Sunday, February 11, 2018

It's Monday - Time to Share Great Books


        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!


      It's exciting to write this knowing that the big, big moment is Monday morning here in Denver at 8am, the ALA Midwinter announcement of awards! Authors and Illustrators have already been called and are grinning like Cheshire cats about now as I'm writing this. I wonder who. . .?

        More than one book captured me this week. When you read what I share, you'll know what I mean.


If you'd like to read a HornBook recap of Angie Thomas speaking at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, plus a few other links about her, go here. This book is one from my list of #MustReadIn2018.

          It's been a busy, busy week but staying up later than usual and reading a lot on Sunday helped me finish Angie Thomas' book, take several deep breaths and start over again. While I may take longer than a week for this re-read, I feel it's important to see if I missed anything. I was a bit confused with some relationships and went back to figure that out. I took time also to look up words. I am white after all and didn't know some of the words. I want to know! If I read this and was still a teacher, I know I would do this, so why not now for my grandchildren? 
         The main character of this story, Starr, is in high school and not in her neighborhood, a ghetto named Garden Heights. She and her brother, Seven, a senior, and younger brother, Sekani, all attend a nearly all-white private school 45 minutes away. Throughout the story, Starr shares often about the struggle to code-switch, to be careful not to let her home voice out when she's at school. She says she's good, but it's so hard. 



        The relationships are complicated. Starr now has a white boyfriend and some white friends, though another best friend is Asian and another still lives in the neighborhood. Starr doesn't mix up the school friends from the neighborhood friends. Her Uncle Carlos is a policeman, her father, Maverick, is an ex-con determined to stay in the neighborhood to make things better. Her best friend is into selling drugs and she has seen him less and less until this certain party she's been dragged to by the friend in the neighborhood. There are shots and she leaves with the best friend, a boy Khalil. They are stopped on the way home by police. And Starr's friend, Khalil, ends up shot, killed, murdered while Starr watches. Those words used matter because of that thing that keeps happening in the U.S., African-American boys shot by police, the overriding story. Different groups use different words and that matters to Starr as she navigates her feelings from terrified to courageous within the book. Being thrown into a national spotlight as the witness causes strain among relationships and threats about how much Starr will tell about what she knows. As said earlier, it's complicated.
             My feelings about the story may be clichéd, but I could not help but continue to think of a roller-coaster ride and that is not MY experience, but the life that Starr describes about her life, and the lives of those in that neighborhood, Garden Heights. Imagine that every day you're on that kind of ride. The stress of facing such a daily life can cause different behavior, often behavior that is both illegal and unhealthy, but a way to survive. With strong family ties, Starr and others live with the turmoil and become stronger even when terrible tragedy comes. One reason that felt important that seemed to strengthen Starr and others is that more than one person, parents, siblings, friends-continue to say "got your back" and "you've got this".  There was complete trust within her circle. 
           Every middle and high school teacher should read this and share with students, all students. Hopefully, it will begin a conversation among students, working hard to understand other lives. Be warned if you need to be. The language used is mature with curse words throughout. There has been some censorship attempted but overturned. Learning about people's lives and feelings seems more important to me than worry about kids seeing a few words in print they're not supposed to see, hear or say, but know them and say them. 
           There is a movie coming soon, did you know? They say late this year or early 2019!

        Here are picture books for young readers and one for all readers (and writers) especially

            Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy of this book, out just a few days ago! Little Tiger wants so badly to be that sleek and terrifying tiger everyone knows that tigers are. But when he walks through the forest, no one jumps, no one runs away. He tries the strategy of "tiptoeing" up to frighten certain forest dwellers. It didn't work: the boar said Little Tiger was too noisy, the elephant said he was too small, and the monkeys? Well, the monkeys just laughed. Finally, one thing worked, but you'll have to read the story to discover what that is. It's a fun repetitive story that will make young readers hold their breaths until the next page is turned! Cute and colorful illustrations also by Phillipa Leathers add to this cute adventure of Little Tiger.


        Starting with the beginning endpapers by illustrator, Jean Kim! Autumn is here, time to get ready for a nap, this little bear, Elliott's mother calls. As he enters the cave he already says he misses spring. And he goes to sleep dreaming of "golden sunshine, soft grass, and budding flowers". Sweet Elliott, unfortunately, wakes in the middle of winter, and tries different ways to get back to sleep, then wakes his mother. She also tries a few things, successful in her sweet lulling Elliott back to the nap until at last, SPRING. Pat Zietlow Miller shows how wonderful imagination can be in this story of bears hibernating. Jean Kim's illustrations are softly colored, sweetly painted, just right with this story for younger readers.


        Yes, I have now read this marvelous, happy, sweet and clever new book by Peter H. Reynolds that many of you love. Dear Jerome, unlike other collectors who collect things like bird feathers and baseball cards, collects words. And what happens when he has thousands, has organized them and they spill? Magical things happen because Jerome begins to string his words together, words he had not imagined side by side. They become poems and songs, powerful words connected like "I'm Sorry" and "You matter". The ending challenge surprises and pleases, a message from Jerome to the whole world. Peter H. Reynolds creates stories that to me are for everyone, young child to adult. They fill hearts and put smiles on faces.

Still Reading: The Tender Bar
Starting: a new arc from Candlewick, Blue Window by Adina Rishe Giwertz.

28 comments:

  1. I have had my copy of The Hate U Give since November. I really need to read it! So exciting that there is going to be a movie.

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    1. I enjoyed it, Lisa, a book that's needed and hopefully will be in the schools for students.

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  2. I read The Hate U Give before hearing her speak at the Mississippi Book Festival (we're both MS natives, growing up in different times with vastly different experiences). She's as funny and interesting and smart as you might guess. Powerful book.

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    1. How wonderful that you've seen Angie Thomas speak, Augusta. The book is a must read, sorry I put it off so long.

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  3. As always, a great round up of must read books, Linda! The Hate U Give is amazing. Looking forward to finding a copy of Peter H. Reynolds new book...love his books! =)

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    1. Glad to hear you loved The Hate U Give, too! This new one from Peter H. Reynolds is wonderful! Thanks, Bridget!

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  4. Hope all the wins at the YMA convinces to move THUG up my TBR!

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    1. It won one award. Were you pleased with the books that were honored?

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  5. Can't wait to get my hands on The Word Collector! Loved The Hate U Give. So powerful.

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    1. Peter Reynolds has done it again. It's the sweetest! Yes, The Hate U Give is special, glad it was recognized this morning.

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  6. I read The Hate You Give and passed it on to my teenaged niece. I feel a kinship with Angie Thomas because she is from my home town of Jackson, MS. and went to a local college there. She has been overwhelmed by the response, like an overnight sensation. I agree about the importance of the book, but I will not be sharing it with my students. I think it is more suited to high school students who can better process the tough events and rough language.
    I envy you having Peter Reynolds' new book. My collection of his books is growing. I haven't added this one yet, but will.

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    1. Love hearing your connection to Angie Thomas, Margaret. I understand the reluctance about the book for younger students. I would have shared with my middle school ones, always depends on the student, too. Enjoy The Word Collector when you can!

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  7. We just shared The Word Collector at a professional development session. Teachers were really excited to read this book to their students. We love the way Peter Reynolds weaves together the power of words and the power of giving.

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    1. Wonderful to hear about your sharing of this special book. I enjoyed every single part.

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  8. So glad you got to THuG and loved it, and it was perfect timing with the award announcements this morning :)

    Happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee. I was trying to get to it because of the awards, am happy it received that special one. It's great!

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  9. I have heard a lot of good things about The Hate You Give. I am hoping my library gets copies of the picture books soon. They look adorable, especially the Tip Toeing Tiger. Thanks for the recommendations.

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    1. You're welcome. I am fortunate that my library has books fairly quickly, but sometimes there are many holds, so I end up purchasing, too. Enjoy them when you can! The Hate U Give is very powerful!

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  10. My kids are also enjoying The Tiptoeing Tiger - my two-year-old especially. She's also into bears - I'll have to find Wide-Awake Bear for her at the library.

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    1. Oh, I imagine she will love Wide Awake Bear. It is darling. Glad to hear about The Tiptoeing Tiger, also wonderful for young ones!

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  11. My daughter had some initial bumpy starts with THUG, but once she has gotten past the first half of the book, I think, she finished it quickly, and she is looking forward to the movie. We've exchanged that information via SMS. I have yet to read it but really looking forward to it. Will probably pair with Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (which I also have in my ARCs waiting to be read).

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    1. Glad to hear about your daughter's thoughts, too. A lot happened in that first part! And yes, Long Way Down is one I'll read soon. Thanks, Myra.

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  12. After I finished The Hate U Give, I raved about it to everyone I met. I've convinced people to read it and they have spread the word. I listened to it as an audiobook, but have my own copy to read.
    I'm looking forward to reading The Word Collector. I hope my library brings in a copy soon!

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    1. Enjoy The Word Collector! I've shared about The Hate U Give as much as I can, too. Thanks, Cheriee, I know you loved it.

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  13. The Hate You Give is one that I’ve been meaning to read. It looks like you had a powerful experience with it. Have a great week!

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    1. I hope you'll get to read it soon, Jana. It's good! You have a great week, too!

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  14. What blew me away about THuG was how it made me realize how complicated of a situation something like that is. I see it so clearly, but that's because I live in a different world... I would like to do a reread of this one as well. I'm glad to see it receive so many awards on Monday!

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    1. I agree, Michele. It was so complex, and thus stressful to navigate the different worlds. I learned a lot! Yes, wonderful the see it was honored!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!