If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.
Blogposts/Reviews from This Week
Featuring: The Blue Whale & The House that Jane Built
I really enjoyed all of these middle grade novels. Circus Mirandus is flat out amazing. That she is a debut author is astounding. The characters grabbed me and I was completely transported. I can't wait to share this fantasy with students. Pickle had me laughing and I know students will enjoy following along with this team of pranksters. The House of Hades is lengthy, but I tore through it in a day. Riordan manages to pack a ton of action, drama, and humor into the almost 600 pages. I am sad that there's only one left in the series. I've got it on order so maybe I can finish it before school starts. I got This Journal Belongs to Ratchet last year at NerdcampMI, but for whatever reason had never gotten to it. Ratchet is home-schooled and helps her father fix cars. Since I also handed tools to my father while he was under cars, this one had an added layer for me. I think tinkerers will enjoy this one.
Shooting at the Stars was an incredible look at the Christmas Truce during the first winter of World War I. In a Village by the Sea is a circular story about family and home that takes place in Vietnam. It's gorgeous and heartwarming. I didn't find William & the Missing Masterpiece to be bad, but it also wasn't really a favorite. There were many cheesy puns, but young children would likely not realize they were puns so may not get the jokes. I think it's likely funny enough for them without the second layer, but for me it was only okay. Me, Frida was a look at the time when Frida was in San Francisco seeing the U.S. for the first time. It's also when her artistic style was solidified (at least according to this author) and she came into her own. I really appreciated the illustrations and this look into a small part of Frida's life. The Storyteller's Candle is a fictional story, but it does share about the real children's librarian Pura Belpré. I was sad to see it's out of print, but there are still copies floating around. I'm hoping to snag one for my school library. It will help as I share about the Pura Belpré Award.
None of the Above is an excellent young adult novel about a young woman who has recently discovered she is intersex. This means she has male chromosomes and while she has female parts on the outside of her body, she also has some male parts inside her body. As you can imagine, this is a major shock. The author did an excellent job explaining facts without making it seem like a textbook.
These were two very tough nonfiction books to read. Children Growing Up With War is a photo filled book highlighting how children are often denied their basic rights due to war. It is written by a photojournalist and that's what makes it so powerful and also tough to see. There are photos of children experiencing grief, starvation, physical distress and so much that we would never want children to go through. Being Mortal was also difficult, but it is written for adults. It's a commentary on the way the topic of death is often avoided to our detriment in healthcare and life plans here in the U.S. This really should be a must read for anyone planning to live into retirement and anyone who has aging family members. So yes, that would be basically everyone. It will help people think through the discussions that would be helpful and understand more of their options. Avoiding these topics may make us feel more comfortable in the short-term, but they likely won't have us comfortable down the road.
I didn't participate in Teachers Write this year. With all of my traveling (with limited Internet), there was no easy way to do that. Instead, I got a copy of Kate Messner's 59 Reasons to Write which incorporated a lot of lessons, prompts and examples from the past Teachers Write camps. This is a great professional development book for teachers who want to hone their writing skills and improve their teaching of writing.
Reading Challenge Updates:
Diversity on the Shelf/Diverse Books - 123/100
Goodreads - 299/520
#MustRead2015 - 33/53
Diversity Reading Challenge - 10/12
The Coming Week:
I want to get The Blood of Olympus and get started. I have the ARC of the YA book Everything Everything by Yoon and I will likely start it. I have March Book 2 checked out and Meg Medina was praising The Hired Girl so I may start that too. It should be a good week for reading. Happy reading to you!