Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Reading - Special Books Again

      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!

Thanks to everyone for sharing so many great books that I put on my list, read and enjoy! I hope you are continuing to be well and managing these challenging days. For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, wishing you a good one even if it differs from the past.

This was really a wonderful book to read about the life (up to age 17) of Muhammad Ali. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson combine prose and poetry to tell this story of who, in early life, was Cassius Clay. From Louisville, Kentucky, readers meet neighbors and friends, his dear loyal younger brother, and the rest of his family. The wisdom he learned, the love in this close family are shown as the strongest support of Ali. He struggled in school, met racism, but was single-minded when it came to his training. He began that training at age twelve. Beautiful depictions of Ali and some action scenes are captured by Dawud Anyabwile. Ali's verbal talents come through in the poetry. There is one story where Cassius was facing not graduating, but his language arts teacher said she would allow him to give a speech instead. He passed and graduated. "He was a world-class talker." One quote near the end showed what a special boy, then man, he was. When he was older, after a historic fight, a reporter asked what he wanted to be remembered for. He answered with a recipe that is the way I wish everyone could read, so instead of typing it, I took a photo.

            I am old enough to remember watching a couple of his fights with my whole family gathered. Yes, it was the time when we did that, gathering for one huge TV show! He was amazing. And I remember him lighting the torch in Atlanta in 2010, clearly showing he was shaking with Parkinson's, clearly showing the incredible person he was, who rarely gave up because he was "the greatest". 
       I enjoyed reading this book about Cassius Clay very much!

         Based on the real teddy bear now in the Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel. It was taken care of and it took care of Fred Lessing as a boy escaping the Nazis. This was first published in 2016, now translated by Annette Appel and written by Iris Argaman, with illustrations by Avi Ofer. Bear tells the story of him and Fred whose family eventually escaped from Delft, Holland to Amsterdam. Eventually, Fred was then left with a stranger and did survive with his teddy bear! All the family also survived and moved to America. There is an epilogue that tells about the museum asking if Bear is willing to be part of their stories and a final letter from Bear, sharing his gratitude for Fred's continuing love and care. Fred's bear story's illustrations appear wispy and muted, showing the life lived then meant fear and uncertainty. It's a special story that brings the Holocaust to life in a story for ten and up.
         Personal note! I still have my teddy bear that was a gift from my father who was shot down in the Philippines during World War II when I was two. I took it to college, too!

        Fortunately for all of us, Philip Stead has brought Charlotte Zolotow's "In My Garden" (1960) back for everyone who has cherished their gardens and nature during this Pandemic year, now stretching into winter. As we read this young girl's favorites from her garden (and from her life) during each season, I imagine each one of us can add our own, from last spring, into summer's joys, to autumn's fabulous days. A black cat follows along with the girl as she shares her favorites of the seasons. Stead's illustrations feel comfortable in their muted tones and his lovely dedication is perfect where he shares that he's collected children's picture books since he was nineteen, Zolotow's among the favorites found.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Poetry Friday - Come Take A Trip To The Sea!


Well, It's 2020, isn't it? I'm happy to host and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, however you land! Link up below!

 Matt Forrest Esenwine sent me an email announcement of a new anthology of poetry, Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children from The Writer’s Loft. Several anthologies have come out recently and this one focuses on, as you see from the cover, the ocean. Those children who know it well will find old friends and those who would love an ocean trip will find a glimpse of what might be! It seems perfect for holiday gift-giving to a variety of readers - parents, librarians, teachers, and certainly children.

             Amanda Smith shares all about the book's creation here at 24 Carrot Writing!


Now. no longer traveling far
so take a book trip as you are.
You'll learn to splash along with me. 
with authors' poems from the salty sea.
                                            L Baie

        It's seventy pages of ocean knowledge packed into all kinds of poem styles, poems of creatures who depend on others, like remora and sharks, and those who swim and live above, like manatees. Matt writes about a boat "Unmoored", another way to "see" the "sea" that children might not think about if they've never visited. I've always been fascinated by lighthouses, stayed in one on the California coast years ago, trying to imagine what it is like to live and work in one. Heidi E.Y. Stemple writes "Boston Light", a beautiful, eerie poem about a lighthouse and Bridget Wixted writes "Lighthouse", offering a second idea of these special sites. The variety of things experienced during this trip to the ocean will make you sigh with the words and say "wow" about the illustrations, each one by a different artist. Here are two favorites, the first with Matt's poem and the second about a favorite of mine, manatees!  


         At the end lies a number of ideas that add to the learning "inside" the poems. There is a list of things that will take the reader back to search for things, like eleven crabs, five boats, and one dog, yes, a dog! (I had to return and look, too!) They also offer a challenge to find the different types of poems included, as well as a terrific list of ways to "Become an Ocean Protector". Not only is this an anthology of beautiful poetry about the ocean, but one that adds to the learning by inspiring action. 
          Thanks for the opportunity to share this, Matt!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Reading - New Books to Enjoy

     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!

Thanks to everyone for sharing so many great books that I put on my list, read and enjoy! I hope you are continuing to be well and manage these challenging days.


             I also read and enjoyed Saadia Faruqi's book written with Laura Shovan this year, A Place at The Table. Thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this latest one. Saadia is from Karachi, Pakistan originally and while she writes here about two young girls, she also says in her author's note that this is a love letter to Karachi, too. This backdrop of the story gives a loving glimpse of this ancient city, now modern in some ways, still carrying its history, too. 
            It's a middle-grade novel first starting with disgusted eleven-year-old Mimi, not happy at all about spending her summer with grandparents she barely knows. She begins by starting a new journal writing to her father about the time there, the father who left her and her mother when she was five. The cook's daughter, the same age, is hoping for entry into a private school, not wishing at all to remain her father's assistant for the rest of her life. Her family is very poor, however, and she keeps this goal a secret, wondering if she will ever get the chance for better.
            At first, the girls are wary of each other. How in this world can a rich American girl ever have anything in common with a poor Pakistani? But they do find each other in ways you might not imagine, but will love the intertwining story, mixed in with both families' troubles and the change that happens when secrets are revealed. Learning how friendships work and how families can love no matter the circumstance means a great story for kids to read and connect with personally. I enjoyed it very much!

         Time to thank Josh Funk for his latest two books! 

          One more time Josh Funk has brought in his storyteller to give us readers a version of Little Red Riding Hood. Even the title says it's not, but everyone in the story tries hard to follow the original story. However, the wolf is sick (just like Grandma) so Captain Hook takes the wolf's place and tries hard to be scary and to follow the storyline. Even as Little Blue (yes, something happened to the red cape) tries to follow along, other things disrupt like that pirate says he did NOT agree to any people-eatin'! Like the previous ones, this is full of giggles and surprises from the story and from Edwardian Taylor's sneaky illustrations. I saw a few other recognizable story characters in the background like that bored rabbit waiting, waiting for the turtle plodding uphill. 
           I love reading this myself and to my grandchildren, am very glad I won it from Laura Mossa at Beagles and Books! Thanks again, Laura!

         Patience and Fortitude, ready for their nightly prowl, find that the beloved children's library they visit often, is gone! Off to find it, they first visit Times Square with lights blazing for Harry Potter, Frog and Toad, and Annie. Those are plays, no books. And in Funk's usual special poetic quatrains and Stevie Lewis's nighttime NYC illustrations, readers are taken on their own prowls searching. Central Park, the Highline Canal, and some of the local branch libraries are only a few places that are fun to see and visit, however, the lost books are not there! If you don't know the latest NYC library news, you'll learn about it now. The newly renovated library is now across the street and Patience and Fortitude at last found their beloved books. There is an added note at the back that explains all the sites visited for those who do not know New York City very well. The opening endcover by Lewis show the dismayed lions with only a few books, but the back ones are filled with Fortitude and Patience relaxing with their found books! Throughout the story, you will recognize some special favorites on various shelves. A new adventure that will be fun to add to other books about libraries.

                  Perfect to read aloud, wonderful for discussion and prediction, thanks to Candlewick Press for these next two books!