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.


Previously, I have done a feature on various places of refugeThese two picturebooks take us back to a much simpler life with rolling fields, grass, trees, and a home built with one’s hands. Life in the country, perfect for our current reading theme.

IMG_1070Home Place

Written by: Crescent Dragonwagon Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
ISBN: 068971758X (ISBN13: 9780689717581)  Published by: Scholastic, 1992
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

A young girl and her family are walking through the woods when they chanced upon a stone foundation where a house must have once stood before. As the child digs deep in the dirt, she discovers a horseshoe, a china doll’s arm, a small yellow bottle – all signifying fragments of a life once lived:


The bulk of the story is a reimagining of an African American family whose father must have sat in a rocking chair on the porch, singing ‘Amazing Grace’; a young girl unbraiding her hair; relatives coming in for dinner, and the sound of thunder outside the door.


The real star in this book is Pinkney’s paintings. The narrative is lyrical and filled with a weaving of an imagined story based on a few artifacts found in the woods – but may be a little too out there for very young children. However, it could serve as a mentor text for young ones as they set out on a journey of found objects and imagine an entire life story narrative from them.

All The Places To LoveIMG_1084

Written by: Patricia Maclachlan Paintings by: Mike Wimmer
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994. ISBN: 0060210982 (ISBN13: 9780060210984)
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Like the story above, the highlight in this book is Mike Wimmer’s paintings that are awe-inspiring, enough that it makes me long for a time when one’s very existence is rooted deep into the earth, a house crafted with one’s own hands, and one’s sustenance readily made available from one’s garden or backyard.


Just looking at the paintings is calming – no intrusion from the world wide web or smartphones, just the birds and greens all around:


I am comforted by the stark simplicity of this life filled with love, the sound of the river, and the blue skies above.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Monday Reading] Reminiscences of Home in the Country

  1. Such powerful illustrations in these stories – different style, but still both so striking and evocative.


  2. What gorgeous illustrations, especially of the grandmother.


  3. I have both of these, Myra, and they are wonderful.


  4. arelireads

    Wow, look at those lovely images on those books! ❤ ❤ Here's my IMWAYR this week –


  5. I love the gorgeous illustrations! Thanks for sharing, Myra!


  6. I am reminded that a picture book is also a work of art after looking at these,


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