Sunday, February 14, 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:
Sitting Bull by SD Nelson

Last Week in Books: 
I finished two more collections from Sherman Alexie in preparation for going to see him next weekend, Ten Little Indians and War Dances. He weaves humor into his often very serious stories. He is an author who makes me think and wonder. I appreciate that. I also notice that he seems to really grapple with truth, honesty and how that works out in storytelling. 

I really loved The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch. From my Goodreads review, "Barton and Tate manage to provide a realistic look at slavery for young readers. It moves quickly from slavery though to Reconstruction after the Civil War. Many people don't realize that there were African American people in positions of power soon after the civil war. John Roy Lynch was one of those people who held public office about ten years after he became free."

The Inker's Shadow was another memoir from Allen Say that continues where Drawing from Memory leaves off. I enjoyed this one as well as the first. Allen Say keeps the text brief as we see him progress through his high school years in the U.S. It amazes me that he was living on his own for so much of his teenage life.

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, A Young Artist in Harlem is yet another picture book biography. It's well done and takes you right back into 1930s Harlem where Jake is growing into his art.

The Jamestown and St. Augustine books are e-books available from my library. They mentioned slavery in their description so I wanted to see how that was handled. In the St. Augustine book I found out there were enslaved Africans in Florida in the 1500s. They came with the Spanish. What also surprised me was the fact that there were also free Africans living there and later when people escaped from the Carolinas and came to Florida they were often granted freedom. One of the stipulations was converting to Catholicism. The books were not necessarily outstanding, but the St. Augustine book certainly provides information that isn't always shared in other history texts.

There is much to love here in the picture books. Shanghai Sukkah is a great historical fiction picture book. It shares a bit about when Jewish people left Europe in the 1930s and went to Shanghai. Two boys meet and share about their harvest festivals - Sukkah and the Moon festival. Worm Loves Worm is simply adorable. I enjoyed the water poetry of Langston Hughes in Sail Away. Ashley Bryan's illustrations went well with the beautiful words. Surf's Up is an amusing testament to the love of reading. Dizzy is a nice picture book about Dizzy Gillespie. My students enjoyed it along with a video of the man himself. I'm Sunny and the book below, I'm Grumpy, are two great board books that are in comic format. They are cute and made me smile. 

My Tata's Remedies earned a Pura Belpré honor for illustrations. They are very realistic and nicely done. I especially loved the richly decorated endpapers. I appreciated this story of family, community and herbal healing. Lizard from the Park and Monster Trouble! were both amusing flights of fancy. I ordered both of them after seeing them on this excellent list of "28 Picture Black Picture Books That Aren't About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball".

I love tea and so really liked the connections in Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. From my GR review, "This is a warm and beautiful collection of poems with a child's voice. It begins with 'Cherish Me' which speaks of her beauty and asks that we cherish her. The second poem shows how her family does cherish her, but shares her parents warning that there are those in the world who would do harm to "children kissed long by the sun" and so she is wary." There is much to think about in this collection.

Harlem was another wonderful look into the city. For the Love of the Game is a poetry collection about basketball specifically focusing on Michael Jordan. I know we have quite a few poetry books featuring basketball. Is it because of the bounce that matches up with poetry so well? Something to wonder about.

Way Up and Over Everything was very similar to The People Could Fly. It's a story of enslaved Africans who rise up into the air and leave the fields behind. It would be nice to pair them together.

The Coming Week:
I'm still listening to a memoir by Robin Roberts of Good Morning America. I'll be reviewing a few books soon so will read those and I just got a big book order in so will likely keep reading many picture books from those boxes. Have a great week!


  1. Sherman Alexie is one of those authors I keep meaning to read but haven't yet. Now he's back on my radar. Thanks. Here is my week. Happy reading!

  2. I thought Worm Loves Worm was a lot of fun! You have lots of other great books that I'm going to need to check out Have a wonderful week!

  3. You always introduce me to new books, Crystal, usually older ones I've missed. I do have the Allen Say books, & used them as mentor texts for memoir studies. Thanks for all you share!

  4. Such an extensive array of great books, as always. I've aded a few to my TBR pile! Have a great week!

  5. I really need to read more of Alexie's short stories--or at least a complete collection of his.

  6. I need to put Sherman Alexie on my #mustread list. I picked up one this weekend, and put it back simply because of the sheer volume of books I have to read!!

  7. I really envy how much Sherman Alexie you've been reading. I've only been able to read The Absolutely True Diary and really looking forward to finding more of his novels. :) Great array of picturebooks here as per usual. Enjoy the rest of your reading week.

  8. Lizard from the Park is simply delightful. Pleased to see you also enjoyed Worm loves Worm!