#IMWAYR MARCH 12, 2018

#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.



BOARD BOOKS
4 stars
Little Face Big Face: All Kinds of Wild Faces! by Bill Cotter

I read this with my granddaughter, Ada. I thought she would like it because of all the faces, even though they are not human. She was so, so with it until we got to the last page where there is a mirror. Her attention focused completely when she saw herself. She moved in so that her nose touched the mirror. She tried to grab at her reflection. Then she closed the book and immediately opened it to peer in at herself. This opening and closing business went on for a number of times until Daddy came and got her.
When I reread this with Ada, I realized that she kept turning that back page because she was looking for the rest of the person in the mirror!

4 stars
Guess What - Sweetie Time? by Yusuke Yonezu

Ada is now entertained by these lift the flap books. It helps that I say Peek a Boo! when we lift them. She likes to open and close them over and over and over.... This is like the other books in this series where something is transformed into an animal. In this case, some kind of sweet treat is changed when the flap is lifted.


PICTURE BOOKS
5 stars
Don't Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Elizabeth Zunon (Illustrations)

The title caught my eye and so, as a Grandma myself, I had to bring it home. I didn't realize until I looked more closely at the cover that is is written by the same person who wrote The Book Itch, another title I read this week. 
I ended up adoring this so much that I read it a few times. I am not much like the glamorous Great-Grandmother Nell. I'm more like my grannies who were round and soft and huggable. What they did do that Great-Grandmother Nell does, is tell stories about other times and love their grandchildren. Even though Nell isn't a huggable Grandma, what comes across in this book is how much love the narrator and her share.
Gorgeous illustrations accompany the text. I have a few favourite pages. The first is the one of Nell with her "short, stubby glass with a picture of a spider on one side" filled with something that looks like apple juice. Great-Grandmother Nell calls it "heart medicine" for a broken heart. On another page "She remembers the time her best friend said they couldn't be friends anymore because of her brown skin."
When the girl asks,
"Is that when your heart got broken, Grandmother?"
"She looks out the window and whispers, "The first time."
It's the two page spread with a collage of historical photographs, headlines, and watercolour images that gives us an understanding of who Great-Grandmother Nell is and what she has endured. This is the page that had me aching for my mother's mom, my Granny Alaric, who told stories of seeing Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, among many other tales of time long gone.

4 stars
Alego by Ningeokuluk Teevee

A young girl goes out clam digging with her grandmother. She discovers many different kinds of sea life, but, after being sprayed by a clam, doesn't collect any.
I like the simplicity and ordinariness of this story and that it shows an inter generational relationship. It's bilingual with Inuit and English text on the same page. Inuit words are integrated into the English text and there is an illustrated glossary at the end of the book.
The endpapers are maps showing Cape Dorset, where the story is set.
I appreciated Ningekuluk Teevee's illustrations. I am always looking for samples of coloured pencil art to present as models for students and will add her work to the collection.
I recommend doing a google search to see the fabulous scope of her artwork.

5 stars
Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon & Kristy Caldwell (Illustrations)

So so beautiful.
I know the story of the cellist of Sarajevo, but this story highlights a young man who sold flowers in the market where twenty two people where killed while waiting in a bakery lineup. Through his eyes we see the increase in distrust and negativity that culminated in that bombing. We also see how Vedran Smailovic's cello playing, in homage to those twenty two victims, encouraged others to show kindness and care for each other again.
I didn't listen to the CD that accompanied the book, but I did go to watch and listen to John McCutcheon's music video of Streets of Sarajevo. If you haven't seen it, stop what you are doing now and watch it.




3 stars
At Night by Helga Bansch

I like the art in this one almost as much as I enjoyed Rosie the Raven. The book is organized in two parts. One half shows different animals at night. If you start from the back of the book, the title is ....But At Night Sometimes, and shows the same animals sleeping in very different places. It would be fun except that bats do not sleep in their caves at night! I know it's a picture book, but this misinformation drove me crazy!


4 stars
Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen & Bob Shea (Illustrator)

I read this, sight unseen, to a group of third and fourth graders. We all enjoyed it and they mostly got the message of inclusion. I think many of them missed out on a lot of the geometry jokes, but they were all engaged. One of them had the courage to ask what double Dutch was...

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrations)

What a gorgeous, stunning picture book! A young boy tells the story of his father and the book store he established. Lewis Michaux was a unpublished poet and visionary. The National Memorial African Bookstore was a haven for black intellectuals, revolutionaries, and artists, but it was also an important place for ordinary everyday people. Michaux's passion for educating his peers through literacy is reflected in many of the slogans he created, especially this one,
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
YOU NEED IT EVERY HOUR.
READ A BOOK!
I'm heartbroken that this bookstore isn't still there to visit some day.

5 stars
I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino

Just Wow!
The picture book traces the history and power of story telling from when tales were told around campfires by our ancient ancestors, to cave paintings and forward to today when stories are read digitally.
Terry Pratchett wrote, "People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around." If he were still with us, I think he would love this book.
I used this book with a group of grade three/four students this week. We began with a discussion of the above quote, and then I read the book. There were all kinds of questions about why books were burned, what did censored and banned mean? 
This is a book every school library should own.


CHAPTER BOOKS

4 stars
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence & Elizabet Vukovic (Illustrator)

This is a charming little story about a young girl who wants to help her family make mochi, a Japanese sweet. Traditionally in her family you have to be ten years old to participate. Unfortunately Jasmine is only eight. Not only does Jasmine want to help, she wants to pound mochi with her father, a traditionally a male job. I leave it for you to read and find out if she gets what she wants. You will find out that Jasmine is strong in all kinds of ways!


MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

5 stars
Wish by Barbara O'Connor

Charlie Reese is a character I won't forget any time soon. She's got fiery spunk, maybe even a bit too much of it. In spite of having a mother who never gets out of bed, a father who's in a correctional facility, and a sister living far away, she manages to make a wish everyday. At first Charlie isn't happy having to stay with her Aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus. What changes things for her is being surrounded by their love, her friendship with Howard Odum and his family, and getting her own dog who adores her.
I admit to getting all teary eyed more than once while reading this.
This book is on par with The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson and One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

4 stars
Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen & Tara Sands (Narrator)

I listened to this while waiting for other audiobooks to become available. I enjoy that Sammy grows up a bit in each of her adventures. I also enjoy that Van Draanen embeds social issues into each of these novels. In this one, we are introduced to new characters and learn about the efforts to save the California condor from extinction.


ADULT AND YA
4 stars
The Furthest Station (Peter Grant #5.5) by Ben Aaronovitch

I enjoyed this book well enough. The mystery, encounters with ghosts, talking foxes, river gods and goddesses, and magic is what I have come to anticipate and love from this series. My problem is that I have listened to almost all of the other books in the series. Without Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narration, Peter Grant's character just didn't feel real.

5 stars
Celia's Song by Lee Maracle

This beautifully written book, if you are able to let go of your own conceptions of reality, will show you that there is more than one way to know the world.
The characters in this novel inhabit a landscape where past, present and future, and physical and spiritual realms exist simultaneously. It is historical in scope; from the beginnings of time for this group of indigenous people, through to the disasters of first contact with white people and on to residential schools, and the fallout in the present from all that.  A two headed snake is out to devour the people. Mink, the transforming witness, views the world from a first person perspective while the rest of the story is told in 3rd person. Celia is a seer and it is primarily through her eyes, those of Mink’s, and eventually, Celia's nephew Jacob, that these other ways of understanding the world are revealed.
It’s a matrilineal world. Celia, her mother, and sisters become empowered as they learn who they are and accept themselves. At first, Steve, the white doctor who is involved with one of these women, doesn’t grasp their power or intelligence. The sad truth is revealed in one of the male character’s reflections on white men, “What Ned thinks is even scarier is that they don’t think their own women are very smart on the other side of the bridge, and so they cannot imagine the women in this village being smart either.” 
At one point the family talk about how the vote silenced and destroyed them. Voting destroyed a cultural model for decision-making that had worked to build consensus. When there was an issue, conversations would take place between all the different members of the community. By the time a meeting was held, each family sent a representative, and everyone already knew what they would do and what each person’s role would be.
This is a book about catastrophic loss, healing, justice and survival. Something terrible happens in the middle of this book, but this action of evil becomes a catalyst for deep change that is predicated on indigenous knowing of the world.
After I read this book I read reviews on Goodreads. Many people mentioned that this book made them aware of their own whiteness. This is a good thing.

CURRENTLY

I'm back to reading The Book Scavenger and more of This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.
I've just started listening to Thud! by Terry Pratchett.

UP NEXT

I plan to start Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling and then read Thousand Star Hotel by Bao Phi. I'll listen to Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older next. I also need to read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for book club.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 7/25 1 in process

#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 4/25 1 in process

Goodreads Reading Challenge 87/333

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18 comments:

  1. There are some interesting picture books on your list. Wish is just wonderful. I loved all of the characters. The author has a new book coming out this summer which I'm really looking forward to.

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    1. I have read that she has a new book coming out. That is exciting news!

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  2. I don't know if I will be able to find Alego and it sounds lovely, Cheriee. You've shared so many good books today. I watched the video, and as I said in my review of Flowers for Sarajevo, I remember how beautiful that city was before the terrible conflict. I love Wish, too, hope more and more keep reading it! Thanks, love hearing about your grand baby & those board books!

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    1. It is an older title Linda. I wish I could have see Sarajevo before the conflict.

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  3. I am very excited to read Wish. I got a copy for my classroom and it was checked out before I had a chance to grab it.

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    1. It is very good Stacey. So far it is my favourite Barbara O’Connor title.

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  4. Celia's Song looks captivating! Oh my... putting that on my TBR list. I have Wish checked out, so I hope I can start that in the next two weeks. And I really hope you enjoy Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus as I did. Aven is a remarkable character and I felt Dusti Bowling did a wonderful job of representing the mind of a strong middle schooler (who just so happened to have a disability). My goodness, Don't Call Me Grandma makes me giggle -- the title, alone. I would very much like to read this one. Thanks for sharing, Cheriee!

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    1. I’ve been looking forward to reading Insignificant Events for ages. I hope you get a chance to read Celia’s Somg. My words have not done it justice. I’m looking forward to reading Lee Marcle’s Ravensong.

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  5. Great list with lots of my favorites. I need to check out the Sammy Keyes book; I had several students who really enjoyed those books.

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    1. I'm always trying too keep up with books people highlight!

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  6. I just love Jasmine Toguchi! There are 2 published books in the series with 2 more being released this year. I have recommending it to all my Junie B Jones fans.

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    1. I love her too. There are some amazing young girls in children's chapter books!

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  7. If you loved The Book Itch, did you read the graphic novel No Crystal Stair? If not, I highly recommend you do.

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    1. Hurrah! My library has it and it's available.

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  8. I am really interested in this Jasmine Toguchi series for my class! LOVED Wish. I am a huge Barbara O'Connor fan!

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    1. I enjoyed it too. I'm on the lookout for a Series highlights a Korean girl too these days.

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  9. Most of the picturebooks you shared here are ones that I absolutely love and adore - particularly Don't Call me Grandma - isn't it just powerful? I have a few of Ben Aaronovitch's earlier novels in the series, and I am still hoping I will get to them at one point, crossing my fingers. :)

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    1. Now that I am a grandmother, I'm am fascinated by books about us. This one was particularly poignant. Like all great picture books, there is so much going on in those images!

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