#IMWAYR January 27, 2019

#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 was all about graphic novels last week as I managed to finish reading the Cybil's finalists in the graphic novel category. Whew! Deciding on a winner is going to be challenging because they are all fabulous in different ways!

I managed to find a bit of time to do some knitting, but it was pretty much a read and work week. I made sure to carve out time so I could go singing. My choir doesn't perform. We just get together and sing for the joy of making music together. 

Clicking on the titles of the books will take you to Goodreads where you can add it to your list. 

BLOG POSTS LAST WEEK

PICTURE BOOKS

Much thanks to TL extraordinaire, Miranda Hounsell for introducing me to the first two books here. 
5 stars
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a young refugee. It's perfect for primary students because it reveals the main ideas of what she has been through without details that would make it too disturbing. It's a book for fostering empathy for refugee students in classrooms.

4 stars
Oh this book is just delightful! One day while Z, a little robot, is out adventuring it finds a note in a bottle. The writing is blurred but it is signed, Love, Beatrice. Love does not compute to Z or the robots who look after him. The next day Z sets off to find the meaning of love. If you are looking for a feel good book that shows all the ways people and robots show their love, look no further.

5 stars
This book just gobsmacked me. Poor cranky Little Brown. To be honest, the ending shocked me. I don't know why I expected anything else from the author of The Farmer and the Clown. The first time I read it, I was alone. I had to go back for another read to make sure I hadn't missed anything.
Then I read it to a group of grade 1's and 2's.
They responded with, "Wait! Huh? That's not the ending? How could that be?"
The skits that followed presented brilliantly simple solutions for what to do tomorrow.
Got a big problem? Ask a kid what to do.

4 stars
This delightful book has brightly coloured pictures that compare growing friends to growing flowers. There is minimal text on the page which makes it ideal for younger readers. The primary aged group I was with this week were easily able to make the connections between the two ideas. Sara Gillingham is a Canadian author. 🍁

4 stars
Through the perspective of a young girl, Okpik, we become acquainted with a northern community learning about the ways of the white people. Even though the pages are text heavy, young readers will connect with Okpik who has a puppy she is trying to come up with a name for.
I started reading this to a group of grade 1's and 2's without having read it first. Don't do that. It uses Inuit vocabulary that you will want to rehearse. I showed the students the glossary of words at the end of the book and we tried to sound them out and learn them together, but it definitely interrupted the flow of the story.
Susan Aglukark is an Inuk Canadian. (She is also an amazing musician.) Danny Christopher and Amanda Sandland are also Canadian. 🍁

GRAPHIC

4 stars
There is some drop dead gorgeous art in this graphic novel. The landscape and nature scenes are truly spectacular. I like the characters except that where the backgrounds are realistic, the people have a cartoon look to them that makes them look our of place in that context. Melanie Gillman is trying to get across a lot in this graphic novel. Charlie, a young black girl is attending an otherwise all white summer camp. She experiences all kinds of microagressions from the leadership and other campers. The feminism espoused by the group leadership is definitely privileged. It all felt a bit too preachy to me, but I could have lived with it because the friendship that grows between Charlie and Sydney, a transgendered girl, is delightful. However, I really hated that ending, which wasn't really an ending at all. The story just stopped without any resolution of any kind.

5 stars
I realio trulio love this book so much!
Lupe's quinceañera is special in more ways than she anticipated. Not only is it her coming of age into womanhood, it's the day her superpowers manifest. Luckily, her abuela, who's been through it all herself, is there to mentor and guide her. It's a wild and wonderful year for Lupe as she saves her community over and over and experiences fan adoration. It's also hard work and stressful! It isn't easy living two separate lives. When her grades start slipping she has to work with a tutor. Still, everything is fine until it is discovered that there is another teen at her high school with superpowers, and he's full of evil.
While there is some romance in this book, it's nothing that would keep me from handing it off to a ten year old to read. In fact, Lupe is the ideal role model. She's strong, independent, compassionate and kind. Sebastian Kadlecik wanted to create a comic book with a superhero his Latino nieces would want to emulate, and who would be a mirror for them to see themselves and their families in. Not only have the creators accomplished it, they have created a superhero for all girls (and even boys) to look up to.
Even if the ending almost made me cry, this book still makes me happy!
I appreciated the diverse cast of characters at the school Lupe attends. I love Lupe's Latino family, but most especially her abuela! Their relationship is a highlight of the book for me. I especially love that this book makes pink a power colour!
I had problems with some text being too small to read but because I was reading it on my iPad, I could enlarge it. I'm not sure if that is a problem with me or the book though, since I have trouble with text in graphic novels on a regular basis. 
Check out this video interview with the creators. 


4 stars
I loved meeting Mr Wolf's students in their beds the night before school starts. Not only do we get to know them all a bit, we see that each of them is a unique individual. What makes the book is this collection of diverse animals coming together in this classroom. I know many students will love the fart/icecream joking around. When a student goes missing though, usually there is a whole lot more hullabaloo than in this story. However, students will probably find it hilarious that Penny fell asleep in a box in the library.

4 stars
In this semi-autobiographical novel Vera tells the story of life at a summer camp in America that celebrates and fosters Russian culture. It isn't easy. She struggled with fitting in at her school and then again while she was at camp. There are hilarious scenes where the boys and girls try to steal each other's flags. The outhouse also provides comic moments. In spite of the hilarity, there are lonely, painful and embarrassing components as well. I loved the scenes where Vera found a friend and accepts who she is. The artwork is charming!
In the afterward Vera Brosgol explains that the story is a compilation of friends and family members experiences of camp. To this she added a dose of creativity to make the narrative more exciting.
I enjoyed this as much, if not more, this second time.

4 stars
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. This is my second time reading this. It is worth the reread.
Samya Kullab is a Canadian Journalist. 🍁

NONFICTION GRAPHIC

5 + stars
What a story!
I connected deeply to this book. Jarett's mother reminded me of my sister, who had addiction and mental health issues but nonetheless, loved her children with everything she had. The other character who jumped out at me was the grandmother. Although she often comes across as a cantankerous old crone, she too has moments of tenderness. Ultimately the thing about all the characters in this book is that I can't help but feel like I know all them. How can our hearts not ache for the little boy who didn't understand what was happening with his mother? My heart ached for his mother too. The research tells us that there is a correlation between early childhood trauma and drug addiction. I am deeply moved by how this book is full of love for all of the characters, including himself. 
The art is brilliant. I won't say it's beautiful, although there are some parts that are. What it is, is powerful and profound. It feels like a journey into memory.
I appreciated the note in the back matter where Krosoczka talks about what happened after this book.

5 stars
I had to work hard to find a copy of this book, but it was worth all the effort!
If you, or someone you know is into horses, get this book. It's based on the true story of the author's cousin, Gail Ruffu, who lost everything to save the life of a horse she was part owner of. Gail Ruffu is an inspirational role model. What you learn about horse racing in America is appalling. "In American horse racing, twenty-four racehorses (on average) die every week on racetracks." This doesn't include the thousands who are sent to slaughterhouses to be killed because of injuries caused by reckless trainers and breeders.
At first I had mixed feelings about the black and white art, but within a few pages, I was lost in the story.

4 stars
This book troubles me, but as I go through my criteria for a quality graphic novel, I find myself giving it top marks for almost all aspects. Everything related to the art is stunning. The use of Anne's own words fills it with authenticity. The more I wonder what it is about this book that doesn't work for me, the more I wonder if it's me. It has been a long time since I read the original novel, but the story and ending is well known. Perhaps I'm just anxious because the creators have done their job so well that I am deeply invested in this young girl, and know what is in store for her. That might be it. I also think that partly what troubles me has to do with the large junks of written text interspersed in the graphic novel. When a GN works, my brain combines the image and text so they seamlessly roll out the story. These larger chunks interupt this flow. All that aside, I do think this is an invaluable addition to school libraries as It will enable more readers to become acquainted with Anne's story, one that seems more and more relevant given the existing political climate.

4 stars
This graphic novel continues the story of Echo, a young Métis girl living in a foster home. She travels back and forth in time to the time of Louis Riel and the Metis Red river Rebellion. It brings a dark part of Canadian history to life. The reality is that the Canadian government has never dealt fairly with indigenous peoples and reading this novel makes it all very clear. This is created by a Canadian Indigenous team. 🍁

NOVELS
5 stars
Louise Wolfe, (Lou) a suburban Muscogee (Creek) girl, is in her last year of high school. She's a journalist on the school newspaper and getting into a serious romantic relationship. A dark underbelly of the school and community is revealed when diverse students get starring roles in the school production of The Wizard of Oz. Lou's brother, Hughie, gets the part of the Tin Man. A group calling themselves Parents Against Revisionist Theater (PART) get their knickers in a knot and cause all kinds of grief. Lou's family along with the other actors' families receive nasty notes and other people in their community are threatened with losing their livelihoods if their children continue writing for the paper. Their journalism teacher is suspended. 
Until I read this book I had no idea that Frank Baum was racist, never mind vociferously so. I appreciated the dilemma It put Hughie in when he discovered this. 
There is so much to love about this book. I loved the positive extended family relationships. I loved that Lou became more reflective as she realizes her mistakes and tries to fix them. Hearts Unbroken is the kind of solid, coming of age YA novel I adore. 

CURRENTLY

I'm still listening to Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I need to finish it soon since my book club meeting is next week. I am rereading On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden since I've finished up the rest of the Cybil finalists and want to make sure my initial response stands up compared to all the rest of them. I have just begun reading First and Then by Emma Mills. 

UP NEXT

I will be trying to deal with all the books I've put aside while I finishing the graphic novels. 

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 3/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 2/12 1 in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 10/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 38/333

18 comments:

  1. I loved Hey! Kiddo! too, and thanks for sharing all the books, Cheriee. Wow, you read a lot! I almost shared Little Brown this week, too, but ran out of time for a proper review-next week! Hearts Unbroken is on my list, maybe soon! Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! Kiddo is a powerful book! I pretty much had to read because of the Cybils. Hope you enjoy Hearts Unbroken as much as I did.

      Delete
  2. I am going to have to hunt down a copy of Out! I've added it to my TBR list, for now. I'm still looking forward to Little Brown -- hearing so many great things. I'm happy to hear you loved Hey, Kiddo. That one has really stuck with me. Such an important book. Hearts Unbroken is on my #MustReadin2019 list so I hope to get to that before the end of spring. As always, thank you for all the great shares. I've been reading everyone's #IMWAYR posts while watching the ALA awards ceremony (actually SOBBING my way through the ceremony). Hope you have a wonderful new week of reading, Cheriee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was out on an adventure with my grandchildren and missed it all. Sigh. Out is perfect for younger readers.

      Delete
    2. Adventure with grandchildren outranks book awards any day! <3

      Delete
  3. Oh wow, I shared Little Brown this week, too! I had such a similar experience with it, too - I finished the last page and went, "oh, is this the end?" It's been fascinating to share it with readers of different ages - I shared it with a tween who was actually angry with the end, while several adults I've shared it with have found it deep and thought provoking. Definitely a fascinating book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LIttle Brown filled me with all kinds of anxiety. Then after I shared it with some primary students and they acted out skits showing what they would do tomorrow, I felt much better about the world.

      Delete
  4. I have Love, Z in a stack of books I just picked up from the library. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing and have a terrific week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did Jana. It is pure pleasure!

      Delete
  5. Most of these are new to me and sound like books to check out. Mr. Wolf's Class is one that appeals to kids. Many students have enjoyed it and one student, after she read it, asked me, "Do you have any more books like this?" I placed a book club order and got the 2nd one so I should have it next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr Wolf's Class wasn't my favourite, but I can see the appeal and expect it will make lots of readers happy. I am looking forward to reading the next one myself!

      Delete
  6. There are so many books here to comment on. Where do I even start? First, Out looks incredible. My library doesn't have it, so I am going to strut in there and request it (nicely). :) Little Brown also looks amazing! Hey Kiddo is on my next-to-read list. I loved Hearts Unbroken, and my kids loved Mr. Wolf's class! It looks like you and I have similar taste. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have noticed that we appreciate the same kinds of books. I have decided to purchase a copy of Little Brown. It's a book I can carry around with me and use with nearly every age group. I hope you enjoy Hey! Kiddo as much as we did around here.

      Delete
  7. I have Love Z on hold because I was planning on reading it for #classroombookaday. I loved Little Brown and reviewed it on my blog as one of my dog picks. The fact that the ending is not resolved makes it such a good story for discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really need to get to Hearts Unbroken after reading your review! It's been sitting in the pile for too long now.
    I am so excited - Jessie Sima is visiting our school in a couple of weeks! Can't wait to hear her talk more about Z and Beatrice!
    I haven't been able to find Grand Theft Horse either. Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I didn't know about Quince so I'm glad you highlighted it and provided the video. I really need to get to Be Prepared. It looks like something I would really enjoy. I read the first A Girl Called Echo so am looking forward to seeing the second.

    ReplyDelete