#IMWAYR June 18, 2018

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I must first apologize for not getting to everyone's posts last week. It was an intense week. Between finishing sewing projects, working, and preparing for a big party on Saturday, and then the Father's day stuff on Sunday, I am done in!

I didn't get much reading accomplished. Thank goodness for audiobooks which I listened to while sewing, and for picture books that don't require a focus for long duration.

Here are the sewing projects I finished:

First off, these are some coasters that I finished for my sister whose birthday was on the day of our celebration for the babies. The hardest part of this project was the fussy cutting. 

Here are the matching shirts I finished for my daughter in law and grandson for her birthday which was last weekend. I forgot to take a picture of them wearing them. 

Finally, these are the matching overalls I made for my grandchildren. Unfortunately, my iphone doesn't do camera colours well as these are more teal than blue.

Now that it is all over, I hardly know what to do with myself. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is a garden to weed.


I know I've shared a few of the books that we received from Korea, but I've been meaning to share a few more of them and today seems like the perfect time. (None of the ISBN numbers register in Goodreads) All of these books have an interactive quality that I once thought was adorable, but when the baby learns how to press buttons, and loves having music of any kind on in the background, it can get to be irritating. Luckily, most of these books have on/off switches and she hasn't figured out how to work them yet.

This first book has to do with using the toilet. If you turn the handle, you hear the sound of a toilet flushing. The little pink button makes a fart noise, and the blue button sounds like someone peeing. The yellow and brown button produces a song that my daughter in law tells me is all about having accomplished a happy, pretty poo.

The inside pages show animals and people using the facilities. Our little ones are not yet big enough to start being toilet trained, but I think this book is ingenious and sure wish we had something like this when my boys were young.

This  book is very appropriate since it is all about celebrating a birthday. The buttons on this one turn on the candles, make all kinds of celebratory noises, play music and sing songs in both Korean and English. The little pink cake button on the bottom left hand corner turns the power on. Ada has learned how to use it. Thankfully they are not all this easy. 

These candles glow red in real life, but my iphone doesn't do colours well. The most fascinating thing about this book is that once you have pressed the button so that the candle light goes on, all you have to do is blow on them and they go out. Ada is able to take those little candles out and put them back in. 

I used to worry that these interactive features would interfere with my granddaughter's love for regular books, but I've let go of that. She now climbs up on my lap with books she wants me to read with her. 


4 stars
Ho-limlim: a Rabbit Tale from Japan by Keizaburō Tejima

I wrote about three of Keizaburō Tejima's books last week and I picked this one up from my library since then. I adore the illustrations just as much. This Japanese folk tale is an interesting story of an older rabbit who sets out to go on adventure. On the surface it's a story of how his eyesight doesn't see things as well as he used to, but it's also a metaphor for how what we think we see isn't necessarily what is really going on. Now I just need to track down a copy of Owl Lake and Bear's Autumn.

3 1/2 stars
Shh! My Brother's Napping by Ruth Ohi

Charming illustrations are accompanied by rhyming text that works. The humour of the text is filled in with art and sometimes missing words that because of the pattern and rhyme, are easy to predict. There is a lot of love shown in this relationship between the young girl and her sleeping brother. The surprise ending is delightful.


4 stars
Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw & Matt Carr (Photographer)

I liked this, but then, I am biased. My father was injured at work when he was 25, and used a wheelchair to get around after that. He too was comfortable with people asking him questions. Like Shane, there was much he could do in his chair, not the least was being an awesome dad!
I knew a tiny bit about SMA before, and learned more from reading this. I like that these photographs are loaded with humour and that we get to know the person behind the wheelchair.
I want to read this book with a group of children to see how they respond. I sure wish it had been around when I was younger.


5 stars
Ravensong by Lee Maracle

This book is the prequel to Celia's Song, a book I read earlier this year. This was set in 1954, whereas Celia's Song is set in more recent times. It was interesting in that many events that happened in this book were referenced in that one. The story is told from the perspective of Celia's older sister, Stacey who is attending her last year of white high school across the bridge from their village. She plans to go to UBC and become a teacher after graduation.
Like in Celia's Song, Maracle makes us aware of the differences between her people's way of seeing the world and our own. Both are important books that I can't recommend highly enough. I'm looking forward to our bookclub meeting to talk about it.
My brilliant niece, Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, has written an in depth post about this book here: https://caseythecanadianlesbrarian.com/2012/11/25/a-review-of-lee-maracles-ravensong-queering-decolonization-decolonizing-queerness/

5 stars
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall & Susan Denaker (Narrator)

I adore the Penderwick family. Each book is like a visit with a family of old friends where I get to watch their children grow up. This book is told from the perspective of the youngest of the clan, Lydia, when the family returns to Arundel for Rosalind's wedding. This is as delightful as the rest of the series. I am heartbroken that this is the finale.


I'm listening to Granted by John David Anderson. Cassandra Morris' narration is delightful and the book is turning out to be much more than I first anticipated it would be. I have made a bit of headway with Restart by Gordon Korman and plan to complete it in the next couple of days!


I have a mess of picture books checked out from the library that I intend to finish and return this week or else!


#MustReadIn2018 15/25 1 in progress

#MustReadNFIn2018 5/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 8/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 203/333

#IMWAYR June 11, 2018

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I didn't manage to write a blog post last weekend because my sister was in town and we went to the Canadian Quilt Show that was in Vancouver this year. We were in awe at the quality of work that was on display and managed to make it through the entire vendors' exhibits without purchasing a thing. Of course that was only because nobody had the rulers we were looking for.

I've also been busy on some sewing projects. I'm finishing up a couple of matching linen cowboy shirts for my one of my daughter in law's birthday. Linen is a bitch to work with because it frays almost immediately. Every edge must be enclosed. I'm also trying to get a couple of matching overalls finished for my two grandchildren who turn one this week. It's hard to imaging a whole year has gone bye. I'll post pictures next week.


While weeding the picture book collection of the library I was working in, I discovered the following three books by Keizaburō Tejima. All three were published in the late 1980's. I put a note in the data base asking that if they ever decide to get rid of them to call me and I will pay for them. Not only are the woodcut illustrations just stunning, the beautifully written prose is deeply philosophical.
My public library has one of Keizaburō Tejima's titles so I'm waiting for it. Then I'll see where I can find everything else he has created.
Try and find copies of these books. They will be worth you effort.

5 stars
Swan Sky by Keizaburō Tejima

The art on the cover drew me in. Then I opened the pages and got lost. It’s the story of swans getting ready to go on their annual migration but one year there is one swan who cannot go. Her family remain behind with her until they can no longer put off leaving themselves. They leave but the next day they return.The ending is not what I expected until it happened, and then I said to myself, but of course.

5 stars
Woodpecker Forest by Keizaburō Tejima, Susan Matsui (Translator)

Stunning woodcut illustrations tell the story of a young woodpecker who must learn to live by himself. His first night by himself is a coming of age tale that others take a novel to relate.

5 stars
Fox's Dream by Keizaburō Tejima

This book is just stunning.
A fox wanders through a winter forest and sees different images in the snow formations in the trees.
I had to stop and read this section of this book out loud to the other teacher who was in the library with me.
"And in a tree near the very end of the forest, the fox sees a family of ice foxes. He closes his eyes and remembers a spring when the wind was warm and the earth smelled of new grass and wildflowers. He remembers his family and the nearness of his mother. He remembers leaping with his brother and sister in the warmth of a gently sun. But when the fox opens his eyes, the forest is still covered with snow, the fox family is still made of ice, and the fox is still alone."

4 stars
When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge & Matt James (Illustrator)

Here we are nearing the end of spring and beginning of summer, and I found this glorious book about winter.
It’s the story of a group of children who wait for the beaver pond to freeze over. Then, on the night of a full moon they trek out to it, build a huge fire, scrape the snow off the ice, and skate. They play hockey until it gets late and then warm up at the fire before returning to their homes.
I have had then pleasure of skating on wild ice like this, although not, alas, under a full moon. It is truly spectacular to glide across this magical ice in the middle of a untamed spaces, and then warm up with hot cocoa and roasted hotdogs cooked over a roaring fire.
Matt James artwork will make you long to be there with these intrepid skaters, no matter how cold and wet you will get.

4 stars
Moo Moo in a Tutu by Tim Miller

Moo Moo and Mr Quackers are sure to delight fans of Elephant and Piggy. It’s humorous and witty, although the faces are not as expressive.

5 stars
The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein

I would give this book 5 stars on the beauty of the illustrations alone, but it's also a compelling story about a young man who disobeys his father to save the life of a whale trapped in their fishing net.

4 stars
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James (Illustrations)

Just Wow! This book is as beautiful and bold as everyone says it is. It's a picture book that sets you down in that barber shop with a collection of interesting characters. Barnes wordsmiths all those small details so you are there with our hero getting his fresh cut as he imagines how he will look and swells with pride.
As someone who has always had long hair, and thus, rarely getting cuts, I was delighted to learn so much about what goes into getting such a short style!


4 stars
Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick & David Serlin

I could have sworn I made notes on this book right after I finished it, but I can't find them anywhere. I loved it. There is so much sweetness in the illustrations. I love the patterned text that will make it simple for beginning readers to be successful. I was delighted to discover the guide at the end of the book with information about the details in the illustrations. I think I read this book at least three times before I returned it to the library.


5 stars
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

I enjoyed this one as much as the first in the series. I admit that I was confounded that Roz didn't stay on the farm where she seemed to be happy, but by the time I finished this book, I understood that there were much bigger things in her future.

4 stars
Sunny by Jason Reynolds & Guy Lockard (Narrator)

I liked this one well enough, but I wonder if I would have appreciated it more if I had read it with my eyes. It isn't that Guy Lockard's narration wasn't remarkable. It was stunning and listening to the afterward comments by him and Jason Reynolds was a highlight for me.
Sunny is an interesting character to say the least. I like that he came up with the courage to follow his own dream and not one that seems to predetermined for him. Sunny is homeschooled and we learn what he studies, but I kept waiting for something about what he was reading and though I waited and waited, I don't remember anything.

3.5 stars
The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs by Leslie Patricelli

I didn't really start to appreciate this until I was at least 1/4 of the way in. Eventually I was giggling to myself at the antics of Lily and Darby. Then, while there were high jinks, the book became serious and we readers get a front row seat to see what girl bullying looks like. I appreciate that it is mostly resolved by the end of the book, although I am left wondering about Iris. I sure hope that if there is a sequel we will get to know her better.

4 stars
The Boat People by Sharon Bala & Athena Karkanis (Narrator) (adult title)

This is one of the Canada Reads books from this year. It's a powerful story of a group of Sri Lankan refugees who arrive on a boat seeking a safe haven in Canada. There are three story lines wending their way through the plot. Mahindan, a widower, is one of the refugees who has arrived with his 5 year old son. It isn't easy to read about the things he was forced to do to survive. Priya Rajasekaran is a Canadian of Sri Lankan decent whose Tamil family fled Sri Lanka near the beginning of the persecution of their people. Grace Nakamura, an adjudicator with the Immigration and Refuge Board, is reminded by her mother, Kumi, of the injustices the Japanese faced from their internment during the second world war. She makes connections to the plight of the Tamil, but Grace resists seeing it.


5 stars
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This book has much to teach all of us about gratitude, sharing, and reciprocity. These are all critical things if we are going to ensure our existence upon the planet. Ultimately we must defeat the Wendigo of greed and selfishness that leaves us empty, and find a new way of democratically being in the world. It’s going to be hard for many of us to start thinking of all the plants and animals as our equals, but without it we are in serious trouble.
I loved this book so much that I plan to purchase a copy to own.


I'm listening to The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall. I'm reading Ravensong by Lee Maracle for bookclub. I've been reading Restart by Gordon Kormon during my breaks at work, but it is to slow to get into the book this way, so I'll focus on it when I'm finished Ravensong.


I've got three books that have to be returned to the library on the 15th: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, and Sit by Deborah Ellis. I honestly am not sure if I will get to any of them, but am ready to take recommendations for which one I should focus on.


#MustReadIn2018 15/25 1 in progress
#MustReadNFIn2018 5/12
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 7/25 1 in progress
Goodreads Reading Challenge 198/333