Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.


I am fighting with my iPad to create this post so will keep this brief. I have been spending a whole lot of time with family members this week, so reading is taking a back seat. I loved Jazz Day and really enjoyed e poetry of Kimberly Blaeser in Apprenticed to Justice. She's the WI poet laureate. Yay Wisconsin!

Here are the books I'm currently reading:


I hope your week is filled with excellent books!



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Jazz Day



Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more nonfiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year. So far, I've read 69 this year.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph
by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo

Goodreads summary: When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.

My thoughts: Without question, my favorite part of the book was the foldout photograph. I hadn't been reading long before I began to flip furiously through the book to see if the picture was actually there.

This is a fantastic view into that one day when so many jazz musicians gathered together. The magazine Esquire was going to have an issue about American jazz and this photo would help showcase many people at once.

The text is written in many separate poems that highlight a handful of people involved in the story. At the end, there are brief biographical sketches about each of those highlighted. There is also an author's note that includes a map an outline that numbers and then labels each of the participants in the picture.

The source notes, bibliography, and other backmatter are thorough. I also really enjoyed seeing the page that listed and explained the many other ways that picture has been referenced such as the creation of a documentary about the day, a character in the movie The Terminal carrying autographs of the photograph participants, and copycat or "homage" photographs.

I really enjoyed some of the poems like How to Make a Porkpie Hat, What to Wear (from A to Z) The Musicians, and At the Window: A Girl. I appreciated the poems, but I especially loved the illustrations. They are done in acrylics and pastel and have a realistic feel. They are done in a way that makes the book seem as if we are really looking back through time.

This would be a book that would work well in a music class, but would also work in a regular classroom though I am not sure if I would read it straight through. It might be a good one to take bit by bit.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Two Weeks on the Blogs: 
 A Learning Journey - My Guest Post at The GayYA Blog

Review of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love
by Sarvenaz Tash at Rich in Color

The 20th Anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award & a Few Favorites at Rich in Color

Celebrating Grandparents
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge


Last Two Weeks in Books:
I wasn't able to post last weekend because I was staying with relatives (see Celebrating Grandparents post) so I won't report on every book from the past two weeks. I will just highlight a few of the most memorable and enjoyable titles.

 
 
Both Donovan's Big Day and Malaika's Costume were warm stories of families, community, and celebrations even though the occasions were very different. Donovan's two mothers are getting married and he is super excited. Malaika is getting help from friends and family to prepare a costume for Carnival in spite of the absence of her mother who is away in Canada. Malaika is disappointed that there isn't money to get a new costume, but is able to solve her problems with help from loved ones.

The next three titles are all about real people. Something New is another graphic novel memoir by Lucy Knisley. I loved it. She has the exact sense of humor that suits me perfectly. Music for Alice is a picture book about a woman named Alice Sumida. She was a young woman during the time of the Japanese internment. She and her husband worked in sugar beet fields in Oregon. Her story is one of strength and persistence and also dance.


Alice Sumida from Uprooted Exhibit on Vimeo.

Ada's Violin is a beautiful book about a youth orchestra in Paraguay where they create musical instruments out of trash so that young people may learn to play music. 


Finally, you may have heard about The Seventh Wish recently because the author, Kate Messner, has been uninvited to an elementary school due to its content. The book is a moving and relevant story perfect for middle grade readers. There are regular everyday things happening in the story like ice fishing, dance classes (Irish dancing!!), school, and family squabbles. There are also unusual things like a talking fish who distributes wishes. In addition, there are real life situations involving drug and alcohol addiction. There are those who think children shouldn't read about addictions. I think children shouldn't have to actually deal with such situations, but they do. Way too many of them do. This is an important book. It's a book that says to a reader in a similar situation "You are not alone in this." It also teaches compassion for those who are going through such an experience even if the reader hasn't had to deal with it in their own life. Yes, I am not planning to check this out to a first or second grade student, but it is a wonderful book for many of my older students especially during 5th grade's D.A.R.E. unit, but any time if needed. Students need access to books like this.

The Coming Week: I am listening to Brown Girl Dreaming as a re-read and am loving it. I have started LaRose by Louise Erdrich and am reading a PD book about creating compassionate schools. I have a ton of library books checked out and I think my next read will be The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. Have a great week filled with wonderful books.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge - 345/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2016 - 161/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
LGBTQIA Challenge - 22/31
ReadPOC Challenge - 114/125
#MustReadin2016 - 20/54
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - 67/100
Around the World with Books 2016

Celebrating Grandparents



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.



I'm celebrating grandparents. The day after school ended I got into my car and about nine hours later, I arrived at my mother's house. During my three day visit, I was able to see quite a few family members. My grandfather's health hasn't been spectacular recently so he was why I made the extra trip. I had been scheduled to go in July, but I didn't want to wait. I don't think we often regret making time to see grandparents. I went to see my grandmother on the other side of the family too. These two people were born more than 90 years ago. They've seen a lot of changes. They've been through many challenges. It's fascinating to listen to their stories of the past and I love seeing that twinkle in their eyes when they tell about some of their escapades. Elders are a spectacular gift.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge



Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more nonfiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year. So far, I've read 67 this year.


Goodreads summary: It was 1904 and St. Louis was proud to host the World’s Fair and America’s First Olympics. Hundreds of thousands of people came by car, by train, by boat. Part of the Olympics was a wild, wacky marathon. Forty-two racers registered, thirty-two showed up, and of the three racers vying for the finish line: one drove part way, one was helped by his trainers over the line, and one was a postman who travelled from Cuba and ran in street clothes that he cut off to look like shorts. How they ran and who won is a story of twists and turns that wouldn’t be believed if it weren’t true! And it is! Find out who won in this picture book all about the historic Olympic Marathon of 1904.


My thoughts: I'm so excited to read a book about running. It isn't a very common topic in fiction or nonfiction picture books. McCarthy sure found a wonderful race to highlight. There are so many quirky things that happened in that Olympic race. For young runners, they may be amazed to see what the conditions were. Sometimes we even have a water stop in a race as short as 5K and these marathoners only had two water stops in the whole 24.85 miles. As someone who has raced in marathons, I found it fascinating. It also made me appreciate the conveniences we have now with people directing traffic away from us, fabulous GPS watches, nutrition and water support, and the list goes on.

This would be fun to pair with Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Sam Denlinger. That's the only other picture book I've read involving marathons.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week on the Blog: 
May book releases at Rich in Color

Pride Month


Last Week in Books:


I read about a dozen books in the past week and these are some of the ones I enjoyed the most. The Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow is a well done picture book biography. Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Arthur has lovely illustrations and the poems throughout are great. It's one I will want to re-read. A Morning with Grandpa by Silvia Liu is a sweet story and I will enjoy sharing it with my younger students. We already have some yoga books that we use and this one will extend that in a nice way since it also includes tai chi. The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona by Xavier Garza is the third in a series of creepy books. I haven't read the others, but now I want to find them. It's a bilingual book and is a lot of shivery fun.  Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices by Kristin Cronn-Mills qualified for a the #ReadProud read challenge that's going on this month. It's a nice introduction for those wanting to learn more about transgender experiences. The best part is hearing from several individuals. It's a combination of information and personal stories. 

Padma Venkatraman wrote a book that I really enjoyed called A Time to Dance so when I saw that she had an earlier book, I wanted to read it.  Climbing the Stairs takes place in India during WWII. Seeing the war from that perspective was different to say the least. The main character's family is not exactly enamored of the British yet one member feels compelled to fight against Hitler on the British side. There are way more things going on in the story than that, but it stood out to me how I often only think of WWII in relation to us, Europe, Africa and maybe over in the South Pacific, but things were happening in so many other places.

Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories is a nice by Sandra Cisneros. Having lived in Texas for 16 years, I appreciated many of the references. LGBT Diversity and Inclusion in the Early Years Education by Deborah Price and Kath Taylor was a nice find. I visited Madison when last week and finally signed up for a UW-Madison library card (teachers in WI can have one for free). It is cool because professional books are harder to get my hands on as public libraries don't often buy such things. Now I can use the education library in Madison for books like this. Here's a line from my Goodreads review: "Readers are led to question whether they see children as "an equal, a co-constructor of the learning environment of your early years setting" or as a "passive recipient of the knowledge and ideas" to be imparted to them." I appreciated the way the book made me think about the way I teach and how I see my students aside from giving me ideas about inclusive practices.

The Coming Week: I'm still listening to Daring Greatly and though it has a lot of the same information that was in The Gifts of Imperfection, I am hearing new bits and pieces that are valuable. I started a book called Papi: A Novel (another from UW-Madison), but am not sure I will stick with it. I have a whole pile of books on order from the library so I will dig into those as they arrive on the hold shelf. I'm super excited to get Lucy Knisley's newest book and LaRose by Louise Erdrich. I also have The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye on the way among others. These are all part of my summer #Bookaday plans. I hope you have some fun reading lined up too.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge - 309/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2016 - 146/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
LGBTQIA Challenge - 17/31
ReadPOC Challenge - 105/125
#MustReadin2016 - 20/54
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - 63/100
Around the World with Books 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Celebrating Graduation



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.




Last week my youngest child finished high school. Yay! It was a wonderful weekend with family, food, fun and maybe a little emotion for me. Another milestone has been passed. I'm a proud mama.



We went to a lookout above the campus our youngest will attend in a few short months. It will be an interesting summer as we prepare for the transition and we're all excited to see the new twists and turns of life.