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.
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