#IMWAYR May 16, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 

It's been three weeks since my last update. In the middle of that time I ended up getting my heart fixed. I had paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (electrical issues). I went into the hospital at 11 am for a heart ablation and my husband picked me up at 6 pm to take me home. Isn't modern medicine amazing! 

Has it been as cold a spring where you are as it is here? Temperatures are below average and the forecast is for more of this. In spite of the chill we are thankful for the rain. I did get some tomatoes in the ground and hope to get the rest of the garden planted this week no matter what!

Titles with a ๐Ÿ indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

5 stars

I Am You: A Book about Ubuntu
by Refiloe Moahloli & Zinelda McDonald (Illustrator) February 1, 2022

This book makes me happy. I would purchase at least 2 copies if I was still working in the library. This unifying idea is one whose time has come! Thanks to Myra at Gathering Books for introducing it to us. 
"Ubuntu means "I am, because you are". In fact, the word ubuntu is just part of the Zulu phrase "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu", which literally means that a person is a person through other people. Ubuntu has its roots in humanist African philosophy, where the idea of community is one of the building blocks of society. Ubuntu is that nebulous concept of common humanity, oneness: humanity, you and me both."

5 stars

Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest
by Phoebe Wahl September 21, 2021

I loved this book so much I read it twice. Little Witch Hazel is a witch in manner of Terry Pratchett's witches. She is a kind of community health nurse who looks after the inhabitants of the forest where she lives. This collection of four stories to match the seasons are full of humour, delight, wonder and courage.

4 stars

Out of a Jar
by Deborah Marcero February 8, 2022

In an effort to avoid conflict and trouble, Llewellyn puts all their emotions into jars. When excitement and joy end up in jars, Llewellyn has to find a way to deal with all their emotions in healthy ways.

4 stars

Daddy Speaks Love
by Leah Henderson & E.B. Lewis (Illustrations) January 4, 2022

This book shows diverse groups of fathers showing love to their children in many different ways. What they all have in common is their support for love, for diversity, and their kids.

Unfortunately this book was not translated into English.
My granddaughter and I still enjoyed looking at the images and trying to figure out what the story might be all about.
I had fun reading this book with my two year old granddaughter. After admiring the endpapers full of mother and baby animals, she looked at the pages just long enough to see what the action was and proceeded to show me how she could do it.
Each two page spread shows an infant animal doing something beside a human child doing the same action. Each spread has two words like, Calves swim, Porcupines nibble.
We both enjoyed this book a lot, but I would suggest you don't try reading it just before bed.

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS 


This is an introduction to the life of Mary Anning, the Mother of Palaeontology. Maris Wicks artwork is just perfect. My almost 5 year old granddaughter was fascinated by the end papers. The ones in the front of the book are skeletons while the ones at the back are the artists rendition of what they might have looked like in life.
I thought the main part of the book was a bit short on details. Still, the back matter contains extra information about her and the different animals she found.

NON FICTION GRAPHIC


"Grass is a powerful antiwar graphic novel, telling the life story of a Korean girl named Okseon Lee who was forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War."
A number of years ago my Korean daughter in law and I went to a documentary on the Comfort Women. Her grandmother had told her about them. In the documentary, some were Korean, but others were from China. Wherever the Japanese invaded, young girls were kidnapped and turned into sex slaves. They are still waiting for an apology from the Japanese government. 
As Suk Gendry-Kim gives voice to one woman's experience, she validates the reality of the other women who experienced those horrors.  
 
While this is an adult book, I would purchase it for my high school library. 



This is the perfect example of how the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. It's poetry, painting, and collage integrated in a way that becomes a new hybrid of artistic expression. On the surface it's the story of a black family living through the Covid pandemic. It goes much deeper than this.
I tried it as an audiobook ages ago, but abandoned it because, even without having seen the book, the words alone were not enough. Without the synthesis of the words and visual art, it just doesn't work. While there really are not that many words, it still took me a couple of days of picking the book up, reading some, letting it percolate, then reading a bit more and letting it percolate, before finally finishing it.
I would like to have a digital version where the text is read by the authors as you turn the pages.

NOVELS

4 stars

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie
by Erin Soderberg Downing & Lu Banks (Narrator) April 6, 2021

The Peach family have been struggling since the death of their mother and wife. Lucy has taken on most of the responsibility for her younger siblings while her father has abandoned his children and sunk himself into his work. When he is forced to take a sabbatical, he purchases a food truck and decides that they will fulfill one of their mother's dreams by travelling around the country in a food truck.
They all have a lot of learning to do to make the trip a success and win the big prize of $10,000 at the food truck fair in Delaware, Ohio. The best prize of all is, after a lot of challenges, learning how to be a family again.
I really liked this family. Ok, so a lot of the time I wanted to smack the father over the head, but he turns out to be ok at the end. Lucy, Freddy, and Herb are realistic characters. I especially connected to Lucy. As the oldest child in a large family, when disaster struck, I learned what it's like to parent my siblings (and my parents).

4 stars

The Graveyard Riddle
(Goldfish Boy #2) by Lisa Thompson & Rosie Jones (Narrator) January 7, 2021

There is A LOT going on in this book!
Melody, Matthew and Jake are three friends. They go through the usual friend issues, but have bigger problems to deal with.
Melody's mother has put their house up for sale and refuses to consider talking to the father about financial support.
Jake is being bullied by one of the teachers at school. It isn't until the teacher ignores Jake's allergic reaction and ensuing anaphylactic shock, that his behaviour is dealt with.
Melody befriends Hal, a boy hiding out in the Graveyard. He tells her he is a spy for MI8 and weaves such a compelling story that she believes him. He even manages to persuade Matthew and Jake of his story. When the children finally deduce what is going on with Hal, it's a heart wrenching tale.

As gorgeous as the cover of this book is, the story inside is even more stunning.
Bitter grew up in foster care. Life was hard until she was chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school for artistic teens. Eucalyptus is situated in the town of Lucille, a community ruled by a corrupt billionaire, city leaders and police. Protests are ongoing and the only thing that seems to arise from them is more injury and death of the protestors. The Asata are a significant group that leads these protestors. When a close friend loses an eye after one of the altercations, Bitter uses her blood magic to bring forth Vengeance, an angel of death, who she hopes will stop the corrupt leadership and bring peace to Lucille. Soon an army of 'angels' joins with some of the protestors to hunt and kill Lucille's leadership.
Bitter and other protestors are opposed to this plan for murder and have to figure out how to stop them before it's too late.
While I was reading this I couldn't help but make a connection between The Black Power Movement of 1960's and 70's and The Asata. Both groups supported their community in many different ways.
In the end this book is a profound look into the difference between good and evil.

ADULT NOVELS 

5 stars

Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good April 14, 2020  ๐Ÿ

This was a reread for my book club. It was as profound, if not more so, the second time round.
If you want to understand what went on in the residential ‘school’ system and the ramifications for survivors, this is your book. Even though I was aware of the horror of these places, Michelle Good's story of five survivors brought my understanding of this violence against culture, families and children into a deeper understanding.

5 stars

The Man Who Died Twice
(Thursday Murder Club, #2) by Richard Osman &  Lesley Manville (Narrator) September 16th 2021

I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series, and I loved the first!
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron are back. This time the octogenarians have to find 20 million dollars in stolen diamonds and figure out who murdered two MI5 agents. 
As we get to know about the backgrounds of these characters, I adore them even more. It's a reminder to me of how many stories my elderly neighbours have inside them.


I listened to this book, but should probably have read it with my eyes. It's full of fascinating information about the multiple biomes that exist inside and around all things on the planet. I left this book aware of the immense complexity of the microscopic organisms that rule our world. If you are a fan of science nonfiction, read this. It will change the way you think about the world.

5 stars

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity
by David Graeber, David Wengrow & Mark Williams (Narrator) October 19, 2021

This is a brilliant book that shakes up what we have been taught about the history of humanity. Highly recommend!

CURRENTLY

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Didion, Joan
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

UP NEXT 

Cold by Mariko Tamaki
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 11/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 6/18 

Canadian Authors 28/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 11/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 113/250

#MustReadIn2022 April Update


It’s time for our first #MustReadin2022 update! These updates are optional, but some of us find that doing them keeps us more focused on our reading goals. 

Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That started #MustRead as a way to address our GoodReads lists. Leigh Anne Eck at A Day In the Life and I have taken over for her.

How are you all doing? Have you been distracted by other books? Have you made progress? What have you read that shines through? Add your link at the bottom of the page and let us know where you are at. 

You can see my original reading goals here.

NOVELS

So far I've read 10/24 books from my #MustReadIn2022Fiction list. 


All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac
This is a brilliant debut that shows what life was like for an Indigenous child growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. It's hard to read at times. 

Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Darius The Great, #1) by  Adib Khorram
This coming of age novel addresses body image and mental health issues. It is full of beautifully rendered, complex characters you believe are real and connect to on an emotional level. 

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys never lets me down. I was completely absorbed by this novel that highlights the life of Romanian teens under the brutal rule of Nicolae Ceauศ™escu.

The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess by Shannon Hale
My granddaughter and I loved this new Princess in Black book. While out on a friend's boat, the Princess in Black and a few friends meet Princess Posy, a real live mermaid. 

The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour by Dawn Dumont
A troupe of Indigenous dancers tours Europe in the 1970s. It is loaded with humour and heart-aching sweetness.

Pax, Journey Home (Pax, #2) by Sara Pennypacker
The war is over. Pax has moved on with his life and new family. In the mean time, Peter is still coming to grips with almost overwhelming loss.

Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney
I'm not a huge fan of superhero novels but I like that Nubia is shown as a real person with loving caring parents. 

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor
On her first day of school, Zubi hears all kinds of incidental remarks that cause her to doubt her own beauty. 

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier 
I loved this book much more than I expected to. I appreciate that most of the people, even though they make mistakes, do their best to be supportive of BeeBee, a transgirl. I like that it takes a while before we even know she is trans. 

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
I love the joy in this coming of age story. Even though there are some dark moments, overall this book is full of optimism and hope. I appreciated the diversity in the characters.

I also have two on the go: Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds & A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger.

NONFICTION

I've finished 5/18 books from my #MustReadIn2022Nonfiction list. and have The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber on the go. 


On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein
The world as we know it is in a precarious position. Naomi Klein addresses numerous climate crisis and extinction related issues in this collection of long form essays.

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson by Katherine G. Johnson
What an amazing woman! Katherine Johnson was a brilliant, compassionate, community minded woman who worked hard her whole life to make life better for African American citizens of all ages.
 
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
Understanding how other people experience the world is it's own kind of challenge. Connecting to how Octopus experience it requires a whole other level of comprehension.

Powwow: A Celebration Through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane
This book should be in every community and school library in North America. While the author focuses on Canadian First Nation Pow Wows, her scope extends to into Native American Pow Wow culture and dances.

Spรญlexm: A Weaving of Recovery, Resilience, and Resurgence by Nicola I. Campbell
Nicola I. Campbell integrates family, community, culture, land, and Canadian history into this personal memoir.

I'm currently reading The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber

INDIGENOUS AUTHORS

I've read 11/25 books by Indigenous authors from Canada and the United States, and have a couple more on the go. You can read more about them here


CANADIAN AUTHORS

I've read 23 books by Canadian Authors so far this year. Of these books, sixteen are by BIPOC authors. You can read more about these books here.



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#IMWAYR April 25, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 


How are you all doing? My sinus infection has disappeared, I'm on my last antibiotics and feeling almost human again. 

Despite the cooler than usual weather, I've been out working in the garden attempting to rid the vegetable patch of wild geranium. (Thank goodness audiobooks keep me entertained while I am out mucking in the dirt.) I thought I had it almost finished and then we had a few days of rain. When I went out today I noticed hundreds, if not thousands, of sprouting geranium seedlings. They are amazingly resilient plants. I might even admire them if they were not trying to invade my garden.

On Sunday I realized that I was supposed to be posting a MustReadIn2022 update post for everyone to link to. I have been working on it and promise it will be ready to connect to by the end of the day on April 25th. 


I am content to have continued with the April Poem a Day writing challenge. I almost missed one day but ended up writing late into the evening. 

Titles with a ๐Ÿ indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 


Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle
by Nina LaCour & Kaylani Juanita (Illustrator) March 29, 2022

This exquisitely illustrated book shows us a young girl missing one of her mothers who is away on a work trip. From the returning of blueberries at the grocery store, to laying prostrate on the floor, her sadness is brilliantly revealed in the artwork.


This is a powerfully emotional book.
River, a young Indigenous girl, is recovering from some kind of illness that is never identified. I suspect it might be cancer of some kind since there is a remark about her hair growing again. The family is going to a Powwow for the first time since she was sick.
River is a jingle dancer, but this year, as much as she would like to, she has no energy and is unable to participate. In spite of this, she understands that next year she will dance again.
The back matter is full of additional information about powwows. I especially appreciated the information on the history and purpose of jingle dancing.


I am so happy that this book is in the world. We need more like this - books that stretch our expectations for what boys and girls can do.

GRAPHIC


The 'mean time' is when Stuntboy's parents are fighting. They are fighting a lot. Readers understand that they are separating/divorcing, but Stuntboy doesn't realize this at first.
I suspect that a lot of children will see themselves in Stuntboy. I suspect that many adults will see themselves in his parents. For the rest of us, this book provides a window into divorce from one child's perspective.
My only complaint is that this book ends on cliffhanger.

NOVELS 


This coming of age novel addresses body image and mental health issues. It is full of complex characters you believe are real and connect to on an emotional level. It is my favourite kind of book.
Darius is half Persian and half American. His family travels to Iran where he meets his grandparents and extended Iranian family for the first time. While there he makes his first real friend, Sohrab.
Initially Darius and his father seem to be in perpetual conflict. The two have much in common since Darius has inherited the genetics for depression from his father. Things come to head between the two of them in Iran and the source of the antagonism is revealed.


I love reading about the adventures of this diverse group of teen spies. Each one of them has their own special skills. In this novel they end up travelling to San Francisco and tracking down a mole in MI6.
I might be a little bit addicted to this series.

ADULT NOVELS 


This is a brilliant debut novel.
If Eddie Toma was a real person, he would have been just a few years older than me. Children just like him grew up in the same part of the world as I did. I suppose it's no wonder I connected so profoundly to this character.
Through Eddie, Brian Thomas Isaac shows us what life was like for young indigenous children in the 1950s and 60s. Eddie has to contend with poverty, racism, betrayal and violence.
If you are interested in dystopian fiction, you don't have to read futuristic novels. Just read the history of Indigenous people in Canada and the USA. It doesn't get much more dystopian than that.
This could be a YA or an adult read. 

4 stars

The Thursday Murder Club
by Richard Osman, Lesley Manville (Narrator) & Marian Keyes (Narrator) September 03, 2020

I enjoyed this British cosy mystery. It's one of those stories that in spite of having a plot full of twists, turns and red herrings, it's loaded with gentle humour. Mostly though, it's really all about the characters. They are just brilliant: rich and complex with fascinating histories, like older folks you could meet anywhere. The only difference is that the four members of the club are fascinated by murder.

CURRENTLY
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber & David Wengrow
  • Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds & Jason Griffin (Illustrations)
  • A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger, Darcie
UP NEXT 
  • Five Little Indians by Michelle Good 
  • Bobbi Lee, Indian Rebel by Lee Maracle
READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 10/24 one in progress

#MustReadNonFiction 5/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 25/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 10/25 one in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 97/250

#IMWAYR April 11, 2022

 Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 


Just a reminder to everyone participating in #MustReadIn2022,  I will host an (entirely optional) update at the end of the month. How are you doing? My goal is to have a post ready April 25th for you to connect to.

How have you all been? I've been fighting a sinus infection for the past week or so. My head feels like it's full of cotton and it's been hard to focus on my reading. Luckily I had a stack of graphic novels and picture books to while away the time. 

In spite of the foggy head I have managed to do some poetry writing every day so far this month. I shared a poem about my mother with my family, but other than that, I'm just enjoying the writing. 

Titles with a ๐Ÿ indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

4 stars

Everybody in the Red Brick Building
by Anne Wynter, Oge Mora (Illustrator) October 12, 2021

Loved this cumulative story that begins with a baby waking in the middle of the night. The baby wakes up others and the sounds build up until everyone goes back to sleep to the cumulative quiet noises of night.

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars

Stacey's Extraordinary Words
by Stacey Abrams & Kitt Thomas (Illustrator) December 28, 2021

As a person who is not a brilliant speller, I am not a huge fan of spelling bees. That said, I am a huge fan of Stacey Abrams and was delighted to read this picture book memoir about her early life as a spelling bee contestant.
I suspect that if I had grown up thinking about words the way Stacey did, my spelling might have been at least slightly better. I hope this book inspires readers to be as persistent as Stacey about all of their goals. I also hope it encourages teachers to teach language with this kind of joy and creativity.


At first I thought this was going to be a take on the ant and grasshopper story. Initially it seems like this, but then ends up in an exciting adventure.
Two mice, Cornbread and Poppy, might be best friends, but they are as different as chalk and cheese. As winter approaches Poppy is not ready, but Cornbread is prepared to go with her into danger to help her find enough food to get her through the winter. They are forced to journey up the high mountain where danger and delightful surprises await them.
I'm getting this one for my grandkids for their fifth birthdays.
This book reminded me of Avi's Poppy series. I'll be suggesting my sons do it as a read aloud.

YA GRAPHIC


This book is about growing up and coming into your own power. The tension between Mandy and her superhero mom, StarFire, represents the separation of all children from their parents. It’s more challenging for Mandy because her mother seems to be the exact opposite of her. It’s only by distancing herself, and facing true danger, that she discovers how much they have in common.


Keum Suk Gendry-Kim calls this autobiographical fiction. It's loaded with truth about her mother's life growing up and fleeing North Korea when the communists took control. It introduces readers to the lotteries where a few hundred separated families are able to see one another for a short time. The tale is harrowing and heartbreaking.
This week I'll be picking up Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, a story about the Korean Comfort Women.

5 stars

Shadow Life
by Hiromi Goto  ๐Ÿ & Ann Xu (Illustrations) March 30, 2021

Death might be stalking Kumiko, but she is not ready for it just yet.
This book is profound. It reminded me of my mother and mother in law who were not ready to give up their independence when circumstances forced them to. I'm no spring chicken myself and see hints of those dark shadows that follow Kumiko around.
I love that while this book centres on Kumiko now, we are also introduced to the strong young woman she once was.


Things heave been pretty much the same at Fawn Creek school until the exotic new girl, Orchid Mason arrives. She's got her own secrets, but that doesn't stop her from changing her classmates lives. She introduces them to a new way of looking at themselves and accepting who they are. Before she leaves she also shows them how brave and genuinely good they can be to one another.

ADULT NOVELS 

5 stars

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman & Martin Jarvis (Narrator)

I just refinished listening to this in preparation for season 2 on Amazon Prime. 
This book is so much fun to read (or listen to.) It's easy to imagine how much fun Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman had writing it.
Two children are born. Another, the antichrist, arrives at the hospital and his planned substitution goes awry.
Consequently his strategic upbringing is meted out to the wrong child. This really screws things up, as nothing takes. Meanwhile, the real antichrist grows up in a small village with loving parents and a cohort of close friends.
Considerable celestial and satanic energy have been put into preparing for Armageddon. As the time draws near, the armies of good and evil are ready and waiting for the antichrist to take over the world and destroy it.
But what if the main actor decides to change plans?
This novel is peopled by a delightful cast of characters, including The Gang of Them, a 'fussy angel and a fast living demon', witches and witch finders, and the four Horsemen of the apocalypse.
It's also full of rich ruminations on religion, life, and what it means to be human.

CURRENTLY

Audiobook - Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

All the Quiet Places
 by Brian Thomas Isaac ๐Ÿ

UP NEXT 

Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds & Raรบl the Third (Illustrations)

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber & David Wengrow

Golden Gate (City Spies 2) by James Ponti

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 8/24 one in progress

#MustReadNonFiction 5/18

Canadian Authors 24/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 9/25 one in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 89/250

#IMWAYR April 4, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 


Just a reminder to everyone participating in #MustReadIn2022,  I will host an (entirely optional) update at the end of the month. How are you doing?

Hope you all had a fabulous time last weekend. I visited with my grandchildren and their parents in the big city of Vancouver, BC. My eldest son and I took the two youngest cousins to the aquarium. After reading The Soul of an Octopus a couple of weeks ago, I was happy to see that the octopus was in a much larger space with other native plants and animals. We searched and searched for it in the large tank, only to find it hiding in a small cave right in front of us. On the way out I purchased rubber octopuses for the children and (with apologies to Sharon Lois and Brahm) we sang this made up song almost all the way home: 

One octopus went out to play
Inside a kelp forest one day
She had such enormous fun
She called for another octopus to come....
 
We came home on Tuesday and the first thing I did was get caught up on the Canada Reads debates. This is the first time I have read all the books before the event. I wasn't really invested in having any of them win, but was sad to see Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Mรผller get voted off so soon. 

Titles with a ๐Ÿ indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

5 stars

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress
by Alicia D. Williams & April Harrison (Illustrator)

I had heard of Shirley Chisholm, but after Katherine Johnson, in her autobiography, talked about her, I determined it was time to learn more. 
Shirley Chisholm was a truly remarkable woman who certainly lived up to her father's words to, "Make something of yourself." No matter whether she was working as a teacher's aid or an elected representative, this daring, rebellious, persistent, troublemaking woman worked hard for her immediate community and all people. We need more politicians like her.

3 stars

I Have the Right to Save My Planet
by Alain Serres, Aurรฉlia Fronty (Illustrations) & Shelley Tanaka (Translation) ๐Ÿ April 1, 2021

This is a book that looks not only at the rights children have with respect to the planet, but also at what they can do to protect it. It is an important book - one that I would absolutely have in my school library, even if it does get a bit preachy in places. I was irritated because the bold print in my digital copy was a jumbled mess that was impossible to decipher at times.
I adored the artwork!

CHAPTER BOOKS


I introduced Ada, my eldest granddaughter to this, the first in Kallie George and Abigail Halpin's adaptation of Maud Montgomery's famous Anne of Green Gables. It was a reread for me. I am impressed again by how rich this version is and how it captures the essence of Anne's story so authentically. Ada is now hooked. I will read the next in the series to her when I see her again at the end of the month. 

5 stars

The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess
by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale & LeUyen Pham (Illustrations) February 01, 2022

My granddaughter and I loved this new Princess in Black book.
While out on a friend's boat, the Princess in Black and a few friends meet Princess Posy, a real live mermaid. Princess Posy has problems with kraken who terrorize her cute sea goats. The friends try to help her, but fighting under water is very different from fighting on land. Still, they inspire Princess Posy to take on and battle the kraken on her own. 
I love that this book in the series encourages children (especially girls) to speak up and use their voice on behalf of themselves and others. 

MG & YA NON FICTION


What an amazing woman!
Katharine Johnson’s story is the story of African American life in the 20th century.
She was a truly gifted learner who excelled at school. Her parents worked hard and sacrificed to ensure that all their children went to college. This was rare enough for white families and even more unusual for black ones.
She taught school, married, and had children before landing a position at NASA. Eventually she was an integral part of a team that put men on the moon.
In this book we get to see, through her perspective, the events of a century. 
I was fascinated by how, in spite of white politicians attempts to make education for black students more difficult, in many ways, these actions resulted in better education for black learners. Black teachers had to be much more qualified than white ones to get a teaching position, so their students were taught by superior educators. When universities were being forced to integrate, black students received grants to go to universities outside the state. Students ended up attending places like Columbia and New York State instead of the inferior campuses in Virginia - all on the government’s dime.
By the time I finished this book I was enchanted by Katharine Johnson herself. She was a brilliant, compassionate, community minded woman who worked hard her whole life to make life better for African American citizens of all ages. Irrespective of skin colour, the world needs more people like her.
The world would be a much better placed if everyone believed these words of wisdom given to her by her father. "You are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than you."


Ruta Sepetys never lets me down. I was completely enthralled by this novel that highlights the life of Romanian teens under the brutal rule of Nicolae Ceauศ™escu.
At the height of his reign, it is estimated that at least one out of every ten people was informing on the people around them.
I want more adults to read books like this. I believe that all those misguided people who think that they live under tyranny because they are asked to get vaccinated and wear masks, might come to realize how lucky they really are.

ADULT NOVELS 


Richard Powers is a force to be reckoned with. If he writes it, I will read it. 

Theo Byrne is raising his son, Robin, on his own after his wife, Ally, was killed in a car accident. Robin is a special kind of child to raise. He might be on a spectrum of some kind. What is for certain is that he is brilliant. Robin seems to have no impulse control and Theo is pressured to put him on drugs. Instead he sets him up in an experimental neurofeedback project. Robin makes dramatic progress until the project is cancelled because of political interference. Then it's just a matter of time until disaster strikes.


I think we talked more about this book in our book club than any other book. Maybe it is because we are all of age with the protagonists. Maybe it is because we were able to make some profound connections to our own lives. It is an epistolary novel - a conversation through letters between two lonely aging adults. We were all content with the unresolved ending.

NON FICTION


The world as we know it is in a precarious position. Here where I live, drought, heat waves, forest fires and floods, prove we are already experiencing the effects of the climate crisis. If we don't act now, there won't be much of a liveable future for our children and grandchildren. 
Naomi Klein addresses numerous climate crisis and extinction related issues in this collection of long form essays. I especially appreciate those articles that explain why we desperately need a green new deal, what it means, and how we can achieve it. 

5 stars

Deep House: A DreadfulWater Mystery
by Thomas King January 15, 2022 ๐Ÿ

It's no secret that I am a hardcore Thomas King fan. I have read almost everything he has written. His DreadfulWater series is a particular pleasure. Thumps DreadfulWater is a retired Native American cop who now lives in the small town of Chinook. He makes a living taking and selling photographs, and helps out the local sheriff when crime visits the small town. The characters take me back to a radio show, The Dead Dog Cafe, that King wrote for CBC radio. The books are so loaded with humour I find myself chortling and guffawing on a regular basis. At the same time, Thomas King slips important indigenous issues within the context of his brilliant story telling. 

ABANDONED


I had a hard time with this reread. I knew the ending for some of these characters and Hernandez' writing is so good, that I just dreaded revisiting what happens. I gave up on the ebook and tried to reread a hard copy, but returned it to the library unfinished. 

CURRENTLY

Audiobook - Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly
I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki & Yoshi Yoshitani (Artist) ๐Ÿ
The Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim & Janet Hong ๐Ÿ (Translation)

UP NEXT 

Audiobook - Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac ๐Ÿ

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 8/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 5/18

Canadian Authors 21/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 9/25 

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 81/250