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 April-June 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 two copies of Julian Sedgwick’s Mysterium: The Palace of Memory to two lucky CORL participants from April-June. So link up your posts now!
Written by: Tony Johnston Illustration by: Yuyi Morales
Published by: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009
Borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.
This is a fascinating story about a young boy who lives with his grandmother. The entire narrative revolves around one single day in the life of Abuelita as she prepares to go to her work with the indispensable help of her grandson who makes sure that she has changed to her work clothes and that she has brought all her accoutrements that are invaluable to her line of work.
There is the easy companionship evident in the way that they take their baths separately but at the same time, how Abuelita prepares the warm tortillas by hand and huevos estrellados for breakfast in her fuzzy pink bedroom slippers.
There are clues that point to what Abuelita’s work is. Definitely it requires a booming voice that makes even Frida Kahlo, their cat, scamper and hide under the bed covers. Abuelita also stretches her voice and yodels:
She always says the words should be as round as dimes and as wild as blossoms blooming.
What Abuelita’s work is, I shall leave for you to discover. I love the bold bright colors here of Yuyi Morales and Tony Johnston’s poetic prose. For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, here is a downloadable PDF file created by TeachingBooks.net that provides a few resources and a helpful activity guide.
Doña Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart
Written by: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
I love the collaboration between Pat Mora and Raul Colon – Tomas and the Library Lady is one of my favourite picture book biographies. In Doña Flor, they come together once more to tell the story of this gigantic beautiful woman who lives in a small barrio in the American southwest.
The villagers do not fear her presence, in fact they look forward to her giant steps, and the songs that she sings allowing birds to come and build nests in her hair.
One of my favourite pages though is how she sits outside the library to rest. Apparently, she has a prodigious capacity to devour books in just one sitting, as she is able to read an entire encyclopedia in five minutes – how awesome is that.
Then one spring day, the neighbors asked for Doña Flor’s help as a giant mountain lion seem to be circling the village, and so everyone just remains home afraid that they will be hurt by this evidently-hungry beast. Doña Flor is very concerned about the townsfolk and went on a hunt to find this scary puma. How the story ends I shall leave for you to discover. The story actually reminded me a little bit of the Filipino story Alamat ng Butanding (Legend of the Whale Shark), the gigantic John Henry, and the legendary Annie Christmas in African American stories. I was also especially taken by Raul Colon’s beautiful artwork here, just gorgeous. I would have wanted more back story though about Doña Flor and how important she is in the Latino culture.
For teachers who wish to make use of this in the classroom, here is a downloadable .doc file created by the UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science that provides curriculum connections and possible discussion questions across different subject areas such as Math and Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts.
I finished reading only one book last week – Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. I am halfway through The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen…
… and I am also reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Finally!