This week is the culmination of two weeks of reading. Instead of writing or reading blog posts last week, I prioritized getting caught up on my bags of library books. I failed at that, but at least I tried. I missed you all and am hoping to squeeze in time to read what you have all been up to!
I am working full time till the 21st. This takes a huge chunk out of my reading life! Of course, all the books I had on hold at my library arrived all at once! I'm already so far behind that I ended up taking a huge bag of them back unread. I spent a few hours early Sunday morning catching up on picture books before adding them to the bag. Sigh... Not only does working take away from how much I read, it limits what I can handle. I've returned a couple of audiobooks after realizing that they were ratcheting up my stress and anxiety levels when what I needed was to be able to relax. I'm still working on a few knitting and sewing projects, but have realized that I have to pare down my list of homemade Christmas gifts. At least I can afford to splurge a bit on my children and grandchildren right? Hopefully I'll get caught up in my reading over the winter break.
One evening last week this happened!
Sir Simon, a ghost, gets transferred around a lot. When the house he is in becomes occupied by a grandmother and her grandson, Simon tricks the grandson, Chester, into doing his ghost chores for him. Chester is not very good at it. The next day Sir Simon is filled with remorse and ends up helping Chester with his daily chores. Sir Simon is not very good at it. But they are good at is being friends with each other.
I loved this one! It’s full of gorgeous art and a delightfully humorous story that will make readers feel good.
Little star and her mother, Big Star, make a huge moon cake. At night Little Star gets up to nibble on it. Each night the moon cake disappears, bit by bit, revealing to us the phases of the moon. When it’s all gone Little Star and her mother make another cake.
The golden yellow against the black background make these illustrations stunningly gorgeous.
My granddaughter and I opened this book together sight unseen. She was mesmerized by the first page, her hand frozen in the act of turning to the next one. “Mommy!” she exclaimed, pointing to Big Star.
Even 18 month old children show us how important it is for books to be mirrors.
The best picture books are those you read through the first time and then go back to indulge yourself in the illustrations.
This is one of these.
Right from the front endpapers, where upside down creatures fly across the page, it was obvious I was in for a treat.
As a storm approaches, Grandad and grandson decide it’s perfect weather for kite flying. The problem is they can’t find the kite. As they search for it they unearth all kinds of things that remind them of other adventures that they’ve had together. Eventually they find the kite and head off on a new one.
If you are not acquainted with this series that highlights relationship between a grandfather and grandson, set against the backdrop of different kinds of weather, then you are living a deprived life.
I can not imagine not having a garden to muck about in, so I have much empathy for Mae. Not only does she have to move and leave her friends behind, she also has to leave her garden.
This beautiful picture book shows how she creates her own garden and makes new friends at her new home in the city.
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. A granddaughter looks forward to visits from her grandmother who brings a marvellous purse with her. It’s full of all kinds of accessories that the child puts on as she explores it. At the same time as all this is going on we see how sweet and loving the relationship is between these two.
As the Grandmother is explaining the contents, this bit struck me, “This coin purse holds my coins, of course, but it also holds memories. Your grandfather brought it back from Japan for me. So when I do something small like put away change, I do something big and think of him, too.”
This sweet book focuses on what’s really important at Christmas. Hint: it is't what comes in the biggest box.
Whether or not Jelly Roll Morton actually invented jazz, is not as important as acknowledging that he was definitely integral to its development. This picture book paints, in words and images, significant events in his life. Music was the magic that eased his tears.
It reads like a myth which is completely simpatico for someone of his influence and fame. The back matter contains additional information about him and a suggestion for what albums to listen to.
Sean Qualls' art provides the ideal backdrop for Jonah Winter's text that begs to be read like slam poetry. It is all so brilliant I had to go back and reread it numerous times.
Dizzy Gillespie did not have an easy beginning. He lived with an abusive father and was bullied by other children. When he discovered the trumpet, he blew all his anger and pain out into it. Eventually he created a new kind of jazz called bebop.
I appreciated the additional information at the back matter that provided additional information about him.
This book is a collection of short biographies. It highlights different individuals across time and space who spent their lives working for peace. Some of these individuals were familiar to me. Others, like Ginetta Sagan, the founder of Amnesty International, an organization I support, were new to me.
If I were still teaching and in charge of curriculum projects, I would use this book to initiate a unit researching the lives of other peaceful heroes!
This is a picture book memoir that deserves a place in high school libraries. Andrea tells the true story of how she met and fell in love with Dave. Andrea is an artist and Dave a plastic surgeon so it seemed like they might not have enough in common. In this book Andrea confronts her understanding of herself as flawed. It’s the kind of book many younger and older people will relate to. The grade 6/7 group I shared it with appreciated it.
Many thanks to Elisabeth Ellington to introducing me to this. The following is the NFB film that preceded the book. I think the book is better.
I’m so glad I dove into this book about Eugenie Clark, the Shark Lady. She was born at a time when it was very challenging for women to be more than wives and mothers. She dove into her passion for sharks and eventually earned her PHD. The world is much wiser about sharks because of her advocacy and work. Hopefully this book with its brilliant illustrations will encourage many more children to dive into their own dreams.
This book gave me all the feels. I’ve known about Viola Desmond for a while but am always happy to read more about her. I like the way this is formatted. The main text is written as regular nonfiction narrative. The illustrations are a graphic format with speech bubbles. Each compliments the other. Viola was a strong woman who ended up in trouble for wanting to sit in the white’s only section in a movie theatre.
It’s perfect that this book is published now, since this fall Viola Desmond is the first woman to appear alone on our Canadian ten-dollar bill.
The sun really is a big deal! This book is loaded with all kinds of information to show you why. It's got page after hilarious page of it laid out in comic format. There are detailed diagrams, process charts, fact boxes and many more interesting text features. There is a glossary near the back of the book that explains the bolded words you find in the book. There is a Did you Know...? Section at the end that provides more information.
I’m really enjoying this series.
Jenson has trouble fitting in and is bullied by some other students in his school. Ultimately, with the help of members in the Newspaper club, things get better for him and other students.
The best thing though was seeing Jorge, the main character in Crush, who my middle school year old self has a crush on!
This book is so beautiful. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars on Goodreads.
It's the story of six children from a special learning class who spend unsupervised time talking to each other once a week. The stories they share hold a finger on the pulse of American reality today.
I don't think I've appreciated one of Jacqueline Woodson's novels this much since I read The House You Pass On Your Way.
There are all kinds of places where I stopped and revelled in the writing, but I had to actually stop and copy this poem so I would not forget it:
"And in the night, when the dog barks at shadows, tell him
not to be afraid of what he cannot see
or the things he does not yet understand.
There is mystery everywhere.
Beneath rocks, there is damp earth
and an army of ants
planning a revolution."
I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series. I care about all the characters but I think this ending is the best.
I listened to it and wasn’t sure if I liked this format at first, even though it is the same narrator as Sunny and I loved Guy Lockard in that one.
It seems a bit of an oxymoron to say that reading or listening to a murder mystery is relaxing. Nonetheless, for me at least, this is true, so long as it is a 'cosy mystery.' I think I'm becoming addicted to Louise Penny and her tales of Inspector Gamache. It seems that the poor Inspector can't even take a vacation without having to deal with murder. I especially enjoyed the exploration into dysfunctional family dynamics in this one. It's left me wondering if there are any other kind of family dynamics besides dysfunctional ones.
If I ever finish the next 10 or so books in this series, I will finally be caught up to my sister who introduced me to them.
I'm listening to Weather or Not from the Upside-Down Magic series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins. I'm reading, with my eyes, The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage. I've started, but not made much progress on a graphic novel, The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown. I have The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall on my device and need to get back to that since it's one of my last MustRead titles!
If I should I actually finish everything I already have on the go, I will dig into those bags of library books and see what jumps out at me.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
#MustReadIn2018 23/25 1 in progress
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 25/25
Goodreads Reading Challenge 428/333