Sunday, November 12, 2017

Monday Reading - All Good!



              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!  Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki who share from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.
         
          Happy Reading! I'm taking a break next week for Thanksgiving. Wishing those of you who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families and friends.
          I think I’ve read each of Margarita’s books, and enjoyed each one for the content that is so expertly woven in, the voice(s) that strongly tell the story, and the background scenes enhancing the story. This time two children tell duo stories. One concerns the environmental issues that concern Cuba, both flora and fauna endangered by clear-cutting forests in order to plant more crops and by those who would steal species in order to sell for profit. The other shows two children pulled apart by a mother who escaped Cuba with her baby boy (Edver) and raised him in the US, leaving behind her husband and toddler girl (Luza). Through relaxation of travel rules, Edver is traveling to visit his father, and to meet Luza, a surprise to him who has never been told she exists. Luza, growing up in Cuba with her father and Abuelo (grandfather) is resentful, but curious about this brother she knows of but has never met. The two children move back and forth between anger and curiosity, both slowly gaining respect for the other’s abilities. Finally, they must work together to save some species from a terrible person called a “Human Vacuum Cleaner” because their errant email has started what has become a danger in the forest. Descriptions of the beauty of the forest make me want to save it, too! I enjoyed this story told in poetic verse.

            Thanks to Candlewick Press, I had the privilege of reading this new story about grumpy (usually) Eugenia Lincoln. Wait till you see what happens! Eugenia tries very hard to deny that this “unexpected package” is something she will keep. Although her words say “no, no, no”, her actions show different feelings, as Kate DiCamillo subtly conveys. A mysterious, and unexpected, box appears and while Eugenia also tries to refuse it even before opening it, somehow it does get opened and there inside is an accordion. Through the story, step by step, Eugenia changes her tune (no pun intended). Kids will love the changes that happen, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Watson and their popular pig among others adds another fun component to this sweet story about Eugenia. Chris van Dusen adds his own ideas about the characters. The changes in Eugenia’s facial expressions are beautifully done.  


         I couldn't resist picking this up at the library. It has a bear on the cover! Really, however, the main character is dear little Mouse who looks out to the snow and knows it’s time to make blue corn soup. The scent moves out into the forest from the chimney and three animals, chipmunk, rabbit and bear smell it and move to mouse’s house to see what’s cooking! Mouse has chopped several things in her wee pot, and when the others arrive, she shows them there is simply not enough. They turn away, but mouse suggests if everyone brings something, a new pot of  what becomes “friendship stew” is created. All of this is much more fun in Caroline Stutson perfect rhyming story, with Teri Weidner’s fabulous watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. Sadly, Caroline Stutson passed away in 2015. I imagine she will love her poem/story coming to life. Two bonuses are the beautiful endpapers and a recipe for blue corn soup!

          Margarita Engle also writes lovely picture books in poem form. This time, she’s chosen to tell the background story of young Cervantes as he begins to dream of a brave knight. Poem by poem, he tells his story. Hard times happen again and again to the family because Cervantes’ father gambles away what money he earns, causing them to have to flee from his debtors. One time, everything is taken away from their home, but Margarita shows young Cervantes again dreaming of his knight who will ‘right/ all the wrongs/ of this confusing/ world’. Through some helpful adults who help Cervantes learn he is a good writer, and eventually he does write the most famous story that is known as the first modern novel. I love Raul Colon’s illustrations, beautiful page by page as he shows the emotions of an erratic life, but holding true to Cervantes’ dreams of that brave knight and his horse. Colon begins with a rocking horse, moves through the dreams, ending with a gorgeous picture of Don Quixote on his steed! There are endnotes that add to the information, too.  



           From Enchanted Lion books and Amnesty International comes a wonderful book about a family who wants to move to a freer place where every child can go to school. One cannot tell in the story where they move, but other information tells this is about a family who moves from Fascist Portugal to Communist Czechoslovakia. In a simple, but effective story written by Henriqueta Cristina and a clever graphic design by Yara Kono shows what happens in the move. The choices are limited. For school, each child has to wear the same colors and the three choices are green, orange and grey. The mother has an idea, unravels three sweaters and first makes a striped design, then others, too. When the kids model their new, and different, sweaters, everyone gets busy changing the fashions. It is a wonderful allegory of what might be called a ‘soft’ protest and the results, but will be effective when discussing different countries’ politics. The book also adds a copy of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

            I just received this "book of mindfulness poems," much praised, and with serendipitous timing because I just wrote a poem for Poetry Friday about the beauty of breathing. I sometimes read parts of a book bThich Nhat Hanh that speak to this, too. The book is titled You Are Here, and also speaks of quiet noticing. 
           I hope that everyone will be able to read this book. Along with Kate Coombs' words, Anna Emilia Laitinen has filled the pages with beautiful scenes of natures and wonderful kids there, breathing and being. It is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, one that will help to introduce the healing idea of being present. One of my favorite parts says: There's a quiet place/in my head like an egg hidden/ in a nest. A place/I go when the world is loud./A moss-green forest with birds."


Now Reading: An advanced copy of a book just out and halfway along, it's hard to stop. Don't miss Race to the Bottom of the Sea, by Lindsay Eager, author of the earlier Hour of the Bees.

And next: The Wolf Hour by Sara Lewis Holmes. A review by Laura Purdie Salas intrigued me, so I found it at the library.

28 comments:

  1. Forest of the World sounds beautiful. I like that it's a story in verse. Will have to check it out.

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    1. I liked it, Lisa. Margarita's books always teach me something. Thanks!

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  2. I requested Three Balls of Wool from the library, since you were the second person to review it today. I made two Fair Isle sweaters over the summer after a LONG knitting hiatus, so will read it with interest.

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    1. How wonderful that you are a knitter, Karen. I hope you enjoy this interesting book. Thanks!

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  3. So many wonderful titles on your list - Forest World and Three Ball of Wool are going on our TBR list - Thank you

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    1. You're welcome! Hope you enjoy each one!

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  4. Wonderful books here! My son is going to be so excited about a new Deckawoo Drive novel. Doesn't matter that he's 15, he LOVES those books!

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    1. This new Deckawoo Drive book is just great, Elisabeth. Hope you enjoy it and others! Thanks!

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  5. I loved Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package! I have it on my post today, too! I love the Kate DiCamillo's books have something to say to all readers! Have a great week and wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thanks, Jana, they are a treat, I agree! Hope you have a wonderful holiday too!

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  6. Three Balls of Wool is now on my must find list. I am also intrigued by this book of Mindfulness poems. Thanks so much for sharing Linda!

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  7. Great choices! I didn't know Margarita had the book about Cervantes - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Katie. Yes, it's a lovely poetic story!

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  8. Race to the Bottom of the Sea is a book I've been meaning to read for a long time. I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts.
    I'll have to look for Forest World. Sounds good!

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    1. I am loving Race to the Bottom of the Sea, Michele. I am just busy and can't read "all" the time & it is long. Eagar tells a great story! Enjoy Forest World, too!

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  9. Poetry is definitely a genre that I need to add to my classroom library so thank you for reviewing Breathe and Be. Mindfulness poems would be a great addition to not only expose students to more poetry but also to help them with their own self-regulation. Thanks so much!

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    1. You're welcome, Laura. You should check out the Cybil's poetry nominations list this year, all good books, or look at the winners from past years. Breathe and Be is beautiful!

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  10. I love Deckadoo Drive stories! I think Kate DiCamillo is perfect at early readers!

    Happy reading these upcoming weeks :)

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. I love them too! Have a wonderful time at NCTE!

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  11. What a wonderful selection of books, Linda. Forest World and Three Balls of Wool sound really good - I'll have to look for them at our library.

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    1. Thanks, Tara, I hope you enjoy what you find!

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  12. What a superb reading week you have had Linda!
    I am looking forward to this Kate DiCamillo title. I adore this whole series.
    I'm green with envy about your reading Race to the Bottom of the Sea. Hour of the Bees was one of my favourite books the year when I read it.

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    1. Race To The Bottom of The Sea is very good, Cheriee. I hope you'll get it soon!

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  13. I'm looking forward to the day Isabelle is ready for Kate DiCamillo's books. She has so many -- like the one you described above -- that I think she'll enjoy!

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    1. She tells wonderful stories, I agree, Stacey, unique for all ages of children. I imagine you are already reading some aloud to her!

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  14. Miguel's Brave Knight has been an elusive title for me. I really want to read it though.

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    1. It was new information to me, Earl and a story told beautifully!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!