Monday, January 15, 2018

It's Monday - More Great Books in January

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 so much with us by taking time to support this meme!


 In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, to work to continue to realize his dream, here are two recent important books:
        I read Citizen by Claudia Rankine and discussed it with my book club this past week.

    I want to be sure you know about this brief and wonderful story in verse which I reviewed for Poetry Friday here.

Here's what I've been reading, new and older, all terrific!
first #MustReadIn2018 

           Just as many have written, Tumble & Blue is a delightful story. All based on a mysterious legend including families near the Okefenokee Swamp. This one includes a red moon rising and a golden gator who will grant good luck to the brave soul who faces him. Unfortunately, two different families are represented and the end result is disaster but not for all. Some are blessed, some cursed!                                                  Eventually, it's up to two young people, Tumble & Blue, who must solve the questions that fate has handed down to their families from many years past. They have good intentions, and become friends with ups and downs, too, yet there are moments when I wanted to applaud and moments I wanted to send them strength. They are brave, make mistakes, and perhaps will become good examples to kids who read this adventure.

           A young boy loves the sparkle and shine his older sister gets to wear, in clothing, in nail polish, and in a bracelet from a grandmother. She doesn’t like it, thinks boys should not wear such things. They’re only for girls! As the story goes, the family is supportive and finally, the sister is too when she sticks up for her brother who wears a shimmery skirt on a library trip and gets teased. It may be an opening to talk about differences and choices. The story is rather matter-of-fact and is improved by the sweet illustrations.








         Yes, I finally got it, and yes, it is as beautiful as everyone has said and written and praised. Matt de la Pena infuses his words with loving scenes, but has not made it all sweet and happy. He's acknowledged that sometimes love seems to hide and it's a challenge to look and look and still not find it. Then, it is found and feels very very good. In his fabulous illustrations, Loren Long has included people who live in different places, play in various ways, people who are part of our lives. He has created colorful and bright pages, included dark ones along with bittersweet, but okay pages. It is a book to savor, to gift, to remember. There is, to me, a nice nod to Amy Krouse Rosenthal at the very end, and of course, on the cover, that "yellow umbrella!
            Like her verse novel, One Last Word, Nikki Grimes used the 'golden shovel' poem method from Psalm 121 to tell this story of a boy, Jordan and a girl, Tanya. Jordan appears terrified of Tanya, the class bully, yet slowly he begins to gain her trust. And he discovers some of her troubles (one is hunger) and brings cookies and a beginning friendship. Illustrations by Bryan Collier amaze. Collaged mixed-media art fills the pages with equally mixed emotions.It would be interesting to discuss with a group to see how they respond.
        

           It seems scary to think of saying goodbye to a papa who is off to work so he can take care of the family, and then waiting for him to come home, and waiting and waiting. This loving but tense story of young Pancho Rabbit’s papa and the family who awaits his return is a picture book allegory that offers an entry into discussing illegal immigration with children. All the family has prepared a celebration to welcome Papa home, but when he doesn’t come, young Pancho sets off, carrying favorite foods with him. A coyote offers to help, but each time another problem arises, he insists on some of the food. The hardships and challenges faced by real people are shown in a loving manner through using rabbits instead. There is a little tension that turns out okay, a good place to begin an understanding. Family support is a highlight of the book.
             Tonatiuh continues his unique way of illustrating, paying tribute to ancient codexes and their drawings: people and animals are always drawn in profile and their entire bodies are usually shown. After holding true to those "rules", enormous emotion is still shown in the pages.  

Next: A book coming next month: Best Buds Under Frogs, by Leslie Patricelli and an adult book, The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I hope I can get to another #MustRead, too!

19 comments:

  1. We didn't make the connection about the yellow umbrella to Amy Krouse Rosenthal but of course that is why it is there - Thank you for pointing that out. Did you know Rancho Rabbit and Coyote is free digitally on Amazon right now if you have a prime membership?

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    1. I assume that yellow umbrella is for AKR yet I don't really know. Thanks for the tip about Rancho Rabbit and Coyote! I got it!

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  2. So many wonderful authors and illustrators on this list!

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  3. Ahhh, wasn't done commenting! Darn laptop!
    I didn't realize that about the yellow umbrella either. Thanks for pointing that out.

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    1. As you saw above, I'm not sure I'm right, but it meant something to me that Loren Long included it. Yes, the books meant a lovely reading week. Thanks, Michele!

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  4. You are right, Love is a book, "to savor, to gift, to remember." I'm reading Best Buds Under Frogs, too. I would love to know what you think about The Lilac Girls. A colleague let me borrow it, but since I've read so many WWII stories I haven't been too interested yet in picking it up.

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    1. Will start Best Buds tomorrow I think. I just finished The Paris Wife and someone at the bookstore told me The Lilac Girls would be a good book to follow it. I'll certainly share when I finish. Thanks, Lisa.

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  5. Loved this list though next to LOVE I haven't read any :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. There are so many to choose from, Kellee. I understand. I'm glad so many of us have found and read "Love"! Thanks!

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  6. You have read so many beautiful books this week Linda! I loved the magical realism of Tumble & Blue. I want to read all of these. Bryan Collier's work is always amazing and Duncan Tonatiuh is another favourite illustrator. I'm going to purchase Love this week; maybe even tomorrow.

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    1. They are all wonderful and I hope you enjoy what you can find. Thanks, Cheriee!

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  7. Wonderful list! I added The Watcher to mine! Thanks.

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  8. I am so devastated by the fact that we still don't have Love in our libraries here in Singapore. I really hope to find it soonest. :) So many delicious titles here, Linda! :)

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    1. Soon, Myra! I hope you have it soon! As you wrote, the others are good, too! Thanks!

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    2. I just ordered it from Book Depository! Haha. Planning on using it for my workshop with parents by end of the month. Hope it arrives on time.

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    3. Hurrah! I hope it gets there fast!

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  9. I need to keep an eye out for the Hair book. And I didn't realize that about the yellow umbrella.

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    1. Can I Touch Your Hair? is worth reading and sharing, Earl. I hope you like it! Thanks!

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