#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.
These days I'm working 4 days a week in a nearby school library. Aside from it being exhausting, I am loving the introduction to new students and new to me books. Some of the picture books I read this week come from there.
Hand Over Hand by Alma Fullerton & Renné Benoit (Illustrations)
Nina wants to go fishing with her grandfather (Lolo) but a boat is not the place for a girl. Eventually, by agreeing to bait and remove her own fish, he agrees to let her try. At first it looks like the other fishermen might be right about a girl’s place not being on a boat, but in the end, Nina surprises everyone, including herself.
Renee Benoit’s gorgeous illustrations convey the loving relationship between the two characters as well as beauty of the ocean landscape.
P'esk'a and the First Salmon Ceremony by Scot Ritchie
I have mixed feelings about this book.
It begins with what looks like a non indigenous family at an interpretive spot near a river. They wonder, what if you could go back in time? The next page takes us 1000 years in the past, just in time for the first salmon ceremony. I’m not sure if first means first salmon ceremony of the year, or the first in all time. (I thought the people had been here for 10,000 years at least) We find ourselves in the middle of a bustling, thriving Sts’aile community where readers learn a lot about how these people used the world around them in their everyday life. The day ends up with a salmon ceremony.
I liked that the book uses Sts’aile vocabulary throughout and that there is additional information at the end of the book as well as a glossary. There is also a letter from Chief William Charlie who writes that the book is carefully researched and respectful of their culture.
Perhaps I ought not to quibble, but here are my concerns:
First, while Scot Ritchie has done a beautiful job with the information and illustrations, this is not an #ownvoices title.
Second, the only indigenous people we see are those from 1000 years ago, leaving an impression that they are no longer around.
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
This is a delightful, simple to read book with an important message about how we look at life. Four different animals have something distressing happen, but for all kinds of reasons, things change and good things follow.
So Happy! by Kevin Henkes & Anita Lobel (Illustrations)
I'm not exactly sure how to evaluate this book. I found it in the library I was working in this week. Anita Lobel's art makes me very happy. I could spend hours perusing her illustrations. Others have written that it is as if Van Gogh painted the desert. I agree. The text is very simple with three story lines intersecting and connecting, that of a bored boy, a lost rabbit and a magic seed.
Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner
Stunning illustrations are what first drew me to this book. I was then blown away by the important message about creativity and imagination.
There is so much to love about this book especially Sarabella's accepting family and teacher. Although her teacher does send home notes about Sarabella's daydreaming, acknowledging that her creative imaginative is a problem, they reveal his appreciation for her as well.
American Panda by Gloria Chao
As I read this book I couldn't help but remember one of my brilliant Chinese students whose parents were much like Mei's parents here. My student was a gifted author and had a passion for literature. The last time I saw her she had graduated from high school and was ready to go to university with an A+ average. Her parents were insisting that she study medicine. She came to see me hoping I could help her find some way to make them see who she was. I still ache that all I could do was listen.
So this book is kind of her book. I hope like Mei, she has been able to force them to see who she really is. Mei's family dynamics are fascinating. I don't always enjoy teen romances because they are often to angst ridden, but I actually liked how this one developed.
I sure wish this book had been there for me to give to my student.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore & Nile Bullock (Narrator)
I ended up liking this book more than I expected. Lolly Rachpaul's brother died from gang violence before the book begins. He and his mother are still dealing with his loss. This book takes us with Lolly through the year after the tragedy. He carries a load of guilt and anger that is only appeased when he builds with legos. When his mom's girlfriend starts to bring over bags of lego, he begins to build on a huge scale. Through his lego construction he befriends Big Rose, an autistic girl in his building.
The book is populated with interesting, authentic characters. They are all doing their best to navigate their way through their Harlem neighbourhood into adulthood. It's much harder than it seems. Luckily, Lolly has good friends and solid adults holding him up and helping him work his way through it all.
I'm back to reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman and am listening to We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Our bookclub meeting has been postponed so the next book I read with my eyes will probably be The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd. I'm in line for three audiobooks and will be listening to whatever arrives first.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
#MustReadNFIn2018 4/12 1 in progress
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 7/25
Goodreads Reading Challenge 158/333