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.
It is 2018! Another year has passed. I am sure every one is busy crafting their reading resolutions, planning what their reading will look like for the year, and joining a number of reading challenges. We are hosting the Literary Voyage Around the World 2018 Reading Challenge, so please do consider traveling the world with us in books. I have joined quite a few challenges on Litsy, and will probably post about those soonest.
We have also launched our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Bookshelf – which continues to be a work in progress because it is a massive project that will evolve as more books find us.
At the moment, there are already over 500 multicultural/ international picturebook titles that deal with self awareness (self and family, identity, spirituality, self-efficacy) and self management (overcoming fears, dealing with loss and grief, persistence and pursuit of dreams, creativity and imagination) for you all to enjoy. I am not even halfway through! I hope to add more pages across the three remaining SEL competencies (i.e. social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making) throughout the year.
January – March Reading Theme
As per usual, we are doing our usual reading themes – this time, we have decided to make it quarterly, instead of our regular bimonthly theme. We are hoping it would allow us greater immersion with some of the books related to the theme and give us more time to hunt down relevant titles. For January to March, we are looking for love-related themes in literature, or books that deal with:
- All kinds, forms, and types of love (love among friends, love of nation, love for one’s craft/discipline, parental love, etc)
- Valentine-themed, wedding-themed stories
- Love, romance, infidelities, unrequited love, quantum metaphysical entanglements
- Puppy Love, Infatuation, marriage and separation
- First loves, true loves, false loves, it’s complicated types of relationships
To kick off our theme, I have two lovely picturebooks that deal with love. We also welcome suggestions/recommendations from you if you know of any titles.
Written and Illustrated By: Birgitta Sif
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2012
ISBN: 076366247X (ISBN13: 9780763662479) Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Oliver is not your ordinary boy. He enjoys his solitude, playing with his stuffed creatures, visiting the library, and reading his books.
It was perhaps the image of Oliver surrounded by books and hunting down books in the library (with the help of a staircase and a flashlight at that) which made me gravitate quite naturally towards this self-possessed young boy.
While pretty much comfortable with his own company and that of his stuffed animals, he also sometimes longs for something different. And so, when his lost tennis ball led him someplace different, to someone who has actually always been there in his surroundings, largely unnoticed, and enjoys pretty much the same things he does, it is not the end of the story, but the beginning of another:
This book gave me a Tim-Burton-esque vibe, sweet but not in a saccharine way. The colours evoke a haunting feel alongside a strong sense of place that is somewhat different yet remaining distinctly familiar, somewhere in the shadowy corners of our beings. Beautiful. Find this one.
Written and Illustrated By: Gus Gordon
Published by: Penguin Books Australia, 2012
ISBN: 0670076031 (ISBN13: 9780670076031). Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
So I read this book in 2015 and fell in love with it. For some reason, though, we didn’t have a chance to feature it here. Maybe it’s waiting for 2018. Again, I am a firm believer that books find us at the perfect time, and maybe find us again in another chance encounter, always with an astute sense of timing.
Herman and Rosie live next door to each other – both of them leading single and solitary lives. They each have their own quirks and strangenesses: wild boysenberry yogurt for Herman, and toffees that stuck to her teeth for Rosie; yet they share the same fascination with Cousteau and the ocean – and music, the type that fills one’s soul with ache, longing, and beauty.
There is a vintage sense to this picturebook that evokes a sense of nostalgia; made even more acute when both our main characters lost their jobs, which bring them both some sense of satisfaction, a way to fill a certain void in their lives.
As a reader, I feel like a voyeur seeing the characters go about their lives, almost parallel to each other. It also has a cinematic quality to it, that makes me want to cry out while reading: “please turn the other way,” or “say hello to each other, now!” – with the certainty that their lives would change drastically with their finding each other. Whether or not that happens, indeed, I shall leave for you to discover.
For other picturebooks that deal with romantic love, do check out these other titles we have reviewed here previously. Click on the image to be taken to the Book Depository link and the titles for our reviews.
If you know of any other titles that deal with romantic love in picturebooks, we’d be happy to know more about them! Welcome the New Year with Love Love Love!
#LitWorld2018GB Update: 2 of 40 (Iceland – Birgitta Sif, Australia – Gus Gordon)