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!
Last week was Thanksgiving in the US, which means a whole lot of people traveling looooong distances to be with family for a 4-day weekend. My mom was driving on Wednesday when she was rear ended by a large pick-up truck (who apparently didn’t see that traffic had stopped). It flipped her car off the highway and she ended up rolling three times before her vehicle landed on its roof. She had trouble unfastening her seatbelt (since she was hanging upside down), but she eventually dragged herself out the passenger side window. After cleaning up cuts, removing glass, taking x-rays, and MRIs, she was released from the hospital with a broken leg, whiplash, and a whole lot of bumps and dark, painful bruises. A MIRACULOUS outcome for what should have been a fatal accident. But over the following two days, she began losing much of her vision. The first eye doctor is sending her to another specialist this week to see what’s happening in her eyes. Please send any positive thoughts you possess in your arsenal. And if you’re the praying type, we would love your prayers that she will regain her vision as she slowly heals. It’s so scary not knowing what to expect! I’ll include a couple images of the aftermath. These are rather low-quality pictures, but as you can see the roof collapsed and it’s definitely no longer in use. Goodbye Toyota Highlander. *sniff, sniff* You’ve been a very good car to my momma!
Car wreck aside… I had some amazing back-to-back reads this week. I hope one of these will catch your attention and provide as much pleasure for you as it did for me!
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow
(Nevermoor Series, Book 2)
November 13, 2018
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I am WAY too enthralled with Nevermoor. I don’t want to feel this infatuated with a series still in its infancy, but I admit it — I am. I mean, we’re only on book #2 and I want to read book #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9 right now!
I reviewed Nevermoor back in May and Wundersmith picked up pretty much right where book #1 left us. We know Morrigan Crow is a Wundersmith, but we aren’t sure exactly what that means in the beginning chapters. But over time, we learn more about Crow’s potential knack and what this gift means for the Nevermoor world.
“You are the most cowardly, monstrous, beastly, wrong child I have ever had the pleasure and misfortune to know. And I do know you, Miss Crow, make no mistake.” His dark eyes glittered in the lamplight as he walked toward her. “I know that you are vindictive and willful, and just a touch too clever. I know you can’t be bound by the same rules as those other children, because you are not those other children. You are a Wundersmith, Miss Crow. We are different. We are better and worse than all of them put together. Don’t you understand your place in the Society yet? Don’t you realize you could bring them all to their knees if you would only try?”
I don’t know how Townsend can craft such lengthy books that reveal just enough information throughout each chapter without spelling out any big reveals. But I was never bored — every chapter kept me wanting more and feeling anxious to explore more of Nevermoor. The world building is fanTAStic!
“You are something, because somebody can hear you. Someone can see you. A friend, at last! A kindred spirit! Someone to communicate with. True love. That is the story of Wunder and the Wundersmith.”
There’s a growing list of awards and starred reviews for this series and I understand 20th Century Fox has purchased the movie rights (with Drew Goddard being hired to write the screenplay for book #1). I sure hope they do a good job transferring this series to the big screen!
NOTE: I thought I would mention that, while poking around, I found THIS teacher’s guide to book #1 that might be helpful for classroom discussion.
The Beloved Wild
March 27, 2018
Feiwel & Friends
**BIG LONG SIGH** The Beloved Wild took my breath away, this week. I sometimes have to sneak around to find a quiet space to read in our little house full of little people, but I did that even more often than usual this week. And when I wasn’t reading it, I simply couldn’t stop thinking about this story.
Harriet (Harry) Winter is the oldest daughter in a blended family (children brought in from both mom and dad) in the year 1807. Families worked hard for their survival at that time — growing their own crops, spinning their own wool, and building their homes with their own two hands. Neighbors were more like family, sharing the workload whenever someone had a huge project.
These were especially rough times for women like “Harry” — women who want freedom, respect, and the same rights as men. So when she’s given an opportunity to travel a long distance with her brother, to a place where she can start over and no one will know who she really is, she jumps at the chance and disguises herself as a young boy named Freddy.
“You must think I’m a loose screw, dressing up like a boy and diving into so much ridiculousness.
“After such an adventure?” A disbelieving sound escaped her. “Only imagine if you’d stayed in Middleton and gone along with the usual routine: baking, ironing, knitting, washing, sewing. You never would have known what it was like to get away from so many spools and reels and knots of flax. You never would have tasted freedom. Heavens, Harriet, I don’t wonder at all you came up with this masquerade. The real miracle is that we don’t all chop off our hair and call ourselves Freddy.”
In a time where marriages are often made of convenience, she only desires a partner who sees her as his equal. She’ll never settle for less, even if it means not marrying at all.
“…I was jealous of what you had with _____.” When I stared in surprise, she added hurriedly, “Not that I wanted him for myself. I simply wished for that kind of affection—the way he cared for you.”
“Despite my nature?” Headstrong, outspoke, rash… the list could go on and on.
“Oh no. That’s just it. He loves you because of your nature.” She sighed. “A rare thing, that.”
This sank in, and I recognized its truth with a nod. Perhaps our brand of love was special. Yet how bittersweet to acknowledge its uniqueness. We should all be loved for who we are.
The writing was utterly gorgeous and the storyline so very rich. There were moments when I would laugh, but others where I felt everything so deeply. Each character is real and complicated and just a beautiful mess. And there’s adventure, history, family turmoil, abuse, and all along a developing love that simmers over the years.
I finished reading this one around 9am on Saturday morning and just couldn’t bring myself to start another book for the remainder of the day. It’s another one of those “think on this for a while” kinda of books. You’ll just have to sample Ostrom’s work to appreciate it! I already have her next book on my “to be read” list (Unleaving, expected in March of 2019). I can’t WAIT to see what she does with a completely different time period.
Sophie and Little Star
Raissa Figueroa, Illustrator
October 9, 2018
This is a sweet story about a very sleepy “little star” that falls from the night sky and needs help finding the way back home. Sophie happens upon Little Star and walks her through the world, meeting Ms. Breeze, Mr. Tree, Mr. Bird, and Mr. Cloud, hoping that someone will help put Little Star back into the night sky. This tale will make a soothing bedtime read for youngsters!
The artwork is very cute with varying shades of purples (so pretty!) while Sophie and Little Star appear as two little girls, sometimes walking hand-in-hand. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
I won this book in a Twitter giveaway two weeks ago and was happy for it to arrive, this past week. My thanks to Amber Hendricks for offering the giveaway!
I’ve read so many music-related picture books over the last couple weeks for the “Music for the Classroom Teacher” course I’m teaching this semester. These are just a few of the titles from this week. I’m not sure that I’ll write up a full review on each of 50+ we’ve had in class, but I’m sure glad they’re available to children everywhere.
To Be Read:
This week I am looking forward to reading Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno and Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske. And I am planning to at least starting The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (I’ve had it on hold since last summer and it just became available this week, so I hope to squeeze it in).
It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?!