Here we are again with #IMWAYR! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit version of this meme. If you are interested reading about middle grade and YA fiction, click on the above links and spend some time perusing through the numerous blog posts.
I've been busy canning tomato sauce and making salsa this week. On Monday my uncle is coming over and we are making homemade tomato juice (it is the best!) After that I will finish canning whatever tomatoes are left.
BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK
Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson & Qin Leng (illustrator)
How I loved this book. It perfectly illustrates why old people and young people need to be together. It made me long for grandchildren. It left me nostalgic for my own special relationships with my grandmothers and older aunts. It's sure to resonate with all those children who have their own special friendships with older people. I know my mother would have loved this.
Kathy Stinson's delightfully simple text is accompanied by illustrations created by Qin Leng. (I adore her work) Together, these two have created a book that will pull at your heartstrings.
The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
The story feels a bit Red Riding Hood to start. A young chases through the snow after her father. He forgot a pie in a box for her grandmother when he went to clean snow off her walk. In her hurry, she falls in the deep snow and crushes the pie box. Nonetheless, she continues following her father all the way to a strange house. This is where the story begins to transform into a Goldilocks tale as it turns out she was actually following a bear dressed in a coat and hat and suit. Next thing we know the stories slides into a delightful tea party with all the forest animals.
I picked this book up because I was intrigued by Akiko Miyakoshi's work in The Storm. The illustrations in both books are primarily black and white. The only colour in this one is the girl's yellow hair and red hat, skirt and mittens. In The Storm the only colour is in the bits of blue green of sky and puddles at the end of the book. I prefer this one because of the splashes of colour throughout the book.
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
Honestly, about all I can say is wow. It is told in two voices. Will Bird is an elderly bush pilot, now in a coma in a hospital. His niece, Annie Bird, has returned from New York City to sit at his bedside. As the story unravels we learn much about indigenous life in the north and what life is like for them when they leave. It's a powerful narrative about loss, betrayal, love and mostly, survival. It's been on my to read list since 2013. I'm so glad I finally got to it.
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
This was a slow thoughtful book. Emmy and Oliver were born at the same time and lived next door to each other. They were best friends when Oliver was kidnapped by his father when he was 7 years old. Emmy, her parents, and Oliver's mother, have had to live with not knowing what has happened to him. Then, ten years later, Oliver returns.
I appreciated that Benway showed us how complex and fraught with challenges the situation was and is for all the characters.
There is some drinking and swearing which would give me second thoughts about even putting it on a grade 7 shelf. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to include it in a secondary collection.
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
This is brilliantly written historical fiction. It is also semi autobiographical. It's set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution at the end of the 1970's. Having lived through this time and learned more about it from Iranian friends, I was worried that Dumas wouldn't do justice to the many nuances of it. I shouldn't have worried. Cindy (Zomorod) Yousefzadeh is a character you will wish you knew. I am sure that immigrant students will easily connect with her wanting to be American, and having family still deeply connected to the traditions and culture of where they were from.
I think that this would be an excellent book for making connections to and thinking critically about anti muslim sentiment in North America today.
This is a netgalley title that I just finished. To be honest, I'm conflicted about it. Hopefully I will get a review posted this week and the writing will help me clarify what this is all about. I can tell you that I am very uncomfortable about these two boys attitude towards girls even though they do kind of learn their lesson.
The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
I wish I had liked this more because I admire both of these authors. It was ok, but not for me. Callum Hunt is a misfit kind of hero with a background filled to the brim with mystery. In spite of working hard to fail the magisterium test, he is one of the first to be accepted into training. Once there he makes friends for the first time in his life and starts to feel like he might belong. Unfortunately, mysteries in his past are leading him down a dangerous path.
I'm so close to finishing One Native Life by Richard Wagamese that by the time Sunday Evening is over I will probably be done. I'm in the middle of listening to A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab and have just started Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley.
We shall see. There are a lot of books on that pile.