Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 11/28/16


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


      Picture Books



      The Journey (2016) by Francesco Sanna. This picture book tells an intentionally-generic version of a forced immigration story as the narrator, her brother, and her mother flee their home country after the war and the death of her father. The book was inspired by the author's encounter with refugee girls in Italy. This one doesn't work for me as well as other immigration / migration / refugee books. The generic nature of the story makes it harder to connect with the characters, and I felt like the cartoonish border guards also downplay the seriousness of the issue. I'd love to hear other opinions!


      Teacup (2015) by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley. In a similar vein, Teacup is a metaphorical story of a journey by a young boy with very little. With this one, I'm left baffled as to what the story is actually a metaphor for and why I should care. This one is not my cup of tea, if you'll pardon the pun.


      Those Shoes (2007) by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. A good book for discussing the impact of peer pressure and the allure of pricy status items. (Maybe one that folks should have read before rushing out for their Black Friday shopping!)

      Middle Grade



      When the Sea Turned to Silver (2016) by Grace Lin [National Book Award longlist]. Last week I re-read the first two books in this trilogy (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky) which, while not a requirement, did make for some easier connections between the stories.

      Like the previous two books, this one is a story with many stories within it that draw on ancient Chinese folktales (some explicitly and some implicitly). I was far more familiar with many of the tales incorporated into this book, as several have been turned into picture books by illustrator Demi or are included in Favorite Folktales from Around the World, edited by Jane Yolen. This one provides a satisfying resolution to the trilogy (which I think is all is will be?), but I think that Starry River of the Sky might actually be my favorite of the three ...

      Middle School



      ... and speaking of threes, I also read March Book Three (2016) by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell [National Book Award Winner]. This is an important and powerful read, especially now. It is frankly disconcerting to see this look back at the work leading up to the passage of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts and then compare it to how they are currently being eroded. A must-read.

      Happy Reading!

      13 comments:

      1. Interesting assortment of books. All of them are new to me. I've heard of Grace Lin but never read her. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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        1. Grace Lin's books are wonderful - for many many ages!

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      2. Thanks for the links to the folktales that Grace Lin refers to in When the Sea Turned Silver. Those will be helpful to share with teachers.

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        1. Specific picture book titles include Liang and the Magic Paintbrush and The Empty Pot.

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      3. I'm so looking forward to When the Sea Turned to Silver, I love Grace Lin!

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        1. Can't wait to hear what you think!

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      4. Looking forward, like Jane to this recent Grace Lin. As for The Journey, I thought it would be good for younger students to introduce the plight of this 'journey and some refugees they do know about, even family members'. I read it to my second grade granddaughter who asked lots of questions, but we didn't have to get into the more serious things that could happen. And I thought Teacup was a metaphor of loneliness and need, definitely for older middle grade. Everyone takes a different look at books, I know. You made me think about these two again, Katie.

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        1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts too, Linda! My personal favorite for explaining immigration to younger kids is Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote. I'm curious to get some student reactions to Teacup as well.

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      5. Totally agree on March book three. It speaks to today. I loved When the Sea Turned to Silver. Interesting take on the first two "journey" books. I had heard of the first in talks about caldecott, but haven't read either. Thanks for your insight.

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        1. Thanks, Crystal! As for Caldecott, I wasn't that impressed with the art in Journey - especially with so many amazing options this year!

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      6. I have Journey and Teacup - and I can understand the bafflement about Teacup - but I did enjoy that one too. Must be Ottley's art, more than anything. But I like how there could be multiple interpretations to that story, and I wonder how kids would ultimately react to it.

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      7. I need to read all of the March books. I have book 1 at school, but I just haven't ever read them.
        We've been slacking on diverse link up! I am so sorry! We'll get back into the swing of things soon :)

        Happy reading this week!

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