Jen & Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host a meme every Monday that invites people to share the children's and young adult books they have been reading over the past week and what they plan on reading the following week.
You may find more complete information about what I am reading at Goodreads.com or by clicking on the Goodreads widget along the side of my blog.
The Past Week
M.C. Higgins the Great was an unusual book. Hamilton brought us right into to the hills of Ohio and showed them to us brilliantly. The characters were unique too, but somehow, I couldn't connect with them. I enjoyed the way she painted a picture of the place, but the events and the beliefs about the "witchy" others were just too "out there" for me to feel entirely comfortable. It wasn't magical realism exactly, but it managed to feel that way. I tend to shy away from books like that. So, this was not one of my favorites and I am not exactly sure who I would recommend it to.
Novels in Verse
Because I am Furniture was a close look at domestic violence and other forms of abuse so it was not light reading. I enjoyed the writing though it is never comfortable to read such a topic. It was interesting to note that before the story the author hints that some of this may have been part of her life and in this story she had the opportunity to redo her choices. The main character, Anke, has a father who is abusing every member of the family except her. This is a gift and a problem for her because she feels that in his eyes she is not even worth his time. I appreciated that Anke does some soul searching and is growing as a person in spite of the stresses at home.
Orchard is another "issue" kind of book. In this one, a classmate has committed suicide and Kana is sent to her mother's family in Japan for the summer to have something to take her mind off of the tragedy. Kana learns more about her family and works through her feelings of guilt over this long and difficult summer. I felt that she actually wasnt' as bothered by the suicide as I would have expected, but otherwise, the novel dealt with the emotional ups and downs that could be experienced following a suicide.
The only picture book I managed was hello! hello! by Matthew Cordell. He is having a fantastic art giveaway right now. If you purchase his book and show him the receipt, he is sending out art to go with it. Read about it here on his blog.
My favorite book of the week was Starry River of the Sky. I might even choose it as the best for the title alone. Then there is the brilliant artwork and the magical storytelling. Grace Lin does it again with a wonderful tale of a boy who is learning about himself and how to deal with his anger. As with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon the main story is liberally sprinkled with brief, yet engaging folktales. I loved it.
For Next Week
I have started a re-read of The Grey King for the Newbery Challenge and I am already falling into the story. Wales is such a fabulous place for a fantasy. I remember loving this one as a child. Other than that, I may not read much as I still have about 15,000 words to write before Friday if I am going to complete NaNoWriMo.