This is my weekly contribution to the meme hosted by unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com, both are great places to enrich your reading lives with more great books for your TBR lists.
Finished this week:
I was enthralled with the last third of this book, and thought about it most of yesterday. It is a story about “Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog” but really it is a vast story of big ideas about the world, and human nature. I think the title tells you that the events that take place with the children are important, but the impact on others is even more so. The story of the children is told by people who congregate in an inn, with many individuals taking turns, and sometimes more than one as they move in and out or as someone else fills in a hole in the story that others do not know. I thought the different perspectives were really effective.
Much like a few of the characters in this book, I feel like I am often trying to hear truth “above the din of other voices”. In our world of alternate facts, there is perceived orthodoxy and heresy that makes our world more “confusing and strange,” as we “face the flames of hate,” that are being fanned voraciously. In this novel, as in our world, one person’s orthodoxy is another’s heresy.
I do enjoy how Adam Gidwitz does not tone down (or dumb down) his books for readers, and as such he makes a big ask of young readers. I am curious how young readers will appreciate this book but also curious how people with religious faith that is far stronger than mine read the discussions of “god’s plan” which comes up more than once.
In addition to these deep thoughts, there are also moments of action, humour and gore that we would expect having read A Tale Dark and Grimm and its sequels. There are farting dragons, and dismembered body parts, so if you have never read any of Gidwitz’s prior works know that the books I have read are not for the faint of heart, although its not super graphic either.
These are funny, short stories about a young girl who goes into secret agent mode and regularly saves the world (at least from her point of view). Reading three in one volume gets a tad repetitive as similar lines come up. However, some genuinely funny moments (particularly when Amelia uses disguises featuring Mom’s clothes) that will make this an attractive early chapter option. I read this one as part of my goal to read one early chapter novel each week. Each of these stories are about 45-60 pages, so at first this might look like a longer book for early chapter people, but its really not. There are a lot of pictures and not too many words on most pages.
This is a very colourful picture book with a strong, simple message that what makes you who you are comes from within. Here, a blonde haired, blue eyed girl named Celina struggles with her identity as a Mohawk in the face of bullying. One child in particular questions the new girl in town on her identity and makes her even question herself. The girl’s love of dancing and conversations with an elder help her to come to terms with things and stand up for herself.
This is one to file under, how could I be a teacher and now a librarian for more than a year and not have read this. Well, its often out, and I never had to recommend this to students. The other students took care of that for me. I was curious, but never made the time until this afternoon. It has beautiful art work that really conveyed the emotion of characters and motion. I have no art background, and even my stick men are terrible so the fact that I think I noticed that is significant. The story is really engaging from a tragic event in the first few pages to a cliff-hanging, should read the next one soon ending. Its set in a really intriguing alternate world that is teased at in book one and will probably be revealed a bit more in each book. Most of you probably already knew that though. But, if not, know that you will likely enjoy this title in one quick read. I will likely spend a few idle moments in the library (that never happens unless I go in on the weekend like today) reading the second title.
100 Cupboards is our family read aloud. My nine and six year old girls seem hooked on this MG fantasy by N.D. Wilson. My wife loves the whole trilogy, and I have read the first two. I got a little bogged down in the middle of the second one, and never returned to book three, but the series is filled with some fantastic worlds and is a good complement to fans of Narnia.
I am re-reading the Newbery Honor book from Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It is phenomenal, and just as much so the second time. I am very excited to be using this as a lit circle book with my class this year, and in my district’s Battle of the Books.
I also picked Masterminds for lit circles and Battle of the Books this year. It is an exciting dystopian for tweens kind of book. Low trust for adults, but without the violence or love triangles that characterize the genre in YA (at least that is what I find- and I like some of those books).
I am really excited to be reading this book. I don’t read much (maybe not enough) non-fiction but I really enjoyed the first two chapters. This would be an easy book talk for students that love history and action. Just read the back- “Very few people in this story die of natural causes” and show off the cover. Done.
My six year old and I have one chapter left. Most of the secrets are uncovered, I think, and I am not sure how we are going to be set up for book four. My child is a little spoiled now for books that do not contain magic. They have an uphill battle for her attention.
I am hoping to get to Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart, I might have written that before though. My youngest and I are going to read The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation, this is a favourite early chapter series of ours. Happy Family Day Reading to everyone!