Sunday, May 21, 2017

Monday - Holding On To One's Values



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







         Although different, these first three books, all connected to conflicts, in war, in revolution, and in civil rights. People who strive to do the right thing at personal cost are heroes. And those who use creativity to achieve their goals are to be applauded. Each book shows parts of that, and each happens to be non-fiction this week.

      Thanks to Candlewick for the Arc of this book. We know Janeczko from his wonderful poetry anthologies, but do you know that he's also written books about codes (Top Secret) and spies (The Dark Game) as well as professional books for teachers? His name is an important one to know.                              This book is fascinating and detailed, although I did wish there were a few more personal stories given. For anyone who is beginning to be interesting in deception in war, this book will spark interest and further research. It offers ancient background deception examples, but quickly moves and focuses on United States history, from the Civil War all the way to the Gulf Wars. The complexity of planning the huge operations like D-Day are amazing to learn about. I liked that there were maps and photos included which aided the explanations. It is also interesting that artists and people who had previously been employed by the movie industry played important roles in creating important deceptions. 

     A memoir about the years between the age of 12 to 14, Ji Li Jiang tells her story of the suffering of her family during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a time when they were considered "black families" because her grandfather was a landlord. He had long passed, but the connection was there, one that she could not overcome no matter how good a student. The only way would be to denounce her family, and she did not. In the afterword, Ji Li Jiang writes: "Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country." She admits that Mao Zedong brainwashed them all, and as a young girl, learned to love him and his words. For anyone who is beginning to study China or revolutions, this should be in the list of books to read. 





        From my #MustReadIn2017 list, finally I got March, Book Two from the library! 
This graphic novel, number two of three, covers the terrible times of the Freedom Riders, those who rode buses from town to town in the deep south to protest for their rights to eat in restaurants and go to movie theaters. No one is spared in the violence they experienced; even children who marched were sprayed with fire hoses and arrested. I liked that some pages were "flash forwards" of parts about President Barack Obama, showing one wonderful result of the sacrifices made by these people in the early sixties. The book ends with the March To Washington, and Lewis shares the controversy among different leaders over his own speech. That final speech is shared at the end. It feels to me that the graphic pictures created add to the text, showing what happened even more vividly than words ever could. This page above is one that touched me very much, the aftermath of trying to board a bus in Alabama. There are pages about the authors and illustrator at the back.



       This love story is written in letters, showing subtle persuasion from Ox despite the rebuffs of beautiful Gazelle. There are hints of her mind change, but for the true end of the story, Adam Rex makes the reader wait until the very end. This makes us hope for gentle Ox to be successful in his quest. Illustrations show actions in the separate lives of each as they write the letters. It's a very fun read!










       In another connection, all these books connect in that each one pays homage to those that stay true to themselves, follow their dreams, persist to reach their goals. Peter H. Reynolds' Happy Dreamer celebrates the dreamer, the child (later to be an adult) who wants to follow his or her own path, own star, own dream. It is gorgeous, and I've purchased a copy for my youngest granddaughter for her kindergarten celebration at the end of school. She is our "happy dreamer". 





Next: I have a NetGalley title waiting!

15 comments:

  1. I have yet to read a book in the March trilogy. Maybe this summer I'll get to one. Happy Dreamer is awesome. How lucky for your granddaughter to be given a book with such a wonderful message!

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    1. I hope you'll get to at least the first March, Lisa. They give a look at that time like no other. And I adore Happy Dreamer, have to have that one for Imi! Thanks!

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  2. That is quite a connection among those books! I'm glad so much of this is coming to light because we definitely still need to continue the conversations.
    I really liked XO, OX. But I love those silly, kind of sarcastic books!

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    1. Thanks, Michele, yes, we do need to keep this connection conversation going! And, I loved XO, OX too, am always looking for those funny books to read to the granddaughters who love them!

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  3. I need to finish the March trilogy this summer. I loved the second book as much as the first. Such a huge, complex, complicated story made so accessible and also so visually beautiful by Powell's art. I am eager to read Happy Dreamer--my college students adore Peter Reynolds's books. I've gotten to the point where I think I need to read them all in every class because students respond so positively.

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    1. I had read March One a long while ago, but had trouble getting this one from the library, and now I do have March Three. Yes, they're wonderful, and so is Happy Dreamer, like all Reynolds' books. They make one think, but are also simply 'feel good' books. Thanks, Elisabeth.

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  4. A fellow librarian sent me an extra copy she had of Happy Dreamer, I'm so looking forward to reading it! And XO, OX sounds just delightful. :-)

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    1. Wonderful that you have a copy of Happy Dreamer. It and XO, OX are just great, Jane. Thanks!

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  5. Intrigued by Double Cross (and my students are loving Red Scarf Girl)!

    I have major problems with XO Ox. Even though it's meant to be humorous, I think it sends the wrong messages about consent, as Ox is essentially a celebrity stalker. Troublesome.

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    1. Double Cross was filled with info and explanations, will take a determined reader willing to do extra research if she doesn't understand some of the history. I hear you about XO-OX. Each person looks at stories in different ways.

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  6. Happy Dreamer is such a beautiful book! Definitely one I want to purchase. I also still need to read XO, OX. Red Scarf Girl looks like a compelling story. I like that it's from an adolescent's point of view. I'll have to read it one of these days. Thanks for sharing these titles. Have an awesome week!

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    1. The writing of Red Scarf Girl is not exciting, but straight to the point in showing how their lives went down & down. It's eye-opening! Yes, loved Happy Dreamer!

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    2. Many of my 7th graders remarked that they found Red Scarf Girl "way more interesting" than they expected to. :P

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    3. I'm glad to hear this, Katie. Sometimes it's hard to be sure how students will like a book.

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  7. A student got a paperback of Red Scarf Girl from our Kiwanis donations and loved it. It amazes me the things they will read when the books are free that they turn down when I try to get them to check out!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!