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!
We’ve had a wonderful summer, so far. This last week brought LOTS of rain and then cooler temps followed. Now it seems my whole neighborhood is gearing up for 4th of July which means fireworks have been going off in my neighborhood for over a week, now! And is it only MY city or are all grocery stores are already stocking “back to school” supplies?? Summers seems to be getting shorter and shorter every year. Enjoy it while it lasts!
On to my reading week…
A Torch Against the Night
August 30, 2016
A Torch Against the Night picks right up where An Ember in the Ashes leaves off, but instead of only being told from the perspective of Elias and Laia, Helene (formerly the best friend of Elias) has been added to the narrative mix.
“Most people,” Cain says, “are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time. But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night–if you dare to let yourself burn.”
For a large chunk of book #2, these three characters are in different locations, slowly filling out details to reveal the big picture. In the beginning, Elias and Laia are attempting an escape to rescue Laia’s brother, Darin. He is being held in the worst of the Empire’s prisons and the Commandant is on a mission to wipe out all Scholars as she travels from prison to prison. Along the way they face many soldiers and eventually find the tribes where they seek refuge. If you haven’t read book #1 then there’s not much more I can share without spoiling the story. 🙂 But it’s very insightful, with a fuller view of Elias’s early story (including his birth and biological mother’s actions). While it’s 452 pages, like Ember, it is engaging and reads so quickly. So now I wait for book #3 to arrive in my mailbox (yes, it’s on order).
The Wild Robot Escapes
March 13, 2018
This is book #2 in The Wild Robot series and it picks up just shortly after book #1. Roz has been taken back to the robot factory to be tested and refurbished. Roz robot instincts kick in so she’ll survive the interrogation:
“In the wilderness, I camouflaged my body to survive. In the robot factory I camouflaged my personality to survive. I pretended to be a perfectly normal robot. I did not say that I had adopted a goose, or that I could speak with animals, or that I had resisted the RECOs. I said what I had to say to pass the test. And it worked.”
Roz was released from the factory and purchased by a disabled farmer with two children. She meets the cows on the farm and strikes up a secret friendship. Additionally, Roz tells her island stories to the children on the farm without revealing that they’re true stories. But eventually the truth comes out and it becomes obvious to everyone involved that Roz must escape and be reunited with Brightbill on their beloved island. But how will they pull this off?
I would say this one has even more intriguing questions and philosophical ponderings than book #1. Peter Brown explains (in a note at the end) that this “return to home” required research, study of artificial intelligence, and exploration of expert predictions of our potential future. In his words: “The story had to be filled with heart and soul and action and science and even a little philosophy.” And that is exactly what comes across, this time. This is yet another great read-aloud book for kids of all ages.
All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge
and Our Problem with Stuff
February 27, 2018
This was one of the most entertaining AND educational picture books I’ve read over this past month. In 1987, a New York landfill became keenly aware that it was almost completely out of room. To solve this issues, they decided to load 3,186 tons of trash onto a barge, take it to North Carolina, and turn the decomposing garbage into methane gas (which eventually can be used as electrical energy). It was actually a brilliant idea, well ahead of its time, but things started going wrong when a local reporter in North Caroline noticed the barge approaching and shared the news story on the 6 o’clock news that evening. So… North Carolina turned them away and thus began a series of states refusing the barge from Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana to Mexico to… um, WHERE will they land?
The garbage found a potential location near the Bahamas, but even there the barge was turned away before they could start unloading. In the end, the barge returned to New York. Are we surprised that they even faced issues there–where the garbage originated?
I won’t spoil the ending, in case you don’t already know about this big event of the 80s, but I WILL say that this historical experience is probably what ignited our modern day understanding of how to make better use of garbage. The back of the book provides a section on barge facts, recycling facts, garbage facts, ocean garbage facts, and a lengthy bibliography. Overall, this was an intriguing nonfiction book that will likely appeal to many young readers.
NOTE: It may sound silly, but I kinda agonized over what pages to share while staying within the 10% legal copyright limits. So just know there are even more entertaining illustrations that explain the experiences and the science of what they were trying to do. 🙂
To Be Read:
I have a few ARCs I’m very excited to read this month. I’m starting with these two:
Thanks so much for visiting. I fell behind on comment responses the last two weeks, but I’ll do better from this point forward. Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!