Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!
Books I Read this Week:
Sorry You’re Lost by Matt Blackstone
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014
320 pages (ARC details)
Recommended for grades 7-9
Well, this was a tough one. This story opens with 7th grade Denny riding home from his mother’s funeral. Next chapter: fast forward three and a half months to Denny in school.
Within a month prior to me starting this story, one of my own students lost his mother. The parallels between what I was seeing in my own student, and the stream of consciousness running through Denny’s mind, certainly got me thinking. It was definitely hard for me to read this book right now, but it was also healing in a way.
Denny shows us that we can be totally lost, in every sense, but can eventually be found again, by ourselves and by others.
I’d keep it geared to 7th graders and up due to some of the language in the book.
Sparky by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2014
Recommended for all!
After seeing this book shared on Carrie’s blog I just had to read it for myself! Immediately after reading through it I knew something else, my 4th graders were going to love this story! Just look at that little sloth on the cover...and his name: Sparky! How can anyone resist?
I love the quick thinking, feisty little girl that gets around her mother’s stipulations on which pet she can have- “...as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed” -by hitting up the local librarian for her smarts. Once deciding on the perfect candidate it arrives by airmail, perhaps my favorite page:
The art reminds me of another of my favorites: Jon Klassen, and the kids pointed this out as well :)
Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth
Scholastic Press, 2014
Recommended for grades 1-4
If Jon J. Muth paints it, I will buy it. There is something so perfectly real and also perfectly magical about all of his work.
The author’s note at the start of this collection of poems informs readers of how Haiku originated in Japan and was made up of 17 sound parts called on, divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, 5 on. These Japanese sound parts do not translate into English syllables and Muth points out that, our rule of 5, 7, 5 syllables is not in fact not something we should feel bound to when writing Haiku. I love that. Haiku is a bit more free for me now, not having to adhere to a rigid structure, but instead, writing an “instant captured in words.”
The poems are divided into seasons, and as Haikus go, are simple and short. My favorite image in the book comes in a spring time poem when our beloved panda has accidentally stepped on a bug, killing it:
Oh, what emotion is a single image! My other favorite image-yes, I can have more than one!-is the final image in the book. It’s so sweet you’ve just got to see it for yourself...
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