This will end up being another late entry to the Monday posts at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts, thanks to our hosts for this link-up. My family and I have been playing more games than reading lately, and it is reflected in many of my posts (and more so in the posts that I do not make). This weekend, a fair amount of volleyball and a lot of D & D. The weather is also beckoning us outside to finish some fall tasks. I actually wrote that before not posting last week. It is all still true. I have started playing hockey again too, which feels both good and bad (after a year of not playing two games in three nights and then our school Terry Fox Run the next morning has me feeling some new pains).
I will include some of what I have read over the last two weeks and try to do so more briefly. Thanks to the hosts of the link-up at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for providing this space week after week for people like me to come back to.
Books I Enjoyed
I just finished this new book from Dusti Bowling. I read an e-ARC through Edelweiss, but the finished copy comes out tomorrow. I had heard her speak about this book in Zoom events and was intrigued by the premise of a girl, Jolene, searching for a pilot, Addie, who crashes her ultralight plane while livestreaming her flight. The two girls are 12 and adult readers in particular will be wondering where these girls’ parents are. Jolene has no adult in her life that will help her and that is really the story of the novel. It becomes less about Jolene saving Addie, and more about her saving her mother from opioid addiction and saving herself from having the burden of nearly raising herself. Jolene does form some important relationships in her journey to find Addie and these people are key to what happens in the second half of the novel. There are also some notes at the end about some personal connections that Dusti Bowling has to this topic. I have certainly read and heard about lots of books that are out, or out soon that deal with this topic, but there seems to be a real need for it given how much of addiction is playing a role in everyone’s lives, and in particular the lives of young people.
This is a book that I read the week before Across the Desert, and Barbara Dee has a well-earned reputation for handling tough topics like consent or in this case like opioid addiction. Whereas in Across the Desert, Jolene knows that her mother is taking pills and that it is ruining their lives, Dee’s main character Renata, who wants to be known as Wren, is still trying to figure out who she is when life throws her a few more curveballs to complicate her figuring this out. First, her parents separate, and it is not entirely amicable. Wren sometimes feels caught in between. Then her Mom starts acting differently, and Wren knows she is seeing warning signs but is not quite able to piece together what is going on with her Mom. Her Mom is a picture of what we see far too often in our society, an adult who is well-meaning but letting her children down due to substance abuse. All the while Wren is dealing with friend issues, frenemies that can be controlling, and trying to decide how to deal with a crush when she is not ready for that sort of thing.
This is a really well written book where you see how several characters are thinking and how things go very wrong even without someone being a really “bad” person. Both books are excellent additions to the growing body of Middle Grade and YA novels successfully dealing with substance abuse issues in ways that young people will benefit from reading.
This book had its serious moments but overall is a lot more fun compared to the previous two. Jane is a little lonely with her father off on military duty, and her best friend moving. Her friend gives her the idea of adding a note to a favourite book to find someone that has the same passion that helped form their friendship, reading. The plan runs amok when one of the school’s most notorious troublemakers finds the note. The way it all comes together is a bit improbable but a love letter to reading that librarians and readers will love.
This picture book is about a girl that goes to get a dog but found a very odd animal shelter with a man that wants to give the girl just about any animal but a dog. It is all fairly humourous in a way that Jon Agee seems to specialize in. I noticed when I marked the book on Goodreads that Michelle Knott mention that from a Growth Mindset perspective this book shows a girl not getting what she wants, and that it turns out okay. I really appreciated her perspective in bringing an important message along with the humour.
Here is a picture book that I probably learned about in one the blogs that post in our link-up, thanks to several of you. It does a really great job of explaining some of the aspects of the water cycle in a fun way that very young students will be able to listen to and eventually read themselves. I was finally able to add this at the beginning of the school year and I think the early primary teachers will really enjoy it.
This was another funny installment in this series, the third, with the Little Chicken interrupting the nursery rhymes this time to make the case for eating cookies for breakfast, and indeed more often. Stay strong father!
Any parent who has had a child wake them up too early for breakfast will also relate. I like this but find these kinds of books difficult with so few students that know the stories mentioned. Still, funny.
When I see a book that advertises stickers, I get the feeling that the book might not be that good, but this is a beloved character from a series of books that are so popular, I wanted to read it anyways. I didn’t love this as much as the other books by this duo but with Halloween approaching, I think kids will get something out of the message that holidays don’t have to be celebrated in a picture-perfect way that requires tons of work. Focus on fun. Then again, maybe the message is more for the adults.
This was a nice start to an early chapter series for me. Charlie’s Mom runs a vet clinic, and they live on a ranch. Amy, who has a very opposite personality to Charlie, comes with her mother to live with them and helps around the clinic. It has a bit of Boy Called Bat vibe for me with Charlie being a lot rule-bound and not really being able to read people’s feelings as well (also the vet part). Amy is able to teach him a little so while Charlie is a little neurodiverse, I am not sure how authentically autistic he is. The book doesn’t hand him this label and it might be more like a device to teach readers to think of others than an effort to add an autistic character, but it did make me wonder. I think kids will like the focus on helping animals, and this could become a popular series in my library.
I loved the humor and the connection in this graphic novel to the author’s MG/YA trilogy of novels, but I wanted a longer story here. If there were three of these already out, I would want them all in the same book. The events here take place after the three novels in The Reckoner trilogy and Cole has left the Wounded Sky reserve and returned to Winnipeg still seeking answers and retribution for the events in the novels. David A. Robertson’s Misewa Saga is sometimes called the Indigenous Narnia, and I think of this series as the Indigenous X-Files. That might be an oversimplification, but it kind of fits in my brain.
The first book here is a book that I often offer my classes as a read aloud choice and it was picked this year. An alternate medieval series with great young male characters who undergo needed growth. Older characters provide guidance and humour. The Amulet of Samarkand is my oldest child’s choice as our family read aloud. The lead character has an excellent voice, this is one of her(our) favourite writers for his Lockwood and Company series, but this was an earlier best-selling series that only my oldest has read. I just started an e-ARC of the second Aristotle and Dante book. I read the first several years ago, and really enjoyed it, and I hope I can get back into this one. The last two are reads for work that I am slowly going through. Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics was a book I chose to read, and I am slowly implementing the ideas into my practice. I was hoping to read another chapter this (long- Thanksgiving!!!) weekend but I think my District telling me to read Teachers These Days will prevent that from happening. I have seen author Jody Carrington on Zoom and Youtube and I am not as big a fan as many in my District are, but it is supposed to be discussed at each Staff Meeting and I hate to be a librarian that doesn’t support a book club.
Thanks for reading this far, truly, it was longer than I intended. I hope you have a great week and I look forward to reading what many of you are posting.