Monday, January 16, 2023

It's Monday - Add These to Your TBR 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! 

  Remember Two Truths and a FIB, a poetry anthology edited and compiled by Bridget Magee. I'm shamelessly sharing again because it is such fun, and my poems are in it! I'm nearly through it all, 29 poets and 30 topics, including 32 poetic forms, a special book for the classroom and writing inspiration!  

      It is often interesting what authors create from their imagination. This time Jasmine Warga allows a rover, Resilience, Res for short, to tell its own story. She challenges us to imagine ourselves that a rover, really a computer, to learn and grow, then begin to question, eventually to imagine, human qualities, right? The adventure begins with Res' relationship with two "hazmats" as it calls them, Rania and Xander, NASA scientists, who are creating the code to prep Res for a trip to Mars. There is also another rover named Journey, kind of a thorn in Res' side who keeps chiding him for using words only humans should, like "worry" and "hope". The teasing "Beeps and Boops" from Journey gets Res upset yet he holds on to his new beliefs. Once in a while, Rania's daughter, Sophie, begins to write letters to Res. They occur once in a while to advance the story. 
        Days and months, then years pass, and finally Res, with a companion, "Fly", a drone, get going, to Mars! The trip and time on Mars itself is exciting, dangerous, and nerve-wracking. Another computer, Guardian, is a satellite guide, taking the place of a skeptical Journey, but as readers will see, human emotions sneak into all the thoughts and conversation. Res cannot ask questions of his humans, a constant frustration. What you will love is the change that happens through all the years and the emotions that do occur, yes, even in rovers!
       The story divides into parts, like "Launch" and "Roving" and the intros show illuminating illustrations by Matt Rockefeller. There is an author's note, acknowledgments, and one page of sites for learning more. It's a special book!

        Bryan Collier writes a story that he says he wrote during the Pandemic lockdown, using his children as models. This story shows how a young boy finds hope from the words and actions he has been given every day by his father and mother. Even in the darkness, someone can leave an opening for a rainbow to come in, this time, for this boy, it is music. With Collier's beautiful collage and watercolor illustrations, one can imagine the uplifting melody.  

       Richard Turee with Shelly Pollock, tells his own story of his frustration at the constant problem of lions killing his family's cattle. At the age of nine, he was put in charge of the herd. During the years, he was first terrified, then angry, at the lions who wanted his cattle! His people, the Maasai tribe who now mostly live in Kenya and Tanzania, tried everything, and most worked only a while. Lions were smart! Richard was always curious and began learning about electronics, even taking apart his mother's new radio. He did notice that lions were afraid of light but soon learned that the ONE light was something they could avoid. People could not kill the lions because they were a protected species. Richard worked and invented a series of flashing flashlight lights attached to every pole in the cattle enclosure. It worked! He has won numerous awards for his invention, an amazing creation that at that time only cost him ten dollars. The book demonstrates that through persistence, every age is capable of solving important problems. It is illustrated beautifully by Sonia Possentini, showing Richard growing up in his work, persisting in doing his so important job, protecting the family's herd. 
        There are pieces at the back showing the Maasai vocabulary used, a brief history of the Maasai, and further resources.  It's an inspiring story written about a young boy who figured out answers because of his family's dire need. 

      I am grateful to have discovered this book by Ashley Bryan, his tribute imagined from a real document listing a plantation's properties for sale. Part of those included a herd of cattle - $864, One bay mare - $100., and ten slaves, named, but appraised at varied prices. For example, "One Negro Woman named Peggy - $150." and "One boy named Stephen - $300." With lush, evocative portraits of each and one of the whole group, with collages around each, Bryan has imagined in free verse how they might introduce themselves, and on a second page, their dreams. It earned a Newbery Honor in 2017 plus honors for the Coretta Scott King Award - both author and illustrator. There is an author's note. It is a gorgeous and poignant book that shows both the beauty of the people who were slaves combined with the heartache and the reality of slavery.

          If you're studying science, you will want to read Maria Gianferrari's poems and see Jieting Chen's illustrations for them to give a huge boost of curiosity to your students. No matter what subject researched, finding a way to write about it, then try to "show" aspects of the topic through art is a marvelous way to learn the topic well. We're in the season of winter, no better time to learn all the various kinds of ice, of which there are many. I've never heard of "floe ice" or "bummocks" or "ice spikes". Have you? There's a wealth of back matter, too, explaining all the ways of ice. Gianferrari's poetic way with words makes the poems fun and interesting. Here's a peek at "Ice Speaks": "
Ice creaks and cracks./Ice snarls and snaps." There's more! 

Poetry for Adults

       I re-read this a few pages at a time, enjoying Kooser's walks and his extraordinary words about the 'winter' he observed and what he did with each day's poems. You can find my review here.

What's Next: 


  1. You read a lot of glorious books this week Linda! Unfortunately, these are not available locally: Two Truths and a FIB, Lion Lights and Music is a Rainbow. Hopefully this will change. I just have to remember to keep checking.

    1. Thanks, Cheriee. Wishing (again) that you lived near so I could just give you some of these! Hoping your library will have some of them soon!

  2. So cool to hear about Two Truths and a Fib. I don't know if you listen to the Book Friends Forever podcast but I think they shared a bit of background about Music is a Rainbow last year.

    1. Thank you, Earl. I hope you can find a copy, then enjoy all the fun!

  3. Lots of good books for my TBR for sure. I did read Freedom Over Me last year and it was such a powerful read.. Will look for Two Truths and a FIB..
    My Monday post is here

    1. Yes, it is a marvelous, poignant book, I agree. Thanks for coming by & enjoy Two Truths and a FIB!


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