I am celebrating.
First because I finished reading all the Chocolate Lily candidates. Mostly they are all really great reads so choosing the finalists is going to be challenging!
Second, because we now have our garden planted! (There is more to come, but for now we are on top of things.)
Tomorrow we start renovations.
Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian Author and or Illustrator.
Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.
NOVELS: High Interest - Low Vocabulary
I need to begin this section by giving a shout out to the Orca Current novels written by British Columbian authors. These are, according to their website, "short, high-interest novels with contemporary themes written specifically for middle-school students reading below grade level. Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 5.0. Interest level ages 10–14." Many of these are written by award winning authors and from what I am reading, many are own voices books. I'm impressed as heck.
This little novel packs a lot of important messages into it. Like many newcomers to Canada, Shivani is struggling to fit in and find a place for herself in her new school and community. She is terrified that if people meet her mother, who is struggling with English, people will make fun of her. If they do that, they will also end up making fun of Shivani.
I cringed at how Shivani was ashamed of her family and her culture. Thankfully, her parents are smart and their new community is diverse and accepting. I really appreciated how responsible and responsive all the adults in this book are. I also liked how thoughtful the students are. This is the reality of the multicultural world I spent many years teaching in.
I don't do scary at the best of times. That's why it took me a while to garner enough courage to open this book. As an adult reading books for children, my perspective is different from the target audience. I'm so busy worrying about what will happen to the characters, I don't get involved in the way younger readers might. On the other hand, I know the Edgar Allan Poe story this one references so that might just be another reason for my anxiety.
Anyway, this is a fast paced, tense, thriller for younger readers. Connor, who loves to climb, is coerced into hiding a stolen object high on a 'Pit and Pendulum' fairground ride. Fixing the mess he's gotten himself into isn't easy.
What I really liked about this book is how the many different characters are shown to be more than Connor assumed.
The publisher asserts that "Sports Stories are action-driven sports novels that turn reluctant readers into all-star readers! Plus, they feature characters with diverse racial, physical, mental, and economic backgrounds."
Dressed to Play impressed me much more than I anticipated. I admit to even getting a bit weepy at the end. Jordan loves basketball almost more than anything else, but when she starts getting called names and has to deal with bullying, she almost quits.
I especially appreciated how this book takes a hard look at misogyny and body image within the world of sports. It has made me appreciate all those young women athletes across time even more than I did before reading this.
You can find out more about this series here.
This character driven book is just charming. I loved the authenticity of Bea as she struggles with all the changes in her life. When her father acknowledged he was gay, her parents divorced, but continued to have her best interests at heart. When her father decides to marry Jesse, Bea discovers that Jesse has a daughter. Sonia takes longer to embrace their new sisterhood, but Bea is undaunted.
Throughout the book Bea sees a therapist to help her deal with her anger issues. Eventually we become privy to a big secret that has been eating at her.
I appreciate how much Rebecca Stead deals with in this book - separated parents, living in two different places, therapy as part of a normal life, homophobia, and the ordinariness of spats and arguments with friends and family.
This book is the jewel of my reading week.
It just wowed me. I started reading and couldn't stop. The world building, the characters, and the story held me in its sway till it was finished. I still can't stop thinking about it.
I have the first in this series somewhere in a box, but alas, we have moved and I have no idea where it is. Otherwise I would have jumped right in. I did read a synopsis before starting this just in case I needed to know what happened before. I don't think it was really necessary.
Earth has been invaded by alien creatures called The Nahx. The Nahx, who are a cross between machine and clone, hunt humans and kill them with a special kind of poison dart. The series focuses on a group of Canadian friends who were camping in the Rocky Mountains when the invasion took place. This saved their lives, but they were still hunted by Nahx soldiers.
This begins with Xander being escorted across Nahx territory by August, a rogue Nahx. August loved Xander's friend, Raven, who died in the previous book. He gives up his life to save Xander who eventually ends up in a refugee camp near Prince George.
Raven wakes up after being darted to find herself transformed into a human version of a Nahx.
The action packed tale is brilliantly told through the perspectives of these three characters. I'm desperately hoping there will be another in series.
It is pure genius. I just can't recommend it enough.
I'm reading March: Book Three (March, #3) by John Lewis, and rereading Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch for an upcoming book club. I'm listening to The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo.
I'm hoping to go and reread the the first two in the March Trilogy. All my unread hardcopy books are in boxes so I've just downloaded The Case of the Missing Auntie by Michael Hutchinson and A Short History of Indians in Canada by Thomas King. It's about time I started reading to reach my indigenous goals.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
Big Books Summer 2020 1/10
#MustReadNFIn2020: 4/12 one in progress
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 9/25
100 books by Canadian Authors: 91/100
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 172/333