#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

#IMWAYR October 9, 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.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian people. We have enjoyed one feast with extended family here in Oliver and will be returning home to Vancouver tomorrow for another feast with our sons and the babies.

I'm struggling to read novels with my eyes these days. I'm thankful that audiobooks still work for me and I adore a good picture book. I just can't seem to stay focused with my eyes. It's unfathomable that I have been working on the same novel for over two weeks ! There is a pile of books that I have to return to the library because I can't get to them. 

Perhaps this is because I've just been very busy. I've been away every weekend for the last month or so. We are in our Okanagan house this weekend and I thought I would get some reading in, but instead I've been cooking and cleaning. I'm also finishing up a knitting project, trying to complete two quilt tops as well as babysitting my little grandbabies about 4 times a week. I love them to bits, but they are exhausting.

Here is me with both of them when they are around 100 days old.



BOOKS FOR BABIES

3 stars
What Does Baby Want: A book about breastfeeding by Tupera Tupera

Everett was pretty focused on the baby faces in this one. It might resonate humorously with adults who are dealing with a crying baby and can't figure out what it wants. Having breastfed my own children much longer than most people thought was reasonable, I laughed out loud at the two page spread of breasts.

3 stars
Things That Go by Élisa Géhin

This is supposed to be an interactive touch and feel book, but it wasn't very tactile. We did like the bright bold pictures though. Most of these vehicles are way beyond the ken of my grandbabies, but they do have experience with the stroller.

3 stars

Why Cry? by Yusuke Yonezu

There are lots of crying animals with wide open mouths that you can put your fingers into. In theory it will cheer up a crying child. Thankfully my little person was happily sitting on my lap reading.

4 stars
Baby Faces By Margaret Miller

Ada loved this one. I loved that these photographed faces represent the diverse world we live in. Each page has one word to describe the face the baby is making. This one has lots of potential for conversations about emotions. 

4 stars

Goodnight Bear by Jane Cabrera

Each page in this book says goodnight to a different animal and end up saying goodnight to the moon. The illustrations are lovely but my little one wasn't as interested in this one as the one with faces.

PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh

It's Duncan Tonatiuh, so you know the illustrations in this one are spectacular. This book shows that while two cousins live in different countries, their lives are similar in many ways. I appreciate the illustrated Spanish vocabulary throughout the book. This book resonated for me since I'm lucky to have a few cousin's  who are some of the most important people in my life.



3 stars



XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex & Scott Campbell (Illustrations)

I'm conflicted by this book. I love Scott Campbell's water colour illustrations. On one hand it's a kind of humorous story of an ox who thinks he is in love with a creature he has never met. On another, it's a creepy story about a stalker who doesn't know how to take no for an answer.


5 stars
A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson & Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)

This book made me all weepy. It's the story of an exasperating grade two student and how her teacher changed the trajectory of her life. As a teacher I've had one or two children like this and they are the ones I wonder and worry about most.

4 stars


A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo

A very big bunny is ostracized because of her size. She remains friendless until a very small bunny comes to her school. This book is about acceptance and friendship. It shows how friendships with people very different from ourselves helps us to become the best we can be.


NOVELS

4 stars
The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

This is a fabulous story about a boy who is addicted to reading. His school and parents set up a plan whereby he can't read during school time. At after school care he sets up The Losers Club for students like him who just want to sit around and read. It ends up being more successful than he anticipated. I adore all the literature mentioned in this book. The story ends up being a celebration of reading and readers. While there is a certain amount of bullying going on, I appreciate that in the end there are no real nasty characters.

5 stars

Refugee by Alan Gratz & Narrated by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia and Assaf Cohen

Just wow! This book was pure joy to listen to. The different voices help to keep the different narratives separate. Alan Gratz tells stories, set in different times and countries, of three different refugee families. By the end, when he reveals how the three families are connected, he shows the rest of us that we are all connected to each other.

CURRENTLY

I'm still reading When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I will finish it tomorrow on our way home or die trying! I'm listening to You Don't Have to Say You Love Me written and read by Sherman Alexie.

UP NEXT

I'll start She Persisted and then go on to Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh. My next audiobook will be They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 25/36 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 28/50 1 in progress

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 4/6


Goodreads Reading Challenge 319/333

#IMWAYR October 2, 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.

I had a wonderful week. Headway was made in the garden and some housework got finished. Babysitting the grandkids was fun, but exhausting. A weekend away at a cabin on the ocean with two cousins and one of my best friends was the highlight. We laughed. We danced and sang along with all kinds of music. There might have been a few bottles of wine. There was definitely good food and cake.

I just didn't get much reading in.

BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK


BOOKS FOR BABIES

3 stars

Tip Tip Dig Dig
by Emma Garcia

Nice bright colours in an Eric Carle style are paired with simple large text. The different machines are in different colours although they all have google eyes. I like the repetition in extra large text on each page. I can see little ones eventually joining in on this part.


3 stars
Baby's Day by Flowerpot Press

I liked the photographs of the different babies. I like that the book is multicultural and for the most part these babies are genderless. There is one word on each double page spread.

4 stars
Baby Dance by Ann Taylor & Marjorie Van Heerden (Illustrator)

Beautiful bold colours and rhyming text make this one a delightful read aloud!

5 stars
Quantum Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

Because, it's never to early to introduce your little ones to nonfiction. 

Our library copy is dual language: English and Chinese. So are the rest of the series, but the books can be purchased in English only. I have come to like both languages on the page. Chris Ferrie, a Canadian father of young children, uses simple illustrations and simple text to explain physics to very young children. Colours in the text match the colours of the different parts of the atom in the illustrations.
I'm sure my grandkids are too young for this, but Ada actually looked at the pictures and I learned about electrons, how they work, and what a quantum is! I suspect that high school physics teachers might want a copy. 

PICTURE BOOKS


3 stars
Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka (Illustrations)
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I've been thinking hard about what to say about this book. I've read it three times, and I'm still not really sure how much I like it. I like the lush colourful illustrations full of detail. I liked the poetic language like in this section below.
Tokyo and his family live in a city, but his grandfather remembers what it was like before:

"Then, the house looked over hills and forests and Meadows and streams. Deer grazed on the hills. Foxes ran through the forest. Bird saying in the Meadows. Salmon leapt from the streams.
But now, all of that was gone.
Tokyo's grandfather said the city had eaten it all up.
Cities had to eat something, after all."

Similar to Jack in the Beanstalk, Tokyo is given three seeds by an old woman who promises him that the seeds will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo planted the seeds in his backyard. In the morning three flowers were blooming. The garden continued to grow, taking over buildings, streets, and eventually the whole city. In a few days wildlife invaded the city and the people were forced to adjust.

I wanted to like this more than I did. Some pages have a lot of text on them, and to make matters worse, the black text on the dark background make it difficult to read.

CHAPTER BOOKS

5 stars
Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I don't have to read these books anymore, but when an author creates a character like Dory Fantasmagory, and there is a new book out, I just have to see what that kid has gotten herself into now.
In this one Dory is having some problems learning to read. Her imagination is still as wild as ever though.
If you have primary aged children, this is an ideal chapter book. All of these Dory books will be fun to read out loud because adults will end up loving her as much as their children do.

NOVELS

5 + stars
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

This is the best book I have read in ages and ages.
A plane full of beauty queen contestants crashes into an island. They are the only survivors. Not only do they survive, they learn to appreciate each other while they become the best people they can be.
I love this book so much. It's both screamingly hilarious and seriously kick ass. It should be required reading in high schools. Never mind that, it should be required reading for people of all ages. If you have read Lord Of the Flies, this is the antidote.
Libba Bray's narrations knocked my socks off. I went around getting people to listen to just a bit of it here and there to try and convince them that they needed this book.

CURRENTLY

I'm still reading When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and The Inconvenient Indian. I'm listening to The Losers Club by Andrew Clements.

UP NEXT

I'll start Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and then go on to Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez. My next audiobook will be Refugee by Alan Gratz.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 25/36 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 28/50 1 in progress

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 4/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 308/333