#ReadIntl2020 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Otherworldly Realms - Fantasia Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] The Wondrous Nature Of Bicycles And Their Bright-Eyed Owners

"A Bike Like Sergio's" by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones | "The Patchwork Bike" by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd.


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. 

I found these two picturebooks while searching for titles at the Zayed Central Library. While I have read about these two books previously, I have not had a chance to read them yet, until now. I like that both stories demonstrate how owning a bicycle can, on occasion, put a child in a moral conundrum (first story) or be the key to otherworldly places as found in one’s colourful imagination (second story).

A Bike Like Sergio’s [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Maribeth Boelts Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
Published by Candlewick Press (2016)
ISBN: 0763666491 (ISBN13: 9780763666491). Literary Award: Charlotte Zolotow Award (2017). Borrowed from Zayed Central Library Al Ain. Book photos taken by me. 

This story demonstrates a clear moral dilemma about a boy named Ruben who wanted, as the title indicates, a bike like his friend, Sergio’s. However, times are hard and despite the fact that his birthday is just around the corner, Ruben knows that the birthday gifts that his friend Sergio usually receives are worlds different from what his own parents can afford. And so when he accidentally picked up money that dropped out of a lady’s purse in the grocery store, he is presented with a dilemma of whether he should return it or use it to buy the bike that he always wanted. While the narrative is presented with measured subtlety, I find that I rarely resonate with stories with a clear edict, and what may be construed as didactic content. Despite this, I also recognize the value of stories such as these with explicit moral values articulated to serve as potential teachable moments for young children.

The Patchwork Bike [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Maxine Beneba Clarke  Illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd
Published by Hachette Australia (2016)
ISBN: 0734416687 (ISBN13: 9780734416681). Literary Awards: Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee for Highly Commended (2019), Crichton Award (2017), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Book (2019). Borrowed from Zayed Central Library Al Ain. Book photos taken by me.

The story opens with a young child introducing their “mud-for-walls home” in a matter of fact manner. No drama, no fanfare, no reader manipulation. The child introduces us next to her two brothers, and this is where the mischief begins.

It was not until I read the Author’s Note that I discovered that this cool kid with the fluorescent green shirt and sunglasses and lovely dreads was a girl. I suspected it, but I was still pleasantly surprised when my guess was confirmed. The portrayal was so androgynous and so ingeniously done that I could not help but mention it as well in this feature.

The entire story is uplifting, irreverent, and filled with energy. The Afterword written by both the author and the illustrator is also illuminating as it speaks of their influences, their background, and the visual codes embedded in the narrative. Definitely a must-read and must-have.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: 15 of 30 (country): Australia

(Both author and illustrator of The Patchwork Bike are POC from Australia)

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

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] The Wondrous Nature Of Bicycles And Their Bright-Eyed Owners

  1. lindabaie

    Glad you finally found them, Myra. I loved both, hope lots of kids have been able to love them, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Sergio, but I don’t know Patchwork Bike, so thank you for sharing it with me.
    Be safe and happy reading this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great pairing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patchwork Bike sounds great — I will look out for it. Like you, I tend to shy away from overly didactic books, but I know some kids like the clarity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved The Patchwork Bike! I remember especially liking how the artwork was done on cardboard boxes. Such a beautiful return to simplicity. Thanks for sharing, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: [My 2020 in Books] Favourite Books Read in 2020 – Gathering Books

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