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!

       From Goodreads: "Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won't change things at home--not without each other's help." When these best friends are together, everything is a lot of fun, mostly, until this new middle-school thing when Marco finds his friends who love coding and Isaac finds his on the basketball court. It's a pleasure to read about special friendships as Cisneros goes from Isaac to Marco in chapter to chapter, each one unique but finding ways to support the other, never giving up on the other's needs, from those at school and family challenges, too. I suspect all ages could read this and learn how a true friend should be.
       It's long overdue to share this and it is such fun! I was lucky to have the author, Kat Apel, send me my copy and a couple more to share, which I have. They are now in classrooms bringing lots of laughter, I'm sure. It's a cumulative tale in hilarious rhyme about this sad cow stuck in the mud. Even a ute (a commercial vehicle in Australia), then a tractor with a plow cannot manage to help. Wait to read what finally saved the day and the cow! Full-page illustrations by Warren Crosselt bring more humor to Kat's already funny tale.
Susan Hood has beautifully told, in verse, this true story with Greg Dawson who also wrote the story in his own book, Hiding in the Spotlight, about Zhanna and her sister Frina. He is Zhanna's son. They were young Ukrainian Jewish piano prodigies. After a heartbreaking goodbye to parents and other family members, they fulfilled their father's words: "I don't care what you do. Just live." Eventually, Zhanna became the sister of the book's title, "Alias Anna". Frina became known as Marina. And live they did, for long years after being liberated after the war's end, and continuing on with their music, raising families. 

         The story is both heartrending and nerve-wracking, not an easy read, as these sisters learned new identities, then really did "hide in the spotlight" as people, including Nazis, applauded their talents, and adored the music performed.  It is amazing to read of their courage as they played before those who would have killed them if their identities had been discovered.  

         It was nice to read about Zhanna's and Frina's childhood, how they were as young children, and how they began their life of music. Hood has also included the tragic history of not only Nazi atrocities but then those of Stalin, too, after the war. The story gives the sad history of the past as we are watching more sadness and killings by Russia in Ukraine today.

        Lots of backmatter is included with photos and letters, explanations of the poetry styles used, and a list for further reading. 

Next: I have book two of The Great Peach Experiment, The Peach Pit, by Erin Soderberg Downing.



  1. Alias Anna sounds fascinating- and timely. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You've read so many lovely books recently, Linda! I still haven't read any of Christina Soontornvat books, but with her double Newbery Honor this year, I'm quite certain that The Lost Mapmaker is as excellent as one could hope for. And I should try to get to Falling Short at some point, since Efrén Divided was incredible. Alias Anna sounds like such a compelling story, and I made note of The Song of the Nightingale, which looks beautiful. Thanks so much for the wonderful post, as always!

  3. Thanks, Augusta & Max. Each book was delightful reading. Hope you both find them good & have a great week coming, too!


Thanks for visiting!