Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday - Reading Recap


          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link


           I skipped last week because I had family visiting. It was a fast visit, but oh, such fun! Here are two adult books I read and links to my reviews on Goodreads.




7 of 34 #MustReadIn2018
            The friendships hold the story together as only John Green's stories do and the thoughts of sixteen-year-old Aza continue to challenge her abilities to keep those friendships. Aza never meant to reunite with Davis Pickett, a friend from elementary school. And he's a friend who's wealthy but whose father is on the run from the law. And there's a hundred-thousand-dollar reward to any help that can be used to catch him. Daisy is up for the search and soon realizes that Aza and Davis like each other, a lot. It's complicated, mostly because of Aza's struggles with thoughts of certain things that will kill her, germs from others that will swim inside until it's too late. She cannot stop them. When we hear others share worries, we say things like "think of something else". Or try to use our words to show intellectually how the worry is not possible, even silly. From the book: "Thoughts are just a different kind of bacteria, colonizing you." It is hard to imagine how Aza felt and the story helped me understand, will help others, too, and I hope will help those who have similar life challenges. Some parts are heartbreaking; others made me smile at the empathy shown within the friendships. Great book, as so many have shared.

          All the books I'm sharing including the above are books that examine challenges that happen in children's lives. There is some hope in each, yet there is also sadness. I think each one will be valuable to share with students and teachers who know their classes well can make that decision. 
            Brown-toned illustrations denote sadness, and at first, I thought this was about some kind of abuse. In a way it is, but it shows the good and bad of the father in the son’s eyes, who tells this story. As it meanders through his thoughts, the mother’s sadness is evident, too. The boy says fog clouds her eyes. But there are some parts of happiness, the mother hugging when a scary thunderstorm happens, the father and son wiggling ears together. And then there is the end when the reader realizes that this is visiting day and the father is in prison. It's a book for everyone who may have a child with the same experiences and for others who need to know how it feels.



           Little stories about different animals, slowly banding together, looking at each other with some questions, but managing compromise, friendship, even love when the need was there. If it sounds mysterious, it is. It begins with a stag finding a small bunny, caring for it, finding love as it grows up. Along comes a cat, a soccer-playing cat! And there also is a soldier at war, a book, and a shadow. Not only mysterious things happen but it can be confusing until it isn’t. Happily ever after does arrive after some discussion and a reunion, plus a surprise. I would love to read this aloud to a young group, to see what they think. Melanie Rutten has written a rambling story that is translated by Sarah Ardizzone. Melanie also illustrated it using watercolors with black outlining in what I am calling “bubbles”. There are a few fully illustrated pages, one especially wonderful one at night. 
           A Bully keeps on and on, girl to boy, mainly calling him a “weirdo”. Finally, he tells his mom what’s going on, and that helps along with her advice, to try to help the girl see things in a different way. The solution isn’t that they become great friends, but she does stop calling names. I liked the way Susan Hughes sets the story up to tell. There are questions answered all the way through, in terse terms. This is how it goes: “What Bully B. Does Today: Looks me up and down, Shoves my books. Calls me Wierdo.” and “What her friends do: Laugh. What everyone else does: Nothing.” Toward the end: “How I feel sometimes: Bad. Really bad.” Graphic and stark illustrations show well this child's tough times. 

          
       I imagine many of you have read this and it is one to keep, also to have an 'extra' on hand for teens, perhaps graduates. Jason Reynolds is honest with his words but continues that niggling at the heart, that ember glowing that tells the dream still lives. He says "Jump Anyway." I love so many of his words, for me, too, a senior citizen, that "itch of possibility". Be sure to find this book and read away!

Now Reading: The Button War by Avi  It's starting really well, and I'm sorry I had so little time to read yesterday.  

Next: Breakout by Kate Messner or Takedown by Laura Shovan, arriving tomorrow!

16 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, What Happens Next looks very intriguing. I've not heard of this one before. I enjoyed Turtles (unique, but I felt well-written) and am looking forward to both The Button War and Breakout. I'll look forward to reading your thoughts on the last two soon. Have a wonderful reading week!

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    1. Thanks, Shaye. What Happens Next is good, useful to share when talking about bullies, I think!

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  2. Great list this week. I've read What Happens Next and For Every One, but I definitely need to check out the other ones. There are so many great books out there to help kids experiencing difficult circumstances, but they also help kids develop empathy for each other and build relationships. Have a great week!

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    1. I am glad to see these books, too, Jama. Glad you will find others from my list. I really liked What Happens Next. Thanks!

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  3. I came away with a deep understanding of what it is to have this kind of mental health problem after reading Turtles, but wished there had been more of a focus on the mystery.
    I love the cover of Hazelnut Days and can't wait to get my hands on a copy. My library does have What Happens Next on order so I now have a hold on that. Happy reading this week Linda.

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    1. I understand about "Turtles", but guess it wasn't relevant to know those details. I would liked to have had more from that father, too. Enjoy those 2 picture books!

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  4. What a beautiful, beautiful collection of books.

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    1. Thanks, Jane, enjoy what you can!

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  5. I almost read What Happens Next to my 4-year-old. I was compelled to preread it, and I am glad I did. It is a great book, but certainly has an older audience in mind (at least, in my estimation--others might disagree, and this is okay!). I would love to pair this book with I Walk With Vanessa to have a conversation about upstanders.

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    1. I still haven't gotten I Walk With Vanessa, have heard it was good, too. I agree about What Happens Next. I think it's for older readers, maybe 2nd grade and up. Thanks, Ricki!

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  6. I need to find Takedown!
    I enjoyed Turtles. I thought the writing was very good. I am not a huge John Green fan, but this one I liked.

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    1. I haven't read all the John Green's, but most. I particularly liked the deep illustration of how Aza's thoughts were so overpowering. That is something hard to understand, but now I know they do. Thanks, Michele.

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  7. Wow! Tough times sounds unbelievable. What age group do you think it will resonate with this book?

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    1. I think you may be responding to another's post, or perhaps to Hazelnut Days? It depends on the class, but certainly for 4th grade & up, & maybe 3rd grade if you have children whom you believe need to hear it.

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  8. A lot of great books here that I have been trying to find time for... hopefully you have bumped Jason Reynolds and John Green up the list. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Oh those three picturebooks I will need to find immediately! Thanks so much for sharing, Linda. Glad to see your FB posts of family visiting - enjoy summer! :) - Myra (GatheringBooks)

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