It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers
Well…..it’s that time of year when many book awards are being announced. I am excited to share some of these books with you, along with a few of my recent favorites! Happy reading week, everyone!
SWEEP – The Story of a Girl and Her Monster – Jonathon Auxier.
WINNER: Governor General Award for Best Young People’s Literature for 2018.
Wow. I can’t say enough good things about this stunning story of courage, sacrifice, child exploitation, unconditional love, and civil disobedience mixed with just the right amount of historical elements and sprinkled with magic. Set in the late 1800’s in Victorian England, it is the story of Nan Sparrow, a young chimney sweep who is struggling to survive after her father disappears. She befriends and forms a remarkable bond with Charlie, a golem made from ash, and in the process, they save each other. I cried. Yes, I did. And you will, too. It’s heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, funny and poignant and just beautiful in every way. This is my new favorite middle grade read-aloud for 2018!
“We are saved by saving others.” (One of the MANY quotes from this book)
Town is the Sea – Joanne Schwartz Illustrated by Sydney Smith
WINNER: 2018 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.
Beautiful, simple story of a young boy who spends his day in the bright village by the sea, contrasted with his own father’s day spent in the darkness of a coal mine. A wonderful anchor book for exploring stories across Canada – this one capturing a mall mining town in 1950s’ Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
When the Moon Comes – Paul Harbridge Illustrated by Matt James
WINNER: 2018 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
The author shares his own childhood memories of playing pond hockey on frozen backyard rinks. Whether you are a hockey fan or not, this book celebrates a sense of adventure and the magic of time spent outdoors. Gorgeous figurative language makes this a wonderful anchor book for descriptive writing and capturing small moments. The illustrations are stunning.
WINNER: 2018 Governor General’s Literary award for illustrated literature for young people.
Gorgeous, gentle, poetic exploration of colour and nature from a young child’s point of view. This book would make an amazing anchor to stimulate writing about color. Stunning illustrations.
WINNER: 2018 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature (French).
While I don’t read or speak French, I did read the English translation of this book (see cover below) and can understand why it was selected for this award. When Mrs. Badger becomes too tired to continue her daily friendship visits up the mountain, she passes the torch to Leo, an adorably cute cat, to the walk. A gentle, tender little story that captures so many wonderful themes: the circle of life, friendship, learning from elders, sharing wisdom, and exploring and celebrating nature. Love this one. Originally in French, translated into English.
Up the Mountain Path – Marianne Dubuc
A Big Mooncake for Little Star – Grace Lin
Such a gorgeous book! A young child bakes a Mooncake with her mom. She’s told not allowed to eat it, but, she does nibble on it a little bit everyday. A unique and intriguing way to explain the phases of the moon. Simple black and yellow illustrations evokes a soothing feeling of nighttime. Love Little Star’s and her mother’s black pajamas with big yellow stars on! Don’t forget to check out the end papers!
I loved Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s celebration of the color green in her picture book “GREEN” using gorgeous illustrations and clever cut-outs. (The book earned her a Caldecott award) In her companion book, “BLUE” she layers her celebration of color with a poignant story of a boy and his dog. I was astonished of the emotion this book – the sadness, love and hope I felt as I read it. Watch the video below (may require Kleenex) A beautiful story to share. Great anchor for inferring and also would be a wonderful anchor for color writing. Brilliant. Watch the book video here.
Zola’s Elephant – Randall de Seve
A girl imagines the new neighbors have an elephant — surely that is what must be in the large moving box – so there is no need to go over and introduce herself. This is a charming, whimsical story about a new friendships and a wild imagination. Rich, detailed illustrations by Caldecott Honor illustrator Pamela Zagerenski weave uniquely into the story.
Thank you, Omu! – Oge Mora
One of my favorite new reads this week, this is a beautiful picture book about community and the spirit of sharing told with a lovely folk tale rhythm. A generous grandmother makes a delicious stew and shares it generously with various members of her diverse community. When she ends up having nothing left for her own supper, the community comes together to return the favour and bring delicious food to her. This has the feel of a classic tale and will make a perfect read aloud. Beautiful, colorful, cut paper collage illustrations.
I was drawn in by the cover of this book and the illustrations by one of my favorite illustrator, Lauren Castillo. This is a picture book biography of US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera…written as a poem. It is filled with beautiful language and a beautiful message about following your dreams. The poet’s journey begins as a child of a migrant family, then a boy feeding chickens, a youngster recording new words, a teenager turning those words into songs. Lauren Castillo is a favorite illustrator of mine and her pictures bring this book to life.
“This is the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home. These are my crazy brothers and this is our fed-up mum.”
And so begins this joyful, uplifting testimony to ingenuity and the ability of kids to have fun and hope even in challenging circumstances. This is a simple story of a girl talking about her neighborhood, her family, and her most prized possession – a bike made up of bits and pieces of scraps she and her brothers found. The illustrations by Van Thanh Rudd are so creative – scraps on cardboard. This book exudes JOY!
Thanks for stopping by! Hope a few books caught your eye!