Monday, February 20, 2023

Monday Reading - A Great Week for Reading


    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 could tell you the plot; praise the characters, good-hearted and cruel; show some of the magical pieces that touch crows and books, ogres and dragons, orphans and one blind dog, but I just want to write, "Read this book!" Kelly Barnhill has created an amazing story that gives big hugs, makes one shiver, then cry. I also want to write that she wrote the beginnings of this during the early rumors of a mysterious disease "rampaging in countries far, far away." There are glimmers within some pages of that time for all of us. Here is part of one paragraph from the book that speaks of the mayor as the townspeople were mourning big fires in their town: "How they needed him then! How they depended on him. He told them then that he, alone, would fix it, and what a thrill it was–a deep and profound thrill–to see in the shine of their faces and the glaze of their eyes that they utterly believed him." Then, a little later: They were all just so easy to convince." It was a National Book Award finalist. I highly recommend it.

Winning a Caldecott Honor

         Michaela Goade, a member of the Tlingit people, writes of the connections we have with nature. This story centers on picking berries "on an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea". She begins with a memory of time with her grandmother and all the ways they sing their thanks as the berries sing to them - eight kinds of berries are mentioned, and different songs are sung. "We take care of the land." Grandma says. "As the land takes care of us," the young girl Michaela replies. Gunalchéesh is found throughout - giving thanks. With dream-like illustrations showing the blessings of nature and a wonderful two-page note from Michaela, it's a book to love and to learn from. She won the Caldecott Medal last year for We Are Water Protectors.

It's the Caldecott winner!

         On a hot, hot day in the city, an older woman and her dog wend their way along the streets with lots of people (and dogs) and lots of heat! Doug Salati's illustrations fill the pages with details, buildings, storefronts, and a dog getting sadder and hotter by the block. In brief lyrical text, the story shows it all, until, until, this "hot dog" refuses to move one more step. His loving owner knows just what to do, hops a taxi, then the subway, to the beach! It's a sweet book that will be a great read-aloud, leaving those listening and looking to wonder what in the world, the dog's world, that is, will happen next? 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

      This book by science writer Cara Giaimo is encyclopedic in its presentation with lots of backmatter including source notes, notes for further exploration, a bibliography, and an index. There are the usual, though deeper explanations, of dogs, what they can do, and exactly how their noses work. Also included are the unusual, like ferrets, certain fish species, and a chapter from part of the title, "Dynamite Dolphins". Cartoons, photographs, and highlighted boxes of information fill the inviting pages plus there are activities connected to each topic. I imagine weeks of study beginning with the book's topics, and hopefully, the studies will give students or those taking on their own individual work opportunities to be out in nature observing, too. Ethical questions are examined including the use of animals, especially in dangerous situations. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       I have seen news of Tammy Duckworth in recent years but knew very little about her growing up, her time in Southeast Asia because her father worked for the UN. After being fired, he moved his family to Hawaii and they struggled financially. Christina Soontornvat tells how sometimes Tammy was the only family member making money, by selling flowers on the street. She knew she wanted to do good in the world, just didn't know how, until she joined ROTC during her college years. Her story of the battles she later fought as a pilot during the Iraqi war, and the battles she fought when she lost both her legs, wondering what was going to happen. It's an inspiring story told with Dow Phumiruk's beautiful illustrations all through Tammy's years, as a Congresswoman fighting for what she knew was for people's good. There is a timeline and a list of her areas of service at the back. There is a timeline and a list of her areas of service at the back. It can be a special book in a collection of biographies that inspire today, right now. Senator Duckworth continues to work for the people's good.

       I wish this was a fairy tale yet know it is not. Little Jay and his friends are happy growing up, wishing it would go faster! They play and laugh and like all kids, have so much fun. And yet, through the book, Alicia D. Williams gives a hint of what's coming in her story. Grandpa tells the kids not to hang out too long in groups of four or more. He says "But some folks might think you're the next troublemaker." The kids are shown by illustrator Briana Mukodiri Uchendu (her picture book debut) in a store perhaps like a 7-11, with a security person watching with a frown. There are other scenes like this, illustrated in shadows with more frowning faces. As Jay grows, it's time for other warnings; he's old enough to drive, and have "The Talk". A double-page spread in darkness shows more than one scene, including a young boy being patted down by a police officer. The sadness appears like the background, always there, never gone, but family expressions show the love that surrounds Jay and reassures him he's done nothing wrong. It's not an easy book and I'd love to see many white people reading it, knowing this is the life led by children of color. We all know the examples, we all see the news every day. Don't miss this book and share it widely!

What's Next? I have a copy of a non-fiction book titled Writing The Land: Foodways and Social Justice, essays about our land, how we think about it, use it, etc. It's edited by Lis McLoughlin.
        And, I have some middle-grade books that I hope to get to, so many! 

Happy Reading!


  1. This is the second time I have seen a recommendation on the book; The Talk. Pernille Ripp shared a piece earlier about how this is a good book to teach internal conflict. I am adding it to my TBR list. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It's a tough read, poignant and shattering to think it is needed, but we all know it's true. I hope you will be sure to find and read it. Thanks!

  2. Despite me recommending Kelly Barnhill books, I still haven't read any of her books.

    1. Thanks, Earl, I hope you read and like this one!


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