Monday, July 5, 2021

Monday Reading - More "Don't-Miss" 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! 
       I'm taking the rest of July off, will continue reading and recording but need a break. I have some repairs to get done, including installing a new AC unit and a planned trip at the end of the month. Wishing you all a lovely July with summertime days exactly as you want them to be, including reading great books!

                When you meet young Etan and begin to read the story of his family, his community in the small town of Ship's Haven, outside of San Francisco, you readers will imagine his voice, soft and true. That is the voice 'inside', because right now, Etan is not speaking, not since his mother went to a hospital because she says, "she's sick on the inside". He only gets to visit once a month and early on tells about his talking with his mother, who listens "with her whole body". Though there is sadness, it's plain to see that Etan is loved by everyone, his father and grandfather, a neighbor whose dog he walks, a fruit seller, Mrs. Li, on Main Street. The street's description by Chris Baron via Etan made me want illustrations. I certainly did imagine them! It sounds warm and friendly, hugging Etan as he makes his way to his grandfather's jewelry shop. The town is made up of many who came across the sea years ago, keeping together from that past experience. The weaving of those townspeople's lives into the time of 1989 when everyone is talking about the World Series, A's versus Giants deepens the story, connecting reasons for certain actions, needed supports. 
          Thus, Etan continues his story, starting with a delivery for Mrs. Li where he meets Malia, the "creature", who peeks through the door's crack, Etan seeing only her eyes. When I read this book, I kept wishing to be reading it aloud to a class, wondering if they saw the sadness, but still continuing kindnesses Etan shows to everyone. There is something to learn in this story and I appreciate the way Chris Baron has shown that. There is that "magical imperfect" we might all understand and appreciate. 

          The amazing Albatross flies as much as 75,000 miles a year, only returning to land every two years to mate. Many species are at risk, per author Nicola Davies' note at the beginning of this story. But this is not "exactly" about the plight of the albatross but of young boy Javier who helps his father on their fishing boat. His mother has died and he misses her very much. The father is shown to be uncaring. He yells: "No slacking here!" Caught in a line, an albatross hangs injured which the boy rescues when given a chance to hide it away. Javier sneaks it home and cares for it through the kindnesses of shopkeepers and an uncle. When the father discovers it, he is furious, gives two weeks for recovery until the next sail, but on the last day sells it to a man who runs a fairground. Javier's frantic response to rescue brings him to the brink of disaster and a father who at last sees his child in a different light. Beautiful mixed-media illustrations of the people and setting by Salvatore Rubbino bring this poignant story to life 
     Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy.

         "So I'll just do what I can do" sing (shout?) all the forest animals starting with bear. It's a wiggly, foot-stomping, twirling group that celebrates the way they do in a happy, poetic parade. Joy-filled illustrations by Raissa Figueroa, as you see on the cover, fill each page until truly it becomes, The More The Merrier! 
          Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy.

         The lights are out in the museum and a small creature, a mouse named Dakota Crumb creeps out, a knapsack with her. Author Jamie Michalak tells that she's ready to begin her nightly adventure, searching for treasures and one specific one that has eluded her. There are so many surprises in this imaginary story that anyone reading will say "Wow!" at the end. It ends also with a challenge to start looking again, to find objects just as Dakota has done. I can imagine every child turning pages, checking of the "hidden" pieces. And they are hidden so cleverly in full-page illustrations by Kelly Murphy. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy.
         It's a heart-warming story, based on the true lives of João Pereira de Souza, a retired bricklayer and an oil-soaked penguin at Proveta Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Julie Abery has written in brief verse, telling of de Souza's discovery of a nearly-dead penguin covered in oil. He took it home, cleaned, and fed it until it was ready to swim back to wherever it needed to be. It wouldn't leave for a long time and de Souza named it DinDim, then it finally did. But, after leaving, DinDim returned, year after year, to spend time with this new friend. Pierre Pratt's brightly colored watercolors illustrate this sweet book.

I finished The Light In Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron but did not have time for a review. If you love books by Ruth Sepetys, you will like this one, too. It's based on the true lives of "Righteous Gentiles" Stefania and Helena Podgorska who hid Jews during the Holocaust. Each moment manages to be heart-stopping. Please read about it. It is listed as Young Adult.

What's Next! I have more than one stack! One book I really want to take lots of time to read is Finding The Mother Tree by Susanne Simard.


  1. I think I have a copy of The Light in Hidden Places. After reading your thoughts, I think I should go find it in my piles.

  2. What a wonderful set of books! The Magical Imperfect sounds like a beautiful MG novel, and I wrote it down on my list—the large cast of characters and setting sound quite lovely. And the picture books you mention sound great, especially Ride the Wind, which sounds quite powerful! I am so sorry that you're still dealing with AC issues, and I hope you enjoy your trip this month and your break from blogging! Thanks so much for the great post!

  3. Enjoy your break. I have had too many breaks during the school year to have one now. I am hoping to get back into the routine of doing this. I may go back to some of your older posts that I missed. I am adding The Magical Imperfect sometime in the fall to my library. I have Sharon Cameron's debut book, The Dark Unwinding, which I have never read, in a pile from my school library to read this summer. I hope I get to that one, it is a book that just seems to stay in these piles. The Light in Hidden Places looks good as well. Enjoy your trip as well!

  4. Thanks everyone for the great wishes. I certainly will keep on reading, but just need a break from posting. My AC is taking more time than I thought it would, hopefully it will be installed soon! And I have some prep for the trip, too! Happy reading to each of you!

  5. I absolutely loved The Magical Imperfect. It was a story that will stay in my heart. Thanks for sharing The Old Man and the Penguin. I agree it is similar to The Caiman so must see if my library has it available.


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