Monday, December 12, 2016

Something new!

I found some great new titles on Netgalley this week.  This first one was a big surprise to me.  It's the second in a series by author Gene Swallow about a girl named Elspeth who is living between two worlds-the real world where she is a middle schooler adopted by two relentlessly boring people who love her very much and the other is a nursery rhyme world, where she is the daughter of Jack and Jill (the fetch a pail of water duo).  The nursery rhyme world, New Winkieland, is full of funny characters as well as danger-the evil Mary, Mary has taken Elspeth's best friend as a hostage and now it seems the only way to get Farrah back is to make a deal with the evil Krool, who nearly killed Elspeth in her last visit to New Winkieland.  This one is full of text references to lots of different nursery rhymes (I had to stop and do a little research half way through the book to find out about one of the nursery rhyme references and was fascinated to find that nursery rhymes actually have political references) as well as new versions of some of the old rhymes.  I really liked this story and I think the kids will too-given their fascination for stories like the Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley and Rick Riordan's series based on different myths.  The first one (which I can't WAIT to look for now) is called "Blue in the Face: A Tale of Risk, Rhyme, and Rebellion" and the one I read (which had enough background information included in the book so I could totally figure it out) is called "Long Live the Queen: Magnificent Tales of Misadventure" by Gene Swallow.

This second one is realistic fiction and it has such a marvelous main character.  It's called "The Charming Life of Izzy Malone" by by Jenny Lundquist.  It's about Izzy (NOT Isabella) who is adapting to life in middle school.  Her former friend, Violet isn't speaking to her and Izzy is trying to get on to a paddling team with the "in crowd".  The "in crowd" isn't having it.  She also has to contend with a perfect older sister (who, in addition to being perfectly kind and well behaved, is also a musical prodigy), her grandmother and her great aunt (who is her grandmother's twin), and her mother is running to be the mayor of her small town.  It's a complicated plot but Izzy is so wonderfully unique and interesting, I couldn't wait to see what happened.  There's a bit of a mystery and a small amount of (middle school) romance.  I thought this one was terrific. 

The last one is a picture book.  It's called "When We Were Alone" by David Alexander Robertson.  It's about a little girl talking with her grandmother.  The story is posed in a question and answer format.  The girl asks about her grandmother's clothes, her hair, even how she spends her time.  The answers all stem back to a time when her grandmother was separated from her family (of Native People) and forced to assimilate into white society.  I think this would be a nice story book to start a conversation about Native people with kids who have no background information on this kind of thing.  The story isn't scary or painful to read but it gives you a really clear idea of how much the Native people lost during this time.  The pictures are terrific too-very modern and blocky but with so much emotion.  I liked this one a lot.  It would be great with a unit on Native Americans or a unit on social issues.

1 comment:

  1. I'm anxious to read When We Were Alone. I was fascinated to read on Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog that it was inspired by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.