Sunday, February 12, 2017

Monday Reads

  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
        Next: I'm reading an old James Herriot book. It's peaceful and full of good stories.  After, I'm hoping to read the new verse novel by Jeannine Atkins, Stone Mirrors. It'll be a nice week of reading. I have a pile of lovely picture books waiting, too.






      This is number four completed of my #MustReadIn2017 list. See above. I'm not sure why I delayed reading this for so long. I owned the book! But like others in a pile, it simply was pushed to the bottom often. I enjoyed it thoroughly, loved the weaving back and forth from today's John Lewis happening upon a mother and her two boys visiting his office, and having the most wonderful surprise of seeing THE John Lewis. They only came to peek at his office. And the tale began, John telling them of his earliest days as a learner, and as a lover of chickens (read Preaching To The Chickens), at wondering about preaching, and going off to college. There he met Dr. Martin Luther King, there he met others who showed him about non-resistance, and there he began his lifelong passion for equal rights for his people. The graphic style seemed perfect to show so much of the setting and the people's actions.  With Andrew Aydin, John Lewis wrote the story with enough dialogue and connecting text to keep me excited to hear this story. Nate Powell's art was starkly serious when it needed to be with emotionally charged action and facial expressions. The faces showed joy, despair, hope and anger, all part of a mixed-up world.  I'm happy that I finally started this journey.  
          I need to find March Book Two fast because I won Alyson Beecher's Sibert Award prize winners, so now I have Book Three! Isn't that great!


         A second graphic novel! Fill your heart with Snow White in any setting, and this is such a clever one. In 1928, Snow's father is a well-to-do investor, having the good life except for the wife's death, leaving him with a beautiful daughter whom they call Snow. Enter a beautiful actress from the stage; the stepmother appears. The rest could be history as we usually know it. Yes there is danger in the dark drawings, some who try to hurt Snow White, but there are also some who save her. At the same time, the market crashes, the stepmother wants to save what she can, so manages to kill Snow's father. The will has been changed, however, and Snow White is due to inherit most at the age of 18. What is expected happens: that apple laden with a magic potion is given, and Snow falls into the sleep. During this time, those usual "seven dwarves" are imagined as seven homeless boys, some shy and resentful to be forced into the care of this new young girl. But just like the dwarves, they grow fond of this girl, enough to help care for her in sleep. There "is" that magical glass coffin, a clever connection to the earlier joy Snow has brought to the boys. I love the story that graphic novels tell and re-imagined fairy tales. This one by Matt Phelan is quite enjoyable. 


          Here’s a story that needs a character. That turns out to be an octopus, and in stories the main character has a problem. This time it’s that the octopus wants to fly to outer space in a ‘shining purple spaceship’. But he doesn’t have one, and is a failure at building one, and so is the little bunny (added character). It’s a hilarious picture book with “out-loud” illustrations that will make you laugh, and give some great ideas for making stories. It will be a terrific writing workshop book.


         There has been much written lately about the importance of teaching children kindness, and sometimes modeling that can be a way to learn it. Sophie's neighbor knits hats for many people, but Sophie thinks it's too hard and helps by making the pom-poms. Now that it's winter, Mrs. Goldman knits more hats, telling Sophie that it's a mitzvah, a good deed. She is so busy that she doesn't have one herself, and Sophia sees how cold she gets when they go outside. The illustrations of blustery days are great. She decides to knit one herself, and struggles. It doesn't turn out quite right. But then Sophie has a brilliant idea, and it works. You'll have to read the book to discover how! Illustrations by G. Brian Karas are sweetly pastel, and some pages are adorned with pom-poms. Don't forget to check out the knitting pattern at the back, and both front and back endpapers!
          A young girl comes home after school each day and spends time with her grandfather. We can see that he is housebound, sitting in a wheelchair, but he is not inactive. Each day he asks  Sophie to find something he’s lost, a rubber band, a paper clip, a paintbrush. It’s a game, but Sophie “finds” the object and clearly they both enjoy the time together. Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney are gorgeous full page paintings, with beautiful detail. It’s nice to see a loving relationship where they make their own fun.



           From Canada, translated from the French and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, a well-known illustrator in Canada, comes a story about bullying. To me it was heartbreaking to see a little girl whom her new classmates see as different so happy to go to her new school, then heartbroken that she is teased. Day after day she is bullied about her hair dark as a crow, then skin dark like a crow. On the way home, she sees a crow every day. At first, she shoos it away, but one day she changes her look at it, and notices its beauty (her beauty). Her idea that helps acceptance is her own miracle. The story is beautifully illustrated, with a rather easy solution created. It felt like Lila was the one who had to change rather than other others who were bullying. I was sorry that no one noticed that the girl was being bullied and stayed alone at recess and lunch for days. I am not sure I would share it with a class, perhaps for older children.

         A video a friend shared on Facebook-bookmobiles! https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=The%20Riflebird%20bookmobiles 

26 comments:

  1. I have not read March yet. I will probably feel similar to you when I do read it, but it has not made it to the top of my pile. I love books about kindness. I can never share enough of those with students so I'll have to look for A Hat for Mrs. Goldman. On a side note, the link to get to this page on the Teach Mentor Books page seemed not to work for me. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa, for telling me about the link. I hope you enjoy Mrs. Goldman and Sophie!

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  2. I am picking up March from the library today and Snow White has been on my list for a while. I have not read the others you listed. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. You're welcome, hope you like March!

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  3. I am planning of pick up a copy of Snow White when I see Matt Phelan at a conference later this month. Can't wait!

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    1. Oh, that WILL be fun. Tell him I loved it!

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  4. I read Snow White this week as well. All of his choices seemed so right for this story--a really seamless update. And the art! I loved the knitting PB--one of those titles that seems so simple but has so much depth. Wish I could discuss with a class of students! I am finishing up the March trilogy right now as well. Just finished Book 2 and waiting (not so patiently!) for a copy to come in at the library. Nate Powell is one of my very favorite graphic novel artists, and I think he does such phenomenal work in this series. The art is simply superb. A really fitting tribute to John Lewis. So glad it won so many awards since that means it will be more visible and hopefully more read.

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    1. A Hat for Mrs. Goldman was very sweet, I agree, glad to hear about your liking of Nate Powell. I did love his work here. Will look for more! Thanks, Elisabeth!

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  5. I just told Elisabeth on her blog that Snow White is one I would like to get to soon. I have held off since it seems above 4th grade, but it's still one I want to read.
    I bought the March trilogy last month. I'll probably save it for this summer.

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    1. I guess it depends on the 4th grader's reading habits. Certainly it's no scarier than Harry Potter if you have some who are reading those. I hope to get March Two soon. I think it should be read all together. Thanks, Michele.

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  6. A Hat for Mrs. Goldman looks like it has the sweetest illustrations, and I love this spirit of spreading empathy and kindness through picture books. The world needs more simple, everyday acts of love and generosity.

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    1. I agree, Jane. This, and others, will be good to have and share in classrooms or with your own children, or grandchildren! Thanks!

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  7. I loved A Hat for Mrs. Goldman and In Plain Sight! Such lovely books that celebrate close relationships. I'll have to look for Lila and the Crow. Have a great week.

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    1. Hope you have a great week, too, Jana. I hope you find some good books here. Thanks!

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  8. We have the March trilogy in our classroom and the books are among my most-read books. What an American hero John Lewis is!

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    1. Yes, I'm glad to hear about your students loving the books, Tara. They are important ones.

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  9. In Plain Sight looks amazing - Every time we see a book Jerry Pinkney has illustrated we have to get it. Thank you for telling us about this title.

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    1. Yes, Pinckney adds such beautiful flavor to the stories. This is a sweet one!

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  10. March is on my #mustreadin2017 list, too! I am really looking forward to it! I hope you have a great reading week. :)

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  11. Snow White is such a beautiful graphic novel! And I love the Octopus picture book--it was one of the books I got Trent for Christmas :)
    March is on my #mustread list also--I cannot wait!

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. It's nice to hear that you found Also An Octopus for Trent. I was so impressed by it.

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  12. March is on my must read list for this year. I really loved Lila and the Crow and I get your concerns because I have my own. Where the heck were the teachers when all this bullying was going on? I thought that the message was that when she celebrated who she really was, the power of others to hurt her disappeared. I think it parallels the regenesis of indigenous culture and pride.

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    1. I appreciate your further opinion about Lila, Cheriee. I see how that can work as an celebration of her true self. It was simply annoying that she seemed so very alone. Thanks!

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  13. I loved the illustrations in Snow White. I am thankful that the March series exists and that it has gotten so much attention. :)

    I will look for the knitting book. It seems perfect for me. In Plain Sight is on my to read list. Thanks for sharing great titles!

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    1. You're welcome, Crystal, I'm looking froward to reading March Book Two! Enjoy the picture books!

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