Sunday, April 8, 2018

It's Monday - Books Loved



              Thanks to Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting this meme. Your TBR lists will grow longer, but you will find books to love and to share. 
         I reviewed Amy LudwigVanderwater's new poetry book, With My Hands: Poems About Making Things here! Terrific book!

       This is a 'next book' after Nikki Grimes’ Coretta Scott King Award-winning Bronx Masquerade. It's a perfect book to read this April/poetry month, shows how important it could be for teachers to use poetry with students, helping them to express their feelings, "their" stories so they can find empathy with each other, so they can be "known" to others. Slam poetry is an inspiring way to help students learn the power of poetry. Nikki Grimes shows this so beautifully in her new book.
       Darrian begins this tale with dreams of writing for the New York Times. He is curious when he hears a hint about writing, thus enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Grimes allows all the students in the class to talk, tell their stories, and then in poetry. The challenges they face are daunting, makes me wonder how much teachers and classmates know about that boy across the room, the girl who sits in front or in back of them in chemistry. It can be health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. It touched me deeply when Darrian and his classmates began to learn about each other, become closer and closer, and realize that they have gained support, can count on it. It means so very much to have someone there for you.
                
        Thanks to Candlewick Press for this new book about Cody, with a few growing-up heartaches--out this week! Spring is on its way, Cody hopes! That means change and while some of it is welcome, like having the ants she watches wake up from hibernation, other parts are not, like being pushed into playing soccer by her friend, Pearl. There she must deal with what appears to be Pearl’s new friend, Madison, a “good” player. Cody isn’t even sure what cleats are!  Also, Cody’s brother, Wyatt, has a girlfriend and changes his fashion style, and her favorite, favorite jacket is torn and too little. The worst, however, is about Spencer, her very best friend, who has become too secretive. His mother is expecting a new baby, yet Cody wonders why it doesn’t look like it. Changes are hard, and Tricia Springstubb manages again to show a young girl with lots of energy along with showing readers how many inner questions they contemplate. That thinking felt quite authentic, made me wonder how many adults really know what kids are thinking, or worrying about? Cody manages to navigate her life with enthusiasm, yet facing new trouble can be challenging. Thank goodness she has kind parents and a sweet older brother who help. 


      Although there is much here to celebrate in nature from Nicola Davies and the beautiful illustrations by Cathy Fisher, the poignant message of how to say goodbye to a loved one was unexpected. It seems that the family had been skeptical when Dad began a pond in their small backyard. He said things like "Wait until you see the water lilies!" and "There will be tadpoles." Little happened to that hole except the trash that rolled into it. The sadness continued after Dad died, in the mourning that came while trying to fix that ugly hole. Nothing seemed to work until one day the child came home to a "neat new edge" and plastic lining. Mom had helped, said to fill it up. The ending is a kind of healing, and readers will recognize the steps of grieving in this sweetest of stories. It is beautiful.

           I noticed this book displayed in the graphic novel section of our library. Wow, what detail Sean Rubin has included in his NYC scenes. He says it took five years to complete this fun adventure of Sybil, a young girl who has noticed that she has a dinosaur living next door, though every single person says that's crazy, that dinosaurs are extinct. It's a romp through museums, city hall, the subway and you who know New York City better will probably recognize things I did not. For graphic novel lovers, a delightful story that emphasizes just how much we busy people do not notice. I'm glad I did.
         This time Jessixa Bagley and her husband Aaron Bagley collaborate on an old theme of learning about home, but this time it's about a cat. This cat, Vincent, lives on a cargo ship, has a good life traveling: gulls to chase, all the fish he can eat, has the run of the ship. The traveling scenes are elaborate and interesting, and the ship's captain's cabin is wonderfully filled with souvenirs from all over the world. Yes, though all is nice, there is a problem. The crew keeps talking about going home, can't wait to get home, etc. Vincent thought they'd been everywhere, but he's never seen Home! What happens next is lovely and sentimental and just right. Add this to mentor text picture books about home.

      Bringing a community together is easy if you love futbol. On Saint Lucia, with creole words throughout, Baptiste Paul writes a story that seems to mirror his memories (see his author's note). With absolutely gorgeous action-packed illustrations by Jacqueline Alcantara, the story unfolds with an invitation, "Vini! Come! The field calls!" As soon as the cows and goats are moved away, the goal is placed, the kids begin. "Pass!" "Shoot!" "Almost!" "Close!" then the rains come, and the game continues! It's a fine memory, a celebration of play. Baptiste Paul has hit a ggggggooooooooaaallll! And so has Jacqueline Alcantara. Here's one incredible sample!


Still reading:  The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbit.


Next: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and Lilit Thwaites 

             and I have Bob by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass from NetGalley!

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing so many titles. We love Nicola Davies and want to get The Pond. Such an important book to show that students are not alone when they experience loss.

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    1. You're welcome. The Pond is a wonderful book, would be a lovely one to share with those who have had loss.

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  2. I am completely intrigued by The Pond. I would like to read this one soon to see if it might make a good gift for an adult family member. Our family has certainly grieved a lot over the last few years and we're gearing up for another loss. So painful! I hope you enjoy Librarian of Auschwitz. I read it back-to-back with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's "War that Saved My Life" series. So it was interesting seeing two very different sides of the same war. Have a great reading week!

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    1. I hope The Pond fits what you'd need. It is beautifully done. Thanks for sharing about The Librarian of Auschwitz. I'm looking forward to reading it. Hope your week is good, too!

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    1. Yes! I love each one by her. Thanks, Earl.

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  4. Everything sounds so good! And all new to me! I was very pleased to discover just now that my library has Bolivar. I will request that they buy the Nikki Grimes title, though I imagine I will have to buy my own copy as well.

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    1. They are all good, Elisabeth. I liked Nikki's voices in this Inside The Lines, think high schools who do slam poetry will love it. Bolivar was a terrific find.

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  5. I really enjoyed Between the Lines. I thought it had some great ideas that teachers might incorporate into their own poetry lessons.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Jana. Imagine this as a read aloud in a class-awesome! Thanks!

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  6. I'm intrigued by The Pond and Bolivar. This is the first I've heard of those books. I'll definitely have to check them out.

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    1. They were new to me, too, Beth, until I found them at the library. Both are worth a look!

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  7. It looks like you have read some really beautiful books this week Linda. I need to get The Pond!

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    1. Thanks, Cheriee, I enjoyed every one!

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  8. I love all your suggestions. I have not read any of them. Fortunately, my library has them all so I hope to be reading them soon. Thanks. :)

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  9. I loved Bronx Masquerade. I got Between the Lines recently, and now I am ready to dive into it. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. You're welcome, they are terrific books, I agree! Enjoy, Ricki!

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  10. I have scheduled a review of Bolivar to be published soonest - I was in awe of it. :) Pond is a book that I feel I should find. Love Nicola Davies. :)

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    1. Love hearing about this review of Bolivar. I was amazed and so happy to have discovered it.

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