Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!
I started my reading week off with The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I’ll just say it: I did not want to like this book in the beginning. The writing in the first few chapters seemed so tedious with overly descriptive similes and metaphors. I thought I might have my first DNF book of 2018. However, I pressed on and I admit I’m glad I did. The Belles was a very creative world that made me see vivid colors and feel the main character’s hopes and fears. It’s a story of both innocence and darkness as the belles (who control beauty) must question obedience and find a functioning path between duty and honor. While I had lingering questions, I liked it enough that I plan to read book #2 once it is released. Interesting tidbit: The story was inspired by Clayton’s painful pre-teen experience of listening in on a discussion several men were having about women’s bodies while looking at magazines. Their discussion impacted her so deeply that she began pouring over magazine images and cutting/pasting to create a secret wall of perfect body parts (things she thought men would like). In her “Note to Reader” section at the end of the book, Clayton says: “As uncomfortable as it might be, I hope this book pushes us to talk about the commodification of women’s body parts and the media messages we send young people about the value of their exterior selves, what is considered beautiful, and the forces causing those things to shift into disgusting shapes.”
A few weeks ago, my husband asked me if I would read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. He has always loved this book, particularly the development of Janie’s and Tea Cake’s love story. What a romantic! While their relationship wasn’t perfect, the feelings and honesty were just all out in the open. So tender and raw. In the beginning I had to adapt to the writing (ex: “See dat? You’se got de world in uh jug and make out you don’t know it. But Ah’m glad tuh be the one tuh tell yuh.”), but after I slowed my reading speed to take it in, all was well. This book is such a treasure and quite a bold feminist novel (especially for those times!). It was originally published in 1935 but almost completely forgotten until the 1970s when it was rediscovered. How lucky we are to have it, today!
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds was one of my favorite children’s book reads of the week. Jerome is the main character and he collects words. He makes scrapbooks full of the words he collects until one day the unthinkable happens and his words get all jumbled up. Poems are written. Songs are sung. And everyone is encouraged to reach for their own words to find their voices. I love this little book – the art work and hand-lettering are truly charming.
My family did, in fact, start reading A Wrinkle in Time aloud with our children this week. Since we were having our own sorta “wrinkle” (time change — losing an hour) on Saturday evening, we decided to serve the special midnight snack from Chapter 1 of the book. The kids had the option of the following for supper:
- Mrs. Murry: Liverwurst and cream cheese
- Meg: Lettuce and tomato sandwich with onion salt
- Mrs Whatsit: Tuna-fish salad with celery and little sweet pickles
- Charles Wallace: Bread and jam (dessert)
- hot cocoa
We placed all the ingredients out on the table, along with fancy breads and crackers, and let everyone have at it. Most of the kids tried a little of everything and we all ate until we were FULL! Then hubby made French toast for breakfast on Sunday morning (just like in the book). On Sunday afternoon, our older children attended the matinee movie with me so we could all compare/contrast the two story lines. It was a fun (and probably very memorable) weekend for us all!
To Be Read:
Since it was a busy “Spring Break” week, I did not get to finish the last novel of my TBR list from last week’s post. So I’m still working on Last Day on Mars (book #1 of the Chronicle of the Dark Star series) by Kevin Emerson. I also hope to finish Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. And who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy and squeeze in Granted by John David Anderson. 😉 I’m very excited about all three of these books!
Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!