Monday, July 11, 2022

Monday Reading - Add to your Lists!


         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! 

           I shared this new book by Irene Latham last week for Poetry Friday here. It's great!

        This week, I want to thank Candlewick Press for some of the special books they have shared with me in recent weeks. I'm headed for a family trip in a couple of weeks, taking off the rest of the month to prep for that plus lots to do at the bookstore. Hope everyone is doing great and you don't have too much challenge with the summer heat. We were 100 on Saturday and Sunday and will be a little cooler today. July - whew!

           Where else could one find a book set in what appears to be the far past, with nobles and a queen's forest, words spoken about dungeons and being thrown in the stocks, with chapters on occasion told from the point of view of a gargoyle? Where? In a remarkable book written for middle-grade readers! Gnat is the leader of a group he has gathered. He orders, helps, and takes care, yet appears rough, perhaps out of need. His group, the Crowns, fend for themselves in this city as in other places. This time they seem to have found a good place, a partially-built cathedral with space and room, with no citizens to bother them. On the partial roof lies the gargoyle, alone and across from a few others who gab and throw insults at it. But he doesn't care, only wishes for quiet. His life's goal is to protect and he has waited for tens of years to have the cathedral finished. 
           And then there is Duck, a young girl found as a baby floating in the nearby river by another of the Crowns, a protector of sorts, Ash. Gnat's new scheme is to get Duck to apprentice with Master Baker Griselde in order to steal a few pennies and give bread to her "family", the Crowns, on market day. It happens. The story follows Duck's journey of transformation and questioning where is her true home? It is a sophisticated look at what it means to love and care for others even when, yes, these children are homeless needing to figure out who they are. Although set long ago, I read the feelings and plans and arguments of the Crowns, thinking of those homeless kids of today, young ones with a parent, many teens in my city, and I imagine in yours, too. It is long and detailed and took me a while to read, yet Lindsay Eagar's new story will stick with me for a long time.

           How can I describe a 'wordless' picture book? A day at the beach, grabbing buckets, helping young siblings while building a sandcastle no matter the challenges. Children run by (and through), a woman's floppy hat blows from her head, right on the castle, but they keep at it. All the wonders of a seaside day lie on Qin Leng's pages as JonArno Lawson's day imagined unfolds. People are playing in the water, seagulls do their best to snatch some lunch, old and young lounge in chairs and if you pay close attention, you see them all moving closer, closer to the dunes. The tide is coming in! It is an awesome picture book, I imagine very nostalgic for those who have had their days by the sea.

         Based on a true event, Chris Van Dusen has created a story in rhyme about a small island with a big delivery, a missed turn, and people who are stuck on either side of the mountain, really needing to get to their destination. Chris says he took some liberties with the people but essentially they solved it, by trading. 
            "Two cars in a hurry arrived from the north.
              Then from the south came a third and a fourth.
              They waited and wished that the traffic was flowing.
              They had things to do and they had to get going."
         Also illustrating his story, Chris fills the double-spreads with the jam, diverse kids looking out car windows while special thought bubbles show where they NEED to go, a swim meet, ballet, a dog wash for a 'skunked' dog, and more. It is lots of fun to see what happens. I've told you they traded but reading it aloud to a young group of children will be interesting to see what they predict. And in the end, what's on that truck? It's a surprise. 
         This happened on a Maine Island named Vinelhaven where Chris was told most people left keys in their cars in case someone needed to borrow them. He writes he "can't think of a better example of problem-solving and cooperation."

       I hope that every early teen and up will discover The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran as they discover other poetry, other ways to celebrate and ponder one's life. Cory McCarthy, also a Lebanese-American immigrant, tells of Kahlil's early life, immigrating to America at age twelve, quiet and introspective already, turns to drawing as a kind of solace. At age fifteen his drawings have been purchased by a publisher. Alarmed that the family believes he was becoming too Americanized, he is sent to finish his education in Beirut and turned to writing. Ekua Holmes brings him to life in her fabulous illustrations in collage and paint. There is one double-page spread of a memory that later Gibran was reminded of when he saw a flock of birds. It is an alley filled with children playing, as he did in Boston's South End, full of immigrants from all over the world. This will serve as a loving introduction to Gibran that will leave readers wanting more. McCarthy has added source notes and a few additional stories from Gibran's life in the back matter

Next: I am behind in any category, will be reading new ones like those I just purchased from the Colorado Book Awards List, must-read ones, from all the "stacks". 


  1. All these picture books are new to me so I appreciate your reviews. Stay cool! It's been unseasonably mild in Maryland but higher temps are coming.

  2. It's delightful that we both shared A Day for Sandcastles today. It's a gorgeous book. It's been a long time since I read The Prophet - almost half a century now. I wish that Hope Is an Arrow was available at my local library. Hope you have a fabulous vacation. It hasn't reached that hot here, but I did have to turn the AC on before lunch today.

  3. I just got Hope is an Arrow at the library today. I'm looking forward to reading it after reading your review.

  4. Linda, you've shared such a wonderful set of books! I made note of The Patron Thief of Bread—I couldn't remember why Lindsay Eagar's name was familiar, and then I realized she wrote an extremely compelling MG novel called Hour of the Bees that I read many years ago! Her newest book sounds beautiful. I also made note of A Day for Sandcastles, and I had actually never heard of The Prophet, but it sounds like a wonderful source of wisdom I should search for. I hope you have a great time on your trip and the work at the bookstore isn't too chaotic—and I hope where you're visiting is cooler than where you are now! Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

  5. Thanks much Laura, Cheriee, Beth, & Max, for coming by & for reading & hopefully finding a book you will love. Wishing you all a great rest of July, into August. Wow, then we'll be talking about school starting!

  6. Enjoy your vacation and hope that the heat comes down a bit for you! I really enjoyed Big Truck Little Island quite a bit, but haven't read your other books. I have marked a few down and am intrigued by The Patron Thief of Bread. Thanks for the post!

  7. Lots of current titles to check out - thanks for sharing.

  8. I want to read Big Truck Little Island so I can find out what is on the truck!


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