#IMWAYR May 29, 2017

Hello Everyone! It's been a couple of weeks since I was here. I missed you.

#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.

My Chocolate Lily jurying is finished at last. We had a lovely meeting where we decided on the books students will read. I'm still trying to decide if I want to do it again next year. It got in the way of my more serendipitous reading, and now I've got to focus on my other reading goals. 

I spent six glorious days at a three bedroom cabin on the beach with a group of dear women friends. I didn't finish a book the entire time, although I made progress with one. 

While there I completed hand sewing the binding for two baby quilts. When I returned home I settled into finishing the top of the very late wedding quilt. I'll be taking it in to be quilted later on this week. I should have resewn some of the insides of the arcs, but the ones I did tackle didn't seem to come out significantly better, and besides, I'm trying to learn that perfection is the enemy of the good!

Baby Quilt Fronts
Baby Quilt Backs

Wedding Quilt Top

5 stars
A Different Pond by Bao Phi & Thi Bui (Illustrations) (Netgalley)

This story of a Vietnamese refugee family adjusting to their new life in America in the 1970's is a must read.
It is beautiful on multiple levels.
Thi Bui's illustrations are flat out gorgeous. Together he and Bao Phi convoke a fragment of time that highlights a relationship between a young boy and his father that is so loving, it made my heart swell and my eyes water.
Bao's father wakes him up early one morning, before the sun is up, to go fishing. Each moment of this experience is captured in exquisite beauty: the waking up, the travelling along the dark and quiet streets, stopping in at the bait shop, hiking to the fishing spot, catching the fish and building a small fire before their return home in the dawn light. At the same time, this experience is shadowed by memories of the father's other fishing trips with his lost brother.
The notes in the back matter tell us more about Bao and his father, and show a photograph of them together.

4 stars
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence & Gabrielle Grimard (Illustrations) (Netgalley)

This is a poignant story that speaks to a relationship between a young indigenous girl and her grandfather. When she asks how to say Grandfather in Cree, she is introduced to how he lost his language during his time in residential school.
I appreciate that the time at residential school is dealt with in a way that is both gentle and profound. I admire how this story shows hope for the future through the strength and optimism of the child and her ability to heal her Grandfather.
Grimard's illustrations are stunning as usual, but I'm not so happy with the formatting of the text.

4 stars
The Journey by Francesca Sanna

I think it was Myra at Gathering Books who introduced me to this book on her blog. I'm so very glad she did. It's a powerful story that highlights the experience of fleeing from war and tragedy. The mother's strength is profound. There is one brilliant illustration that shows her weeping once the children are sleeping in her arms.

I am so enthralled by Francesca Sanna's illustrations that I want to translate the images into some kind of fabric art.


4 stars
Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis & Carmen Mok (Illustrations)(Netgalley)

Humour and sweetness infuse this beginning chapter book.It begins with Liam and his 'Nana Downstairs' waiting for Sophie, the new baby, to be born. Their plan to be bad to make the day go by faster is just delightful. When Sophie finally comes home, Liam has a hard time waiting for Sophie to grow up enough to play with.


3 stars
Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot & Sandy Rustin (Narrator)

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. Heather Wells is a former teen pop singer whose life fell apart when she lost her recording contract, caught her boyfriend cheating on her, and gained a few pounds. At this time she is working as an assistant dorm director at a local college. When young women start dying, Heather is certain that something sinister is going on. I loved the humour and mystery, but got tired of the drama and emotional angst by the end. 

4 stars
White Jade Tiger by Julie Lawson CL

This is a reissue of a book first published in 1992. I liked it as much now as the other times I've read it since it was first published. (I used it in literature circles) Jasmine, a young Canadian girl ends up going back in time to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. She befriends a young Chinese boy, Keung, who has come to Canada looking for his missing father and a white jade tiger amulet. I can't respond to the authenticity of the Chinese cultural aspects but the book is still a good read with a surprising ending.

5 stars
House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle

If you are planning on reading this title, prepare to hand yourself over into the words of a maestro storyteller. 

If you were not planning on reading this, you should. 

Tim Tingle's ensemble of characters are situated in the town of Skullyville, Oklahoma, in the year beginning in 1896. Rose, the narrator, relates the events of a time that was filled with evil and racism for the Choctaw people.
Each chapter is a different movement in a symphonic chronicle that rises and falls in circular crescendos of love and violence, sweetness and suspense.
Narrative strands ebb, flow, are seemingly abandoned, then return adding counterpoint and confluence to the tale, only to be dropped and woven time and again into the mythical rhythm of the story.

I really really, enjoyed this book!


3 stars
Testimony: A Memoir by Robbie Robertson & MacLeod Andrews (Narrator)

I am conflicted about this one. I enjoyed reading the historical aspects and the behind the scenes perspectives with The Band. I loved reading about a certain song, and then going to spotify to listen to it. 
But Robbie Robertson irritated me. The misogyny was expected, (after all, his is a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll,) but I was still taken aback by his shallow reference to women with regards to their looks rather than their talent or personality. But then, he also regularly talks about men in the same terms. I concede that he is a gifted song writer and guitarist. He just came across to me as egocentric and self aggrandizing. This is a book where I really wanted to find out the perspectives of the other band members and related rock icons.

4 stars
Rising Strong by Brené Brown

I was up and down with this book. I really enjoyed it at first. So much so, that I ended up trying to write out a long quote while I was out on a walk. Then I became disenchanted with the middle. Happily, by the time I was finished, I was inspired again. Brown's work motivates me to be more thoughtful and less reactive in my own life. I suspect I might have appreciated this more in a print format, and will look for a copy for myself that I can read and/or loan out. 


I'm listening to The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. I've got nothing in print on the go at this time, but there is a pile of library books to get to.


I don't understand why so many library books become available all at once! I will most likely get to Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk since that audiobook has become available, and I'm ready for some fiction to listen to. I am hoping it is less dark than Wolf Hollow. With my eyes, I will be reading Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, and The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak. 


#MUSTREADIN2017 13/36


50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 13/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51 

Goodreads Reading Challenge 174/333

#IMWAYR May 15, 2017

Hello Everyone!

#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.

The election I was working on is strangely incomplete. The results are very close, and we won't really know the final tallies in some ridings until the more than 176,000 absentee ballots have been counted. It looks very much like we will have a minority government. However, the candidate I was working for did win her seat. Hurrah! 

I am thankful that my part is over. I slept on and off for two days afterwards. 

There are still 9 more blocks to finish on the double wedding ring star quilt before it gets assembled. I'm still trying to decide if I want to hand quilt it, or send it off to be finished on a machine.

This week I meet with the rest of the jurors to determine the Chocolate Lily titles! I have only one more to go, and this will be a reread since I already read it a while ago.


3 stars
Liam Takes A Stand by Troy Wilson & Josh Holinaty (Illustrations) (Netgalley)

I am conflicted about this book. There are some parts that I really loved, and other parts that just didn't work for me. Two older twin brothers, Lister and Lester, are highly competitive. They are so busy trying to outdo each other in everything, that their younger brother, Liam, who just wants to play with them, is ignored. One summer, the twins compete to see who can raise the most money through a lemonade stand. Neither will let Liam help, so he does odd jobs in the neighborhood to show them what a good worker he is. The twins, in their efforts to outdo each other, go deep into debt to their parents. Liam meanwhile, continues along saving up cash for his own eventual venture into business.
I liked Josh Holinaty's illustrations a lot. He captures the insanity of the older brothers outrageous schemes perfectly.
I appreciate that this book encourages kids to think like entrepreneurs and see that this is a future option for them. Competition, so long the primary goal is to make life better for oneself and one's community, is a good thing. I think this message of balance and thoughtfulness is there in the story, I'm just not sure most readers will get it.

4 stars
Big Nuisance by Junko Morimoto & Isao Morimoto (Translator)

Big Nuisance, a giant, visits a sleepy Japanese village and wrecks havoc. This folktale is both philosophical and humorous, as in when the giant, who is having a bath in the lake, farts and the villagers run from the smell.
Big Nuisance decides to make the village more interesting. He reroutes the river into tiny streams. He moves the houses together on a higher side of the village.
Then, while the tired giant lay sleeping, a bird dropped a seed into his ear and a tree grew from it. The tree pained Big Nuisance and he begged the villagers to remove it. A deal was reached, and the villagers worked together to help him, in exchange for the giant promising to not be a nuisance. The tree landed on the roof of the sacred temple, but eventually bore fruits that made the villagers happy. Ultimately, the interesting changes Big Nuisance made in the village make the villagers life better.
In the final lines of the book we are left wondering who and what was Big Nuisance and did he really leave the village?

3 stars
Every Color by Erin Eitter Kono

The story was ok. The illustrations though, are gorgeous in this tale of a bear who sails around the world before being able to appreciate what he has at home.

4 stars

Shy by Deborah Freedman

The beautiful illustrations are the highlight of this book for me. With all the different animals looking at the sky, they made me very curious to figure out just who this Shy character was. I expected to like this book more, but that might be because I had such high expectations for it. 


4 stars
Seeking Refuge by Irene Watts & Kathryn Shoemaker (Illustrations) CL

Marianne Kohn is an eleven year old Jewish girl who travelled on the Kindertransport from Germany to England during the second world war. While fictional, it shows us the sorrow, fear, and homesickness real children experienced in their placements. Some of their situations were positively creepy. 
The black and white, somewhat fuzzy illustrations by Kathryn E. Shoemaker add dimensions of understanding about the young girl's uncertainty about her present and future. I liked this story a lot. 
I just picked up Goodbye, Marianne, the prequel to this.

4 stars
Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires CL

Ashley Spires, a local author and illustrator, is the creator of the Binky series and The Most Magnificent Thing as well as many other picture books. She's the person behind those wonderful images in Spare Dog Parts. In this title, our hero is Sergeant Fluffy Vandermere, head of P.U.R.S.T (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) His job is to protect the world from alien domination (bugs.) It's hilarious and clever. This is my second read of this title. I think I liked it even more this time than the last, and that is saying a lot, since I adored it last time round.


4 stars
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold & Charles Santoso (Illustrations)

What a delightful read! Bat and his family are lovely characters. Bat (Bixby Alexander Tam) is on the autism spectrum. When his mother, a veterinarian, brings home a newborn skunk to nurture, Bat takes responsibility for looking after it. His attachment to the the kit leads to change in other aspects of his life.

5 stars
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas & Bahni Turpin (Narrator)

This book.
This book epitomizes why we need diverse books by diverse authors.
Readers are there with Starr Carter when a white policeman kills her childhood best friend, Khalil. We are there with her and her family through everything that follows. It’s messy and complex. It isn’t easy. I’m carrying this quote around with me these days, “What's the point in having a voice if you're going to be silent in those moments when you shouldn't be.”
Prior to reading The Hate U Give, I thought I had a realistic idea of what it meant to be black in America. After all, my worldview shifted last year when I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Angie Thomas' novel has provided me with a new layer of emotional awareness all the while reminding me that I will probably never really get it.

3.5 stars
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Going Places by Ellen Potter, Qin Leng (Illustrator) & Tavia Gilbert (Narrator)

This isn't my favourite Piper Green title. I'm not sure why it didn't quite work for me, but think it might have to do with the fact that I listened to this, instead of reading it with my eyes. Tavia Gilbert does a fine job narrating the book. It's just that her voice doesn't resonate with the Piper Green character I have in my head. Besides, I missed Qin Leng's illustrations. Still, aside from my complaining above, any Piper Green story is something to celebrate. 


The audiobook I've just started is Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. I'm still listening to Rising Strong by Brené Brown off and on. I'm in the middle of House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle.


Testimony by Robbie Robertson is queued up to be my next audiobook, but I might start listening to The Autistic Brain by temple Grandin, one of my must read books for this year. I need to read White Jade Tiger by Julie Lawson, the last Chocolate Lily title. I'm not looking forward to this because it is a re release of a book first published in 1993. It's a story about a Chinese Canadian girl written by a white author.


#MUSTREADIN2017 12/36 1 in progress


50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 11/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 50/51 1 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 164/333