One thing I have really let go of over the last month or so is writing. I find I am just too far behind with things at work and around the house to find the time. When I read a new book that no one I know in real life has read though, I miss sharing it on this site and seeing what other people post. This school year, for me, has been really similar to the year I finished my Masters. Very busy, and I would lurk at people’s blog posts, but never write my own. Today, I will try to re-develop the habit of sharing books I have read on a Sunday night, or Monday at lunch, as is the case today, and linking my post up with others at teachmentortexts.com (thanks to Jen V) and unleashingreaders.com (thanks to Kellee and Ricki).
Books I Read Last Week
Thanks to the author, and publisher for this copy to read and review with the group Book Portage.
What I really loved about this book is how deeply we feel along with Bea as she goes through many life changing events. Her parents divorce, her father is about to remarry a man, she makes mistakes that anger her friends or classmates, and she is mistreated by friends and family as well.
The List of Things That Will Not Change is a list in the book that keeps Bea grounded. When life feels a little out of control, these are the things that add stability. It is one of the many tools that Bea learns to use to help her manage the layers of feelings that she has. Rebecca Stead takes on a journey through many of Bea’s feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety, love, joy and forgiveness. Bea is a nicely flawed character who makes mistakes and learns to love and forgive others and more importantly, herself. Another highly enjoyable book from Rebecca Stead arrives in stores on April 7, 2020.
Thanks to the author and HMH for the arc of this book, through Book Portage! This is my first book by this author and I certainly think my students will appreciate the way the story leaps right into the action of dog sled racing. McKenna is racing for her sister who has lost her vision to a rare disease. McKenna wants to bring attention to this disease, but she realizes that her sight is also deteriorating. Should she continue to race?
The story has the action of the race, but also great relationships that develop between racers and an emphasis on focusing on how diversity can make people stronger. There are really well written action scenes and readers will like going through the choices and challenges that McKenna has. I might have liked a visual of a sled dog team, or a glossary of terms racers used, but that shouldn’t damper reader’s enthusiasm for this book when it comes out on December 3.
This book is billed as Stranger Things meets Alfred Hitchcock, but I don’t have a lot of experience with either. The comparison is code for: this is a creepy book. The small town where this takes place could literally be anywhere, and is just one site that is the subject of a plague that leaves everyone on edge as some of the town’s adults have been turned to glass. Ben and his family disagree about how to handle it, and the instead of the community coming together in a crisis, it really isolates people. Ben is already a very introspective kind of guy, and these events make him turn inwards even more to figure out what is happening with his family, his community and the world. I read this with my family, and I think my children struggled a little with it as the main character is a real thinker and we spend a fair bit of time in his head. I think my young readers were expecting more action, but I know a lot of readers that would prefer the introspective nature of this book.
I managed to read a few more picture books due to my Scholastic Book Fair being on. I haven’t really been getting to picture books as much as I wanted to. I thought these covers looked good together, they were both at our Book Fair. Out is the story of a new immigrant who does not want to be known as an “asylum seeker”. I really enjoyed this book giving us a glimpse into the life of someone who needed Out, and is working hard to build a new life. I have a lot of students reading the graphic novel Illegal, but this is a better option for younger students. The Incredible Freedom Machine was a neat story with great images about imagination and the power of books.
Two more from my Book Fair. It’s Not All Rainbows is an interesting book. The pictures make you think this could be the typical unicorn book, but it’s really about how not everyone feels great and has an awesome life at all times. Kind of a good message for our Facebook/Instagram/Twitter world with its desires for likes/followers/retweets. It’s okay to feel different emotions, even for a unicorn. Don’t Call me Bear chronicles the unhappiness of a koala at being referred to as a bear. I almost typed koala bear in that last sentence. These days we are often righting long held misconceptions, and correcting language that has been misused. This book doesn’t really get into that high of a concept, but I couldn’t help make the connection and maybe it is good to for young readers to see this.
This one is completely different, and of course was not at Book Fair at all. I loved the conclusion of this YA trilogy. I really can’t say much more than that. If you haven’t read the first two books, I would be completely spoiling them for you, and that would be denying you of a great read.
I was fortunate, thanks to Kathie MacIsaac, to get the first of Kenneth Oppel’s next trilogy and I am starting to read this one later tonight. My family started Race to the Sun just the other day, it is the latest Rick Riordan Presents novel by Rebecca Roanhorse.
I look forward to reading what others have been up to over the last week or so. Thanks for stopping here to see a little about my reading. Have a great week!