This week is my first full week of working in school again, if a week that starts with a holiday can be called a full week. We don’t have very many students, only children of essential service workers (2), two other students that joined them because they benefited from seeing staff a few days a week, and now three students whose parents are in the education system. However, starting June 1 parents will have the choice to send their children. It will be only half time though for students in grades K-5, I guess so numbers will stay low and we can practice distancing. Like everything covid related, information is often changing. Grades 6 and up are only supposed to attend 20% of the time. All students will continue with online learning on days that they do not attend school.
There is lots of anxiety over this in my home province. Some think it is too early, some think it is too late and we need to get the economy going. It’s probably cut into most people’s productivity, and for me, also reading time. We spend our time so differently. Shopping is different. I am on my own and it takes longer to get up and down aisles. We probably play more games with our kids because they are not really playing with other kids. And, I have certainly spent more time packing up my class, installing it to a “home office” and now unpacking it and taking it back to school.
As far as reading goes, it has been a slow couple of weeks, but I started to request more picture books. First of all, I miss them. I haven’t had a library budget (I am the K-7 librarian in a small school of 140) since December, the public library here is not operating yet and I haven’t been able to browse bookstores. Second of all, shorter is probably better when you are in a bit of a reading slump. Here is what I was able to read this week.
Books I Enjoyed
This book is about six years old. It is kind of a supernatural thriller. It takes place in small town Florida in areas that are full of swamp, cane sugar, and football players. Charlie has just moved there with his Mom and step-dad. He meets a cousin, and finds out lots about his family that he did not know. He and his cousin Cotton also begin unravelling secrets that lead them to battle with ancient evils. This was our most recent family read aloud that my wife chose because she has really loved N.D. Wilson’s 100 Cupboards series. He captures the creepy atmosphere of things quite well in both cases.
Another small town book, but opposite side of America. This one takes place in Long Beach, Washington. The strength of this book is it’s neurodiverse main character Frankie, who lives with her twin sister, mom and step-dad running an inn by the sea. Frankie’s former best friend has gone missing and Frankie knows she is one of the last people to see here and has some ideas for how to find her. She wants to help but it is very challenging for her to manage her feelings and outbursts while dealing with the stress the situation puts on her and others. She gets distracted, doesn’t like changes in routines, doesn’t like people touching her, she has trouble with loud noises and sometimes she is so inside herself she can’t hear what others are trying to tell her. Trying to help find a person she knew better than most, and repair family relationships while dealing with changing friend relationships that tend to happen to most 13 year olds keeps Frankie on a roller coaster of emotions and readers of books like OCDaniel and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl will enjoying seeing how she puzzles it all out.
I got this book from NetGalley, so thanks to them and to Orca Books for approving my reading of it. I look forward to purchasing this one, it will be a good story to read with young listeners. Our school talks with students a lot about building character and this story tells about how it feels to do kind things for others and to have kind things done to you as well. This includes being kind to yourself. The simple, short text will be effective and impactful to the youngest readers in my school. The illustrations were very eye-catching. The book is scheduled for release in September.
I really enjoyed this solid picture book as well, which I also need to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read. I really liked everything about it. I camp a fair bit with my wife and kids, and this story has a lot of the same experiences that we would love about our camping trips. I think my students would enjoy this and make a lot of connections to it. The camping life is not always easy for young Ernestine. Setting up is harder than she thought, swimming is more challenging in a lake than a pool, the food is not the same, and she has a hard time falling asleep (not to mention that she misses her Dad). But with help from her camp mates she is able to overcome and have a great time. The art is interesting to look at and pleasing to the eye. This book is a recent release (May 5).
I continue to read these with my lit circle groups in class. I really love these books, and it would be great to be reading them more, but my students have trouble connecting online.
This is my current read aloud. It is a recent release I got from friends at Book Portage. I am just getting pulled into the mystery of this mirror.
This is our new family read aloud. I have already read this (and most of the series) but wanted to read it with my kids.
On Deck Reading
I still hope to read We Are Not From Here soon, I have an ARC from Penguin, and I just got a new graphic novel from the author of Awkward, a popular series at my school. Thanks for stopping by here and reading about my reading week. I hope to get over to view what others have been reading.
9 thoughts on “It’s Monday, May 18th (a long weekend, I think, if I can remember what day it is)”
My goodness, so many changes taking place in the schools. Most of our US schools let out for the entire school year and we’ve had many graduation ceremonies online over the last two weeks. Now many teachers and librarians are just waiting to hear what will happen in August — whether things will remain online or if there will be socially distant classroom settings or if things will attempt to go completely back to normal. What a strange time to be in education! I’m looking forward to reading both We Are Not From Here soon and Tornado Brain. I was grateful to read more about Tornado Brain in your post, Aaron. Thank you and I hope you have a good week, despite all the craziness going on.
The school plan here is not without controversy. Part of it is that it is only for the final month. Some believe it will bring closure to those that need it, and others say that having older students only come for about four days is a waste, or not worth the risk. We don’t start until September, so this feels like a dry run to work on some of the new challenges in changing routines to allow for distancing. Certainly we will be watching jurisdictions that do a full start-up in August to see what we can learn for September as well. Have a great week, Shaye.
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I just got a copy of We Are Not From Here. It sounds amazing so I’ll probably read it next.
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It will be so interesting to hear how school goes for you all over the next few weeks. Like Shaye said, we are closed for the year, but discussions about August are starting. With multiple plans being looked at, it will be interesting, and I’m sure stressful, to see how it all plays out. I want life to be normal, but that is just not possible right now. And no, you certainly won’t please everyone no matter what you do/decide.
My reading slump is opposite of yours. I have no real interest in picture books. The ones I read this week were fantastic, so that helped. I have a pile that I just haven’t been able to get excited about. YA is certainly the age range that is holding my attention right now!
Hope you have a successful week!
The Boys of Blur is one that I’ve meant to read for some time, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I should take another look once the libraries reopen. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!
Wow, you’re going back, & like others, I wish you the best, Aaron & hope it goes well. My granddaughters are both changing schools next year, so they are sad they cannot even say goodbye to the school where they’ve been for a few years. Teachers, too, but at least they’re talking via Zoom. I noted When We Are Kind, happy to see you got to read The Camping Trip – so great, & will keep We Are Not From Here on my growing, growing list. Our library is not open yet, but they let us create a wish list which I will use to put some books on hold quickly. I’ve bought quite a few, but can’t buy them all! BTW – I loved Sweep! Have a very good week!
These books sound great! Tornado Brain sounds like a book I’d enjoy, and The Camping Trip sounds great as well! I’m also curious to see if The Weirn Books are good, since I loved Awkward and its sequels! Thanks for the great post!
The Camping Trip is on my list. Love the illustrations!
The title of your post made me laugh out loud Aaron. I’m never really sure what day it is anymore.
I would really love to read When We are Kind, but I have neglected my netgalley titles and am ashamed to go and ask for anything till I figure out what to do about all the missed reads. You have a lot of other books on your list I really want. I especially lust after the Svetlana Chmakova title.