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!
February 16, 2012
My first book this week was The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. My friend and colleague, Elisabeth of The Dirigible Plum, mentioned this LaCour book after I really enjoyed We Are Okay. And yet again, LaCour’s writing was so wonderful. I expected this to be a light and fun story (I mean, just look at that cover and the summary about a pre-college road trip with a girl rock band), but there was more sadness and anxiety than I anticipated. The story is about Colby and Bev who have been best friends since childhood. They’ve had a pact for YEARS to spend the year after graduation touring Europe. But first, Bev’s rock band is taking a final week-long tour before the group members split up and some head off to college. Colby is shocked by Bev’s announcement that she has chosen to forego their planned Europe trip and go to college, instead. He never even knew she had applied (!!) and he had no back-up plan. Therefore, for the rest of the book he is left trying to figure out what he’s going to do while simultaneously attempting to figure out why Bev has chosen to suddenly abandon their plans. Of course, there are also a few other mysteries to solve along the way, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.
While Colby is utterly confused and the story continually borders on depressing, LaCour’s writing remains stellar. She can somehow turn the most average, everyday thought or experience into a work of art, leaving the reader with so many afterthoughts and feelings.
The Ethan I was Before
January 24, 2017
I just finished The Ethan I Was Before last night, so I’m still swimming in the feelings of the experience. This was a super fast read that I could barely put down (and I probably would have finished it in one sitting if I didn’t have 5 children and loads of other responsibilities!). Twelve year old Ethan lives in Boston and his best friend is Kasey. They love to do everything together — especially give each other DARES. Until one day when a dare takes Kasey from his life and throws him into a whirlwind of pain and confusion. After seemingly unsuccessful therapy, Ethan’s family packs up and moves down to Palm Knot, Georgia, in hopes that he can have a fresh start. As Ethan builds a new friendship with Coralee, he can’t help but compare his current friendship to the one he had with Kasey. They are sneaky and adventurous and yet there are secrets that keep him questioning. There’s also an angry grandpa, a huge hurricane to survive, a potentially haunted house with a new mystery to solve, and an endangered red wolf thrown in for good measure. Ali Standish’s debut novel was beautiful and heartbreaking — these characters will stick with me for a long time.
King of the Sky
May 4, 2017
Myra of Gathering Books recommended this book to me as it would go so well with My Beautiful Birds (which I discussed back on March 5th). Both books are about an immigrant child who doesn’t feel comfortable in a new country. Both children find their comfort and joy in tending to birds and watching them fly. In King of the Sky, the young child is from Italy, having recently moved to the UK. He befriends an old man named Mr. Evans who is training his pigeons to race. Mr. Evans is very sick from his years spent working in the coal mines, so eventually the child must take over the preparations for a long distance pigeon race. All of Mr. Evan’s birds have won races, except for Re Del Dielo (My King of the Sky). And the child’s mission is to get him entered for the upcoming long distance race. This is yet another book that would be great for the topic of immigration (or even a discussion of leaving your home and finding common ground in a new location). The illustrations in King of the Sky look chalky and are done in mixed media and the text is all hand-lettered. I’ll share two spreads from the book to show both the artwork and text:
To Be Read:
Is it just me or are reading plans always being altered? The truth is, I had a perfectly scripted reading schedule to take me through six weeks of detailed reading. But then there are weeks that come along and I’m surprised by winning a giveaway for a brand new book OR I discover my library has a brand new book I’ve been dying to read (new books are rare in these parts!!). All this to say, this past week has thrown me for a loop in suddenly available books, so who knows… This is what I’d LIKE to finish, if time permits AND if I don’t get sidetracked:
Have a great reading week, everyone!