Sunday, September 4, 2016

It's Monday - Reading!


           Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. Come discover new books!

          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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          Except for this first book and the last one, all the books have been published in 2016. How lucky we are that great books are still coming, and great books are in the past to discover too!
       I've had this anthology a long time, a marvelous gift from Margaret Simon in a poem swap. Nearly every day I read a poem or two from it, and it buoys me for the day, or rests me at the end of the day. I imagine that every woman of any age will love it, and that every man should read it if he wants to understand a bit more about women. Georgia Heard has entered one small quote at the beginning, something I think you'll all enjoy: "Words linked us in a ring of stars . . ."  by Dorothy Livery's poem "Epiphany", also included in the book. Georgia has divided the book's poems into sections, Love, Motherhood, Work, Family & Friends, and Balance. Within those sections are sometimes sub-sections. You can take a section a a time, open the book at will, browse and savor. 


         This book, from Net Galley, comes out September 13th. I tried to care about Lorelei’s problem, the one her grandmother warned about, that she was never to sing, but I didn't ever care that much. It's a silent household, parents, older twin brothers, and a grandmother, plus Lorelei, a sophomore in high school, who needs some love. She wonders if this older Chris, a senior, might help. He plays in a band and she would love at least to listen to some music. Surely that's okay.         
          Some of the writing is good, especially the descriptions of Lorelei’s feelings when she does sing. Yes, she does! Without spoiling the story, it's difficult to write more. Zan Romanoff deepens most of the characters who all seem to be so sad, to have been living their lives with secrets, and ones that they also appear to have resolved to accept. However, Lorelei won't accept her fate. I imagine all the angst and hidden thoughts do mirror some teens' lives, and they will enjoy seeing themselves in this story, perhaps even wishing for some magic?

       I read this book last night and today, have been wanting to read it for a long time, finally I have. My first thoughts were that old saying, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." This is a story mixed up with a middle schooler, Charlie, who competes in Irish dancing, learns to love ice fishing, likes doing science fair projects, has a few good friends, and a wonderful older sister who is gone now, her first year in college! It all seems like a regular life with parents who work, play games as a family, worry about the college bills. Except it becomes not a regular life when Abby, that older sister, is found to be a heroin addict. For a younger audience, it feels like the story of what happens in the family is realistic, and might offer some great help to anyone keeping secrets in their families. Perhaps they will see that addiction is an illness, and share with others their fears, how hard it is in the family. There is hope, and a little magic, but don't want to spoil it by saying more.

        Emily Gravett's Bear and Hare stories do not disappoint, and this one is fun. What happens when someone won't ever share? Sometimes it's okay, and sometimes, it's disaster! Hare is not in a sharing mood this day. It's okay to Bear sometimes, and Hare doesn't give in, but there is a part of a friendship that maybe Hare needs to learn? You'll have to read the story to see what happens. It's an amusing story for conversation about friendship, and to see what Bear and Hare are up to this time.
        I've loved Bryan Collier's books like Dave the Potter and Knock Knock. He fills the pages with his gorgeous collage and watercolor. This book is no different, following a young girl (who happens to be Collier's daughter) through the streets of NYC with a kaleidoscope, showing all the shapes we might miss on these busy streets. Of course, Collier is following along Diana Murray's lively rhyming text which will be a great read aloud as readers predict what's next. "Scattered up high, above/buildings and cars--/Some SHAPES in the city are/ faraway STARS." There are notes from both author and illustrator at the back. It's a lovely, fun book to pore over, finding more and more "shapes in the city".
        It's easy to be swayed by a crowd and a bully who says harsh things, and Paula, a lifelong friend of Maggie, decides that maybe Maggie isn't so great after all. Paula moves into Veronica's crowd, but Veronica soon finds things to tease Paula about. A lesson is learned, and best friends get back together. It's a similar message to Woodson's Each Kindness, but will reach a younger audience.
        Somehow I've kept missing this book, but now I know why so many lavished their praise for it. The author says it's based on these two friends at the NYC Zoo, and it is that, but also more. It's a story of love and loss, how grieving works, how to keep going while saying goodbye, and also how memories help the love keep growing. I think I wouldn't be able to share this as a read-aloud without crying. I love seeing those little bluebirds of happiness following along with Ida and Gus. It is truly heartfelt and beautiful.
              This artist, Brendan Wenzel, makes perspective shine as we move through a cat's meanderings, seeing what other creatures "see", quite a different world from ours. It takes good imagination to try to see something through other eyes, and the story shows that Wenzel has one. Now he's teaching us to use our own imagination as we step into some other shoes. It will be a lovely book to use with students in writing and or art. Perhaps a history lesson too?
       This book by Cynthia Rylant is thirty years old, a discovery and a good companion to other "night" books that have been published more recently. Here's a good list! In this book, Rylant introduces the animals that appear at night, and other sounds, like the creaks and groans of a house, and a screen door slamming far away. The illustrations show farm country and the animals doing what they do at night, until one bird tells them all that it's time for day. It's a sweet book, perhaps to use as a mentor of observations at different times, maybe at different places too. 

Currently: I changed plans to read The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner which came in  at the library, but as you can see, I read it! Next I will start Nora Baskin's Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story.  This coming Sunday is the anniversary of that terrible day, so it's time to read and remember.

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30 comments:

  1. I need to read Seventh Wish! I love Messner's work, but I have gotten behind in reading her stuff.
    I love Maggie also! I am definitely going to read it to my students this year. Cat, Ida, and City are all books that I definitely want to get my hands on.

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. The Seventh Wish is so good, Kellee. I hope you get to it, and the others, soon. Have a wonderful Labor Day enjoying family and reading!

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  2. What wonderful reading you have enjoyed! I love that you included Cynthia Rylant on your list; her writing is so classic. I never tire of using it as mentor text!

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    1. I was glad to find this one, Karen, don't remember ever seeing it. Yes, you can depend on her books as so enjoyable. Thanks!

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  3. I loved The Seventh Wish. Added the picture books to my shopping cart for the fall; thanks!

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    1. Glad to hear you liked The Seventh Wish, too. I couldn't put it down! Thanks Chris, enjoy those other books!

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  4. I love City Shapes and bought a copy of it for my classroom library. You've got a lot of great picture books that I still haven't read. I put orders in for all of them. Thanks for great suggestions. Hope you have a terrific week!

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    1. Thanks, Jana, I hit the jackpot with these books this week. I own some, but thank goodness for my wonderful library. Yes, City Shapes was awesome! Hope your week is terrific, too!

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  5. I must open a window for ordering books for my school library while reading your post. Thank you for sharing so many great books.

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    1. It was a lovely week of reading, Deb. Glad you discovered some new ones for you!

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  6. What a wonderful round-up! Love Georgia Heard's work! Putting all of these on my "to read" list!

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    1. All just great, Jane. enjoy them, and that Georgia Heard poetry will offer a poem to love every day!

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  7. Looking forward to reading these titles! Thank you for including CITY SHAPES. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Diana. I enjoyed it very much, know that children will too!

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  8. Great list! I loved The Seventh Wish - so glad you got to read it. I am interested in Georgia Heard's book. I will have to pick this one up. Thanks for sharing this great set of books.

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    1. You're welcome, Joanne. I was so glad to be able to find and read them all.

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  9. I am also a fan of Bryan Collier Linda. I used Knock Knock in my critical literacy unit. Have you read Uptown? It is stunning. I've got The Seventh Wish sitting in a box of books that I must get to. It's just that all these library books keep getting in the way! I keep reading about Ida and the cat. I'm going to have to find copies and read them.

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    1. No, don't know Uptown, will be sure to find it, Cheriee. I know what you mean about juggling. Between the library, NetGalley & those I own, there are lots to choose from, & read by deadlines! Ida, Always is just precious, FYI!

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  10. I need to read The Seventh Wish too! So many great words for it in the blogging/tweeting community!
    They All Saw a Cat and City Shapes were recent favorites.
    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Michele, I enjoyed each one of them, too, as you can see. Hope you'll get to The Seventh Wish fast! Have a good week back with the students!

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  11. So many wonderful books to read! I love Emily Gravett's work, and am looking forward to reading City Shapes. Except for Night in the Country, the other picture books are new to me, and I'm adding them to my list. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. I hope some will become favorites, Catherine. Enjoy!

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  12. I couldn't make it through Ida, Always without crying, I don't think I could handle reading it aloud! City Shapes and They All Saw A Cat were just recently introduced to me, and both are wonderful additions to any collection! So many great titles here this week!!

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    1. I do understand about Ida, Always-the sweetest book! I agree about City Shapes and They All Saw A Cat-both terrific! Thanks, Jane.

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  13. Isn't Ida Always so lovely? I had to buy it. I really look forward to reading The Seventh Wish. I read Nine, Ten . . . this summer and have continued to think about it a lot. I think you will find it well written and meaningful.

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    1. Yes, Ida, Always is one from the library, but I will buy it. I loved every bit, Carrie. I've watched documentaries all evening about 9/11. What a terrible time that was. I've read The Memory of Things, and so far, Nine, Ten. .. is beginning well. Glad to hear your ideas about it. Have a great week!

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  14. Oh my goodness, Ida Always looks absolutely stunning. I have just placed it in my order list for my research project. Really looking forward to reading it. :)

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    1. It is so special, Myra. I hope you love it!

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  15. I was just talking to another grownup about how crazy that there are kids who don't know about 9/11 . It's definitely a day of remembrance and reflecting.

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    1. I know, and now it's an important part of history to examine, isn't it? Thanks, Earl.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!