Sunday, April 2, 2023

It's Monday - Books to Find If You Haven't Already!


    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! Happy April, everyone!

      It's a marvelous thing to be invited into a story by Tara Dairman who takes us readers to the magical world of The Gardenia Isles, first specifically the island of Earth's End. There we meet twelve-year-old Henna and her two papas, Niall and Joaquim. Within all the special life they live is a secret unlocked. Henna's beloved Papa Niall is very ill. After her years of gardening, she knows that there is one plant that might save his life. She finds a way, sad though it is for her, to leave to be a scholarship student at St. Basil’s Conservatory, a botanical boarding school rumored to house seeds of every plant ever grown. 
       Although she thinks she only has to complete her search, she finds herself with, yes, friends, ones chosen to be her roommates. There is genderfluid P whom she has met on the Orange Boat, a boat that comes to all the islands with deliveries, and also wealthy student Lara who wants only to do things for herself, even from her wheelchair. Henna's task creates several dilemmas of right and wrong yet finding out that friends can make all the difference is a learning she never thought she needed. The world-building is wonderful to learn about as this adventure takes twists and turns with dear Henna. The love underlying all the story gives warm feelings for the way people can be. I enjoyed Tara Dairman's author's note about her own journey of writing this book, too.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       If you want to be inspired by someone who made it his life's work to use what is available in our world, read the story of El Anatsui, an artist from Ghana. His art has included many things, but this book by Alison Goldberg focuses on his work with bottle tops, those metal or plastic tops that seal, not the screw tops. Goldberg writes: "What other people saw as scrap, El saw as materials with a history–materials with the potential to become art." Elizabeth Zunon's illustrations fill the pages with paint and cut paper about El's journey, first in love with letters before he could even read! Early in life, he wanted to tell his own stories, which are shown by Zunon in brilliant color. The book will be wonderful to share with students, then find ways to be inspired in making art. There is an author's note and one activity added at the back.

       Fifty-six poems and stories, some unpublished are found in this special book by Margaret Wise Brown, wonderfully illustrated by Loretta Krupinski. It's full of "silly" and nature, lots of children and animals. For a great read-aloud, for enjoying with your own children. Published in 2001 altogether, but many will be familiar because they were published in the fifties. It's a great one if you can find it to add to your anthologies.

      It's an amazing, yet not surprising story by Kirsten W. Larson of Cecilia Payne, loving science but kept back because of her time growing up. She was born in 1900 and opportunities for women in science were very difficult to find. She moved eventually to the Harvard College Observatory but was awarded her Ph.D. from Radcliffe in 1925 because women technically could not then attend Harvard. She was the first to figure out a star's birth and the elements it contained, but at first, others said they were "clearly impossible". As Larson tells the story, Katherine Roy intertwines Cecelia's life with a star's extraordinary beginnings, following the journey and then ending with the stunning birth of a star. There is much more about Cecilia and the star's journey plus a bibliography at the back. It's a wonderful addition to books about astronomy and the history of women's struggles in science careers.
What's Next: I'm reading Dan Santat's A First Time for Everything and Rough Sleepers by Tracy Kidder.


  1. Tara Dairman's book is only TBR. Can't wait to have time and energy to read it.


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