Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monday Reading - Terrific New Books

  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.   Tweet #IMWAYR


      I read a few older ones this week, but most of these are books published in 2016. What a wonderful group of books published so far this year!  


verse novel


Booked - Kwame Alexander
          I taught middle school students for a long while--last year, one more class. That time I had the joy of putting Crossover into students’ hands. Now, I don’t have a student to share this new story by Kwame Alexander with and I am sad. BUT, I will share it online as many places as I can, and I will find someone to pass it to who can make sure a young adolescent will get to read it. I love the voice of this boy, Mark, a twelve year old lover of soccer, and oh so smart, but he doesn’t like showing that to his teachers. His challenges are big: parents are splitting up, two bullies are upset about his choice of girlfriend, and he hates having to read a particular book by his father, a dictionary. There’s also trouble with being kept from soccer, devastating punishment which comes from his parents and because of an illness. Words and literature play a big part in Mark’s life, yet he ignores it, until a turning point when the love of his life, a young girl named April, asks him to join the library book club. The librarian, The Mac, a former rapper, plays to Mark’s best side, and as they trade wordy jokes throughout the book, Mark finally comes to some idea about the kind of person he wants to be. How Kwame Alexander manages to include all this, and more, in Mark’s story but in beautiful poetry is extraordinary, but he does. He left me at the end wanting more and more.


picture books

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon - Sebastian Meschenmoser
              A boy and his father have a cart of wheels of cheese and one, alas, rolls off, down a hill.  This interesting story begins in the opening endpapers. The boy runs afer the cheese, but cannot catch it before it flies off into a ravine, and becomes stuck in a tree. The tree happens to belong to a squirrel, and the real problem begins, because the squirrel fears being put in prison because he’s stolen the moon. There are several stark prison cell scenes too, with a prisoner. And there’s also a hedgehog and a billy goat, lots of funny action and gorgeous, muted drawings, except for that yellow moon and a beautiful red squirrel. I saw others who know this illustrator and praised him for his work. Now, I’ll look for him!


Listen To Our World - Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Samson, illus. by Melissa Sweet
            Here’s a book that introduces habitats of 11 animals, through the name of where they live, like marshland and grassland and their sounds. “Listen, listen” the story asks the reader. The illustrations, including the endpapers, the opening of which says “listen”, also say LISTEN. And the illustrations please like Melissa Sweet’s always do, with vertical pages included showing some habitats. There is additional information about each animal in the backmatter. It’s basic information, for younger children.

Nanuk The Ice Bear - Jeannette Winter
           Each page a postcard in the blues, pinks and purple hues plus the stark white of snow and ice of the Arctic, where polar bears live.  Jeannette Winter’s story takes a bear through her year alone, finding a mate, then hibernating and having two cubs. Finally she and the cubs come up out of the cave, and she begins to teach them how to survive. It comes full circle because in the end, the female is alone, to start again. This time, however, there is little ice, and the story ends with a stark picture depicting the effects of global warming. It’s a lovely book to “see”, and shows the basics of a polar bear’s cycle, but giving a sad message in a book that seems as if it’s for young children seems in appropriate to me. I was surprised.

The Knowing Book - Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Matthew Cordell
           Moving through the day, looking up, finding joy in whatever you do is the message in this new book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. She asks that you pay attention, and KNOW, through beautiful words, and Matthew Cordell shows what "can be" through his illustrations, using a rabbit as the adventurer. I imagine that each part could be used as a mentor text for noticing and then writing. For example, one page says, "Know this: there is magic around you, but it hides. You might find it nestled in a wand or a spell, but more likely in a penny or a prayer." And the rabbit sits on a hill, gazing at the wonders of the sky lit by the sun. The endpapers start with a sky of clouds, and ends with one of stars. It's a magical book.

Twenty Yawns - Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo
           There’s nothing nicer than a good bedtime book, and this is another new one.  Lucy and her family spend a long, wonderful day at the beach, longer than before. At the end, Mom says “early bedtime”, and Lucy is tucked into bed while Mom begins a story. Soon everyone is yawning, even Mom, who falls asleep. But Lucy realizes she is wide awake and must find her bear. With Bear and all the other animals brought back to bed, the yawns appear again, and finally, they’re all asleep. I’ve just given a bare summary, but with the words and Lauren Castillo’s full pages of colorful, lively illustrations, this will make a marvelous “goodnight” book. It will also be fun to count the yawns and find all twenty.



poetry

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons - Julie Fogliano

            If you'd like to move through the year with poetry joy in every season, then read this book. Read the poems that begin with spring - "each tweet poking/a tiny hole/through the edge of winter", then move into summer when you can - "taste the sunshine/and the buzzing/and the breeze". This is also the time, I imagine you guessed, "when green becomes tomatoes/ there will be sky/and sun/ and possibly a cloud or two", the title poem. In fall, "because they know/they cannot stay/they fade and fall/then blow away", finally winter brings "the best kind of day/when it is snowing/and the house/sounds like slippers." Lovely line follows lovely line, elaborated by gorgeous illustrations of children loving each season. 






graphic novel - autobiography


Dare to Disappoint, Growing Up in TurkeyÖzge Samanci
           Özge Samanci tells her story of growing up in Turkey with the politics from a country's political overthrow, the challenge of a young girl who must choose the right thing in order to become independent. At least that is the pressure placed on Özge from a young age by her father. Should she be an engineer (all believe it's the best choice) or an actor (beliefs center around this only as a hobby)? Through scraps of personal effects used as collage, cartoon bubbles, and chapters with themes, Özge tells her story of the ups and downs in school and at home. She tries hard to please everyone, but herself. It's clear that every college bound student would benefit from Özge's story, and the important learning about life that she shares here. 

Still Reading - At Day's CloseNight In Times' Past by A. Roger Ekirch, a researched history of the night before the industrial revolution.
           And - The Raven King, fourth in the Raven series by Maggie Stiervater. I had the pleasure of seeing Maggie again here in Denver last Saturday. She is a terrific presenter.

30 comments:

  1. Booked just arrived in a box last week. I loved Crossover and am looking forward to reading this on. I've got When green becomes tomatoes on order. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon, The knowing book and Dare to Disappoint sound fabulous. I just picked up the Raven King today at Costco!

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    1. I think I've said this before, we are reading similar books, Cheriee! Hope you enjoy them all!

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  2. Dare to Disappoint looks really interesting. I will have to check that out!

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    1. It was interesting, told some history new to me, and showed some cultural pressures that are different, but actually connect to our own, too. Thanks, Beth. Enjoy!

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  3. Wonderful books in your pile this week.
    I want to reread The Crossover this summer. I blazed through my ARC and just need to spend some more time with it!
    Great picture books. I adore Twenty Yawns! That sunset page just took my breath away. The poetry book was one I got from the library that I knew I needed to own. I just love Julie Morstad's illustrations. I wanted to do more with that book in April, but with the move and K's surgery looming, it got pushed to the side. Next year! The Knowing Book is also a favorite. I love the message and Matthew Cordell's illustrations are always fantastic!

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    1. So glad you've loved all these books, too, Michele. I own them all too, ones not to miss, & ones to share with the grand-girls! Thanks!

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  4. My son loves Twenty Yawns! We read it almost every night. The magic of that book is not lost on him!

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    1. Wonderful to hear, Ricki. It is my new favorite to give as a gift for new babies!

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  5. I haven't found time to read any of these yet, and some of these titles are new to me. Thanks for giving me good reads to look forward to!

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    1. You're welcome, Jane. They are all ones to be sure to read!

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  6. I'm so excited to get my hands on Twenty Yawns, it looks adorable, and I always have parents at my programs looking for sweet new bedtime books. :)

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    1. They, and you, will love it, Jane. It is just great.

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  7. I do want to read Booked. I'm hearing such good things about it. All the picture and poetry books look lovely, too.

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    1. Thanks, Kay. Kwame Alexander has written another good story about families and how they live. I hope you like it!

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  8. I really liked Booked--a bit better than The Crossover, actually. I am so glad you found Dare to Disappoint and read it! I agree: great read for all college-bound students. I especially liked how it dramatized the conflict between what her parents want and what she wants. I advise so many students who are caught in this same conflict--parents wanting them to do something practical, them wanting an art degree or a literature degree. I appreciated reading your comments on 20 Yawns since I literally remembered nothing about the book when I went to write about it this morning!

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    1. You must be where I found the title, Dare To Disappoint. I enjoyed it very much, so thanks! I saw that you had forgotten about Twenty Yawns, but it is rather simple, saved by looking deeply at the illustrations. And yes, I enjoyed Booked, too. He knows how to tell a good story & make it real, but not unrealistic.

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  9. Great books here Linda! I absolutely HAVE to find a copy of Listen to our World! I love Melissa Sweet!

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    1. It is a very pretty and nice book, Gigi. She makes me smile, too!

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  10. Twenty Yawns and When Green Becomes Tomatoes are both just wonderful. I really need to get my own copies of those for my classroom next year. I still need to read Booked! I have several students that loved The Crossover, but I just haven't had time to get a hold of it and read it. I'm desperate for summer, so I can get caught up! Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Jana. I know this is such a busy time for teachers, am glad that you are still reading and sharing! Enjoyed Booked when you can!

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  11. Booked is so good! I am so glad it is getting the love it should.
    I have the Knowing Book to read too--I cannot wait :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee, fun to know that Kwame Alexander's second book is good, too! Enjoy The Knowing Book!

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  12. We have got to read Twenty Yawns - especially since she is one of the Global Read Aloud authors.

    We loved Booked too - This line from your description really sums up the deeper meaning in that text, "Mark finally comes to some idea about the kind of person he wants to be"

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    1. Thanks, I agree with the underlying message of Booked. It really is about an early adolescent making choices, just as they all have to do. Enjoy Twenty Yawns!

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  13. So many beautiful books here! I just started Booked! And am so excited to be reading it! I LOVED When green Becomes Tomatoes. One of my new favourite poetry titles!

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    1. Oh, enjoy Booked, Carrie! Yes, I've loved the poetry in When Green Becomes Tomatoes, and the grand-girls do, too!

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  14. I am devastated to note that we still don't have Dare to Disappoint in our libraries. I will let our librarians know about this title so that they can get a copy stat! I am envious that you already read Booked! Hoping to get to it soon. Lots of gorgeous books, as always.

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    1. I'll cross my fingers for you, Myra. Dare to Disappoint was terrific. Thank you!

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  15. I too really enjoyed Booked. I have quite a few of these books on my To Be Read list. Dare to Disappoint and When Green Becomes Tomatoes are two in particular that I am eager to read.

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    1. I hope you can read them soon, and enjoy them, Crystal. Thanks!

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