[Monday Reading] Girls, Bedtime, and Evening Stories

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). 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

The female portrait is a pencil drawing done by Iphigene on paper. The whole poster was completed using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Thank you, once again, Iphigene for this lovely poster.

These picturebooks feature young girls, the quiet of the night, and the power of stories to soothe, comfort, and lull one to sleep.

IMG_0389A Night Time Story

Written by: Roberto Aliaga Illustrated by: Sonja Wimmer English Translation by: Jon Brokenbrow
Published by: Cuento De Luz, 2012. ISBN: 8415241984 (ISBN13: 9788415241980)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I just chanced upon this pictureook at the library – the peace and quiet evoked by the book cover spoke to me. I am also actively on the lookout for picturebooks coming from Europe and when I saw that this was originally published in Spanish with the title Cuento de Noche, I was hooked.

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The story begins with a mythical vibe to it:

Every night, before I go to sleep, she sits down on my bed with heaps of stories in her hands. She’s got them all.

She tucks my blankets up under my chin. Then she chooses one at random and, in a gentle voice, begins to read…

One may think that this must be the young girl’s mother – yet the illustrations show an ethereal being, someone filled with stars and as transient as the moon:

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I enjoyed how ambiguous the story was – with the storyteller’s black hair flowing into the night skies. While it did appear quite odd (could this be Mother Night? The Evening Skies? Or simply the girl’s mother?), I found it to have a touch of magical realism to it – that if one simply suspends judgment, it will take one into a unique story of its own – one that changes every night, with the young girl as the protagonist in each of the story. There is something different in this book, a twist that I can not put my finger into – but definitely special in all its strangeness.

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Sleep Like A TigerIMG_0383

Written byMary Logue Illustrated by: Pamela Zagarenski
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012 Book Awards: Caldecott Honor (2013), Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee for Honor Book (2013), Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Book Award (2013), ISBN: 0547641028 (ISBN13: 9780547641027)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

We are all familiar with young girls who simply refuse to sleep – for whatever reason. This is such a young girl – one who refuses to acknowledge exhaustion, sleep just isn’t for her. I know this young girl – she was me as a child.

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I loved Zagarenski’s art. While I found her The Whisper to be a bit too cluttered and unwieldy despite the fact that her art continues to be breathtaking – this one was just right for me. I also especially liked how the parents were never impatient, and how they enticed her to sleep with a book that was never explicitly mentioned in the text but took up space in quite a number of pages:

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The parents also patiently shared about all the other creatures out in the world who also need sleep: from an otter to upsidedown bats to fierce tigers.

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I do believe that the story was made even more special with Zagarenski’s very thoughtful, detailed art – which won the Caldecott the year this was published. It is just brimming with so much intelligence and crafstmanship – my absolute favourites are the endpapers, particularly the one at the back, with a quiet nod to William Blake’s The Tyger – check out the moon:

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This book is further evidence of how picturebooks are such exquisite works of art. Truly a perfect bedtime read.

Currently Reading…

I finished reading Karen Hesse’s Safekeeping. Unfortunately, not one of her best. Will be reviewing it for our July-August reading theme.

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I am still reading these two novels. They are both quite thick and I alternate between one and the other before going to bed.

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson; and In The Country: Stories by Mia Alvar.

9 Comments on [Monday Reading] Girls, Bedtime, and Evening Stories

  1. I am in the midst of reading a book (for adults) about the perils of night in early history, so your night books are a great connection that takes a different look at night, Myra. I remember the second, although may find to re-read, but that first one is so interesting, big imagination there! Thank you, and have a terrific week!

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  2. I love your collection of strong women and girl books! I am also intrigued by A Night Time Story. I love these illustrations. I’ve been going through some ancient picture books in my work room and many of the books are like works of art!

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  3. Safekeeping looks tempting! And I love the colorful picture books…always a lovely display of them. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

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  4. What strange and fantastic illustrations these picture books have. I really appreciate artists who are willing to push the boundaries of picture book art and create unique and lovely little works of art.

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  5. Oh my such gorgeous picture books, all so tempting. Interested in the book on the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air, but might need more than him to get the old wheels running on newer tracks. We need it.

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  6. I’ve been wanting to get a copy of The World of Ice and Fire, I’ll have to pick that one up at some point. I’m really curious to see what kind of info is in there. 🙂

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  7. I needed Sleep LIke a Tiger when my daughter was little. She fought sleep so hard. Of course, she got it from me! I loved the illustrations from all the picture books.

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  8. Ah, I love the theme! GIRLS!
    Adaptation has been on my list forever. I need to read it!

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  9. Sleep Like a Tiger is beautiful. I love the illustrations. Thanks for sharing A Night Time Story. It looks like one I would enjoy.

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