Sunday, February 7, 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 Blogs:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Caldecott Honor Books

Last Week with Books:
Adult Nonfiction

I'm super excited to go see Sherman Alexie in Minneapolis later this month. This meant I finally read some more of his work. I hadn't read any of his poetry before. The Business of Fancydancing and One Stick Song are quite interesting. I wrote this at Goodreads, "I think it was intentional, but the written word begs the reader to wonder about the truthfulness of what is on the page. There was a continual question in my head about what is autobiographical and what is fiction and does that matter? Does the reader need to know where that line is drawn? Does it affect us if something is strictly true or fabricated? Do we need the story to have actually happened for us to interact with it?" Those questions were also bumping around in my head the evening that I watched his film The Business of Fancydancing. I had seen Smoke Signals years ago, but this was the first time I saw Fancydancing. It's a unique film that explores connections to culture, childhood, friends and especially how a Native person navigates life on and off the reservation.

Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now is a collection of brief essays from Maya Angelou. I felt like she was preaching straight at me in a good way. I wanted to be a better person after reading her words. Among other things, she encourages us to forgive, remember that we are all children of God, respect ourselves and others, and to cease complaining.

I finally finished listening to Fresh Off the Boat. It is certainly not something for everyone, but I found Eddie Huang funny. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this was a foodie book though there is only one recipe.
Young Adult

I didn't realize that Alexie had another YA book out. Flight had flashes of his humor throughout the book, but it was surrounding by some fairly serious situations. The main character goes through some very dark moments. I appreciated the time travel taking us to quite a few pivotal scenes in Native American history. Becoming Maria was a memoir by Sonia Manzano. I really enjoy memoirs as a general rule. I found this one a little disjointed, but I think she let it be that way in the beginning because that is sort of how our earliest memories are. They are just snippets here and there. I wished for more about the Maria time of her life, but this was about her journey to that place so it ends there. It was certainly interesting to see into her family life and know how she came to be the person she is today. She is one strong person.

Early Chapter Book

I had a fun time reading Lola Levine is Not Mean. Lola loves soccer and it's always great to see a character with so much enthusiasm. She gets a little carried away though and that leads to someone getting hurt. I'm excited to have the first book in this early chapter book series and am looking forward to seeing more of Lola.

Picture Books

There are simply too many picture books here to comment on all of them. I read a few Caldecott honor books, some books for Black History Month, a few in preparation for Jazz lessons with my first grade classes, Stina because someone raved about them and Sitting Bull because it won the American Indian Youth Literature Award. I'll be reviewing that one later this week because I loved it.

The Coming Week:
I am listening to Almost Perfect for my LGBTQIA Challenge. I just started reading the ARC of Hour of Bees. Beyond that, I will continue to read Alexie's books. I had only read three before last week so I have quite a few to catch up on in the next two weeks.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge - 91/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2016 - 46/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
LGBTQIA Challenge - 5/31
ReadPOC Challenge - 34/125
#MustReadin2016 - 6/54
Around the World with Books 2016


  1. Lola Levine is a great, positive story. I would love to see something like this for the upper middle grades. Have you read Eyre's Mean Girl Metldown? I liked that one, too.

    1. I haven't read Eyre's Mean Girl... I will have to look for it. Thanks!

  2. I have Sitting Bull coming from the library, and didn't know about Alexie's book Flight. I'll look for it, Crystal. I did enjoy the Henrietta book.

    1. Yes, Henrietta was fun. I like how it looks like a child illustrated it.

  3. I, too, thought Alexie only had the one YA book. I'm definitely going to seek out Flight! My husband listened to the audio for Fresh Off the Boat and enjoyed it quite a bit. Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now sounds SO good. I definitely need to read more Maya Angelou.

  4. I can't believe all of the wonderful reading you did this week. This Lola Levine title looks great for some of my readers. How fantastic that you are doing so much reading in advance for going to see Sherman Alexie Can't wait to hear about this!

  5. Sherman Alexie is one of my all time favourite authors. I've seen him in Vancouver. Did you know he is also a stand up comedian? I'm green with envy. I too have read nearly everything he has written. Somewhere in the middle of The Toughest Indian in the World, I was weeping and shaking. You are right about Flight. It is a hard one, but a book I think all teachers who work with indigenous children here in North America should read.

  6. What a varied and extensive reading week! I didn't know about Flight either, thank you for sharing it with us. Lola Levine looks very sweet, great for all the soccer-mad kids we have here!!

  7. I have Hour of Bees coming up. Have heard great things. Not sure if it will be my type of book or not.
    I need to try Sherman Alexie.

  8. I love how you always include all sorts of different types of diversity. You are inspiring.
    I love Alexie's work, and I need to read Flight--I've heard good things though I'd thought it was adult, so thank you for correcting me :)

    Happy reading this week!

    1. I thought it was adult also, but the main character is definitely a teen.

  9. I will have to look for that Maya Angelou book - I like how her 'preaching' or her thoughts about womanity and the world just resonate with me. I absolutely loved Alexie's Absolutely True Diary - and I am thrilled to note that he has a new YA novel! That I have to see.

    1. Hi. Flight isn't really new, but it was new to me.

  10. Reading Flight is the first time I ever understood why someone might smoke crack. Talk about books fostering empathy and understanding.