Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's Monday - More Books To Love



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

         I had the chance to read Berlin Boxing Club from a few years ago. It is partly inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences up to and following Kristallnacht. I enjoyed this book very much that details the story of a boy who must take the responsibility of his family far too young during the beginning of the Nazi era. Karl Stern doesn’t look Jewish, but eventually, his school peers discover his secret. Their bullying is his first challenge.


Karl’s father has early and strong ties from his time in World War I, and one is Max Schmeling, the famous boxer, who in an odd deal promises to give Karl boxing lessons. The changes that occur to Karl through the people met and the challenges faced are the beginning of the events that follow. There is much to like about the story and the writing, and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Karl and his younger sister. The author manages to infuse love growing deeper between the family members as their circumstances grow more perilous. When one reads this, one can see the beginnings of Nazi suppression, a chilling realization of what will come. Here is one quote: “The Nazis had broken our windows and torn apart our furniture, but they had not destroyed our selves.”
      The book includes an author's note and sources page detailing the factual inspirations behind the novel.

This is a book for all to learn how challenging it is when moving to a new country. It’s a wordless picture book that shows beautifully the feeling of chaos in this experience along with loneliness, boredom, fear, and a bit of happiness. Illustrations are similar to a graphic novel, but less arranged with so much detail. You literally can "see" this upset child begin to calm. She has brought one small seed along to America, and through the loss of that seed flung out her window, makes herself go out into the world and explore and search for the girl she has seen take the seed. There is a summary of the story by Patti Kim at the back, telling of her own personal experience moving from Korea at age four.




For someone working with early readers, this will be a new way to examine how words work. Lexie this ‘wrangler’ shows how she “ropes” words to create something new, like taking a stick of butter and a fly to make a butterfly. She also watches over the “baby letters” and watches them grow into bigger and bigger words. “A” turns into “at” and then “cat” and “cattle”.  Alas, there is trouble in this story, wrought by the “word rustler” who does terrible things like change “desert” into “dessert”. Lexie is smart, however, catches and persuades this rustler to become a wrangler too.  Colorful and cartoon-like illustrations help tell the story and together will start fun word activities, along with lots of smiles for this “wordy” story.

While most of the time we see parents teaching their children “how” to do things, like how to “howl”, this time Little Wolf tries to emulate his father, but he can’t help following his own inspiration for howling. Father Wolf tries and tries to show the usual way, but after a few more creative “boppita boppita wheee’s” from Little Wolf, instead of “AAAAAAAOOOOOO’s”, Father Wolf joins right in, with a new song and a chuckle. Laura Kvasnosky and Kate McGee worked together to create the gorgeous night scenes.

           I read this aloud for the first time to my 5-year-old granddaughter. What a marvelous book for drama, what a wonderful book for laughing together! The only thing that might be better is to have several people taking the different voices of rock, paper, and scissors. Illustrations show the broadest humor and emotions. They're wonderful, too. Also, tongue-in-cheek, I'm very happy to learn this legend!


Who hasn’t taken an evening walk and peeked into lit windows and imagined what’s happening inside the houses? This young bunny tells of this journey on his way home, carried by his mother and doing that very thing. On the way, father joins them, and eventually, they arrive home, and bunny goes to bed, then to sleep. Illustrations are gorgeous, soft charcoal sketches with some bits of color. Remember The Tea Party In The Woods, also by Akiko Myakoshi, which has a similar effect.



 From last year, a poem beautifully illustrated by Faith Ringgold, each page honoring the diversity of those who have come to America, to “be” Americans. Starting with our Native Americans who were already here and then slaves who came in chains, offerings are many and diverse. It’s a wonderful homage to all the gifts we take for granted that have been contributed to add to America’s uniqueness.







NOW:         I'm in The Middle Of: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan. What a powerful voice in this story! I had to put Red Scarf Girl aside because of reading Short, will get back to it. Then: I finally got March: Book Two from the library.

20 comments:

  1. What a lovely collection of books this week Linda. I loved Here I Am. I'm looking forward to The Way Home in the Night because Akimo Myakoshi's work is stunning. Lexie looks fun and educational.

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    1. The Way Home In The Night is the sweetest book, Cheriee. And Lexie is fun. Enjoy both. I agree about Here I Am -fascinating response in the story's illustrations. Thanks!

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  2. I think I own HERE I AM, but I haven't read it... or I just don't remember it.
    I hope you love SHORT! I loved the main character's voice.

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    1. Enjoy Here I Am, amazing illustrations, Michele. I took time this am to finish Short, & yes, I enjoyed Julie's voice and the story very much! Thanks!

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  3. Wow, such a great collection of titles this week, and quite a few of them are new to me, which is always exciting!!

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    1. That's great Jane. I hope you find some to love! Thanks!

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  4. I'm quite certain The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors will be very popular on the bookshelves of my school's classroom libraries. It's such a fun book and a common way to settle disputes. I'll definitely have to check out the other books on your list. Can't wait for summertime reading to begin! Have a great week!

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    1. Enjoy what you can, Jana, & yes, "Rock, Paper, Scissors" should be very popular! Thank you!

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  5. I read HERE I AM quite a while ago but I remember really enjoying it. I'm looking forward to reading LEXIE THE WORD WRANGLER.

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    1. I can imagine using the Lexie book with young readers & having lots of fun with it, Beth. Thanks!

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  6. Berlin Boxing Club is one of my favorite WWII stories! It was a Walden finalists one year when I was on the committee. It is such a special story!
    Rock, Paper, Scissors is one I NEED to get--I think Trent will love it, and would be perfect for teaching him the game :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. I was so glad to read The Berlin Boxing Club, Kellee and happy to hear that someone else loved it too. Yes, please find Rock, Paper, Scissors. It was so creative and fun! Thanks!

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  7. The Berlin Boxing Club sounds excellent. Rock, Paper, Scissors is super funny. I had We Came to America on display in November and all the way into January. I think I still have the poster up too. The Way Home at Night sounds lovely.

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    1. I really liked We Came to America. Faith Ringgold creates beautiful books. Hope you'll find the books new to you and enjoy them! Thanks!

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  8. Isn't Short wonderful? Really enjoyed that one. I would like my own copy of Here I am. It is a title that is so rich.

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    1. Yes! I love them both! Thanks, Carrie.

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  9. Oh no! A whole bunch of new books to read. Our eighth graders are in the middle of a Holocaust unit. I need to run out and pick up Berlin Boxing Club this weekend-- I know they will love it! By the way, if you have not seen the movie, THE ZOOKEPER'S WIFE, about the Warsaw Zoo during WW2, I recommend it highly. At Chez Artiste right now!

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    1. Enjoy the Berlin Boxing Club, will fit in beautifully! And thanks for the movie recommendation. I didn't know, & I loved the book!

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  10. I still need to read The Way Home. Was it a newer work or an older work republished after the success of Tea Party?

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    1. It was just published last month, Earl, according to Amazon. I liked it, different but with the same kind of imagination as Tea Party. Thanks!

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