Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/22/13

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.
It was originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, but Jen and Kellee put a Picture Book to YA spin on it.

What I Read This Week:
Picture Books
Once a week I volunteer at my local library. This week I was assigned to shelf read the picture books looking for popular authors who have multiple titles; I was to make a list so we could check to see what we needed to order. The end result was a stack of books that I needed to check out! Some of them were books I have been hearing about but not yet read, while others were ones that simply caught my eye. There were 13 in all, but some of my favorites were:

  Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton. The story was a bit goofy, but there was just something about the illustrations that I loved.

What To Do If An Elephant Stands On Your Foot by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. I just love Peter H. Reynolds’ art work. When I first started reading the story, I was afraid it was going to be a take on If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, but was pleasantly surprised by the narrative twist.

Crow Call by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Oh. My. Goodness. This book is absolutely beautiful! Lois Lowry is an amazing storyteller, and Bagram Ibatoulline’s illustrations are gorgeous. I am always in awe of artists whose work is so realistic it looks like a photograph.

Happy Birthday, Hamster by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Derek Anderson. Cynthia Lord has long been a favorite author. This book is so much fun.

Kamishibai Man by Allen Say. This caught my eye for two reasons: 1. Allen Say. 2. After reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet I am interested in learning more about the Japanese culture.  This is a beautiful story.

Young Adult

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
This is a book that I have long had on my TBR list and the time just seemed right. Last week reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford got me thinking about the American Identity and how the United States has treated minority groups who proudly identify themselves as American. My husband was reading Code Talker and as we discussed the books, it was clear that this would be a good follow up for me. Code Talker tells the story of Ned Begay, a Navajo Indian who becomes a Marine Code Talker in the Pacific theater of World War II. After attending boarding school where he was told that everything Navajo is bad, Ned, is eager to join the Marines when he learns that Navajos are being specially recruited. Upon completing basic training, where the Navajos discover they are better equipped to handle the physical demands, Ned begins training as a Code Talker, and is delighted to discover that his sacred language, for which he was previously punished for using, is now highly valued.

The Island of Lote by Emily Kinney
I have to confess that I have abandoned this one. I’ve been trying to read it for quite some time. I met the author; she’s a young gal from Maine. I enjoyed hearing her speak to our middle school students. A few of the middle school students have read this book and enjoyed it. I really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t get past some early events that really go beyond what is realistic. I know that when reading fiction you have to be willing to suspend your disbelief, but this was a bit too much to ask. I do hope that Emily continues to write and that her writing matures. She has a lot of talent and potential.

Graphic Novels

reMIND: Volume 2 by Jason Brubaker
I was thrilled to find this at my library on Thursday. I read volume 1 earlier in the spring and fell in love with Jason Brubaker’s drawing. My favorite, by far, is Victuals the cat. When I read Volume 1 my first reaction was that the story was goofy, but suddenly I found myself sucked into the story.

What I am Reading:

Professional Development

Real Revision by Kate Messner

Middle Grade

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/15/13

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.
It was originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, but Jen and Kellee put a Picture Book to YA spin on it.

As I've said before, my summer is being consumed with preparing an old farmhouse for habitation. We're almost there- the interior painting is done. We just need to clean and move our stuff (and we have a lot of stuff!), but the water went out last weekend and we're trying to figure out what is wrong and get it fixed. Lack of water has slowed down the cleaning progress.

Last week I read:

Middle Grade

Wintering Well by Lea Wait

Young Adult

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen


I blogged about my initial thoughts on the book here.

Currently I'm reading:

Young Adult

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

The Island of Lote by Emily Kinney

Professional Development

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Words in Expert Hands

"There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic." 
~The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

There are certain books that stay with you. You can't put them down, and when after you read the last page, and close the tale, whether with a sigh or a sniffle, they stay with you. They follow you around as you wash the dishes you neglected that day. They tug at your heart and mind as you get supper, grade papers, write lesson plans. They stand at your shoulder as you talk with your family and friends. There are some books that you excitedly recommend to every single person with whom you come into contact because the book is so amazing that you are convinced that every person on God's green earth absolutely must read it. And there are those books that just stay with you because they have touched you so deeply.

As I look back over my reading life, I can bring to mind numerous titles that have deeply impacted me in various ways. Some are delightful reads, masterfully wrought. Some are intellectually or spiritually challenging, and some have simply stopped me in my tracks.

I now add Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to the number of books that are my "favorites". This one carries the tag of "Haunts Me". Its such a beautiful story. The narration switches artfully between 1940s Seattle and 1980s Seattle. We see first generation Henry as a young teen trying to make sense of his traditional Chinese family in a time fraught with patriotism, fear, and suspicion. We also meet him as an adult, looking back at his life with new insight.

This book has gotten me thinking a lot about the questions of what does it mean to be an American, and what is the American identity? Over the centuries so many people have come to America with hope for success, for freedom. So many have proudly taken citizenship.  Then there are those who were already here or where brought against their will. Yet so many of these same people have been treated as less then human, let alone less then a citizen.

This book is haunting me. Even as I try to write about all the thoughts and questions that it has brought up, I realize that I am still meditating on it. I'm going to have to revisit my thoughts on this book. I know that I want to read Farewell to Manzanar, but I think it would be wise for me to wait a bit, to read something a bit different.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Surprise, Surprise, a KindleFire Giveaway!

I went over to Teach Mentor Texts this morning to link my It's Monday! What Are You Reading? post and low and behold, I discovered a giveaway for a KindleFire! You should definitely head on over and check out the giveaway. There are plenty of opportunities to enter. Best yet, you get opportunities to connect with more literary folks and find out about awesome books to read. It's a win-win situation!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/8/13

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Jen and Kellee atTeach Mentor Texts.
It was originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, but Jen & Kellee put a Picture Book to YA spin on it.

While summer is supposed to be a time for me to relax, catch up on my reading, and prepare for the coming school year, this summer our time has been consumed with house remodeling/repair. We are working hard to prepare an 150+ year old farmhouse that we are going to be renting, and hope to finish moving by the end of the month. I wasn't able to get a IMWAYR post in last week, so I'll cover two weeks with this one.

Graphic Novels

Friends with Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks


Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

Professional Development

Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst

Adult/ Curriculum Related

The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

 Currently Reading/On Deck:

The Island of Lote by Emily Kinney

Wintering Well by Lea Wait

Professional Development

Real Revision by Kate Messner