This was a typical weekend in my neck of the woods. Spring weather, and winter weather within minutes of one another. We don’t really do the Super Bowl at all, not even the half-time show or the commercials. So, I did manage to finish some great books on the weekend (and through the week as well). I am happy to link up this post with those of other book bloggers at Teach Mentor Texts (thanks to Jen V. for hosting) and Unleashing Readers (thanks to Kellee and Ricki for hosting).
Books I Finished This Week
As many will already know, this is the sequel to Real Friends, and it looks at the differences between having a few “real” friends and being part of the large popular group that exists in many late elementary, middle and high school grade groups. My main takeaways in this story were Shannon’s anxiety over her perceived social placing, and over her lack of knowledge of the so-called “rules” for how to behave. Readers will likely appreciate the candor and the feeling of not being alone in navigating similar issues.
I read this picture book when I was visiting another school library (my wife’s). It’s a very short book for young kids (pre K-1, I think, there is a more detailed version for older students) demonstrating one elder’s teaching of how to deal with feelings of sadness or anger. There is short rhyming text on most pages, and the art work has the look of someone that worked in animation (and a quick Google search confirmed that). The author/illustrator duo are both from British Columbia.
This book has the same look and feel as Redwoods, neither of which are new books, but I had kind of missed out on them when they first came out. Jason Chin uses a narrative style to his non-fiction picture books. Although, I did not enjoy this one as much as Redwoods, I still think it is a very readable, and entertaining way for students to learn about nature. I have become a big fan of all of his books, although with my limited budget I seem to only add about one a year, and this one, which I also borrowed, is for next year’s budget.
I certainly welcome more MG novels written by Indigenous authors and this is a good one, a debut by an author from Washington State (almost local to me). Edith, or Edie is kind of a typical tween navigating friendship issues. She is bi-racial and knows little about her mother’s upbringing, only that she was adopted. Then she finds a picture of a young Native American woman that looks almost exactly like her (only a few years older), and shares the same name. This leads her on a journey to find out more about her own heritage and her family background. The story is based somewhat on the author’s own background, and there is some very helpful background information on Native children being taken by social services and other great additions to the story.
I just re-read this story as it is part of the literature circle/book club unit that is currently happening at my school. It is also part of our district’s Battle of the Books. It is an action packed western with supernatural elements as well (just look at that crow’s eye on the cover) featuring nasty villains, including zombie outlaws. It is unlike most of the books we have used for our Battles, and that has been appreciated. The grade 7 boys that I taught last year are loving this one and can’t wait for me to hand over the sequel that I just purchased. The third of the four book series comes out next month.
I am a huge fan of A.S. King’s YA work and was pleased that she won the Printz Award last week for Dig, which I have yet to read (I am buying it in paperback soon, when that is released). This is her second MG book and I think the best of her two. It did take a little bit of time to get into this story of a family (but in particular 12 year old Liberty) trying to cope with a divorce, but I fell hard for the last half of it. There were so many little details that rang true for me, but most would spoil parts of the plot. I will say that there have been many great books over the last few years that feature at least one character dealing with mental health issues, and this is another. What struck me here is how all of the characters (adults and children) are dealing with things that make them sad or depressed and the book really defines the differences between acting depressed and having depression in a way that MG readers will understand. While King’s MG aged characters lament not being trusted and told the truth, her readers do not have to worry, because their author gives them the straight goods here. I borrowed this from my library but wish I owned it as I have a few young readers I would love to give it to.
My family and I continue to enjoy the fourth in The Heroes of Olympus series. At over 500 pages, these take us a while to get through when life is busy and all four of us are only reading together once a day. I just started The Fang of Bonfire Crossing, the sequel to Legends of the Lost Causes.
On Deck Reading
I will being re-reading The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, another of the Lit Circle/Book Club/Battle of the Book titles in our district. I am happy to do this as it has been a while and I never read the sequel, so I will likely do that after re-reading the first book. I usually do these re-reads slowly taking more notes for teaching and writing questions for our quiz show style event in June. Between this and the lengthy sequel I just started, I will probably barely have time to start one of the other two books above.
Thanks for stopping by here to read my post, and I hope to read many of the posts at our host sites for more great titles of add to the never ending supply of great books. Have a great reading week!