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:
The Monster Variations was Faniel Kraus’ first novel, and as a lover of his horror works, Rotters and Scowler, I knew I had to read it. It is a dark coming-of-age story of the summer three 12-year-old boys spend together, the one that changes everything. Adults have imposed a community curfew after two boys are (separately) struck by a pick-up truck in a hit-and-run. James, Willie, and Reggie go to see a “monster,” break into their empty school, and follow a local bully in an attempt to make the summer interesting and a bit dangerous. And what happens that summer affects them forever. I have to admit the book wasn’t quite what I expected, but gave me a lot to think about. Althought the boys are 12, this novel will be better appreciated by high school students and adults. Daniel Kraus continues to be a favorite. I must soon attempt the epic-sized The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1: At the Edge of Empire.
Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm is another re-read for me, and I love the introduction of the non-human fable-land and its inhabitants. Plus, with revolution brewing, it is aptly named.(mandatory reminder: this series is for adults)
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena just won the Newbery, surprising many, as it is a picture book. So when my husband and I made our weekly trip to Barnes and Noble, I took time to read it there. I thought the story was beautiful in its simplicity that was not really simplistic because it showed a boy making sense of his world and his place in it. The style and tone reminded me so much of A Snowy Day, and it is destined to be shared with tons of young readers, I am sure. Having read the three honor books, Echo , Roller Girl, and The War that Saved My Life, and knowing that the award is about literary excellence, I find myself fascinated by the idea that the committee compared all of these works, as they are all so very different.
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier is my random read back from December 2015, so I am glad to have met that goal. I enjoyed this quest/coming-of-age fantasy about Neryn, a young woman who can communicate with the Good Folk (fairies) in a land where people with canny abilities are hunted and persecuted. Right before her father’s death, she is won in a bet by Flint, a young but experienced man whom she thinks means to harm her in one way or another. The two commence a long (very long, lots of walking long, think The Hobbit) journey during which they start to trust and rely on each other, but that trust is questioned and broken again and gain. Ultimately, they are both on the same side, aiming to help the rebels wrestle power away from King Keldec and restore Alban to its former ways of tolerance. It’s a satisfying start to a series, that is slightly marred by feeling a bit too long. I think it would be a good series to purchase for my junior high fantasy lovers.
Odd and The Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman is a re-read for me, and I plan to share it with students during our fantasy / fairy tale Books and Bites tomorrow. It is the story of Odd, who leaves his Viking home and meets Odin, Tor, and Loki, who are stuck in Midgard (our realm) after having been turned into an eagle, bear, and fox, respectively. Gaiman wraps the reader up in a wonderful storytelling experience that is just the right length and hits just the right notes, but what struck me most this time is how seeing the Thor and Avenger movies have colored my perceptions of the Norse gods. Surely, I and many others are more familiar with the mythology, but I also can’t get the image of Tom Hiddleston taking the form of a fox out of my mind. 😉
The graphic novel, Dragons Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado is tons of fun! I didn’t realize that I was supposed to read Giants Beware! first, but it wound up not mattering much. Claudette is a spunky girl who is always ready and eager to take on a challenge. When gargoyles begin attacking her village and the evil wizard Grombach is on the way, she disobeys her father and follows him on a quest to retrieve his sword from the belly of the dragon, Azra. Accompanying her are her little brother, her friend the princess, and her little dog Valiant. There are many fun jokes along the way, and it is tons of fun to cheer on the amazing adventurers. This book represents all that is great about comics for kids and is a must purchase for elementary and middle school libraries! This book counts for my Panels Challenge 2016: a comic written by an author of color.
Currently Reading/Listening To:
Note: The Bitter Side of Sweet is an ARC provided by the author, Tara Sullivan. It is due to be published on 2/23/16.