Hard to believe it is the last Monday of May, and for me tomorrow is the first day of the last month of the longest school year ever. At my school, we continue to walk the fine line between covid protocols and providing kids with a great last month of the year. We are trying to run things like track meets, and year end trips as we have in “normal years”. This includes a District wide reading event that I help run, which will be virtual, but still include students from most, if not all of our elementary schools.
A busy time of year for most educators, and it does cut into my reading time to be certain. But I have finished a few good reads this week that I would like to share with others at the link-up hosted by Unleashing Readers (thanks to Kellee and Ricki) as well as Teach Mentor Texts (thanks to Jen).
Books I Enjoyed This Week
I was lucky to get this e-ARC from Edelweiss. I really enjoyed the earlier collaboration from these writers, First Day Critter Jitters, with these animals all struggling with different aspects of their first day of school. This one obviously follows the group to a summer camp. It hit all the right notes for me. Lots of connections here for students as the animals share some of their anxieties about the camp and work together to make it a good experience. Even though this is only the second book with these critters, I can still predict what will happen based on the characters. That is nice with young readers developing their predicting skills as well. I find the sloth to be a great character for that.
I received this e-ARC during School Library Journal’s Day of Dialogue virtual conference. I have been a fan of these non-fiction books that focus on an animal important to the ecosystem of the Gitxsan First Nations in my home province of BC. This might be my new favourite in the Mothers of Xsan series. It shares important stages in the life of a wolf, its importance to the ecosystem and the way it cares for its pack. I enjoyed reading about how this is similar to the way the Gitxsan look after the people in their villages as well. The illustrations are also spectacular.
If you are new to this series, you can really jump in with any of the other books which feature sockeye salmon, a grizzly bear, an eagle and a frog. This book will arrive during the next school year, and will be on my pre-order list for September (it is currently scheduled for a Sept 28 release).
A witty story about a boy who doesn’t believe he has any real strengths. When he discovers parallel universes full of different versions of himself, he needs to use the strengths of some of his new found friends, and the strength in himself to foil an evil plot. The little differences in each of the world were creative and the way that these differences created crazy little versions of our world were super fun and full of laughs. The underdog characters are also worth rooting for. A promising start to a series. I was given a copy by the author and publisher in exchange for a review and I am looking forward to reviewing the second book in the series before it comes out in the fall.
I finished re-reading this book yesterday for our school’s book club and the District’s Battle of the Books. In our version of Battle, students form teams and are challenged to answer questions about all of the books against teams of students from other schools. I chose this book because I wanted our book club to be able to engage in many different conversations about racism and we have discussed Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, we have researched Emmett Till and Tamir Rice. Also, we have made connections to systemic racism in Canada, especially targeting Indigenous Peoples (including a horrific discovery last week at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, about 100 km from my school, of what ground penetrating radar has revealed to be a mass grave with over 200 Indigenous children who were forced to attend the school).
In this story, Jerome is a 12 year old boy who is shot and killed by a police officer. He “sticks around” as one of the Ghost Boys (other black boys who were also murdered) and ends up engaging a young white girl in several conversations in order to bear witness and help her learn how to keep his story alive and tell it until skin colour doesn’t matter. Are we making progress? Not enough. This story is great for students who would not really be ready for something like All-American Boys or The Hate You Give.
The first two books here are re-reads for our Battle of the Books, my book clubs in class (which we call Literature Circles) should be finishing late this week. Children of the Fox is an e-ARC that we are reading as a family, and Rez Dogs is my next e-ARC.
Thanks for stopping by to view my reads for this week, hopefully I can carve out the time to view lots of other people’s reading weeks.