#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.
I don't know what it's like where you are, but here in BC, wildfires are raging across the province. Our sky is thick with a grey haze that the sun shines eerily red orange through. Because I have asthma, I'm mostly stuck inside although I do venture out to putter in the garden or wander off for short walks. My head is plugged and my lungs ache all the time. It's nasty. I'm haunted by these lines from The Hollow Men by TS Elliot:
"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
You would think I would at least get some reading done, but I haven't been in much of a reading mood. Unfortunately this means I have been returning more novels to the library these days than I read. The worrisome thing is that it's beginning to feel normal.
On a positive note, thanks to all of you helping me curate my reading life, everything I do read is exceptional!
With board books and babies, there is no such thing as a finished date. I'm calling this one finished anyway even if I've only read it 10 times in the past few days. My granddaughter loves it. Her mother reads it to her in Spanish and I read it to her in English. She gets excited by each new expression, and is even a bit worried by the angry face.
Update: She now laughs at the scary faces and wants me to copy them.
Honestly, there is nothing better than reading with little ones.
The Giggle Gang series is ideal for fans of Elephant and Piggie. Something wild and hairy with big teeth is chasing Duck, Sheep and Donkey. Bear convinces them to stand up to their fears. Who is actually chasing them ends up being a hilarious surprise.
Only one more to go and I will be caught up with this series.
A powerful wordless book about the power of kindness and how to stand against bullying. As I was reading it I was reminded of Whitewash by Ntozake Shange.
I've been on a Sergio Ruzzier picture book binge these days. I am completely infatuated with his work. This one is a gorgeously illustrated celebration of the power of words. It's a metaphor for learning to read. As a duck reads a book without pictures, struggling at first to make sense of the text, the pages show the worlds the words take it into. The end papers are ingenious. The front ones are full of text where only some of the words are readable. The back ones tell the story that is in the book. I'm going to have to find another copy of this to read since the cover is taped over my library copy.
Two mice head out on an adventure in a boat. They hit rocks, capsize, and nearly end up as dinner to baby birds before making it back home safe and sound.
It's the combination of the sparse text and delightful illustrations that make this book a hit. Using only the numbers, one, two, and three, the text is composed of two word phrases where the first word is one of these numbers. The rest of the story is revealed in the soft images.
I loved the humour in this. Even my one year old enjoyed it. It is the perfect book for children just breaking through into reading.
Rabbit’s suitcase is full of exactly what his friends need and want. The question is whether or not there will be anything left for him.
The images that spill out as each character opens the suitcase and removes their items are glorious. A leaf for the toucan becomes a jungle. The cat’s transformed ball of twine reminded me of my mother-in-law’s yarn stash!
My heart sang at the ending where Rabbit’s friends end up giving back to him just what he wants and needs. This message about the joy of reciprocity is one we can’t spread often enough.
NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS
I haven't met a Barb Rosenstock book I haven't loved, and this might be the best one yet. It tells the story of Nek Chand, folk artist extraordinaire, who created a hidden world that reflected the multiple stories of the town he grew up in.
Claire A. Nivola's illustrations are stunning. The full spread of photographs near the end of the book shows the magnitude of the work.
Here in the middle of the summer, while forest fires rage across the world, I have been pondering the significance of trees and what happens when they disappear.
I like this book a lot. It's is beautifully illustrated in an abstract fashion. Each chunk of text imparts important information about trees. I am especially happy by the page that states, "Trees use their roots to communicate and to help one another." It's true, but I wasn't sure this nugget of truth would make it into a picture book.
We need to do more to save trees and ourselves.
This fictional graphic novel follows a family of four as they are forced to leave their home in Aleppo and travel to Lebanon. There they live as refugees before finally making it to Canada. Although the characters themselves are fictional, they represent the very real experiences of ordinary Syrians.
This important book will educate readers about what it means to be a refugee.
Gorgeous artwork is the backbone of this story about a prince who likes to dress up in women's clothing. He hires his own seamstress, Frances, a talented clothing designer. Prince Sebastian becomes Lady Crystallia and her attire is copied by all the other ladies in the city. Unfortunately Frances gets none of the credit. Their lives become more and more complicated until things fall apart.
My heart ached for both of these characters who were caught in untenable circumstances. To be honest, while I liked this conclusion, it felt somewhat simplistic and outlandish. Still, I'm always happy with a happy ending.
How can you not love a book where children trade monster cards for stink sap and the school is organized like this:
“There were three classrooms in the Academy. Classroom One was for the younger squidges. Classroom Two was for squidges who are old enough to know better. Classroom Three was for squidges who thought they knew better than everyone else but really didn’t.”
Hugo is one of these young squidges in Classroom One. On a sneaking expedition with his class he sees a human. By chance, this same human, Boone, and Hugo end up writing letters to each other and eventually become friends.
Ellen Potter has created a world I want to be part of. I especially want to eat like a Sasquatch: hazel nut pancakes, wild mint juice, acorn butter and raspberry cream sandwiches, walnut pie, mushroom casserole, acorn butter cookies, gooseberry pie, walnut rumples, huckleberry trifles, and rosehip crunchers! There is a whole Sasquatch culture with baby Sasquatches called chuddles. That’s going to be my new word for my grand babies!
Ellen Potter never lets her readers down! I can’t wait to read the further adventures of Hugo and Boone.
I probably say this every time I read a new book in this series, but this is the best one so far. The UDM (Upside Down Magic) kids have magic that doesn't work the same way as other children's magic does. This can lead to some pretty exciting adventures and mishaps. In this one, Nory's class ends up on an overnight field trip at Dragon Haven with the grade five students from Sage Academy. Nory's father, their headmaster, is also there.
What I liked was how the students from this school appreciated the talents and skills of the UDM children. I also loved that Nory and her father seemed to come to a new kind of understanding.
What a collection of characters to become infatuated with! Sure it's the story of the little guy defeating the big, corrupt corporation, but it's also about family, friendship, first loves and food.
When I saw that two of my favourites children’s authors had collaborated on a book, I expected awesome. Have they ever delivered!
I want to have deep philosophical conversations about this book with other readers.
Reynolds’ gorgeous writing grabbed me from the get-go. There's something slightly Dickensian about it. After his brother Shawn's death, Will sets off to follow The Rules: No crying. No snitching. Revenge. On his way down the elevator to finish up number 3, he is visited by numerous ghosts. Although there were moments that flagged a bit for me, that ending more than made up for it.
The best thing about historical fiction is what it teaches us about who we are, and what we don’t know about the world. I was a young teenager when this novel takes place. The only thing I knew from western media was about the starving Biafrans and how I better eat my vegetables. This book shows us, through the stories of three connected characters, how Biafra came to be, what it was like to live through the war, and how it was lost.
I'm rereading One Native Life by Richard Wagamese and have just picked up Firewater by Harold Johnson for my book club on the 27th. I'm also in the middle of Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth. Unfortunately three of the audiobooks I started listening to expired (Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman) so I am waiting for them to be available again. In the meantime I'm listening to A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny.
I'm hoping to get to Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro, but it means I am going to have to be doing little else but reading for the rest of the week.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
#MustReadIn2018 19/25 1 in progress
#MustReadNFIn2018 5/12 1 in progress
#BigBookSummer 4/4 1 in progress
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 14/25 3 in progress
Goodreads Reading Challenge 282/333