Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday Reading - Many Loves!

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

      I read so many wonderful books this week. I hope you don't mind the long post, but each one is worth sharing.



 Always be sure to read Helen Frost's afterword "before you read her wonderful verse novels. She cleverly adds in extra messages in the text, and this story is no different. I enjoyed the story told by two sisters. Abigail (soon Abi) is the one who starts kissing, a slightly younger Claire is one who sees her sister changing, and the lake where the story occurs. It all happens in the month spent at a family cabin. There is some heartbreak, heavy and light, but it is truly a growing up story I imagine young adolescents will connect with. All those questions about relationships are so hard to answer! And they're compounded by the fact here that they have a new stepmother who just had a baby! There isn't too much drama, just enough to make things interesting, perhaps a life like most?


        
I imagine that there are those who have questions about what's next in this incredible story. There are nine orphans on an unidentified island at different stages in their childhood. At the beginning, Jinny, who's the center of the story, must say goodbye to Deen, the Elder. The mysterious green boat has come, and he, like others in the past, must say goodbye, to go where no one knows, but that is the rule. Jinny is heartbroken at the loss, but now she is the Elder and the boat has brought a new "little", a young girl named Ess. 
         In the story, there are challenges to solve and we get to know the other seven children with unique personalities, foibles that are recognizable in humans we readers may know. I loved the movement of the growing up, the change that happens, and it is an allegory, the journey of growing up and saying goodbye to childhood whether you want to or not. Laurel Snyder shows well those inner questions, the resignation, the different ways each child takes on what is hard showing children as they are, and also as they must be. Parents may believe they are all-powerful in the raising of their children, but this book shows that children also do a lot of the growing-up-figuring-out-stuff by themselves. The setting provides that lonely backdrop beautifully. Sometimes even adults feel as if they're on an island working out challenges alone. These kids have made the rules, learned how things on the island work, keep themselves safe and focus on the important things. There is a mystery to life and this story shows that too. It's terrific.


A cumulative tale begins when a tiny mouse embarks on a journey to find the largest animal ever. Each time it asks, that animal says No, not the largest, but wants to join the search. For the very youngest, it’s a read aloud to excite the idea of what’s next, and to begin learning about all these animals. Illustrations show nature’s “beasts” at their most beautiful.
                I love all words by Neil Gaiman, and this is another new story, different and fun, full of wondering what in this “new” world he’s sharing is going to happen? I don’t know if I understood all the allusions, but enjoyed the tension, and the ending. The illustrations support the magic of this story of Princess Cinnamon who would not speak, and the tiger who “may” have eaten someone in the journey to help.





           It’s a new favorite picture book story from Susanna Isern and translated from Spanish by Jon Brokenbrow. This lonely mailman delivers mail each day to all the forest friends, although he never receives any himself, until one day. . . Beautifully told in a solemn way: that’s just as it is! But one day something different happens and that has all of us readers smiling. There are delightful parts of the story that are slyly put into the illustration by Daniel Montero Galán if you pay very close attention.

          It’s a quiet book, and rightly so because it is one of the darkest secrets kept, a secret meant to help end World War II. In a remote part of the New Mexico desert, a group of scientists gathers to work on what is called the “gadget”. Only some know both the importance of the power they seek and others do their best to keep the community going without knowing the secret.  Illustrations by Jeannette Winter show well the beauty of this land that belies the serious project happening there. The ending indeed shows that after the successful testing even further in this remote desert, the world would never be the same.

                 A tiny seastar gazes at stars in the sky and wonders why it cannot be up there instead of in the ocean. As it wanders all over the ocean, he begins to see that it is a wonderful place to be, too. The book will start a great conversation about finding that “there’s no place like home”.  McDonnell brief words are illuminated by Naoko Stoop’s lovely ocean-y illustrations.
         A “nearly” wordless picture book that’s such fun to follow, then to celebrate the end. One young girl moves into a neighborhood and notices a boy reading in a tree. She peeks in, also sees a project, and then that he is struggling with his plans. What happens then will make readers smile. Sometimes friendships are made with successful collaborations!

  





         Based on actual events, Grandmother elephant leads her herd to water, with a younger calf following along in the drought-ridden land where memory and discovery are important to survival. Grandmother can smell water and thinks they’ve found it one time only to discover it’s below ground, and only a faucet is there. Finally, through her long-time memory, water is found, and a joyous illustration shows their joy in the drinking, and also the playing. Fabricio VandenBroeck beautifully illustrates this story full of tension as the elephants trudge on, tired and oh, so thirsty. At one point the young one collapses, but the grandmother regurgitates some moisture and bathes him, helping to cool and revive. It is imaginary, but based on science and Markle adds additional information at the end.


                 At first, I wondered if this was about the years during the Holocaust times because of so many books being destroyed, but it is an elusive story of refugees fleeing their homes, taking little. This time, a father and son leave, but the father takes only one thing in a metal box. When the father dies, the son carries on with the box, eventually having to bury it. As an adult, he returns to retrieve it, and within is a book, one that tells of the heritage he wants to be able to preserve.  One can see the bits of destroyed books flying through the pages in the beautiful collaged illustrations. It’s a story that emphasizes the importance of keeping a culture’s history more than anything else.

              With roots from both Arab and Jewish folk stories, this one reminds me of O. Henry's "Gift of The Magi". Yaffa and Fatima are both good neighbors and good friends, and when hard times come, each one worries about the other. Each takes food to the other, but anonymously, until one catches the other. They each want to help the other, no matter the struggle.

Next: from my #MustReadIn2017 list: Markus Zusak's I Am The Messenger, & Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.

20 comments:

  1. Wow, you did read a lot of wonderful books this week! Most are new to me so I have so new titles to add to my list. Orphan Island is so imaginative, interesting, and engaging. But, as I wrote in my post, I really want to know more! Why are they on the island? Who is Abigail? Where does the boat come from? Even though it left me with questions, it really a creative book!

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    1. I hope you find a new favorite picture book here, Lisa. As to Orphan Island, it almost felt like a dream, certainly some kind of magic going on. Maybe Laurel Snyder will write another book about it? Thanks!

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  2. I think I'm the only that still hasn't read Orphan Island! I need to get on it! I have The Treasure Box in my stack of library books, so I'll get to that one today. I'll definitely look for the other books on your list, as I'm never disappointed in your selections. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Jana, hope your week is good, too! I wouldn't have read Orphan Island, yet, but I was lucky to win a copy from Jen Vincent. It is good, and I loved The Treasure Box, story and art!

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  3. What a fantastic list!! Quite a few of these are new to me - can't wait to dig in! Shine looks particularly adorable - McDonnell and Naoko Stoop sound like a winning combination!

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    1. Shine is a lovely book, would make a great read aloud and discussion. Thanks, Jane!

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  4. I have heard so many good things about Orphan Island. I'm very eager to read it. I too enjoy the hidden things Helen Frost includes in her writing. I will watch for this newest book. There are so many wonderful sounding books here. I will have to add many of the titles to my TBR. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that you, too, love the way Frost writes her verse, Crystal. I find it fascinating! Enjoy the books, whatever you decide to read! It was a great week!

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  5. I am so glad you enjoyed Orphan Island. It's a favorite from this year. Something about it really resonated within me. I am so hoping we hear about it next February!
    I put Thirsty Elephants on hold!

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    1. I know that you liked Orphan Island, Michele, and I am probably going to re-read it soon. I enjoyed it very much. Hope you like that Thirsty, Thirsty Elephant book! It's both alarming to read, then beautiful to see! Thanks!

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  6. I pulled a copy of Orphan Island out of the ARCs shared by our indie bookstore. I'll read it before our July meeting so I can make it available to students. I just finished the Beyond the Bright Sea and loved it! We're reading Hillbilly Elegy for our summer book club/dinner meeting that includes friends and spouses. Maybe you and I will need to chat about that one. I'm reading Dreamland Burning, an interesting YA set in Tulsa which is where we lived when we first married. I'm off to request some new-to-me titles from your post. Happy reading!

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    1. Oh, hope you like Orphan Island & will watch to see what the kids think! I want to read Beyond The Bright Sea, so many have loved it, too. I just read the first 2 chapters of Hillbilly Elegy, and yes, let's set up a phone chat! I'd love to. Will look for Dreamland Burning! Thanks, Ramona!

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  7. Thank you, Linda! Orphan Island is going on our list to read over vacation.

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    1. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it as I did!

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  8. I love Helen Frost and Laurel Snyder, so I definitely need to get the first two novels you mentioned :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee, definitely a plan!

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  9. What a fabulous collection of books Linda. I want them all and I want them now. I'm waiting for Orphan Island to arrive. These picture books looks gorgeous.

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    1. Now you know why I wanted to share them all, Cheriee. FYI, I loved The Lonely Mailman so much, I also bought it, along with I Just Want To Say Goodnight and Town Is By The Sea (those two shared a week or so ago). But I wish I could afford to buy them all! For your babies, look for I Just Want To Say Goodnight! Thanks! Enjoy Orphan Island, too!

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  10. Orphan Island and When My Sister Started Kissing are both on my list! You are always so productive, Linda!

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    1. Thanks, Ricki, enjoy them when you can!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!