It’s Monday and Here’s What I’m Reading: November 10th., 2014 #IMWAYR

Mon Reading Button PB to YA


It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and Sheila at BookJourney



Kate Messner’s Manhunt was great fun to read – an rollicking adventure with a familiar cast of characters (Anna, Henry, and Jose from Capture the Flag) with an art history twist. Here’s the jacket copy:

Henry, Anna, and Jose head from Boston to Paris for their most dangerous mission yet: to solve the mystery of an international art heist! Shortly after they arrive, they learn that a member of the Silver Jaguar Society is working as a double agent, passing information to the criminal gang the Serpentine Princes — but who could it be? When the senior members of the Society go missing, it’s up to Henry, Anna, Jose, and their smug new comrade, Hem, to mount a rescue while staying hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece. Running around — and below — a foreign city filled with doppelgangers, decoys, and deceit, the three sleuths discover they’re the only hope for the Society’s survival!

I enjoyed following the twists and turns of this story, visiting some familiar places (Shakespeare and Co. in Paris!), and getting to know these three main characters  better.  I love that Messner does not sacrifice character for plot – even through the story moves along quickly, the characters are well developed and immensely likable. Bring on more of the Silver Jaguar Society, please!

I haven’t had much of a chance to read picture books recently, so it was with great pleasure that I dove into one that looked very special: Lindbergh-The Tale of a Flying Mouse, written and illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann

lindberg 1

Here’s the jacket copy:

One small step for a mouse; one giant leap for aviation.
These are dark times . . . for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places . . . the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly!
This little mouse is inventive, persistent, and courageous. He is also adorable, and Kuhlmann’s stunning illustrations make us root for this little fellow all the more:

Our furry little hero manages to survive vicious cats and evil owls, in addition to many failed iterations of the airplane that is going to take him to a land where there are many mice, all of whom live in some security – the island of Manhattan.  This is a charming story, which would be a delight to read aloud.
Eve Bunting’s Walking to School reminded me of Trudy Ludwig’s Gifts From the Enemy in its thematic message: sometimes an individual’s kindness can rise above collective violence and cruelty.
In “Author’s Note”, Eve Bunting writes that “this book was inspired by a sad happening  in Belfast, Northern Ireland several years ago”, by a few people determined to keep the divisiveness of “the troubles” alive and ever present. Here’s the jacket copy:
Walking to school could be hard if you lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was downright dangerous if you were a Catholic, like Allison, and the only route to your school was through a Protestant neighborhood.
The taunts and threats of the protestant adults who lines the streets on the way to St.Claire’s scared Allison, even though her mother was with her.  But the angry behavior of some of the grownups – including her own uncle – frightened her, too.
As Allison makes her way through the crowd, a brass button fall off her school blazer and rolls into the shouting crowd.  To Allison’s surprise, it is retrieved and returned by a Protestant girl, someone her age, who shares her desire for the fighting and hatred to stop.  Michael Dooling’s lovely paintings add  weight and seriousness to this story.  Since we just read and had some deep conversations about  Gifts From the Enemy, I think I will share this for our Friday picture book read aloud.

6 thoughts on “It’s Monday and Here’s What I’m Reading: November 10th., 2014 #IMWAYR

  1. I especially like the sound of “Walking to School” as my husband is from Belfast and I have heard lots about the troubles there. The theme ‘that one individual’s kindness can rise above collective violence and cruelty’ appeals to me for I strongly believe that each of us can make a difference and the place to start is within our own close circles. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Love the Kate Messner books, hoping to get to this one some day. The Lindbergh book does look beautiful, & I love that Eve Bunting writes so wonderfully about important issues in an accessible way for younger students. Thanks, Tara.

  3. I love anything Eve Bunting creates, but don’t here this one. It sounds like an ideal addition to the collection of picture books I use for teaching critical literacy. I’m pretty sure I have a few of her other books already there. I haven’t read the Kate Messner series, but it sounds like I will have to investigate it. Thanks for these great book ideas!

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