#IMWAYR MAY 8, 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. 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.

If you read my post last week, you might remember that I had concerns about a book, Heart of a Champion, a novel about the Asahi baseball team and Japanese Canadian internment during the war, written by Ellen Schwartz, a white woman. My Japanese Canadian friend got back to me with detailed feedback that proved my concerns about the author's portrayal of Japanese culture were sadly justified.

We are nearing the end of electioneering. Final voting day is Tuesday. I've been working almost every day to get the candidate in the swing riding near me elected. Sometimes it is exhausting, but it's mostly fun meeting and working with a diverse group of volunteers. I might not find time to read and respond to everyone's posts until Wednesday, but I will try. I'm not even sure about then since I hope to be slightly hungover from celebrating.

My sewing machine is ready to be picked up. Soon I will be sewing again!



4 stars
Luke's Way of Looking
by Nadia Wheatley & Matt Ottley (illustrations)

I appreciated Luke developing self confidence upon visiting an art gallery and discovering different art styles. I didn't like the portrayal of the teacher at all. Are there really still teachers like this? Matt Ottley's line drawing illustrations reveal the emotional trauma this rigid teacher's comments have on Luke. They also show us the joy Luke experiences upon learning that others with unique perspectives are celebrated.

5 stars
The Rabbits
by John Marsden, Shaun Tan (Illustrator)

I am stunned. This book is brilliantly written and spectacularly illustrated.
It isn't a book for very young children.
This is an allegory of colonization. If you know this history, you will know, within the first few pages, that things are not going to end well for the creatures in this land when the rabbits arrive.
It might be set in Australia, but it is equally applicable here in Canada.
I can not remember getting such a physical response to a picture book. My stomach hurt. I wanted to cry.

5 stars
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes
by Duncan Tonatiuh

If I wasn't already a fan of Duncan Tonatiuh, this would send me there. I read this tale of how two Mexican volcanoes were created without paying much attention to the images. Then I went back and spent at least 30 minutes pouring over the beautiful art work. Just Wow!


4 stars
Real Friends
by by Shannon Hale & LeUyen Pham (Illustrations) Netgalley

All school libraries should purchase at least a few copies.
This graphic novel with brilliant artwork by LeYuen Pham, captures the social dynamics of girl friendship and bullying in elementary school. Hale's story of wanting to be part of the 'in crowd' and what hell that involved, is autobiographical. The photographs of her at various ages in the back matter add authenticity to the story.
I suspect that most young girls will be able to connect to the younger Shannon. So will a lot of adults.
What I liked most about this book is that it provides a model for how to extract yourself from these kinds of situations, and highlights the kinds of behaviours that are truly admirable.
Fans of Raina Telgemeier are gonna love it. I sure did.

5 stars

This is the book I misplaced ages ago. I borrowed a copy from school then took it to bed with me, thinking I would read it, but fell asleep before I opened it. The next day I went looking for it. I searched all around my nightstand. I searched under my bed. I stripped the covers thinking it might have gotten mixed up in the bedding. I read something else. Then I went and cleaned up the bedroom. I discovered it sitting on top of the nightstand on my partner's side of the bed.
I started it all over again. When I finished it, I went and read chapters over again.
I adored this book. I loved the characters, the plot, and the details of place that Prendergast includes. I love how she shows us the humanity in an area of my town that too many people have abandoned. Go read my full review. I'll wait.

3.5 stars
The Griffin of Darkwood
by Becky Citra CL

Will Poppy and his mother, inspired by their muses, spend time together writing. When she dies after finishing a best selling book, even though b
oth of their muses continue to stalk him, he stops writing. Then his greedy aunt takes them to live in Sparrowhawk Hall, a haunted castle in the English countryside where the caretakers are even nastier than her.
Soon Will discovers that the villagers take magic for granted. Some even have metaphysical talents. His friend Thom, who is learning to cook from a Julia Child cookbook, is an animal empath. His other friend, Emma, wants to join the circus. Fabian, the owner of the bookstore is unperturbed when creatures from fantasy fiction make their appearance among the shelves.
Will and his new friends end up having to figure out how a young girl died 40 years ago and what it has to do with a scrap of an ancient magical tapestry.
I like a lot about this book, especially the connection of writing to magic. It's got humour, suspense, and action. My only complaint is that the beginning is awfully bleak.

3 stars
When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

I had a hard time with this book. I really really hated all the death. In the end, the story kind of worked for me because I liked the characters, but honestly I was just so ticked off by all the dying that I couldn't get emotionally involved enough to shed one tear.

3 stars
The Missing Skull
by John Wilson CL

This is part of the seven prequel series. In this short, action packed novel, Steve and his grandfather go on a road trip together to Canoe lake in Algonquin Park. W
hen Steve's grandfather challenges him to find Tom Thompson's skull, the story delves into the mysterious death of the famous Canadian painter.  The story is bigger on plot than on characters, but should prove to keep young readers who like adventure entertained.

4 stars
The Case of the Girl in Grey
by Jordan Stratford & Kelly Murphy (Narrator) CL

This is a reread for me. It's the second in an alternative history series that posits a young Ada Lovelace and a young Mary Shelley as friends who set up their own detective agency. I wasn't impressed at first by Ada and Mary's sisters showing up and wanting to join the agency, but they did eventually show that they had their own unique talents to contribute. This novel has the girls trying to figure out what is amiss with a young woman's fiancé and how it might connect with another young woman who has fled from an insane asylum. What makes these books work for me is that they highlight history from a feminine perspective and at the same time, are loaded with suspense and adventure. However, while I enjoy this series, I suspect that readers with less background knowledge might not get as much out of them.


5 + stars
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life
By Benjamin Alire Saenz

This is a book filled with death and dying. 
I adore it. 
Saenz shows us that we all die, but before then, we are made for love.
I read all 445 pages in one day. If you like deeply philosophical, character driven novels, that are not plot driven, you will love it. It's about a young boy and his relationships with the people in his life. They include his friends, his extended family, his gay father and his dying grandmother. It also includes his relationship with his dead mother and his missing biological father. The writing is sublime. I was forced to stop reading and write down quote after quote.
Here are a few:
"My dad called that sort of behavior whistling in the dark. Well, I guess that when you found yourself in the dark, you might as well whistle. It wasn't always going to be morning, and darkness would come around again. The sun would rise, and then the sun would set. And there you were in the darkness again. If you didn't whistle, the quiet and the dark would swallow you up.
The thing is, I didn't know how to whistle. I guessed I was going to have to learn."

"Her mother had left a note on the bathroom mirror, written in lipstick: just because my love isn't perfect doesn't mean I don't love you."

"Fito, who always lived in hope when life offered him no hope. Certitude was a luxury he had never been able to afford. All he ever had was a heart incapable of despair."


I've been listening to Rising Strong by Brené Brown off and on. Sometimes it works for me, and then it doesn't.  I've started listening to The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas with Bahni Turpin as narrator! Seeking Refuge, by Irene N. Watts and Kathryn E. Shoemaker is the only print title I have on the go right now. 


Going Places by Ellen Potter is queued up to be my next audiobook. I'm looking forward to hearing it since I've read all the previous books with my eyes. I have only three more books to read for Chocolate Lily! Hurrah. Unfortunately, I've managed to misplace another of them. I suspect it is at my house in Oliver. I will finish the ones I have this week and see if I can find a copy of the missing one to read from somewhere. I've also got a box of books from the library to get to. 


#MUSTREADIN2017 9/36 1 in progress


50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 11/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 48/52 1 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 155/333


  1. Bahni Turpin is a great narrator. I'm sure that audiobook is excellent.

    "just because my love isn't perfect doesn't mean I don't love you" -- I loved this so much. I also thought its was funny that you hated one book because it had so much death but you loved this one because it did. I am sure the subjects are handled differently; it just made me smile.

    I might have to check out The Rabbits. I love a good allegory.

    1. Yes indeed about Bahni Turpin!
      In the first book, death felt like a plot device. In the second, it felt like a natural part of life. And of course, few people can write like Benjamin Alire Saenz. In the end notes he tells the reader how he was motivated to write this book from a death in his life.

  2. Real Friends is going to be a super popular book with kids. It's relatable and kids love the graphic format. It'll be a great one for reluctant readers, too.

    1. I agree! I really love what it teaches kids about alternatives.

  3. This is the second time I have seen Real Friends on a list this week. I really need to find that book. Lots of other great reading choices. Thanks for sharing!

  4. My oldest granddaughter is going into 3rd grade & I imagine will love Real Friends. She is a bit confused that everyone isn't just friendly to everyone. I hope this book will help. Thanks for sharing again about Heart of A Champion, Cheriee, and I adore The Rabbits, have read it to my middle schoolers, and it is a powerful story, but I agree it's for older readers. Thanks for all. Glad to hear your sewing machine is coming home!

    1. Real Friends brought back memories of those days for me. I think it will be a wonderful book for your granddaughter.

  5. I was so happy with Real Friends. This is a book I wished I had when I was in middle grade.
    I keep putting Friendship to the side because I've heard how sad it is. Not sure when will be a good time for that book!

  6. I got to meet Jordan Stratford this weekend, and he was super nice, and a real hit with kid audiences. His passion for history is infectious! :)

    1. How lucky for you! I've been listening to the series. I'm waiting for the third title to be available from the VPL.

  7. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who misplaces books! Of course, nobody who saw my house--with its stacks and shelves and bags of books--would be remotely surprised by that, so I'm not sure why it always surprises me! I felt the same way about When Friendship Followed Me Home. Way too much going on in one story for me to feel anything except a bit numb reading it, but I know that all readers didn't feel that way. Still, it almost kind of worked for me too. Now that I know Bahni Turpin is the narrator, I'm totally listening to The Hate U Give on audio! I can't wait to read The Rabbits and Real Friends.

    1. I am pretty sure that we are not the only book misplacers. I just wanted When Friendship Followed Me Home to be over. Yet, I wanted The Inexplicable Logic of My Life to never end.

  8. I've been hearing a lot about Real Friends and my students are crazy for graphic novels. I definitely need to check it out!

    1. Absolutely! Your readers are going to love it.

  9. Can't wait to read Real Friends and the Rabbits - Both sound like important books to add to classroom libraries and bookrooms

    1. Yes to both of these, but Rabbits is a hard read.

  10. You have several here I definitely want to read - Real Friends, Rabbit, Inexplicable Logic & Pandas on the Eastside. I have read The Hate U Give twice now, but I want to listen to the audio. I've heard it's stellar.

    1. So far I am loving The Hate You Give. I might have to read it with my eyes when I'm done.

  11. Real Friends is fantastic! I read it from Netgalley, so I cannot wait to get a hard copy.
    I just started reading The Hate U Give. WOW! It is a book!
    Happy reading this week :)

    1. I know! The more I read from The Hate U Give, the more I am gobsmacked by it.

  12. I really should just pick up Inexplicable Logic and I love your review of it.

  13. I know what you mean about Rising Strong - I had to abandon it - I guess it's because I am a clinician and a researcher myself, thus the watered-down versions of academic writing may not really work for me - still feeling my way around it, perhaps had I read more I would have a different take to it.
    So glad to also see that you loved The Rabbits and Luke's Way of Looking - there is just something about Australian picturebooks that are thought-provoking and push the boundaries further when it comes to children's literature.

    1. I thank you for introducing me to these other versions of picture books.
      I continue to listen to Rising Strong because there are occasions when her words resonate with me.