My wife was really excited about National Hammock Day today, having set ours back up last night. Is this really a thing or something someone made up to get a little mroe relaxation time? We have decided since it is trending on Twitter it might be legit. This means it is a great day to collect some new books for your To-be-read lists by scanning through what other readers have been up to at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com and hitting the hammock for some reading time later in the day. Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki for hosting our reading reviews at their sites.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
For fans of Ben Hatke’s two graphic novel series, Zita the Spacegirl and Mighty Jack, the second Mighty Jack graphic novel left us with a mighty cliffhanger that had us clamoring for more. This newest graphic novel is the fulfillment of that promise and a return to the spectacular worlds we have come to love, as well as an advancement of the relationships between many characters. Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with an E-ARC of this one, which comes out on September 3, just in time for school.
The first few pages provide a short recap of the action in each of the series, and then the new action continues with a formidable enemy in place and advancing on our very own Earth. Throughout the story, character learn that they need to come together like never before, in ways they did not feel possible in order to have any chance to save our planet. The resolution is not that of a typical MG action themed graphic novel.
This is a really great addition to the series. 4.5 stars!
This is a book I found at my Scholastic Book Fair in the Spring and I was a little surprised by it as I hadn’t heard of it and it wasn’t a new book. I read the back and it did not really add up. The cover looks MG and tame, but the info on the book said it was YA. I read a review and it was labelled by one reader as a dark fantasy. I decided to add it to my summer reading pile as it won a Canadian award and my curiosity was piqued. It is a fantasy set in a world that feels like a fairy tale world or something like a Gail Carson Levine book, but the action is more YA in feel. Kate becomes an orphan early in the story and struggles to find her place in a world of Roamers (like gypsies), townspeople terrified by supernatural occurrences, misinformation about witches, actual witches and other magical beings. There are some parts that would be scary for MG readers but not too scary, I still think this was an upper MG/YA fantasy. This misinformation and treatment of mistreatment of women is a big part of the book, and it has a serious, ominous tone for much of it but there is an exceptionally well written cat that is part of the plot and also provides comic relief. This book ended up being a welcome surprise from my book fair.
Yoshio is on the hunt for silence, but he lives in Toyko and just can’t seem to find it anywhere. The author’s depiction of the hunt is really the point as the book becomes a really good mentor to use for kids when talking about how to convey different sensory information in writing. There is also additional information at the end about the Japanese concept of ma, the silence between sounds, which Yoshio learns part way through the story. The author makes some connection in the story, but more after it, between this concept and classical music.
I also really enjoyed the jarring contrasts. Not just at the sensory level with the child being in a huge city and finally finding ma (and where he found it was just perfect for this crowd) but also between the colours in the illustrations. The cover shows this. This was a book I missed a couple of years ago but found when looking for titles for visualization for a teacher at my school.
That is also how I found Finding Wild, another book that probably made the rounds with some of the readers of Monday blogs a couple of years ago, and has some similarities to The Sound of Silence. Here, two young people are walking in search of the wild. There is less of a plot here, but the same sense that the more quiet natural world can be found in surprising places, and again a lot of really interesting illustration and colour. This book also had a lot of great words and phrases that help readers visualize the natural world and can be used to help young writers do so as well.
I have enjoyed reading the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty, and it seemed to fitting to get this one with the 50th of anniversary of the Apollo landing arriving. I enjoyed this one, and now I have to go back and re-read McAnulty’s Earth book. It seems that this one has far fewer words and might be a friendlier read aloud during my short library blocks with classes. It was filled with fun facts and illustrations.
Like Plain Kate, this is a book I didn’t really have any awareness of when it was handed to me. In this case, the book was passed from the librarian at my daughter’s school to my wife, to me. None of us had really heard of it but were drawn to the description, which reminded me of The Benefits of Being an Octopus, and is full of easily relatable characters and situations for our young readers. It’s not a super well known book as it was published in 2009, and I noticed it was nominated for an MG award in California but not until 2013.
In the story, Trevor’s family has moved to a lower rent apartment as they have fallen on hard times. Trevor has to find his new place in a new school where some of the people come from his neighbourhood but he is drawn to the soccer loving boys who live in mansions on the other side of the school’s catchment area. Trevor has a lot going for him with talent and love for art and soccer, but life is hard having to help his mother look after two younger siblings, dealing with many issues around his family’s poverty, the absence of his father and learning about how the world is different for people who have privileged lifestyle from money. This was solid MG told in the first person that deals with a lot of issues that kids unfortunately deal with but not in a graphic way at all and it is suitable for younger readers (lower intermediate or MG).
I continue to have two read alouds, The Mark of Athena with my whole family and Mortal Engines with my nine year old daughter. I finally got a hold of a copy of Ghosts, the third in David A. Robertson’s #ownvoices, supernatural, YA series that takes place on the fictional Wounded Sky reserve in the far north. I pre-ordered this one, as I have really enjoyed the series but there were many delays in the shipment and now I am happy to finish the series today and tomorrow.
That was my reading week, I hope to have the chance to catch up with your blog on your week of reading. Thanks for coming by to read this post!