Monday, February 5, 2024

Monday Reading - Books You Should Not Miss!


        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! Nearly done, but reading for the Cybils is both wonderful and takes time. Remember the final winners will be announced on Valentine's Day. Happy February!

          Many books satisfy my reading life because they show me fascinating ways of thinking, new ideas for research, and incredible approaches to telling a story. Daniel Mason has written one of them in this book, North Woods. Two young people, in love, escape their Puritan home and land in this one small part of the North Woods of the "new world", later called New England. Their raising of one small cabin begins an amazing journey of that land, which includes a wide variety of land dwellers, some humans in various forms, some little-known and known creatures, and the vast, many-layered life of the woods. In various ways of telling the story, including prose and poetry, letters and art, Mason entertains and educates us while we travel the many years and watch a variety of people live their lives. Perhaps you'll make personal connections; perhaps not, but it's a wondrous tale!

        For a child on the autism spectrum, change isn't easy. He loves his teacher, Mrs. Tanaka, who keeps a calendar on the wall that shows every day, every week, the same. Until this Monday, Mrs. Tanaka announced that there would be a parade on Friday, so sharing day would move to Thursday. This is not what Henry wishes, and musical instruments handed out for parade marchers add to his frustration. They are too noisy! How he navigates the week through some thinking time and a discovery in the quiet closet brings a good ending, not only for Henry! Jenny Bailey and illustrator Mika Song start this easy reader series that Henry and lots of others will enjoy, "like always"!

Thanks to Candlewick Press
for this copy!
       In a debut publication, the background story is that Uma Menon wrote this book at the age of sixteen about her own household. She had been unable to find a similar book that told "her" story. It shares about a young girl named Sumi, whose mother, she tells, can speak two languages, Malayalam and English, and can "switch between them at the speed of sound". The power of being multi-lingual is celebrated as Sumi shares her mother's story of immigrating from India as a child and how she now has "two tongues" woven together. One early scene shows them at the grocery. Her mother asks the grandmother in Malayalam if they needed more milk, turned to Sumi, and spoke in a combination of both 'tongues,' then turned to the cashier and asked how she was doing in English. 
       I've seen, as Sumi calls it, this "superpower" several times through the years, once watching a guide on a boat tour switch from English to Spanish and back with expertise while presenting and answering questions.  Rahele Jomepour Bell's illustrations fill the pages with diverse groups of people, living in various places, Sumi practicing her own Malayalam when they travel to visit family, hoping she will soon have those two tongues woven into one, like her mother. She mentions varied accents, too, that "every person's voice is unique and important." It's a marvelous book inspiring everyone to learn to become multi-lingual. 

1st published in the UK, now thanks to Candlewick
Press for this copy published this year in the U.S.

        A young boy appears to listen to words of wisdom as illustrator Clara Anganuzzi takes us along with him and his animal companions, from elephants to leopards, parrots and penguins, gorillas, and giraffes. There's even a little mouse. Karl Newson's words tell about being brave and that sometimes, "We all have moments when we need to take a step back. . . while sometimes, fun and friends find us." It's filled with life's moments and supporting words, a lovely book to share with children or to give to them to read and think about each part. My favorite: "And every new experience/means a new memory is made!" 

Currently: Starting a mystery, All The Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby and Mexikid by Pedro Martin
       I've also been reading The Winter Army by Maurice Isserman, a history of the Tenth Mountain Division, very slowly. I discovered it at the used bookstore where I work, and because Camp Hale is here in Colorado and I've been there, I wanted to know more about its beginnings and the part soldiers from there played in World War II.


  1. It looks like you had a stellar reading week Linda. I would love to read Henry, Like Always. Lucky for me, my library has an Ebook and it's available. My Mother's Tongues looks fabulous too. Here in Canada we have two official languages and a lot of people speak both English and French. We also have a lot of immigrants who are fluent in many languages. I once had a nine year old student who spoke English, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and a bit of French. She was amazing!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about North Woods. It's a book that I've been curious about since hearing about it at ALA in June. My Mother's Tongues sounds great. I'm trying to learn Spanish right now and it's so hard so I admire those who can speak more than one language.

  3. Thanks, Cheriee & Lisa. My son, who travels abroad, often says he's embarrassed to see so many kids who can speak several languages with ease. It would be great to have that expectation of US kids. I'm glad to read your story, Cheriee. Yes, My Mother's Tongues is awesome! North Woods was amazing, Lisa!

  4. The cover of North Woods reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on. I love seeing the adult books that people read! Hope you have a great week.

    1. Yes, I add to my list from those, too! It is a cover that feels familiar, you're right. Maybe we'll come across it? Thanks, Karen!


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