#IMWAYR February 24, 2018


#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 am slowly recovering from the plague that kicked me to the curb and nearly knocked me out. Hopefully I'm done with oral steroids, for which I shall be eternally grateful.

I've been working in a school library for the last few weeks and am looking forward to continuing until Spring Break. To acknowledge Black History Month, I have been creating a display with books written by black authors and black characters. While students of all ages spend time looking at the picture books, I've been especially pleased to see older students, even if they don't check them out, reading them. I also started collecting a few books for Pink Day this coming week. I should have written a blog post about these books but had no energy or time.

Although I talked about this book last Monday, I must to give another shout out to Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock & Katherine Roy. Last week I read it to groups of students from grades two to seven. All of them were enthralled, but I think the older students were more engaged than the younger ones.

In my non-reading life, my daughter-in-law and I have planned and cut out fabric for a quilt to make for her newest nephew in Korea. I've managed to almost finish a baby sweater to send to him. I just need to get some buttons to sew on. I've machine stitched the binding on two other quilts and am in the process of hand stitching those. I've started planning my next project, a quilt for my other son and his partner. I'll post photo's next week when they are finished.

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to the Goodreads page if you want to add it to your list. 

PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars

I have heard people talk about Pink and Say, but finally got around to reading it.
It is a profound story about friendship and courage against the backdrop of the Civil War. (How can a war be called civil?)
I was even more impressed to discover that the book is based on a true story.

4 stars

This beautifully illustrated book shows one black child and one white child pondering philosophical questions of why we are who we are, and what makes us this way. It’s their coming together at the end that makes the book for me.

4 stars

I reread this book while searching for books appropriate for pink day. This one, that looks at the the consequences of bullying and articulates a possible solution, is perfect.
Susan Hughes and Carey Sookocheff are both Canadian talent!

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars

This book highlights some of the freedoms that are articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each brilliantly illustrated page interprets one of these freedoms along with a quote. World renowned authors and Illustrators are showcased on each double page spread. A section in the back matter provides a bit of additional information about each one of them. It also contains information about Amnesty International and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The book begins with a forward by Michael Morpurgo.

GRAPHIC

4 stars

This was hilarious. AJ and his friends are just starting grade six. He's sure that this year will be different until school actually starts and everything seems to be the same as before. His two best friends, Hunter and Ivy, are always competing over something. AJ has a hard core crush on Nia, the smartest girl in the school. She doesn't seem to know he exists. Things look up when their cool new teacher from England pairs them up on a research project. Because Nia is obsessed with vampires, AJ begins to take on the persona of one. This nearly ends in disaster as the real vampire in their midst makes nefarious plans.
Whitney Gardner is an author illustrator from Victoria, BC, in Canada. 


Maybe I wasn't quite as wowed by this one as I was by The Witch Boy, (which won the Cybil) but I still enjoyed it a lot. It might even be a contender next year. Charlie befriends a new girl at school, Ariel. After years of abandonment and bullying, Ariel is full of anger and distrust. Following a miscommunication, she puts a curse on Charlie, who then goes to Aster for help. I love how this series is full of magic and adventure, but at the same time, addresses issues in the real world.

NOVELS


Lucy Wu is a character I'll be carrying around with me for a while. She's authentic, complicated, and full of heart.
Grade six is supposed to be her best year ever. She is looking forward to getting her room to herself now that her sister is heading off to college. Then she learns that her grandmother, Po Po, had a younger sister, Li Po, who is coming for an extended stay with them. Lucy has to share her room with her. To make matters worse, instead of focusing on basketball, her passion, Lucy is forced to go to Chinese school. Adding to her troubles, she ends up getting bullied by Sloane, a girl at school.
Of course it all ends up fine in the end with Lucy learning a lot, making new friends, and becoming a better person.
I loved Lucy's family and friends and readers will too. My only wish is that Sloane's character was more developed.

As an aside, I got this book mixed up with another by Wendy Wan-Long Shang, The Way Home Looks Now, that is on my MustRead List this year. But it's all good because now I am looking forward to reading that one even more!


I loved this book about Else, a precocious, almost eight year old and her obstreperous grandmother. Their relationship plays out within the synthesis of an allegorical fairytale tale world, the Land-of-Almost-Awake, and their practical day to day reality. What holds it all together is unyielding love.
They live in a house full of flats. When the grandmother dies, Else discovers that the stories of the Land-of-Almost-Awake are connected to the other tenants in the building.
The book is about love and loss. "The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people left behind want to stop living. It's also bout making mistakes and acknowledging them. Maybe seven year olds do deserve super heroes, but that doesn't mean super heroes have to be perfect. They are good enough just by being honestly who they are.

NONFICTION


Alex Colville is a world renowned Canadian Painter. I discovered his art through Horse and Train while still in high school. Horse and Train, which was used as an album cover by Bruce Cockburn in 1973, remains one of his iconic works, although apparently, Pacific, a painting of a man and a gun, sells most reproductions. Both exemplify the tension that is a hallmark of his work. 



While I was still working full time I went in search of a children's book to introduce my elementary students to his work. I found nothing then and can find nothing now. I'm still searching and might have to write one myself. In the mean time, I'm learning as much as I can about him.

The book is composed of photographs, reproductions, text and even a graphic novel component at the end. It was written to accompany an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I appreciated learning how societal factors outside his quiet community influenced his work. It was also fascinating to see how his work has influenced other artists from different mediums. Although I already knew how meticulous and mathematical Colville was, I was surprised at how many studies he completed before finally finishing a painting.

The writing is nearly as stunning as the paintings themselves. There are two forwards, one by Matthhew Teitelbaun and the other by Marc Mayer. Andrew Hunter writes an introduction before the main body of the text. I found that Marc Mayer captured the essence of Colville's art with these words,
"Although his scenes were intimate, his subjects familiar, they did not necessarily offer comfort... In his unforgettably hypnotic paintings, Coville constantly questions whether we can ever know others, let alone ourselves. He reveals the false security that is often bred by familiarity."
Next I'm planning on rewatching the NFB production, Alex Colville: The Splendour of Order.
Everyone connected with this book is Canadian.

CURRENTLY

I'm still listening to There There by Tommy Orange and am searching all over for my copy of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasiy. I need to it have finished by next Monday!

UP NEXT

I'm still craving middle grade novels. Luckily, The Way Home Looks Now is in transit for me to pick up at my local library. I have Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny ready to listen to next (maybe). Depending on how much time I have, I'll start The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MustReadIn2018 4/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 4/12

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 5/25

25 books by Canadian Authors 16/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 71/333


17 comments:

  1. Colville looks outstanding! You've also caught my attention with The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. Sadly, none of the local libraries have it, but I may be able to ILL it next month. I'll look forward to hearing more about There There once you're finished. I've had this one on my TBR list for a while and hope it's as good as what I've been hearing. Have a wonderful reading week, Cheriee!

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    1. Colville is glorious! The problem with There There is that I know what is coming and so the closer I get to the ending, the more anxious I get!

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  2. Patricia Polacco has so many amazing books! I also look forward to hearing more about There There. I borrowed it from the library a while back, but I had to return it before I got to reading it. Have a great week!

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    1. I agree that Patricia Polacco is amazing! I had the book out a while ago and had to return it before finishing it:(

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  3. Isn't Fake Blood hilarious? I laughed out loud multiple times. Was sorry it didn't find a place on the Cybils list, but there were so many great books. I'm excited about The Hidden Witch. I really liked The Witch Boy a lot. I always struggle with Patricia Polacco books because there are SO MANY WORDS. How is There There on audio? I really want to read that one but read so little adult fiction, it's really hard to squeeze novels for grown-ups in.

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    1. There There is intense. Fake Blood is so much fun. I loved the spoof on the Twilight series. I'm happy to read adult fiction because I end up appreciating middle grade (my favourite) even more!

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  4. I'll certainly look for 'What Happens Next' & at least online about Alex Colville-fascinating to see and read what you wrote, Cheriee. Thanks for titles new to me like Fake Blood, sounds like an interesting middle grade book! Hope you are much better now & love hearing about your projects, too!

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    1. Hope you enjoy looking at Colville's art. It really is stunning. I think Fake Blood is going to be a hit with middle grade readers.

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  5. My students were really engaged in Pink and Say, even more than I thought they would be. Polacco just has a wonderful way of connecting with all generations with both her awesome storytelling but her artwork that just draws everyone in. I'm glad you're enjoying it, too. Have a great week!

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    1. I agree with everything thing you said about Patricial Polacco!

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  6. I think almost all of your books are new to me!
    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on There There. I purchased it a long time ago... not sure when I'll get to it.

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    1. I hope to have There There finished by next weekend, so long as I don't get to afraid to read the ending.

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  7. Colville's art is fascinating. I enjoyed There There and Pink and Say. Why and I Me? is such a great book for discussions and wondering. I'll be looking for What Happens Next? Thanks! Happy reading and quilting.

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    1. Thanks Crystal. Hope you enjoy What Happens Next?

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  8. I had some awful respiratory stuff a few years ago that hung on and hung on until I finally resorted to going to the doctor and getting a steroid shot. Ugh! It did finally knock that stuff out, but oh that shot!

    Fake Blood was a favorite I read last year.

    I'm glad you are able to get back to work in your library.

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    1. It's not my library, but it is one I have worked in for a while. It is delightful to be there!
      Your story about the steroid shots have made me thankful I only had to take mine orally!

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  9. Patricia Polacco is all time favorite. I actually baked my first cake from scratch after reading Thundercake to my class. Her stories are truly timeless. Have a great week!

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