In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! Hello! I admit it, I was overwhelmed with how many books I read over break, so this is a continuing post from last week… You can’t tell that I really missed my local Oregon library and had numerous books that I grabbed while visiting… Borrowing a stack of newer released books was simply lovely to experience!
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann – Fantasy/Dystopian novel: Wow, I’d been looking forward to reading this book for quite a while. Enjoyed it immensely. I’ll be recommending this to all my readers who love Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, and other fantasy books! Goodreads Summary: “Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.”
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner – High School – This was a gorgeous touching book interconnected with Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It has been a while since I’ve been touched by a book so much that I dreamed about it. This book was powerful. I will be blogging further about it soon and include a book giveaway then because I must know that others get an opportunity to enjoy this book treasure. Goodreads Summary: “While Nick Gardner’s family is falling apart, his best friend, Scooter, is dying from a freak disease. The Scoot’s final wish is that Nick and their quirky classmate, Jaycee Amato, deliver a prized first-edition copy of Of Mice and Men to the Scoot’s father. There’s just one problem: the Scoot’s father walked out years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. So, guided by Steinbeck’s life lessons, and with only the vaguest of plans, Nick and Jaycee set off to find him. Characters you’ll want to become friends with and a narrative voice that sparkles with wit make this a truly original coming-of-age story.”
Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver Retold by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Riddell – I simply loved this adaptation. My son and I read this together over the past few months. Often in the book I was surprised by what I read aloud. Goodreads Summary: “First published in 1726, Jonathan Swift’s wonderful adventure has long been a favorite with adults and children alike. This skillful adaptation by award-winning author Martin Jenkins stays true to the original, in a magnificent edition featuring all of Gulliver’s extraordinary voyages. Chris Riddell’s illustrations capture the tale in panoramic detail, making for a peerless introduction to one of the most popular stories in the English language.”
Little White Duck – A Childhood in China by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez– This was one impressive graphic novel leading you through a child’s life in China from the perspective of a family living through Chairman Mao’s reign. Beautiful illustrations and reflective story. Goodreads Summary: “The world is changing for two girls in China in the 1970s. Da Qin—Big Piano—and her younger sister, Xiao Qin—Little Piano—live in the city of Wuhan with their parents. For decades, China’s government had kept the country separated from the rest of the world. When their country’s leader, Chairman Mao, dies, new opportunities begin to emerge. Da Qin and Xiao Qin soon learn that their childhood will be much different than the upbringing their parents experienced.
Eight short stories—based on the author’s own life—give readers a unique look at what it was like to grow up in China during this important time in history.”
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen – Powerful simple story that will help children who are afraid of the dark and additionally those who need to see another fantastic Jon Klassen illustrated book! Goodreads Summary: “Laszlo is afraid of the dark.
The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does.
This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark.
With emotional insight and poetic economy, two award-winning talents team up to conquer a universal childhood fear.” *I love this book trailer!!:
Pingo by Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman – What happens when you try to ignore your invisible friend? Do you expect to gain an invisible enemy? Just loved this cute, quick, special story. I especially appreciated the celebration of aging instead of a feeling of loss. (Enjoyed reading a picture book by Brandon Mull after enjoying numerous novels by him!) Goodreads Summary: “What happens when your imaginary friend turns into your imaginary enemy?”
Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex – honestly, this was one of the cutest books I’ve encountered for quite a long time. Goodreads Summary: “Chu is a little panda with a big sneeze. When Chu sneezes, bad things happen. Will Chu sneeze today?”
Red Hat by Lita Judge – How I loved this cute, simple, beautifully illustrated book. Highly recommend connecting it with The Hat by Jan Brett. Goodreads Summary: “In this almost wordless springtime picture book, an adorable crew of baby animals borrows a familiar-looking red hat (last seen on the head of Red Sled’s unsuspecting protagonist) and embarks on a joy-filled escapade—until all that is left is a long piece of red string! Their playful romp is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor and complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, Red Hat promises to be an instant favorite.”
Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen – Wow, I enjoyed this story and then had wide eyes with my son and read and reread the ending multiple times to make sure we both “got” it. Reminded me of finishing reading This is not my hat… Goodreads Summary: “Once upon a time there was a wolf called Rolf – a good little wolf who liked baking cakes and was always kind to his friends. But real wolves aren’t supposed to be good – they’re supposed to be BIG and BAD. Can a good little wolf still be a real wolf? And will Rolf discover there’s something big and bad lurking inside him after all?”
The Boy Who Cried Alien by Marilyn Singer, pictures by Brian Biggs – If you need a book that explores different forms of word choice and introduces words in code, this is the book for you! It is a spin-off of the traditional story of the boy who cried wolf but with a humorous alien twist. *This was my reread or “deja-book” of the week! Goodreads Summary: “This is The Boy Who Cried Wolf like you’ve never seen it before: with tentacles, wigs, and a secret code language that kids can decipher. Larry the Liar must help these friendly extra-terrestrials refuel their ship so they can get back home. But will the townspeople believe his intergalactic tale of glory?..”
Mr. Prickles A Quill-Fated Love Story by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon – Really cute but doesn’t really resolve animal bullies in the book, maybe that is a good thing though… I am still more enamored with the fantastic porcupine love story Porcupining by Lisa Wheeler. Goodreads Summary: “Mr. Prickles was not a particularly friendly fellow. He was tough to get close to . . . because he was a porcupine.
“You’re not cute like us,” said Raccoon.
“Or cuddly like us,” said Chipmunk.
“Or playful like us,” said Skunk.
“I am,” said Mr. Prickles. “On the inside.”
Poor Mr. Prickles was very lonely-until the day he met Miss Pointypants. Could she be the perfect prickly companion for moonlit strolls and midnight feasts? Was love in the air for even the sharpest of sorts?”
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault – Really interesting book. A sister wakes up feeling wolfish and the other sister works the whole day to help pull her out of that wolfy mood. My favorite part of the book is the art expression after the home is upside down… made me wonder if people would connect this with how a family is put in turmoil when there is an alcoholic or drug addict in the home… quite the thought provoking book. Goodreads Summary: “Vanessa’s sister, Virginia, is in a “wolfish” mood — growling, howling and acting very strange. It’s a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing “so that what was down could climb up.” Before long, Virginia, too, has picked up a brush and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf is an uplifting story for readers of all ages.”
Nora’s Chicks by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Kathryn Brown – How I love to get lost in a simple, beautiful Patricia MacLachlan book! Really cute searching for friendship and overcoming shyness book! Goodreads Summary: “Nora and her family have just arrived from Russia and are making a new home on the American frontier. The prairie is very different from the forested hills Nora is used to. Most of all, it’s lonely. Papa has the cows he sings to as he milks them. Baby brother Milo has a dog to follow him wherever he goes. But Nora has no one and nothing to call her own until Papa brings home a dozen chicks and two geese. Nora names each one, and they follow her everywhere — even to church! But what will happen when one of her beloved chicks goes missing?”
Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee – I was so happy to find this new book by Marla Frazee, she’s one of my favorite authors and illustrators! This book didn’t disappoint with a cute dog friendship where they show you how it is ok to be friends but enjoy different things but sometimes a miscommunication can lead to challenges along the way… Goodreads Summary: “Boot and Shoe were born into the same litter, and now they live in the same house. They eat out of the same bowl, pee on the same tree, and sleep in the same bed. But they spend their days apart – Boot is always on the back porch because he’s a back porch kind of dog, and Shoe likes to be on the front porch because he’s a front porch kind of dog. This is exactly perfect for them. But then a crazy neighbourhood squirrel arrives …and everything goes topsy-turvy! Caldecott Honor Medalist Marla Frazee brings her signature wit, tenderness, and hilarious illustrations to the cutest pair of dogs you’ve ever seen who are sure to steal your heart.”
The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert – worldless picture book. Well done as always. A giant seed lands on an island of little pigs. The pigs plant the seed and watch it grow… The seed eventually provides them with a safe escape route. Goodreads Summary: “In this follow up to the magnificently inventive Ice, Arthur Geisert once again charms us with his porcine world. This time his pigs must get creative when a volcano destroys their home. Fortunately they got busybefore trouble hit by planting a huge mysterious seed, for it’s the seed plus imagination, as well as a good dose of can-do spirit, that save the day! Illustrated with inventive, sensitive, and unusually lovely etchings that seem to come from an old cherished album, The Big Seed is a worthy successor to Geisert’s Ice.”
Madeleine’s Light- A Story of Camille Claudel by Natalie Ziarnik, illustrated by Robert Dunn – Gorgeous illustrations lead you through this beautiful book about the French sculptor Camille Claudel. I think this is a gorgeous story for anyone studying about sculpture/art. It is fictional but captures the passion of an artist in a beautiful way. Goodreads Summary: “Camille Claudel, the famous sculptor, has come to work at Madeleine’s family inn, far from the distractions of Paris. Madeleine, who has secret aspirations as an artist herself, is fascinated by this remote and somewhat unfriendly guest. Slowly the persistent girl and the secretive sculptor form a bond that leads to beautiful surprises for both artist and child. In this uplifting story, with charming illustrations by Robert Dunn, Natalie Ziarnik imagines how Madeleine Boyer, a real girl, became the inspiration for “La Petite Chatelaine (The Little Lady), “one of Camille Claudel’s finest creations.”
Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith – Wow, didn’t expect a ghost to begin talking in the White House to a little girl. It was quite lovely to see accomplishments and successes that the US has had since Lincoln was president. Really enjoyed Lane Smith’s choice of art medium/style throughout as well. Goodreads Summary: “From the bestselling author of It’s a Book comes a funny, touching tale about the legacy of America’s greatest president. When a schoolgirl gets spearated from her tour of the White House and finds herself in the Lincoln bedroom, she also discovers the ghost of the great man himself. Together they embark on a journey across sthe country to answer Lincoln’s questions and quiet his concerns abou the nation for which he gave his life. This wholly original tale is signature Lane Smith; Abe Lincoln’s Dream is funny, touching, and surprising in a way only possible from this master picture book creator.”
Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor, illustrated by Laura Beingessner – How inspiring is Rachel Carson! I just loved reading more about this woman since in my old school district there is a school specifically designed and named after her passion. This is a well done, informative book telling how people handled and respected/didn’t respect her research and focus on having a healthy environment and protecting the earth from poisonous toxins… Goodreads Summary: “Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it,” wrote Carson, the pioneering environmentalist and author of “Silent Spring,” the book that woke people up to the harmful impact humans are having on the planet. Illustrations.”
Water Sings Blue – Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So– Gorgeous illustrations accompanying beautiful poems that leads you through the ocean ecosystem… inspiring. Goodreads Summary: “Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.”
unBeelievables – honeybee poems and paintings by Douglas Florian – Loved how there were poems and then informative snippets about bees. Goodreads Summary: “Come inside the honeycomb—a busy, buzzy, bee-filled home—and learn about the unexpected wonders of these tiny insects’ lifestyles, families, and communities. In fourteen funny, fact-filled honeybee poems and paintings, Douglas Florian explores the natural history of these often-unappreciated critters, revealing them to be a totally cool—and totally important—part of our ecosystem. Indeed, these buzzy bugs have been in the spotlight lately as wild bee populations are dwindling, honey prices are rising, and beekeeping has become a popular hobby.”
Marshfield Dreams – When I was a Kid– by Ralph Fletcher – I just loved reading this book.
1. Because it had quick vignettes of years that Ralph Fletcher was growing up with poignant moments.
2. It was a quick read which was exactly what I was in the mood to enjoy.
3. I could find little bits of his life stories integrated into another book he wrote.
4. The family was entertaining, reminded me of my dad’s stories of his childhood growing up with many siblings.
5. I was amazed at the amount of memories Ralph had about his childhood and appreciated the special details like his great-grandmother burying teeth in the yard…
Goodreads Summary: “Imagine learning from a nosy classmate that your mother is having yet another baby. To Ralph’s classmates, news of one more Fletcher baby is just “scuttlebutt.” But for Ralph, the oldest of nine, being part of a large family means more kids to join in the fun—from making tripods in the woods and “snicking” up the rug, to raising chicks and even discovering a meteor (well, maybe). It doesn’t feel like there’s life beyond Marshfield, Massachusetts. Then one day Dad’s new job moves the family to Chicago, and there’s so much Ralph has to leave behind. In this humorous and captivating memoir, Ralph Fletcher traces the roots of his storytelling.”
Now I’m enjoying Platypus Police Squad by Jarrett Krosoczka –
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.