Another week in this odd new world we find ourselves in. I am working away to try to get more students adapting to all these changes in ways that will work for them. Like everything else we do in schools, some are much more ready than others. However, I have to admit, I think I know my students fairly well. We are a very small school, I am their librarian before I become their grade 6/7 teacher. And yet, I am still surprised at times at how some adapt compared to how I thought it would go. Also, there are moments when we video conference (we tend to do very small group meetings more than whole class) when I see different sides of students as they speak from their own environments and on their own terms (as much as anything these days).
We don’t talk about books nearly as much as we used to, which is sad (and hopefully something that will slowly change), but also all the more reason to use this space to talk about books that I have read and see what others have enjoyed. Thanks to Kellee, Ricki and Jen for running link-ups for our blogs at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com. Also, thanks to everyone for sharing their reading this week.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
This was a really great book with humour and heart. Ross is a kid who just wants to blend into the background at school, maybe get a little bit of attention from the girl he has a crush on that sits in front of him. However, the discovery of a rare form of cancer around one of his eyes not only scares him to his core, but also makes feeling normal and making it through school that much harder. Based on some of the author’s own experiences with cancer, this book tugs at your heart but also makes you laugh. I would highly recommend this one.
I am grateful to have received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Holiday House, the book is scheduled to arrive on May 5. It’s an MG that packs a lot of deep things into a small package (not sure about you, but I must say I have read more that fit this description in 2020 than any other year I can remember). Army (in this family they tend to have unique names and there are stories behind them), is a fairly typical young girl, but as the story starts she experiences what feels like the worst thing that could happen. As the title suggests, the core of the book is about what happens after, and how Army survives this with the help of her family, her best friend, and some new friends. The strength of the book is how she finds out many people in her life are more than she first thought (there are great neighbours in this book), and her relationship with an autistic girl that moves in. Army finds her real purpose in helping others and that helps her move on in her life.
I received an ARC of this book at Nerdcamp Bellingham. It came out on Tuesday. Newt lives on a wacky island in the Pacific Northwest. He is nearing a crossroads in his life. When this school year ends, he can choose to stay in the small school on the island where he does not really feel like he fits in, and where everyone remembers him as the boy who was attacked by a bear, or he can move to the mainland school. He is drawn to the mainland school which he thinks will have more amenities and less idiosyncrasies. His Latinx family, the only one on the island have some oddities but also show a lot of love as they try to help Newt overcome the trauma he still feels from his attack and his growing sense of not feeling like he belongs. The story is quirky and has elements of magical realism.
Our family read aloud of The Heroes of Olympus series is complete. This was a re-read for me, I had read this one about five years ago, so it was fresh enough in my head. The series has a lot of action, humour and a little romance as well. This was a great conclusion to the quest of our heroes.
I also managed to squeeze in this e-ARC that I got from NetGalley. This is one of eight books featuring the teachings of a Nakota family (Indigenous peoples that live in Alberta, Canada) in the form of a short book (no chapters but not exactly a picture book either) with some illustrations. In this book, Siha’s father picks him up to walk home from school and Siha explains that he is to take a nutritious snack that is part of his culture when he heads to school the next day. He asks about taking bannock. This prompts a long discussion about whether bannock is traditional part of his people’s culture or not. Siha’s father tells him about some of the many things that people think of as being modern that are actually long held traditions of Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island such as forms of housing, agriculture, and medicine.
I am still re-reading this book as it is part of my district’s Battle of the Books and Literature Circle units. I was writing questions for our culminating event, a Reach for the Top or Jeopardy style quiz show. I am not sure that this will even happen, but I prepare just in case (we may find a new way of holding this event). I am actually likely to be reading all of the books (there are seven novels) this week as some of my students can’t access the copies that we have and I did not want to restrict their choice.
On Deck Reading
I am likely to read two of these books this week. I have read a lot of realistic fiction (except when my kids pick- then it has been Rick Riordan all the way), so I am most likely to read Shatter City to mix it up for a while. Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I have been reading, I hope to see what you have read recently soon. Have a great reading week!