The last Monday of May is the start of a busy week. I am working at school, while most of my students are working remotely. There are about eight students of essential service workers in our building. Next week, classes resume here in BC. It is optional for families to send kids, and so far about one quarter plan to do so in my classroom. I have to phone the rest of my families this week and start preparing for how to blend my online learning, with some students being here 1-2 days a week. As for the other half of my assignment, I have been given very little direction on the library except that the powers that be do not want me running regular groups through. We are open, but still limiting the use of shared spaces. As is the norm for 2020, some of the best things are cancelled.
On a personal note, I become the parent of a teenager this week, when my oldest (who has felt like a teen in training for a few years) turns 13. She is hoping to make me the second tallest member of our house this week too. Birthday parades have been a big thing in our town, but my daughter would curl up in a ball if she had that much attention, so big gatherings being cancelled suits her. I am sure she would like to be able to have a few friends over, but understands things are just different this year. I am hoping to squeeze a few good reads in this week as well.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
This was one of my top must read picture books for this year because of how much I enjoyed books like After the Fall and Drawn Together. I think it is another picture book that fits perfectly for our crazy times. Who hasn’t had a couple of times when I feel like jumping in an elevator, and pushing a button to escape a little? This book is a little longer than most picture books, and several pages are wordless. I really loved those pages. I really cannot wait to be able to buy a copy for my school library.
This is a middle grade mystery and as the cover suggests it has lots of references to Egyptian mythology. Simon has a pretty normal middle class with his parents and little sister. His Mom asks him to help look after an elderly neighbour across the street who took a fall off a ladder and has mobility issues. Simon doesn’t really know Mr. Hawkins, who was a friends of his grandfather’s, but his huge house is loaded with mirrors, particularly very old ones from Egypt. One of them seems to have an effect on Simon, and he becomes quite ill. With help from the girl Abbey, a girl that is new to the neighbourhood but very easy to talk to, Simon tries to unravel the secrets of the mirror and those of a mysterious woman who seems to want it. This book was not the most action packed compared to other MG books featuring mythology, save for a couple of scenes but for fans of the history involved in that sub genre it might be worth a look.
This book did have a lot of action. It starts with life really being hard for several characters living in Guatemala. The teens all have loving people in their lives, but also things that make life unsafe. Where they are from, this is just the way life is, but it is also why many run. Everyone thinks about making a run through the border to Mexico, and riding a train system known as La Bestia to get across that country to the border with the US. At that point travelling on foot to cross into the US becomes another dangerous option. The journey is known to be incredibly dangerous but they feel it might be their only plan to a better life. Two events that happen on the same day cause three teens to come to the excruciating decision to leave their loved ones and run. The story of Pulga, Chico and Peequeña is filled with hope, a lot of fear, and danger, but mostly determination. This is quite an impactful read with some of the events based on what we were seeing much more of in the news before the pandemic about families attempting to enter the US. The author is not a native of Guatemala or Mexico but is the daughter of immigrant parents. She seems to base the story on research and some of the books she read were listed in the ARC that I got from the publisher.
I continue to re-read these three excellent books aloud to students as part of my class book clubs (lit circles).
My family is reading The Alchemyst, a re-read for me, and a series I really enjoyed. I am hoping one or all of us continue with this series.
On deck reading
I won’t start a new book until after work on Monday. My wife has a better library budget situation than I do so I will be raiding the books she recently purchased for her library including a book that is very high on my Must Read in 2020 list. I also have some ARCs I might try to get to and I bought the books for GRA 2020 that were appropriate for my grade level (grade 6). I hope to get through a few of these titles.
Thanks for stopping to see a bit of my reading week, I hope to view what you have been up to as well. Head to unleashingreaders.com or teachmentortexts.com to see a great link-up of Monday bloggers. Thanks to Kellee, Ricki and Jen for hosting. Have a great week.