#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.
Today's post is a recap of what I have been reading in the past couple of weeks. I've been busy gallivanting around the province. We returned from our place in Oliver, BC and hardly had time to turn around before I was off to Powell River where my sisters and I spent about 5 days together. We worked on a quilt, gabbed a lot, had a few adult beverages, and ate like queens. I didn't get much reading done, but I did get some knitting in.
My school district is desperate for substitute teachers so I have been working a couple of times a week. I had forgotten how exhausting and exhilarating teaching is. I'm glad it's not more.
BOOKS FOR BABIES
Sharing Our World by Ian Reid & illustrators Ryan Cranmer, Doug Lafortune, John Nelson, Francis Horne Sr., Paul Windsor, Corey Bulpitt, T.J. Young, Ben Houstie, & Eugene Isaac
These gorgeous west coast illustrations of different animals were created by different indigenous artists. Each animal is paired with text telling readers a bit about it. Most explain a lesson we can learn from them.
So Many Babies by Lorna Crozier, Laura Watson (Illustrations)
Lorna Crozier is an award winning Canadian poet so when I discovered this on a visit to the library with Ada, we had to read it. We both liked the rhyme and rhythm and the bright colours in the illustrations.
Smile! by Roberta Grobel Intrater
Our babies liked this one, but not as much as Baby Faces by Margaret Miller.
What Noise Does an Owl Make? by Nick Ackland, Bella Bee (Illustrations)
This is one of my grandbabies favourite book these days. Each page shows a cartoon of an animal with the question, What sound does a ____ make? Then there is a pull out section with text for the animal's sound. When I first started reading it to Ada, she would scan the pages and turn her head to look at me (dumbfounded) when I made the animal sounds. Yesterday when I brought it out to read to her, she got excited just looking at the cover. She does not do that with just any old book! Everett is coming to visit on Monday so I will see if he is also a fan.
Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet
While I really enjoyed Press Here, this book didn't work for me. It just went on for too long.
The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy, Michael P. White (Illustrator)
I would have loved to have had this book in our school library. It’s very clever and full of hilarious puns. The ending is transformational!
Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems
I’m not sure about this book. Edwina is a very helpful dinosaur who bakes cookies, helps old ladies across the street, plays with kids, and is generally loved by everyone in town. Except of course by one person who goes out of his way to convince everyone that dinosaurs are extinct. This didn’t quite work for me, although I appreciated that it modelled civilized debate. It also shows us that sometimes, all we need is someone to listen to us.
Whose Moon Is That? by Kim Krans
Gorgeous illustrations and rhyming poetry go together to make this a picture book to read again and again. I read it with my 4 1/2 month old granddaughter and we were both enchanted.
Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins & Lucy Knisley (Illustrator)
Like Ada Lovelace, Margaret Hamilton will be an inspiration to young girls (and boys) everywhere. I love the layout in this book; the way the narrative begins with Margaret asking questions and coming up with her own solutions. She grew up to be a mathematician who created the computer software that helped get astronauts to the moon. We learn about her successes, but at the same time, her joy, passion and brilliance are there in every page. We have Lucy Knisley's illustrations to thank for this.
My granddaughter is named after Ada Lovelace. I've told my sons that whoever has the next girl will have to call her Margaret.
From Egg to Spider by Anita Ganeri
Wonderful photographs and other text features such as captions, bold words, a life cycle chart, labelled photograph, glossary, index and bibliography make this a good book for young readers. It focuses primarily on a generic spider’s life cycle. I wish there was more detail on parts of a spider’s body, but it is still a good book.
MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
This is a stellar book about accepting and being who you are. Malú (Maria Louisa) is a half Mexican punk rock fan. This puts her at odds with her "SuperMexican" mom who wants her to be more señorita. When the two of them move to Chicago, away from her father, Malú has a hard time adjusting. Ultimately she finds a way to connect all the pieces of herself in a way that is just herself.
There is a lot to love about this book. Pérez has created authentic characters you can't help but want to cheer for. This is as true for Malú and her peers as it is for the adults around them. She shows us a complex Latino culture that is much more than food and music. I love the zines and can see a teacher using this book as a read aloud, and using this model in all kinds of meaningful ways!
Horizon by Scott Westerfeld & Johnathan McClain (Narrator)
This was more enjoyable than I expected it to be. Westerfeld is a brilliant world creator in all of his work, so I really don't know why I am surprised. When a plane crashes over the arctic, only a few teens survive, but the place they end up in is not the kind of icy environment you might expect. Keeping all the characters separate was a bit of a challenge in the audiobook, but I was able to follow them and their adventures eventually. I appreciate how each of the individual teens has their own strengths that end up being of benefit to the rest of them.
Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder
This is a heartfelt book about a young girl in the foster system. When an opportunity for adoption arises, she has to let go of her belief that her birth mother still wants her.
Saving Marty by Paul Griffin & Paul Griffin (Narrator)
Fans of Babe will like this one. Marty is a pig who is raised with dogs. He lives with Lorenzo Ventura and his family. However, as Marty gets older and much bigger, he becomes a danger to those around him, and Lorenzo has to find a safe place for him. That isn't all Lorenzo has on his plate though, there is the issue of his father who died in a war, and the secrets about him that his mother is keeping. There is his friendship with Paloma which seems to be disintegrating when she goes off to summer camp.
The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick
Maverick and his mother live in poverty, a condition that is exacerbated by his mother's alcoholism and lousy choice in men. He doesn't want anyone to know just how bad it is. School is not a safe place either, but Maverick is determined to be a hero this year and carries a sheriff's badge his dead father gave him to remind him of it. When Maverick gets into trouble, he calls his aunt instead of his mother. His life just gets increasingly messy until it falls apart and he and his mother finally get help.
I liked that other than his mother, the adults in this book are positive characters. This is especially true for the school principal who is rumored to be a terror, but in reality, is very supportive.
YA & ADULT NOVELS
The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol & Tom Parks, Dawn Harvey & Dara Rosenberg (Narrators)
Elizabeth is an aging woman whose eyes have failed. Morgan is a gifted artist and juvenile delinquent. When she gets caught tagging the fence of the care home where Elizabeth is staying, she ends up working there as part of a restorative justice program. The two unlikely characters become friends and realize they are connected in a much deeper way when Morgan ends up reading Elizabeth's father's journals to her.
This novel is beautifully written. Pendziwol positions us seamlessly between the world of Porphyry Island and that of the modern day reality of the care home and Morgan's foster home. The characters are brilliantly conceived. I just couldn't stop listening to this.
There are novels where you think you know where the plot is going, and you end up being right. This isn't one of them.
I'm listening to The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud and won't be reading anything else until it is finished. I hope this isn't the end of the series! I started The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz but abandoned it when I started the Stroud book. I will get back to it soon unless I just start listening all over again.
I have both Sunny Side Up and Swing it Sunny by Jennifer Holm so I plan to read those. The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner, has to go back to the library soon so I will get to that as well.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 32/50
Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51
Big Book Challenge 4/6
Goodreads Reading Challenge 366/333-->