Monday June 3rd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your wonderful reading from picture books to young adult novels. Such a great place to find “new” reads to delve into!

I read a lot of wonderful picture books this week. Some were good. Some just okay. Some fantastic. Here are my favourites from the week:

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small I am an absolute sucker when it comes to David Small – especially David Small does historical fiction. Add to that that this title is also about spreading the joy of literacy and books. Sigh. I am done for. Sold . . . hook, line and sinker. I knew of this book, but I had yet to sit and read it. When I read it, I instantly wondered why I hadn’t read it before. I read it first thing Sunday morning. Then I had coffee and read it again. Then I read it to my family at breakfast. Each time, I teared up. Reading it aloud, I had to stop and my daughter finished it. What is more beautiful than bravery and perseverance to bring books into the homes of children who don’t even have the chance to go to school? Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s, this book is inspired by the Pack Horse Librarians who brought books by horseback to areas where there were few if any schools and no libraries. My daughter instantly identified with Lark, the little girl in this family who is the “readenest child you ever did see.” Always her nose is in a book. But it is when Cal, who is not the “readin’ type” delves into reading – finding stories where he once thought there was only “chicken scratch,” that the story reached a level of instant favourite for me.

A story about the power of books, the devotion they are given and the magic that happens when a reader is made.

henson-that-book-woman

The Quiet Place written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small I also especially adore David Small when he illustrates for his wife, Sarah Stewart. These two are the masters of historical stories – conveying emotion, context and historical details always in a gorgeous story. This story is about young Isabel who immigrates to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1950s. Through a series of letters to her beloved aunt, Isabel tells her story of moving to a new country and finding her place. Simply lovely.

the quiet place

I spent Friday in the classroom of the wonderful Ms. Karen Lirenman and her fantastic Grade 1 students. While I did a lot of learning on this day, I also had the opportunity to share some of my favourite read alouds with the children. And . . . I was lucky enough to be introduced to the books of Australian author/illustrator Aaron Blabey. Karen discovered his books while on teacher exchange in Australia some years back. All of these books share certain things in common – brilliant and original character names, appealing illustrations and a celebration of individuality. I would love to have any or all of these titles in my classroom library.

Sunday Chutney written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Sunday is new to her school – in fact she is always the new girl. Her family moves a lot. Sunday is confident and quirky in the best of ways. She has a very active imagination and very particular tastes. Always being new is not always easy but we could all learn a little from Sunday’s optimism.

sunday-chutney

Stanley Paste written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey Stanley Paste is very small and he is not at all happy about this fact. Being small is terrible until he meets Eleanor Cabbage who is incredibly tall. She too, despises her stature. But while these two are vastly different in height, they find a special friend in each other and as friendship blooms, so does some perspective about life and accepting the hand you are dealt. Delightful.

Stanley-PasteHere is Aaron Blabey talking about his book, Stanley Paste:

Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey A very special book about friendship. Pearl and Charlie are very different and it is their differences that help them to be such wonderful friends. A friendship story that is worth reading aloud and exploring. Pretty sure it will prompt some discussions about what makes a friend a friend. So well done.

Pearl Barley

Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld Such a fun concept of making an exclamation mark the main character and allowing the journey to celebrating personal importance be such a delightful one!

Exclamation-Mark

The Boy who Cried Ninja written and illustrated by Alex Latimer The cover alone hooked my students – a ninja! We found ourselves happily confused in this story – was telling the truth the problem? Or was it being believed? This little boy seemed to always be in trouble. And his outlandish (or were they?) tales made for quite the story.

boy who cried ninja

I finished just one novel this week:

Homesick written by Kate Klise This is the second novel about living with a parent who is a hoarder I have read in the last few weeks. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu was the first. An absolutely difficult topic. What fascinates me is how these young characters deal with living in such stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. There is definitely no parent providing structure and care in these situations. This novel was lighter than Omololu’s and written for a middle grade audience. Set in a tiny town, it had the quirky appeal of small town eccentric characters and wonderful friendships that span generations. But it didn’t shy away from the fact that a young boy was being neglected and put at risk while living alone with his father who compulsively filled their home with junk.

Spoiler alert: As in Omololu’s story, there is an ending that prevents anyone from having to fully deal with completely cleaning up the mess of a house where a hoarder has lived. The forces of nature come into play in both stories (one helped along a little) Makes me think about what is the rest of the story if someone really did need to be responsible . . . ?

homesick

Currently reading? As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins 

And . . . Because there is a new Clementine story out, my children and I have put Scumble on hold, and are diving into Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker.

22 thoughts on “Monday June 3rd, 2013

  1. Some great books here! I love books about libraries and librarians so I was glad I picked up That Book Woman. What a fascinating piece of history!

  2. I love That Book Woman, very inspiring for sure, Carrie. And I found two of Blabey’s books at our library! Thanks for sharing those! I have As Easy As Falling Off The Face of The Earth, but haven’t read it. I’ll look forward to seeing what you think!

  3. I just love Exclamation Mark! (or point as we say here in Virginia) I’ve never heard of That Book Woman, but it sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing!
    Amanda

  4. Glad you found Homesick interesting, and thank you for shedding light on what made it bother me a little– no one has to clean up the mess. I also couldn’t pin down what year it was, with the whole “some day there will be an internet” thing. And I always love Stewart’s The Library.

    • Stewart/Small are a magical pairing – that’s for sure! See Nicole’s comment below as well about Homesick – I think she is correct – such a huge story to cover how this would be done – the total cleanup. Just the thought makes me shiver. But it is the real reality – don’t think natural disasters come swooping in and take care of it for us typically!

  5. What a wonderful collection of books! I love anything illustrated by David Small, and Aaron Blabey sounds just as engaging. Exclamation Mark is on my list for this summer…a long list, already!

    • It is always fun to discover an unknown author/illustrator from another continent! I love his colours and engaging stories. I’m very excited to read more of As Easy as . . . Just a few chapters in and I am hooked!

  6. Hi Carrie! I just requested That Book Woman, so thanks 🙂 I heard the same criticism in regards to Homesick from some reviewer(s?) on my book committee last year. Perhaps the “ending” to that type of story is simply too massive to be squeezed into an ending. However, if one chooses to write about a serious issue where a child might see themselves mirrored, an easy way out in a book won’t help a real life child cope with their reality. That was wordy, but you get my drift I’m hoping!

    • I totally know what you mean – that was what I was getting at – how would this really have to be dealt with? The reality is just as it came into the house – one piece at a time and whoa what an undertaking. So felt for this little boy living in this situation. It is truly an issue of neglect and child endangerment when the living conditions get so bad and unsanitary.

  7. Just requested Book Woman . . . topic and illustrator are a perfect tie-in! Quiet Place is very lovely. And Blabey looks like a great new author to check out! Yay! For Clementine–I look forward to Gelson family review. My daughter’s third grade teacher wants a short book to do for read aloud that she can finish before the end of the school year. . . I think I might suggest Clementine! She’s always a crowd pleaser.

    • Yes – an absolute crowd pleaser. We have finished 6 chapters in just 2 nights! Any of Lowry’s Gooney Bird Greene books also fabulous or Marty McGuire? Think you will love That Book Woman. I think I need to buy it. I can’t fathom the idea of putting it in the library bag and keep putting it back on my shelf . . .

  8. Hi there Carrie! I know exactly what you mean about That Book Woman. I read and reviewed it during our Books about Books theme – always amazing when a reluctant reader is turned. The story is just filled with so much love for reading, it brings tears to my eyes too. I’ve heard about That Quiet Place but haven’t read it yet. Sunday Chutney and Stanley Paste look charming. I enjoyed The Secret Message but hungered for more Kay Nielsen type of illustrations that demonstrate a more Oriental feel to the images – I suppose it was because I was reading Susan Meyer’s A Treasury of the Great Children’s Book Illustrators at the time and I saw all those glorious colorful Arabic-inspired paintings. 🙂

    • Myra – I felt the same when I read The Secret Message – such a great story but that it needed different illustrations – part of the reason we decided to make our own pictures! I hope you can find the Blabey books – the illustration style is unique. You must find The Quiet Place – I know you will LOVE it!

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