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HUB Reading Challenge Check-in 2/26

26 Feb

I began this week with two quick reads:

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Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science, written by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Harland, seems an odd fit for the HUB Challenge. As a picture book, it was clearly written for a younger audience, but it is on the Amelia Bloomer list and so it is here.

Publisher’s Summary: From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer.

Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.

Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.

A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.

The second was Flimish, a graphic novel by Edward Ross.

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Publisher’s Summary: In Filmish, cartoonist Edward Ross takes us on an exhilarating ride through the history of cinema, using comics to uncover the magic and mechanics behind our favourite movies.

Exploring everything from censorship to set design, Ross spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium, from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today, from A Trip to the Moon to Inception and beyond.

A witty and insightful reflection on the enduring power of the cinema, Filmish is a lucid and lively guide to the stars and stories that have shaped our lives for more than a century.

I am reading a longer novel now, but will tell you about it next Sunday.

HUB Reading Challenge Check-in 2/19

19 Feb

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I’ve spent the last two weeks putting books on hold at the library. Several things came in this week and I managed to read two of them, both excellent graphic novels.

First, I read Lowriders to the Center of Earth by local librarian, Cathy Camper, which won a Pura Belpré Award.

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Publisher’s Summary:The lovable trio from the acclaimed Lowriders in Space are back! Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and El Chavo Octopus are living their dream at last. They’re the proud owners of their very own garage. But when their beloved cat Genie goes missing, they need to do everything they can to find him. Little do they know the trail will lead them to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the Underworld, who is keeping Genie prisoner! With cool Spanish phrases on every page, a glossary of terms, and an action-packed plot that sneaks in science as well as Aztec lore, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth is a linguistic and visual delight. ¡Que suave!

I read the first book in this series, but forgot how wonderful it was. The way Spanish is naturally incorporated into the text makes this a fun read for beginning Spanish speakers of all ages.Raúl the Third’s illustrations capture the flavor of  lucha libre and the Aztec underworld.

The second graphic novel I read was on YALSA’s 2017 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. Brian Vaughn’s We Stand On Guard  incorporated French into its text.

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Publisher’s Summary:SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN teams with artistic legend and MATRIX storyboard artist STEVE SKROCE for an action-packed military thriller that will have everyone talking. 100 years from now, a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion…by the United States of America! The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots .

Unlike Lowriders, the French text is not translated, so I fell a little bit superior to monolingual (American) readers. You know the old joke:

Q: What do you call a person who speaks three languages?

A: Trilingual.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks two languages?

A: Bilingual.

Q: What do you call a person who speaks one language?

A: American

Sorry for that digression, but I love that joke!

We Stand On Guard is an excellent graphic novel, that captures the eternal Canadian concern over their neighbor to the South.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #9

27 Mar

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Yesterday, I reached the magic number of 25. I read my 25th book for the 2016 HUB reading Challenge. Yay me! I reached this magic number by reading Rad American Women A-Z written by Katie Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl.

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The book is exactly what the title implies: an alphabet  book of notable American women, beginning with

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and ending with

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In between we encounter many familiar names , and some new ones:

Billie Jean King, Carol Burnett, Dolores Huerta, Ella Baker, Florence Griffith-Joyner, the Grimke Sisters, Hazel Scott, Isadora Cuncan, Jovita Idar, Kate Bornstein, Lucy Parsons, Maya Lin, Nellie Bly, Odetta, Patti Smith, Queen Bessie Coleman, Rachel Carson, Sonia Sotomayor, Temple Grandin, Ursula K. LeGuin, Virginia Apgar, Wilma Mankiller, X,  and Yuri Kochiyama.

Each Rad Woman gets a one page biography, just enough to get a reader interested enough to learn more. The back matter includes suggestions about what readers can do as well as book and online resources for further research.

An excellent nonfiction book to add to classroom libraries across multiple grades.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #7

13 Mar

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I’ve read a total of 23 titles for the 2016 Hub Challenge. To finish, I only have to read 2 more. Some years, I read more than 25, but I might just stop at 25 this year because I have this giant pile of TBR books at home: arcs and library books.

This week saw me finish two graphic novels and a regular novel.

The first graphic novel was Super Mutant Magic Academy by  Jillian Tamako.

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Summary:SuperMutant Magic Academy, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.
Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny.  Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

The second GN was Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia.

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Summary: The children of U.S. small-town Alexandria are just trying to live like normal teens until their parents’ promised return from a mysterious, four-year religious pilgrimage, and Ben Schiller is no exception. She’s just trying to take care of her sister, keep faith that her parents will come back, and get through her teen years as painlessly as possible. But her relationship with her best friend is changing, her younger sister is hiding a dark secret, and a terrible tragedy is coming for them all. Filled with teenage loves and fights and parties, Sacred Heart is a wonderful coming-of-age graphic novel set against the threat of a big reckoning that everyone fears is coming but has no proof.

I didn’t love either of these. I’m not a huge reader of graphic novels and these two just weren;t my thing.

On the other hand, I loved Dumplin’  by Julie Murphy.

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Summary:Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #3

15 Feb

It’s been a slow reading week. I worked two twelve-hour days for conferences then had a day off in which I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate t read. The only book I read, though not quite finished yet, is  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B  by Teresa Toten.

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My sister sent me this book last year and I’d not yet gotten around to reading it. I can see why it won a Schneider Family Book  Award that recognizes a book “that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

One of the things I really enjoy about the book is the narrative voice. I keep thinking it is narrated in the first person because the details about Adam’s thinking are so precise, but it actually has third person omniscient narration. This could be something that annoyed me, but Toten really got it right.I wonder if she and her editor considered writing in the first person. I’d like to ask her that question.

Publisher’s Summary: Filled with moments of deep emotion and unexpected humor, this understated and wise novel explores the complexities of living with OCD and offers the prospect of hope, happiness and healing. Perfect for readers who love Eleanor & Park and All the Bright Places.

ADAM’S GOALS:
Grow immediately.
Find courage.
Keep courage.
Get normal.
Marry Robyn Plummer.

The instant Adam Spencer Ross meets Robyn Plummer in his Young Adult OCD Support Group, he is hopelessly, desperately drawn to her. Robyn has a hypnotic voice, blue eyes the shade of an angry sky, and ravishing beauty that makes Adam’s insides ache. She’s also just been released from a residential psychiatric program—the kind for the worst, most difficult-to-cure cases; the kind that Adam and his fellow support group members will do anything to avoid joining.

Adam immediately knows that he has to save Robyn, must save Robyn, or die trying. But is it really Robyn who needs rescuing? And is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?

2016 HUB Reading Challenge Check-in #2

7 Feb

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I had a  busy book week. I had to finish reading two of the Cybils NF finalists to be prepared for our decision-making discussion yesterday. We had a wonderfully robust discussion. It took three hours for us to whittle down to a winner, which will be announced on Saturday, February 14th.

All this is to explain why I only almost finished one book for the HUB challenge this week. I am about 2/3 of the way through Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.

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I will admit, I had a little trouble getting into it, until I realized what was going on. Suddenly, I realized why it won the National Book Award and has gained so many other accolades.  Here is Neal Shusterman’s NBA Acceptance speech.

Publisher’s Summary: Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

When I was reading for the Morris Award, we saw a lot of books about teen mental illness and often discussed how hard and how rarely they give an honest picture of what it is like to have a mental illness. But Challenger Deep  does. It is not an easy read, but the short, meaningful chapters pull you deeper and deeper into the story.

I highly recommend it and I think a lot of adults would enjoy it as well as teens.

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #2

27 Dec

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The rereading of the Morris Award finalists continues. I can’t believe it is only 12 days until I go to Boston.

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I finished Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  by Steve Sheinkin. It is interesting that it all took place during my childhood. I remember bits of it in the news, but never really put it all together.

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I also read This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

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I never really gave Mr. Audubon much thought. Although I’ve read a few novels in which he is featured, I just sort of imagined him in a studio, painting. This Strange Wilderness really sheds light on the struggles he had to simply make the paintings and what it took to get the book published. This book feels much more like a  traditional biography than Most Dangerous, but it is very well-written and researched and, reading it, I got a real feel for the times in which Mr Audubon lived.

I have two of the other three books checked out from the library.I’ve already read these, but will reread them with a more critical eye. The third is on hold ad, of course, it is the one I haven’t read. I’m hoping to get it this week.

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