Today, I'm sharing one wonderful n-f book thanks to Candlewick Press and a few other great picture books!
Thanks to Candlewick Press for my copy of this book. My first thought after finishing this book refers to the author's note. In it, Sally Walker writes: "History and research are all about making connections. Each time a person discovers the Sultana's story--even though it may be many years after the disaster--a connection is established between that person and the people who were on the boat." To learn about the victims and those who helped in the rescue (sometimes the same people) means here in the 21st Century we readers are offering a thought and sympathy to those who experienced this tragedy. We will remember!
Sally Walker clearly did extensive research into this disaster of 1865, nearly the end of the Civil War. I learned a lot about the prisons of that time, the terrible conditions (though in the past I have read Andersonville) and at this time the release, what was termed "paroling", of soldiers. She explained the way that steamboats were constructed to be faster and due to new ideas of boilers, but less understanding of how they worked, this steamboat Sultana was doomed. There also were those greedy men in charge who wanted to board as many soldiers as possible, overloading the boat, because they were paid by the government for the numbers carried. Although this did not cause the explosions, it did mean that many, many more were killed because of cramped conditions.
Numerous people were followed in the story, from prison to survival or death, in the journey--finally--home from the long years of war an imprisonment. And when Sally found more of the stories of these men, wives and children, she also shared that information. Yes, there were also passengers on board in cabins, families and couples heading north.
The book is extensive in the story, written in chapters with pictures and/or maps of the topic or the times. I suspect it would be best for 8th grade and up. It's written in chapters with extensive back matter: author's note, source notes, bibliography, and image credits. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and it made me wonder who will do the research and write the stories of this year's hurricanes or fires, this year's tragedies?
Many of you know this story by Mac Barnett, and now I do, too, thanks to Candlewick Press. How can I describe it except to say that the mouse is swallowed by the wolf where it meets someone. That someone generously welcomes the mouse, and the rest of the story is one you'll have to read yourself. Like Sam and Dave Dig A Hole, there are mysteries to solve and when read aloud, those listening often say "Wha..?" In this book too, it happens, but I think it's a more satisfying ending; at least I hope that's what those words mean! Jon Klassen's sketches are always great to show the story. I loved the book!
I can't wait to read this story to my youngest granddaughter who's taken ballet lessons for several years and loves them. Perhaps next year we can go to see The Nutcracker as this young woman is doing with her grandmother? She arrives home with the cold and rain/snow outside, does not want to go out again. It's cold and she has to dress up, too. Once there, the magic of the music and the dance mesmerizes. And a boy sitting next to the girl , while starting off a bit frosty, soon warms to the show, too, and they both find common ground, the love of this story. Elly Mackay's illustrations need no words to tell her story, just beautiful motion in the dance, and gorgeous expressions in the people.
Not only does this story start the reader thinking, but the collaged illustrations are full of people and places, all kinds. I love the endpapers. The opening show a community street of stores, and one of the signs advertises "Community Bookstore". I work at a "community used bookstore", totally run by volunteers, and it has been part of this one community for over 40 years!
At the end, the double-spread shows another street but at night, with one of the children in the story lying in bed, thinking? Two children travel on their way home, both wondering the same thing. The questions posed are simple, the title, "Why Am I Me?" and others like "Why are you, you?" Perhaps after some thought, each of us will figure out that we might all be "we".
This book was first published in 1995 when the young girl, Sadussan, who tells her story had just immigrated. It has been re-published this year. It's sad to think it feels even more relevant today. At first, briefly, the book begins with the family having their apartment bombed and realizing they must go. Most of the story dwells in Sadussan's challenges at a new school and not understanding anything! A paper skeleton in the hallway frightens her a lot, and among other things, she decides the whole place is crazy and doesn't want to return. Her father says she must and she does when finally she begins to understand. The most poignant part to me that children will need to discuss is when she says she loved going to the zoo with her class, "and nobody shot at us the whole time". Wow! Reading this aloud with follow-up discussions will be a big help to a group of children who can be helped to understand a classmate or other students in the school. Illustrations by Rebecca Green are bold and realistic.
NEXT: Still reading my adult book, Badenheim1939 by Aharon Appelfeld and starting The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner.
Here's the link to an article you all may love, about the benefit of collecting more books than you can possibly read! Awesome, right? https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/why-you-should-stop-feeling-bad-about-all-those-books-you-buy-dont-read.html
From Far Away is one I would like to add to our classroom collection. Isn't Why Am I Me? lovely. We used it as we were completing self portraits and talking about identity and belonging.ReplyDelete
Yes, I read Why Am I Me? with Ingrid (8I) last week and we talked about all the different kids in her class. Very nice, and From Far Away is more serious, so, so sad to me. Thanks, Carrie.Delete
I should take a pic of the diorama my boss made of Mac Barnett's latest book. It's great.ReplyDelete
I'd love to see it, Earl!Delete
Sinking the Sultana sounds absolutely fascinating, Linda, I'll have to look for it.ReplyDelete
It was great. There are so many layers to just the one thing, like all historical events really. I am impressed with the complex research. Hope you enjoy it!Delete
Linda - You always introduce us to so many great books. We can't wait to read Why Am I Me and The Wolf, The Duck, and The Mouse. We love the way Mac Barnett's books make you think.ReplyDelete
Oh, happy to hear that! Enjoy both in very different ways! Thanks!Delete
When I first read THE WOLF... I could not stop laughing out loud! It is hilarious and clever and I love it!ReplyDelete
Happy reading this week :)
I loved it, too, Kellee, as you read! I will share it with as many as I can. It is terrific!Delete
Thanks for the link to the article. As you may suspect, I have a few unread books stored in my home along with many loved books that have been read once, twice or even many times over. From Far Away is a powerful narrative. I like how Why am I Me? leads to questioning and lets us know that other people wonder also. Sinking the Sultana looks very interesting. It's not something I know anything about so I want to know more.ReplyDelete
I adored that article, and connected to it because I continue to be curious about everything, and just as you are, Crystal when you write that you'd like to know more about the Sultana. I was fascinated at the numerous parts that had to be included and that connect to our own tragedies today. I suspect your recommendation is where I found From Far Away. Thanks!Delete
The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse is an interesting story. It's good for reading along with other pourquoi tales. The article makes me feel better about having a huge tbr pile.ReplyDelete
Yes, I enjoyed The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse for so many reasons, Lisa. Glad you liked the article, too! Thanks!Delete
I love the link that you shared, Linda about buying more books than you can possibly read in your lifetime - my mantra, for all times. I've shared it in our GatheringBooks FB page. I am glad you also enjoyed From Far Away - isn't it just powerful? Why Am I Me is now in my to-find-in-the-library stack.ReplyDelete
So glad you loved it, Myra. It warmed my heart, too and I did think of you when I read it! Ha! So glad you're sharing it further. Yes, I thought From Far Away told a poignant story in good ways for younger readers, very powerful. Enjoy Why Am I Me!Delete
This new version of From Far Away looks stunning! I remember the original well, but this new updated version looks fantastic, I've placed a hold on it now!ReplyDelete
It's new to me, wish I had known about the older one years ago. Thanks, Jane!Delete
I just read Waltz of the Snowflakes today and thought it was a gorgeous book! I love how the magic of the live theater performance brings everyone together in their shared experience.ReplyDelete
It is a lovely story, with a great sense of excitement increasing from the beginning through to that fun end. Thanks, Jana!Delete