It’s Monday, June 11 – What Are You Reading?

Be sure to check out the host of “It’s Monday…” TeachMentorTexts to see what others are reading! 

This week I had a VERY productive reading week and am feeling energized by it!

I finally finished Graceling by Kristin Cashore and absolutely loved it, particularly the rich, multidimensional characters of Katsa and Po. I think something that I appreciate about this as an example of YA fantasy is that while there is a romance element to the story, it is not what defines the characters – particularly the female characters Katsa. I can’t wait to read Fire and Bitterblue.

I also read Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. This is a lovely story about 2 young girls who think that they have nothing in common, but come to find out that they do in more ways than they imagined possible.

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Australia, I’m reading as much children’s and YA lit by Australian authors and illustrators as I can get my hands on. I read the following picture books:

Sun Mother Wakes the World adapted by Diane Wolkstein and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft is an absoultely stunning creation story based on beliefs of the indigenous peoples of Australia. The illustrations are stunning and a thorough author’s note at the end explains known origins of the story.

Ready to Dream by Donna Jo Napoli and Elena Furrow with illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft tells the story of Ally and her mother’s trip to Australia. Ally’s dreams of becoming an artist are enlightened and encouraged by her new friend Pauline, who is an aboriginal artist. Bancroft’s illustrations (which remind me a bit of Faith Ringold’s paintings) are beautiful and add a depth to the connection between the child and her new artist friend.

W is for Wombat: My First Australian Wombat by Bronwyn Bancroft is an ABC board book full of Bancroft’s delightful illustrations that a first glance may seem like a simple text. After multiple readings, it made me think about assumptions that I hold as well as similarities between the U.S. and Australia (hawk, island, river) and differences (dingo, joey, platypus, and quokka).

Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks is a truly unique story that begs to be read and discussed multiple times. I could say much more, but need to reread it a few times first. The complexity is incredible – I love the way it pushes me to think about how picture books and children’s literature can be defined.

Half a World Away by Libby Gleeson with illustrations by Freya Blackwood
Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson with illustrations by Freya Blackwood

Molly and her Dad by Jan Ormerod & Carold Thompson

Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker – I was familiar with both Window and Mirror by Baker but had never read this title. Like her other stories, Baker asks readers to reflect on their place in the world and their role in the environment.

I read all of the following Mem Fox titles (which by no means represent all she has written!):

Hello Baby illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild illustrated by Marla Frazee

The Goblin and the Empty Chair illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

The Magic Hat illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Possum Magic illustrated by Julie Vivas

Koala Lou illustrated by Pamela Lofts

I’ll be writing more about some of these titles during July and August when I am in Australia.

This coming week I’ll be reading…

… more titles by Australian authors and illustrators.

And though not children’s literature, I’m also reading Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers – inspired by Paul Hankin’s post over at Nerdy Book Club. Anyone interested in teaching and/or reading should read it!

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4 thoughts on “It’s Monday, June 11 – What Are You Reading?

  1. I love Graceling!!!! It is one of my all-time favorite fantasy books. I’ve read Fire but not Bitterblue yet – although I do have it sitting in my bag. Have you read Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta? I love that book/series also (fantasy). The first few Australian books are absolutely gorgeous! And when you said Australian authors I immediately thought of Mem Fox! I got to meet her at IRA and she was absolutely delightful. Love her. And love her books. I love Reading Magic by her for adults reading with kids.

    • I’ve not read the Finnikin series, but do have Melina Marchetta down as an author that I want to become more familiar with – I’ll be sure to check it out. I’ve actually not read Reading Magic – am adding that one as well!

  2. If you liked Graceling, you should take a look at Heather Brewer’s Soulbound: Legacy of Tril. Action packed, sort of like Alanna: The First Adventure, but different enough to make it worthwhile.

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