It's quiet on the home front this week since my son and daughter-in-law have taken my granddaughter to Korea to meet family there. Not only have I managed to get some serious reading in with eyes, thanks to audiobooks, I'm almost finished scrubbing out the kitchen cabinets.
BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK
Patina by Jason Reynolds
Max and Bird by Ed Vere
I just want to gush about this book.
Catherine Jameson, the author, is Shuswap/Okanagan and the story includes Okanagan (Syilx) language in the book.
When a young girl and her father go out to look at the new foal on their land, they spy a spotted fawn under a tree. Then they go off in search of its mother. The patterned phrasing is reminiscent of Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman and will facilitate learning to read.
It was in on the shelf at my local library and had to pick it up because of Julie Flett. Her illustrations are, as usual, just beautiful. I grew up in the Okanagan valley, and her images have captured the landscape of my heart.
This book makes me happy. The rhythm and rhyming pattern have much to do with it. With only 40 words, it's one of those perfect books for beginning readers! There's a tactile component to the illustrations that encourages the reader to caress the illustrations. Even without this, they are spectacular. Traditional renditions of different animals and plants are highlighted against exuberantly colourful backgrounds. One page is filled with a variety of labeled ocean animals and plants. This does interrupt the flow of the story, but will be appealing for readers to go back and pore over. Check it out here!
I'm going to have to purchase copies for my grand babies! I tested it with my grandson, Everett, tonight and he stayed focused through it. I think that means he loves it!
NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS
This picture book biography is absolutely glorious. Julie Paschkis' illustrations are exquisite. Words are imbedded into every possible aspect of them. Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was also a "student, a diplomat, a senator, an activist and a fugitive."
This biography does everything I want a book like this to do. It made me curious to know more about him and his poetry.
Lola Levine Is Not Mean! by Monica Brown & Angela Dominguez (Illustrator)
I like Lola a lot! She epitomizes much of what we want for our children. She's an athlete and a writer. Lola has some pretty cool parents too. When Lola ends up accidentally hurting someone during a soccer game, she does her best to make amends.
I have two quibbles with this book. First, I was uncomfortable with the mean girl cliche. Second, what's with this liking of boys and or girls 'in that way' in kindergarten and or grade two?
I listened to this book because it was on the Walden book shortlist and just happened to be available at my library. It tells the story of four teenagers: Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank, growing up in Alaska in the 1960's. None of them have easy lives. I love the promise and hope for the future that I was left with after reading this novel.
There is some controversy about this book, and I appreciated reading Debbie Reese's concerns as well as the responses in the comments section of her blog. I agree that it would have been good had Dora's parents' history been there to put the abuse into perspective. At the same time, this is set in 1970 and I don't think we even spoke about residential schools at that time.
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
Matthew is a 12 year old kid whose OCD has gotten to the point where he can't leave his house for fear of germs. He spends his time watching the world outside his window and taking notes. Then Teddy, his neighbour's fifteen month old grandson, disappears. Matty might be the only one who can help the police.
I enjoyed this novel. I can't say how authentic the aspects dealing with Matthew's mental health issues are, but they felt real to me. The mystery component was fascinating. Lisa Thompson has created complicated characters as seen through Matthew's eyes. Mr Jenkins, the PE teacher is everyone's worst teacher nightmare, but Teddy's older sister, Casey, is the creepiest kid I've ever seen.
This was an eminently satisfying read. I don't say that lightly. It's a book that sucks you deep into its reality and when it spits you out at the end, something significant has happened. It's populated with complex multifaceted characters it's impossible not to care deeply about. Everyone can connect to these themes of friendship, first romance and mature love.
I'm carrying this quote with me:
"Because the love of the Sufi mystics, the love the poets mirror, is divine love. Humans are terribly flawed. Humans hurt each other. Humans become bored, humans become sick, humans are weak. When you are consumed by human love, it is like looking into a fire of your own making-you believe you are seeing your beloved, but it is a mere reflection of the intensity of your own emotion. When that fire cools, your beloved's true face, flawed, hopelessly mortal, is revealed. The only beloved who will not disappoint when you see his true face is Allah, because he is the source of all love, all light."
Patina by Jason Reynolds
There was never any doubt that I would love this book. Jason Reynolds has a super hero magical power that enables him to transform love, hope, and promise into words. This story of Patty Winter, a girl with much to run away from, is another example of this.
Wow! I'm not sure how this book came to my attention, but whew! am I glad it did. Johnston is a Canadian author who sets her characters in a small Ontario town. It is a testimony to her writing and Jorjeana Marie's narration that I was absolutely sucked into this novel about cheerleading. Of course, it's not all about cheerleading, it's about Hermione Winters, and her experience of being drugged and raped and then not only surviving, but thriving in spite of it.
I think if I understood music I would appreciate the architecture of the book better. Still, even without this knowledge, it's a darn riveting story of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the events of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. It is brilliantly written. While I have read other works that dealt with the Cultural Revolution, Madeleine Thien has personalized these historical events for me and placed them in a larger context.
I've started Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. I'm still reading The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, although last week I didn't get to it. I will do better next week. I'm listening to Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson.
I have Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee, and This is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang to finish and return to the library. I've also got a mess of picture books.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
#MUSTREADIN2017 21/36 1 in progress
#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12 1 in progress
50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 25/50 2 in progress
Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51
Big Book Challenge 4/6
Goodreads Reading Challenge 265/333