#IMWAYR October 15, 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.




Today I'm sharing two weeks of reading because last week we were celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving. I couldn't get it together with all the food preparation. We feasted on the usual turkey and trimmings but added a kimchi dish this year to celebrate our Korean daughter in law and some of her friends who came for dinner. 

Other than that and reading, I've been subbing in school libraries and working on another quilt. Cutting out all the different sized pieces turned out to be the most challenging aspect to it, although I admit that squaring it up is turning out to be more difficult than I anticipated. I might just send it off to be quilted as it is and trim it later. I'm also in the middle of planning another couple of quilts. There are many new babies in our world. 

BLOG POSTS


PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
I Hate Everyone
by Naomi Danis & Cinta Arribas (Illustrator)

This book reveals the complicated feelings of a young child at her birthday party. When I read these kinds of books I always try to make connections to my own life and the children I know. I live with a toddler and see this tension between the need for closeness and the desire to have things their way. Even though she can't explain what's going on, we try to reflect her feelings back to her. I wish I had had this book when I brought my second child home from the hospital. It makes my heart ache to see how this book captures my older son's conflict. 
Give this book to parents of young children. 
My daughter in law just told me it reminded her of herself at 14, so maybe just give it to parents with children at all ages. 

5 stars
Jerome by Heart
by Thomas Scotto & Olivier Tallec (Illustrator)

Raphael loves his friend Jerome unabashedly. This book pays homage to these kinds of close friendships.
It's beautifully written and translated.
"But she never says anything about how warm his smile is. She doesn't seem to notice that I have a secret hideout there, where I feel protected by Jerome's two eyes."
Olivier Tallec's illustrations have a warm tenderness that captures this relationship.
This is a feel good book, but there is also a bit of tension in the parent's inability to fully understand how and why Jerome is so important to Raphael.

4 stars
You're Finally Here!
by Mélanie Watt

I read this one at work this week. What can I say? It's Mélanie Watt so it's hilarious. As someone who hates to wait, I feel much compassion for this overwrought bunny.

5 stars
Orca Chief
by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd

This beautifully illustrated book reminds all of us to be mindful of the world around us. It shows us how connected we are to the rest of the planet and to give thanks for what we get from it.

3 stars
Beyond the Pond
by Joseph Kuefler

A boy dives deep into a pond and discovers an unimaginable world on the other side. Upon his return home, he sees his ordinary world isn’t so ordinary after all.

3 stars
In the Middle of Fall
by Kevin Henkes & Laura Dronzek (Illustrator)

Gorgeous illustrations take the reader through the beginning to the end of fall.

4 stars
Moon Glowing
by Elizabeth Partridge & Joan Paley (Illustrator)

The art in this is just stunning! With simple poetic text, it shows animals getting ready for winter. At the back of the book is a page of information about each of these animals. I and the kindergarten class I read this to, had fun transforming ourselves into the animals and preparing for fall. 

4 stars
Sun
by Sam Usher

I love the granddad grandson duo in this series of books about weather. Here they head off for a picnic on a scorching hot day. Poor Granddad has to take a lot of rests, but they still have a fabulous adventure. The way Usher shows the sun getting hotter and hotter is brilliant. The picture of the cover here doesn’t show the glitter on the actual cover that makes it sparkle and shine.

GRAPHIC

4 stars
Awkward
by Svetlana Chmakova

I liked this a lot even if i do have problems with parts. I can't help but wonder where staff are when bullying takes place and why something isn't done about it. That said, I liked the way two feuding school clubs were forced to come together to save themselves. I also loved the artwork and appreciated all the information in the back matter about Chmakova's working process.

4 stars
Peanut Butter and Jelly
by Ben Clanton

Jelly finally convinces Narwhal to try a taste of peanut butter cookie, and ends up on an out of control peanut butter eating binge. Like the other 
Peanut Butter and Jelly books, there is plenty of humour, sweetness and even some scientific facts. While this isn't my favourite of the series, I adore the puns on the back cover!

5 stars
The Broken Vow
(Spill Zone #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland (Artist) & Hilary Sycamore (Colorist)

I’ve been waiting for this book for what seems like forever. Spill Zone 1 won the Cybil teen graphic award last year. I expect this will be a contender this year.
It continues where the last one ended. Addie has collected dust from the spill zone to sell, but touching it changed her. Don Jae, a North Korean teen, has also been touched by the zone and has super powers. When Lexa, Addie’s sister is taken over by a being and is being stalked by another from the zone, it’s up to them to save her.
The colours in this are gorgeous! It’s emotional and exciting with a complex storyline and compelling characters. Now I have to wait for the next one! I hate waiting.


NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

3 stars
Ada Lovelace
by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara & Zafouko Yamamoto (Illustrations)

This very simple biography of Ada Lovelace has charming illustrations. The additional information about her life at the end rescues it from being too simple.

4 stars
The Mushroom Fan Club
by Elise Gravel

This delightful book will teach young readers a lot about mushrooms! The illustrations are fun and the text is simple. It's perfect for this time of year when mushrooms are popping up everywhere.

3 stars
Out of the Ice: How Climate Change Is Revealing the Past
by Claire Eamer & Drew Shannon (Illustrations)

This is more than a picture book. It is a solid information book about glacial archaeology. There are plenty of text features. My complaint is that at no time do they come close to addressing the serious ramifications of climate change.

NOVELS

4 stars
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
by Jonathan Auxier

Jonathan Auxier sure can write. This novel looks at the plight of chimney sweeps in Victorian England. It's got a bit of a Dickensian feel, but it includes a loveable golem.

5 stars
Tilly and the Crazy Eights
by Monique Gray Smith (for adults)

Tilly and a group of indigenous elders head out on a road trip to Albuquerque for the world's biggest Powwow. It ends up being a coming of age novel for the older crowd. Sure it's loaded with laughter and tenderness, but there is also loss, heartache and romance. A lot of learning and growing takes place. Each of them has issues to grapple with. Not the least are their histories of residential schools. I ended up weepy at numerous points in this book.

Ultimately it's a heartwarming feel good read about a group of people who are survivors. What more can you want?

NONFICTION

4 stars
A Short History of Progress
by Ronald Wright

I finished this one up for a book club and then we had to change our date. I hope I remember what it was all about by the time we meet. I seriously doubt that is possible. Wright takes us through the rise and fall of civilizations across time. I found it fascinating and depressing. Ultimately he brings us to a place where we have to face that we here now are repeating the same patterns as humans from earlier times, only this time we are destroying the entire planet, not just one part of it.

CURRENTLY

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is the audiobook I have on the go. I'm reading Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo as an ARC on my device.

UP NEXT

I have no idea, although I hope to dig into the pile of library books that I have here. I will start reading Crush, another graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 21/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 8/12 1 in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 20/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 349/333


Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel looks at the plight of chimney sweeps in Victorian England. It's got a bit of a Dickensian feel, but it is imbued with magic, including a loveable golem.

It's the story of a sweep who finds a baby girl, Nan, and looks after her. He teaches her his trade, but he is also a story teller who fills their hardest times with love. The story unfolds in two sections. Italic text tells the story of Nan when she was still with her sweep. Regular text puts the reader into Nan's present. When he disappeared he left Nan his top hat and a magical piece of coal that is always warm. It turns out this piece of coal is the seed for a golem that is released when Nan almost dies in a chimney fire. 

Jonathan Auxier writes gorgeous, 
complicated and rich characters. You can't help but worry about all of them. Nan is spunky and smart. Toby, who at first she isn't sure she likes, is resilient, loyal and clever. Charlie, the golem, is naive, strong, and full of love. At first he is hardly aware of his own power and purpose. Nan's sweep is a kind of ideal caregiver. Even Roger, the antagonistic sweep Nan works with, is shown to have a heartbreaking background that enables the reader and Nan to understand him better.

This book connects to universal truths about what it means to be human. Sometimes you read a book and certain lines jump out at you with the power of their universal truth. Here are some lines that resonate with me.

"That's how it works, doesn't it? We are saved by saving others." page 180

"That's what it is to care for a person," Toby Said. There was not even a hint of mocking in his voice. "If you're not afraid, you're not doing it right." page 272

Love is what this book is all about. After finishing it I've been thinking about what parents and caregivers give to their children and how much more we might be prepared to give to ensure their survival. Would we, like Nan's sweep, give our lives? Maybe we already do, bit bit, just like he did. 

Tilly and the Crazy Eights By Monique Gray Smith

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

To begin, I liked it so much that I plan to pick up and read Monique Gray Smith's prequel to this, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resiliance. I don't think it's necessary to read them in order. It will just be delightful to spend time with this character again and get to know her better.  
  
In this novel, Tilly and a group of indigenous elders head out on a road trip to Albuquerque for the world's biggest Powwow.

The trip originated in the women's stitch and bitch group with Sarah, one of the ailing members, talking about her dream of dancing at the Powwow. Then two older men join them. They managed to raise enough money for the trip by having film nights and baked goods sales. Each one of them has a specific bucket list item they want to cross off while on their journey. Tilly, the youngest, left her husband and children to look after them and be their driver. 

Shortly after they are on the road they name themselves Tilly and the crazy Eights. We get to know a lot about each of the characters as they travel from Vancouver, Canada, to New Mexico. I ended up caring for all of them although I wish Mable had had more of a presence.

It's a coming of age novel for the older crowd. Sure it's loaded with laughter and tenderness, but there is also loss, heartache and romance. A lot of learning and growing takes place. Each of them has issues to grapple with. Not the least are their histories of residential schools. I ended up weepy at numerous points in this book.

Ultimately it's a heartwarming feel good read about a group of people who are survivors. What more can you want?

Out of the Ice: How Climate Change is Revealing the Past by Clair Eamer & Drew Shannon (Illustrator)



I read a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book presents an overview of the kinds of artifacts that are coming to light as climate change causes a melting of the earth’s cryosphere. It’s organized around specific sections. The first four chapters deal with ice patches. The second section includes three chapters about glaciers. The four chapters in the third section deal with permafrost and finally there is a chapter about the cryosphere in general. 




Here's the goodreads blurb:

"As climate change is warming our planet, the ice in Earth's cryosphere is melting --- from glaciers to mountaintop patches to permafrost. An unexpected result of this melting has been the discovery of artifacts that were long preserved in the ice's depths. Tools, clothing and, perhaps most remarkable, human bodies have been revealed at the edges the retreating ice. Examining these discoveries, along with traces of plants and animals also melting out of the ice, is the work of researchers in a brand-new scientific field called glacial archaeology. This one-of-a-kind introduction to the work of these researchers examines some of the fascinating artifacts that have been uncovered and the insights they provide into how our ancestors lived. It also describes the urgency of this work; as soon as these clues to the past become exposed to the elements, they begin to disintegrate."


The layout is pleasing. Information on each page is accompanied by illustrations and photographs. Most of these have captions that explain what is happening. The illustrations give the reader a sense of what the world was like at the time the discovered artifacts were created.




There are sidebars with additional data. The back matter contains a glossary, an index, a timeline, and a list of where to go for further information.


I sure wish this book had been around when I working with a group of classrooms doing research on aspects of the hydrosphere. I would have purchased at least one copy. This book will be an invaluable resource in Elementary schools in all kinds of ways. Budding archeologists and anthropologists will be fascinated. So too will young meteorologists and hydrologists. Who doesn't want to read about ancient hunters and their tools, learn about mummies, and ancient rituals? It’s a fun and informative read for all of us.

However, I have one significant criticism of this book. While it does discuss how rapidly major aspects of the cryosphere are melting, at no point does it address the implications for how devastating this is going to be.

Let's face it - it's not going to be, "Oh goody! Look at what we can learn as all this ice melts." 

#IMWAYR October 1, 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.




Well I might not have gotten as much reading in as I wanted, but the birthday party celebrations are done for the next few months, and my house is clean again. These are the finished matching shirts I made for my son and his daughter. 



I'm trying to read as many graphic novels as I can these days since I am honoured to have been chosen to be a Cybil's judge in this category again this year. 

BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero & illustrator Zeke Peña

PICTURE BOOKS


4 stars
Snow by Sam Usher

Maybe it's because I am a grandparent, but I can see my partner being just like the grandfather in this book, slow to get started but full of fun once he's there. Did I want to shake this grandfather? You better believe it! Still I am enchanted by this humorous and surprising story about a young boy's adventures in the park with his dilatory granddad.


4 stars
Rain by Sam Usher

This is my second Sam Usher book this week and I am becoming infatuated with his work and this granddad and grandson. It’s raining and the younger one wants to go out and do the usual outdoor rain stuff, like catch raindrops and splash in puddles. The elder wants to wait for the rain to stop. They wait and they wait. The grandson comes up with imaginative ideas of what he wants to do. They wait and wait until finally it stops and they head outside into a magical world.

GRAPHIC

3 stars
M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder

I’m thankful for the goodreads blurb because it helped me understand the story more clearly. Huge chunks of it are almost wordless. In the middle of a sandstorm, A young deaf girl is rescued by a young man and his grandfather. They take her home with them where she is treated by the boy’s aunt. While she is recuperating, the town is visited by godlike creatures who take food and money from the villagers.
The artwork is beautiful and brilliant. My complaint is that it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and so I’m going to have to find the next book in the series, and it's not yet out!

NONFICTION GRAPHIC


5+ stars
Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero & illustrator Zeke Peña

I honestly can't gush enough about this biography. It's a brilliant collaboration between two gifted artists. 

Make sure you read it!



NOVELS


5 stars
Front Desk by Kelly Yang

This book is brilliant. Mia Tang and her friend, Lupe, are characters you can't help but love and root for. While reading of her struggles at the motel, I thought of the many immigrant students I taught and how they too worked for their families.



3 1/2 stars
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante & Hillary Huber (Narrator)

I'm compelled to continue this saga of friendship although I'm not always sure why. I loved the brutal honesty in the first book. It's here in this one too, but I can't help but wonder when these two best friends will finally realize that their jealousies and rivalries are not helping either of them. Being a strong and or successful woman still isn't easy, but it was even harder 50 and 60 years ago. This book reveals an overriding misogynistic worldview and how integrated it was into each woman's sense of herself. It's not always easy to read.


4 stars
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny & Ralph Cosham (Narrator)

I think this is the best book in the series I've read so far. Not only is there an exciting mystery to solve, we learn a lot more about the Arnot case. This one is loaded with twists and turns and betrayal at many levels.
I appreciate the strange contradiction between the seeming love and friendliness of the village of Three Pines, and the number of murders that take place in it.

ABANDONDED


2 stars
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

I tried to read this book twice. It carries an important message about being accepted just for who we are irrespective of our gender and sexual orientation. My problem is that it’s filled with too much teenage angst and unrequited lust. When characters start lying about who they are, you know it’s going to end badly. I was listening to this as an audiobook. If I find a hard copy, I’ll check out the end to see what happens.

CURRENTLY

I am not listening to anything right now. I'm reading a NetGalley title, Tilly and the Crazy Eights by Monique Gray Smith.

UP NEXT

I plan to get to another NetGalley title, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier. There is also a pile of library books.....

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 21/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 6/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 19/25 1 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 331/333