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
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.
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.
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).
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.