Monday, February 22, 2021

It's Monday - Great Reading Again!

   

         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! 

      If you have been faced with terrible extreme weather and no heat, I hope things are better for you! Every week seems to bring new challenges to overcome. The weather itself seems to be better but I know the challenges for repair remain. 




        It's been a long time since I read a book in about a day and since I cried more than once while reading. The evacuee stories of World War II fascinate me, from the heartbreak of giving up your children for their safety plus there are the stories of those sending their children from the German-occupied countries totally to the unknown.
         There are stories of those who welcomed them and those who were not so welcoming and this is one of them, reminding me of other poignant books I've loved like The War That Saved My Life and its sequel by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian. It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren't terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, thus their solicitor sends them off to the country as evacuees, hoping to find a permanent family they can love. 
           The ups and downs of these times like children who must go to school in the summer, to give their new families a break, the villages who did offer to take so many in, sometimes revealing themselves to be the kind or the cruel. The nuances of Kate Rebus's descriptions of these characters show such empathy, layers of knowing not everyone is exactly what one assumes. And one might look behind the obvious to see that each person may have some needs (like love) as much as these children do.
            Like me, you won't be able to stop reading, to discover what indeed might happen to these three very different, but loyal to each other, children. The writing holds a British flavor and the story is filled with good books, the ones the children read during the story. There's a list at the end! Kate's writing feels formal in a delightful kind of way. Describing the children finally in a very warm bed, she writes: "There they lay, mismatched cutlery in a drawer". I did love the story!
                         
                                                                          
           I feel pretty lucky that I managed to get this new and wonderful book from my library so fast! It cannot be renewed so that means others want it, too, lots of holds! It's hard to know how to review this poignant, middle-grade book about a young Indian girl, Reha, who tells her own story. How much should I share? Rajani LaRocca has crafted a growing-up story of a girl torn between two cultures, her American one, and all the family her parents left behind in India to come to America. She wants to be like her friends; her mother and father feel too strict and want her only to follow what seems to her like old-country rules. The first person structure shows the feelings right up front, from feelings about good friends and who they are, feelings about boys and what her parents want, perhaps above all, love for her parents despite the conflict. Weaving a story with all those parts mirrors teen lives everywhere and adding to the mix of being "different" becomes a story readers will love, saying, "Yes, that's me!" There is more to the plot I won't reveal, but it is special.                                                        

Thanks to Candlewick Press for these next two special books for young readers!


         A story told by Hope Lim shows a young girl riding to school with her dad, gleefully shouting "Caw, caw". She is a bird every day, gleeful in the beautiful scenery illustrated by Hyewon Yum. Riding by the ocean, waving and smiling to others, this girl continues every day until she sees an older woman walking, unsmiling, carrying a bag. The girl stops her smiles and caws and waves and this continues every day when the old woman appears. What happens when they're late one day shows that everything is not always what we think. The surprising ending is a happy one when the little girl and this older woman discover they have a mutual love. This can be a good conversation with young readers for so many misunderstandings.



        Rachel Stubbs creates her own loving story of all the things a grandfather can give his grandchild, including a red hat. Using a limited color palette, illustrations show the delight of a loving relationship and all those things that happen or are coming, and with that red hat. Grandpa seems to be telling the story, sharing that the hat can "keep you warm and dry" while showing the two out in the rain and avoiding puddles. In a humorous double-page spread in another storm, "help you stand out in a crowd" as everything is grey and bleak, that red hat is the only brightness! It "covers fears" shows the hat as a tent, with the two shadows sharing what must be a serious talk. Grandpa wishes the best of life in so many things to his grandchild, including one red hat! It's a really loving story!

From the library!
                  From the wonderful team that brought happiness in their books Last Stop on Market Street and Carmela Full of Wishes comes Milo, on a subway trip with his sister, imagining the people on the train and parts of their lives. He has a sketch book and a vivid imagination. There's a whiskered man, a boy in a suit, a wedding-dressed woman, others, too. Milo's sister (older) is playing a game on her phone while Milo sketches stories for the people. There is an epiphany at the end, of Milo's and of mine. Christian Robinson's mixed-media illustrations are wonderful and his creations for Milo's drawings, well, they're like a young child's, crayon-drawn with some detail that shows the stories in his head. We really cannot always know all the life by looking at faces, can we? You'll love Milo and his sister, as Matt de la Pena shows in his story. they're both "shook-up sodas". 


       You may have read of the Kindertransport, but not of Nicholas Winton, called Nicky, who visited Prague in 1938 where he discovered Jewish refugees from the recent take-over of the Sudetenland and the recent tragic Kristallnacht. He did not hesitate but went to work organizing paperwork (legal and illegal) and eight trains to transport and rescue 669 children, sending them to Great Britain. Veruška “Vera” Diamantova was a 10-year-old Jewish girl whose parents made the wrenching decision to send her away on one of those trains. After the war, Nicky never spoke of it and put the papers in his attic. His wife found those papers fifty years later and a TV show reunited Nicky and surviving children. Peter Sis is Czech-born, tells the story in his incredible dream-like illustrations accompanied by this story. He color-codes the pages: blue for Nicky, gold for Vera, and gray for the war scenes. Both the goodness of Nicky's quiet action and the tragedy that caused his acts can become a beginning of learning about this sad time in history. 
 A new story from the terrible days of the Holocaust is one you don't want to miss.
 
     
        From page to page in an enticing way, Jason Chin takes us all on a journey to help everyone understand our place in the universe. He makes it an easy journey, starting with those four kids on the cover, "about five times as tall as this book, but only half as tall as . . ."
         When turning the page, it's an ostrich! Page by page, comparisons happen in the most interesting ways with small tidbits of information like explaining an inch, a foot, and a mile. This journey is long, all the way through the tallest mountain, Mt. Everest, to a trip to the moon, our Milky Way Galaxy, far far away! It's both beautiful and a TREMENDOUS learning trip with Jason's illuminating illustrations aiding the comparisons. For example, on one double-page spread, there are trees side by side, ending with the tallest, a redwood tree. But even taller, on the right, are four well-known buildings, from the Eiffel Tower to the "coming' Jeddah Tower. Mount Everest tops them all, however, then we fly into space! There's good information added at the back plus notes from the author/illustrator and added resources. This would be a special book for all kinds of studies of comparisons and of the universe. 


          An old book found at the used bookstore where I work. It's brief and told by Muir about an adventure with a dog when traveling to Alaska to explore a newly-found glacier. For older teens, those who love nature writing.

What's Next: I have an arc of Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz and purchased The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah from my favorite Indy.
       
Wishing you all a good week reading!

18 comments:

  1. A post of delights, Linda! I read mostly picture books, but I just put A Place to Hang the Moon on reserve, thanks to your recommendation. I loved The War That Saved.... I also put several of the pbs you mentioned on reserve. You know, I adore Jason Chin's books, and this one seems right up my alley--but it actually didn't connect with me. I can see how beautifully it's done, but something about it just...didn't work for me. Something about trying to maybe do too much on every spread? I loved the images, but I think I wanted less text in order to feel the awe and soak up the progression of sizes...

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    1. I understand about the Chin, book, perhaps it will better suit older readers than the very young ones. I enjoyed the all-encompassing approach, but you know we're all different, Laura. I hope you like A Place to Hang the Moon. I found it so charming. Thanks!

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  2. I'm adding A Place to Hang the Moon to my TBR. It sounds like my cup of tea! Have a great reading week!

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  3. I adored A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON. Kate's writing shows such love of books, I would think every librarian would want to order it. And there are so many quotable lines!

    Also, I really need to read RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE, mainly because it's a novel in verse!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne, I hope you enjoy Red, White, and Whole for its lovely story of a child of immigrants. Yes, A Place to Hang the Moon is wonderful.

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  4. There is a lot to Red, White, and Whole, right? I thought it was very well done.
    I just ordered Milo. I've been on hold for it for a long time and I finally gave up and just ordered it!!
    I was able to use my teacher card at the library my district is in to put a hold on A Place to Hang the Moon. I hope it comes in soon!
    Happy reading week!

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    1. Yes, indeed, Red, White, and Whole is many-layered in numerous ways. I began to love each character in the story. Happy to hear your success with getting A Place to Hang the Moon, hope it does come soon! Thanks, Michele!

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  5. I just added quite a few books to my TBR where I already had Red, White and Whole. I just read Your Place in the Universe and was stunned. Loved it. Thanks as always!

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    1. You're welcome, Crystal, it's great on Monday to trade titles, always a joy.

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  6. I'll be looking forward to both My Red Hat and I Am a Bird. I've been hunting for a local copy of Your Place in the Universe without luck. I've really enjoyed Jason Chin's work in the past and this looks just wonderful! I've been watching interviews with Nicholas Winton and I cannot WAIT to read Nicky & Vera. In fact, this is one I should probably buy. Thank you for sharing more about it, Linda!

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    1. Those two picture books are darling stories, Shaye. I hope you can read them soon. I will look for those interviews, had no idea they were available. When you can, enjoy Your Place in the Universe & Nicky & Vera!
      Thanks!

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  7. Wow—I didn't realize A Place to Hang the Moon was so emotionally powerful, even though I've read a lot of reviews of it. Red, White and Whole sounds great as well—I had a copy of Rajani LaRocca's first book, but I think I got rid of it, so I haven't actually read anything by her yet. The picture books also look wonderful! Thanks for the wonderful post, as always!

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    1. You're welcome, enjoy what you can find! Each one is special in its own unique way!

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  8. Place to Hang the Moon was particularly good. It made me think of really good BBC WWII dramas-- I could see the children in those multicolored, hand knit vests! I liked Red, White, and Whole, but novels in verse don't do well with my students. They always want more details. I may order it anyway.

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  9. If A Place to Hang the Moon was not already on my list, it sure would be after this review. It reminded me to check my library and I am very happy that it is finally on order, and I am first in line.
    Thanks for the rest of these too. Nicky And Vera is another one that the library has on order.
    I loved Your Place in the Universe too.

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  10. I put Milo on hold at the library and it came in last week, but when I went to pick it up the library was closed. I hope to be able to get it this week.

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  11. Thanks, all, enjoy those books!

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