Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summertime reading update: Lots of time off = Lots of reading

Here are some of the reading highlights I enjoyed over the last few weeks while I was on holiday.  You’ll notice that a good many of the titles listed are appropriate for middle grades.  I purposely choose many books with this age in mind as I'm preparing to present a book talk at the end of the August to elementary school teachers focused on the big idea of ‘perspective’.  (See posting from July 5th for more information.) Many of these books will be included in the book talk.


Amulet: The Last Council, book 4 by Kazu Kibuishi (823 K533A4 FIC)
The action continues in the 4th instalment in this graphic novel series.  A young girl continues to outwit her enemies with her quick thinking, powerful amulet, and the help of her companions.  High quality production.  Suggested for grades 5-9.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 amazing authors tell the tales by Chris Van Allsburg (823.008 Chr 2011)
I’ve always loved the picture book They Mysteries of Harris Burdick and was more than happy to spend time with this collection of short stories written by various authors that interpret the fine illustrations from the picture book.  Suggested for grades 5-9.

The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay (823 D493C PIC BK)
A beautiful, wordless picture book that reads like a poem.  A conductor arrives in a grove of trees and begins to entice the trees to bend and swirl until the leaves take flight in bird form. Suggested for all ages.

My Name is Mina by David Almond (823 Al68M9 FIC)
This companion book to Skellig tells the story of Mina as she writes in her journal.  She’s creative, forthright, bold but sometimes insecure and looking to make a new friend.  Beautifully written.  Suggested for grades 5-9.

Plain Kate by Erin Bow (823 B671P FIC)
A fantasy with an orphan who’s on the run with a talking cat who eventually learns to trust people.  Good adventure and tension build up that kept me interested.  Suggested for grades 5-9.

The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Bell (823 B398R FIC)
To solve this mystery, clues involve math, literature, logic and cornering less-than-honest people.  Great group of girls who are smart, adventuresome, and loyal.  Suggested for grades 5-9.

Redcoats and Renegades by Barry McDivitt (823 M144R FIC)
An historical novel that takes us back to when the Northwest Mounted Police (the early incarnation of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) or Mounties) trekked through the United States to get to the Canadian West.  The trip was fraught with many problems mostly due to inexperience and poor planning.  The book reads like an adventure story as it is told through the eyes of a teenage boy.  This was a good read that manage to blend a good story with lots of history without making it heavy going.  Suggested for grades 6 and up.

Stolen Child by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (823 Sk68S6 FIC)
A solid story that highlighted an aspect of WW II I knew nothing about.  Nazi’s would kidnap children who fit their ideal of looking Aryan from non-Germans, including Jews.  Nadia has recently immigrated to Canada but is troubled with memories of people who may or may not be her parents. Suggested for grades 4-7.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson (823 T596T FIC)
Based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault, this retelling is placed in pre-colonial India.  Two sisters, both blessed and cursed by a goddess (one has gems and flowers fall from her lips when she speaks and the other, snakes and toads) struggle to understand the meaning behind the goddess’s actions as well as stay alive.  Suggested for grades 7 and up.


Chuck Close: face book by Chuck Close (759.13 ClC 2012)
Very cool book.  A look at this very interesting artist and how he goes about creating his work.  Loved it!  Suggested for grades 4 and up.

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone (688.7221 StG 2010)
This has been on my to-read-pile for quite sometime.  I’m glad I didn’t pass it over.  Very interesting account of the history of the doll but with lots of anecdotes relating the impact, both positive and negative, of Barbie on the girls (now adults) who played with the dolls.  Suggested for grades 7 and up.

His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg by Louise Borden (940.5318 BoH 2012)
 A fascinating account of this Swedish war hero who save thousands of Jews in Hungry during World War II. Suggested for grades 7 and up.

Lone Hawk: the story of air ace Billy Bishop by John Lang (940.44941 LaL 2011)
A graphic novel, biography of Canadian war hero, Billy Bishop.  It briefly covers with his childhood and his incredible marksmanship.  When World War I starts, he signs up and quickly moves from the mud filled trenches to the wide open, but dangerous skies.  He is accredited with 72 official victories (taking down German planes).  This reads as high adventure but makes us realize the danger and trauma associated with war.  Suggested for grades 5 and up.

Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan by Rick Bowers (973.91 BoS 2012)
I found this to be totally engrossing.  Learn about the history of Superman, history of KKK and how in the 1940s the radio show featuring Superman, raised awareness about this terrorist group while promoting tolerance.  Suggested for grades 7 and up.

Witches!: the absolutely true tale of disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer (973.2 ScW 2011)
Highly readable account of the witch hunts and trials in Salem, Massachusetts in the early 1600s.  I particularly loved the illustration style of woodcuts that added to the whole feel of olden times.  Suggested for grades 6 and up.


Ali B said...

Lots of great suggestions. Thanks! And none of them were already in my TBR pile. Yippee!

Tammy Flanders said...

It's one of those 'good news, bad news' scenarios. Yeah, more books to read. Oh no, the pile just got bigger. sigh...
Thanks for stopping by.

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