#IMWAYR June 20, 2016

Participating in #IMWAYR is one of those weekly rituals that I am more than happy to be a part of. If you are interested in kidlit then you should hang out with everyone for a bit. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host this event and provide a way for us stay connected.

Never mind April, June is the cruelest month. In spite of, or perhaps because of the June teacher syndrome (drop dead exhausted and nearly witless) I have managed to get some reading in!

NOVELS

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

4 stars
This was delightfully creepy and beautiful at the same time. Serafina lives with her father, Pa, in the basement of the Biltmore Estate. No one knows that they live there. At night Serafina roams the house catching rats. Then one night, she sees a man in a black cloak capture a young girl and make her disappear. When she tells Pa, he refuses to believe her. As more children go missing, Serafina befriends Braeden Vanderbilt, the nephew of the house's owner. When the man in the black cloak seems to want Braeden, the two of them must come up with a plan to figure out who the man in the cloak is, destroy him, and save the children. 
Beatty has created memorable characters. He has placed them in settings that are both idyllic and terrifying. This is especially true for the forest where Serafina is forced to enter, in spite of Pa's warning.

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

4 stars
I read this book because Sloan's Counting by 7's was one of my favourite books the year I read it. I'll be there has the same way of connecting different characters and the same transformational aspect happens, although not so obviously. This is a love story, a story of poverty, and a story of making a difference. Emily Bell and Sam Border meet at church. There is an immediate connection, but they have a long way to go before it can be realized. Part of what I loved most about this book is how loving and caring Emily's parents are. 


5 stars

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

I got this from Netgalley and am working on a longer review. I found it to be intense, emotional reading at the beginning when, following the initial attack of the twin towers, Kyle Donohue worries about his family, his friends, and the girl he has rescued. I can't tell you more without ruining the story for you. 


GRAPHIC
4 stars

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

I got this from Netgalley. I liked it so much that I have added two copies to my shopping cart. (I'm not sure what I am going to do with this cart, since I am not going to be at the school next year!) This is a sweet book that includes friendships between diverse characters as well as some facts about jellyfish and narwhals. I know our younger readers will love it. 

PICTURE BOOKS

3 stars
Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman & Andy Elkerton (Illustrations)

This is another netgalley title that I liked well enough. The images are bright and bold, but the rhyming scheme didn't do it for me. I did appreciate the many diverse characters that make their way into the book. 



INFORMATION

Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers & Christopher Myers

4 stars
Christopher Myers illustrations, painted in shades of blues and browns with hints of white and black, are what really make this book spectacular. Each of his paintings is accompanied by a blues verse written by Walter Dean Myers. Combined, they reflect the multiplicity of emotions and situations the blues embody. I especially appreciated the beginning section where Walter Dean Myers provides an explanation and history of the blues as a musical multicultural phenomena. At the end there is both a timeline that shows how blues became mainstream and a glossary of terms that helped me understand blues lyrics more thoroughly. This is a book I would love to get for our library. 

Dorothea's Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock & Gerard DuBois (Illustrations)

4 stars
Barb Rosenstock is fast becoming my favorite nonfiction fiction picture book writer. I loved reading this biography of Dorothea Lange. I knew that she was a photographer but that was all. Rosenstock's writing is poetic and powerful. Dubois' illustrations are reminiscent of old photographs. I appreciate how much more there is than just the stunning text and images. At the end of the book there is a collection of famous photographs, an after note, a bibliography and suggestions for if you want to read more. Finally there is a timeline that gives a perspective of Lange's life.

The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick & Steven Salerno (Illustrations)

4 stars
Edith Houghton was an amazing character. A girl born with a ball in her hand. A girl who played professional baseball at the age of 10 in the beginning of the 1920s. A girl who traveled all the way to Japan to play baseball when she was still a young teenager. I enjoyed reading this book and learning about her, but it merely scratches the surface of the history of women in baseball. It is a good start, but I want to know more! I want to know more about who supported her and challenges she had. I want to know more about the rest of the members of The Bobbies. I want to know more about other teams. I want to know more!

CURRENTLY 

I'm listening to Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I cleaned out my bedroom enough to find my copy of The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester, and am happily reading it. 

UP NEXT

I have a couple of library books, Feathered by Deborah Kerbel and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor, that I should probably get to if I can find time to read with my eyes. I'm not sure what my next audiobook will be. I have a few NetGalley titles, but I have till August 5 before they disappear.  I must get working on my #MustRead in 2016 list so I'm ready when Carrie Gelson announces it's time for an update. I've finished 22/36 and have one on the go now. 

22 comments:

  1. Oooh, I am loving your nonfiction recommendations! Off to add them to my shopping cart as well. Happy Monday!

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    1. All of these books are really great. I hope you enjoy them.

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  2. Blues Journey is new to me although it's an older book. I'll definitely look for that one, Cheriee. I've read The Memory of Things, too, wonderful & poignant story, isn't it? Thanks for so many to put on my list. Seraphina & The Black Cloak sounds great & scary!

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    1. Blues journey is a beautiful book to look at. I'm just so impressed how intense and emotional those first few chapters of the memory of things are. Serafina and the black cloak is the perfect creepy book for middle grades.

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  3. What a nice assortment of books. Serafina... was a Kindle Daily Deal this week so I bought a copy. Don't know when I'll get a chance to read it though. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. Hope you enjoy Serafina as much as I did Kathy.

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  4. I didn't realize that the Narwhal book was on Netgalley. I'm going to have to check that out! I love Ben Clanton's books!

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    1. It was very sweet. Although I wasn't crazy that everyone had to wear a tusk and be the same in order to be part of the pod.

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  5. What a lot of wonderful books! Dorothea's Eyes is now on my must-read list! Thank you for sharing.

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  6. The writing in The Memory of Things was just amazing!
    I'm like Beth, I didn't realize Narwhal was on Netgalley either. I've heard great things about it!
    Serafina is a book I'd like to get to someday.

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    1. Serafina is available for $0.99 on your kindle from Amazon. I went ahead and got it and I'm looking forward to reading it, too.

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  7. You have a great list this week! I'm looking forward to reading Serafina because years ago I visited the Biltmore Estate on a family trip. We toured the house and the gardens, so this book might remind me of that. Have a great week and enjoy the beginning of summer!

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    1. I think you will get much more out of Serafina than I did because you will be able to picture all those places in your mind, while I had to make them up.

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  8. All 3 of the novels sound intriguing. The Memory of Things sounds especially fascinating. I hope my library has it. Thanks for these suggestions.

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    1. The memory of things will be published sometime in the summer. It is The memory of things will be published sometime in the summer. It is definitely a book you want to read. absolutely a book you want to read.

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  9. I think you and I have very similar taste!
    I need to read Polisner's books--I love her and all my friends love her books.
    Narwhal is the best, isn't it?!?!?

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. I have noticed this also Kelly. It means that if you like the book I will like it!. This is the only Polisner book I have read so far. It won't be the last .

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  10. I just finished The Memory of Things this morning. It didn't make my IMWAYR, which I wrote last night, but I am so excited to share about it. What a fabulous book!

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    1. Yes indeed! I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it next week.

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  11. Too funny - "drop dead exhausted and nearly witless." I was pretty reading to have time off, but have been filling that time so much I am still a little witless. ;) I have yet to read Serafina, but it's on my TBR. I have The Memory of Things in my plan since I'm doing Teachers Write so look forward to that one. The narwhal book looks cute! Blue's Journey and Dorothea's Eyes are two I also really enjoyed. Thanks for the titles.

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    1. I'm planning on doing teachers write as well this year. I'm hoping to read the other two books while I am high mountain camping and coming back refreshed and ready to go!

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