Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books. 

 
PICTURE BOOKS
 
Quest
 
 

 

 
Aaron Becker did it again. I was eagerly awaiting my signed copy of the second book in the trilogy he started with the Caldecott Honor masterpiece, JOURNEY, and it did not disappoint. This stunning adventure starts with the kids we met and loved in the first book, armed with their purple and red markers, and immediately whisks us away on an adventure to save a king who surprises the boy and girl with a map and a mysterious over-the-the-shoulder carrying case right before being captured. The girl figures out the mysterious carrying case is perfect to hold their markers and the orange one the king tosses them before being taken away. What follows is a feast for the eyes and a breathtaking quest. Along the way, more markers are collected, more creative ways to travel are drawn, and more chases cause white knuckles. The story culminates in a spectacular, colorful rescue. Amazing. Like JOURNEY, you'll want to "read" this beautiful picture book again and again, and each time you'll discover something new. Bravo, Aaron!!
 
Going Places
 
 
I love the joy this book exudes - creativity, individuality, and thinking outside the box...the perfect book to add to your repertoire of encouraging kids to ask questions and come up with new ideas. Be sure to celebrate International Dot Day this year on September 15th!
 
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream
 
 
 
This is a beautiful story of hopes and dreams. The author imagined what it must have been like for a little girl to have seen real-life Janet Collins, the first African American hired to perform under contract with The Metropolitan Opera, dance.
 
Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece
 
 
 
This is the true story of young Patricia's fear of speaking in front of people and the drama teacher who helped her believe in herself. Because of Mr. Wayne's inspiring teaching and encouragement, she can stand in front of audiences today and talk about her beautiful books.
 
Frank!
 
 
I looked forward to following Frank's escapades and excuses for why he was always late. The lively and whimsical illustrations captured Frank as a cute and lovable bear who wasn't "rude or unreliable" nor "a dawdler or a meanderer. He just liked to help out." When he started going to school, he arrived late for a variety of reasons, one of which was saving a cat from a tree. This is where the storyline seemed to get out of control and the message confusing. Some kids will still enjoy the entrance of the giant zombie lizard king and the dance off, but I would have enjoyed the book more if the story would have stayed consistent with the introduction and original theme. This book will be released at the end of September.
 
MIDDLE GRADE
 
Boys of Blur
 
 
 
Wow - this was a strange and gripping story. What impressed me most is the strong sense of setting. It reminded me a bit of Tangerine by Edward Bloor with the mysterious Floridian setting - also The Riverman by Aaron Farmer. Allusions and parallels to Beowolf, lots of action and danger, and friendship/family themes make this a complex and compelling book.
 
Revolution
 
 
 
When I heard, after reading Countdown, that Deborah Wiles was going to write a 60s trilogy, I was thrilled.  It's another beautiful tribute to the tumultuous and ground-breaking 60s, complete with photographs, songs, speeches, poems, slogans, quotes, signs, etc., that accompany an amazing story. In this novel, it is 1964, and Sunny is living in Greenwood, Mississippi, a hotbed of controversy during the civil rights movement. Sunny thinks Greenwood is going to be invaded, but in reality, it becomes the setting for Freedom Summer - a time when civil rights activists stop at nothing to register Mississippi's black citizens to vote. When Sunny accidentally bumps into someone in the pool when she and her stepbrother sneak a late night swim, she steps into something that will change her forever. No one can say it better than Wiles herself: "At heart, Revolution is a story about what it means to be a citizen of this country, to live in a democracy, to be a member of a family, to nurture your friendships, to look beyond what you understand, to ask questions, and to tend to your community, your own backyard." She is an amazing writer. I want to listen to the audio now - I hope it's as wonderful as the audio of Countdown!

 
PROFESSIONAL
 
The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
 
 
I enjoyed this book on using mentor texts to teach the craft of writing. The title reflects the same idea as Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist. The concept is that great writers steal from great works. Throughout the book, guest authors write about who and what have inspired them. Culham also provides many specific mentor titles for various kinds of writing traits within modes of writing. "By using mentor texts, the reader can virtually position him-or herself to sit beside the author and study how the text is constructed and how it communicates." Keep this book beside Lester Laminack's Cracking Open the Author's Craft, Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lessons, and Mentor Texts by Lynne R. Dorfman.  Our building will be doing a book study using Culham's 6+1 Traits of Writing this fall.
 
CURRENTLY READING
 
All the Answers
 
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
 

Going Bovine
 
My family loves to read, too!
 
My mom:
The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage
 
My dad:
Preacher's Justice (The First Mountain Man, #10)
 
My husband, Ed:
Hidden Order (Scot Harvath, #12)
 
My daughter, Libby (21)
Angels & Demons  (Robert Langdon, #1)
 
My daughter, Katie (18)
Into the Wild
 
What are YOU reading this week?

 

 

23 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read Quest. I hope it comes in at my library soon. Of course, I should just go ahead and buy it because I'm sure I'm going to want to own it. I fell head over heels in love with Journey last year the second I laid eyes on it.

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  2. Great books this week, lots of reading! I can't wait to get to Countdown and Revolution. I'm hoping sometime this fall. Boys of Blur was a fascinating read, wasn't it? So jealous you got a signed copy of Quest, what an honor!

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    1. Michele - I got the signed copy by buying it from Odyssey Bookshop, Aaron's local book store. :-)

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  3. Really looking forward to Quest (like others above, Holly). You have many good books here. I enjoyed the mystery of The Boys of Blur a lot, just got Revolution from the library. Wish I could spend a whole day reading! Thanks for sharing all of these!

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    1. A whole day reading would be heaven, wouldn't it?!

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  4. An interesting bit of trivia. I illustrated the cover for N.D. Wilson's first book in his Ashtown Burials series in the year before Journey hit the shelves. I think Random House ultimately replaced my illustration when the series was reissued with the second book.

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    1. That IS interesting trivia! Thanks for stopping by my blog, Aaron. :-)

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  5. Great reading week! I have Quest and Going Places on "order" from the library. I love the comparison of Blur to Tangerine--I can very much see it.

    Happy reading this week to you and the whole family! :)

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    1. You will LOVE getting Quest and Going Places. Enjoy!

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  6. So many books to read! Love the trailers in this post. I am a huge Peter Reynolds fan and can't wait for Dot Day! I abandoned Boys of Blur, not sure if I gave it enough time, but I've passed it on to a 6th grade boy. We'll see what he has to say about it. Thanks for keeping me on my reading toes!

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    1. I totally understand the abandoning of Boys of Blur. I gave it to a 6th grade boy, too, right after I finished, to see what he thinks. Can't wait to hear!

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  7. Ooh...All the Answers, I'll bet that's great! I also need to find a copy of The Writing Thief. I have requested Quest from my library. Can't wait to read this one!

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    1. Just finished All the Answers tonight, and it's wonderful! Pre-order it now! ;-)

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  8. Quest is such a beautiful and once again creative book. I saw that Jen Vincent also mentioned The Writing Thief. I want to read that one. I am so much like Frank - always running late. You have a lot of great books here. Isn't Going Bovine bizarre?

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    1. YES! Going Bovine is VERY bizarre, but I definitely want to know what happens.

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  9. I've heard that I need to read Boys of Blur--this is just another endorsement that edges me closer. :) I appreciated the Going Places trailer, and I think I need to move that higher up on my list of priorities now. And, can I just say, I'm super envious that you are reading All the Answers! I'm looking forward to it!

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    1. Pre-order All the Answers, Melissa. You won't be sorry. :-)

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  10. There is so much for me to comment about! First of all, I also loved the setting of Boys of Blur. I didn't know anything about the book before I started it, and I was blown away by the story. Admittedly, some parts felt slower to me, but I so appreciated the connections to Beowulf. Thank you for your full review of Revolution and for sharing it on my blog. I am excited to read it! I also have Frank on my TBR list! :)

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    1. You'll love Revolution. Deborah Wiles is one of my favorite children's authors!

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  11. Wow, this was an expensive swing-through. I just added 4 titles to my Amazon cart. Loved Journey, so I need Quest, definitely want Going Places. Yes to Revolution, and, oh dear, The Writing Thief. Thanks Holly! Have a good week.

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  12. Ahh, thank you... can't wait to listen to Revolution! So many other lovely books on the list as well...

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  13. You have a list of wonderful titles here. I can not wait to 'read' Quest. Aaron Becker sounds like he's on to something wonderful with this trilogy - kind of reminded me of Suzy Lee's borderless trilogy as well with "Shadow", "Mirror" and "Wave" - have you read these three wordless picturebooks yet? Great titles. I am intrigued by the MG/YA titles you shared here as well, will be on the lookout for them.

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