It’s August Already: Here is what I read this week!

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A bit of a slow reading week for me as we had a fair number of family activities this week, but I did enjoy three MG novels this week and am happy to share them with the group at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. Thanks to our hosts: Jen, Kellee and Ricki.

Books I Finished This Week

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)

For my 12 year old, all Rick Riordan books are required reading. I read most of them but am a little behind in this series. Recently, she had been urging me to read several books that she had no one to discuss them with. I asked her to pick just one, and this was it. She is anticipating the arrival of the fourth in this series on September 24 and feels I must catch up. I read book one a little over three years ago, so I was hoping to get some reminders from the author about what happened and I got some, so it was okay to read this book. This series is a little more humorous than some of Rick Riordan’s as Apollo is turned into a mortal by Zeus. Being stripped of his godly powers is somewhat humbling for the arrogant and vain former god, who becomes a pimply teenager. In this installment, Lester Papadopoulos is still trying to gain back his abilities by undertaking quests for Zeus along with his demigod master, Meg, a strong, silent type and a cast of characters that are mostly familiar from other Riordan series. I wouldn’t really recommend this to new readers of this author, but if you have fans that haven’t read this yet, it is very funny with the familiar action and mythology his fans love.

Red Dove, Listen to the Wind

What I really liked about this book is that it told a story of the history that some American Indians likely experienced in the late 1800s and does not shy away from showing how wrong the government and military of the day treated people. This is an important story that we need to make sure everyone knows. Red Dove’s family is very hungry as the US military has taken over the Dakota areas. Their traditional ways of living are not respected and food has become scarce. Kids are sent away to schools and mistreated and battles between the military and American Indians are bloody and vicious. The book does not shy away from dealing with this.

I wasn’t as enamored with the magical elements. I believe that it is key for people to try to experience how the actions of the majority impact the minority, even today, and the writer chose to use magic to make this happen, nearly in real time, through magical means. It made for a tidy plot and forced characters (white characters) to act in ways they probably never would have. There is some instruction that can occur from this, but I wonder if this will feed into some stereotypes about stories with Indigenous peoples that involve mystical, mythical qualities, and also take away from the reality of the terrible situations portrayed. This book would be best if it was discussed with students rather than handed to them.

I am also a little leery these days of books portraying cultures from other writers. It looks like sensitivity readers were used here an that is good. I would rather see an ownvoices book, and will need to do more research on the sensitivity readers used. This was an e-arc and there was some information at the beginning about sensitivity readers being used, but not enough for to make an informed conclusion yet.

Once I have though, I am could see making a purchase of this book for my school and use it to create dialogue with students after it comes out on October 15.

Jungle Land (DJ #0.5)

This is a prequel to a book I read called Between Heaven and Earth, part of a series called Seven: The Series, in which a grandfather’s dying wish is to have each of his seven grandchildren take part in an adventure that will push them to their limits. He makes it happen post-mortem by leaving the grandkids with instructions via a letter and the means to carry them out. The books are written by different authors. Eric Walter’s character D.J. is a cocky teenager who thinks it will be no problem for him to climb Kilimanjaro in the Between Heaven and Earth. It’s not. In this prequel, he and his grandfather, at this point still alive, head to Central America. His grandfather, a pilot, has import/export business to attend to and D.J. ends up seeing the area with the granddaughter of a local businessman. D.J. and Alejandro have some fast paced adventures in a book that is a short blast for upper intermediate readers (only 150 pages).

Currently Reading

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1)Things You Can't Say

I am reading The Mark of Athena with my family (both my kids are huge Riordan fans), and Mortal Engines, very slowly with my nine year old. Things You Can’t Say is a book I was fortunate to review through the arc sharing group I am a part of (Book Portage). I am excited to start this book once I finish writing this post. Thanks to Jenn Bishop for sending us a copy.

On Deck Reading

Like most of you, I have tonnes of books waiting to be read. Here are a few if you want to sell one to me. I know I should read all of them, but which one first… thanks for stopping by.

The Tornado: A NovelThe Miscalculations of Lightning GirlThe Epic Fail of Arturo ZamoraDactyl Hill SquadSalt to the Sea

11 thoughts on “It’s August Already: Here is what I read this week!

  1. I just added Things You Can’t Say to my list when I saw it pop up on your Goodreads list. Looks good, so now I have to wait. A looooong time, it appears! And of the To Be Read titles you shared, I’ve only read two — but I can’t say enough about The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. I don’t know how Stacy McAnulty can write great children’s books AND great middle grade novels, but I was enamored by Lightning Girl. Hope you enjoy it, Aaron!

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  2. Glad to have the Lightning Girl reminder. It’s also on my TBR list. I liked Salt to the Sea a lot. Your review of Red Dove is thoughtful and intriguing. It’s tough navigating the waters of different cultures. Thanks for sharing so openly.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, I hope I read that book soon. I appreciate writers taking extra steps to navigate those waters, it must be tough, necessary work. As I am not familiar with the writer or the culture, I have work to do as a reader and librarian.

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  3. I’ve had to turn Things You Can’t Say back to the library without reading, evidently a long reader list. I’ll get to it eventually. I enjoyed reading your review of Red Dove, will put it on my list & look for what others say, too. It does sound full of some stereotyping. I’m madly reading through Eric Walter’s Rule of Three books. They aren’t super reading, but I imagine many middle school kids will love them. Thanks for all, Aaron. As for your books coming, I have only read Salt to the Sea, found it good, especially since I knew so little of that history.

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    1. The book Things You Can’t Say that I started this morning is an ARC sent to me by Jenn Bishop. The book comes out in March 2020. I am trying to think if there is another book called Things You Can’t Say that could be in your library. I have to find out what has such a nice long reading list. Thanks for recommending Salt to the Sea, I haven’t read any books by this author, but she is attending a conference I plan to go to in February and the write up for several of them sound really great. I chose this one because my small public library had it in on the shelf.

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      1. I ‘thought’ that’s the title I had, & now I can’t look because it’s gone. I must have not remembered correctly, Aaron. Glad I checked your comment!

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  4. I really enjoyed The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Pablo Cartaya has created the most awesome family. Miami is one of my favorite places so I loved the setting. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is one of my favorites, too. The characters are really relatable for middle grade readers.

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  5. I waited a long time to read Salt to the Sea, too. I was so glad I finally read it, because it has so much to say about the horrors of war from the perspective of refugees trying to escape the Nazis during WWII. It was compelling drama and a real page turner. Hope you enjoy it, too.

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