Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/4/15


It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.


Last Week's Posts

  • Poetry Friday: Orangutanka. Review of this adorable new poetry book featuring a medley of tanka poems about a family of orangutans! 

Big News!

I was very excited to find out this week that my presentation, Reading Another Culture: teaching diversity without reinforcing stereotypes, has been accepted for this November's NCTE Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I am so excited to have such a big opportunity to share some of my thoughts about how to use diverse and inclusive books in the classroom! Hoping to connect with many of you there this fall as well.

    Picture Books

     

    Look Back (2014) by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Caroline Binch. This folktale-style story from the Caribbean island nation of Dominica is told through the frame of Grannie telling a story from her childhood to her grandson Christopher. Her story involves the mysterious, mischievous Ti Bolom. Kids will love the repeated storytelling call-and-response as well as the 'is he / isn't he' discussions about Ti Bolom himself. (H/T and a great interview with the author over at Mirrors Windows and Doors.)


    The Grandad Tree (2000) by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Sharon Wilson. This lovely, heartwarming story connects the a child's love and memories of their grandad to the apple tree that marks their times together. Only partway through the story do the narrators reveal that their grandad has died and that they planted a new tree in his honor. This is a gentle story to share with children experiencing loss.


    Tasunka: a Lakota Horse Legend (2014) by Donald F. Montileaux with Lakota translation by Agnes Gay. This marvelously illustrated bilingual tale is a retelling of a Lakota story about Tasunka, the horse, and how horses were given and then taken away from the Lakota people by the Great Spirit. The illustrations and color palette are in the style of ledger books from the 1860s to 1910s. This would make an excellent addition to any collection of Native American tales. (H/T Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum.)


    Under the Same Sun (2014) by Sharon Robinson and illustrated by AG Ford. This memoir tells the story of Sharon and her mother's visit to Tanzania to see her brother David and his family. The universal nature of family and togetherness is celebrated as the continents come together. The family goes on a safari and spends a few pages enjoying African animals. The trip ends on a somber note as the families visit the historic slave port of Bagamoyo and discuss their personal history of enslavement, but they turn it to a positive note by thinking about their freedoms and personal connections.

    Middle Fiction


    Moonpenny Island (2015) by Tricia Springstubb. I was lent this book by our school librarian with a bit of an "I'm curious as to what you'll think of it" opener. Moonpenny Island is the story of 11-year old Flor who lives with her family as one of a limited number of permanent residents on the island, isolated out in Lake Eerie. It is a story of friendship, self-discovery, and family issues.

    But, overall, I found the story simplistic and a bit boring. None of the characters were particularly grabbing, and I spent the first few chapters unable to sort out which of the two best friends were which. I also found the present tense telling distracting and unnecessary. I'll be curious to read what others think of this book, but for me it seemed like a stereotypical middle grade friendship stew with nothing to make it stand out.


    I Shall Wear Midnight (2010) by Terry Pratchett (book four in the Tiffany Aching series). I was delighted to find that this fourth book had been published since I had last read this series, and I have heard that a fifth will be coming out posthumously as well.

    In this story, young witch Tiffany Aching is dealing with the oldest evil around - fear and suspicion, which is turning people against the witches and against each other. (Dis)Embodied by the eye-less Cunning Man, this fear and rot are spreading, and it is up to Tiffany and the Wee Free Men to try and put him in his place.

    Award-Winning Books Reading Challenge update: 10 books, 2 dedicated posts

    Dive into Diversity Challenge update: 85 books, 24 dedicated posts

    Happy Reading!

    14 comments:

    1. So behind on the Tiffany Aching series... Thanks for sharing. Love the mix of books you've read this week. Happy reading week to you...

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      1. Thanks so much! I was delighted when I started rereading the Tiffany Aching books to discover some that were new. So worth it!

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    2. What wonderful news about your proposal! Congratulations! I am looking forward to NCTE, too. Perhaps our paths will cross.

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      1. Thanks, Melissa! I am definitely pumped about NCTE and would love to connect there.

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    3. A Tiffany Aching book I've never heard of?!?!?! Off to Amazon RIGHT NOW. That's exciting news! (Gosh but Mondays are sometimes expensive!) Glad you were able to find Tasunka. I was very impressed by it--loved the art and wish Montileaux would do more PBs. Congrats on having your NCTE proposal accepted! I'll definitely plan to come to your session and maybe we can meet up for coffee at some point. Love connecting with my PLN in person at NCTE!

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      1. Yay for connecting at NCTE! I absolutely agree with you that Monileaux should do more picture books - amazing artwork. Enjoy the Tiffany Aching book too - now I can't wait until September for the last ...

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    4. Congratulations on your acceptance to NCTE! We are presenting with Matt Renwick and Karen Terlecky. Perhaps we will get to see each other. Thank you for sharing these titles with us. We are ordering The Grandad Tree and Look Back from the library.

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      1. Thanks so much! I look forward to connecting you at NCTE too! I think you will really enjoy both those books.

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    5. Congratulations! I love the cover of Look Back and the love and joy on the cover of The Grandad Tree. I think this was one of my favourite Tiffany books. The Shepherd's Crown won't be available until September!

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      1. Have already marked my calendar for it, Cheriee! Thanks so much again for the heads up.

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    6. Congratulations on your NCTE presentation! I did not submit any paper this year. I didn't particularly like the venue last year - very inaccessible and I wasn't really able to maximize the time that I was there because I did not stay in the hotel where the conference was at - which was quite expensive. Have fun this year though and I look forward to knowing how the turn out would be for you! :)

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      1. Thanks so much, Myra. I have not been to NCTE before, so I am full-on intimidated already! I am hoping at least a few people drop in. I tried proposing a 'diverse books' talk at a recent #EdCamp and only two people came ...

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    7. Congrats about NCTE! Sounds like a presentation I'd like to listen in on! I'm so jealous of all the teacher-bloggers I read!

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      1. Aww, thanks, Earl! I'll definitely be posting thoughts about the topic here on the blog too. Really excited for the opportunity!

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