Monday, July 8, 2013

Summertime reading

Okay -  as of today I'm officially on holidays.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I'm away for one week to the sunny Okanagan and then puttering about the house for the remainder of time doing odd jobs and entertaining family.

And amidst all that, I will be dedicating (indulging - same diff.)  much time perusing stacks of kids lit.  And I mean stacks.  I've collected numerous books to read for 

1. my enjoyment
2. the big idea selected by Nellie McClung Elementary School for new year which AWAKENING. (Click here to learn more about this from previous years.)
3. my enjoyment.

    Look for new blogs in early August.

Not the Okanagan, but you get the idea.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Audio book road trip – for real

My summer vacation is just around the corner.  The first week will be in the Okanagan in British Columbia about a 6 to 8 hour drive from Calgary, depending on how many pit stops I make along the way. 

This is a great opportunity to get caught up with some novels via audio books of I've likely not read.  I say likely because I did include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  I read this sometime ago, loved it and thought maybe hearing the author read his own work might be a new way to engage with this story about Arnold, a bullied kid from the Rez who is looking for  something more in life.  It will be nice to meet up with Arnold again.

John Green is another terrific YA writer and I'm slowly working my way through his novels.  Looking for Alaska performed by Jeff Woodman looks like a great fit.  I love Green’s fresh and snappy dialogue with interesting characters.

Legend by Marie Lu and performed by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan, I know very little about other than it got a starred review from Booklist and created a bit of a buzz on the blogosphere.  Sounds like a futuristic mystery with a touch of romance.

Moving into my middle school selection, I've included Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage read by Michal Friedman.  This one is full of quirky characters in a small town with a heroine with inauspicious beginnings.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, read by Janet Song won a Newbery Honor Book Medal and I've been meaning to get to it for sometime.  A blend of Chinese folklore and fantasy, our heroine is on a quest to improve the fortune of her impoverished family.

I don’t know how many times I've taken the book, Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus home to read and just never got to it.  I figured this might be the time to finally 'read' it.  This story is a great tie in with the Alberta social studies curriculum about Japanese contact with Western civilization in the 1800s.  The book is based on the true story of Manjiro, a boy who is rescued by Americans after being stranded on a deserted island.  Returning to Japan is dangerous as he risks execution for coming into contact with foreigners at a time when Japan was totally cut off from the West. He decides to stay with the Americans. This one is read by James Yaegashi.

And, my last selection is Tall Story by Candy Gourlay and is narrated by Ramon de Ocampo and Jayne Entwistle.   Sometimes-guest-blogger, colleague and kindred spirit when it comes to kid lit,  Janet has assured me that this is a really sweet story.  An eight foot tall, Filipino boy flies to London to reunite with a half-sister he hasn't seen in 10 years.  Andi, his short, half-sister is crazy about basketball.  You can see where some of this might go, right?  Both from Booklist and School Library Journal gave this one starred reviews..

So many choices, so little time it would seem (only 14 hours).  I’ll need to hit the highway a few more times to get all of them in.

What will be in your car’s CD player/iPod/MP3player for your summer listening enjoyment?

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st – Canada Day.

Happy Canada Day everyone.

Today’s recommendation is an updated, 10th Anniversary edition of Wow Canada! : Exploring This Land From Coast to Coast by Vivien Bowers.

Originally published in 1999 and updated in 2009, it still makes for a great classroom resource about Canada and its provinces for elementary grades.

A fictional family take a trip across Canada starting on the west coast travelling to the east coast and then through Canada’s Northern provinces and territories.  Along the way, they stop in many major cities taking in lots of tourist highlights, both natural and man-made.

Loaded with photographs, and with sidebars providing background information, the book also has postcards and letters to friends, which give us more personal insights about their many experiences.  Provincial symbols are included in a section at the back of the book as well as an index.

Because it’s not possible to hit every city and every tourist attraction in this country unless you've set aside months for travel time, each section includes all the things the family would like to see on their next visit through that province.  This has great potential for research about these places.

Incredibly informative without seeming to hit us over the head that this is an information book about Canada, it’s easy to pop in and out of each province (section), glean a bit and enjoy the vastness of the country and its’ rich diversity. 

Armchair travelling without the fuss, muss and bother.  Though I’d do enjoy the fuss, muss and bother myself.  How about you?

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