Monday, May 30, 2022

It's Monday - Know 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! 

       Sodsai Mudawan has worked her way onto a ship sailing toward the unknown—as long as no one discovers the truth about her past.
       She isn't who she pretends, being from the Fens, the poor and discounted, but changes her demeanor in order to grab work with the Mangkon Royal Navy's Master Mapmaker, Paiyoon. She's twelve and will have to do something else at thirteen when she won't receive a lineal, the gold bracelet that shows her ancestors, which will show her for what she really is. The early, then later underlying story of her hard life with her father, not only shows how tough she has learned to be, but how very smart she is. The further adventure on the sea brings more examples of this young girl, ferocious and kind, smart enough to survive yet also enough to admit her failings. I loved the story and that Christina Soontornvat manages an underlying theme of the sadness of colonization, too.        Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy! 

Tanya Landman tells her own creation story of the world of sky and earth, beautifully colored, yet the animals have remained dull and drab. It's time, the painter thinks, to bring color to those animals, too. Flamingos gain their pink, ladybugs receive some red with a few black dots, the rascally mandrill accidentally sits on the paintbox, and penguins receive their suits. Laura Carlin's inspiration comes from Landman's words and the animals add their unique colors to the world, all except one, the nightingale. Finding one dot of gold helps as you will learn after reading this very special story of our world and that dear nightingale.
     Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Reading - Lots To Share!

  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! 

          The books below in the collage are all picture books, some new, some older. If you're interested in my review, you can find it on Goodreads. I had lots of cleanup from our snowstorm this past weekend and have read these through the week. I've been trying to read (or re-read) books by Jerry Pinckney since he passed last October. John Henry is another gorgeous book and fun story. Enjoy what you can! Each one is terrific in its own unique way. 


       I remember this time, the youth-led rebellion that toppled Romania's CeauČ™escu because my own children were teens and amazed at the courage now shown in this new fiction story about one teen, 17-year-old Cristian, who keeps a secret notebook of his life, his family's life, his locked-down, and beleaguered country. Ruth Sepetys has crafted a poignant and poetic story laced with violence, heartbreak, and sorrowful betrayal. Teens are able to do so much more than the credit given to them. The poetry from Cristian, through Sepetys' apt words as Cristian observes bus passengers: "Wrinkled faces. Wrinkled clothing. Wrinkled spirits." It's a terrific new book from the world's history, made more relevant today because of our witnessing of Russia's war on Ukraine. There is a lot of added information at the back. 

Fantasy? Yes. Underlying truth? Yes. Learn and discover how very young Alex Green lives all her life of sadness and fierce love without failing to follow the rules, not follow the rules, all in a new kind of world after the dragoning of 1955 happened. Kelly Barnhill has written a story for girls, for women, to celebrate the inclusion all wish for, yet seems at times far away. 

         Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin aren't the answer to all challenges in life, but this book may be one answer to some of them. Chronicling that year of 2020 in one family brings it back to reality, the worries and gripes, the wishes to breathe. How did some families do it? You'll love how this one lived, cried, and made it! Teen challenges in their emotional wellness have lately been in the news. It might be helpful for many to read this book, alone, with a group, to consider the gift these Jasons have given in their beautiful book.

       Many poetry books by David Elliott illuminate some particular part of our natural world and this one is no different. Poems that tell about the fliers and swimmers and the plants which live with them are there, At The Pond. Where else could you read about a pollywog that David celebrates with "Golly! Frog!" or "a loving appellation: Old Harry./the Catfish That Won't Be Caught."? Amy Schimler-Safford's collaged illustrations add to a delightful visit for readers of the poems.  And added information about each pond native can be found at the back. It's another beautiful book.
           Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

What's Next: Finishing Falling Short by Ernest Cisneros and The Last Mapmaker by Christine Soontornvat.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Poetry Friday - Escape


  Poetry Friday is with Carmela Martino, at the blog, Teaching Authors here.   She's sharing about a new program for young ones named Wee Steamers by Heidi Bee Roemer and one of her own spring/outside poems about dandelions, bee favorites! Thanks, Carmela!  

     It's been a long week, hasn't it? Last weekend I had a joyful visit with my son and daughter-in-law, only to have some of it dampened by more news of senseless killings. I feel I must write, to never forget this loss and those who will miss them. I do find peace in the outdoors and wish that for all of you, too.

An etheree



days bring

on despair


news-watching becomes

my only addiction

fiddling for the cold hard facts

until I have no need for more 

I lean on that which offers solace 

nature-made, dependable, bud escape


 Linda Baie ©


Monday, May 9, 2022

Monday Reading - New Books to Share


 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! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       From Jo Knowles' earlier Where The Heart Is, we readers get to know Rachel's nine-year-old little sister, Ivy. The family has lost their farm and moved into a small apartment where Rachel and Ivy have to share a room. Ivy's parents and sister have sad feelings about the move but Ivy does not. For the first time, she has close friends, in the building! Ivy, with Alice and Lucas, become friends and have the most fun watching a weekly baking show. They take notes and try hard to create something yummy with the list of ingredients given. It's fun and Ivy loves it all, continues to say, and think, how she never wants to move, and feels determined to make the rest of her family think the new home is terrific. Knowles keeps things on a young level, showing so well Ivy's worries, and her sincere attempts to be a good friend. When Alice has some problems with her mom not returning (she lives with her grandmother) and does not want to talk about it, then Lucas's father has a struggle walking, Ivy wants to help, but struggles to understand why her words and intentions don't make things better. She gets a boost when she starts helping the building superintendent fix things. She's good at it! And that super helps Ivy figure a few things out about what can be fixed and what needs time before it can be fixed.
           Growing up is hard as Knowles shows so well. With a thread of different proverbs for life bugging Ivy, it seems that nothing she does helps. She is learning, however, as all of us must, even if we're already grown! This would make a great read-aloud for a class.  

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy! 

        Liz Kessler's longer stories about Emily Windsnap, part mermaid, include "big" adventures and now Liz and Joanie Stone have started an early reader series with that same adventurous spirit. This time, Emily wants so much to swim in the ocean yet her mother thinks it's too dangerous. What she discovers when she sneaks out to try is a "Big Discovery" as the title shares. It's a fun beginning with added Emily stickers at the back! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy
       Oh my, I would love to have this book for younger readers, full of ALL the seasons and their beauty, written and illustrated by Tim Hopgood. It begins with spring, sharing a poem, gorgeous paintings of blossoms and twigs, birds and eggs, a "how-to-create" chocolate nests. Each season has its unique wonders, something to celebrate and learn about all through the year. There's how to make a leaf mobile and how to paint a butterfly, also pages about stars and the moon. The book is full to the brim with our natural world for young ones. And, you may want to use the ideas for the beginning of further research and learning. Below is a glimpse of the endcovers - gorgeous! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Poetry Friday - Goodbye Journals


  Poetry Friday is with Jama Rattigan, at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup here.   Thanks, Jama, for hosting and for sharing a loving post for all mothers! Happy Mother's Day!

      I've been trying hard to clean out varied things from home, including books I can donate to the bookstore because I'm sure I'll never read them. They are enticing, but too many others are calling me, too. 
       This past week I've gone through all my teacher journals, yes, 25 of them! At the school where I taught, every student (and teachers), from the youngest to the oldest, kept field journals, incorporating field observations in words and sketches, along with book notes and writing drafts, etc., etc. I enjoyed the journey, but I cannot keep them all, though I kept a few, took a few pictures of pages, loved reading about the many, many trips my middle-school students and I took, the writing and reading we did, the wonderful fun we had. I removed the spirals when needed and took a box to be shredded. Yep, they're gone.
            Here are a couple of pictures of how some pages looked. I had taped in lots of poems and kept a few, but I can find others I love, too. Those gone were chosen for certain reasons and now today, others call to me. I suspect you understand.
          And then, again, more political fury arrived Monday night. Since 2016, things have felt uncertain, feel as if we cannot help enough. The list grows as you know, and this week, this Supreme Court leak. So amongst all the poems, I found this. One can interpret it any way one wishes but it seems to fit our oh-so-mixed-up world to me. (I searched the web for this poem and poet, but could not find it. And I have no idea from where it came.) But it's one I saved!

Blue Hum Ramble

Walking the grumby and humfallen sidewalks
along with my namby-panky neighborhood, I stummed
and fammled in my dringy, hamstruck brain
hows I didn't have a drim of an idea where
it was I was maundering and skilfing to.

                                                       Chris Bowman

Monday, May 2, 2022

Monday Reading - More Great 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! 
    If you want to share a #MustReadIn2022,  go HERE to Cheriee's post!

      If you have a list of "Must-Reads" from this year's books, place this one on it.  There are only twelve kids in seventh grade in this small town and each one calls it "Yawn Creek". Nothing new happens, ever, until. . . a new girl arrives. If you know and can guess how middle-school students think and hide true feelings; become cruel to others, or don't, and find real ways to make change, sometimes, you know that Erin Entrada Kelly understands these kids. She shows sympathy for them, even one that remains cruel from a best friend's pressure. Perhaps there will be change and maybe it's because that new girl, Orchid, made a difference? It's quite a story, perhaps a microcosm of our culture itself, and hopefully, we readers will see more of those seventh graders as they grow older. However it ends, I loved the story from a dot of a town on a map, not so yawn-filled as they thought.

       I've never seen a pick-up game, three-on-three, whatever it's called, yet now I think I know more than I did before I read Charly Palmer's book, an ode to those legends that he and many others knew. They were those that rarely, if ever, made it to the NBA or other BIG games, but they were stars. Be sure to get this book, to read and love the names and the energy Palmer has so lovingly put into his swirling, whirling, dribbling, dunking paintings. Meet Gravity, Sky High, Liquid, and Left 2 Right and how they went about their business of winning. I imagine there are many young players out there that will love it and many old players who will remember all that is told! I'm happy I had the fun watching, even in a picture book! It's great!

          It is a special book about  Yo-Yo Ma, one that could introduce him to young readers who may not know him or know his inspiring story. It's rather like a love story to his life, all that he was as a young child prodigy, all that he has done for people all over the world. I didn't know his cello was named Petunia and that its parts, too, come from diverse places in our world. It feels as if it's fitting that he would have such an instrument. Extra information includes the history, and late discovery, of the Bach Cello Suites. Teresa Martinez illustrates with happy colors and diverse people from everywhere, all delighted to listen to Yo-Yo Ma playing Petunia! There is some added information at the back!