#IMWAYR August 7, 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 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.

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. We were camping up at far away from far away. It was wild country. I have the mosquito, no-see-um, black fly, deer fly, and horse fly bites to prove it.

I managed to read some stunning literature and had the pleasure of sharing some of the books I brought with me with Payton, an eight year old girl who was with us. Her impressions of them was a highlight for me.

High in the remote mountains there is no internet so I couldn't read the Teachers Write posts, but nonetheless, I wrote every day. My goal for this year was to get into the habit of writing daily, and I managed that. Now I just have to keep at it.

I missed my grandchildren like crazy, but luckily, I had these pictures with me to look at. 

This is how you raise a reader!

Babies at 5 weeks old


Rose's Run by Dawn Dumont

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz & Sydney Smith

Paris for Two by Phoebe Stone


5 stars
Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz & Sydney Smith (Illustrator)

This historical picture book is going to win awards. Set in Cape Breton, it tells the story of generations of men and their families who mine for coal under the ocean. The prose is profound and the illustrations are gobsmackingly gorgeous! Payton and I had a deep conversation about the darkness in this book. She enjoyed it so much she read it cover to cover, including the notes by the author at the end.

4 stars
Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore & LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

I picked this sweet story up because it is illustrated by Leyeun Pham.
Freckleface Strawberry is an ordinary girl except for being covered in freckles. She doesn't like being teased about them so she tries to get rid of them. She tried scrubbing them off and putting lemon juice on them. Her freckles remained. She tried colouring herself with a marker, but Mother's don't like it when you draw on yourself. Then Freckleface Strawberry tried hiding her freckles. She wore long pants and a long shirt. She wore a balaclava on her head. It worked. At school no one recognized her, but she was lonely. It's only when a baby laughs at her freckles and the baby's mother tells her that she once had freckles, that our girl finds hope. When her disguise is removed all her friends come to welcome her.
Payton loved this one. I hadn't read it yet and she gave me a complete synopsis of it. I pushed her to think about what the author wanted us to learn, and while it was hard work for her, she figured out that it is fine to just be who you are and that you will probably change anyway.


5 stars

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack #2) by Ben Hatke (Netgalley)

I finished reading this while camping and am working on a review. It is as good as the first in the series. I gave Payton the synopsis of the first book and then handed it off to her. She was mesmerized. It was her first graphic novel. You can bet it won't be her last.


4 stars
Odin's Ravens (The Blackwell Pages #2)by K.L. Armstrong, M.A. Marr & Vivienne To (Illustrator)

I read the first in this series a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised. Every once in awhile it's good to read a rollicking adventure novel, and this one sure fits the bill. The series tells the story of a group of thirteen year olds who are Norse gods and goddesses reincarnated. Ragnarok is coming soon and they are working together to ensure that this time round, the serpent of Milgard doesn't win. There are enough epic battles and fights to satisfy nearly all the bloodthirsty readers I know. Add humour, plot twists and turns, betrayal, strong characters, and you've got a truly satisfying read!
I'm looking forward Thor's Serpents, the final instalment.

4 stars
Posted by John David Anderson

I adored the slow pace of this book. It tells the story of a group of geekish boys; misfits who have formed their tribe. Frost (Eric) writes poetry. Wolf (Morgan) is a piano prodigy. Bench (J.J. Jones) is an athlete who doesn't get to play much. DeeDee (Advik Patel) is crazy about Dungeons and Dragons. Aside from the day to day bullying their lives are pretty good.
Cell phones are banned after a student writes a derogatory message on her cell. Soon students start passing messages on post-it-notes. This leads to leaving anonymous insults and threats on lockers. The level of nastiness and general bullying ratchets up.
When Rose Holland, the ostracized new girl, arrives shortly after ban, and sits at the boys' table, she changes the dynamics of the group. Rose intervenes when some bullies attack Frost and DD in the boys' washroom. This culminates in a showdown between Rose and the lead bully. Readers are left wondering if her actions make enough of a difference.
This book is really about friendship and how it evolves over time. It speaks to the importance of standing up when people are being bullied and harassed and reminds us that words matter and that language has power for good and evil.

4 stars
Paris for Two by Phoebe Stone

Ever since Deep Down Popular, I have been a fan of anything Phoebe Stone writes. Her books were always popular in the library. This was so much more than a simple tween romance. Go and read my review if you want to know more. I loved it.


4 stars
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery (Foreword), Jane Billinghurst (Translator), Susanne Simard & Mike Grady (Narrator)

I listened to this book as research for a story I'm working on. It is a fascinating look at how trees communicate and collaborate with each other. Their root systems are like brains. It's loaded with details about what happens as they age. Older trees 'mother' young trees to help them survive. It explains that they are somewhat unwilling contributors to the complex ecosystems that develop in their branches, trunks and leaves. The narrative personifies trees which is both off putting and endearing at the same time.
Even though this book looks more deeply into trees in a beech forest, and I'm focusing on coniferous, I'm getting my own paper copy of this book. It transformed the way I look at forests and trees.


5 stars
Rose's Run by Dawn Dumont

This book embodies everything I've come to expect from a novel by Dawn Dumont and then some. There is her characteristic witty repartee. Her sense of humour is brilliant. Her characters are full-fledged, sweet, albeit imperfect souls. You can't help but love them! Beneath all this, is a deeper political story about being indigenous and living on a reserve in Canada. This time she even delves into the misogyny of men that plays out in all cultures. Add to that a mysterious demon creature, and this is some read!


5 stars
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This is an exceptional coming of age memoir. It's further evidence that graphic novels can be richly emotional and profound literary works of art.
Bechtel takes readers into her childhood where behind the happy family facade is revealed an essentially unhappy father, trying unsuccessfully, to live a lie. It is layered with heartbreaking sadness.
I enjoyed reading Persepolis earlier this year, but this is easier to read because the font isn't so small.

5+ stars
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

I'm just gobsmacked by this book. I started it, and had to occasionally put it down to process it more fully. I've handed it over to my partner, who reads books about the Vietnam war almost compulsively. The birth of Thi Bui's son set her into learn more about her own parents and their stories. At the same time as learn about her parents early years, we get an education about the history of Vietnam and the roots of the war that eventually brought them to the United States. It is powerfully poignant.


The non fiction title I have on the go is The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King. I'm savouring The Rain in Portugal: New Poems by Billy Collins. I've got Elsie Mae Has Something to Say by Nancy J. Cavanaugh (a Netgalley title) on my device.I'm rereading Mighty Jack and the Goblin King so my review can do it justice. I started and abandoned listening to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I think I need to read this one with my eyes. Instead I'm listening to A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz.


I'll probably start listening to The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin. Then there is a stack of books waiting for me from the library. I'm doing my best to focus on getting my reading goals under control!


#MUSTREADIN2017 18/36 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 6/12 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 22/50  1 in progress

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 3/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 241/333


  1. Cheriee, your link isn't working, FYI. I just found you another way! I love Town Is By The Sea, a book I own and re-read every once in a while. It's fabulous. You have so many her I'd love to read! Posted is on my list and The Hidden Life of Trees as well, among others. Glad you had a lovely vacation and wrote every day!

    1. Thanks Linda. I was trying to publish a bunch of posts I wrote while away. The Hidden Life of Trees is one of those books that changes how you see the world around you.

  2. I can't wait to be able to get Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Students at my school have been looking forward to it for so long. Posted is a fantastic book with an important message. John David Anderson has a new one coming out early next year that I'm looking forward to.

    1. That is exciting news about John David Anderson! I am adoring Bet Hatke's Mighty Jack series.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to Mighty Jack! I'll also be looking for Town is By the Sea.

  4. I can imagine that Payton will fast become a Ben Hatke fan at the same time she learns to love graphic novels. I agree with you about Town is By the Sea. Such a book! Thanks for the beautiful baby photos! Always a highlight.

    1. You are welcome. One day I will drop off with a baby to visit you! I wonder if the VSB is still doing that empathy program where people bring babies into school.

  5. Oh gosh, the no see ums!!! I have had more bites than I can count this summer. And the scars to show how much I scratched them!
    I am hoping I can get to Posted this week. I've heard so many amazing things.
    Can't wait for the next Mighty Jack book!

    1. I have been wondering if I wouldn't rather have the black and horse fly bites because at least they are over after 10 or 15 minutes!
      Posted is the kind of slow thoughtful book I adore.

  6. Lovely pictures of you enjoying your grandkids! I loved Posted, too - can't wait to share it with my sixth graders!

    1. Thanks Tara. It will make for a fabulous read aloud. There is a lot in there that will engender deep discussions.