Monday, December 6, 2021

Monday Books - Get Excited!

    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 
        If you're interested, the final Heavy Medal list of nominations post is out today here

            Written by Traci Sorell who has shared this relatively unknown story of the first, and only, engineer in Lockheed's space program and the first known Cherokee woman engineer. She loved math as a young student and it is told that boys in her class wouldn't sit by her. She was the only girl. Shirley's achievements mostly continue classified as she did work in a secret Lockheed group that worked especially hard after Sputnick launched, a 'hurry-up' for the US space program. Sorell wraps this story around four Cherokee values which are explained in the text and again in the Cherokee language in the backmatter. There is also an author's note, a timeline, source notes, and a bibliography. Natasha Donovan's illustrations show Shirley as she worked and aged, surrounded by math charts and design sketches. This will be a support and inspiration for young girls who love math and, still, see that girls are not supposed to be good in it or like it! And it's great for boys who may need a new opinion!
          (In my high school, quite a few years ago, one other girl and I were the only girls in our chemistry and higher math classes. The boys did sit with us, however.) 

           If you loved They All Saw A Cat, now, again poetically, with so, so much that 'Inside Cat' sees through windows, Brendan Wenzel has done it again! It's a book that, like his cat, "Wanders, Wonders" and shows us more than we may never have imagined! And I imagine readers will read and then start all over again! Don't miss the end covers!

Monday, November 29, 2021

It's Monday - Books Enjoyed!

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and found some special time with family and friends, and with books! Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.

Thanks to Candlewick Press 
for this copy!
          Could this be Katherine Paterson's last book? She muses about that in her Acknowledgements. She is in her eighties! She was raised by Christian missionaries and was born in China. She considered China her home and lived there until the Japanese invasion during World War II. Off and on through the years, she's known to introduce religious themes and tough ones like the death of a child. Perhaps her most famous was written years ago. Bridge to Terabithia stood out for its sadness and approach to tough things for a child.
               This special story by Katherine Paterson is about Birdie, a ten-year-old really named Elizabeth, but her Daddy called her Birdie. Paterson gives her the task of telling her story, the year her Daddy had to return to Iraq, which meant they had to move in with her Gran, his mother, and Birdie's stuck in what seems like a big closet, or so she tells. Like the verse novel I shared a week ago, this book shows how much a child thinks about things, is influenced by adults, and how many worries and tough events they will not tell! Even Birdie, who is religious, loves Jesus, lies to get out of "telling". This time she's made a bargain with God to keep her Daddy safe. When that "promise" Birdie has made is broken, quite a lot falls apart. It's a serious book that includes other bullies at the new school, a girl classmate bully with secrets of her own, and some really caring adults, thank goodness. It's not long and tense moments certainly kept me reading! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!
             This is the first US edition by Helen Peters and fortunately, Jasmine Green and her animal adoption talents (and love) are back. She and her friend Tom have discovered that Mr. Hudson, a neighbor, is leaving his home to move to an assisted living facility and has arranged for his beloved donkey Mistletoe to go to a shelter, but far away. Noone will see Mistletoe again! The argument is that she already has too many adoptees and it's too expensive to care for an old donkey. Jasmine won't quit wishing and the annual Christmas play just could be a big help. I've read a few in the past and they bring readers into some adventures, farm life, and kids who do get into trouble but are also kind and thoughtful, and often the trouble is brought by sheer enthusiasm for fun! Ellie Snowdon illustrates a few of the chapters. This, and others, are terrific chapter books for younger readers.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Poetry Friday - Praising Autumn with #PoetryPals

Ruth Hersey  at There Is No Such Thing As A Godforsaken Town hosts this Poetry Friday after our Thanksgiving Day HERE. Hope everyone had the day they had planned. Small or large, it is a day to take some time to be grateful. Ruth lives in the country of Haiti, has written her daily November "Gratitu" and a lovely ode to autumn. It's a unique look from a country that holds few seasonal changes, but lately, some terrible political ones. Thank you, Ruth, for your heartfelt post.

       It is the end of the month, often the time for #PoetryPals to offer a challenge. You can read Tanita's explanation HERE, to write an ode to autumn. I did some research yet returned to advice from Billy Collins that Tanita shared. I just wrote about autumn a couple of weeks ago HERE, but that was a bit tongue-in-cheek for Ted Kooser. This time, I attempted to follow Billy's rules. Thanks for the challenge, #PoetryPals. Our leaves are all nearly down; trees are stark against the sky. But it means I can see more stars!

Wishing each of you a lovely beginning to December!

To Autumn


If I were to write an autumn ode,

list minute parts which I adore,

spring might cry “Foul! I've also glowed.”

And I’d reply, “Please, don’t be sore.


You’ll have a turn from Eliot’s reply

but now, I write of wealth in rainbows,

artists’ palettes drip down like sighs

as trees prepare their encore show.”


I praise the scene of autumn’s court,

sweater-snug under blue-bright sky,

a panoply of feuille morte*.    

It tells how best to say goodbye.


                                      Linda Baie © 


*(a brownish orange that is deeper and slightly redder than leather, yellower and deeper than spice, and yellower and deeper than gold pheasant. — called also autumn leaf, dead leaf, foliage brown, leather lake, oakleaf brown, philamot, withered leaf.)

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Monday Reading - Praise for Being Outside

  Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

It's interesting how things work out. Each of these books have an outdoorsy vibe, in varying ways of course, yet nature plays a part in each.

       I reviewed Kat Apel's Bully on the Bus, a verse novel for younger readers, so good for kids, teachers and parents! last Friday for Poetry Friday. You can read the review here!

Thanks, Candlewick Press,
for this copy.

           This published last month, a long awaited sequel to Ghetto Cowboy, which I'm sorry to say I have not read. There were references to that story in this book, yet it felt as if it would not be confusing. Those who have read the earlier one will love learning more about Cole's new choice, to stay in Philly with his father and the horse he saved earlier, Boo. His mother lives in Detroit. This feels like a good story for middle-grade readers.Its numerous layers include learning to get along with his dad, Harper, after years of being apart. He must get a job if he's really going to live there and the one his dad gives him is one where Dad owes a debt. Cole ends up working as a stable hand in a wealthy military school, one where those cadets treat him as a servant and unworthy of any kindness. 

         However, one of them happens to be a girl, yes, a black girl, Ruthie, who is as good with horses as Cole. Only, she plays polo! The story is surrounded by polo in various ways, and I also learned that not only at the wealthy academy, but there are city horses and woods in Philadelphia with riding paths, the ones Cole and horse Boo know so well. Conflicts mount as Cole's cousin, an 'underneath' nice guy mixes things up as he tries to keep in touch and give Cole money because he's 'dealer. Deep conversations among them all, an interesting sub-story about the ghetto cowboys, a sadness of the needs in the neighborhood and the principal of Cole's high school who keeps improving it makes, as written earlier, a complex story of Cole and the choices he is led to. And, of course, there are lots of polo descriptions, too!

        As this was an ARC, I didn't see Jesse Joshua Watson's final illustrations, but the black and white ones were great, enough to give a glimpse of these kids.


        Kids will love the whimsey in the sixteen steps Laura Purdie Salas describes in her new wonderful book. That little girl on the cover will show you the way. She's stopped at the farmer's market to pick up some apples with her dad, and there's a sheep for sale! Have you ever brought a sheep home with your child? Probably not, but it seems they do have a barn and there happens to be a pig and a chicken in there, too, as they wait through the winter until. . . It's shearing time! In brief text with brightly colored illustrations by Angela Matteson, readers learn all the steps from wool to using a natural dye, this time marigolds, to knitting, YES!, some beautiful mittens, as Laura writes, "Hold the golden sun in your hands." (I bought this for my young granddaughter, now ten, who has been knitting for a few years and loves the book.) It's lots of fun, will be an inspiration, too, to dig deeper into the 'how-to' of each step, from sheep to knitting!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Poetry Friday - One Book for All


Carol Varsalona is "Bedecked in Autumn  HERE at her blog, Beyond Literacy Link!  Hers is our celebration of these autumn months, beginning tints, fully painted, now the goodbye. It's nearly time. Our leaves have had their heyday dancing around, some gymnasts, others ballet artists, floating oh, so gracefully down. They now lie quietly on my garden beds. Thanks, Carol, and to all those in Carol's new Gallery who shared their own bounty!

         As for bounty! Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am certainly thankful for each of you! 

        The NAGC (gifted organization) was here in Denver this past weekend. Myra Garces-Bascal of Gathering Books was here and we had lunch together, met IN PERSON after about ten years of blogging together. It was a delight! What a pleasure to meet when you only know them online! Thanks to Myra for connecting!

Alen Ištoković, CC BY 3.0
 via Wikimedia Commons
          As I travel around in the city (at certain times), I see school buses full of kids, or empty because they've made it to school or home. Now, after reading Kat Apel's Bully on the Bus, I wonder if there is another child that can not wait to get off, because they, too, have bully problems.

          I've wanted to read Kat's book ever since my younger granddaughter started riding a bus to school this year. She's ten and has loved it. I'm glad for her. 

          But, Kat knows that is not always true for some, like the young boy Leroy in her book. Leroy loves school, being part of the "Superkids" in Mrs. Wilson's class. He looks forward to each day there, but NOT getting there via bus. It appears that this bus brings a varied group from a neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of kids because Leroy's bully is DJ, a high school girl. Her hair is often a different color but her attitude stays the same, nasty! From my adult perspective, it feels as if she's in a bad place, too. Picking on a young kid through insults, bad rhymes, and actually poking feels quite desperate for a high school kid. Older sister Ruby, fifth grade, tries to help but she's young, too.