#IMWAYR March 12, 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. The adult version of this meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. The kidlit rendition is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

This past week I have been thinking about and appreciating my high school sewing teacher, Mrs Netta Thompson. (Mrs T) The sewing directions for the quilt I am working are bizarre in places so I've returned to what Mrs T taught us about sewing curved seams, and while it might take me a bit longer, I'm getting better results. I've also started teaching my daughter in law to sew. I channeled Mrs T again as we started out creating simple bibs that involved many different skills. Here are our finished products.


I also managed to get enough done on my quilt that I can take some pieces into a fabric store and decide on what colours to use for the center of the arcs. 

BLOG POSTS THIS WEEK





PICTURE BOOKS


5 stars
Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Luján Chiara Carrer (Illustrations) Elisa Amado (Translation) 

This is a deeply philosophical book that shows a young boy deciding to take a closer look at a beetle instead of stomping it. What ensues takes him into a different way of seeing the world. It's another picture book that works for children and adults.
4 stars

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston

I loved the reference to books in the illustrations, but it was the beautiful text that absolutely wowed me in this book. I too "am a child of books. I also "come from a world of stories."


4 stars
Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski

The story here is fine, but Zagarenski's illustrations make this book. This tale of a missing toy and it's return, blurs the lines between real and not real, in the world of magical thinking that young children inhabit.




5 stars
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas & Erin E. Stead (Illustrations)

This book is drop dead gorgeous with a deeply philosophical message about purpose and meaning in life. I want all my adult friends to read this one.




5 stars
Peace Dancer by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd CL

Many different cultures have stories of a great flood that once covered the land. This one comes from the Kitkatla village of the Tsimshian nation. I agree completely that, "the lessons taught may be more important now than they were thousands of years ago." It's a powerful reminder of our intimate relationship to the natural world, whether or not we are aware of it.
Vickers' glorious illustrations are layered with supernatural figures. These connect us to a way of seeing a world that is deep in many dimensions of reality.

4 stars
Birds by Kevin Henkes & Laura Dronzek (Illustrator)

I adore Dronzek's illustrations in this striking book that pays homage to birds. I am very impressed how these two artists create tension just by watching seven birds on a telephone wire while waiting for movement.


4 stars
A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

The illustrations in this book are so stunning I want to purchase a copy, cut them out, frame them and hang them on my walls. This is a quietly philosophical book that imagines how the lion statue at Place Denfert-Rochereau came to end up there.


CHAPTER BOOKS

4 stars
Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel by Charise Mericle Harper & Ashley Spires (Illustrations) Netgalley

I'm working on a blog post for this. In a few words, this is a charming story of a young girl who gets a special present from her grandmother. The interactive gift provides activities that continue on for a number of weeks. (I want to be this kind of grandmother) It's a story about making friends. Ashley Spires black and white illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this story. I hope it becomes a series.

4 stars
Tank & Fizz: The Case of the Battling Bots by Liam O'Donnell & Mike Deas (Illustrations) CL

This book is full of action and humor. I like that these characters are not human and nearly genderless. It's a combination of mystery, fantasy, and pure fun. The combination of graphic novel and straight text will make chapter book readers happy. It made me happy too.




NOVELS

4 stars
A Day Of Signs And Wonders by Kit Pearson CL

This is based on two real characters, Emily Carr and Kathleen O'Reilly. Pearson has imagined them meeting one summer day in 1881, in Victoria BC. The day is pivotal because it cements the two girls directions in life. Pearson has done an amazing job creating characters I couldn't help but admire and love. I am especially infatuated with her take on Emily Carr. For those of you who don't know of Emily Carr, she is a famous Canadian landscape painter.

4 stars
Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music (Amanda Travels #5) by Darlene Foster CL

Darlene Foster writes middle grade novels about two plucky girls, Amanda Ross, and Leah Anderson, best friends from different continents. These intrepid travellers visit different places around the world and solve mysteries. In this one, the two girls cruise the Danube river, hide a rare violin, rescue a homeless boy and learn a lot of geography and history before the trip is done.


ADULT NOVELS

4 stars
The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin & Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator)

I have no idea how this book came onto my radar, but when I found it available as an audiobook, I downloaded it. It isn't what I would call a comfortable read. I didn't even really like the characters, but it completely fascinated me. On the surface it's the story of an expat Chinese journalist researching and writing about his ex wife's novel and claims made about it. It's also about the power of the media and how it is manipulated for political purpose. While this book explores this issue with respect to China, it's an important book for what it reveals to us about the relationship between government, corporate interests and media here in the western world.

CURRENTLY

I have too many books on the go! I'm reading Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan, The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano (a netgalley title) and
I'm listening to Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott and Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.

UP NEXT

I'm not sure since I've got so many on the go, but I will commit to reading the first two novels in G. Rosemary Ludlow's Crystal Journals series.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 5/36, 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 1/12, 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 11/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 25/52

Goodreads Reading Challenge 92/333 

Tank & Fizz: The Case of the Battling Bots by Liam O'Donnell & Mike Deas

I was pleasantly surprised by this slightly wacko chapter book mystery. It's a combination of mystery, fantasy, and pure fun.

Tank and Fuzz are two fourth grade monsters who solve mysteries in their spare time. (Tank is a tech savvy troll & Fuzz is a goblin) In this case the two detectives are asked to investigate possible cheating in a student built battle bot competition. Some older students claim that Rizzo, a known bully, is using professional technology instead of doing the work himself. The detectives first attempt to prove that Rizzo is a cheater ends up with the two of them in the principal's office.

There are probably creepier things than having a spider for a principal of a school, but I can't imagine what.

Fizz and Tank bring in Aleetha, an elf training to be a wizard, to help them out. They discover that Rizzo is connected to the mysterious Codex, an expert hacker who is threatening to destroy the city if construction of a new stadium isn't halted.

I came to really like these plucky little characters. They are nearly genderless, although I think Tank is supposed to be a girl. The book starts out with a great lead that is sure to grab readers attention. The plot is melodramatic with evil villains, corrupt officials, and environmental degradation. It's loaded with humour, but also has some tense action packed moments.

The combination of graphic novel and straight text will make chapter book readers happy. Here is an example from CanLit for LittleCanadians. Go to their link if you want to know more about this book as their review is far more detailed than mine. 


I'm not the target audience for this book, but I was entertained. I'm pretty sure kids will like it too. I might have to find and read the first in the series.

Readers who are fans of Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath series will most certainly enjoy the Tank and Fizz series.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle

This is not an easy book to read. By the end of chapter two I had to put the book down, not sure if I could continue. Unfortunately, Native American history is all too often dystopian. What Tingle does, is highlight particular aspects of it. In Tingle's How I Became a Ghost, readers are introduced to  the Choctow Trail of Tears. This novel reveals and highlights the brutal treatment of the Navajo at the hands of white people. 

In those first two chapters, soldiers arrive at a peaceful community, gather up the people, kill their animals, and burn their hogans, orchards and farms. Then they begin forcing the people to march 300 miles south to Fort Summer. 

Danny Blackgoat manages to escape once, but is recaptured. As a consequence, he is tied to the back of a horse and paraded up and down the march as a lesson to the rest of the people. Once they arrived at the Fort, the near dead boy is sent off to work in a prison camp where he is expected to die. Thankfully he makes some friends who protect him from one of the nastier guards.

Based on true details taken from Tingle's research into the Navajo March of 1864, this is not an easy read. Yet ultimately it's a story about the power and determination of one boy and the rest of the Navajo people. It's the kind of book I can see many readers enjoying.