Read Your Way Through 2014: May

Best reads for 2014Okay, I know what you’re thinking- Geez, M, you’re supposed to be reading a book every month!  Or maybe you aren’t thinking that.  Maybe you’re thinking about the great spinach salad you had last night or an upcoming trip.  Maybe you’re even thinking about a great book you’re reading. What are you reading?

In the adventure of reading my way through 2014 (in case you missed the other posts, Mr. Grassroofs got me a book per month for this entire year), I read Flora and Ulysses in May.  Flora and Ulysses won the Newberry Medal this year.  And for good reason!  This book is delightful!  The protagonist, Flora, is a natural born cynic but undergoes a change of heart after rescuing a squirrel from a freak vacuum accident.  As a result of his accident, Ulysses, as he comes to be known, develops super powers.  Together the duo battles through the minefield that is adolescence after a recent divorce.

Flora’s voice is not entirely unlike Hazel Grace’s voice in The Fault in Our Stars. And just like John Green, Kate DiCamillo does a beautiful job of giving all the characters enough quirk to be funny but enough humanity to be relatable.  Coupled with several pages and some entire chapters told in a graphic novel style (read: comics),  this book captures a voice for this age group that absolutely needed capturing.  As I read, I found myself grateful to DiCamillo, not only for allowing me the pleasure of the story, but also for reaching all the kiddos who need this story.

That brings me to my next point, which is: This is a great read aloud!  I read it to second graders, who did not get every single joke but who flipped over reading about a Super Squirrel!  I mean, who wouldn’t?  They loved some of the quirky, repeated phrases like, “George Buckman, how do you do?” and they loved that William Spiver was always called by his full name.  Tiny children, laughing hysterically and playing “Flora and Ulysses: The Game” on the playground.  Serious cute factor.

Care to see what I read in January? February? March? or April?  Enjoy!

Did you read Flora and Ulysses?  What did you think about it?

 

 

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Reading My Way Through 2014: March

Read 2014 Collage Jan Feb Mar

For Christmas 2013, Mr. Grassroofs and I were pretty busy getting married. We had all manner of family in town, full time jobs, second jobs, a wedding, and oh yeah Christmas. “Oh Yeah Christmas” is my favorite type of Christmas. Being summarily broke, we had to get creative.

Mr. Grassroofs got creative by giving me a year of books- coupons redeemable each month for a new book. Don’t you just love getting a new book?! The thrill of hoping you have nothing left on your to-do list that day so you can rush straight home, fix a cup of tea, put on those not-fit-for-public comfy socks and read for hours.

So here’s how my year went. My year of tea and socks and love and loss and travel and hate and compassion.

March

The Fault in Our Stars- Man, the starts are so freakin’ faulty. This book left me in a puddle of tears on a cramped airplane ride across country. Beautiful is not even sufficient to describe this love story. All great love stories are wrought with joy and sadness, but John Greene flawlessly paints the watercolor of this unique sadness, blurring the lines between where it starts and joy begins so that all readers are left with is the essence of what pure love is in this world. I read I do, turned the page-blank and quiet, and I was ruined for all other books.

February:

Locomotive Locomotive, by Brian Floca, is still sitting on the top of my filing cabinet at school. That majestic place where I put books that I want kids to know of, but I don’t actually want them to interact with my copy. Maybe…definitely, that makes me a sub-par teacher. But this book is beautiful. The story of the transcontinental railroad, the book is written with a variety of poetic elements (including onomatopoeia that kids love) and coupled with masterful illustrations that can be adored multiple times. Several times, students have asked me to bring it down from the filing cabinet so they can read it and each time I do it begrudgingly, with a look that says sometimes I’m not the most generous teacher and if you return this book with dog-eared pages or accidently spill your water bottle on it, you’ll never hear the end of it.

 

Journey Journey is a fun, wordless picture book. When I showed it to Mr. Grassroofs, he called it an updated Harold and the Purple Crayon. The story begins with a bored child who shortly finds a magic red crayon that opens doors to a fantastical world. There is lots of day saving, rescuing, creating, and imagining. This book is definitely one worth buying and exploring over and over again.

January:

The Paris Wife I read The Paris Wife on our honeymoon, which was potentially a silly time to read a book based on womanizing scoundrel, Ernest Hemmingway. Narrated by Hems first wife, Hadley, this book is great with wine and cheese. Hadley illustrates for readers a world like that in Gatsby, leaving you to wonder just how memoir-ic Fitzgerald’s book really was. Yet, as I read, I felt as though part of Hadley was in me, like I had been her at many moments in my short adulthood- surrounded by a life too big for me, not understanding how this “larger than life” love of my life could possibly love me in return, feeling as though my frumpy clothes and lack of social graces were my defining characteristics. The Paris Wife is a good book for the EveryWoman.

More on April next time!

Reading My Way Through 2014: February

Reading My way Through 2014 Jan and FEb

For Christmas 2013, Mr. Grassroofs and I were pretty busy getting married. We had all manner of family in town, full time jobs, second jobs, a wedding, and oh yeah Christmas. “Oh Yeah Christmas” is my favorite type of Christmas. Being summarily broke, we had to get creative.

Mr. Grassroofs got creative by giving me a year of books- coupons redeemable each month for a new book. Don’t you just love getting a new book?! The thrill of hoping you have nothing left on your to-do list that day so you can rush straight home, fix a cup of tea, put on those not-fit-for-public comfy socks and read for hours.

February Book ticket

So here’s how my year went. My year of tea and socks and love and loss and travel and hate and compassion.

February:

Locomotive Locomotive, by Brian Floca, is still sitting on the top of my filing cabinet at school. That majestic place where I put books that I want kids to know of, but I don’t actually want them to interact with my copy. Maybe…definitely, that makes me a sub-par teacher. But this book is beautiful. The story of the transcontinental railroad, the book is written with a variety of poetic elements (including onomatopoeia that kids love) and coupled with masterful illustrations that can be adored multiple times. Several times, students have asked me to bring it down from the filing cabinet so they can read it and each time I do it begrudgingly, with a look that says sometimes I’m not the most generous teacher and if you return this book with dog-eared pages or accidently spill your water bottle on it, you’ll never hear the end of it.

 

Journey Journey is a fun, wordless picture book. When I showed it to Mr. Grassroofs, he called it an updated Harold and the Purple Crayon. The story begins with a bored child who shortly finds a magic red crayon that opens doors to a fantastical world. There is lots of day saving, rescuing, creating, and imagining. This book is definitely one worth buying and exploring over and over again.

January:

The Paris Wife I read The Paris Wife on our honeymoon, which was potentially a silly time to read a book based on womanizing scoundrel, Ernest Hemmingway. Narrated by Hems first wife, Hadley, this book is great with wine and cheese. Hadley illustrates for readers a world like that in Gatsby, leaving you to wonder just how memoir-ic Fitzgerald’s book really was. Yet, as I read, I felt as though part of Hadley was in me, like I had been her at many moments in my short adulthood- surrounded by a life too big for me, not understanding how this “larger than life” love of my life could possibly love me in return, feeling as though my frumpy clothes and lack of social graces were my defining characteristics. The Paris Wife is a good book for the EveryWoman.

More on March next time!

Reading My Way Through 2014: January

For Christmas 2013, Mr. Grassroofs and I were pretty busy getting married. We had all manner of family in town, full time jobs, second jobs, a wedding, and oh yeah Christmas. “Oh Yeah Christmas” is my favorite type of Christmas. Being summarily broke, we had to get creative.

2014-01-28 15.54.12

Mr. Grassroofs got creative by giving me a year of books- coupons redeemable each month for a new book. Don’t you just love getting a new book?! The thrill of hoping you have nothing left on your to-do list that day so you can rush straight home, fix a cup of tea, put on those not-fit-for-public comfy socks and read for hours.

 

So here’s how my year went. My year of tea and socks and love and loss and travel and hate and compassion.

January:

The Paris Wife I read The Paris Wife on our honeymoon, which was potentially a silly time to read a book based on womanizing scoundrel, Ernest Hemmingway. Narrated by Hems first wife, Hadley, this book is great with wine and cheese. Hadley illustrates for readers a world like that in Gatsby, leaving you to wonder just how memoir-ic Fitzgerald’s book really was. Yet, as I read, I felt as though part of Hadley was in me, like I had been her at many moments in my short adulthood- surrounded by a life too big for me, not understanding how this “larger than life” love of my life could possibly love me in return, feeling as though my frumpy clothes and lack of social graces were my defining characteristics. The Paris Wife is a good book for the EveryWoman.

More on February next time!