The last full week of my summer vacation. Next Monday, I will be back at school completing some professional development with the other teachers at my school for two days. Generally, that is the week many of us are getting classrooms ready. Here in BC, we have all of our students scheduled to return to full face to face learning, so there will be much to do in order to make the return safe and welcoming.
This week, I plan to finish a lot of books. I started to use Edelweiss+ for the first time several days ago, and I wasn’t expecting to get so many acceptances to read books so quickly. I ended up getting nine in just a couple of days. I have had issues downloading one of them, but other than that it has been great. I did fail to notice that one of them expires on Tuesday though, so I had to switch the novel I was reading yesterday, and start reading a different one. I should finish both of them in the next couple of days and will write more about them next week. Here are the books I finished this week.
Books I Recently Enjoyed
I was sent this book by Penguin after attending a virtual conference. It is a really uplifting story of a girl named Esther, a young Jewish girl who lives with most of her family in Poland. Her father has moved to Cuba and is trying to make enough money to bring the rest of the family to Cuba. He makes enough to bring one of them over, and Esther fights to be the one. I loved that she convinces her parents that sending the oldest boy is not the best plan (she is the oldest child). Once she arrives her positivity and spirit change everything for her family. I loved how she saw the beauty and the good in her new life in Cuba. The book does show that there were certainly some challenges for people in her situation but the rich setting, and support Esther and her family find in Cuba really overpower the racism they experience.
Last week, I reviewed David A. Robertson’s upcoming MG novel The Barren Grounds, which I really enjoyed but I think he has even more graphic novels than MG and YA books out. This graphic novel came out in 2012 and it was originally four short graphic stories. In them, Edwin, an Indigenous teen struggles with feelings that his hopes will never be realized. After a suicide attempt, his mother feels he needs to find out more about where he comes from in order to help address the past of his people and embrace the future. We get different pieces of his family’s history, from war, to smallpox infection, residential school, and his father’s belief that he was not capable of being the parent his son needed. There are a lot of necessary and uncomfortable scenes for the reader to learn about the history of an Indigenous family. Edwin has to learn about finding his own way forward, acknowledging the past without being defined by it and offering some forgiveness where warranted. A very powerful book.
This was a re-read for me. Our family read aloud. I have read all four books of this series, and look forward to a fifth coming in 2021. It’s a mystery that is set in 17th century England. Christopher Rowe is an orphan who has the fortune to land an apprenticeship as an apothecary under Benjamin Blackthorn. However, their world is rocked by the murder of several in their guild throughout London. Christopher and his loyal friend Tom have to solve codes, and puzzles to learn the secrets behind these deaths. A smart, thrilling beginning to the series featuring one of my favourite friendships.
I first heard about this book at the Western Washington University Children’s Lit Conference I attended just before the pandemic began to really limit people’s ability to travel. Jason Chin was one of the four featured speakers, and sold his audience on his upcoming book, even reading a few pages. I was fortunate to get an e-ARC from Edelweiss+ this week. Jason Chin tackles a pretty challenging topic here. Trying to show children their size relative to something as massive as the universe or even a galaxy. The pictures do a great job of accomplishing this task. Kids that enjoy learning about space will also have a lot of facts to digest in the main story and also in the back pages. Those that enjoy numbers will like learning about their own size relative to massive things on earth and then the sizes of those large things like Mt. Everest, compared to distances in space. For fans of Jason Chin, this one has a little less of the narrative aspect than his books such as Grand Canyon and Redwoods, but I really enjoyed the facts and perspective. Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Holiday House for allowing me to read and review this title that comes out on September 1.
On Deck Reading
I think I will finish both of the books I am reading on my own fairly soon, and then go back to last week’s plan to read The Eye of Ra. I was approved for an e-ARC of Dusti Bowling’s The Canyon’s Edge, but I can’t seem to get the document to work on my IPAD, so I hope that my frustration finds a happy ending and I get that one to work, and finally read it. Thanks for stopping by here to see what I have been reading. Check out other Monday bloggers at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki for hosting. Have a great week!