It’s the first Monday of April, what are you reading?

Like most of you, I am trying to sort out my new normal. Without having my head stuck in the sand, I am trying to find ways to live life as much as I did before. I am a grade 6/7 teacher and so my students are old enough to make the transition to online learning, if they have the technology. We are working on getting that to them. I have been able to phone, and video conference all my parents and most of my students. The increasing amount of contact makes me feel better. As a librarian for thirty percent of the my teaching time, I am really missing seeing groups of primary students in particular. I feel primary teachers have the toughest job adapting to the distance learning teachers are required to do. I am able to help in some ways as the librarian to their students but it won’t be the same as before.

Personally, of course life is very different. We can’t get out to do a lot of the things we used to do and there is the tendency to engage in infomania. I have to constantly be on guard that I am not just scrolling through stats and Trump quotes. Reading is a far more productive way to spend time, and without watching so many hockey games on TV as I might normally be doing this time of year, I am able to get some good reading in while planning for the way my courses will now be taught. Here is a summary of my reading this week.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

What Stars Are Made of

I got this book from my bookish friends at Book Portage. It was released on March 31. This featured a charming and wise main character. Libby is a neat young lady learning about how to interact with the world in spite of some social awkwardness. She has Turner Syndrome which can bring a number of health concerns. Libby’s difficulty dealing with social situations could be related to her health issues as people with Turner Syndrome are said to have a higher probability of these sorts of issues. She is an adorable character and this proves to be a good coming of age novel in which Libby deals with changes in her family’s life (she is about to become an aunt) and in dealing with finding friends at school. In this story, we enjoy Libby’s journey in seeing what she is made of.

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This is another March 31 release by one of my favourite picture book authors. I had the chance to listen to this book being read by Ame Dyckman online and I really love it. It takes many expressions that we use to talk about life and twists them into some funny moments. I am looking forward to being able to buy and share this with kids next school year, and I may be able to share it digitally if some of my library storytime ideas work out.

Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades

I haven’t been reading many graphic novels lately and figured I could grab some of the ones that have been in and out of the library if I had access to them and rectify this. I managed to find this one on my return cart when Spring Break was about to begin. This was a humourous diversion, and I end up reading a lot of mythological fiction with my kids. This one made me laugh out loud a few times.

The Night Diary

I am re-reading this because we selected it for our Battle of the Books this year. Realistically, we are not likely to have our culminating event this year, but I am still trying to run my literature circle unit online with my students. I hope some of them join this group and enjoy an excellent historical fiction book featuring the story of a family forced to move during the partitioning of India. This book got a Newbery Honor and the story is at turns, heartbreaking, exciting and hopeful.

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This was another picture book I got to listen to an author read. Mac Barnett does some hilarious daily read alouds on Instagram. This is a very funny book featuring a kid who uses the “magic word” to get everything he desires. Of course, it doesn’t really work out the way he thinks it will.

Mary Underwater

This book comes out tomorrow, Tuesday. I would call it an upper-MG, a phrase I started hearing more last summer to describe books for kids in the upper end of the MG level who aren’t quite ready for YA, yet. Mary has a lot to deal with in her life. Her father is in and out of jail, and is abusive to her family. I was pulled into Mary’s world right away because of her slightly edgy and quirky sense of humour. Mary is a divergent thinker and has a hard time negotiating keeping her family life private from her school and still maintaining a social life including a boy that might become more than a friend. The author’s note at the end has an excellent note on how some of the things that Mary does could have turned out differently. Thanks to my friends in Book Portage for obtaining this book for an early read. I really enjoyed it.

The Last Kids on Earth (Last Kids on Earth, #1)

I have been thinking about reading this for a while. It is a fairly popular series that hasn’t really taken off in my library, but I think I need to book talk it at some point. Some lines that resonated with me right now (like That’s Life, I think this is a good time to read this one:
” ‘I mean- look, it’s terrible,’ I say all serious now. ‘But I’m not gonna just give up. Some days are way scary, yeah. And sometimes things are pretty freaking sad. But I’m trying real, real hard here to keep on living and enjoying every moment. With friends.”

“life is better when you get a chance to laugh every now and then.”

Jack Sullivan escapes the worst part of a monster/zombie apocalypse and ends of hanging out in his tree house exploring the new world around him. He has never really had a family or a place he could call home, so things are not so bad for him in this new world. Eventually, he hopes to find his best friend and when he does, things become even better. Except for one exceedingly large and rude monster he names Blarg, who seems to have a vendetta against Jack. With the help of his friends, Jack tries to destroy his nemesis and create a small community of kids that survived the monster/zombie apocalypse. A funny and action filled series opener.

Currently Reading

The Warrior's Curse (The Traitor's Game #3)The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)After Zero

I just started The Warrior’s Curse, the third book of The Traitor’s Game series tonight. It launches right into some action so I think it will be a good escapist kind of read for me, and I have been wanting to know how this series will end for a while. I already know how The Blood of Olympus ends, but my family is finishing our read aloud of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. This is a re-read for me, as is After Zero, another Battle of the Books/Lit Circle title about a girl with selective mutism who tries to avoid mistakes by not speaking. Zero words for her, could be a perfect day. I read this book when it came out about two years ago, and I remember being absorbed by a pretty dark story of this girl’s life.

On Deck Reads

Pippa Park Raises Her GameCity SpiesThe Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter

I have some ARCs that I would love to read soon, two of them are already out, and the latter is out at the end of the month. Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I read this week. Hope you have a great reading week!

9 thoughts on “It’s the first Monday of April, what are you reading?

  1. I’m not a huge sports fan, but have always loved watching the NCAA tournament, sad to miss this year! I have What Stars Are Made Of, maybe soon? And I’ve put the new Mac Barnett & Mary Underwater on my list, Aaron. Thanks for all! Sad that I can’t immediately put some on hold! Have a wonderful week no matter the changes!

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  2. I’m interested in reading Mary Underwater eventually, although it doesn’t sound like the kind of escapist literature that calls to me these days. If it doesn’t have a happy ending I don’t want it. I’m also interested in What Stars are Made Of.
    Hope you and your family are doing well Aaron. Stay safe.

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    1. You’re right, it’s not. Although the issues she deals with are so different from what is current… but I think I get that lots of people are needing different kinds of books right now. I think my current read resembles that. Have a great week!

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  3. I’m a big fan of Ame Dyckman, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading That’s Life once the library reopens. Thanks for sharing. Stay healthy and safe!

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  4. I’ve never heard of Mary Underwater, thanks!
    What Stars are Made Of and City Spies are both in my pile!
    Certainly a strange time and one we’ll have to figure out how to read through. Seems like we’ll continue to be inside for awhile!

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  5. My day goes much more smoothly when I stay off social media. I wish there was a filter that would take out the fluff out — the angry, argumentative posts that make people defensive and rude (even when I fully agree with the some of the sentiments, I’m finding so much of it counter productive). I mainly want the connection and opportunity to peek into my friend’s and colleagues lives and offer support where it’s needed. I don’t disagree that primary teachers have it worse than many others. That’s where I taught my first five school years of public school teaching. Once I moved into college teaching, online coursework has just been part of the game. It seems what most people are struggling with is the need to keep a facade of ‘business as usual.’ But normal just is not going to happen right now. I’m glad kids can feel the love and support of their teachers in any way possible!! On books — Mary Underwater is a completely new title to me. And WOW look at those ratings on Goodreads. I’m definitely adding this one to my list!! And I just learned about City Spies today, too. Looking forward to seeing both titles very soon. Thanks for the shares, Aaron, and I hope a safe and productive working/reading week for you and your family!

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  6. It’s good to hear you are figuring out how to connect with your students. This is definitely a strange time! Thanks for all the good book suggestions.

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