Monday, March 6, 2023

Monday Reading - Much to Love Here


    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! 

        It's a beautiful story by Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened) about young Finn who's feeling very low, so low her grandfather found her in bed covered up with her quilt. He persuades her to go walking and begins to talk 
softly about all the things in the forest that lie "Beneath": there are tree roots, small animals tunneling, a bird on a nest, with eggs beneath, and stating it's the same beneath when people look different. Doerrfeld's illustrations fill the pages with trees, plants, animals, and people as the thoughtful grandpa walks along looking, imagining what is hidden "Beneath". It includes something important personally, too, inside one's heart. It would be so nice to read this with family or young students to discover a list of what they might imagine "Beneath". The endpapers are covered with that quilt!

         The chapter book by James Howe was a favorite of my daughter in early grade school. Now Howe has collaborated with Andrew Donkin and illustrator Stephen Gilpin to tell it again. It is a hilarious story as long as you're ready to meet a late-night reading cat, Chester; a rather skeptical dog, Harold; and the newest pet, a rabbit, who sleeps all day but makes vegetables white at night. He's been named "Bunnicula"! The Monroe family, Mr. and Mrs., Toby and Pete, have their parts in the story but they never really know what's going on behind their backs or when they sleep. Harold knows nearly all or can guess what Chester, a very determined cat, is up to. Harold tells this fantastic and silly story. I hope kids will meet them all and love the story as my daughter did years ago.

        I do know the heartbreak of Emmett Till's end of life but I did not know about his mother and her life from before Emmett's death and then after, especially after. I didn't know she had moved north for a better life, away from Jim Crow laws. And I didn't know that Emmett loved open spaces so moved south to be with family members in the rural south. One week and one day after he left, he went missing. The book by Angela Joy tells all that of Emmett's life, and his death, which became the next time his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley showed courage. Earlier she did not stop studying in spite of teasing by boys and sometimes teachers and became the first African American to graduate at the top of her class. Emmett's death pushed her to become a force in the Civil Rights Movement, working with the NAACP, she traveled to rallies, speaking out, for her people and for Emmett. Illustrations are of cut paper in various somber tones.  In the final spread lies a representation of the National Museum of African American History with twenty names of others who have been victims of race hatred in times most recently like Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. And since that page was finalized, there have been more! 
        Added information in the back adds to the detail of the Mamie Till-Mobley's story, too. All this book adds to our history with somber clarity. 

           It is not easy to describe this new book by Marla Frazee except to write "One must see and read and savor every word that is illustrated with wonder and joy! Don't miss this one and don't miss gifting it for all kinds of celebrations, from birth to a "birth-day" for someone older-from 10 to 100, graduation and wedding wishes, too! 

       Found at the used bookstore where I volunteer, an older book published first in the Soviet Union, a wonderful one to add to all the books about trees that have been coming out in recent years. All kinds of creatures own a tree stump after it has been cut down, but is it solely owned by each? Or, another lesson is learned that the tree belongs to the earth, of which we are all a part. The book received many awards when it finally arrived in the United States. The illustrator Spirin evidently was a gifted artist and his illustrations of the tree and the animals are divine! If you can find it, you'll enjoy it!

        When Phoenix, was born, doctors said he was sick and would never be able to talk or ride a bike. His family are members of the Anishinaabe tribe and his mother smudged him with the four medicines: sage, tobacco, cedar, and sweetgrass. He got better!  Growing up, he loved playing with dolls and dancing - ballet, at Pow Wows, maybe just swirling with a snuggly pink blanket around his home. He preferred playing with girls, who liked dolls and dancing, too. And, of course he was teased. Later, he stopped because he was so sad that no one liked how he was.   
        His mother sat him down and told him of the Two Spirit/Niizh Manidoowag people in Anishinaabe culture. She shared that everyone has a spirit within that guides them but there are those special ones who have the joy of both a boy and girl spirit. The Anishinaabe people have much respect for them. 
         Phoenix's mother tells this story with Phoenix while Megan Kyak-Monteith, an Inuk illustrator brightens every page with the emotions 'swirling' within Phoenix,  mostly happy like the cover but also those hard times with sadness. It's a book for all families who want to support their LGBTQ+ children. 
         Added note: Phoenix is an actor and credits were given at the back for three movies.

for adults

Writing the Land: Foodways and Social Justice
edited by Lis McLoughlin, PhD

       I was lucky to receive this book from my friend, Laura Shovan, a poet, middle-grade verse novelist, and a member of the Community Ecology Institute @FreetownFarm in Maryland. She is one of the writers sharing about this institute, an amazing place that has expanded into acres and acres of land for the benefit of nature and those who work the land there, along with welcoming visitors so they might learn about nature and to love it enough to help in various ways, perhaps there or in other places. Laura is one of the poets in this section, among many others in each part of the book. 
      If you want to travel more deeply into what hundreds of people are doing because they love the land, read this book. It will make you feel good that so many are doing such great things and hopefully, it will challenge you to find your own way to love the earth and make it better.
      from Barnes & Noble: Writing the Land is a project that pairs poets with conserved lands and creates anthologies in which each chapter is a mix of poetry inspired by the land, and material about the land organization that protects that land. This book focuses on conserved agricultural lands, and contains bonus material on how the arts support agricultural land conservation.

What's Next:  The Witch Boy #1 - Molly Knox Ostertag


  1. I have to get my hands on the Bunnicula graphic novel. Like your daughter, it was a favorite of mine when I was a kid.

    1. I've been out much of the day, Lisa. This is fun to hear. Hope you like it! Thanks!

  2. I am going to look for Beneath and In Every Life ... and I read Choosing Brave for the Cybils awards as one of the judges.. it impacted and impressed all of us judges to make it the winner in its category..
    My IMWAYR post is here

    1. Enjoy those you can find. So glad to read you loved Choosing Brave. I knew it was the winner!

  3. I feel like I should (re)read Bunnicula and then try the graphic novel.

    1. I still have our old copy, maybe should re-read it? Thanks, Earl. If you do, hope you'll let us know!


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