Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Reading - Sharing New and Older 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! 

     I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving wherever you celebrated. I did travel to be with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, with little time to read. There was a lot of visiting and eating! In a little more than a week, I'll be seeing them again because my grandson, Carter, is graduating from the University of Kentucky, a semester early! Is December busy? Absolutely. I have yet to do anything about Christmas. But I have read some great books over the recent weeks! Take a peek!

         I shared this book last week on Poetry Friday! It will be a gift just right for someone you love. The link is here!

       Thanks to Kathryn Erskine for my copy of this special book, set during the Civil Rights era, the story of Red Porter, a middle-school-aged boy who struggles through grief after the recent death of his father, the questions of why certain families seem to hate his family, and why he can no longer be a friend to an African-American boy with whom he played and played in their earlier days. Red's attempts to make things right, to stay in their home when his mother is determined to move, to help friends is shown so beautifully through Kathryn Erskine's text of Red's thoughts. He knows from his Dad that running away from things is not the way to be. Though it's so hard to face the truth, Red, young as he is, takes it all on, even becoming a super older brother to his younger brother, J, a real pain, until he isn't! So many characters play a part, good and bad, in Red's growing up, including a thoughtful teacher and a family friend who helped run their convenience store. It's a beautiful story! 

        Come along down memory lane with Charles Dickens where Nick Manning and Brita Granstrom start at his beginnings, all the way to his passing, offering his own words, then further explanations in comic-style boxes. I haven't read every piece or book he wrote, but many are featured with the connections that make the stories even more precious. It's a lovely, brief collection that can serve as an introduction to this most well-known writer all over the world. The endpapers show a map of special places in Dickens' life and novels and there's backmatter with additional sources, a glossary of terms people may not know, like "blacking" which is boot polish, a list of his works, and more!

          It is wonderful to find a book that introduces an accomplished person that I (maybe many) know nothing about. Tammy Yee shares the inspiring story of Fe del Mundo from the early 1900s. Her sister died and Fee learned she had dreamed of becoming a doctor, a huge dream for a girl in the Philippines at that time. Fe decided she would follow her sister's dream. She did and accomplished so much good during her life. She was the first woman and person of Asian descent to study at Harvard Medical School. When WWII began in her homeland, she did not stay safe in the US but returned and helped start organizations that cared for children who were imprisoned by the Japanese at Santo Tomas. Beautiful illustrations help bring her to us. She earned important awards during her life, like the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. There is a timeline of her life at the back, offering more information. I enjoyed it so much!
       All these years, W.S. Merwin has inspired us through his poetry. Now, Carrie Fountain shares the other part of his life that may inspire even more! In Carrie Fountain's book, William Stanley lived in a town "like any other town, where the wild parts had been straightened out and turned into roads and lawns and driveways." Carrie uses this theme of so much "straightened out" that Merwin searched for a place that could be wild. He bought what was termed a "wasteland" in Maui, deemed where nothing would grow. During the rest of his lifetime, he and his wife, Paula, planted nearly 3,000 palm trees, adding those from all over the world that he found were endangered. Chris Turnham's illustrations bring these trees and Merwin's journey to life, showing the beauty of Merwin's love. There is an added note at the back. The Merwin's transformed the land and gave it back to the people in a Conservancy. 

      I work at an all-volunteer-run bookstore, a non-profit depending entirely on community donations. There are many gems that come to the store, at times serendipity for a special customer who just dropped in; at times, it calls to me. This book arrived as I was vetting the donations, a day before a snowstorm where I live. I know it's a Caldecott winner, just right for young readers, yet its special story and illustrations by Uri Shulevitz will bring a smile of delight to all ages. The radio and television said "no snow". "But snowflakes don't listen to radio, snowflakes don't watch television. All snowflakes know is snow, snow, and snow." 
          I hope everyone can find a copy, ready for your own wintertime!

       From the 1930s, it's a delightful book by the wonderful Lois Lenski. It would work as a beginning reader and there is much learning included about what people do to take care of their cars, like adding oil and gas, changing a tire with a "jack", cars that are convertibles, and all the things that happen when out for a drive like stopping for a stoplight. For young readers who love autos, here is a cute story from so long ago.

What's Next! I've started Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston. It's already intriguing!


  1. These are all new to me. As much as I don't like snow, Snow sounds like a delightful read.

    1. Thanks, Lisa, yes, look for Snow. It's a gem!

  2. So many lovely books Linda. I adored Snow! When I went to look and see what else my library has by Uri Shulevitz, I discovered Dusk which I have not read. I've added Seeing Red to my list but unfortunately, it's not available at my library. Neither are a few of the others you have shared.

    1. Thanks, Cheriee! I'm so happy you know and love 'Snow', too. It is a special book! And I'm sad you can't find many of the books. Hopefully, they'll be available in the future!

  3. I love that excerpt from SNOW. Don't think I've read this one, but that quote reminds me of In the Bleak Midwinter. Will look for this oldie but goodie!

    1. Hope you enjoy it when you find it, Laura! I guess it fits our weather now for sure! Keep warm & safe! And Merry Christmas!


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