It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/7/15

I have nearly achieved my reading goal for 2015 which is to read more than I did in 2014. I’m less than 1,000 pages away from completing my goal – and it’s only September!

Check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to catch up on kidlit reviews.

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Here’s what I’ve been reading:

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson

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This book came highly recommended from many people, but it didn’t resonate with me as much as I had hoped it would. While I loved the poetry and the illustrations, the book was just too short for me to get into. Fifty short poems weren’t enough for me to fall in love with the book. Although I don’t generally enjoy rereading, this is a book that needs to be reread a few times to get into and understand fully.

There were many deep issues addressed throughout, but none of them went as deep as I had hoped they would. As I reader, I wish Nelson would have lingered on the glimpses of the feminist movement and racial issues instead of glossing over them and moving on to the next poem.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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As a classic middle grades novel, I was excited to find an audio recording of this book. However, with so many issues in the novel, I felt that it didn’t go as far as it could have. I have found that other middle grade novels do the same. While they envision middle grade readers as the audience, the authors seem to water-down the issues and characters’ emotions. This is counterintuitive to young adult literature which seems to magnify issues and emotions, almost to the point of being unbelievable. But that’s why young adult novels are great – because readers feel those same crazy emotions alongside the characters.

Number the Stars felt like a detached story. While Annemarie is put in the craziest situation, hiding her best friend from the Nazis, she doesn’t react like I would expect a ten-year-old to. I expect more confusion, more missteps, more emotional reaction than was depicted in the novel. The situation was created, but the characters fell flat.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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Oh Raina, how much I’ve heard about you over the past few years. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until the last few weeks that I actually picked up a book authored by her. Smile came highly recommended from my 7th grade female students, and they were right.

I loved the charm of this book, but it wasn’t until I was halfway through the book before Raina started packing the punch. The real heart of this story is the changes teens go through. While some of her changes were physically painful like her encounters with dentistry, I related to the heartbreaking change as Raina realizes she has terrible friends and decides to make a change. I found myself relating to her situation; in high school I also had a toxic friendship. I went through many of the same emotions Raina did, although she seemed to find new friends quicker than I did.

I love the honesty of this novel and would recommend it to fans of graphic novels and ya lit. I can’t wait to read Sisters!

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

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Within the last year, I have started reading more children’s lit and picture books. Although I’m not an avid reader of PBs, I love reading IMWAYR posts because you all recommend the best picture books out there. This was one of those recommendations.

As a wordless picture book, the artwork is wonderful. I’m always amazed to find such poignant storylines in wordless books. This book inspires imagination and creativity in readers and lets us wonder “What If…” Actually, I always wondered what was in the bottom of pools, and I’ve always suspected whales lived down there. I think it’ll be a while before I can dip my toes in the deep end.

 

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