Monday, February 21, 2022

Monday Reading - Add to the Stack!

   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! 

Have you seen the Cybil's winners? You can find them here!

                   Happy Reading

Still reading, but it's good!

       I nearly didn't share this title page from Mel Fell, but there are even more surprises than orientation inside.
     Young Mel, a kingfisher, decides it's her day to learn to fly. What happens next, with the whole community there cheering and helping, will make you smile at her flighty adventure down and worry at the end! Corey R. Tabor writes and illustrates this book of nervous anticipation and happy relief in colorful pastel illustrations with lots of white space. His focus on an inspiring story about challenges and courage is both inspiring and fun. He adds a brief paragraph about kingfishers that shows the science behind the story. Don't miss this one!

      Here is Ben Shahn, his amazing life presented to us from his shtetl in Lithuania to the immigration to America and beyond. Cynthia Levinson's story starts with his words, "The first thing I can remember," Ben said, "I drew." There was little paper available so he drew in the margins of his book of Bible stories. Even then he became angry at some of the injustices in those stories. Showing the ups and downs of his artistic yearning, like being pulled from school at fourteen to make money for his family, did not stop him. He apprenticed to a lithographer, practiced and practiced the letters, letters he did not know well, but soon his signs were seen everywhere. He was meticulous in the work. Through his learning, his art passion grew and he went to art school at night. Later, becoming so admired, he was asked by President Roosevelt. to travel the country finding ways to show the terrible needs during the Depression. (I am reminded of the story of Lewis Hine - The Traveling Camera.) There is so much to enjoy about this story of someone who helped so many while immersed in his passion, art. Evan Turk's illustrations show Shahn's life in intriguing ways, filling the pages with a plethora of scenes and faces filled with emotional highs and lows within Shahn's life. There is an author's note, an illustrator's note, and a timeline in the backmatter. It is another story about someone to know and admire in our history.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books!

        An older man loves the squirrels, puts some peanuts in the top of his hat every day, sits quietly as they come to greet him and have a snack. One day, reaching for the hat after the visit, he finds a surprise, a tiny cat. What happens after that shows lots of love though not very much trust as the man and the cat navigate their relationship. Then, it all stops for both. How a good ending happens, I'll leave for readers to discover. Eve Coy illustrates Troy Wilson's story inspired by his own grandfather in a lovely range of bright colors. I'd love to read this to a group to hear the discussion! 

         Saturday, February 18th, was the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which began the forced internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans. In time for one story of life in those camps, Maggie Tokuda-Hall tells this story based on her own grandparents' life. In beautiful full color, Yas Imamura illustrates the story of Tama and George Tokuda. Tama was the librarian and at first couldn't figure out how George could read so many books, so fast! He came in and took out a stack of books every day, a big smile on his face. He brightened her days in this internment camp, Minidoka. From the text: "Although each camp was different, they were all the same. Uncomfortable and unjust." and "Whole families shared single rooms. No one had any privacy." The relationship grew as readers will see, despite the terrible circumstances. The story shows hope and will offer readers a glimpse into this time for many American citizens. Tokuda-Hall's Author's Note shares the stark realities that even today, little has changed. It is a book for deep discussion and dialog about making changes in our world. There is a photo of Tama and George at the back.

           At a certain time, but each child differs, children feel the itch to wander and explore by themselves. Robie H. Harris tells a story about this Daddy and his young girl who wishes to go "Somewhere". He lets her go, and clever illustrations of this gorgeous garden by Armando Mariño show he's really not as far away as she believes. She finds some treasures like a shiny peso and a big green leaf and suddenly wants to show him. There's just a bit of tension until she finds her way, back to Daddy! He asks where she's been. I imagine readers will know the answer is "Somewhere". There's more, a book of wanting to grow up, maybe yet still needing some comfort? 

What's Happening: Yikes, still reading Too Bright To See, Kyle Lukoff. I am doing too many things!


  1. Mel Fell was such a fun reading experience, indeed.

    1. Well, you know I agree. I loved it! Thanks, Earl

  2. My students loved Mel Fell. Such a fun book to read aloud to a class.

    1. Yes, terrific. I'm glad to know it was fun to read in class, not surprised. Thanks, Beth!


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