Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Year Reading

         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 with  #IMWAYR
         Happy New Year! I have some catching up to do in the books I've read, and books I hope to read. I've had a terrific holiday time with my family and friends, and hope all of you did, too. 

        Hurrah! You can see my #MustReadIn2017 above, and I've finished my first book on the list! Review today! Carrie Gelson hosted our sharing of our lists here this past week. Take a look at everyone's lists!



          
          Quite a few bloggers have shared how wonderful this book is, and now I know! Ben Coffin knows well how to say goodbye to homes and people. A "drop-off" baby, he spent 10 years in foster homes until he got his "mom". And then a little mutt followed him home, Mom said "yes" and the days, even with a bully at school, became even happier, until they weren't. Ben is lucky to have a good, good friend, Chucky, and also he's lucky because of the dog's charm he meets another who becomes a good friend and happens to be his local librarian's daughter. He calls her the "diva" for the wild and crazy colors she wears. Ben is super smart, loves books and manages his mixed-up life and his school work with grace. Sometimes that "grace" gets him into trouble because he gives in too much, and says what he believes others want him to say instead of telling his real feelings. The strength of all the characters makes this a page-turner. Many people believe middle-schoolers are challenging and thoughtless. I taught them for a lot of years, and know they are capable of deep feelings and kind acts. Just give them a chance, and get to know them better by reading this story. 
         There is a thread throughout the book that shows a love of books by Ben and others that I think everyone will enjoy since we all love them, too. Here is one quote when he is hiding out in his library: "I think if there's a heaven, it'll be my own private library. I walked along row after row of books and dragged my fingertips over their spines. In the twilight I felt the magic in them. They whispered to me, Pick Me. Do you want to know an awesome secret?"


          In this older book, William Steig offers a lesson in kindness and friendship with little hope of reciprocation. We learn that animals (or people), this time a whale and a mouse, do what is helpful when it's needed. I love that Steig does not talk down to children in his stories. He uses the words needed to tell a story, this time "phosphorescence" and "luminous" are needed to describe a beautiful sea, and when Boris the whale was beached, he was not "covered", but "breaded" with sand. There's a bit of miracle in every story William Steig gives us, and that gives hope that everything will eventually be okay in life.








If you don't know this book by Roald Dahl, you should find it and read. It's a great start to the year, would be a sweet read-aloud if you have the audience, and might serve as a mentor text for personal writing. In it, Dahl speaks to us readers and it's rather like a nice conversation. He shares his thought about each month, and observations both inside and out. His love of nature lies at the forefront. Dahl names January a "miserable month" and if he had his way, he'd eliminate it from the calendar and have an extra July instead. The illustrations by Quentin Blake are pen and ink dashed with a bit of watercolor. It's a lovely book from the past.







      I chose to share the title page instead of the cover of this book because it shows the main character David in his disappointment and longing for the "big snow". It is a repeating story where David asks his mother if it's going to snow, and she diverts his attention in various ways. The first time, he is invited to make cookies, but the flour makes him think of snow so he abandons the task as flower rises around the table, and runs outside to "check the weather". This occurs several times even more fun, but not so much for Mom. In the bathroom while cleaning, bubbles flow and remind him of snow, and there David goes again. It's a cute book, just perfect for reading on a day when "big snow" is coming. The ending shows David out on a quiet snowbound evening, walking down a snow-filled street after his yearned for "big snow".


 I'm trying to read a few more easy readers so that my granddaughters can read to me. This one seems to be a bit too easy for the older one, but it might be a fun read aloud for a one-time sitting. These two characters are new to me, but Bramble the horse clearly is part of this neighborhood. It reminds me of those small country places where people have a few acres with a few horses and chickens. Snow is on its way, and the family, including Maggie, have to get ready. They need supplies, to fill the bathtub with water in case the power goes off, and to make extra precautions for the animals' warmth. By the time it's evening, snow is coming fast and Maggie hurries to close the stable door with Bramble safe inside. After the night of snow, the adventure begins because that door was not safely closed, and Bramble did not stay in. It's just enough of a mystery for young children to love, and what happens after he's found is about everyone helping each other in the neighborhood, what people do when there's a need. It will bring good discussions as the scenes take place. 



For the youngest ones, for bedtime, or almost bedtime, this will be a new favorite. With repetitive language, the young boy continues to say "not quite" to different queries about sleepiness. Until certain things are done--dinner, play with a dog, bath, reading a book, and on, "it really is not time for sleeping". Lisa Graff manages to sneak in a bit of Where The Wild Things Are when the boy, dressed in bear pajamas with feet, roars to his dog, just like that other boy, Max Lauren Castillo used her colorful and black-outlined, simple illustrations to bring life to the text. It's a book you won't want to miss.

Now Reading - The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Next - The Girl Who Drank The Moon  by Kelly Barnhill and The Best Man by Richard Peck (Newbery buzz books I haven't read!)

28 comments:

  1. Big Snow is such a clever idea for a picture book! I love Bean's work and can't wait to see this one. When Friendship Followed Me Home sounds wonderful--will be on the lookout for sure. Wish it was one I could read aloud to my son but think the themes would be too personally distressing to him. He is really liking contemporary realistic middle-grade right now, which happens to be my favorite kind of reading too! Trying to think of other series to recommend for the granddaughters but my mind is blank. Maybe because I've been up since 4 a.m.! Happy reading this week!

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    1. Big Snow was a find at the library and it is just perfect, Elisabeth. I agree that "Friendship" might be a tough read aloud. I did like it, but thought it would be hard to read for some kids in my classroom. Thanks for trying to think of a series. There are a few that Ingrid loves, like the Julie Sternberg books.

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  2. I really want to get to Friendship. Although yes, I've heard tissues are needed.
    I just love Lauren Castillo's work. I've bought some prints, bags and cards so I can share with more people :)

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    1. As you can see, I did enjoy Friendship, glad to have read it. I adore Castillo's books too, so many "warm" ones to smile about. Thanks, Michele!

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  3. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Time for Sleeping. I have watched Lauren Castillo as she documented her steps in creating the illustrations. I want to see the finished product. I think I need a copy of Big Snow for my library! I've had When Friendship Followed Me Home in my to read pile for a while. I might need to move it up. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I knew I couldn't wait, just ordered it. I imagine you will love it since you watched the steps of creating. For those little ones at your school, Big Snow would be just wonderful. Wonder why so many of us have "Friendship" on a pile, but unread? I did too until this past week. Enjoy when you can!

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  4. I love all things written by Roald Dahl (even though he was a ghastly man), so I will definitely have to look for his book. Friendship is on my TBR list - can't wait to get a chance to read it!

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    1. This book by Dahl isn't new, Tara, but I have enjoyed it a lot & used it monthly as a good example of personal essays & a good start to the month! Enjoy Friendship, it's good!

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  5. I've heard such wonderful things about When Friendship Followed Me Home. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it, too! I need to get my hands on it!

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    1. The characters are lovely, but the main one is a gem, Ricki. Enjoy!

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  6. I've seen Friendship on several blogs in the last few months. I'm really curious about it now. The Girl Who Drank the Moon sounds really good to me too. I'm interested to see what you have to share about that one. Have a great week!!

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    1. I hope you enjoy some of them, Bill. They are not YA books, but for middle grades, FYI. Hope you have a good week, too!

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  7. When Friendship Followed Me Home is now on my list. I'm not sure if it is good or bad that my library doesn't have a copy. I'm already so far behind on books to read. I have always been a hard core fan of William Steig. When I was in the classroom I could always find some way to use his work. I also loved to read Dahl's work, even if as Tara pointed out, he was a ghastly man.

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    1. Yes, Dahl must have been a challenge for those around him. I love Steig, too, a creative soul! Enjoy Friendship, a good story!

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  8. When Friendship Followed Me Home is just wonderful. That's a great quote that you picked, too. I love Amos and Boris. Such a classic! Whenever I read that to a class they love it.

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    1. So glad to hear that students love Amos & Boris. It is so sweet. And happy that you loved When Friendship Followed Me Home, too.

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  9. When Friendship Followed Me Home is definitely on my To Read list. Love all of the great dog stories that have been coming out lately. Have a terrific week!

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    1. Thanks, Jana. Enjoy it when you can. Love those dog stories, and the cat ones, too!

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  10. I'd never heard of that Dahl book, and I grew up enamoured with his works, thank you for sharing this one! It's wonderful to learn about exciting new books, but there are so many classics still left to explore and discover!!

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    1. I know. As old as I am, I'm still finding books that seem new. Maybe I read them long ago, but don't remember!

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  11. Amos & Boris transformed my way of thinking about picture books when I was first thinking about writing and teaching. It has a special place in my heart. I adored When Friendship Followed Me Home, and have gotten half the sixth grade hooked on it as well. Thank you for sharing the other titles. They are either new to me or on that never-ending list!

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    1. So glad to hear about the students loving When Friendship Followed Me Home. I really was unsure about who would like it. It is a special book for sure. And glad to hear about you and Amos & Boris, another special one. I may have read it way in the past but don't remember it. I'm glad I discovered it-a wonderful story.

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  12. My Year by Roald Dahl sounds really special, as well as Amos and Boris - which I have a distinct feeling I own, I just haven't gotten around to reading. Challenge is to find it in my shelves. :) Happy New Year, dearest Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Myra, hope you'll find both! Happy Reading to you!

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  13. I loved It Is Not Time for Sleeping. Friendship Followed Me Home is on my TRB list and I really want to read My Year. Thanks for sharing these books and I will definitely have to include Big Snow in my next snowy picture book roundup.

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    1. Looks as if you aren't the only one to have When Friendship Followed Me Home on your list to read. I hope you enjoy it! Yes, Big Snow is one to remember! Thanks, Alex.

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  14. I hope you love The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I sure enjoyed Lauren Castillo's illustrations in It's Not Time for Sleeping.

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    1. So far, all I really want to do is read The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Crystal. It's a great start. I love Lauren Castillo's illustrations too-so sweet! Thanks!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!