Hello out there. It's #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.
We enjoyed camping by the river last weekend even if it was cold in the mornings. I managed to read four books although I didn't listen to my audiobook at all. I am usually the kind of person who stays up till eleven, but my body adapted to the light so I was asleep by ten every night. The problem is that I was awake by six and it was still dark out. Our tent trailer does not have electricity so I just laid around in bed getting bored and anxious. We had a bit of rain but it was welcome as it cleaned out the air.
The best part of being away was spending a couple of days in Vancouver with our children and grandkids and meeting our brand new granddaughter. The worst part is saying goodbye to them all. Here is the newest in the sweater I made for her.
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.
RECENT BLOG POSTSThe Barren Grounds (The Misewa Saga, #1) by David Alexander Robertson
Obsidian: A DreadfulWater Mystery by Thomas King
Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker & April Harrison (Illustrator)
Zura is worried that people will laugh at her Nana on Grandparents' day. But Nana Akua has a plan to circumvent any problems that might arrive. I love this because it's about the relationship between a grandchild and grandmother, it has a homemade quilt, and I learned about Adinkra symbols of the Akan people of Ghana. April Harrison's illustrations are beautifully rendered.
An Ordinary Day by Elana K. Arnold & Elizabet Vukovic (Illustrations)
OMG! This gorgeously illustrated book gave me shivers. On an ordinary day in a neighbourhood, two extraordinary events are taking place in two side by side houses. In the one, a family is saying goodbye to their beloved dog. In the other, a new baby is being welcomed.This is one of the most powerful and poignant books about the cycle of life I’ve ever read!
NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung & Chris Sasaki (Illustrations)
This beautiful book pays homage to Tyrus Wong, who came to the USA with his father under a false name. While not recognized for his contributions to art in his lifetime, “his story reminds us that immigrants, wanted or not, leave an essential mark on the masterpiece that is this nation.” If you have seen the Disney film, Bambi, then you have seen his work.
The book is a great introduction to what being a paper son means as it addresses the systemic racism of North America.
I know that Canada had its own racist policy limiting immigration from non-white countries through the head tax. After reading this book I discovered that Canada had its own paper son system.
You can learn more about it here.
Power Up by Kate Leth & Matt Cummings 🍁
This is a delightful romp. The universe has been waiting for prophecy to come true. When it does, it’s not exactly in the way present day interpreters expect. Three unassuming humans from diverse backgrounds suddenly find themselves imbued with magical powers and under attack from strange alien creatures.
Constantly by GG 🍁
This is a dark and brooding, almost wordless graphic novel. It centers around a poem that addresses mental health issues. It's powerful and disturbing.
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business (Mindy Kim #1) by Lyla Lee & Dung Ho (illustrator)I liked this well enough. I had plans to read it to my half Korean granddaughter who is three, or at least purchase it for her, but won't be doing that. Maybe when she is older she will love Mindy, but for her now, the fact that Mindy's mom died, isn't something I would expose her to.
Mindy and her father have just moved to Florida from California and Mindy has the usual new school angst. She is the only Asian kid there and some of the other students make fun of her lunch until they try her seaweed. With the help of a new friend, Sally, Mindy ends up trading snacks with other kids and then selling it.
It turns out that this is against the school rules and Mindy, Sally, and the boy who told on them all end up in trouble.
Of course it all ends up fine in the end.
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone & Dion Graham (Narrator)
After getting into some trouble at school, William (who is black) ends up on a road trip with his G'ma (Grandmother - who is white.) She's sold her house and purchased a motor home. The two of them end up following the same route she took with his black Grandfather during the 1960's. It's a lesson in the history of segregation for William at the same time as he comes to realize that his G'ma, is not the person he thought she was.
Monsters by David A. Robertson 🍁
This is the second in Robertson's Reckoner series. In the first one, Strangers, Cole Harper finds a serial killer. As though that wasn't enough for a kid with anxiety issues, in this book there is some kind of monster in the woods. What is it exactly? The people call it “Upayokwitigo.” In Cree it means, He Who Lives Alone. If you know anything about tales of the Wendigo, you will have a sense of what this creature is.
The ending just gobsmacked me. I've requested Ghosts, the last in the trilogy.
Forward Me Back to You by Mitali PerkinsI really enjoyed this YA novel. It’s the story of three teens who travel with a church group to Kolkata. While they are there they support an organization that works to rescue child sex slaves.
The story is told from the perspectives of the two main characters, Ravi and Kat. Each is carrying a heavy load going in. Ravi wants to find his birth mother. Kat is recovering from an assault that happened at her high school. Gracie, their other friend, has come to Kolkata to get away from babies and to be with Ravi who she cares for.
By the time they return to Boston they are transformed into their own versions of superheroes. They are stronger physically and emotionally and have learned to be honest with each other.
I came to care deeply for all these characters. All of them, including the secondary individuals, are richly developed. I especially loved Mrs Vee and bet all readers will appreciate her advice about the golden rule.
Indians on Vacation: A Novel by Thomas King 🍁An indigenous married couple, Bird and Mimi, are on vacation in Prague. A hundred years ago, Mimi's Uncle Leroy was forced to leave the reserve and join a wild west show. He took the family medicine bundle with him and it never returned. He sent home ten postcards from different countries in Europe. This is Mimi and Bird's tenth and last country searching for information about Uncle Leroy. On their travels, Bird and Mimi are creating a new medicine bundle.
Bird's demons, named by Mimi and her mother, are characters in the novel. Eugene represents self loathing, Kitty for catastrophizing, twins Didi and Desi are depression and despair, and there's Chip, for the one on Bird's shoulder. Told from Bird's perspective, it's a novel that wanders back and forth in time. Nothing's really resolved, but that's just how life is.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende & Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator)This is a family story that stretches across time and space. It begins in Spain during the time of the civil war. When Franco comes to power, they flee to France. From there they travel as refugees to Chili where they build a new life.
It's a story about survival, love, and hope. Roser, a pregnant young widow, marries her husband's brother, Victor, so that they can escape the refugee camp in France. It's hard to get my head around the fact that one family could endure so much hardship in their lifetime. This book is a reminder that democracy is a fragile construct that can, all too easily, be betrayed. This is an adult novel.
Paying the Land by Joe Sacco
I'm listening to 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon and reading Laura Dean Keeps Breaking up With Me by Mariko Tamaki.
I'm planning on reading Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang and Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis. I've downloaded Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada by Jonathan Manthorpe for a book club. I will see how it goes.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
Big Books Summer 2020 10/10
Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 21/25
Books by Canadian Authors: 109/100
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 263/333