#IMWAYR July 17, 2017

#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 MentorTexts 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.

We are here in our house in Oliver, a small town in the Okanagan Valley. It's hot enough to make us extremely thankful for air conditioning. I'm missing my grandbabies a lot, but know that my children need time on their own with their new family. Besides, they send me pictures daily. 

In the middle of visiting family and friends, I'm managing to write everyday as part of Teachers Write. I'm not ready to share what I have been writing, but my goal for this summer is to just get into writing every day. So far, I've succeeded. 

Did I mention that we are eating the absolutely best cherries in the world?


Shelter by Céline Claire & Qin Leng (Illustrations)


5 stars
Shelter by Céline Claire & Qin Leng (Illustrations) (Netgalley)

I picked this book because it's Qin Leng. I will read anything at all that she is involved with. She didn't let me down this time.  While admiring her images here, I became enchanted with the story itself. Animals in a forest refuse aid to two strangers looking for shelter from a blizzard. This is a book about kindness and generosity, and how we can all end up dependent on one another. Go read my full review and look at Leng's art. I will still be here when you are done.
Don't forget to pre order your copy.

4 stars
Gifts from the Enemy by Trudy Ludwig & Craig Orback (Illustrations)

This book tells the story of Alter Wiener, a Polish Jew whose family and friends were killed by the Germans during the Second World War. Alter survived because a German woman smuggled food to him for 30 days in a row. Her actions helped him to understand that "there are the kind and the cruel in every group of people. How those you meet in life treat you is more important than who they are."
There is one segment in this book that sent a chill down my spine, given that it portrays a reality I fear is emerging in our times.

5 stars
Little Red Hood by Marjolaine Leray, Sarah Ardizzone (Translator)

Thank you Myra at Gathering Books for heads up about this book. I adore it. 
How I wish I knew about it before I retired and was still teaching critical literacy through storytelling and fairy tales.This smart Red Riding Hood is undaunted by the wolf and manages to trick him. Gotta love that last page. I laughed out loud many times and ordered a copy for myself even though I won't be teaching.

4 stars
The Girl In Red by Aaron Frisch & Roberto Innocenti (Illustrator)

This is another title I have to thank Myra at Gathering Books for introducing me to. It's Roberto Innocenti, so it's guaranteed that the illustrations are just stunning. This interpretation of the classic fairy tale is set in a busy city, and is dark and disturbing. The interesting thing about the ending is that it provides for two different possibilities.


3 stars
Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis & Laura K. Horton (Illustrator) (Netgalley)

Zinnia had been looking forward to her summer, but on her return home from the last day of school, discovers that her brother, Adam, has disappeared without a trace. This is doubly hard because her emotionally absent mother, Dr. Flossdrop, seems unable to offer comfort or even care. Then to make matters worse, a hive of bees sets up home in her hair. 
There is a lot I really liked about this book. First off, Zinnia, our protagonist, is a knitter! The yarn bombing bits are fun. I liked Birch, the boy who has come to visit his uncle for the summer, and befriends Zinnia. He's full of kindness and patience. I liked the quirky inserts revealing the perspective of the bees, who have settled on Zinnia's head. I liked that mostly the adults were positive characters. 
My problem is that it just didn't all come together for me. Zinnia and her mother's reconciliation seemed too pat. I finished up wondering about those bees and why they were there in the first place. It's possible that I couldn't connect to this story as much as I thought I would because of how long it took me to read it, but then, maybe it took me so long because I couldn't connect. 

4 stars
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin & Kathleen McInerney (Narrator)

I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. I was really worried it would be another one of those sad and dreary books where a character dies. Thyme and her family have to move to New York City so that her younger brother, Val, can participate in a drug trial that they hope will destroy his cancer. Thyme isn't happy about having to go to a new school and misses her best friend. Even so, she manages to settle in, make new friends, and even experience her first romance. 
The situation is made more complicated than it should have been because of the parent's secrecy about the gravity of the situation, and the details about the duration of their stay. 
Aside from that, the book is filled with authentic, complex, characters dealing with exceptionally hard challenges. I adored Mrs. Ravelli, the woman the family hires to look after them while during this time. 

3.5 stars
Matylda, Bright and Tender by by Holly M. McGhee & Jenna Lamia (Narrator)

When her best friend dies while saving her from a dog attack, Sussy grieves deeply, and enters into a time of magical thinking. She imagines that if she can only love their pet lizard, Matylda, enough, she won't really have lost Guy. In the process, Sussy ends up losing her moral compass for a time. McGhee has created fabulous characters in Sussy, Guy, and their supportive parents. I enjoyed this book, but was happy when it was over. In spite of the moments of joy and sweet reconciliation at the end, this book was too sad for me. 

I'm still reading Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds. I will finish it before I read anything else with my eyes! Otherwise, I have just started reading a hard copy of Posted and begun listening to Hallelujah by Anne Lamott. 

I've got two more Netgalley titles I'm determined to finish next week, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke, and Elsie Mae Has Something to Say by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. I'm starting Rose's Run by Dawn Dumont as my next hardcopy text. 

#MUSTREADIN2017 16/36 


50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 21/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 3/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 228/333



  1. ooh, I must request Shelter from Netgalley! Thanks for sharing it. I have heard so many great things about Matylda, Bright and Tender.

    1. Both of them are lovely, but Matylda is a tearjerker.

  2. Congratulations on doing everyday of Teacher's Write. It's such a great program. Shelter and Gifts from the Enemy very interesting. All three chapter books are on my TBR list. Hope it cools down!

    1. I am enjoying Teacher's Write. It's forcing me to do what I know I should do, and that is good.
      It finally cooled down a bit, but the air is loaded with smoke from all the fires.

  3. All three of the novels are ones that have been on my radar, but haven't read yet. I can't wait for next Mighty Jack book and neither can my students!

    1. I've been saving it for when I really need a reading treat, but if I don't hurry up it will expire from my device!

  4. Lots of interesting tales. I don't have a lot of students who are knitters, although both my daughters knit, as do I. Not sure about Zinnia and the Bees. May have to take a look.

    1. We had a knitting club meet in the library for a while and many teachers continue to host knitting circles. Maybe you can figure out the meaning behind the bees.

  5. I have absolutely the same reaction to seeing Qin Leng's name on a book - I have to pick it up!!

  6. I loved Counting Thyme. Great characters. I will be on the look out for Shelter.

    1. Counting Thyme has a complexity that surprised me a lot. I wished though that the parents were not so secretive.

  7. I know what you're saying when it takes you awhile to finish a book. I think sometimes those books that take me a day or so to read I enjoy more because I was able to fall into the story...
    I liked Counting Thyme too and am glad it wasn't just a sad book.
    I've got Posted in my August pile. Can't wait to hear more about Miles Morales.