Monday, September 27, 2021

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! 

               Somehow this book, out the end of September, feels a challenge to review because I don't want to take away any of your excitement of discovery as you read this newest incredible tale by Kate Dicamillo with just-right illustrations by Sophie Blackall. Would you mind if I told you it is a medieval tale, with the mystery of powerful, greedy kings (and an even greedier counselor)? Would you like that one of the intriguing characters is a straight-arrow goat? She always does the right thing and has the head to help her do that. Another is a monk who continues to do good despite memories of his father deeming him a coward. Also, you'll meet a young boy, all alone, grieving his murdered parents but as willing to be helpful, especially for Beatryce, as a hero can be. There is still another king, one who long ago threw his crown in the water and walked out. And, of course, there is Beatryce and her story of a mermaid. You may find that she is not the only star in this book, yet love for her shines throughout, from me, too. It's a lovely and loving tale.
         Thanks to Candlewick Press for this advanced copy!

        When my daughter was young, she was convinced all her special stuffed animals got together at night and played. She would have loved this new 'first' book in a series about toys that can be borrowed at a library. Ivy, the main character, used to be the librarian Anne's special doll growing up. When Anne found Ivy who had been stored in a box, she took her to be with those others at the library. Ivy definitely would rather have gone home to be Anne's best friend again, but as she gets to know the other toys, each with their own personalities, and then she gets "borrowed", adventure awaits. It's quite a fun 'pretend' story, lovingly told by Cynthia Lord and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin.     
            Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!

from my #MustReadin2021 list
          Eleven-year-old Mary Lambert tells this story, written by Ann Clare LaZotte, herself deaf. LaZotte came by this path as she followed the history of a community on Martha's Vineyard in the early 1800s where both the deaf and hearing community signed. It simply was the way to communicate. It was easy to forget who was deaf and who could hear. The many layers LaZotte includes in Mary's story feel like many lives today, too. There is grief for her brother who died while saving her as they walked together one day. There are tensions among the people who are English, Black, Irish, and Wampanoag. Mary struggles to understand that others do not see them all as equal citizens. And she learns how others in the outside world feel about those who are deaf when a young scientist arrives with his own ideas of why there are so many deaf people who live on this island. LaZotte includes some of those early, and incorrect, theories and the kidnapping of a subject, Mary herself, raises the tension very high. It's quite amazing to think that a child can be taken by ship and sailed days away, this time to Boston, to be locked away for research. Every day thereafter felt a need to hold my breath.  It seems important to share that this story gave me new knowledge about the lives of deaf people. There is also an afterword full of information that connects to the novel, like the various kinds of sign language. It's a wonderful book!
                 FYI - This is the winner of the 2021 Schneider Family Book Award
             This is Gloria Amescua's first picture book and what a life story she has chosen to write for readers! And how marvelous that her story of Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua, is inspirational, because of this special life and because Duncan Tontiuh has illustrated it. I love that he's held to his unique way of illustrating, paying tribute to ancient codexes and their drawings: people and animals are always drawn in profile and their entire bodies are usually shown. After holding true to those "rules", he manages to place enormous emotion in the pages. 
            Lux was a young girl of the Nuhua (what the Aztecs called themselves), growing up while listening to the great stories of her people told by elders, told from the stories they heard from their own grandfathers, passed down from those grandfathers' grandfathers. "She heard their xochicuicatl, their flower-song." She was curious, wished that she could go to school, then all of a sudden the Mexican government said she could, but they wanted these natives to forget their language, their stories. Luz did not. She kept her secret wish to become a teacher, to tell those stories, and keep the language. When the Mexican Revolution came to her town, her father (all the men) was killed and her mother, Luz, and other siblings fled to Mexico City.          
            Luz earned desperately needed money by modeling for some of the most illustrious artists of the time. There is much more about this amazing woman, keeping those stories alive. She applied to be a teacher but was turned down, then ended up with a professor who spent hours recording her stories. Then, he asked her to teach with him at the college of Mexico City. Her journey continued and Amescua tells all the rest!
              Added at the back are the author's and illustrator's notes, a glossary, a timeline, and a bibliography. It's an extraordinary book!

 I loved this book and wanted to show a favorite double-page spread of Luz weaving the stories 'into her heart'. These flowers fill the inside covers, too.

           It feels to me that Marie Dorléans has written a book for all of us that's a special challenge, to go on your own "night walk" and see what happens as you walk. The kids are awakened very early, Mom says, "so we can get there on time". Page by beautiful night-time pages, anticipation grows. While there's much to experience like honeysuckle smells, crickets chirping, the sleeping village with a house at the end with "one eye open" (a light in the window), they stop only briefly. They are on their way, but where? It is a pleasure to read, to view, and to discover that ending. 
           There is so-o-o much not told in this intriguing book by Kersten Hamilton and illustrated by Jamie Kim with action-paced, double-page spreads following the years and years of history from wolves to dogs. that it feels like "first" knowledge. It pulls one in beautifully, so now you know this, time to research more!  In the beginning, as in each era shown, a girl meets a pup (see that cover) and they chase and sometimes hunt "and they both were very brave". The text changes slightly but it follows along until "thousands and thousands of years went by". There is terrific back matter, too! My students and I studied this topic once, integrating it into human and animal evolution. Each chose a dog breed and research back and back, from wolf to today. It was fascinating to learn about.  

        Thanks, Cheriee, for recommending this book. I know that both Canada and the U.S. have done this terrible thing to Native Americans. It's an "Own Voices" book by Jodie Callaghan who has an uncle tell his sad story to his niece as she sees him on her way to school. He's sitting at the ruins of the old railway station, long gone, and the tracks themselves are broken, ties rotting. He tells of being sent with his siblings to the train and how they and all the village children were taken to a residential school, being forced to wear different clothes with their hair cut, English only spoken, often abused. It's a brief story, telling those few things, perhaps meant to be the opening of knowing about this sad history. The niece is sweetly sympathetic; they both cry. He waits there because he wants to remember all he can, for everyone. If not him, who? Illustrations by Georgia Lesley are soft and tender. There is a small glossary at the back. Jodie is a Mi'gmaq woman from the Listuguj First Nation in Gespegewa'gi near Quebec.

Older book from the bookstore: Eric Carle has invited “friends” (illustrators) to share their favorite animals, in words and of course in pictures too. It is a wonderful book to read and see, filled with double-spread pages for the study of a favorite, or for imagining one’s own favorite animal. Here's my full review on Goodreads! Sadly, Eric Carle died in May this year. Happily, his work will always be with us.
What's Next: I've started Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City by Christian McKay Heidicker. I loved the first one!


  1. Wow! I’m adding to my TBR List. Lord’s new series sounds charming and I do love the Carle book! But I love all of Carle’s work.

  2. Show Me a Sign sounds like an insightful book.

  3. I hadn't heard of Child of the Flower-song People. I just added it to my TBR. I love Duncan Tonatiuh's illustrations.

  4. I love your review of The Beatryce Prophecy. I admit I often feel the need to skim over friends' reviews so that nothing is spoiled, but I like that you gave enough detail to entice those of us who haven't yet read it! I really enjoyed Show Me a Sign and didn't discover, until today, that it has a sequel. So I purchased it today - hope to get to it in October. And I may have to just buy a copy of The Night Walk. Have you, by chance, read Night Walk by Sara O'Leary? Looks like these might be great companion reads! Thanks for the shares, Linda!

  5. Thanks to everyone. I'm glad you found some intriguing books that you love. That Book Buddies book is darling and Show Me A Sign is a learning experience as well as an adventure, plus, yes, it does have a sequel. No, Shaye, I haven't read that 'other' Night Walk, but just bookmarked it. So many books to love!

  6. Lots of really great books for me here too, particularly Show Me A Sign, Book Buddies, Beatryce Prophecy and The Train as well. Thanks for sharing so many great books.

  7. Great job, Linda. I miss your post on Poetry Friday this week.

  8. Hope everything's OK, Linda! Missing you in the blogosphere!

  9. I'm fine, Carol & Ruth. You are wonderful to ask. My laptop was in the shop for a tune-up (back yesterday) so it was too much to try to do a post on the iPad or phone. Then, an emergency at the bookstore cinched my decision to skip. Thank you both!

    1. I'm looking forward to your new posting when the time is right, Linda. Have a wonderful week.


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