Monday, March 4, 2019

It's Monday - Books You Need to Know

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who post their favorites. 


            WINNERS chosen by Rafflecopter of the Shakespeare Pop-Up Book are Jama Rattigan & Jane Heitman Healy. 
            Congratulations! I'll be contacting you also by email!

Learning about others' lives, who they are and how they live is an important beginning learning. This week, I seem to have read several books that help people (kids and adults) who read them think about others, then about who they are, too.


          March 12th seems to be an important day in publishing. These next three books' publishing birthday is that day!



       Yes, I've read most of the wonderful picture books about Ada Byron Lovelace, then received this amazing new short chapter book, thanks to Candlewick Press. Some have called her the Bride of Science, some a science poet, thus the title Dreaming in Code feels quite appropriate and you will understand when you read this longer biography. Child of the famous/infamous Lord Byron,  whose parents were so estranged that her mother, Lady Byron, didn't even tell Ada about him until she had to, until he had already died. The intermingling relationships among Ada's mother, Ada's husband, and Charles Babbage show Ada's life and temperament in a rather constant upheaval. She appears a genius but beleaguered so by ill health, it is a challenge to see how she managed her mathematical accomplishments at all.
       Lady Byron, though she didn't admit it, carried her grudge against Lord Byron's betrayals all her life, appeared determined that Ada's mind and work would be 'managed', sometimes with tutors who gave her huge intellectual challenges, ones that inspired although also exasperated. Her collaborator Charles Babbage plays a big part in Ada's life and that relationship was described in detail about his inventions, the Difference Engine and Analytical Engine designs. Ada was able to see far beyond his visions, dreaming of the potential of modern computers and predicting such programming techniques like loops. She could have done more but was hampered by the mores for women at the time and her bad health. Appendices summarize Lovelace’s notes on the Analytical Engine and present the British Association for the Advancement of Science’s rationale for refusing to support its construction. This seems to be her finest time for recognition then. She has since been much praised.
         It's a dense and interesting portrayal of both Ada's life and the way people of wealth lived at this time as the industrial revolution flourished, those who followed the rules, at least on the outside, but did other things that surprised me, too. The portrayal of Lady Byron, Ada's mother, was most challenging to find sympathy for. There are source notes, a glossary, a bibliography and a page for an index not shown in this advanced copy.
  

Thanks to Penny Candy Books for the following book. 
           When there is a loss, everyone seems to have one thing that means something very special, and when one realizes that thing cannot continue the way it was, it's hard. Young Asha has traveled a long way to her grandma's house in India. She has carried her yellow suitcase, usually bringing gifts from California, but this time she did not. This time, her grandma is not waiting on the porch when they arrived. She is gone. Meera Sriram gently leads the reader through Asha's feelings, her stages of grief from denial to acceptance. Asha kicks that suitcase under her bed, angry that it won't hold gifts to take back home with her either. Meera Sethi fills the pages with those beautiful colors of India that surround Asha as she remembers the "aroma of cardamom-spiced chai and of sweet ghee that filled the house when Grandma was around. And she missed the soft cotton saris Grandma wore." Both author and illustrator have managed to show a sweet and sad story that ends as it begins, a yellow suitcase with something good in it, something that will help Asha remember her grandma. It is a story that will be nice to share with children who are missing someone dear to them. 
           


Thanks to Beaming Books for the following book. 
           Charley goes to the park and notices Emma, a differently-limbed girl, new to him. She doesn't have hands. He imagines all kinds of ways she could have lost them. Did a monster bite them off? He looks at his mom and asks why that girl is so weird. Then he notices that his mom's face looks a little weird, too. His words have hurt the girl's feelings and his mom reminds him about a conversation about being different. He loves to climb trees and run and shout with others, but also loves quiet, to think and draw by himself. His mom told him, "Different isn't weird, sad, bad, or strange. Different is different. And different is OK." After introducing himself and apologizing to the girl, they talk and then realize that they like similar things. She can play tag, even in her wheelchair. She can draw but does it with her feet. Charley learns again about "different". 
            Soft watercolors by Merrilee Liddiard offer a soothing tone while Amy Webb tells this story. Amy is known for her advocacy for the special needs community, tells this story of Charley and Emma with calm and honesty. There are worlds that people (children) live that sets them apart and some of them are included in this story. All are different, and that's Ok, as long as it doesn't mean stares and mean words, but does mean friendship. The reviews say this is for younger children, yet I think I would have read it aloud to my middle school students, helping begin a conversation that can help everyone who may feel "different", helping them to know they aren't alone. 



         Finally, the book that won the Cybils' Early Reader award.  It seems that many look at others and think those "others" are best. This time, it's Fox who wants to be a tiger. They're big, fast, and sneaky, "the best"! There are others who follow his lead: Turtle decides to be a race car; Rabbit chooses to be a robot! Learning happens fairly quickly when rain makes hasty changes. Each one learns about being self and that's just perfect. My granddaughter read this to me, and got the message. She says, "We're all 'just right', aren't we?" Corey R. Tabor manages a lot of message in few words for early readers and illustrations that also are "just right".  


Still Reading: No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen then Anne Ursu's The Lost Girl! I didn't get as much read this week! 




         It was fun to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday last week (It was March 2nd) with my granddaughters. We read as much as we could!

14 comments:

  1. Wow! This is the first time I've heard of When Charley Met Emma. And it looks wonderful, Linda! At first I couldn't locate it on Goodreads, but realized I spelled Charley's name incorrectly. LOL This should be an interesting week for me as, after we get back home from our mini-vacation, hubby is heading off to a conference for a few days over the weekend. I tend to have trouble sleeping on nights that he's gone, so maybe I'll squeeze in a little extra reading before bedtime. Hope you have a wonderful reading week!

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    1. When Charley Met Emma is a book that's needed, Shaye. I hope you can read it soon. And Wishing you a good vacation with NO illness around plus lots of reading after, too. Thanks!

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  2. I have to get Fox the Tiger. It's one I haven't read yet and it sounds perfect for early readers.

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  3. I think it's terrific that there are so many picture books featuring women in science and mathematics being published lately. I'll definitely look for this picture book about Ada Lovelace. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Jana, this is a longer book, FYI, not exactly a picture book, though it does include photos when needed. I hope you enjoy it and that you have a great week, too!

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  4. Ada Lovelace is so fascinating! I am so glad she is getting some recognition in the picture book biography world--this is the 3rd book I have seen about her.

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. I know. There are quite a few. This dug a bit deeper & since I know some of the background of Lord Byron from Mary's Monster, it's an even more inriguing story. Thanks, Kellee!

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  5. Will keep an eye out on When Charley Met Emma.

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    1. Terrific, enjoy it, Earl. It's a sweet story.

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  6. Fox the Tiger sure seems fun.

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    1. It is very cute, Crystal, just right for young readers!

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  7. I love books that immerse me in places, times & cultures I wouldn't otherwise know. I can't even imagine how little I would understand of the world if I wasn't an avid reader!

    Enjoy your books this week!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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    1. Thanks, Sue, I agree. Books take us on journeys we might never take and teach us.

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