Monday April 1st, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

IMG_1587I missed last week’s Monday reads blogging and the #IMWAYR community as I was away on a holiday with no internet access.

But lots of time for reading! And read I did . . .

This was our daily beach walk that did interrupt many quiet hours of reading ūüôā So peaceful!

Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share your own reading!

This is my reading for the last 2 weeks! (Bolded that so nobody thinks I didn’t eat or sleep and crammed all of this reading into one week!)

More time to read allowed me to cross off three more titles from my 20 must read novels in 2013 list. 11 done. 9 to go.

Many novels consumed:

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper¬†Although hard to read at times – the subject matter is heavy – the slave trade and the horrific treatment of slaves . . . I couldn’t put this title down. Read it in a day and was lost in the story. Tragic but full of hope and resilience. Reminded me of the adult novel The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. In Copper Sun,¬† we follow Amari, a fifteen year old girl, stolen from her village in Africa and taken aboard a ship sending slaves to the Carolinas. When she is sold and brought to a rice plantation, she meets Polly, an indentured servant also living there. The two girls have an opportunity finally to escape but their path to posible freedom seems almost impossible. What a story.

coppersun

Shine written by Lauren Myracle¬†This book catches you quick and holds on tight. Part of what pulled me through the pages was the mystery element to the story. Just who was¬†responsible¬†for such a violent and upsetting assault against Patrick, Cat’s best friend who seems to have been attacked because he is gay. But there is much more to this story than a simple “who done it?” theme. It explores addiction, small town hate and poverty, family secrets and loyalty that endures.¬†

shine

How it Ends by Laura Wiess¬†There is something about this book. I finished it almost a week ago but it continues to weave its way into my thinking. Many stories are intertwined within this novel. First, that of seventeen year old Hanna. We also follow the story of her elderly neighbours and their history in Hanna’s life. But another story is offered – told on audiobook that Hanna and Helen (the neighbour) listen to together. This story and Helen’s history are what keep tugging at me. There are tender memories, issues of aging and illness, regrets and moments of extreme and simple joy all mixed up with such sadness, true horror and much grief. The teenage tribulations of Hanna were okay but these other layers of the story really captured me. Very emotional read.

how-it-ends_

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson I was so happy to settle back into the world of Hattie! Such an honourable, honest and likeable character. I want to purchase both Hattie novels and put them aside for my daughter to read in a few years. They are must reads I think, as Hattie has such character.

hattie after after

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake This book was a very pleasant surprise. I had seen this title on 2013 lists but hadn’t heard many details. I was completely engrossed in the story of Georgie, a young girl who when faced with news of her sister’s death refuses to believe it. Even when there is a body. And a funeral. Georgie is some girl – thirteen years old and full of spunk. She is a sharpshooter (whoa this girl and her gun . . . ) and¬†possesses¬†a keen mind. Her sister’s disappearance is a mystery to be solved and she sets out determined to find answers. Not going to spoil anything by giving away plot points but will highly recommend this book for those who love mysteries, adventure and historical fiction (Placid, Wisconsin 1871 is the setting).

one came home

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens¬†We happily finished this dramatic story over the holiday. I have been reading this aloud to my children. What adventure! Also much mystery, fantasy and even humour. I think I appreciated how well written this book is precisely because I read it aloud. The dialogue was so much fun to read. We can’t wait to read the second book in this trilogy.

ermerald-atlas

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr¬†So much of this novel is bittersweet. A sad story of a girl defined by a reputation that plagues her. I really like Sara Zarr as an author. Her book How to Save a Life¬†is one of my favourites novels I’ve read in 2013.

story of a girl

Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone¬†I love stories that highlight intergenerational¬†relationships¬†so loved the connections between Louise and her grandparents. Some wonderfully quirky characters in this middle grade novel but some definite sadness as Louise begins to face memories of her mother’s death.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. We listened to this as an audio book (read by James Avery) on the driving parts of our holiday. It hooked the entire family Рwe loved the story, the history and the hilarious expressions.

BudNotBuddy

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) by Shannon Hale Princess Academy is one of my favourite middle grade stories so I was thrilled to get my hands on the sequel. I am a big fan of Hale and her style of fairytale inspired fantasy.

palace of stone

Three other titles I have loved in this past few weeks:

Penny and her Marble by Kevin Henkes Oh Henkes is so on to a good thing with Penny. Think this might be my favourite title yet. Seriously hope Henkes keeps creating new characters and new titles. He is an absolute master of the illustrated story.

PennyMarble

Infinity and Me written by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska Loved this book and the questions and wondering it inspires.

?????

Beach by Elisha Cooper¬†I find Cooper’s books so beautifully simple and soothing. Snippets, small moments and observations of a beach day. Would be a great text to model how a story can be told in doodles and descriptions.

beach-by-elisha-cooper-cover

I am currently reading The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen as a read aloud to my children. We are very excited because I purchased tickets to go see Jennifer in mid April here in Vancouver. Our whole family are fans and so we are all going! Yippee!

I just started One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This book has been on my TBR shelf for some time so looking forward to reading it!

What are you reading?

Monday September 3rd, 2012

The last It’s Monday! What are you reading? post of the summer! I really hope I can find lots of time to read as the new school year begins. My TBR towers everywhere are a great incentive! ūüôā

Link up with Jen and Kellee’s meme and share your reading from the week (picture books to young adult titles).

Our family finished listening to the False Prince  by Jennifer A. Nielsen as an audio book. It was the perfect Vancouver to Seattle and back listen and we finished the book all sitting happily in our den listening avidly to the last disc. What a story! We loved the suspense, the character of Sage and all of us are excited for the next titles in the trilogy. In fact, there are almost daily arguments about who gets to read the second book first when it is published.

I read a few middle grade titles this week. The first was The Great Gilly Hopkins written by Katherine Paterson. Gilly is a raw, angry  character. Quick to judge. Guarded. But so in need of love and acceptance and a real sense of belonging. The character of Maime Trotter in all of her simplicity is a hero of sorts. I thought I might read this book to my Grade 2/3 class but realize it needs a slightly older audience. Still love that it so candidly deals with the reality of being a foster child.

I just finished Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.¬†As I read, I kept thinking: “Wow.” By the end of the book I was up to a lot of “Wows.” ¬†A must read middle grade selection for so many reasons: the history, the character of Moose and what rests on his very tall shoulders, the way autism was understood and misunderstood in the 1930s and the depiction of childhood in times of more freedom (despite living on Alcatraz). Can’t recommend this book enough.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I read a lot of picture books this week, finding titles at the public library, my school library, and my own collection. As always, for brevity’s sake, I will limit this list to five. A bit of a back to school theme going on here with the final three.

Bink and Gollie: Two for One written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated (perfectly) by Tony Fucile. Take a state fair with all of its rides, booths and amusements, add Bink and Gollie and there is guaranteed laughter! My favourite lines?

“Tell Madame Prunely what it is you seek.”

“Truth,” said Gollie.

“Food,” said Bink.

Art and Max by David Wiesner. Absolutely delightful! So much to discuss as this book takes us through a very colourful exploration of art, fantasy and imagination.

¬†Vera’s First Day of School¬†by Vera Rosenberry. Something speaks to me in little Vera – the way she holds so firmly to the black and white version of life (totally appropriate at her age and stage.) When she hasn’t entered school by the time the bell has sounded, she is convinced she can’t go at all. A lovely Mom, an understanding teacher and a brave attitude allow Vera to begin her day again.

Things I learned in Second Grade by Amy Schwartz. A lot happens in a school year. This book is an interesting documentation of just how much for one little boy. Great to read at the end or beginning of a school year.

Mr. Ouchy’s First Day written by B.G. Hennessy and illustrated by Paul Meisel. The first day of school is a first day for everyone, teachers included! Children might be surprised at how nervous those new teachers might be! A lovely book that explores the building of classroom community and the passion a teacher has for making learning paramount for his students!

We enjoyed listening to an audio book so much that we have just started The London Eye Mystery. Should be a fun nightly routine as we ease back into a new school year!

Happy Reading everyone!

 

Five Reasons I love Audio Books

In the summer,  our family often borrows unabridged books on CD Р recorded books that entertain us all.

Last summer we listened to Beyond the Deep Woods (the Edge Chronicles Book 1) created by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The audio book read by Clive Mantle. We were transported to the Deep Woods,  a mysterious place full of odd creatures and many dangers as we followed the adventures of Twig on a quest to discover his true identity.

A thrilling fantasy!

Why are these recorded stories so wonderful? My top 5 reasons:

1. We have discovered many great authors through this process and have gone on to read other titles they have written (i.e. This is how we met the character Clementine and quickly went on to devour all of the Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker)

2. An audio book is a great way to introduce the first in a series and have your child read ¬†the rest of the series independently. My son read all of Cornelia Funke‘s Ghosthunters after we listened to Book 1 as an audio book.

3. A story becomes a shared family experience. We still read aloud to our children but it is usually one of us reading to them while the other parent finishes dinner clean up etc. While it is lovely to have a story just shared between a few of us it is equally lovely to all listen to a story together – lots of conversations happen throughout the day when we are listening to a story together. Predictions, debates, questions. We have enjoyed many stories together and we all get the references if we talk about the book in the future.

4. Think about long hours in a car or even short hours in a car with arguing children . . . Press play and all of the bickering instantly ends as the story takes over. What could be better?

5. I love reading aloud but sometimes it is really great to let someone else do it! And usually they are really awesome narrators, often with very cool accents and they have the dramatic pause down to an art.

Some of our favourites:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM written by Robert C. O’Brien (winner of the Newbery Medal in 1972)

We just finished listening to this audio book narrated by Barbara Caruso (who has more than 100 recorded books to her credit). Enter the world of Mrs. Frisby, a widowed fieldmouse who needs to move her family to their summer house but her youngest son Timothy, has pneumonia and is too weak to travel. Mrs. Frisby must enlist help from the mysterious rats of NIHM. She gets much more than help from these brilliant rats.

A wonderful adventure story.

The Talented Clementine written by Sara Pennypacker

This story is narrated by Jessica Almasy who has the ideal voice to read this story – full of energy, young and perfectly animated. Read more about her here

Highly humorous, Clementine’s second adventure is well worth a listen. Clementine is convinced that she is the only untalented student in her third grade class and she is panicking as the evening of Talentpaloosa: Night of the Stars approaches. Laugh out loud funny. We highly enjoyed this story.

The Secret of Platform 13 written by Eva Ibbotson.

This story was narrated by Angela Thorne, possibly our absolute favourite narrator. We could have listened to Ibbotson’s magical tale forever.¬†In this magical fantasy, the beloved baby prince of the Island is kidnapped and cannot be rescued for nine long years until the gump opens again between London and the Island, a magical place inhabited by delightful creatures. The rescue party faces many obstacles – the most difficult perhaps – tolerating the nine year old prince, raised and horribly spoiled by the awful Mrs. Trottle.

After listening to this story last summer, I went on to read the book to my class and it was a favourite.

Head off to your local library and check out some audio titles. Happy listening!