Um, what? August? How did this happen? It really snuck up on me. Not teaching for the month of July, I don’t always have a handle on the calendar, but as the month got close to turning it really struck me that about half of the summer is already over. Last week, I was travelling throughout my home province of BC. We made a loop from where I live to Vancouver and up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, stayed four days with some biking and hiking, and then drove home through Pemberton, and the Duffy Lake Road. The timing was likely perfect with the mountains being a good place to survive a heatwave, and the forest fire risk has crept up now to the point where travelling may be more difficult.
If you haven’t heard of Whistler, BC, it is basically a large ski resort but there is lots to do with the hiking and biking in the summer. We stayed about a kilometer outside the main village and that suited us as we are still not used to bigger crowds and the main village can be busy. We did walk through it a few times and my family and I were able to find a nice little indie bookstore with a well curated selection of PB, MG, and YA. I purchased an MG book by a BC author whose YA book is one of the books I will post about here. I am happy to link my post with others at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Thanks to our excellent hosts for providing this space.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
This is a YA about an alien invasion of Earth, written by a BC writer. I picked up her MG book Pandas on the Eastside at Armchair Books in the Whistler Village. Zero Repeat Forever is the first of two books in a series. Cheriee at Library Matters posted about this one in her first post in July. It reminded me that I had read about it several years ago and just had never gotten around to reading it. I even passed it to my oldest and said, I think this will be a good book, you should read it. As the book is set in the Canadian Rockies, I thought it might be a good book to read while in the Coastal Mountains at Whistler. 16 year old Raven is an interesting character. Along with her boyfriend, and his twin, they are employed as part of a court order, due to some mistakes they made, at a summer camp in the Rockies. When the ruthless Nahx invade their goal seems to be to shoot any human with a dart that will kill them. This story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Raven and a Nahx soldier called Eighth (his rank in their army). The humans decide to “shelter in place” waiting for the situation to improve. It only becomes more interesting as we read the perspective of the Nahx, who doesn’t speak and only knows some human language. Raven’s group becomes more split about what to do and she is not the type who obey’s authority, official or otherwise. There is a lot of interesting and subtle details about the invaders that drew comparisons to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Cheriee, which I found valid as well. I have also heard some comparisons to Beauty and the Beast and there are also several references to Poe, including the title. This is a very contemporary book, but has a bit of a classic feel at times. There is a mix of action and a lot of character development.
This cute picture book is the follow up to How to Give a Cat a Bath. I didn’t like this one quite as much as that one, but it gave me a few chuckles for sure and cat people will really identify with the plot of this book. It is scheduled to be published September 27. The dog is also a bit of a show stealer.
This is another picture book that I got an early copy of from attending Picture Book Palooza (as was the case with How to Train Your Cat). It is scheduled to be published on the 23rd of this month. Fans of this duo’s Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear will really enjoy this book. The plot reminds me of the Kate Messner MG novel All the Answers. The title character is a crayon that does have all the answers and wants to be a big part of Jasper’s life. At first, Jasper loves it, but then it gets to be a bit much. I loved that Jasper feels better earning mediocre spelling marks compared to the easy A’s that the crayon can get him. There are some funny moments when the crayon insists on playing a big role in Jasper’s life.
I got this early chapter book for the library this year, but didn’t make the time to read it until a couple of days ago. The title character does a great job of explaining a lot about her traditional language and culture. I have a lot of students at my school who are about that age and involved in a language revitalization program at our school and they might appreciate reading about a character that is also doing so. In this first of a series, we get to see how Jo Jo struggles a bit at school and a misreads situations with her friends, but how when everyone demonstrates kindness, things work themselves out just fine.
I waited far too long to read this one. I saw lots of praise for it when it was published about three years ago. Last year, my classroom neighbour (grade 4/5) read it with her class and they all loved it. I teach 5/6 and have the school library about 30% of the time (small cut in time this year, don’t get me started! Grrr!) so I bought Rosanne Parry’s next book A Whale of the Wild for them, and promised them I would read this one over the summer. This book is for students who prefer non-fiction and are just getting into chapter books. It is based on the real events of a wolf who travelled a great distance from his home. Young readers will learn a lot about wolves. The story is told from the wolf’s perspective and I loved the parts where you learn how he feels about events that necessitate his travels. This one gets into the dirty details of the wolf’s life. It was a really good read.
Currently Reading/Up Next
My family and I are finishing what might be our last read aloud this week, The Fellowship for Alien Detection. We have been finding it harder to manage finding titles that everyone wants to listen to and times that everyone wants to sit down to do it. We are discussing a family reading time. It’s a fluid situation but I was hoping this would last a little longer (my kids are 15 and 12). I am going to be starting Gravebooks later today, the sequel to Nightbooks, an MG novel that was also adapted into a film on Netflix. I also have some picture books I will be reading, one of which, Blanket by Ruth Ohi, publishes tomorrow. Thanks for stopping here, have a great week, and if you posted your reading week in review somewhere I hope I get to read it soon.
4 thoughts on “#IMWAYR August 1”
I’m glad you had the chance to travel recently—it sounds like you got to visit some beautiful places, and finding an indie bookstore is always a plus too! But I get what you mean about the summer racing by—it feels exactly the same way to me too. It looks like you’ve been reading some great books, though! Creepy Crayon sounds great—especially after seeing your All the Answers comparison, since I love that book! I’ve heard about JoJo Makoons as well, and A Wolf Called Wander sounds lovely too. Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Aaron!
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It looks like you had a brilliant reading week. I’m so excited that you picked up a copy of Pandas on the Eastside. I eagerly anticipate reading your thoughts on it. I can’t remember if you have read the sequel to Zero Repeat Forever or not. I am happy you enjoyed this one. The Frankenstein connection is more obvious in Cold Falling White. I enjoyed A Wolf Called Wonder and have now added A Whale of the Wild to my want to read list. There are so many great books to read that I often get behind on Canadian titles.
I haven’t read the Cold Falling White, although I do have a copy. I have tended to gather YA that I am interested in, hoping that there will be 2-4 readers of it within my family and that is what happened with this series as my oldest has read both. I was getting vibes off that first one that made me think of the Romantic writers/those influenced by them but didn’t think of specific titles until I read your Frankenstein comment. That was fun to read. You are so right about there being so many books. I made a pile from my library and my classroom library for the summer and there is literally no way I will get through even a quarter of it.
I read Zero Repete Forever a while ago after getting the ARC at a book conference. I may have to pick it up again and reread. I loved a Wolf Called Wander. Glad you finally got to it. The others are new to me. Thanks for the recommendations.