It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
Last Week’s Books:
This week I read a NetGalley selection for hi/lo readers: Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer by Annaleise Carr (as told to Deborah Ellis). It was an inspiring memoir about a 14 year-old Canadian girl’s quest to push herself to complete an incredible athletic feat while supporting a charity dear to her heart. The book allowed readers to experience Annaleise’s journey from the first inkling that she wanted to accomplish such a goal to the long, detailed planning and preparation and finally to her harrowing swim in August of 2012. The strongest aspect of this title is its voice. Readers will feel as if Annaleise is speaking right to them and will get to know her as a person. The book’s Fry reading level is listed as 4.8, making it one I plan to purchase for my collection because all 7th grade students read a memoir as part of our district’s literature curriculum and I need more options for striving readers.
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson is an enjoyable middle grade fantasy. It recounts the tale of Aldwyn, an alley cat who is mistaken as a “familiar,” a magical animal that becomes the life-long companion of a wizard. At first Aldwyn does not correct the mistake because it keeps his belly full, but he soon creates a strong bond with his “loyal” (human companion), Jack. When the land of Vastia and the lives of their “loyals” are threatened by the recently-turned-evil queen, Aldwyn and his friends, Skylar, a blue jay, and Gilbert, a tree frog, go on a quest to save, well, everyone. Aldwyn’s street smarts allow him to help the others even if he doesn’t have magical abilities, but only for so long. Although, predictably, it turns out that that the orphaned Aldwyn truly is a magical cat, there is a very surprising twist at the climax of the book that I never saw coming. In addition to being a satisfying example of a fantasy quest book, The Familiars is also packed with humor and action that will delight middle grade readers. And good news: there is a prophecy that makes this book one in a series 🙂
I am starting The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade in honor of my best friend Kari, who is heading out from Illinois to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada tomorrow morning to start the next chapter in her life (along with the rest of her family). When I announced that this book was my Random Read for June, she pointed out how fitting that was as Arthur Slade is from Saskatchewan. So as she makes her cross-countries journey by car, I will journey to a fantastical Victorian London–when I’m not checking her check-ins on Facebook 🙂