It's Monday again, my favourite day of the week. Time to check in with hosts Jen From Mentor Texts and Kellee andRickie from Unleashing Readers, to find out what bloggers around the world are reading this week. My partner and I head off early this morning into high country. There will be no internet once we arrive, but I'm going to try to read as many blogs as I can while on the road before it disappears.
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Sometimes I wonder how authors can consistently wow me with their writing. Cynthia Lord is one of them. I admire her for fitting relevant social issues into everything I've read so far. In this one, two girls from different backgrounds become friends as they paint boxes for mason bees. I fell head over heels for all these characters. This is a book that deals with prejudice, loss, friendship and finding out what is really important.
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
This book didn't wow me, but it did manage to draw me into its world and get me to care about the characters somewhat. In the world of Quill, when children reach a certain age, they are labelled wanted, necessary, and unwanted. The unwanted are sent away to die. Only it turns out that the unwanted are the lucky ones who end up in the magical world of Artimé. This is a land where magic, emotions and the creative arts are celebrated.
Twin boys end up separated and find themselves in these different worlds. Aaron remains in Quill where he begins to climb the social ladder towards a prestigious position. Alex, on the other hand, ends up in Artimé where he longs for his twin to join them. He finally figures out a way to contact Aaron, but instead of saving him, ignites events that may well bring about the downfall of Artimé.
I like the ending of this book - it was satisfying, but tantalized readers to want to find out more.
I struggled with this strange dichotomy of creativity in this book. It breaks my heart that as education funding gets strangled, it is the fine and performing arts that get axed, but I believe that creativity is a much deeper concept that this.
The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon
This is another sweet middle grade novel about a girl who's mother takes off with an itinerant preacher one summer. Eventually Ivy and her friend, Paul, decided to take off in search of her. It's a journey fraught with suspense and near disaster. The two find help in unusual characters. This is a book about friendship, loss and finding out who you are.
I really came to care about Paul, Ivy, her father, and even her mother. As a parent I could really connect to her father's anxiety and fear when the two children run away. I liked the contrast between Ivy and her faith in God and Paul and his faith in science. I think that as they grow, these beliefs will mature and change with them.
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (audiobook)
I downloaded this book because I have readers who like this series. I wanted to see what it was that drew them in. Maybe it is because I have been listening to Skulduggery and The Unwanteds, but this book was too slow for me. It is a thoughtful, academic mystery that just didn't get me excited, although I did manage to finish it. I'm going to be looking at readers who like it with some awe and appreciation when they next come asking me for more like this.
Loula and Mister the Monster by Anne Villeneuve (netgalley)
I love Loula and Gilbert, the family's lovely chauffeur. In this adventure they do their best to teach Mister, the rambunctious hound, how to behave.
Water is Water by Miranda Paul & Jason Chin (illustrator)
This beautiful book tells the reader about the water cycle all the while revealing our personal relationship to its many incarnations. Chin's glorious illustrations embrace and enhance the patterned poetry of Paul's text.
enormous smallness: a story of ee cummings by Matthew Burgess & Kris Di Giacomo (illustrator)
although the cover doesn't use all lowercase letters in the title of the book, I feel compelled to change it here. i read my first cummings poem in high school, lo these many years ago, and entered into an infatuation with his work that has lasted till this day. for a few years i refused to use capital letters, even into my first year of college. there, one of my beaus gave me a collection of cumming's love poems. he is long gone, but i still have the book.
i like the choices of poetry here in the book, but there aren't enough of them. It does include in just spring which gets posted on our library poetry wall just about every year. i would have a hard time choosing a favourite of his poems, but somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond, resonates for me about the transformational power of love.
I didn't know how much i had been waiting to read this biography until i had it in my hands. it feels like uncovering the secrets of an old friend.
i didn't know that cummings
wrote his first poem when only three
drove an ambulance in the first world war
after finishing this book I went to read more about his work. one of the interesting facts i discovered was that cummings was influenced by Amy Lowell, another of my favourite poets.
i'm getting this book for our library for those teachers planning on making writing a focus this year.
A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike Blanc (illustrator) (netgalley)
This is a charming story of a group of children playing. Two of them ask questions to a friend, who has two mothers, as to which mommy does certain things. Ultimately what this book shows is a young boy who is well loved by his parents.
A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius by Stacey Matson
One of my goals was to read more Canadian authors this year. With books like this, it's pure joy.
Arthur Bean has big dreams. He plans to grow up and become a famous author. In the mean time he has to get through the many challenges of grade seven.
Told through journal entries and emails back and forth to different characters, this story takes us through the year following the death of his mother. His father has kind of checked out of life and isn't paying much attention to anything. Then there is the writing contest due April 1. He's certain he will win if only he can come up with a story idea. The ideas, however, just don't want to come. He's got a crush on his writing buddy, but she's already got a boyfriend, even if he is a jerk. On top of all this, he has to tutor Robbie Zack, a bully who threatens him regularly.
Arthur tests the patience of all his teachers, but for the most part, they recognize his creative brilliance and do their best to rein him in. It isn't easy. It requires an expert sense of humour. When his regular teacher breaks her leg, the substitute doesn't cope well with him, leaving both of them unhappy.
I suspect fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will like this book. It has some drawings but is much more text based. It would also be an interesting book for teachers to use as mentor text since Arthur has to complete a number of writing assignments.
Currently I'm listening to Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger. I've in the middle of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera on my device and I'm in the middle of Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley as a hardcover.
Up next, I've got Shadow Scale by Rachel Harman, a pile of paperbacks, and a whole mess of titles on my device. I am so looking forward to being where my options are hiking, fishing, or reading. I'm hoping there won't be any hiding from, or running from, bears.