Many are saying good riddance to 2021 but to me if it proved anything its that turning the page on the calendar does not mean that we get a fresh start, or a better, pandemic free year. 2021 had it’s ups and downs, and this year will as well. Our third pandemic focussed year will hopefully be better than the last, but it will also be what we make it.
I ended 2021 by finishing 32 books. I met the reading goal I set for myself. The goal itself isn’t too important, but I set it a little too high to force me to read more picture books, early chapter books and sometimes graphic novels. If I don’t, I will not make my goal of 240 books. Last week, I read lots of the aforementioned types that I had in the library and was really feeling like I should read anyways. This goal gave me the kick in the pants I needed and I also get it done before school starts up again this week.
We have Monday off, and then start-up on Tuesday, but last week the government announced that they would not be bringing students back for the first week here in the province of British Columbia. In my town, there were some schools that were still arranging spaces for their students following the massive flooding we had in November, so it isn’t such a big change for my wife’s school, nor my oldest daughter’s, but my youngest and I were scheduled to go back on the 4th. This has been pushed back to the 10th so that schools can prepare to make the return for school safer in light of the rise of cases relating to our new variant.
Tomorrow we will make some final preparations for the return to work of the adults in our family. Part of that will be continuing the job of making bins for all of the classrooms in my wife’s school, the hardest hit due to flooding. A restoration company boxed up all of the stuff that was not wrecked from her K-7 library, and we were given half an hour to grab what we wanted. The boxes were not really labelled in ways that told you what was inside so we grabbed whatever we had space/time for and have been opening boxes (there are probably about 65 here and more we can pick up if we make an appointment with the restoration company) periodically. It is a little like Let’s Make a Deal, what will be in the box?… Amulet graphic novels… books that have been weeded but not withdrawn… a box of staplers and scissors. We are slowly moving the boxes out of our garage, and into our house before placing the books in bins that are appropriate for each classroom. They are moving the school to a church and there is no space for a library, or shelf space in the classrooms.
Binge reading some of my picture books that I have recently processed as well as graphic novels and early chapter books that I had not made time for was a nice distraction (I think Shaye @ Miller Memo did something similar). So was playing lots of games like Scattegories, Catan, and Dungeons & Dragons. I would not want to write about all 32 of the books that I read last week but some were outstanding so I will focus on those and maybe include a picture with the rest. Once I cleared out some books that I had been meaning to read, I picked some ARCs that I had been looking forward to as well.
Books I Enjoyed Last Week
Short poetic riddles featuring sensory/imagery clues that will have readers guessing the subject that appears on the next page. I read a couple of other poetry books but I did not enjoy them as much as this one.
I am honestly not as much a fan of Peter H. Reynolds books as some at my school, but I really love this one, and the timing of it is perfect. It has a strong message about what families need to do to stay connected that feels more relevant than ever. I think kids will really get this in my school with all that we have been through with flooding and fires in the last year.
This would make a great class read aloud for grade 2/3/4 for teachers who love reading their classes books in which children mature, learn to make mistakes and how to make up for them.
Harriet has to stay on an island with her grandmother because her mother is on bedrest with her soon to be baby brother. It is a really great life, but Harriet is mad that her plans for summer have changed and things that her parents said would be true, ended up not being true (has that happened to anyone other than me during the pandemic?).
Through her experiences, Harriet learns how to better handle changes, being sad, or angry, and how to have hard conversations with people. There are also some very good secondary questions and a mystery for Harriet to solve. I read this as an e-ARC from Edelweiss but look forward to purchasing my own copy in February 1, 2022.
I really enjoy these well made short chapter books depicting the highlights of the Anne of Green Gables series. If you know the story at all, the title is enough for you to remember what this one is about. Troublemaker Anne makes a mistake and is judged quite harshly, but is responsible and helpful when needed most. I enjoyed this e-ARC from NetGalley, the full version of this fourth book in the series comes out on February 15.
My students that love all books with big trucks or heavy machinery will be invested in this right away, but the story itself is very interesting. At the end, the author states that the story of a huge truck on a very small island is based on a true story. The disruption to traffic is handled very well by the residents, and that is the best part of the story. I enjoyed this e-ARC that I read through Edelweiss, the final version is available May 3, 2022
The title really is a promise. I think young listeners in the library will have opinions and predictions to share.
Lots of the books I read last week were ones that I had been meaning to read for a long time and there was none that I shook my head at more for not reading sooner than this one. It is amazing! It speaks to how people need to handle situations in their own way and their own time in a way that young readers will be able to understand.
These were good too…
Not as good as the others, but… still fun. Silly puns made for a fair bit of fun as knot compares itself with a snake.
I enjoyed this e-ARC on Edelweiss. If you are familiar with the Stella books by this author, this new offering will not disappoint. It features a groups of kids playing together imaginatively as different animals. Later, it follows up with them having some similar characteristics in their homes.
I read the second through fifth of this series that is very old, but were not in any of the libraries in my town. I find them very funny and full of book related and lunch room word play.
I caught up with these two graphic novel series that are about growing up, and have characters that have really grown up for their readers, in the best way. You can tell that the writers use a lot of details from their lives or the lives of people they knew growing up. This makes it seem like the setting is better for people my age to read, but kids do seem to get a lot out of reading about the experiences of the tweens and teens in these series.
This is an early chapter book series that is a spin off from one titled for this character’s sister, Heidi. I hadn’t read it or even known of it when I picked this one up. I liked these ones, but the second was better than the first. The boy had to deal with the new girl at school playing the same position in soccer and being better than he was. In his family, the girls are magical and the boys are not, but he managed to sabotage the new girl in his class with magic anyways. He made a big mistake. When he realized it, he handled it well, and it seems that happens a lot in this series. It reminded me of Katherine Applegate’s Roscoe Riley Rules.
A girl with cat-like superpowers that she seems to inherit genetically from her Mom? How many girls are going to clamour for this? It seemed to be for 6-8 year olds in some ways but the chapters are quite long compared to most early chapter books I read and it is really for more advanced readers that age. I am going to be interested to see if older kids that read at that level will be interested in the plot which features a girl named Kitty testing her bravery and powers to help animals with problems at night (just like her Mom does).
This one will likely be another pretty easy sell to some library patrons. I have lots of young readers that will appreciate the details of a night’s work for a snowplow depicted with rhyming text.
Thanks for making it to the end of this post. I hope you had an excellent end to the year, and have positive thoughts for 2022. I look forward to linking up this post with the other excellent bloggers that post at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. I am ever thankful to the hosts of those sites, Jen, Kellee, and Rikki for hosting. Enjoy your reading week!