It’s Family Day in Monday (in BC, and other areas), what are you reading?

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The people at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com continue to host a community of readers that share their reading each week. I missed posting last week, so I will briefly share some of the books I read this week and last week. Head over to the above websites to see many other books new and old that you can fondly remember reading or add to your to-be-read list.

Recent Reads

Scholastic Canada Biography: Meet Tom Longboat

This is another strong effort in the Scholastic Canada Biography series by Elizabeth Macleod featuring an unsung athletic hero in Indigenous distance runner Tom Longboat. Longboat was doubted in some of his ideas about training and running and his Indigneous heritage and racism are explored as a factor. His achievements alone are noteworthy but the exploration of racism and his heritage make this an even more important book for libraries.

Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don't Eat Friends

A hilarious sequel to the first Misunderstood Shark, and here we get to find out what happens when sharks eat things they cannot digest, like Bob, glasses and all who looks very sad on his “tour” of the inside of a shark. Will Bob be able to make Shark understand and take responsibility for his actions? Will Bob be able to forgive Shark? This and more information about sharks awaits your readers.

A Swirl of Ocean

I got this ARC from my Book Portage group, the novel comes out in August. There is a lot about relationships, family (in many different forms) and magic. Isn’t the cover beautiful? I didn’t totally fall in love with this book, but its a shorter, high MG/YA book about belonging even when the world around you is changing in ways you cannot control. I think a book like that has a place in many libraries, and I will likely put a copy in my classroom for kids to discover the secrets of 12 year old Summer and the other residents of Barnes Bluff Bay.

A Walk on the Tundra

The title and cover are really a satisfactory description of this book about a child learning about the plants that can be used to survive life in the Arctic. At first Inuujaq is reluctant about the walk, as she was hoping to go to a store and get food, but feels she must listen to her grandmother, and as they travel she learns about different plants, as well as her family’s history. She quickly becomes grateful for the experience. It ends with her wanting to learn more, take a more active role in making food with her family, and take better care of the land.

This book also features back matter that should not be missed. A plant glossary gives more detail on several of the plants that Inuujaq learned about and there is also a glossary and pronunciation guide for Inuktitut words. This would pair nicely with Nicola Campbell’s A Day with Yayah or Wild Berries by Julie Flett, which tell similar stories of Indigenous people gathering local plants to eat.

Some BugsSome Pets

I borrowed these from my wife’s library, having missed these when they came out a few years ago. There is a great mix of rhyming text and pictures here that should delight young readers.

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

This is another book that has been out for a few years that I borrowed. I really wanted to purchase a copy for my library (of all three, but this one was my slight favourite). I really loved the narrative non-fiction on the topic of the water cycle, and as usual Jason Chin did a phenomenal job illustrating.

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This is not your K/1 alphabet book, as the subtitle suggests. Older students might enjoy looking at some of the words and humorous pictures that break the “rules” of our language. There are a lot of words here that they will not even know (judging by the ones that I did not know how to say). This is a fun and unconventional alphabet book.

The Curious Garden

Now that my wife is a librarian I get to borrow and read far more books, particularly picture books. It is a lot of fun. This book was released almost ten years ago and tells the tale of an area being renewed from a gray industrial area to one bursting with plant life. The environmental message is delivered with gusto but I really loved the illustrations which made me think of Peter Brown’s most recent novel, The Wild Robot Escapes.

Fight for Power (The Rule of Three, #2)

I read the sequel to the very exciting Rule of Three series by Canadian author Eric Walters. This book picked up right where the first one left off, and did everything that the second book of a three book series usually does: forces it’s main character through a roller coaster of emotions and ends with events that will spark a reader to head for a third book.

Spill Zone (Spill Zone, #1)

This creepy YA graphic novel was gripping and I am lucky to have found this one a little later, because I have the second book to read as well. I don’t think I will add this to my elementary library due to some of the language and themes but I personally enjoyed reading it. The story is just what an X-Files fan like me would love and the illustrations are atmospheric and really work to set the mood.

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

I really enjoyed all of the Percy Jackson Rick Riordan books many years ago, and my children have as well. Our youngest, currently 8, has not read what some call the second Percy Jackson series, The Heroes of Olympus, and we just enjoyed the first as a family. Nice mix of humour and action.

In addition to his writing, Rick Riordan also has his imprint which is publishing many great books with diverse characters, telling stories from cultures all over the world. I have largely enjoyed all of these titles, and have to remind myself not to lump them together. I always expect these books to remind me of Rick Riordan’s but Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has a lot of focus on family, magic and parallel universes with far more humour than action. Sal is a magician, but much of his ability stems from his ability to see into the multiverse. He befriends Gabi, and the families become intertwined as their friendship grows. Carlos Hernandez packs a lot into this book including a secondary character who comes off as a bully until we find out more about his background info, a main character who is diabetic, which is key as this book has as many characters eating as any I have recently read a lot of Spanglish, and science and technology. Sometimes it feels like a lot, but there is a lot to like about this book that comes out in March.

Currently Reading

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)Spill Zone Book 2: The Broken VowThe Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)Inkling

My family and I moved straight into the second Heroes of Olympus story as it was our youngest’s pick and she is really enjoying seeing some of the characters from Percy Jackson and the Olympians come back. Just this afternoon I started The Broken Vow to continue reading about the Spill Zone in upstate New York. With my grade six class, I am reading The Ruins of Gorlan in the hopes of hooking them on this great series. Finally, I have reading Inkling as it is part of our district’s Battle of the Books. My students will be using these titles in their Literature Circles after Spring Break.

Thanks for checking out my books, I hope to catch up with what you have been reading soon, and wish you a great reading week (if you are also writing report cards this week I hope we all make it through that with our sanity).

5 thoughts on “It’s Family Day in Monday (in BC, and other areas), what are you reading?

  1. Inkling is on my list & I will read it someday, have heard great things about it. I enjoy hearing about what you’re doing with the books, in school & with family, Aaron. I’ll never catch up with Percy Jackson but am happy to hear about them. I noted A Swirl of Ocean (the cover is beautiful) & will find A Walk On The Tundra. I like that kind of book about habitats. I liked Water is Water, too, great book. Thanks for all!

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  2. Wow, so glad you shared Water is Water, I haven’t read that one, and think I will need to add it to my classroom library! I agree that Spill Zone is amazingly creepy. I read it in one sitting when it came out, and sat there wondering what was coming next!

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  3. Tom Longboat is on my list to read this year.
    I adored Water is Water and purchased it for my library. Both the text and illustrations are gorgeous and the back matter make it useable by many age groups. I’ll be looking forward to reading what you think of the Spill Zone sequel. I preferred the first one, but that might be because the world and story idea were so new and fresh.

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  4. I haven’t read either of the Misunderstood Shark books, but I’ve requested both through the public library. And I do LOVE that cover of A Swirl of Ocean. Melissa Sarno shared some gorgeous stationery she found that closely matched it (to use when she sent out ARCs). So pretty. I had to return Inkling before I started it, but I’m still hoping to get back to it soon. Shall see what you think about it, next week. Have a wonderful reading week, Aaron!

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