The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I came across numerous lovely books recently. I was surprised to realize what a productive, rich reading week this was… I kept logging what I read, realized after. Loved exploring non-fiction books this week, loved another graphic novel, and finished off a few novels as well! Love weeks where I can finish off books I’ve really enjoyed!

Non-Fiction Galore:

When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm – A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before Dinosaurs by Hannah Bonner – Non-Fiction, 3rd grade and up – Brilliant non-fiction book from 2007 that leads you through the Devonian and Silurian time period reviewing all fascinating information about life during this time from plants to jawless fish to the evolution of them… this book is fascinating. Highly recommended. Goodreads Summary: “Take a fun, fact-filled trip back to Earth as it was 430 million years ago. Then, watch as continents drift and oceans take shape. Watch out (!) as fish get toothier, plants stretch skywards and bugs get bigger. Soon fish get feet and four-legged creatures stalk the planet. Here’s the story of Earth in conversational text, informative illustrations, and humorous cartoons. Complete with time line, pronunciation guide, glossary and index.”
IMG_1932 IMG_1933 IMG_1934

The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner with photographs by Scott Tuason – I absolutely loved getting lost in this book. I adore dolphins. Learning about dolphins and their innovations was incredible. Loved how research was developed and described in this book. Interesting to learn about the concept of culture within dolphin groups. Additionally appreciated how the book addressed people’s influence on the dolphin communities and how some research and evidence helped a government protect dolphins… My favorite lines in the book were: “Some of these questions may feel uncomfortable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the answer is easy, then it wasn’t much of a question.” p. 70. Agreed. Agreed.  Goodreads Summary: “Ride alongside the author Pamela S. Turner and her scientific team and meet a cast of dolphin characters large enough (and charismatic enough) to rival a Shakespearean play—Puck, Piccolo, Flute, and Dodger among them. You will fall in love with this crew, both human and finned, as they seek to answer the question: just why are dolphins so smart? And what does their behavior tell us about human intelligence, captive animals, and the future of the ocean? Beautiful photos of dolphins in their natural habitat and a funny, friendly, and fast-paced text make this another winner in the Scientists in the Field series. Pair this with other intriguing stories of real-world science, at
Here’s a fascinating glimpse into some of the specific creatures shared on film as well! Would be fantastic to show these after reading the book.

Lifetime – The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer, llustrated by Christopher Silas Neal – I have some numbers obsessed students that I look forward to passing this book to! It is packed with stunning illustrations and fascinating facts. The fact I couldn’t get past was: “In one lifetime, this female kangaroo will birth 50 joes. Wow. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor that was mixed throughout the book.  Goodreads Summary: “In one lifetime, a caribou will shed 10 sets of antlers, a woodpecker will drill 30 roosting holes, a giraffe will wear 200 spots, a seahorse will birth 1,000 babies. Count each one and many more while learning about the wondrous things that can happen in just one lifetime. This extraordinary book collects animal information not available anywhere else—and shows all 30 roosting holes, all 200 spots, and, yes!, all 1,000 baby seahorses in eye-catching illustrations. A book about picturing numbers and considering the endlessly fascinating lives all around us, Lifetime is sure to delight young nature lovers.”

On a Beam of Light, A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennier Berne, pictures by Vladimir Radunsky – My favorite moment (besides my first read through) was when part way through the story, my son said “Woah mom, this kid is starting to sound like Albert Einstein!” I pointed out the title and we laughed… Beautiful, well written story that celebrates independent thinking and the excitment and power of curiosity.  Goodreads Summary: “A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe.”

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter – What a beautiful reflection on the life of Henri Matisse, especially his final years and his changes. Loved reading Jeanette’s words, seeing her illustrations, touching.  Goodreads Summary: “Step into the colorful world of Henri Matisse and his magnificent paper cutouts!
In a small weaving town in France, a young boy named Henri-Emile Matisse drew pictures everywhere, and when he grew up, he moved to Paris and became a famous artist who created paintings that were adored around the world. But late in life a serious illness confined him to a wheelchair, and amazingly, it was from there that he created among his most beloved works—enormous and breathtaking paper cutouts.
Based on the life of Henri Matisse, this moving and inspirational picture book biography includes a note from the author, dynamic quotes from Matisse himself, and an illuminating look at a little-known part of a great artist’s creative process.”
I was excited to watch footage of Matisse creating one of his art pieces!:

Frog Trouble and Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs – songs and illustrations by Sandra Boynton – I loved every minute of this book. Can’t wait to teach my students the Alligator Stroll. I remember years ago sharing another Sandra Boynton book, Philidelphia Chickens, which shared the Philidelphia Chicken Dance, first time I started dancing with my students. What fun! Beautiful music to listen to throughout.

Fantastic Graphic Novel that “Wowed” me this past week:

Bluffton by Matt Phelan – 3rd grade and up – fantastic for all ages. This book will provide you with amazing discussions in class- child protection society/child labor will certainly be a topic that pops up as the main character meets the young Buster Keaton who works with his parents in a travelling vaudeville show and part of their act is to throw Buster around. Loved the illustrations, felt like I was thrown back in time to experience life then…  Goodreads Summary: “In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, “the human mop,” but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends.”

Novels Read:

The Quirks by Erin Soderberg – Fantasy – 3rd grade and up!- Welcome to Normal – Looking forward to continuing this series! My son and I sat down and enjoyed this book, chatted about the book, and couldn’t stop reading it this past month! Entertaining concept with memorable characters and great storyline! So, the Quirk family has moved to the town of Normal and they’re a little nervous because each of the Quirks has a magical ability that has created problems for them and made them leave numerous other locations. The quirk or magical ability that I loved was the mother’s quirk: mind control: to be able to convice someone of something such as you didn’t see my father just turn back time, we are having a lovely time, you don’t mind that I served you the wrong food in fact you want to eat this, and don’t mind that my invisible son just carried food across the room… There are wonderful sisters, a grandfather, and many other characters. I’m personally curious to see if the magical grandmother will have a larger part in the next story!  Goodreads Summary: “Molly and her family have moved around for years. Every time they think they’ve found a home, one of the Quirks slips up and sends them packing – because the Quirk family is a bit, well, quirky. Each family member has a magical power that makes them unique, and highly unusual. Mom can control minds; Grandpa twists time; Molly’s twin sister Penelope has an all-too-real imagination; and Finn is the pesky kid brother — who happens to be invisible. Then there’s Molly, the most unusual Quirk of all. Molly is completely, utterly normal. Molly’s greatest desire is to fit in, and she’s found the perfect spot: Normal, Michigan. With its cookie cutter houses, welcoming committees, and all-town competitions, it seems like just the place for an ordinary new life. But the Quirks aren’t known for fitting in — especially in a place like Normal…”

Steelheart (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson – Warning- SERIES – YA – I absolutely loved this book. It is thoroughly disturbing that people who get super powers, amazing gifts actually don’t use these gifts for good. Their ethics are off. They kill, steal, rule, and completely dominate people. This is a fascinating story with a flawed character that has completely focused his entire life on killing the head “Epic”, Steelheart. Steelheart is keeping a public moderately managed restricting food supply and making all “smart people” to work for him. Epics can walk around and kill randomly, they are in charge… How do you fight against people who are indestructible? How do you discover their weakness? Can all the “Epics” be bad? Goodreads Summary: “There are no heroes. Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.  Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.”
Favorite Quotes from this wonderful book:
“People adapt. That’s what we do. Except for the ones who refuse to.”
“Don’t just act because you can; act because it’s the right thing to do.”
and also:
“The truth is not a downer,” Abraham said in his lightly accented voice. “The lies that you pretend to accept are the true downer.”

Listened to, terrified me:
Scowler by Daniel Kraus: I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under 17. In fact, it should be carefully selected to read only by children who can seriously handle reading about emotional abuse, gore, and mental instability.
This book really upset me. It was brilliantly done, beginning to end both as a novel and also as an audiobook. The experience you go through on the audiobook must be prepared for… I really do not suggest driving while listening to this book. I couldn’t walk around some times during the book because I was so startled I jumped when people came nearby. I was also scared and couldn’t move during some scenes. This book captures you and if you stick with it continues to terrify you until the end. Daniel Kraus is one creative, way to realistic man. Wow. Goodreads Summary: “Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too? Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father’s physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.”

Special share:
My sister tells me about many beautiful books she’s read as well! Here’s a book talk from her that she made for my son and I: – she’s the lovely one we make all our booktalks and special traveling videos for… (She made this for us in early January, thought I’d share now!- this is why we got excited about reading The Composer is Dead)– and Erika-San – Rachel told us to read them!)

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: 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.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).
© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

8 comments on “Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

  1. Great books this week- as in, some of them, I enjoyed as well- Lifetime, Henri’s Scissors, Bluffton, and On a Beam of Light. I definitely need to listen to Scowler. Have a great reading week!

    • The Styling Librarian
      March 3, 2014

      Scowler is pretty darn fantastic. Can’t shrug off that book… still a little creeped out. Listening to Goldfinch now, a little traumatizing too. Have a fun reading week! (Hooray to enjoying similar books!)

  2. Crystal
    March 4, 2014

    Scowler is something I am not sure I am prepared to experience, but it certainly seems like a bit of genius. Congrats for making it through.

  3. David E.
    March 4, 2014

    I’m particularly interested in Bluffton, Henri’s Scissors, and Beam. You sure pack it in!

    • The Styling Librarian
      March 4, 2014

      🙂 Too many good non-fiction books! Working on moving through a few… Happy reading week to you!

  4. Myra GB
    March 5, 2014

    I really am intrigued by Scowler. For some reason, I gravitate towards these kinds of novels – the really heavy going ones with themes that could really change one’s view of the world. Hopefully I get to it soon. I see a lot of familiar picture book biographies here too, particularly On a Beam of Light. I love seeing so many nonfiction titles here.

    • The Styling Librarian
      March 5, 2014

      Scowler helped me understand (more so) about how the cycle of abuse is so difficult to break… Heartbreaking and powerful. Have a lovely reading week!

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