her better, but I'm not quite ready for this kind of a read. I've got The Serpent King on my to read list.

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    1. Maybe someday you will find it and it will be helpful, Cheriee. The Serpent King is starting well! Enjoy!

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  10. Challenger Deep was a very difficult book to read, but it was definitely meaningful for me. I appreciated seeing from this point of view. Wolf Camp looks super fun.

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    1. Thanks, Crystal, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed Challenger Deep.

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