Monday, December 14, 2020

It's Monday! Don't Miss These Books!

    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.  

      I am grateful to Cheriee Weichel for sharing about Bloom. Thank you! I don't know how I missed it earlier, but I got it at my favorite Indie and have now read it, now need number two -- fast! I read and loved Oppel's Nest, actually found it somewhat creepier than this Bloom. However, this new book, a series, will make you look at spring plants in quite a different way, I suspect. Three young adults are linked in various ways, adults actually listen to them, parents as well, and everyone shows thoughtful, caring ways. And it all has to do with aliens. In some action-packed scenes, I felt a little squirmy, imagining how things could BE if some of this was true. You must notice I'm not sharing very much. I want you to read this book if you're a big fan of science fiction for the middle grades and I don't want to give anything away.

          Gorgeous cut-paper collage makes this new book "sing" along with poetry in what is a new adaptation of the Ila-speaking people of Zambia. Ashley Bryan says that the scissors shown in the endpapers were his mother's, what he now uses. How all birds have a "touch" of black after envying the most beautiful (in their eyes) - Blackbird! This would be awesome to read aloud with a group and help them learn the words, at least some of them: "Blackbird stirred with a stick in his wing and said: "We'll see the difference a touch of black can make. But remember, whatever I do, I'll be me and you'll be you." It's also a celebration of "Black is beautiful".
          This was published in 2003 but it still took me a long time to get it from the library because of so many holds. 

          Finally, I have this poignant, uplifting, wordless story of Thao Lam and her family fleeing Viet Nam in the midst of the terrible war's aftermath when the Viet Cong took charge. The extraordinary papercraft from Thao Lam lies in a series of frames, leaning on the story told by her mother of the ants that saved them, the ants that survived the attacks from the gulls, terrible storms, and terrifying waves, in a paper boat. These are Lam's people (she was two), fleeing in metaphoric paper boats, many surviving the journey only to arrive in the refugee camps. Those camps, too, were lessons in survival, yet finally, they settle as refugees in a city, an image showing a table laden with food, and one ant. You'll need to read more about these ants in Thao Lam's letter explaining the connection told by her mother. Everyone needs to read this story, then also remember those still trying so hard to better their lives in camps all over the world, including the United States.

        No matter the season's color, from spring to summer, autumn to winter, Dianne White celebrates numerous glowing colors, on green!  Front and back endcovers show one tree changing with the seasons, and the inside story, in rhyme, is lovely, celebrating seasonal colors and showing all those activities loved each part of the year, vibrantly illustrated by Felicita Salas. At each transition, Felicita Sala adds a lovely double-page spread of that season. What a lovely book to have on hand for all the year!

TWO BEAR BOOKS! I collect books with a bear as the main character and love these new ones!

       When Bird migrates, Bear's sadness and reluctance to prepare for hibernation takes an unexpected turn, according to story-teller David Gauthier. Bear takes off to visit Bird, to try to understand why the southern move every year when winter arrives. Through dark and scary woods, finding shelter with an owl and a stag 
from two armies at war, partying with a variety of animals on a squirrel's 100th birthday, and being rescued from a fisherman's net by a mermaid, the adventures are told in letters to friend Bird, a kind of travelogue. There is so much more when viewing Marie Gaudry's illustrations, filled with Bear's travel path, but revealing some hidden surprises when one looks closer, like faces in cliff 'faces' and whales in ocean waves. It is a loving story of strong friendship, perseverance, animals helping animals in any way possible plus a surprising (and satisfying) end.
         I'd love to use this book as a mentor text for pretending to travel, writing a letter about it, then illustrating. Whether truth or fiction, it would be fun!

            There is nothing sweeter than the feeling of a small child anticipating something and that feeling comes through with Alice B. McGinty's brief words in this story of Small Bear and his Mama getting ready for hibernation and that final bedtime story. McGinty's poetic story carries Small Bear through the day gathering sprigs of spruce to warm his coming bed, taking a last bath in the river so he would be clean for the long sleep, and having a final feast of acorns. All along the way, he couldn't waste any time, "no dilly, no dally", in order to have time for his story. The words are carried with lovely illustrations by Richard Jones, including some collage, of Small Bear's outdoor life, including a fabulous vertical double-page spread. It's a super picture book, and Small Bear does get his story!

            I think I'm into sweet stories this week. Here's another one!

           A brother and his sister visit their grandmother every summer, joining a cousin Robert who is there a lot. He is portrayed as the one who doesn't quite think before he acts and when they are out riding the old bikes at Grandmother's house, they come across an old house. Thinking it abandoned, Robert throws a rock and breaks a window when an old man appears at that window. They think "ghost!" and race away. Robert leaves his bike. What happens then is the meeting of old Mr. Peterson whose house it was, learning his sense of humor (ah, that scary ghost), and all the wonderful things in his house. "Each one had a story." Kari Rust writes and illustrates in comic-book fashion, showing the details of special "old" things, like a "whirring projector", flowers pressed in scrapbooks, toys that moved without batteries, old photos. Most illustrations feel like old photos, too, when the house takes center stage. Otherwise, summer tones dominate.
         When the children discover the house abandoned all of a sudden, they do the kindest thing for Mr. Peterson, gather what memories they can although the house and all its belongings have been taken away. I loved the story, have my own "collected" memories from long ago family's homes. I imagine this would be a wonderful book to read and discuss with children who may have had their own adventures with older people, with grandparents.

Now reading: Still The Rose Code - so busy I just can't find time to read more. I'm trying to wrap up the Goodreads goal, too, am so close, but may not make it this year! I may try to get the next in this series by Oppel, and I have a big stack of others all ready to read!


  1. I'm so glad you loved Bloom as much as I did. My reading list has grown more as a result of your post today. Here in our grey snow skiffed world, Green on Green especially appeals to me.
    BTW, Thao Lam is a woman.

    1. Each one is wonderful, Cheriee, including Bloom! Thanks for the correction, I fixed it! Enjoy these holiday days!

  2. It's good to hear your thoughts on A Story for Small Bear because it's been in my library pile for a few weeks and I still need to read it. It sounds sweet.

    1. It is, Lisa, and a nice story to talk to young children about hibernation. Thanks & enjoy!

  3. I'm definitely going to read Paper Boat. I also enjoyed The House at the End of the Road. I really like multi-generational stories.

    1. I love them, too, Crystal & The House at the End of the Road is a special one. Hope you enjoy Paper Boat, too. Thanks!

  4. The House at the End of the Road sounds like a wonderful and touching story! Bloom and The Paper Boat sound great as well! Thanks for the wonderful post!

  5. I need to find Bloom. I had an ARC of it, just never got to it. But I've heard so many positives, it's one I just want to get the actual book to read!


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