It’s Monday! What are you reading?
Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list!
My favourite picture books of the week:
The Birdman written by Veronika Martenova Charles and illustrated by Annouchka Gravel Balouchko and Stephan Daigle
Based on a true story, The Birdman is a story seeped in grief and hope. A tailor in Calcutta loses his family in a tragic accident and his paralyzed by sadness and mourning. His heart begins to fill again with hope and lightness when he releases a small, caged bird he has bought at the market. He begins to work again to earn money to buy more sick birds – for the sole purpose of nursing them back to health and setting them free. The afterward talks about the real tailor and how his story happened to be told in this uplifting picture book.
The Hole by Øyvind Torseter
I am such a fan of quirky, kind of “out there” books that work. Not to say they have to absolutely make sense. They just have to delight. This book does that. There is quite literally a hole running from front to back cover. This hole is the source of confusion and many perplexing moments for the main character who discovers this hole in his new apartment. It seems to move about and not go where he thinks it might. Finally, he captures it and takes it to be tested. Does he get the answers he is looking for? Problem solved? Read and see what you think.
To peek at all of the wonder that is this book, read more about it here on Brain Pickings.
Cactus Soup written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Phil Huling
The classic Stone Soup tale – this time with some Mexican flavour. Set in the time of the Mexican Revolution, this cactus soup is flavoured and enhanced by tamales, chorizo and tortillas.
Tiger in my Soup written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
When a little brother wants a big sister to read his book to him, his imagination and passion for the story allows fantasy to mix with reality and lines blur between story and life. Tigers seem to be everywhere . . . I absolutely adored these illustrations.
Xander’s Panda Party written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Matt Phelan
There is much that I love in this story – Phelan’s illustrations, the ever complicated process of planning a party that includes all, the learning about animal classification and symbiotic relationships . . . And in many ways I was charmed by the language. There is much that is delightful in many of the expressions and phrasing. It’s just the rhyme . . Not sure if I can get past the rhyming – a personal thing – but what makes this a 4 instead of 5 stars for me.
Running Shoes written by Fredrick Lipp and illustrated by Jason Gaillard
This isn’t the first time I have read this book. I read it a few years ago with a class. But I shared it with this group of children and we had some amazing conversations and the students did some insightful writing – all of which made this feel like a fresh read. When the “number man” (census counter) gives Sophy a pair of running shoes, she can finally make her dream come true and attend school. The shoes are her “ticket” to be able to manage an eight k.m. run to the closest school attended by all boys. A year later, when the “number man” returns, Sophy shares what she has learned and the dreams she has for her future. Set in a Cambodian village, this book is a testament to the importance of access to education for all children. Reading this story is the continuation of the conversations we have been having about access to education and further education for girls and boys alike.
Sharing a few written responses from my students. The provocative prompt I gave them (before we read this book) was: Only some children need an education. Not all children need to go to school.
I won’t learn and it will make me sad. I would learn from my brother secretly. I would be bored, lonely, sad and frustrated with no school. I would tell my brother “Share your thinking with me!”
I hope that the children will go to school in good luck. Or they won’t know stuff. The Mom and Dad is too busy to teach them.
I think if they don’t go to school, they don’t get smart. In school, it’s not just work. There is some playtime too. School helps your brain work. You get a smarter brain. School is fun!
It’s not fair if I didn’t go to school. I would be sad. I think that is wrong! If I didn’t go to school, I would not get an education and couldn’t be a doctor, that would be hard. School is ME! It helps me. School gives me life. I am happy to go to school to learn.
An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
I celebrate any book that reminds us to honour gratitude – from the big to the small!
How Many Jelly Beans? A Giant Book of Giant Numbers written by Andrea Menotti and illustrated by Yancey Labat
Huge in size and huge in fun – this book allows children to explore large numbers via imagined piles of candy! Planning both a math/art lesson with this book for later this week!
Tippy and the Night Parade by Lilli Carré
I am always so intrigued by the variety of stories and art shared in Toon Comics. This title tells the story of some pretty wonderful night time adventures. Love the dark hues of blues and blacks on these pages.
I also finished two novels:
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan
When my students write book reviews, they don’t stick to the rules of 5 stars. Sometimes they give the book 10 stars or even 1 000. So I am going to borrow from their rule book in rating this book. I give it a hundred stars. Because, yes, I loved it. Yes, it was beautifully written. Yes, it made me cry. All of those things that typically make me eagerly assign 5 stars to a story. But this book also was SO much more. A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo’s story could be, might be and in fact, is, playing itself out STILL in Tanzania for other albino citizens. This book speaks to everything both beautiful and horrific about humanity. This book had me – still teary eyed, begin to search the names and organizations that Tara Sullivan lists in the back of her book. Which did me in even further. More stars because of an author’s note that reminds us just how very true a story like this is – true in our world – NOW. A human rights crisis. One that needs attention. One that needs to stop. “Be that one person,” – the words Sullivan leaves us with in her author’s note. Read this book and remind yourself to be more human than less. A story that will never leave the reader. And never should.
The Body in the Woods by April Henry
I was in the mood for a fast paced mystery story – this did deliver. Was it good? Hmm, not so much.
In my class, we finished The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I shared our closure with this beautiful novel here: Ivan: One, Only, Ours.
Next up? I am reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and hope to get to The Girl who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina
Reading Goal updates:
2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 40/100 novels complete
Goodeads Challenge: 265/650 books read
#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 64/65 complete
I think I’ll have to read Golden Boy. It sounds amazing. You find great picture books. You should write a post about strategies you use to find your picture books. I’d love to learn what you do and how you think about books choice. I’ve read The Knife of Never Letting Go. Halfway through The Ask and The Answer, I put it down because it kind of creeped me out. My friend told me I should have read the whole trilogy because everything changes and it is amazing. Did you read that trilogy?
I’ve read the trilogy Kimberley–definitely worth finishing! 🙂
I haven’t read this trilogy so can’t comment. Sorry. Honestly, I find a lot of picture book ideas on all of the #IMWAYR posts! There is always such a variety. I also try to really search widely when at my public library – both in the new book section but also in other parts of the collection.
I am very intrigued by THE HOLE. I just put that one on hold at the library.
It is a lot of fun! Think you will enjoy it.
Linda Sue Park and Matt Phelan together? SOLD!
Like Beth, The Hole looks intriguing as well.
I have Golden Boy on my soon TBR. I can’t wait.
Also, love the Ivan post!
Happy reading this week! 🙂
Thanks Kellee! Sharing our journey with Ivan was so nice to be able to do. How we LOVED that book! You will absolutely love Golden Boy. I am almost certain it will speak to you as it did to me.
Oh goodness… searched for that Running Shoes book, sounds fabulous… might be a good challenge to access… shall see. Love Cactus Soup, good adaptation… Erik Kimmel is so fantastic… So many lovely books, much thanks. 🙂
I hope you can find Running Shoes. It was published about 5 or 6 years ago I think. Really worth sharing!
So many good ones, Carrie. Golden Boy is waiting, and thanks for the words about Running Shoes. I don’t know it, but will have to find it at the library. Amazon has it for Much Money! The Hole sounds so interesting, like The Dot? I love Patrick Ness, have read the trilogy & The Monster Calls is beautifully done, both sad and satisfying. Have a good day!
Hi Linda – Golden Boy is such an incredible read – I hope that you enjoy it. I am excited to read A Monster Calls – I have heard so many rave reviews. I hope you can find Running Shoes in your library.
I read your review for The Golden Boy on Goodreads and immediately put that on my TBR list. Just curious about what age level you think for this?
Hi Leigh Anne. It is an older title – I would categorize it as YA – some very emotional scenes. So high school and up preferably – main character is 13 years old.
Great beautiful books. The Hole was definitely quirky. I just discovered Brain Pickings and it’s a great site!
Isn’t it? Much that I love on that blog! I love quirky! Keeps our brains working well!
This is such a great list of wonderful books. There are so many titles on this list that I had not heard of before, but will definitely be adding to the TBR list. Golden Boy sounds like a powerful book that I need to read! Have a great reading week!
I hope you will read it. It is a book that just truly knocked me over. It is fantastic. Thanks for the comment Andrea.
Great books! I think you’ve convinced me to look at Golden Boy!! I tried finding Running Shoes at our library but we don’t carry it 😦 Xander’s Panda Party is a cute story! Have a great reading week!
Running Shoes is an older title. Too bad not available – it’s really great. So happy you might read Golden Boy. I just ordered my own copy. Want it in the house so my children can read it in a few years.
My 5th graders loved How Many Jelly Beans! Such a fun book! Adding The Birdman, The Hole, and Golden Boy to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing so many great titles.
So pleased you found some titles of interest! Please let me know if you enjoy any of these. I am being very persistent about Golden Boy – really think it is a must, must read.
I have a very nice collection of Eric Kimmel books but I do not have Cactus Soup. It is perfect for my dual language school. Kimmel and Helen Kettman are my go to authors for Texas themed books. Texas is such an awesome place to live. We really do have cowboys and cowgirls everywhere.
This title will be ideal for your collection! Enjoy.
I love “out there” picture books too. Will definitely seek out The Hole! Given that it’s a rhyming title, I liked Xander’s Panda Party more than I expected to. I didn’t think the rhyming was terrible. That’s high praise from me! I find that so few rhyming titles actually need the rhyme. Looking forward to your thoughts on Monster Calls. That one got passed around some in my Adolescent Lit class and got rave reviews. I read it when it first came out and loved it but it’s a bit hazy in my memory. Perhaps a reread is in order! Of course, I’d like to finish the Chaos Walking trilogy first. I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go (though there was one scene where I wanted to throw the book across the room), but keep feeling like I should reread it before going on to books 2 and 3 and of course there’s so little time for rereading when the TBR pile keeps growing!
I hear you on the rhymes – I feel the same. And true, Xander was not annoying rhymes, just noticed it rhymes. I feel with rhyming like I am in pre-cringe mode waiting for it to sound forced. So I never quite relax. I am very curious to read Monster Calls. Hoping I can get it read this week. Have a professional title I borrowed that needs to go back that I am trying to finish tonight.
I LOVELOVELOVE The Hole!!
It is wonderfully delightful isn’t it!?
I am so glad you wrote about The Running Shoes. That is a new title to me and I am eager to read it. Thanks!!
Hope you can locate it Crystal. It had a big impact on my students.
I also love innovative books, so thank you so much for sharing The Hole! It seems like so much fun! I’ve added it to my TBR list. 🙂
It is lots of fun. A book I would love to share in the classroom and see what the kids think.
So many terrific picture books, Carrie! The Hole and Tippy and the Night Parade definitely look intriguing, and Golden Boy sounds heart-wrenching. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Catherine. Glad you see some things that look interesting. Golden Boy is a definite must read.
This is such an amazing list Carrie. I’ve already got Golden Boy on my to read list, but I’ve added The Birdman, Tippy and the Night Parade (I too love the toon comics) Running Shoes and An Awesome Book of Thanks to my list of books to get for the library!
Wonderful. Can’t wait to see what you think of Golden Boy. What a book. The Birdman – also excellent – would be great for the library.
Excited about the Jelly Bean book and the book of gratitude. Looked at The Hole at Kidsbooks but found interesting but a little too strange for me! Zander’s Birthday Party was one of my favorite Connect books from last year! So important to discuss the impact of birthday parties and all that they mean (and shouldn’t mean!) to kids! As always, thanks for the recommendations!
The Hole is absolutely strange – but I found it fun. I am planning to share The Jelly Bean math title tomorrow – have an art/math idea I want to try.
Oh my, I hope that you’re reading the illustrated version of A Monster Calls – that book. I couldn’t stop talking about that novel last year. So sooo powerful. Have you read his Chaos Walking Trilogy yet? I am so happy to see another Annouchka title here – have you read her Sho and the Demons of the Deep yet – absolutely stunning with multiple layers to it – I reviewed it back in 2010 (http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/sho-and-the-demons-of-the-deep-written-and-painted-by-annouchka-gravel-galouchko/)
I am pinning Golden Boy. I hope I find it in our library. Looks and sounds great.
Thanks for the link Myra. Do find and read Golden Boy. I think you will be very moved.