It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading #IMWAYR: Pax & Last Stop on Market Street

IMWAYR 2015

Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

This weekend, I was finally able to read two books that everyone in the kidlit world has been raving about, and today I add my praises to theirs.

Sara Pennypacker’s Pax is one of those books which you know you must reread the moment you’ve finished reading it for the first time – because you are reluctant to part with the book, and because you know that you’ve missed many layers of meaning in that first read.

Peter is forced to abandon his pet fox in the woods when war approaches and he must live far away with his aged grandfather while his father enlists to serve.  But, from the moment Peter leaves his beloved Pax behind, he knows that he must return, no matter what, to rescue Pax.  And Pax, confused and bereft as he is, remains steadfast in his faith in his boy – Peter will be back, and Pax must wait.  But their reunion is thwarted by encroaching war, natural dangers of life in the wild, and Peter’s own journey to understanding who he is and what he must do.

I loved that this story was told in the alternating perspectives of Peter and Pax, which was just masterfully done.  I especially enjoyed the way in which the reader was able to enter into the way in which Pax communicated with the foxes he encountered in the woods, and his love for and bond with his boy.  And I loved the way Pennypacker developed the relationship between Peter and Vola, a veteran soldier he meets along the way, and the journey to trust and kindness they must first make together.  Jon Klassen’s  delicate illustrations are such a lovely addition, too – especially in the way he is able to capture Pax.

Pax was an unforgettable book, one I can’t wait to share with my sixth graders.

Last-Stop-Medals

Matt de la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street won the 2016 Newbery Medal, is a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.  And, from it’s very first page, I could see why this book has earned such praise and so many honors.

CJ and his grandma ride the bus home from church every Sunday, but one Sunday CJ is filled with questions about what he has and (most important to him) what he doesn’t have.  Grandma answers each question with hope and love – each answer shows CJ the gifts he should see, the joys he is surrounded with.  Christian Robinson’s glorious illustrations add warmth to the story.

This is a book to be shared in every classroom!  Here’s a lovely video of the author reading from Last Stop On Market Street:

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13 thoughts on “It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading #IMWAYR: Pax & Last Stop on Market Street

  1. I’ve requested Pax from the library! I bought my own copy of Last Stop on Market Street back in January. I can’t wait to share the video you shared with my book club. Thanks!

  2. I have Pax, and didn’t read your review because I want to read the book first, but will return to see what you wrote, Tara. Yes, Market Street is wonderful, & of course I love it too because it’s about a grandmother! Have a wonderful day!

  3. I’m loving Pax so far! Market Street sure was a big winner this year! I paired it with Lauren Castillo’s Nana in the City, and we talked about perspective/point of view. It worked really well!

  4. Wonderful books this week! I love to see that Market Street is being read to so many different ages of kids. What a message it contains.
    I read an ARC of Pax, I really want to go back and reread it to see all of Jon Klassan’s work! And it’s a book that needs more reading, so much in that book. I go see Sara Pennypacker talk this week and I cannot wait!

  5. Last Stop on Market Street will always remain a favourite for me – there is so much beauty and truth in it. I really am looking forward to finding Pax – lots of wolves and foxes this year for kidlit! 🙂

  6. I really loved Last Stop on Market Street – it was one of our honor titles for Mock Caldecott. The children kept wanting me to reread it – it was like they needed to make sure they hadn’t missed something and were squeezing out all of the goodness.

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