#IMWAYR October 23, 2017


#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.

My brother and I had a wonderful time in Portland last week. We didn't get to do everything we wanted to do, but it was a successful visit nonetheless. We met some delightful locals in different brew pubs. I even found an ale or two that I almost liked. As you can imagine, since bookstores are my passion, we visited a few. The children's bookstore in the Alberta area was closed when we were there, but we spent close to four hours at the downtown Powell's location and I spent at least another hour or more at the one in the Hawthorne section.

BOOKS FOR BABIES

3.5 stars
Look at You!: A Baby Body Book by Kathy Henderson, Paul Howard (Illustrations)

A lovely toddler brought this to where I was sitting in the children's section at Powell's books. Since she left it behind I picked it up to read. I like the soft watercolour illustrations and the diverse children represented. Ada wasn't so impressed. She liked the larger pictures of the babies, but wasn't keen on the smaller illustrations. This is a bit too long for a baby her age.

4 stars
You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith & Danielle Daniel (Illustrations)

This is a netgalley copy that I picked to read for me but also read with my granddaughter. I'm not sure if she loved the bright colours in the illustrations, or if it was the light from my ipad. This is an important book that teaches readers how 'we hold each other up.' I'll be writing a more in depth review of this.

PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars
After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

Just Wow!
Now I get what all the buzz is about.
This picture that continues after Humpty Dumpty falls, is a story of hope, resilience and not giving up.

3 stars
Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals by Mo Willems

I like this book for new parents, but since I’m looking for books that I expect to engage babies, I don’t think this will work. I’ll try out a library copy before purchasing.

5 stars
Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds & Peter Brown (Illustrations)

This is a reminiscent of The Cat Comes Back, but with a delightful ending. Peter Brown’s illustrations are just just perfectly spooky!

4 stars
Boo Who? by Ben Clanton

This book works on so many levels. It is a great Halloween book for younger readers just because the main character is a ghost. It’s the message of inclusion that Clanton writes into it that makes it a book for reading all year round!

4 stars
You Belong Here by M.H. Clark & Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrations)

Beautiful poetry and orgeous illustrations make this the ideal picture book to read to children. I can imagine it becoming a favourite bedtime story.

4 stars
The Bad Seed by Jory John, Pete Oswald (Illustrations)

How I love this story of a bad seed who decides to change. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. This will be a great book to talk about manners and how to treat other people. I adore the humour and positivity in this one!

5 stars
Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi

Wow!
Such a powerful message about war and peace is portrayed in this wordless book!

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark & April Chu (Illustrations)

I liked this book well enough. Chu’s realistic illustrations are gorgeous. This focuses primarily on Ada’s work with Charles Babbage. In this respect we get a bit more information about her relationship with him and the work they did. Previous picture book biographies have already covered this information as well as revealing more details of the rest of her life. If I had those, I’m not sure I would buy this.

MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

4 stars
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate & Charles Santoso (Illustrations) & Nancy Linari (Narrator)

I finished this book in the fall when the deciduous trees blaze with color.
I can’t imagine finishing it at a better time of year. When else can we believe that trees have stories to tell? Perhaps they are there telling them to us all year long, but in the fall we are so reminded of their existence. This Wishtree tells us the story of families that don’t quite fit in, and ultimately how the rest of us find a way to include them. It’s an important message for all of us to hear.

GRAPHIC

4 stars
Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci (Goodreads Author), Jose Pimienta (Illustrations)

I've read a couple of Cecil Castillucci novels, but this is my first graphic novel. This historical novel set in the 1930's, features Pearl, a young girl who runs away from an abusive family. She becomes Soupy, a boy, and takes to the hobo life under the tutelage of Ramshackle, an ailing old man. Ramshackle teaches Soupy how to dream and find goodness and beauty all around them. Through their journey Soupy finds self worth and confidence.
Powerful images portray life in hobo jungles.
At the end of the novel there is a glossary of hobo signs that were used to help other travellers with directions and advice about people in communities along the way.

YA & ADULT NOVELS

5 stars
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera & Michael Crouch, Robbie Daymond & Bahni Turpin (Narrators)

I would have read or listened to this anyway because Adam Silvera writes such riveting books, but this audiobook has Bahni Turpin! 
Two different boys get a phone call to let them know they will die today. They connect through an app called last friends and spend the day together. It's a brilliantly philosophical book that is first and foremost a compelling story. I thought I had figured out how the end would come, and was completely wrong. You might want a box of kleenex for this one. 


CURRENTLY

I'm reading Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez and working on Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I'm listening to Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

UP NEXT

I'll be listening to Saving Marty By Paul Griffin. I plan to read Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder and The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez,

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 25/36 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 31/50 1 in progress

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 4/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 339/333

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#IMWAYR October 16, 2017

#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.

Early Monday morning I am heading off to Portland with my brother for four or five days. I am not sure when I will get to respond to everyone's blogs but I will try once I have wifi and am settled in.


BOOKS FOR BABIES

3.5 stars
Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns by Richard Van Camp

The babies and I admired the photographs of the diverse families. The text is lovely, but more appealing to adults than very small children. I tried singing it and that engaged my granddaughter a bit. Still, just looking at these pictures while holding your little one is worth your while.

4 stars
Who Does Baby See? by Flowerpot Press

We like lots about this book. It portrays diverse babies with members of their family. Each two page spread names the relationship and shows two different families. Guess which page is my favourite. 


We just wish it included cousins and don't care so much about the bath buddy and dog.

4 stars
Newtonian Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

This series is ideal for adults like me who are not conversant with the world of physics. Our four month old babies seem to like the bright colours.
This library copy is bilingual in both English and Chinese. I appreciate the colour coding in the text that matches the illustrations
I've read it at least three times and almost get the concept. Maybe babies are smarter than me?

4 stars
Ojibway Animals by Jason Adair

I fell in love with the illustrations in this book when I was out visiting Fort Langley Historic Park this weekend. I didn't have time to read the whole thing at the gift shop, so I had to purchase it.
Each animal is accompanied by a sentence about them. "Beavers love to chew on bark. Frogs can hop far and wide." The name of the animal is in a different coloured font. I read this with my four month old grandbaby. She scanned her head to look at the different images on each page. I call this successful reading for this age.

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

This nonfiction picture book provides just enough information about a number of influential women, to whet readers’ appetites for more. I can see this used in schools in many different ways. First, as a springboard to learn more about these individuals. Second, as writing models for students to publish information about their own collection of important women.
Upon reading it I wanted a book just like this that highlights Canadian women. I regret that I’m not still working or I would rustle up some classroom teachers to work on a similar project.

MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

4 stars
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

This was a delightfully creepy and suspenseful read. Not my usual fare, but satisfying none the lest.
Harper Raine and her family have moved from New York City to a haunted house in Washington DC. She isn’t happy, and being unable to remember chunks of her past is only part of the reason. When her little brother becomes possessed by an evil spirit, Harper, her new friends, and her estranged grandmother have to do something before it’s too late.
I appreciated the Korean cultural components as well as the mystery and ghost busting. Ellen Oh has created some interesting, authentic characters. I sure hope there is a sequel so we can get to know them better!

YA & ADULT NOVELS

3 stars
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I enjoyed a lot about this book. I loved the characters. I loved how strong the young women are and how principled Rishi is. Both the primary and secondary characters are multidimensional and realistically developed. My only question is, are there really teens as bad as the nasty ones here are made out to be?
The window into another culture is fascinating. What didn’t work for me is the romance. I suspect I’m just way too old to read all that emotional angst. 

5 stars

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

Holy shit!

Nobody writes with such sharply honed honesty, vulnerability and talent like Sherman Alexie. His depictions of life on the reserve are nightmarishly gritty. There is humour, but he doesn’t flinch at revealing all aspects of its dark underbelly and where this darkness originated. 
No other human could narrate their own work with the poignant authenticity of Sherman Alexie. His grief in sections is palpable. I wept. Then I wept some more.
As I listened to this memoir, I often stopped to rewind and repeat a chunk in order to fully appreciate his power with words. I scribbled bits and pieces of it down.

Who else could have imagined writing something like this?

I whispered, "I love you," and walked, grief drunk and afraid, into the rest of my life.

or this,

Listen. I don’t know how or when

My grieving will end, but I’m always
Relearning how to be human again

I’m thankful I got to listen to this, but I’m also thankful to have a hard copy of my own. I’ll go back to it again and again.

CURRENTLY

I'm reading Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I'm listening to Wishtree by Katherine Applegate and I just started Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

UP NEXT

My brother and I will decide between They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera or Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward as an audiobook for our journey. I've packed Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez and other than that, I'm going to read what I have on my device until I visit Powell's and other bookstores in Portland.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 25/36 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 30/50 1 in progress

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 4/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 326/333