Monday, February 6, 2023

Monday Reading - More Books to Read and Savor


    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've included books terrific for #BlackHistoryMonth & one Christmas book I finally received from my library to remember for next year, plus Dusk, one I didn't know was for the holidays!

González tells the story of young girls following their grandmother to her special place and finding wonder in the rocks they discover from far into the earth, changes by water and fire, the messages from under the sea, and unique rocks that come from the sky. It is a spiritual book showing differing ways to find wonder in our nature with magical, dream-like illustrations of deepest colors by Adriana M. Garcia, of beautiful and thoughtful people examining their favorite finds. 
      I enjoyed more added at the end from the author about the journey to this book along with brief explanations about the four elements, sweat lodges, family healing practices with healing nature finds kept in medicine bags, and a note that some places prohibit the taking of rocks and plants from their natural places. Reading this in a place out in nature will make a special experience for all. It's a gorgeous book!

         Started during WWII in Iceland when so many things were hard to get during rationing, paper in Ireland was not hard to get, so publishers began releasing many books during the last months of the year. Thus began lots of book giving, and a tradition still happening today, The Christmas Book Flood, where people read about new books on their way, shop in bookstores, keep their treasures secret until, until, it's time for Christmas Eve, time for cocoa, and reading all night! There's a fun story from the writer, Emily Kilgore in her author's note about how she was given the pleasure of writing this story. Kitty Moss fills the pages with collage illustrations of what's happening all those days before and then the final excitement for books, books, books. Keep this for next year, then be ready for the flood! (I finally got this from my library - so many holds!)

          One can never "not" learn about nature by reading a new book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Here is a book full of how animals use tools, not just apes and crows! They start with the only animal known to grab a stick and tap out a beat, used to attract a mate! It's the palm cockatoo. There are egg breakers, apes who use various things to floss (wonder if there's a dentist nearby?), various uses of stones to break things, and surprises from ocean creatures. Jenkins defines tool as “an object that an animal manipulates and uses to affect its environment, another animal, or itself.” Robin Page uses collage illustrations to show animals in small portraits along with larger animals illustrated in action all against a black background. One thing that amazed me was that the bird, the Black Kite, grabs sticks from a wildfire and carries it to start smaller fires in order to flush out animals it is hunting for food. There is much more to add to readers' interests in the backmatter, maybe jumpstarting an even longer research project. It's terrific!

           My great-grandfather and great-grandmother raised thirteen children (11 boys, 2 girls) in an old farmhouse in the early 20th century, thus I was thrilled to read about this new book by Sophie Blackall who told this story of another family years ago. She came upon a real farmhouse, falling down, full of left-behind memories of their lives including old books and papers, clothing, and a shell that Sophie herself has made a special part of this story. She bought the house and thus began her journey of examining what was there and in her imagination, how the family lived. Her artistic illustrations use pieces of her discoveries in them, like pictures and awards for their cows, pictures of the famous from the newspapers, and the discovered wall patterns. Readers, be sure to find this new picture book that feels like it stepped out of the past for Sophie Blackall and she turned around and created it for us readers. 
Sophie has written a long author's note at the back telling more!

          Victor Hugo Green was a mail carrier in the 1930s who traveled across New Jersey to deliver the mail. It started small with just his notes collected, notes telling of safe places for Black travelers to stop and stay, stop and eat, stop for help like with a car repair. Sometime in his life, he and his wife moved to Harlem, a bustle of activity with famous names like Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, and August Savage. It was the time of the automobile and everyone, Black people too, if they could afford it, wanted a car and wanted to travel! Tonya Bolden tells Green's story with lots of details like Blacks were not welcome after sundown in certain towns, and there were few places that welcomed them overnight. It wasn't easy for the baseball players going from game to game either! But there were some and Victor Hugo Green, as he learned of more and more places of welcome, all across the country, took notes and more notes from all kinds of people who talked to others, like barbers. At last, he thought it was time to make a book! And he called it "The Green Book." Sold everywhere, an instant hit, it was so popular that it grew. "In 1940, the forty-eight page Green Book listed places in the District of Columbia and in big cities in every state." One box on a page with a highlighted news item from 1946 reads that "3,500 places throughout the country" are listed.
         Facts and stories included along the way with realistic and colorful illustrations of people and places, new items, and ads by Eric Velasquez, create a wonderful telling of the Green Book's story. There is more in the backmatter like a timeline, more about Victor Hugo Green, notes, and sources. This is not the only picture book about this part of history, but it is a great beginning to knowledge of this oh, so needed book. 

          Using poetic couplets to create a new adventure in following your dreams, Dave Hollis creates a picture book story of his teatime adventures with Noah. This time, pushing into new things to do, no matter the challenge, the story shows kids that persistence and never giving up is good advice. They can do that when dreams don't exactly go the way they've planned. There is often another path. There's joy in this story, made real by the colorful illustrations by Arief Putra, an Indonesian artist. While it isn't always quite realistic, the idea of "try, try again" is strong and fun to see. 
          Thanks to Harper Collins for this copy.

What's Next: I was lucky to grab a copy of 
Freewaterthe newest Newbery winner, written by Amina Luqman-Dawson. It's long and I'm about halfway through. It's a wonderful story!


  1. I agree completely that "one can never "not" learn about nature by reading a new book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page." I am number 14 in a reserve list for 5 books waiting for Farmhouse. I've added Freewater to my list, but honestly, I have no idea how I will find time for it!

  2. Ooh a Book Flood, what a great book idea!
    I'm listening to a wonderful children's classic:

  3. I wasn't even familiar with Freewater. I got the audiobook but I'm not sure if I do want to read it. A part of me feels like if I read it I might as well start my Newbery reading challenge to read the winners in reverse chronological order but that's such a commitment.

  4. Thanks, Cheriee, Emma, & Earl. Hope you found a book to read here as I do from you!

  5. I immediately put Freewater on hold at the library after learning it was the Newberry winner. I was happy to get it the very next day and look forward to reading it.


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