It’s Monday, August 24th, What Are You Reading!

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

Letters from Cuba

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.

7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga (7 Generations #1-4)

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.

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)

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.

Your Place in the Universe

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.

Currently Reading

This was the ninth book that I got from Edelweiss+ this week, but it wasn’t until after I downloaded it that I noticed it had a deadline of Tuesday, it’s release date, so I need to read it quickly! It is a very interesting with elements of supernatural, and speculative fiction.
Lupe Wong Won't Dance
I was reading this book until I realized that Elatsoe has a deadline. I was really enjoying the humor and will be happy to go back and finish it soon.
First Light
I am pretty sure this is the first book Rebecca Stead published. I really enjoyed reading it several years ago. My wife has selected it for our next family read aloud that we start today.

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!

6 thoughts on “It’s Monday, August 24th, What Are You Reading!

  1. I have Letters from Cuba on my list & you’ve made it sound very good, Aaron. Generations & the new Jason Chin book are new to me, will put them on the list! Generations sounds like an important read for many to see themselves in it & to learn from. Thanks & have a good “before” week! My granddaughters begin today, online, & some local districts have started on site. Best wishes to you all!


  2. How neat that you’re rereading First Light right now—I just started it, since I was rereading When You Reach Me and realized I still had never read it! (I love its new cover.) I enjoyed Ruth Behar’s book Lucky Broken Girl, so I’ll have to read Letters from Cuba! Thanks for the great post, and good luck with school!


  3. I love everything Jason Chin does so I feel I must get to this book! I enjoyed reading Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar so I’m looking forward to Letters From Cuba. It has been a while since I read 7 Generations. I just picked up David A. Robertson’s Monsters and need to get to it.


  4. I really enjoyed Elatsoe and will be looking for the Jason Chin book and Lupe Wong sounds fun. I too sometimes have difficulties with downloading the digital ARCs. Sometimes I have to do it a few ways before something works. When I download for Kindle, I usually have the best results, but sometimes Adobe Digital Editions is better. I find that the Kindle versions don’t actually expire on the archive date, but when I use Adobe they do expire. I’m not sure why, but that means that I tend to try Kindle first. Good luck with that and with the new school year. We just had our professional development days this past week and we begin online with students this coming Tuesday. 🙂


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