So, here, just barely, is my meager efforts to record last week’s reading. I had a good week of reading (lots of picture books, a graphic novel, and two interesting, original novels), but I almost failed to record it in this post. I got wrapped up in getting stuff ready for our first day of professional development, our district’s Summer Institute and as rewarding as that is it means the walls are closing in on days where I have a lot of reading time. I am linking up this post to the kind people at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com who host the It’s Monday meme with the kidlit theme. Each week our TBR piles become more and more swollen and as a reader remarked this week, my TBR pile could use an extra reader or two.
Books I finished this week:
This was one of several picture books that I read trying to whittle down my TBR list and scout out some books that I could possibly buy for my school library when I have access to a budget again (a budget that usually only lasts me a couple of months). I picked up these through interlibrary loans at my local public. My Mouth is a Volcano is a funny book designed to teach kids that interrupting is kind of rude and not something that you would appreciate if you were a speaker. Louis’ thoughts are so important to him that he can’t seem to prevent himself from having them erupt out of his mouth.
This was probably my favourite picture book of the week. It has a powerful message about having the courage to speak up and defend one’s freedom. It also has a little fun while laying down a fairly heavy message.
People seem to either love Triangle or are kind of like, “That was okay, but I like some of their other stuff better.” I am in the second group. I thought the end was interesting but I won’t discuss it here in case you haven’t read it. I will only say there are a couple ways to interpret it, and that might make for an interesting discussion. I can’t really say why I did not enjoy the events that happened before that ending.
This was a super cute rhyming picture book that I read with my seven year old. Kind of a spoiler alert coming up but I want to share what my seven year old said when she read the first page and if a seven year old can see this you probably can to, “It’s just because she has no arms, Dad.” Yes, that is pretty much why, but even though you know this, it is still really cute watching Slug go through a bunch of steps to make himself more hugable. I think my students at school will have a similar reaction.
I read The Snurtch before reading this one and I really loved that book. This one is good, but really did not do it for me as much as The Snurtch. I liked the facial expressions of the boy in particular as he struggled with accepting the feelings he still had for his stuffie, but I did not find the story quite as compelling.
My seven year old is determined to make sure that she gets me through the entire Amulet series by the start of the school year and we will make it. She is doing most of the reading, and I stare at Kazu Kibishi’s fabulous landscapes, cityscapes, and characters. Its a great series and both my daughter’s are chortling that I will soon be hanging off of the cliff with them, waiting for book 8 (sometime in 2018).
This novel is part of a three book series called Monster Blood Tattoo, which is the title of book one in some editions, although mine is Foundling. It is an extremely inventive series, published over a decade ago, set on the world of The Half Continent, a land filled with dry landscapes, small cities, and rural areas that are filled with monsters. Innocent young Rossamund is a foundling who finally gets the call to leave his home at Madam Opera’s (a house for orphans) and journey far away to accept a job as a Lamplighter, keeping the way lit for travelers in order to make it safer from really freaky creatures. The author loves drawing and I think that was his entry into writing this, but really its a coming of age story about young Rossamund who does not know much about the ways of the world and is far too trusting to head out on such a journey. It’s also about a really interesting world in which some of the monsters are not so monstrous and lots of the humans are (including the most fascinating character, a woman named Europe). This is a MG/YA novel, although it would be a challenging read for some MG readers. I am not sure if this is steampunk or an author taking artistic license with the Victorian era but the setting is also interesting. Credit to my wife for recommending this one to me.
Just as Foundling is an older book with more than one title, so is this book which was published in Ireland as The Wordsmith a few years ago, and now it comes to North America with a new title and cover. The List is a very thought provoking, post-apocalyptic tale that will draw comparison to many classic dystopian tales such as The Giver and 1984. In Ark, a new society rises out of a period of chaos that began with The Melting, which rendered much of the world an inhospitable mess. The leader/co-creator of Ark is John Noa, and he and others identified language as one of the things that brought about the downfall of the world. As we all reside in a world of fake news, alternate facts, and a lot of really poor discourse on public policy, this premise may not ever have been as relevant as it is today.
In Patricia Forde’s created world, a young girl named Letta is trying to figure out how to deal with working for of John Noa and doing what she believes is right. Letta works as an apprentice to the Wordsmith, a man charged by Noa with the task of creating lists of words that are acceptable for the general population to use and separate lists for specialists to use. This is an attempt to control the thoughts and actions of the human race and prevent some of the mistakes that brought about The Melting. Letta has always followed the teachings of Noa, but is also intrigued by what she sees outside of Ark, where there is more freedom to use language, and enjoy art, and music. As Letta tries to puzzle out what kind of world she wants to live in, she continues to get pushed in many directions as she learns more about the past that led to the development of Ark, and sees how it is run from the inside.
The List has a little of everything with some great action scenes including a gripping scene near the conclusion. Its strength, however, is that as you are traveling through the world of Ark with Letta as she figures out what she must do, it will leave you thinking about our own world. How is the partisan, political rhetoric that we hear so much today contributing to issues that we may have in our future?
I am reading Ban This Book on my Kindle, the fifth Harry Potter with my family (we are about 400 pages into our bedtime story) and Amulet with my youngest. I will probably start a hard copy of a book myself tonight.
I have several books on the night table: Princess Academy, Me and Marvin Gardens and The Girl Who Could Fly, but I have someone pushing me to read either Stella by Starlight or the second in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, Lamplighter. Decisions, decisions. I will probably go off the board.
Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great reading week!