Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday Reading #SOL17-27/31 - All About The Kids

    I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community for Day Twenty-Seven of Thirty-One.     #tweet SOL17
           



          


Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!        tweet #IMWAYR

         "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." Stacia Tauscher        Here are four stories that celebrate  children who are thoughtful and silly, resilient and joyful. 


       This brief book has been on a shelf for a long time, and when someone mentioned it, I knew I should read it now. The beautiful thread running through the story comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers.” A loving family has had their heartache with lost babies, and Frannie, the young eleven-year-old tells the story that includes her older brother Sean who’s deaf, a friend Samatha who brings up interesting religious questions, and a few classmates who are not always nice create the setting in which Frannie lives and in which she begins to look at things in a new way. Much seems normal, kids being kids, some play, scenes at school, family meals. A new boy who looks white arrives (this is a segregated community) and adds to the way Frannie looks at others. He claims he doesn’t belong across the bridge (where the white people live and go to school). And with his long hair, he takes on the name Jesus. Adding more pepper to the pot of a story is what Jacqueline Woodson does so well, and this boy certainly adds that spice.   The book is divided into four parts in which each one reveals the feelings and hopes of Frannie and others in her life. As a read aloud, this will start some great conversations.





          It’s joyful and a celebration of all those girls who just want to be girls, not just be sweet and playing with dolls, but that’s okay, too. She’s not supposed to be “sugar and spice” and declares she’s “sweet and sour, not a little flower.” When she races ahead in a race and one in the audience says “He’s going to win.” SHE says, “I’m a girl!” But both genders celebrate at the end. They’re glad “We’re us!”  Both story and illustrations by Yasmeen Ismail fill with action and happiness as this young girl is happy to be just who she is.

           In gorgeous mixed media with polymer clay figures pushing out from the page, Suzanne del Rizzo tells the sad story of Sami who must leave his home as so many from Syria have had to do. Not only are they leaving home, but Sami must also leave his beloved pet pigeons. He is devastated, can only think of them as they finally reach the camp and safety. When other children play, not Sami. His sadness has overwhelmed him. The illustrations caused me to pause and admire the detail. One of the first pages shows Sami and his family climbing a hill, but the line of those trailing behind appears so many that the path disappears in the distance. It's both beautiful and shocking to visualize the many, many who have to leave. The village burns in the distance. One day a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into camp and flutter around Sami. His joy is shown on one page: "Like feathered brushes they paint the sky with promise and the hope of peace." The next pages show that he is finding happiness again, with his birds and flying kites with friends, and the end shows Sami welcoming a new child. It's a beautiful story that focuses on one thing to represent all that children lose as they are forced to leave their homes. In an author's note, among other numbers, the author shares that when this book was published, 6.5 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, half of those are children.


         It’s a fictional story but based on the truth of Mayan weavers in Guatemala who have begun weaving plastic bags cut into strips in order to have more products to sell. In the story, young Ixchel (ee-SHELL) begs her mother more than once to be allowed to help with the weaving. She is turned down because there is little yarn; she is too young. Finally she notices the colorful plastic bags that blow around the village and on the paths to and from home. She gets an idea, to cut strips and weave them. The weaving looks beautiful, a rainbow! I imagine many of you have seen these colorful mats and bags sold in some stores. The book’s proceeds will go to an organization called Mayan Hands, a Free Trade group from Guatemala. The book is written in both English and one of the Mayan languages.

Curently - The Seventh Most Important Thing - Shelley Pearsall  & I just bought Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook. I've read her Encylopedia and used it often as a mentor text for my middle school students.Now I can read and remember Amy.

35 comments:

  1. I love the cover for My Beautiful Birds. I will definitely have to find the others. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome. It's a wonder of a book!

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  2. My Beautiful Birds makes me think of my own grandfather, who was a refugee and lost his family and his homeland due to war. The trauma that children of war experience can be overwhelming, and so heartbreaking. It's wonderful that we have sensitive, child-appropriate stories that can help us talk about world events with young children, and help them understand what's going on in the world, and what their new friends might have gone through.

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    1. Yes, I agree that it is good to have these books, Jane, and there are numerous ones that help show this terrible problem. Thanks!

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  3. All these picture books sound interesting. The illustrations in My Beautiful Hands look beautiful. I'll have to look for these. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa, hope you enjoy them!

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  4. These all sound so interesting, especially Rainbow Weaver. I had a nephew who was Mayan and there were always such colorful small weavings in the house reminding him of where he can from. Thanks for sharing these books with us.

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    1. Rainbow Weaver was a surprise because I know another book about this kind of weaving, but the author added the language, too, and that was terrific. I hope you like it, Alex. Thanks!

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  5. Thanks for a great list of books. I picked the suggestion of Feathers and enjoyed reading it, too. I really want find Rainbow Weaver next!

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    1. Thanks, Diane, now I have Woodson's Brooklyn, and hope to read it, soon!

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  6. I have not read the Jacqueline Woodson book so I am now eager to get a copy. As always, thanks for sharing some great reads, Linda.

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    1. You're welcome. As I wrote, I've had Feathers on my shelf for a long time, don't know why I ignored it, but now I'm glad I read it. It's a lovely story.

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  7. I too want to get my hands on Textbook. Great list of books Linda. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about them.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Amy's book has started beautifully as you might imagine.

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  8. Hi Linda,
    I just put a hold on the audiobook of Feathers. the rest of these picture books look gorgeous. I've bookmarked them to read when I am done with being a juror for the book club I am currently involved with. Rainbow weaver is only available in my library in Spanish, so I would have to wait anyway. Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Cheriee, and enjoy Feathers. There is one book I've been trying to get, too, & it's only in Spanish. I'm hopeful that will change.

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  9. Thank you for these book reviews, Linda. Rainbow Weaver in particular interests me because I have two granddaughters who will be going to Guatemala this year, one in May and one in July. Also I watched women weaving on primitive looms in a Thai jungle village I visited a few years ago. It was fascinating! They sat on the ground or bamboo floor. These women were chosen to weave special patterns and fabric for the royal family. It was illegal for anyone else to have those patterns. They gave me some fabric they had woven that was "non-royal."

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    1. How wonderful about your granddaughters, Alice. They may want to read this book! And How great that you saw women creating those special weavings.My class spent a day weaving with Pueblo women on one trip, a magical experience to be welcomed in such a community.

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  10. Feathers is an unusual book - we've used it as both a read aloud and a book club selection and one thing has remained true of both experiences - great discussions, as you said, Linda.

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    1. So glad to hear that you used Feathers like this, Tara. I've never had the chance, but will save it for Ingrid and Imi! Thanks!

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  11. I've seen a few mentions of Feathers today. I love Jacqueline Woodson's books, so I really need to check it out. Have a great week!

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  12. All of these look fantastic! The polymer clay illustrations in My Beautiful Birds really catch my eye - this sounds like a powerful book. I, too, love Jacqueline Woodson - enjoyed her adult novel Another Brooklyn most recently. I will look for all of these! Thanks, Linda!

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    1. I'm headed for Brooklyn as soon as I can, Maureen. Glad to hear you liked it. That art in My Beautiful Birds is simply amazing. I hope you can find and read it! Thank you!

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  13. Thank you for some wonderful recommendations. I've been looking for books with substance to read as my granddaughters learn to be listeners and readers themselves. My Beautiful Birds hits home in so many ways--that's a sure pick.

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    1. Depending on their ages, each of these is worth reading with them, Tim. Enjoy! And thanks!

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  14. Thank you for telling us about Rainbow Weaver. It will be great to pair with the nonfiction text - One Plastic Bag, Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul and Elizabth Zunon

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    1. Yes, it will work well with that book, I agree. They are similar stories, but from different cultures which makes a nice twosome. Thanks!

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  15. As usual, your Monday post sends me scurrying to the library request page. I had Feathers in my classroom library, but never read it. Putting in on my SIR (someday I'll read) list.

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    1. Don't you wonder why we skipped it? Just too many on the lists, I guess. Enjoy it when you can!

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  16. I'm interested in reading (and sharing with students) Rainbow Weaver! Thank you!

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  17. My Beautiful Birds looks exactly like my kind of read! I am devastated that we still don't have it in our public libraries - perhaps in a few months' time. :)

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    1. It is a beauty, Myra! I hope that you will get it soon! Thanks!

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  18. My Beautiful Birds is new to me. I will definitely be watching for it.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!