Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Text blog for their weekly inspirational meme.  Here's highlights of what I read this week.

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay

This beautifully illustrated picture book tells about the magic of planting a seed and patiently waiting to see what happens through the seasons and the years.  I first fell in love with the illustrations when I viewed the book trailer that highlights the process that Elly MacKay uses to create her illustrations.  The process gives the illustrations a three dimensional quality and adds a beautiful lighting to each illustration. I love the colors and the intricately drawn animals-especially the birds!

Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Written by Carol Gerber and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

This collection of poems for two voices is perfect for spring. All the poems share the same theme - the interaction of plants and insects. I love how the seeds describe their journey in We Can Fly and Hitchhikers. Another of my favorites is when the bees describe pollination in Honey Bee Dance.  Each poem has illustrations that are brightly colored and each poem is packed with great vocabulary and personality.  And don't forget the added bonus of a science lesson too. The text uses 2 different colors to show the 2 separate voices so it's easy for the readers to follow along.  I can't wait to introduce this book to my second graders during Poetry Month.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

What first drew me to the book was the fact that it takes place in 1987.  Although I was a teenager in the 70's I was intrigued with the idea of traveling back to a time period that I was familiar with and seeing it from a 14 year old's point of view.

Fourteen year old June has a very close relationship with her Uncle Finn, who has AIDS.  Once Finn dies June slowly begins to learn the truth about Finn, his boyfriend Toby, and her family.  I loved the journey June goes on as she mourns the loss of her uncle. This is not a story about AIDS or what it was like to be gay in the 80's.  It is a story about family, loss, jealousy, forgiveness, and most of all - love.  June knows very little about her uncle's "friend" and blames him at first for Finn's death.  June meets Toby secretly and forms a friendship with him.  June's love for her uncle allows her to question what she has been told and what she thinks about her uncles life, illness and friend.

Sibling relationships are a strong part of the story and were particularly moving to me, as one of three sisters myself.  June's relationship with her older sister, Greta, is complicated - just like real life.  Her sister is mean to the point of being cruel to June at some points, and June wonders why.  June is also mourning the loss of the strong friendship and closeness she once shared with her sister, and can't understand why things have changed.  As the story unfolds June also explores the sibling relationship between her mother and uncle, Finn.  She slowly begins to see the pain, loss and grief behind everyone's anger - even her own.

I really loved this book and wish I could tell you the part where I cried and had to read the book aloud for awhile - but I don't want to spoil the book for you!

So, what are you reading?


  1. Tell the Wolves I'm Home sounds intense but wonderful! Have you read See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles? I love that book and it came to mind when I read your thoughts about Wolves. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, I have read See You At Harry's. There are definitely some similarities between the 2 books! These are both wonderful books with such great female characters. I would be curious to know what the 13 or 14 year old reader thinks of these books. Thanks for your comment.

  3. If You Hold a Seed looks beautiful! I'll definitely be checking this one out.

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. I've been intrigued by Tell the Wolves I'm Home and am glad to read your review. It makes me what to put it at the top of my TBR list!