Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday Reading - All About Feelings

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites. Each book today focuses on feelings, a part of some days (or weeks) in the lives of people, pets, and imaginary creatures! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy, out Tuesday!
         How in the world are we going to survive without seeing the rest of Beverly's, Raymie's and Louisiana's stories? This time, Beverly has buried her beloved Buddy, and takes the chance to go somewhere, not to run away, but to run to. Louisiana is gone, Raymie will miss her, but this thing called home doesn't hold anything for her anymore. In this new small town by the beach, she meets more than one person with a story, finds a place to live, a job, and more loving kindness than she's had before, except from her two friends. She's fourteen, and has a few surprises coming! I love hearing from Beverly. At fourteen, she is brave and strict about her beliefs more than many adults. Reading her story brought tears, just like in the others, bringing questions again that come from "Be kind. You don't know what someone is going through." Kate DiCamillo never disappoints. 

      Thanks to Candlewick Press for the advanced copy of this seaside adventure, out last May! Thomas Taylor is well-known for being the illustrator of the cover of the first Harry Potter book, but this time, he's written his own adventure, and the illustrations in the book are by Tom Booth, not all finished in this ARC, but those included add to this scary atmosphere of Eerie-on-Sea. 
          from Walker Books: Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. 
           The detective work done by these youngsters will be quite an exciting adventure for young readers. Herbert and Violet scurry around the village no matter the risks and injuries. They are determined to follow the clues, to figure out the truth of this folk story that surrounds the town's life. Intriguing characters, from Herbie and Violet to the friendly and the ominous add to the mystery. It's book number one. Number two is coming in May 2020.

       Oh, to be on the beach again, and "be". Others ask this young girl a question or two, like "What are you making?" She always answers, "I don't know." She plays and messes about with what's available, she enjoys her place by the sea, she is present. There is a wonderful surprise acknowledgment of her answers when a woman comes by to set up her easel. The illustrations' acrylic and oil paintings show the sand and sea beauty and teasing glimpses of the girl and her creations. It's a wonderful book.

      In a foreword for parents: "Intersection Allies reminds us that we don't have to "choose" one primary identity. Instead, each of us is all of who we are every single day and in every single way." Different kids introduce themselves in a brief poem, focusing on one part, perhaps they might say the 'main' part. Collaged illustrations are bright, colorful and varied.
          I can't imagine not having this in every classroom! There is the text, written in rhyme, showing each young person and some parts of their identity. In the backmatter lies a page on intersectionality, a page-by-page discussion guide, some definitions and bios of the four authors. The final double-page fills with words: "where there's room for some, we make room for all, friends can be Allies, no matter how small."

        Linda Sue Park's beautiful book, A Long Walk to Water is not for young children, so it is wonderful that she has crafted a smaller story with the same poignancy for those younger. Of course, every age can be transformed with such a message, the story of a young girl who walks most of a morning to carry water back to her family. And she must take her younger sister along, too, a tougher walk for a little one. Usually, though tough, it happens, day after day, but this time little sister Akeer is not all right. In fact, Nya realizes that Akeer is very sick. Now she must  carry at least some of the water, but Akeer, too. With grit hard to imagine, the journey intensifies in feeling as we readers all want to know what's going to happen. Grit, taking one more step, and love shown are inspirations for every reader. I wish it could have gone a bit longer to tell what happened with the second "long walk" they had to get to a doctor.
         There is an added note that tells of Salva Dut, the head of an organization digging clean-water wells in South Sudan, a life-saving task, for both the village and for girls who now, instead of the "long walk", can go to school! Ink and watercolor illustrations by Brian Pinkney evoke the desert settings beautifully, as well as the loneliness of these young people on their walk.

       A young girl, Maria, her little brother, Juan, and her mother make the journey to the border between San Diego and Mexico to see her grandmother for the Christmas holidays named Las Posadas. They cannot go through a second fence, have only 25 minutes to visit through a fence with slats and a wire, then must return back to San Diego. The girl has knitted a scarf for her Abuela to wear on the journey home and her brother has drawn a picture. The visit goes quickly and they discover nothing can go through the fence. The brother becomes very upset. Maria, with the permission of the border officer, quickly devises a new way to get that picture to Abuela. She creates a kite of it and flies it over the walls. It shows the sad challenges of families separated but the way Maria helps is so loving. The author adds a note at the back with a brief explanation of how this border reunions work, especially during this special holiday time. Illustrations are upbeat, although the sadness is underlying the story.

       A cat named Spot spies a dog named Dot and off they go on an adventure, but their owners, a boy and a girl, miss their beloved pets, make and put up "lost" signs as they go off into the neighborhood looking for Spot & Dot!Henry Cole's black and white illustrations make this wordless story come alive with the detail of the neighborhood from flea market to bakery to dog park to concert-in-the-park and all along, among other "spots and dots", readers need to look carefully for those runaway pets. What fun!

         Autumn is here, and I wanted to be sure to share this beautiful, beautiful book, though it's only about the seasons in its setting. I don't want to tell much because I want you to experience the beauty and creativity of the Fan Brothers' illustrations as Beth Ferry gives us the sweetest love story you might have read in a long time. Can you imagine a scarecrow (like on the cover) showing emotion. Wait until you read the book. Wait until you feel the feelings. It's terrific!

Now Reading: A new adult book, pre-World War II: The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton. Next middle grade: Hena Khan's More to the Story.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Poetry Friday - A DEFINING Moment

Hi Everyone, and welcome to Poetry Friday. Leave your links below and enjoy a special day of poetry!

         Irene Latham wrote me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd like to help reveal the cover of a new book coming in February 2020. Of course I shouted "YES!" and here we are, getting ready to welcome autumn on Monday and today a marvelous new book by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini.  

         All kinds of dictionaries come into the world. When I researched to find the first, I found that in 1604, the first book generally regarded as the first English dictionary was written as Robert Cawdrey, a schoolmaster and former Church of England clergyman. Yet, other sites give different names, ones you will recognize, like Webster. However you look at it, our world is filled with books that want us to learn and grow with words! And that's how poets do their thing, right, with words! 

Two I found at the bookstore where I volunteer!
         As for a second way of communicating a concept, a story, a feeling, artists make art with the medium of their choice. That is where Mehrdokht enters the collaboration with Charles and Irene. She painted their words, helping to create a new kind of dictionary for children from her palette. 

       Here's the publisher description:

How can we make the world a better place? This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity.

This second poetic collaboration from Irene Latham and Charles Waters builds upon themes of diversity and inclusiveness from their previous book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrations from Iranian-British artist Mehrdokht Amini offer readers a rich visual experience.

         Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? Because the book is filled with inspiration to write and act, I asked Irene, Charles and Mehrdokht a question about their own actions. At the beginning, one might ask "What if?" as in "What if we do this?" or "What if this was added?" or "What if we did a _______?" When Mehrdokht began her work for the book, perhaps she asked: "What if I took each word and?" or "What if this time, using _______ would work?"

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Non-Fiction Wednesday - A Wow Book!

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy of this book!

            Wow, this book is both huge and filled with the information offered in the title, the beginnings and the history of the 'first four billion years'. The text by Martin Jenkins, the drawings and paintings by Grahame Baker-Smith of the solar system and the life evolving creates an extraordinary reading and learning experience, with extensive information. I imagine a classroom could use it as a support for studying this history and science all through a year, taking each part and expanding with more research. 
             An illustrated timeline and a glossary is added in the backmatter. Here's one example of a double-page painting.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Reading - All Kinds of Stories

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites. 
I'm struggling with some tech issues - ugh! So, I may take a few days to read posts.

          This is a debut novel by Kate Allen. I have been on large and small sailing boats, have never followed or searched for sharks, but learned much about them in this poignant story of Lucy, daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, a middle-school girl with a friend named Fred. She lives in a small fishing village with a next-door neighbor named Mr. Patterson, has a few fishing friends named Sookie and Lester. She is surrounded by caring people all through the town this summer and she has challenges to me that such a young one should not have. What I loved most is that Lucy is shown to be a regular young teen, thinking about things in simply regular ways. Her mother died suddenly when Lucy was eight, her father is rather quiet about it, until this summer when Lucy begins working on a school project, a kind of field guide, with her friend, Fred. Lucy is an artist who wants to get things right, draws and re-draws, seeking the realistic look of the sharks. When more tragedy strikes, she begins to learn more about her mother's interest and takes leaps into the research that surprise everyone. That journey helps her neighbor, other friends, and especially her father. She is that 'line tender', keeping everyone connected. It's a beautiful story, made more special by the shark drawings that head each chapter.

       That same mysterious outage that has rendered useless all recent computer-driven devices (cars, phones, etc.) is the same as the first three, but this time, it's in a different place, with a new family as the main protagonists, especially Emma, fifteen. She has just moved with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother, Ethan. It's a brand-new condo building and near a lake with islands. They're used to periodic black-outs, but on their way to a weekend camping trip on an island in a lake nearby, the power still is not back. Thus begins their survival, taking all belongings possible in their canoe, for first a few days camping, but with stress increasing as they realize how serious it's going to be.
        This family eventually joins a larger community, an interesting group including all kinds of people in a small and isolated little town (also on an island), and the challenge to create a group that will fight to survive is one of many challenges. I read through it rather quickly, was not as intrigued by this particular set of characters as I was in the earlier books. It is perhaps because no matter the different community, I knew what kind of things were going to happen.         

       I'm not sure this book is for children, perhaps only for them to read with their parents especially.  This late August into September, I think it's for parents who've said goodbye to their college-age children, one of the toughest goodbyes I've had as a parent. From baby hood to older adult, Tony Johnston writes goodbyes to a young child, this time a boy, all the way until he's sitting with his older mother, holding her hand. Each poem includes something to do with hands, walking to school for the first time, feeding birds with one's hands, waving goodbye when going off to college. "The boy is going off to school./He asks, "Will I have friends?" "Of course you will," his mother says. They walk there holding hands." It's made even lovelier by Amy June Bates' soft watercolors.

           Julie Fogliano and Loren Long have created a poem in words and art you don't want to miss. It is gorgeous to see along with enjoying the unique way Julie has written her lines. I imagine teachers may have fun with these while writing with students. "If I was the sunshine/and you were the day/I'd call you hello!/and you'd call me stay." There is more and more to savor.

        Filled with all kinds of kids, all busy being children who are doing what they do, play and run and smile and have wonderful times moving! This particular book is a shout-out for kids with super-sonic energy. They need to be acknowledged and helped to find activities that will benefit from that energy. Susan Verdi talks about this in an author's note. Andrew Joyner's colorful pages fill with children "powered by play, friendship, compliments, love and laughter." 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following book!

         A large book, just right for a few children to lie on the floor and turn the pages together, looking for the places they know, wondering about the places and things they have not yet seen. I took my students to NYC one year and this would have served as a travelogue for us, wondering if we could fit just one more place into our busy days. I imagine those who have spent much time in New York City or who live there will enjoy it even more. Not only does Ingela Arrhenius include the icons like Grand Central Station and the Brooklyn Bridge, but adds the other enjoyments of pretzels and bagels, dog-walking and street performers. It's simply fun to gaze on every page.

Now Reading: A book first out this year in the U.S., but there is already a 'number two' in the U.K. - Malamander by Thomas Taylor.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

#Poetry Friday - By the Light of the Moon

          This full-moon Friday of September, Laura Purdie Salas hosts this Poetry Friday at her blog, Writing The World for Kids. Thanks to Laura, there is a wonderful moon book ready to excite children about this particular Friday because of the full moon and If You Were the Moon. This 'early' harvest moon, on Friday, the 13th, is the first one connecting these two things since 2000 and will not happen again until 2049! 

        Today, she's also getting us ready by sharing her newest book, Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle-How Animals Get Ready for Winter which I reviewed here. We might take some hints from this book as we head toward October! Laura's also asking what things we do to prepare and hosting a giveaway, too!

      I love the moon, have moon journaled with my students, written more than one poem about it, feel more energy when the moon is waxing. Yes, I do! This time I am sharing a poem I discovered in an old anthology that was donated at the used bookstore where I volunteer. If you didn't know, it is non-profit and run entirely by volunteers, a special place! Here's the book, and the poem.
                                                             The Moon-Sheep
The moon seems like a docile sheep,
She pastures while all people sleep;
But sometimes, when she goes astray,
She wanders all alone by day.

Up in the clear blue morning air
We are surprised to see her there,
Grazing in her woolly white,
Waiting the return of night.

When dusk lets down the meadow bars
She greets again her lambs, the stars!

     When I researched the poem, I discovered this lovely book by Christopher Morley full of other poems by him on Project Gutenberg. You can read more about him here at The Poetry Foundation where it reads that these words were added to his obituary by Morley himself. “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

#MustReadin2019 Fall Update

   Thanks to Carrie Gelson of There's A Book for That for hosting a #MustRead group each year for those who continue to create a list of lonely books on shelves or lists that we are excited about when bought or listed, then ignore, or find others that call more loudly.  See the above link to Carrie's blog to find out more!

       I still haven't read them all, but three more since the last update, shown in red. Here's what has happened thus far--ten out of thirteen! Of those recent three, don't miss any! Of course it depends on the genre you love or the age you want to read for. They are all terrific with their own unique stories.
Earlier books read are in blue, with links to my reviews on Goodreads.

Mary's Monster - Lita Judge

The Poet X  - Elizabeth Acevedo

Illegal - Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin

Blood Water Paint - Joy McCullough

I Am Still Alive - Kate Alice Marshall

Front Desk - Kelly Yang

Children of Blood and Bone - Toni Adeyemi

Dry - Neal Shusterman

Me And Marvin Gardens - A.S. King

Solo & Swing - Kwame Alexander

Educated: A Memoir - Tara Westover

Becoming - Michelle Obama

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Non-Fiction Wednesday - Women's Early Rules

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

           This is not a non-fiction story, but a story for younger children to help them begin to understand the rules made for girls and women long ago of things they could not do. It will inspire good conversations and a desire to learn more! Backmatter added will help that journey. We've heard about those things allowed only for men and boys, still sadly happening today. This time, it's bicycle riding and the terrible things that could happen when girls (or women) rode this new, wonderful invention. 
          In the story, Louisa Belinda Bellflower, a young girl wants badly to ride her brother's bicycle, no matter that she might get "bicycle face". The story shares that is because "girls aren't strong enough to balance, that your eyes will bulge, and your jaw will close up from the strain of trying--maybe FOREVER." Belinda flings off her skirt, puts on her brother's pants and asks him to teach her to ride! One other great thing about the book is the never-give-up attitude shown by Belinda. She falls, then falls again, but keeps getting back on until she is riding! Her eyes did bulge, her mouth did widen, into a "gigantic, joyous smile"!
         Larissa Theule adds extra information at the back, "About Bicycle Face" and the warnings about women riding along with the dangers of not only "bicycle face", but "bicycle leg" and "bicycle hump". Nevertheless, women and girls rode, called Wheelwomen and new fashions were devised as well. There is also a page explaining the bicycle influence on the women's right-to-vote movement.
        This quote by Susan B. Anthony is found at the beginning: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman riding by on a wheel."     
        Kelsey Garrity-Riley's colorful illustrations not only show Belinda's story and joy in her riding but tell a second story of the historical background with her mother working with other suffragettes in the right-to-vote movement. It ends with the mother sewing herself a pair of bloomers and both she and her daughter ready to ride! 
        In a personal family story, I was told that my grandmother caused quite a stir when she rode her horse through the little town where she had gone to live with her new husband. She rode astride wearing riding pants! I'm glad times have changed, am sorry women are still fighting for power to make their own decisions.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Reading - A Range of Wonderful Books

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

Yesterday I celebrated Grandparents Day with five wonderful picture books. When you have time, be sure to check them out HERE!

As brutal and terrifying as the original, perhaps more so with the images already there by Renee Nault. It is a message needed, for daughters and granddaughters, the future. It does include less narrative information so if you haven't read the original, you may miss some important points.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the advanced copy of these next three!

         Randy Cecil has written another brief chapter book (with four Acts) for early readers, this time about a little mouse named Douglas and a young girl names Iris Espinosa. Iris loves going to movies, buys popcorn each time from a vendor before the movie, but this time didn't expect to bring a mouse home in her sweater's pocket. It's easy to hear giggles as sweet Iris is thrilled to find the mouse, not alarmed at all. Loving adventure movies, she names him after her favorite actor, Douglas Fairbanks. I think kids may need to look that name up, but it is cute to see that not only does she give him a name, but a vest from one of her dolls. How the adventure continues makes an imaginative story that moves quickly, including a woman from the theater, Iris' older sister and boyfriend, and a cat with six toes. The hijinks, scary escapes and, thank goodness, satisfying ending along with Cecil's detailed illustrations that fill most of the page will be fun for beginning readers. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrating Grandparents Day

Hurrah, it's a day for celebrating. Happy Grandparent's Day!

I have a heap of books to share this day, all newly published, all thanks to Candlewick Press! 

            There may be important moments in one's life, high school and/or college graduations, getting one's driver's license, first job, perhaps marriage, and on. After becoming a parent which is on a list all its own of best things comes becoming a grandparent. That is the phase I'm in in my life. It is a special, special thing. I also must say that my own memories of being with grandparents are wonderful, too. (I had good mentors!)

My three grandchildren in a scene at the beach t
his past June. Yikes!
Is that a sea monster about to attack?

            In bright and friendly watercolor and collage, Joowon Oh creates a loving picture book about one special day a week when Papa welcomes his granddaughter for her weekly visit. Deliberately going to bed early to prepare, stopping by an arts and craft store for supplies, plus two orders of dumplings to go, he is ready for that "run-for-a-hug" seen on the book's cover. My granddaughters live near and each has a special "grandma" day with me and like this story, I prepare according to specific "likes". It only takes a few words and a satisfying play to show the love the two in this story have for each other. Papa says: "I got us some dumplings for lunch." His granddaughter says, "Yay! I love dumplings!" And so their time goes, eating and creating and playing together, a "grandparent" kind of day!

       Henry wants to play yet his Grandpa keeps gardening, seems not to hear when Henry asks questions in this story by Wendy Meddour. His mother says "Give him time" and we readers realize that something is not quite the same anymore. A favorite game is sharing favorite "top threes" which Grandpa finally answers with his top three sandwiches after Henry shares his own. Sweet Henry runs off to make Grandpa's favorites, pulling Grandpa into their special "game", which later includes "top three jellyfish" while eating those sandwiches at the pond. The story's heart is revealed when Henry asks about Grandpa's top three grannies. Grandpa answers with love as we realize his favorite granny is gone. While this may be a surprise to children reading, it is a way to talk about grieving and ways that might help when finally, finally we talk about missing loved ones. Soft watercolors by Daniel Egneus include the varied emotions of the story as Henry and his Grandpa smile over their 'top threes', even when they speak of those grannies. 

         In every culture, grandmas and grandchildren share a very special bond. This time Mina Javaherbin lets a young girl share all the wonderful things she shares with her grandma, up early for prayers, going to the Mosque together, playing under a table draped with all her grandma's chadors, and visiting best friends that include one for both. The mix of Iranian and Islamic traditions of the grandma and the Christian traditions of her best friend show the loving ways that connect all of us. It is full of things in this culture that connect to all cultures, eating, playing and praying together. Lindsey Yankey's weaving of parts of Iranian culture in her illustrations adds to the story, but the love between the grandmother and granddaughter is universal. There is a sweet note at the back from the author.

          You will recognize this cumulative tale, made new by Melanie Heuiser Hill through sharing the diversity included in all the ways families and neighbors share the bounty "around the table that Granddad built". Not only do they share the glasses from Mom's and Dad's wedding, but the silverware from Dad's grandma and the napkins sewn by Mom. The tale diverts from the continuing tale when food is introduced, a wonderful variety of food that is set on that table. There's garden squash and 'beans, overflowing', to 'toasty tamales' and rice pudding. There are the pies, too, of course. It's a delightful gathering full of happiness shown with Jaime Kim's child-like acrylic and crayon drawings.

                 Perhaps we all have a "yesterday" we would love to return to. Alison Jay's story starts at the beginning with this boy who tells his wishes and uses as many scientific ideas as possible to time travel back to "yesterday" which in his mind was "the best day". He calculates the speeds he must travel, tries to find a 'super hypersonic rocket' or a black hole, but with no luck. Jay's illustrations show ice cream and kite-flying, plus whimsically exaggerated pictures of dinosaur and airplane rides along with a magical merry-go-round. Granddad and a dog are along for that wonderful day. Granddad is asked for help, but instead he shows this boy that there are many beautiful memories of "yesterday". They look through a scrapbook and gorgeous pages of some of his memories like 'dancing by moonlight with the love of his life', or climbing high "to the top of a snow-capped mountain".  The best thing, however, Granddad says, is that every day can be filled with a new adventure, making today a best day. It's a wonderful book to share with children to consider the good things about being present, right now, today!


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Poetry Friday - Goodbyes

          This first Friday of September, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong hosts this Poetry Friday at their blog, Poetry for Children. Thanks, Sylvia and Janet! I have also been watching the hurricane news, wishing a good outcome for all those in this community. It is heart-breaking to see the news of those in the Bahamas. 

          This past Wednesday it was six years since my husband, Arvie, left us. I still want to tell him things, ask him questions, be with him. My life is as good as I can make it, but I've never stopped missing him. I, with Arvie, have raised children of which I am so proud, who have chosen loving spouses whom I love being part of our family. And many of you know because of them, I have three special grandchildren. 
         Time is fleeting. We all know that. Thoreau touches me with this quote: "“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.” ~ “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Walden 
          Here's a poem I originally wrote for Carter, my oldest grandchild, now in his first year at college. I've changed it a bit to include the grand-girls, too, now ten and eight. I've written more than one poem about them, call them "goodbye" poems, trying to capture them at certain ages before that time flies away!
         When I am with them all, I wish Arvie could see the children growing up, and have fun with them as I know he would have if he were still here. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather.

at the beach - June 2019
         Sometimes Goodbyes

Oops, it’s time. I must depart
     from these kids who stole my heart.
     Now, they’re looking very tall;
     some never play with toys at all.
     I remember they used to be
     the ones who sat and read with me,
     and held my hand as we walked along
     and listened while I sang them songs.
     I also know though nearly grown,
      they’re still the little kids I’ve known.

Linda Baie ©

Monday, September 2, 2019

It's Monday - Great Books to Share

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

       I was lucky to get this book just out in August here in the US, will be sure to purchase it for my ten-year-old granddaughter. Onjali Q. Rauf manages to give her storyteller a true voice of an "almost" ten-year-old, sharing her life outside and inside school. She has friends and those she does not like, especially the bullies (teachers included). She takes care of herself but keeps her questions ready to ask her librarian mother, one she counts on to not say, "Wait 'till you're older." The questions keep coming when a new boy arrives and sits in the chair "at the back of the class". With her friends, she decides that having one more to the group would be great, thus begins the journey to learn about Ahmet who turns out to become a Syrian refugee, who plays soccer really well, but whose parents are missing. That journey turns into a quest where adventures await to help them re-unite, a quest that turns into something the kids never thought would happen. This girl stays strong to her values, wanting to be a 'best' friend who stays and helps, who believes "It would be too boring if everyone was exactly the same as each other." There are a few sketches sprinkled throughout that add to the story, a wonderful one to be read aloud and discussed in the classroom.
      Special quote: "And whenever we did it together, our whispers made us sound like an ocean."

          The boundless love of a pet holds NO boundaries. As Truman, a tiny tortoise realizes that his dear Sarah has been gone so, so very long, he sets out to find her. A surprise awaits, but it doesn't take away the journey he accomplishes. Jean Reidy's story makes a smile all the way through as I rooted for Truman's success. Lucy Ruth Cummins' illustrations beautifully show the tortoise view of things, more smiles for this sweet and charming story.

             It's a ride (and a book) NOT to be missed, like life, when we all work together, everything works better, shown in this story by Richard T. Morris. I can't imagine not loving this book, and the joyous illustrations by LeUyen Pham. (I thought I had read this one, must have mixed it up with another bear book, but now I'm so happy that I have it!)