Beagles and Books is excited to share our recent reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.
Our Recent Reads:
A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine
12-year-old Finn has experienced a lot of loss in his young life. First, his twin sister Faith when they were both three and now his mother has abruptly disappeared. His dad’s response: Mom will be back; she just needs time. But on a visit to his maternal grandmother’s house, Finn finds his mom’s purse in the basement. Why would his mom have left her wallet and cell phone? Finn wants the truth from Gran, but it is not at all what he expected. It turns out that the women on his mother’s side of the family are Travelers and can move back in time; Finn’s mom and Gran also have the unique ability to go forward.
Through Gran, Finn discovers that his mom is lost somewhere on the timeline but built a portal in a tree in case of an emergency. With the support of his best friend Gabi, Finn journeys to find and help his mom. On his travels, he learns about the ISTA (The International Society for Temporal Adherence) and how in his small town of Dorset, Vermont, there is a difference of opinion of how to use this incredible gift of time travel.
A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity is an intriguing, fast paced adventure with so many twists and turns, I constantly was questioning, thinking, and reevaluating. What I love most about the story is witnessing Finn’s growth as a character. Once only believing in facts he can scientifically prove, Finn gains the knowledge that everything cannot be explained by logic and learns “if you want to change time, you must change hearts.” Hearts are changed by the way we treat each other so let’s all work together to be kind and believe in the good of others. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity publishes on October 1, 2019.
White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio
For fans of Wonder, your wait is almost over. Releasing on October 1, 2019, White Bird, a full color graphic novel written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio tells the story of Julian’s Jewish grandmother, Sara, who was hidden from the Nazis in occupied France. Readers first met Julian’s grandmother in The Julian Chapter, which was originally released as an e-book and then included as a chapter in the novella, Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories.
Sara describes her early life as a bit spoiled living in a large flat with two loving parents and blessed with pretty clothes. At first, living in the free zone of France seemed normal but it doesn’t take long before Sara (and her parents) are in danger. When a roundup occurs at her school, Sara hides in the bell tower and is rescued by Julien, a classmate stricken by polio and bullied by other classmates. While Sara never directly bullied Julien, she also did not ever stand up for him. Through Julien’s kindness, Sara learns that “we are not defined by our mistakes but by what we do after we’ve learned from them.” Julien and his family protect Sara by hiding her in their barn until the end of the war. Through Julien and his parents’ actions, Sara learns that it takes bravery to be kind because “kindness can truly cost you everything.”
While White Bird may begin as a story of heartache, it ends as a story of hope. And more importantly, 7 years after Wonder, author R.J. Palacio is still teaching us about the immense power of kindness. An afterword, author notes, a glossary, a suggested reading list, and organizations/resources provide readers with a wealth of historical information about the holocaust. Thanks to Penguin Random House for sharing an ARC at the ALA Annual Conference.
Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!) by Sally Lloyd Jones Illustrated by Neal Layton
Attending my first ALA conference was amazing but also overwhelming. There are so many books to stop and look at in each booth. When I walked by this book, the eye catching and playful cover immediately made me stop and want to open the first page. I’m so glad I did!
A young girl takes through the writing process in this humorous and informative picture book. Writers need to start with a good idea and have knowledge about their topic. They must think about their audience, their title, and the elements of a good story such as a great beginning to reel in readers. Getting feedback is also important because writers revise to make their stories better. Final advice includes getting blurbs from famous people, adding an author bio, and always thinking about a sequel.
As a teacher who recently participated in the Teachers College Writing Institute in June, I am excited to share this engaging picture book with students to launch writing workshop. It will be a great mentor text to use and refer to throughout the year. Thanks to the publisher Schwartz and Wade/Penguin Random House for sharing a F & G at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!) celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 23, 2019.
Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:
Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.
Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze by Will Hillenbrand
As a reading specialist, I love books about reading. As a dog mom, I love books about dogs so what do you think happens when I find a book about reading and dogs and the main character is….wait for it…A BEAGLE! You realize Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze was written to be featured on Beagles and Books! Special thanks to Alexa Higbee of Holiday House for providing a copy to me at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
Hugo, a beagle, boards the bus on his first day of school. He quickly makes friends with Barkley, a bull dog who is reading The Adventures of Mighty Reader. Once in school, the class is excited about their author visit later that day. Their teacher, Ms. Wulff asks Barkley to read aloud a book written by the author, but Barkley freezes up forgetting all his reading strategies. Luckily, Hugo knows how to solve this reading emergency. Raiding the class’ dress up center, Hugo finds a superhero costume, grabs Barkley’s favorite book from his cubby reminding Barkley that he is a reader and how he can use his strategies to read new books. With encouragement from Hugo, Barkley regains his confidence remembering familiar words and using the pictures to tell what is happening.
Beginning readers need support building their confidence in applying their reading strategies. When I work with young, developing readers, I always remind them that they do not have to know every single word; pictures are a great tool to help us read a story. Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze also teaches kids that they can help each other through prompting which is what Hugo did for Barkley. Can’t wait for students to meet Hugo (a.k.a. Mighty Reader) when school begins!
Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!