Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts.

Last week, I finished When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made edited by Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett for Rotskoff's author event.  Like any compilation, some entries are more compelling than others, but overall I really liked the extremely broad approach, ranging from behind-the-scenes accounts of the original production to critiques of how well the material has held up in terms of the changing social values.  Anyone interested in nonsexist child rearing or the history of women's liberation should pick this up.

Next I read I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Arthur Flowers, illustrated by Manu Chitraker.  This melding of an Indian scroll painter's artwork and an African-American griot's words to tell the story of the life of Martin Luther King is simply astounding.  Everything about it is unique and beautiful and exciting.  The story of how the collaboration came to be (told in the editor's notes) is almost as good as the book itself.  It is, however, not always appropriate for the young ones as it does not gloss over any violence or any of the subject's flaws.  I read a sample copy from Groundwood Books.

Finally, I started Jackie and Me by Dan Gutman, since our River City Readers at Patrick Henry will be receiving the book and seeing the play at Metro Theater Company.  I'm not very far in, but it looks like an interesting original way for kids to find out about the history of racial prejudice.  The baseball angle definitely makes it something easy to pick up.

I also continued Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on my Kobo app.  I can't wait to be done with it.  It's really just unbearable.

I also read some picture books from the Perseus/PGW/Consortium Spring catalog.  All were sample copies/F&Gs from the publishers.

The Girl of the Wish Garden: A Thumbelina Story by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi
A beautiful and dreamy loose interpretation of the classic fairy tale.

I Dreamt...: A Book About Hope by Gabriela Olmos
This beautiful and inspirational book about children coping with fear doubles as a fundraiser for bibliotherapy for children in violent nations.

Foxy! by Jessica Souhami
A traditional trickster tale told with a repetitive nature little ones will find appealing and multicultural illustrations.

Night Sounds by Javier Sobrino and Emilio Urberuaga, translated by Elisa Amado
A bedtime story with a sweet message, but perhaps a bit wordy and awkward in translation.

A Is Amazing: Poems About Feelings edited by Wendy Cooling, illustrated by Piet Grobler
A collection of alphabetical poems about emotions, this is a mixed bag.

Look at This!: Clothes by Ifeoma Onyefulu
A beginning word book.  Great for multicultural libraries (all the photographs are from Mali), but rather a niche market.

Look at This!:  Food by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Again, if you don't have a demand for Malian books, there probably won't be much interest.

Tamalitos: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Domi
Argueta's dreamy and fanciful bilingual recipe poems with Domi's bright and colorful illustrations are truly unique and wonderful.

Daisy's Big Dig by Angie Morgan
A cute story about the value of community.  Love the collage illustrations.

Sorting Through Spring by Lizann Flatt, illustrated by Ashley Barron
This clever merging of science and math would be perfect for elementary school classrooms.

Windblown by Edouard Manceau
A visually appealing book that should awaken creativity.

Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Jill Barton
A fun poem about the double-sided nature of cats that their owners will definitely relate to.  Great illustrations.

I Am Cat by Jackie Morris
A beautiful book about the wide variety of cats in the world.

Oy Feh So? by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Gary Clement
A cute enough story.

When Dad Was Away by Liz Weir, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
A nice book about an often-ignored topic, the incarceration of a parent.  However, originating in the UK means the details may be different than in other countries.

The Enduring Ark by Joydeb Chitrakar and Gita Wolf
This is a cool book.  An Indian version of Noah and the Ark, it can be read as a normal book or folded out accordian-style.

It's Not Fairy by Ros Asquith
An odd book.  Not sure about this one.

My Neighbor Is a Dog by Isabel Minhos Martins and Madalena Matoso
This is a fantastic book about tolerance.  Kids living in multi-unit buildings will enjoy seeing their urban experience reflected.

The Glow in the Dark Book of Space by Nicholas Harris, illustrated by Sebastian Quigley
A nice basic space facts book.  The glow in the dark really works!

Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland
A touching tale of being a refugee from a child's point of view.  Very sweet.

What's Up, Bear?: A Book About Opposites by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Sean L. Moore
Cute, but not the most effective opposite book around.  Perhaps best for audiences with an interest in New York City.

What a Party! by Ana Maria Machado, illustrated by Helene Moreau
A fun multicultural sort of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Wishbones: A Folk Tale from China by Barbara Ker Wilson, illustrated by Meilo So
Dark in a very odd way.

A Day at the Lake by Stephanie Wallingford and Dawn Rynders, illustrated by Erica Pelton Villnave
Cute, but nothing remarkable.

ABC London by James Dunn, illustrated by Kate Slater
Fun, but I'm not sure we have much audience for it.

Nalah and the Pink Tiger by Anne Sawyer-Aitch
A fun book about imagination.  Very vivid.

I also read a couple of books that came in for consignment review.  Both were sample copies from the authors.

Being a Blue Angel: Every Kid's Guide to the Blue Angels by Mark I. and Amy C. Sutherland
An interesting and fairly in-depth look at the entire Blue Angels team, but perhaps better suited for libraries.

It's All Up to Me by Ms. Moochie
A fairly standard you-can-be-whatever-you-want-to-be book.  The rhymes are often forced.

Next week, I'll be finishing Jackie and Me and moving on to one of the middle grade/YA selections for this year's World Book Night.

What are you reading?


  1. Wow, what an eclectic collection of reads! Love it and hope you enjoy everything you read this week too :-)

    Tanya Patrice

    1. The Perseus catalog is nothing if not eclectic. I always enjoy seeing what they have in store for me.

  2. What did you mean by saying that Little Women was unbearable? It sounds like you hate it. Why keep reading it?

    Anne @ My Head is Full of Books

    1. I liked the characters when we started, but I haven't been interested in anything any of them have done, and each lesson they learn seems to make them even less interesting.

      However, I don't give up on books. I don't think I'm qualified to have a real opinion if I haven't read the whole thing, and I think you can take something valuable away from even the worst book.

  3. wow! what a list.. and going to add quite a few of them to my TBR..

    1. There were some real gems in this round of picture books. The cat books, My Neighbor Is a Dog, The Enduring Ark and I Dreamt... were some of my favorites.

  4. I do love the Dan Gutman books. You have been busy!

    1. This is my first Gutman, although I'm really enjoying it so far!

  5. Oh, my gosh, I LOVED Free to Be, You and Me! My younger sister had it, and even though I was a bit too old for it by then, I still loved it. Classic stuff!

    Speaking of classics, so sorry to hear you are not enjoying Little Women. It's one of my favorites. I just re-read it a few years ago and enjoyed it just as much as I did when I was a teen.

    Enjoy your books this week -


    Book By Book

    1. I can't believe I hadn't read Free to Be You and Me before. I don't know what my parents and all my teachers were thinking...

      As for Little Women, I seem to have an issue with that very particular genre. I never liked Laura Ingalls Wilder either, and they seem to strike a similar tone.

  6. I can't wait to read When We Were Free to Be, I grew up listening to the album (on the record player!).

    I personally love Little Women (I cry like a baby every time Beth dies. Every. Time.), but I can see where you're coming from. I could never get into Little House, but I think that was mostly because I didn't read them until my teens and I wasn't interested in Laura's world at the time.