# IMWAYR October 19, 2015

We were away last weekend so yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving again, only this time with immediate family. Cooking up that feast is a huge endeavour! Right now I am really missing a long weekend as I could use an extra day to recover. 

Still, at least tomorrow is Monday, and time for #IMWAYR! Thank you Jen at Mentor text and Kellee and Rickie from Unleasing Readers for hosting this weekly event. If you are looking for something good to read, check out the links on their pages. It is pretty much guaranteed to get you excited about what to read next! 

At work it was another week of reading new (to our library) picture books. I carved out some time to listen to a few novels and read one chapter book. Finding really good chapter books that will hook children into becoming lifelong readers is one of my big challenges. 


PICTURE BOOKS

Ben Says Goodbye by Sarah Ellis & Kim La Fave (illustrator)
4 stars

My heart ached a bit for Ben who is grieving the loss of his best friend, Peter, who has moved away. Ben decides to move also. He creates a cave under the table and becomes a caveboy. He stays in there and imagines a world where the two boys are still together. Eventually he is enticed out by the smell of popcorn.
I pretty much loved this book.
I wish it had been around when my son's best friend, (also Peter) moved away.
 

This Is Sadie by Sara O'Leary & Julie Morstad (Illustrations)
5 stars

How I love this book. Sadie is a character you can't help but adore. It is another one of those books that as soon as I read it, I ran around showing it to any staff member left in the school. I adore the page that talks about Sadie's perfect day as it is also what my perfect day looks like. I am so looking forward to introducing Sadie to children. 


Waiting by Kevin Henke 
4 stars

Oh My! Kevin Henke is among the royalty of picture book writers and illustrators. These soft watercolor illustrations convey the perfect mood for waiting. 
I love that each character is waiting for something different, or nothing at all. 
It is deeply philosophical.

This,

"Once a visitor arrived from far away. 
He stayed a while,"
followed by this on the next page,

"then
he
left
and
never
returned." 


broke my heart a bit. 

4 stars
Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane Evans

Stunning illustrations and sparse, powerful text tell the story of a group of African Americans fleeing slavery. The juxtaposition of these simple words against the dark and light images creates complexity and reveals so much about this historical journey. 

5 stars

My Pen by Christopher Myers


I'm continuing my literary love affair with Christopher Myers books. All I can say about this one is sigh.... so perfect!
Last week I talked about Wings by Myers. My Pen is as profound a text in different ways. It's an homage to imagination and creativity. 
  
4 stars
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry & Tom Lichtenheld   

I absolutely love these illustrations! I think this will be an ideal text for learners who are just becoming readers because of the simple repetitive language on each page. I also like that it has a simple sweet message about friendship. I appreciated the final page where the pinecone makes his second appearance.

The Old Ways by Susan Margaret Chapman & John Mantha

3 stars
This is one of those classic conflicts between the old ways and the new. A young Inuit boy isn’t interested in the stories and skills of his grandparents until they are stranded on the ice. It is a lovely read and the softly realistic illustrations compliment the text. 
I’m nervous about this book because I don’t know who the author and illustrator are, and I’m always concerned about who is writing books about First Nation’s people. I’m mindful of Jacqueline Woodson’s comment when she was here in Vancouver last spring. ‘How can I tell my story when your foot is on my throat.’
In the dedications thanks is given to Ataguttaluk Elementary School in Igoolik, Nunavut. (The school name is actually spelled Ataguttaaluk) If it was written in collaboration with these students, I would be more comfortable with it, even if the author and illustrator are not themselves First Nation people.

CHAPTER BOOKS

The Top Team
 (Hey Jack!) by Sally Rippin 

4 stars
Jack is one of Billie B. Brown's friends. I think this realistic fiction is a good choice for children transitioning into chapter books. (That said, it has to pass the test of real readers) The text is large and there isn't too much on a page. In this one in the series Jack is forced to work in a math group with Alex, who Jack does not like. As the two boys learn to work together they start to enjoy each other's company. I like that while the boys get carried away by the competition, they also come to realize that winning isn't everything. 

NOVELS

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

5 stars
This was some ride. At first I was caught up in the humour and love and joy in Armani Curtis' family. I knew what was coming, but I was still laughing out loud. This is what family looks like, people who care for one another and squabble. 
The account of Hurricane Katrina held me in terrified thrall. As the black wall of water crashed towards them, I panicked alongside them. There were many moments when I held my breath. I prayed. At one point, I couldn't take it. I had to read the end before I went on. At least I could prepare myself for what was to come. I went back to read, and just when I believed that it couldn't get worse, it got worse. 
I started this book one evening and finished it the next day while we were travelling back from the Okanagan. I turned on my iPhone flashlight to read because I just had to complete it.
Just about everyone knows about Katrina, but what this book does is put readers up close and personal with it.
I like that while there are intimations of the horrific acts that went on after dark in the refugee camp setting, it isn't detailed. 
I'm looking forward to getting a copy and sharing it with my readers. Both the ones who want a gripping, gritty adventure, and those who fall in love with characters will love this one.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

2 stars
This is so not my kind of book. (Argh!) I really don't like those novels that show girls or women in competition for a man. I hate books with mean girls and this one has at least one. 
I read it to see what my readers find so fascinating. I didn't hate all of it. I enjoyed reading the parts about the young women getting along. I didn't even mind the budding romance between Prince Maxon and America. I actually liked Maxon. What irritated me was America's other love interest, Aspen. Seriously, the guy dumped her and when he arrives back on the scene she falls into his arms the first chance she gets! Good grief! How stupid can a girl be? Ok, she's seventeen, but seriously? Any respect I had for America's character was eroded beyond repair at that point. 

(This took me back to memories of my teen years watching couples break up at parties. Suffice to say it involved alcohol, crying and fighting and eventually, making up. Shudder..  I hope I never have to contemplate that again.) 

I guess I want my dystopian fantasies to be more proper. I'm not a fan of books with a love triangle either, so I'm not sure why I read it till the end. (Ok, I skipped over bits of it.)
Since I read this book to get a feel for how appropriate it is for my grade five, six and seven readers, who have been checking it out, I've decided, due especially to the heavy breathing make out sessions, that this is going on the grade seven shelf as soon as possible. 
Then I'm going to encourage them the read Princess Academy, The Raven Boys, or The Uglies, or Matched instead. 

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

4 stars
I've been meaning to read this book for a while but just didn't get around to it. I enjoyed this tale of Tree-Ear, a young homeless boy who lives with his friend and guardian, Crane-Man, under a bridge. Tree-Ear becomes fascinated by the work of a perfectionist potter, Min, and eventually goes to work for him. 
When the King's Emissary comes to inspect the local potter's work, he admires the new idea of inlaid work created by Kang, one of the local potters, but also appreciates the high quality of work done by Min. 
Eventually Tree-Ear sets out on a journey to the court with some of Min's finest pieces of inlaid pottery to gain a commission for his master. 
This is a lovely tale with a happy ending. 
As an offshoot from reading this book, I became interested in reading a bit about the history of pottery, specifically Celadon and the "Sanggam" inlaid designs. I started out wanting to give it 3.5 stars. Making this historical connection added to my appreciation for the book and so I increased my rating to a 4. 


The Abduction (Theodore Boone #2) by John Grisham

3 stars
I started this book because I've been desperate for literature that won't leave me feeling wrung out. I also wanted to know if this series, that we have in the library, needs to be read in order. I haven't read the first one, and this one seemed just fine without it. It isn't stellar literature, but it is an enjoyable read about a very smart kid, Theodore Boone, son of two lawyers. In this story, his friend April is missing. The authorities are unable to find her, so Theodore and his friends have to find a way to track her down and save her. 

CURRENTLY
I started too many books for me last week. I'm almost down to a reasonable number. I tried starting The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co #3) by Jonathan Stroud, but haven't had time to really get into it yet. I know that once I start, I won't be able to stop. I thought I could get into The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems, but I just haven't had time to sit down and read. Maybe tonight I'll find time. 

UP NEXT
I really have no idea. I'll see what comes available from the library. I've got The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett, but I can't bear to start it because I know that when it is done, it really will be the final visit with Tiffany Aching. I still haven't found my missing library books, but I did find Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone by Darlene Foster, a book that I lost ages ago!




30 comments:

  1. I am always jealous of the sheer number of books you manage to get through!
    Lots of wonderful PBs here! I was so upset with the beautiful elephant breaking in Waiting. It made me so sad! I should have asked Mr. Henkes about that when I saw him last week.
    Diva and Flea is fun, I hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Michele, it's all about the audiobooks which I have going all the time. That sure was a powerful image in Waiting wasn't it?

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  2. I am always looking for transitional chapter books and I don't know Hey Jack. It sounds like it has an important message.

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    1. Sally Rippin has two series for this age group. Billie B. Brown is one that I have and is read by girls mostly. Hey Jack is the other. We shall see how they stand up to the challenge of real readers.

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  3. Thanks so much for this. My perfect day too!

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  4. Thanks so much for this. My perfect day too!

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  5. Favorites of mine this year are This Is Sadie, Waiting and My Pen. There are so many lovely picture books coming out! Thanks for the honest review of The Selection, not my cup of tea either, but I imagine a few teen girls who would love it, right? Thanks for all, Cheriee.

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    1. Alas yes Linda. I'm going to try and find alternative titles that have much stronger and more positive female role models though.

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  6. I can't wait to read Waiting. I love the illustrations!

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  7. I am pretty sure I would have loved The Selection when I was 11 or 12. That was just my cup of tea then. As an adult reader, I have absolutely no patience for that kind of story. I admire you for reading it in order to connect with your younger readers. It's exactly the kind of book I will booktalk without having read it! Just can't do it! I adored Waiting and My Pen.... Waiting is perfect, isn't it? And yes, deeply philosophical. A book I will be able to read again and again and appreciate differently each time. A Single Shard was a struggle for me. Some of those historical Newberys bore me to tears!

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    1. I have to admit that now that I have a Korean daughter in law, I was more motivated to finish up A Single Shard! I also think that listening while doing other stuff, makes it easier than to stop everything and just focus on the book. Truly, reading about the different pottery was fascinating.

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  8. The picture books look wonderful! I had the same reaction you did to the Selection. My daugher loves the series and begged me to read it. I read the first one and would have liked it much better without the return of Aspen--or at least if American had spurned him. I was intrigued with the secrets hinted at within the history of the land (or lack therof), but I don't think I can wade through another love triangle to see if it gets explored.

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    1. They are Kay. I don't think I could read another book in this series no matter what!

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  9. You've read some awesome books this week! I love This Is Sadie! I have Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere on my Kindle, but would you believe I still haven't read it?! I'm inspired to get busy and read!

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  10. We can't believe how many books you read this week - Thank you for telling us about Waiting by Kevin Henkes. The way you describe it makes it a book we will put at the top of our list. Can't wait to read it.

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    1. It will be one of my favourites this year.

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  11. Wow, what a great selection of books! I looooove "This is Sadie" - what a simple yet wonderful book (I especially love how well it captures the wonderful strangeness of children when Sadie whispers to her dresses - perfect!). Thanks for sharing this impressive collection! :)

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    1. You are welcome. I have a lovely great niece named Sadie who is getting this for Christmas this year!

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  12. The new Henkes title reminds me of the poem Little Boy Blue that was part of my speech for speech team in high school. I may have to read it. Theodore Boone is okay-- some things just don't ring true about it for me. Looks like you had a great reading week!

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    1. It is pretty simple. I had a conversation this afternoon with a boy who was checking out Carl Hiaasen title about the merits of the two writers. We both preferred Hiaasen.

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  13. So many wonderful picture books that I want to read! I loved Stick and Stone and Waiting. My Pen and Sadie are on my TBR.
    My students LOVE The Selection as well. I just bought it for my classroom library, but I don't know if I want to read it...

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. I think it depends on how old your students are. At least now I can ask them questions in hopes they read it with some critical eyes.

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  14. Linda Sue Park is just fabulous. I haven't read that book, but I want to! Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. It is the only one of hers I've read. I think I look forward to more of them.

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  15. Hi Cheriee, this is a whole LOT of books - so amazing that you've had such a productive week - not just picturebooks but novels as well. I was especially taken by Waiting - I think it would resonate with me at this point in my life, I hope we already have it in our libraries. I have yet to read the new Jonathan Stroud series - I better find them in our libraries soonest!

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    1. Myra, they are really fabulous and lots of fun too! Imagine Ghostbusters in a Victorian setting with young people fighting the ghosts.

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