Monday, March 23, 2015

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.

The Past Week: 
Picture Books

Migrant by Jose Manuel Mateo and illustrated by Javier Martinez Pedro made my jaw drop. The unusual format - a codex that folds out accordion style with intricate illustration really captured my attention. I got lost in the details of the illustration. Beyond that, the story of a migrant family facing the dangers of leaving their small village to cross into the U.S. gripped me even with so few words. I am not sure that libraries are going to buy it given the unusual format, but it will be on the shelf at my school. I found a wonderful review of it at Hyperallergic if you want to see the full illustration and know more about the book.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Qin Leng made me smile so much. Hana has started taking violin lessons after spending time with her grandfather in Japan who plays. Now she feels she is ready to be in a talent show. Her brothers are not so sure since she has only had three lessons. She has a surprise for them though. This is a wonderful book to use with primary children particularly in a music class.

Haiti: My Country is a gorgeous book. The illustrations are portraits of Haitian school children and are beautifully done. The poetry is written by Haitian teens. The poems revolve around home, nature and Haiti. They are full of hope and life.

Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made it from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues by Matt Taveres - wow that's a long title. I don't watch baseball, so to me, Pedro was just a name. Through this picture book biography, I learned more about Pedro and really appreciated learning about his relationship with his older brother. It's a wonderful story of family and persistence.

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer's Alphabet by Chris Barton was super fun. I think that gaming readers will love reading this one. The illustrations are fun. I loved the definition of joystick even though it made me feel old, "A crude device used by ancient civilizations-by your dad, your mom, even your grandparents...."

Picture This by Lynda Barry was a great inspiration for creativity this week. I wrote about that here and here. For elementary level teachers/librarians this is not a children's book really. I don't think there is anything in here that is adult in nature except the prevalence of cigarettes, but it wasn't written for children. One of the lines resonated with me, "You have to be willing to spend time making things for no known reason." That's what I did the past few days. I made a few fun collages, and a drawing too. I also liked these two questions, "What if drawing was a way to get to a certain state of mind that was very good for us? And what if this certain state of mind was more important that the drawing itself?" There are still a few more activities that are suggested in the book that I want to try. Here are some of the things I made for no known reason:

Chapter Book

All the Answers by Kate Messner was an ARC that I picked up from the publisher at ALA Midwinter. It was a story that drew me in and made me care about the characters. I loved that there was the addition of magical realism threaded through this family story. I read the story straight through and enjoyed every minute of it. Who wouldn't want a pencil that had all of the answers? In some ways it reminded me of Bigger Than a Breadbox and I think readers who enjoyed that will love this one too.

The Coming Week:

I found the first Octavian Nothing book to be quite a struggle and this one is turning out to be the same. I think the storyline is interesting, I think I just find so much telling and so little action and dialogue to be boring. I feel shallow and like a lazy reader to admit it, but that's the way it is. I am listening to this second one on CD while doing other things so that I can hopefully stick with it since it's one of my "must read" books for this year having gotten a Printz award. I'm just at the very beginning of all of the other books. I'm also about to start a re-read of Gabi for a review. I am not sure if I will finish all of these, but will give it a good shot. Have a great week filled with reading.

Reading Challenge Update
Goodreads - 106/520
#MustRead2015 - 10/53


  1. I just picked up Growing Up Pedro from the library today. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    1. I didn't mention it, but I thought the illustrations and larger size made it a treat for the eyes too.

  2. Thank you so much for introducing me to Migrant. I will get a copy for our library no matter the format. I think it would be an interesting companion book to Zombie Baseball Beatdown, a book that takes a hard look at what it means to be an illegal immigrant.

    1. Yes, it would work well with ZBB. It's certainly one that would work with current events too.

  3. Growing Up Pedro just came in at the library for me, glad to hear I have a good one waiting for me! Had not thought about All the Answers and Breadbox.. that's an interesting comparison!

    1. Might just be the magical realism aspect, but also, there is the feeling that a device will solve all of the problems, and even with magic, that just isn't so. ;)

  4. I loved Hana and Pedro! I am glad you liked them as well. I look forward to reading All the Answers--I love how Kate writes.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  5. I want to read Migrant, sounds like it is quite the story and innovative too, Crystal. I enjoyed Growing Up Pedro a lot, thought it was a story students without struggles should read. Also loved the surprise in the Hana book, very sweet. Thanks for all, have ordered the drawing book for me!

  6. Goodness gracious! I want to get Migrant and Picture This! What awesome finds! I am so glad you shared them! I am going to go hunting at my library. Thank you very much. :)

  7. I love your collages! I am currently doing research with the National Gallery of Singapore and one of our Cultural Medallion artists (Milenko Prvacki) is conducting art workshops with teachers where they do collages in his gorgeous studio. The art sessions are also inspiring me to do my own collages. I miss doing art. I have added Migrant to my text-set - and now asking our librarian to purchase a copy of this for our institution. Intrigued by the Hana book. I hope I find it soon.