Sunday, July 2, 2017

Monday Reading - Many Wonders



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

      I'm trying to catch up with my library books, but will only share a few favorites today. I'm taking a couple of weeks off, will be off to the beach for that time starting next Saturday. I imagine we'll all be reading there, am planning to read some adult books, too! I've started Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, and before I go, I hope to finish Nikki Grimes' One Last Word. 

       #MustReadin2017: finished Zusak's I Am The Messenger, number 12 of 26!

         I've heard of "Deadbeat Dads", but this book is about a 'Deadbeat Teen', nineteen-year-old Ed Kennedy, an underage cabbie with a few seemingly good friends, Marv, Ritchie and Audrey and an old smelly dog. His mother hates him, there's bitterness in his voice, but he moves along day by day, just the same, knowing his siblings are loved because they're doing well. They have educations and good jobs! It feels like life will stay the same, and Ed's friends seem settled into that kind of life also. There is suspect camaraderie, and a bit of a glaze in their lives until Ed gains some notoriety because he catches a bank robber. That robber told him that every time Ed looked into a mirror, he'd see a dead man. Ed is scared, but deadbeat that he is, he soon forgets the threat, until he gets the first card, an Ace of Diamonds, until he becomes the messenger. There are holding-your-breath scenes, sweet scenes that make you smile, and scenes cruel to believe they might be real. I'm only sorry I took so long to read this book.
for young children, early readers perhaps

            Feelings depend on perspective, and Little Hippo felt “little” all the time, compared to his siblings, his mom and dad, the big old crocodile and the tall, tall giraffe.  However, things can change when Little Hippo helps turn over a small beetle trapped on its back. This simple and beautiful story with soft black-outlined-colored illustrations all by Valeri Gorbachev will please young children as it moves from unhappy to happy, all because of a good deed. 






          This is one for young kids, and they will love it. A little girl begins a staring contest as all kids do sometimes, but the surprise is how very many interesting characters join in, and the one that stays behind. And the contest is with the reader! Wonderfully bright illustrations focus on those open and “unblinking” eyes, until. . . the surprise ending. It’s a laugh out loud book for sure!




for Independence Day
              There really was an Amelia Simmons. She was an orphan in the first days of our country and lived in the time of the inauguration of President George Washington. Her name is given as the author of the first American-made cookbook. But after that, Deborah Hopkinson uses her imagination about Amelia, places her as a servant in a Mrs. Bean’s household. With six sons, Mrs. Bean certainly could use a lot of help and the story shows all that she probably did, in addition to learning to cook and learning to read by helping one of the boys learn his letters. When Amelia’s cooking was praised to the town’s ladies by Mrs. Bean, she was asked to make a cake in honor of Washington’s inauguration. Though imagined, Hopkinson wrote that one cake was not enough, there was to be one for every colony, thirteen in all. For young children who know little of the U.S. history, this will bring up many points of discussion. It’s a cute story, illustrated by Giselle Potter in a style that makes me think of old-fashioned picture books.
for everyone!
           There are ways to rise and greet the sun each day, and there are other ways. Cynthia Rylant’s few words show us wise advice from some animals who respond to her question, “What do you love about life?” They answer differently from humans, perhaps, like she writes that a hawk would say “sky”, yet all those special things can be for humans, too, if we only notice.  Ups and downs in life may come, feeling like wilderness, yet hope is there. Brendan Wenzel includes the vision of Rylant’s words in his attention to nature’s details. It’s a wonderful book, a gift for all ages!



 for adults and older teens
       There is much to discover when one reads another's memoir. One might feel alarm, anxiety, even repulsion, but nevertheless, in this book, there are parallels with all American families. Each one of us, perhaps long in the past, had family members who wanted "better" and moved countries or across oceans to achieve that.       
       Violence was also part of this history, whether because of war or because of strong beliefs. I see parallels in J.D. Vance's story. My immediate family and one aunt's family moved from our family's little town to a city after WWII. There were few jobs from which to make a living in that town, and they wanted better, just as Vance's grandparents, Mamaw and Papaw did when they moved to Ohio. The violence he shared was not part of my growing up, but there was conflict, and we did return to visit nearly every weekend. I admire Vance for examining his own family in order that we might all consider how culture holds on long after one outwardly changes life circumstances with better jobs, different geography. Personally, this is a memoir to read in order to examine one's own past. More broadly, it's a book that all Americans can read to learn why more changes are needed as well as social services help for some people in the U.S..

         For anyone in Canada, Happy Canada Day and congratulations on your 150th birthday. For those in the U.S., Enjoy and celebrate Independence Day!

27 comments:

  1. Don't Blink sounds interesting. I am eager to read Life. Everyone has said wonderful things. Hillbilly Elegy definitely gave me some things to think about. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Don't Blink is simple fun, Lisa, & yes, Life is gorgeous. I'm glad to hear that you read Hillbilly Elegy.

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  2. I haven't seen any of these picture books yet! I am hoping to borrow Life from the library soon - I just love the cover.

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    1. It is a beautiful book, Katie. Enjoy the other picture books, too, all fun!

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  3. Hope you have a wonderful vacation! Looks like you're set for reading material! I've been curious about Hillbilly Elegy, as I got a notice that it was on sale for Kindle readers. Looks interesting!

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    1. Thanks for the wish, Jana, yes, ready for reading by the sea! Hillbilly Elegy was illuminating to me. I'm glad I read it.

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  4. Thanks for your thoughts on I am the Messenger. I've been tempted to read it but was afraid it would be so disappointing after The Book Thief, but now it sounds pretty interesting. I did enjoy Independence Cake and yes, it is perfect for this week, so I wish you a Happy Independence Day.

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    1. I Am The Messenger is worth it, but remember it is for older teens & adults. It has a taste of The Book Thief only because of the magic in it. I hope you like it, Alex. Yes, Independence Cake is just right for tomorrow. Thanks!

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  5. I just put a hold on Life. I'm so eager to see that one--what a combo with Rylant writing and Wenzel illustrating! I really liked I Am the Messenger when I listened to it on audio a few years ago. I haven't had much luck with other Zusak books (have tried to read Book Thief what feels like countless times and always get bogged down and abandon), but Messenger really worked for me. I also have a pile of library books that are due back and must be finished--I need to shut off this computer and sit down with my books! Enjoy your beach trip! We are in Oregon at the coast this week and loving every moment. Saw whales yesterday!

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    1. I haven't read The Book Thief in so long that maybe it's time to try again. I know that some of my students loved it. I've been to the Oregon coast twice. It is lovely there. We're headed to Florida this time, hot but we love the ocean there too. Enjoy Life when you can. It's wonderful.

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  6. Nice selection! I saw an author interview on PBS Newshour and have been meaning to get a copy of Hillbilly Elegy. Glad you recommended it! Thanks.

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    1. Thank you, Iza. I will look to see what you think if you read it! I enjoyed it thoroughly, but it wasn't an easy read!

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  7. I was gobsmacked by the ending to I Am the Messenger, although with the title, I don't understand why.
    I am especially looking forward to my library getting Life. I've been reading lots of lovely things about it and Cynthia Rylant is a local talent!

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean about that ending, but I loved the book and his writing very much. Enjoy Life. Hoping you'll get it soon! Thanks, Cheriee!

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  8. Don't Blink! sounds so fun, and Life looks just plain lovely.

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    1. You're right about both, Katie. Thanks!

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  9. Life is such an awesome picture book! I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. Don't Blink looks like one I need to get to read with Trent :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. I imagine that you and Trent will have lots of laughs with Don't Blink, Kellee. Enjoy!

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  10. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all time and I also really enjoyed I Am The Messenger. (By the way, both have fabulous audio book versions.) I've been considering reading Hillbilly Elegy but think I need to wait until I've rejuvenated a bit--it sounds pretty intense. Thanks for sharing this interesting list of books!

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    1. If I decide to read The Book Thief again, maybe audio is a way to go, Molly. Hope you enjoy some of these books!

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  11. Yes! Life is for everyone! That one took my breath away!
    I liked Don't Blink, but I liked the illustrations more than the story. The illustrations in Big, Little Hippo look timeless!

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    1. Thanks, Michele, I was excited to have my turn for Life, should have ordered it sooner! Enjoy Big, Little Hippo, a sweet story.

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  12. I loved The Book Thief so much that I am kind of scared to read another zusak novel - your post convinced me that I should read I am messenger soonest - it's languishing in my bookshelves, unread! :)

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    1. I Am The Messenger is for older teens/adults for sure, Myra, but I liked it very much, as you see. I hope you'll like it, too!

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  13. Hi Linda, Oh my word, Don't Blink looks so good! I just requested it from my library. I am seeing Life everywhere. Definitely adding it to my list! Thanks Linda!

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    1. Life is wonderful, and I just read Don't Blink to the grand-girls & they liked it very much, especially the clever scene with the turtle-you'll see!

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  14. I've been meaning to read more Zusak and I am the Messenger is definitely on my radar. Maybe next year!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!