Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Reading - More Wonderful Books

  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!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 

Wishing you all a good week ahead! 

          Yes, I managed to finish it, but it took a week because I kept re-reading different parts; I wanted to remember every single thing. Then I went back to browse through Dear Martin, wanting to remember more of Justice and Quan together. I can't tell all the story. You don't want to miss this, the thoughts of both, but this time particularly the inside/outside cries for help from Quan, cries for someone to "see" him and to "love" him. This is one that can break your heart from both sadness and relief from breath-holding. How can it be that a youngster is held in a juvenile correction facility for two years without a trial? It's a tragedy that must be addressed! Nic Stone writes in her afterword that much of Quan's story is true. Nic Stone interviewed many juveniles in prisons and used their experiences to help her write. 
Other characters are there, too, with their own poignant stories. It's a story I hope lands in classes and school libraries everywhere.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         Sweet Gustavo, yes, he's shy, lived unseen in his world, even for a ghost! Flavia Z. Drago shares this sweet story for young readers about someone who is terrified to make friends, never "dared to speak to any of the other monsters". Her words tell it plainly but her illustrations show his fear with creativity. Gustavo remains close but he's disguised as a balloon, sneaks into a painting, or in a clothesline sheet, and is not seen! His true love is named Alma, an invisible girl who wears glasses. A Mexican feel is noticeable in the art like the colorful papel picado banners and skulls tucked in everywhere. In some good self-pushing, Gustavo decides he must be brave, so decides to invite everyone to a violin concert, his favorite thing. What happened after that made Gustavo glow and will make readers "glow" too, with lots of smiles.  (When they are there, I always check out the endpapers to see what has been done. This time, the opening shows Gustavo in a strip of pictures like one from a photobooth. You can imagine what the back shows - a happy GROUP with Gustavo!

Thanks to NetGalley for this book!

        Based on his own son and experiences through that young son's life, Michael Waters tells a family story of Jeremiah and his persistent questioning about the shootings, particularly of young black boys but also including that of five police officers. Jeremiah is waiting for his hair to grow so he can have locks and there's a chuckle when he gains permission plus later comparing it to the patience people must have when working for equal rights. As he grows, more tragic shootings happen and the phrase, "That doesn't make sense" repeats. Beautiful black boys like Jeremiah fight for better, shown in "also beautiful" illustrations by Keisha Morris. There are two pages of activities for extending the learning at the back. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Poetry Friday - State of Mind

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Janice Scully here at Salt City Verse! Thanks for hosting, Janice!  

These next weeks are going to be challenging, I imagine, for each of us. Best wishes in doing what you can to be kind to yourself and others. And VOTE!
         I am feeling like I am at a crossroads. Perhaps it's because my birthday was Monday; probably it's because seven and a half months of tension that includes worry about the losses from the pandemic for everyone and now the incredible election chaos. One needs to be strong to face these next weeks and I want to be, especially for my grandchildren. This poem comes from those thoughts.

Forget Everything - Almost

These challenging days,
don't tell anybody,
I'm "almost" forgetting every single month behind me,
the way it was:
the startling whispers,
the "everything is gonna be alright",
that word we fear to hear again,
"lockdown", the angry arguments
for truth.

I will remember
the daughter who brought groceries,
small visits (like vitamins),
the son's phone calls,
making believe he was cross-town,
came from granddaughters,
to the bookstore opening –
out of books
eager for book talk,
the silly smile drawn
on the Starbucks cup,
a text from a neighbor,
so many deviled eggs.

I will not forget walks in
     winter's snowy whispers
     spring bees buzzing
     summer's magpie chatter
     fall trees' defiant goodbyes.

I won't forget 
the name of this poem.

Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Share Memories


        Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing.  
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following fabulous book!

          I've lived on a lake but in a neighborhood. And my family used to have a cabin in the woods but by a stream instead of a lake. That cabin was built by a park ranger and his family one summer. They had it for fourteen years, then my family bought it from them, and now we have sold it to a new family. Three owners make its history of changes and abandonment, then fun and good times back again. 
           My life stories make Thomas Harding's history of The House by the Lake so very poignant. His own great-grandfather, described as "a kind doctor and his cheery wife" are the ones who built the house, wanting a place away from "the busy city". That city was Berlin, Germany, and as is said, the rest is history. In his forward, Thomas Harding discovers through his search that the history of this same house was on the "frontlines of history".
            First published in the U.S. last month, Harding has researched and told this story again, this time in brief, poetic and poignant words. He traces the story from the impact of the Nazis in World War II to the way the house later ended up near the Berlin Wall when no one sailed across the lake. Finally, the wall came down and with it, freedom for the house that was then reconstructed so a family could again stay there and sail across the lake and build sandcastles by the shore. Britta Teckentrup’s beautiful, collaged illustrations appear muted, not quite gone but over-taken by shadows of years passing. 

         There is an afterword that tells more of each of the five owners, including the restoration of the house by Thomas Harding and the community. It has been renamed the Alexander Haus and reopened as a center for education and reconciliation.

        An interesting article in The Guardian can be found here, showing one picture of Harding in the actual house and sharing a bit more about its history. Harding wrote a memoir of the same title in 2015 about this house.

        It's a special book, may begin someone's interest in researching their own homes or apartments.