It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts
We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.
Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the January-March linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list. We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away copies of Hugless Douglas World Book to two lucky CORL participants from Jan-March. So link up your posts now!
I thought that these two picturebooks go well together as they speak about little girls knowing more about their family histories, making them wonder what the future holds in store for them.
Chavela and the Magic Bubble
Written by: Monica Brown Illustration by: Magaly Morales
Published by: Clarion Books, 2010
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
Chavela is a chubby-cheeked little girl who likes chewing gum, which by the way is banned here in Singapore. Looks like Chavela would not be visiting this part of the world soon.
Chavela is described as quite talented when it comes to blowing bubbles – they can be quite colorful, huge, and even take the shape of a beautiful butterfly.
Then one day, Chavela’s abuelita took her out shopping on Market Street. Her abuelita would often tell her stories about Mexico, where she grew up. Abuelita’s own father used to be a chiclero in Playa del Carmen. His job is to care for the sapodilla trees and harvest the chicle, the ingredient that is essential in the making of chewing gum.
And so it seemed like this box of magic chicle gathered from the deep rainforests of Mexico found Chavela that afternoon. It took her farther into the jungles of the Yucatan where she made friends with a young girl like herself. Who this young girl is and how Chavela returned to her home, I shall leave for you to discover.
The narrative has a touch of magical realism to it coupled with a grandmother’s narrative that has the power to weave dreams and cast spells in a young girl’s imagination. Teachers would be happy to note that there is a detailed Author’s Note found at the back of the book which contains factual information about rainforests in southern America and Central America, the process of chicle harvesting, as well as helpful resources and links for further reference.
Who Will I Be, Lord?
Written by: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Illustrated by: Sean Qualls
Published by: Random House, 2009
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
I am a huge fan of Sean Qualls’ artwork. There is just something so radiant and joyful and exuberant in his illustrations that practically leap off the page.
In this picturebook, a young girl wonders about what she would become in the future, as she looks at various members of her family and recalls what they do in life. She begins with her Great Grandpap who was a mailman and played banjo in the radio even before there was television.
Great Grandpap was married to Great-Grandma who was white, and was disowned by her own family for having married a colored man. Great-Grandma was a housewife who “mama’d five children and made the best cakes in the country. She wore pants when other ladies mostly only wore dresses.”
The young girl also talked about her grampa who is a preacher who speaks with quiet power and her grandma who is a teacher who is thought of as “uppity” by most people because she speaks in ‘proper’ English:
Mama says Grandma’s proud of her education and likes passing the plate around so everybody can have some.
Then there is a cousin who is a jazzman who flips burgers during the day but who vows to be famous someday, her papa who is a car man, and her mama who takes care of most everybody. My favorite though is the uncle who happens to be a pool shark who “handles a pool cue like a magic wand and makes the colored balls dance on the table.”
No, this book is not about doctors, successful businessmen, lawyers – but ordinary folks who are dreamers and workers making their way in the world. I like how the young girl described her uncle who is a “pool shark”:
People say he’s a rascal.
Mama says she likes him
because he isn’t two-faced
like some. He is who he is.
There is no pretension in this book, no attempt to glorify or put one’s best foot forward – just sparkling wonder, the ardent simplicity of life as it is, and the beauty of a refrain “And what will I be, Lord? What will I be?”
I finished reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente and would be writing a review of the Fairyland trilogy for our Fantasy theme late this year. I also finished reading Salvage by Keren David.
Reading contemporary realistic fiction was a perfect change of pace for me after reading Valente’s surreal-borderline-weird narrative. I really enjoyed this British novel and would be writing a review for this as it is perfect for our current reading theme.
I also finished reading Drama by Raina Telgemeier since this is our book club read for GatheringReaders this month at the Jurong West Public Library with my 9-14 year old readers. I posted a Virtual Discussion post last night for my book club participants to respond to.
I am also reading Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
The junior booknerd was avidly reading Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday, which she needed to stop reading last month as she listened to the audiobook of The Book Thief for our bookclub. She is distracted however by Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (which we just bought from Kino at 20% off). Always great to be distracted from books by other books. Spring Break is off to a great start.