Sunday, October 22, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:


Review: You Bring the Distant Near
by Mitali Perkins

Last Week in Books:

Passionate Readers is fabulous and all teachers should read it. It really gets at what we need to be focusing on with our students if we really want to produce readers. Pernille Ripp also asks questions that can help us reflect on what we are doing in our classrooms and why.

All's Faire in Middle School was a fun middle grade graphic novel by the author of Roller Girl. I loved having a book set in a Renaissance Faire. 

The stand out picture book of the week was Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. I enjoyed learning more about Frida Kahlo from this fun perspective.

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen was a fun early chapter book that revolved around food and family. Now I want to try making mochi.

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was compelling. Families are so complicated and with grief added into the picture, Julia has a hard time with her parental relationships.

I enjoyed Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy. I have only read Lumberjanes so the other characters were new to me, but it was still fun. They are always filled with plenty of action and interesting interactions.

The Coming Week: I'm still listening to They Both Die at the End, but will probably finish up this week. I have quite a stack waiting for me, but I'm not sure which one to grab next.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 576/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 207/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 116/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Celebrate


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

The view from my computer. Yay! It's autumn.
 Celebrating Connections
 
We had our final day of Lego League. It was nice that the students had the chance to share their learning and creations with each other and their families. This week we also had conferences at school. It was a great time for chatting with families and students. Because we hosted a book fair, there were many students and families coming through the library. It makes for long days, but the conversations are worth the time.

I also got to chat (texting) with two of our former exchange students this week. It's great to see what they are doing now. They make me smile. I'm thankful for apps that make it possible to talk to people around the world so easily. Now if we could make a way to zip between here and there in moments, that would be beyond awesome.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:




Last Week in Books:



Creepy Pair of Underwear is a hilarious sequel to Creepy Carrots. My students and I just had to laugh. The illustrations are fantastic. The World is Not a Rectangle is a great picture book biography of architect Zaha Hadid. I love her designs and it's great to have a book sharing her work. 

The Handmaid's Tale is well written and was highly unsettling. It would be disturbing anytime, but in the current climate, it's exceedingly troubling.

The Coming Week: I'm currently listening to They Both Die at the End and it's keeping me enthralled as expected. I'm also reading Pernille Ripp's Passionate Readers. It's inspiring and instructive. 

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 566/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 202/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 112/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Celebrate!





Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.




This weekend was full of nature and connections. Hmong New Year is a great community event I usually try to attend. It was a little cold and wet this year (50s and intermittent rain), but I saw many students, ate wonderful food, bought some items to add to our Hmong culture kit in the library and had some great conversations with parents of my students and other community members. I also got to talk to an artist and watch him make prints. The first day, I drove, but the second day, I rode my bicycle the six miles each way on a path through wetlands. It was gorgeous. 

I also participated in a night run with some teachers and girls from our school running club. The run benefits the Boys & Girls Club and honors the husband of one of our teachers who loved the club and was a runner. It's a great run because it goes through a park and wetlands with torches along the water. It's beautiful even in the rain. Yes, it was in the upper 40s or maybe 50 while we rain in the rain. That made it even more of an interesting experience for the girls. Most of them had never run that far before so now they have a great story about their first run. Also, they know they can do most anything if they can run and withstand the cold and rain too.

I'm glad we were still able to have fun in spite of the iffy weather.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review: Broken Circle

Title: Broken Circle
Authors: J.L. Powers & M.A. Powers
Publisher: Akashic Books
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 318
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: Supplied by Publisher

Summary: Adam wants nothing more than to be a “normal” teen, but his reality is quickly leaking normal. Afraid to sleep because of the monster that stalks his dreams, Adam’s breakdown at school in front of his crush Sarah lands him in the hospital.

As he struggles to cope with his day-to-day life, Adam can only vaguely comprehend some sort of future. His mother died when he was only four and his eccentric father—who might be an assassin, a voodoo god, the reincarnation of the Buddha, or something even stranger—is never available when Adam really needs him. Even his paranoid grandfather, who insists that people are “out to kill the entire family,” is no help.

Adam’s life takes an even weirder turn when a fat man with a gold tooth and a medallion confronts his father regarding Adam’s supposed “True Destiny.” Adam is soon headed toward a collision with life, death, and the entities charged with shepherding souls of the newly dead, all competing to control lucrative territories where some nightmares are real and psychopomps of ancient legends walk the streets of North America.

Review: Early in the book, Adam wonders, "Where do you find courage when Fear is calling the shots?" Fear and anxiety was something I could relate to even if I couldn't relate to the psychopomps and demonic monsters. I don't read a lot of paranormal or creepy books so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. The fact that it was still basically about a teen trying to figure out who he is while he tries to conquer his fears kept me reading. It's not a comedy, but there are also many bits of humor so it didn't get bogged down with the death business. And this book definitely deals with death.

A quirky thing about this book is the inclusion of a backstory through brief chapters tucked in between the main action. This history is delivered through conversations and they are amusing. They often sound like a paperback romance and not necessarily a fabulous one. At first I was mildly annoyed by these chapters, but by the end I didn't mind and even laughed a bit once I accepted them for the comic relief they were.

The creepy parts were pretty great even for someone like me. It was intense enough to make me want to read as fast as I could, but never got bad enough to induce nightmares. The monsters are intimidating and impressive, but the whole world is divorced from reality so it was just the right amount of scary for me.

This is part of a series and I hope that some of the secondary characters get a little more development. They were fairly simply described and were mostly identifiable by cultural cues. I was wanting more depth. With subsequent books perhaps that will happen.

Recommendation: If paranormal is your thing, you might want to give this one a try.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:
Last Week in Books:
 
Warcross and Refugee were both books I could not put down. I lost sleep because of both. I stayed up way too late for them. Excellent storytelling.

After the Fall is quite a unique perspective on Humpty Dumpty. To get the backstory, check out the podcast with Matthew Winner and Dan Santat. This story comes from a very personal place.

I am up past my bedtime so I will just say you shouldn't miss I am Peace, When's My Birthday and if you enjoyed Leonardo the Terrible Monster, do grab Sam the Most Scaredy-cat Kid in the Whole World.

The Coming Week: I'm in the middle of The Handmaid's Tale for book club. I also started listening to They Both Die at the End. I also started reading Passionate Readers by Pernille Ripp. It should be a great week of reading.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 561/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 202/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 112/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Celebrate!



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.


This week I'm celebrating my dog once again. On Monday, Schatzie seemed a little lethargic, but I figured he was just feeling a little off. On Tuesday though, he still wasn't his usual self. By evening, I  was getting concerned because he wasn't moving around much. I carried him to his food and water. He was very happy to have a drink, but was completely uninterested in food. He seemed a little warm and I figured we needed to see the vet. We slept together on the couch that night and he went to the vet in the morning. They ran lots of tests and found that while they weren't sure why, he was carrying a high fever. He has had antibiotics and pain relievers and is pretty much back to normal. We had a wonderful long walk today in the sun with fall leaves scattering around us in the breeze. I'm very glad his tests didn't show anything serious and his illness seems to be just a blip in his life. It reminded us that we don't know how long we have our pets though. I'm celebrating that we have Schatzie with us today.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:
Last Week in Books:


You Bring the Distant Near is a fabulous story of family, love, and identity. I loved the getting to know the characters and it was cool to read a story spanning multiple generations.

The picture books were mostly great. I really enjoyed Red Again. Manjhi Moves a Mountain is quite a book. It shares the story of Dashrath Manjhi who spent twenty years clearing a path through a mountain to connect his community to a larger place with essential services to improve their lives. His story is pretty amazing.

The Coming Week: I'm in the middle of Warcross by Marie Lu and am loving it. I will likely finish it in less than 24 hrs. After that, I'm not sure what I will grab. Have a great week.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 549/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 200/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 112/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Celebrate!




Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.


First in my list of celebrations is cranberry bogs. I've wanted to go visit the bogs since we moved to Wisconsin more than ten years ago. My mother-in-law has been here most of the week and it was just the excuse we needed to make the trip. We got to see some partially flooded bogs and also visited a place that packages fresh cranberries as well as dried slightly sweetened cranberries. They had some cool old equipment to look at too. We purchased some and I've used fresh cranberries to make scones, chicken salad, and an apple salad. Yum!  


We also went on a canoe/kayak trip on the Kickapoo River.  It was a beautiful day and we had lovely scenery the whole way. I enjoyed seeing the moss and ferns growing on the side of the rocks. We also enjoyed the time together as a family. 



My youngest child took Korean lessons a few years ago so we have several books in the house. After watching several Korean dramas, I had started listening to Korean music that went along with the shows. I wondered about the words and decided it would be fun to learn how to read 한글 (Hangeul). I'm working my way through the books and an app called Hangul. I put the Korean keyboard on my phone with the help of my child. I've even written some Korean words that way. It's fun to have a new challenge. With all of the Korean going on I also had to make some 비빔밥/beebimbap. I learned how to make it using the book Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park. It's super yummy. It takes some coordination because it has a lot of different dishes to make, but it's worth it. My mother-in-law was very helpful as we prepared it together. I had made it a few times, but it is always challenging to get everything ready in a timely way without things getting cold.

video

Another fun celebration from this week is the Lego League I am part of this year. We started in September and I'm coaching some of my students. This is definitely a learning experience.


Finally, I had a great time with first and second grade going outside at school this week. We read the book On Meadowview Street and talked about plants that help provide homes for critters. We went outside to see what critters might be in our meadowlike area. We also looked to see which plants were most popular. The purple flowers above (maybe they are wild bergamot or bee balm, but I'm not positive) had tons of bees buzzing about and many butterflies too. This lesson was really fun and was inspired by the class I took this summer on indigenous plants. 

Many wonderful things have been happening this week for me, but the people of Puerto Rico and Mexico City are never far from my thoughts. Life keeps spinning on here, but may people's lives were just radically changed in the past week. The devastation is too much to comprehend. I know it will be a long time before their lives will get back to anything like normal and for some it may never get there. My mind doesn't quite know what to do with all of that. Some of the students at our school want to do something in response so we will see what we can get going. It's helpful to have something concrete to do when we can't process the enormity of events like this. One of the other schools in our district is doing a fundraiser so maybe we can work together. We'll see what next week will bring.

I wish you a wonderful week full of wonderful things to celebrate.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Books Week & #ClassroomBookaday


I wanted to make sure I still did #classroombookaday during Banned Books Week so I started thinking about possible picture books to read. Here are a few that address censorship and/or book banning.

Miguel's Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle & illustrated by Raúl Colón

Miguel's Brave Knight is a fictionalized biography told in poems. During the time Cervantes was growing up, censorship was affecting what was being written. Here is a portion of the text:
Martí's Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy & illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
José Martí fought for freedom from slavery and independence for Cuba. Part of that fight was with his pen. For that he was imprisoned and eventually exiled.

My Night in the Planetarium by Innosanto Nagara 
Nagara tells a story from his childhood about when he and his family were part of a production. The play was in response to government actions. This art was a way for people to express their concerns and there were consequences to being part of it.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy
In the city of La Paz, a new law has been made about singing. The rooster will not stop singing and the mayor gives out punishments that become increasingly harsh.

I am a Story by Dan Yaccarino
A story is the narrator of this book. The story tells about how it began around a campfire and how it was passed on in many formats and has survived even censorship, banning and burning.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
This is another book about freedom of expression and is a nod to Franz Marc. Marc was banned in Germany when Eric Carle was growing up because the Nazis thought his work to be degenerate since it didn't conform to tradition.

Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lisa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome 
I haven't read this one yet, but this is a discussion we had today so I started looking for a book to address this issue. Sometimes books have been banned for everyone, but sometimes the banning has been more focused. Enslaved people were denied access to books and it was illegal for them to learn how to read or for someone to teach an enslaved person to read. This is another aspect of the freedom to read and access to information.

All of these books speak to the freedom of expression and what can happen when there is censorship. Several of them also offer back matter that explains some of the censorship. All offer many opportunities for discussion. Do you know of others that might fit the topic?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:
Last Week in Books:


As has been the case in the past few weeks, another K Drama was taking up some of my reading time. The most recent one I finished up was Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. It had some creepy/scary parts, but also a ton of humor and some romance. It made me smile and I feel the need of a lot of smiles and laughter lately.

The Authentics also provided some of that this weekend. I was excited to get my hands on it after interviewing Abdi Nazemian last month for Rich in Color. It was a fun book about family and identity.

I am still reading a bunch of picture books. While not really a picture book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile had a lot of pictures. It's an early chapter book that is filled with humor and the reminder that children need to play and have adventures. Many of the picture books were nice and I think Barnaby Never Forgets is going to be a very fun read aloud. It's really funny and I know my students are going to laugh at the things he manages to forget.

The Coming Week: I have a visitor coming to stay this week so I may only get to picture books this week, but I will likely finish The Distance Between Us. I wish you a wonderful week!


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 538/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 198/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 112/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24