This week on the blog:
- Sunday Salon, a round-up of online reading
- a celebration of leisurely Saturday mornings with my PLN
- why I encouraged one of my college students to abandon a book she didn’t like
- my contribution to #nfpb10for10, Beyond Slavery & Civil Rights: Nonfiction Picture Books about African-Americans
- Top 10 Reasons I Love Blogging
Last week, my older son and I got back to our Caldecott challenge and read 4 Caldecott gold and honor books:
I loved the art in Rachel Isadora’s Ben’s Trumpet. I’m also a fan of Margot Zemach, and thank goodness, because Caldecott loves her. A Child’s Good Night Book was apparently forgettable, even though my son did comment on how much he liked the art. But I remember nothing about the book three days after reading it. Inch by Inch was just the quality book you would expect from Leo Leonni, though I like Alexander and Frederick better.
Maybe someday I will get my Caldecott Page updated!
We also read two good nonfiction picture books for my #nfpb10for10 post this week:
Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells story of Will Allen, an urban farmer in Milwaukee. Eric Shabazz-Larkin illustrates. I have seen Allen interviewed in some of my favorite food documentaries, so I was glad to learn more of his story.
Kathleen Krull really knows how to write in an engaging and clear way for her audience. Wilma Unlimited is the story of Wilma Rudolph, sickly as a child and nearly crippled with polio, who won three Olympic gold medals in track in 1960. David Diaz’s illustrations are terrific, of course. As soon as we finished reading this book, we were off to Youtube to find videos of Rudolph’s amazing runs. We also watched a short interview with her later in life as she reflected on her running career and the importance of going to college. An incredibly inspiring story, beautifully written and illustrated.
We read a lot of other picture books this week, but I will just highlight the two best:
I can’t wait to share The Invisible Boy, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton, with my Children’s Lit class this week. So many good discussions to have about this book!
I loved Monica Brown’s Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, with vibrant, joyful illustrations by Sara Palacios. This is a delightful story about a girl with a strong sense of individuality who learns that it’s better to be herself than to try to conform to someone else’s ideal. There is Spanish-language text as well. This one counts for the Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge. So glad I joined this challenge because I’m reading some wonderful books for it!
My younger son and I finished our read-aloud of Ramona and Her Mother. (I love the old book covers!) I am amazed by how well the Ramona series holds up. I read these books myself as a child, and they are still so fresh and engaging. We’re reading Henry Huggins now, and that’s also delightful.
My older son and I are continuing to enjoy Patricia and Frederick McKissack’s Miami Jackson series. In the second book, Miami Jackson Makes the Play, Miami goes to baseball camp where he has to deal with a bully who tries to turn him against his friends. This week, we’re reading The Animal Book.
I sat down with Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design and didn’t get up til I finished it. Who knew graphic design was so interesting? Kidd illustrates the precepts of strong graphic design with lots of examples and writes in an engaging style. The final chapter includes 10 graphic design projects. I’m not a project kind of person, but even I wanted to do a couple of them. (The desire quickly passed, though. That’s what it means to be not a project kind of person.) This is a must-have nonfiction title for middle-school and high school classroom libraries.
I finally read Laura Lee Gulledge’s second graphic novel, Will & Whit. I love her book Page by Paige so much (it’s currently making the rounds in my Adolescent Lit class, and I’m hoping Jaycie will book-talk it this week and inspire someone else to read it). You know pretty early on in Will & Whit that Will is haunted by a past tragedy, and the book is about coming to terms with that, admitting you’re suffering, and taking comfort in friends and family. It’s also about art and making things. And the art is superb–I especially loved how Gulledge uses these dotted shadows that follow Will around and express what she’s really thinking about.
I also finished two excellent collections of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and Aimee Bender for the Contemporary Literature course I’m teaching this semester. Lahiri and Bender couldn’t be more different as writers, but I think everyone in the class liked both of these books. For this week, we’re reading Lydia Davis, and I for one am struggling a bit. Looking forward to our discussion tomorrow.
Hope everyone has a wonderful reading week!
Reading Goals Update:
Nerdbery Challenge: 0/12 books
#MustReadin2014: 4/15 books
YA Shelf of Shame Challenge: 0/12 books
Professional Development Reading Goal: 2/12 books
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/100 books
Picture Book Reading Goal: 71/350 books
Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 7/100 books
YA Lit Reading Goal: 10/60 books
Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 4/12 books
Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 34/200