If you know me, you know that Roald Dahl is one of my veryfavorite authors. You’ll also know that I LOVE graphic novels. When I heard that Witches was going to be adapted to graphic novel format, I just may have squealed with delight.
French illustrator, Pénélope Bagieu’s adaptation was published in September 2020. See my 30 second book review for my thoughts on her book.
Coincidentally in October 2020, HBO Max released a TheWitches remake of the original 1990 film. It stars Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch. Although I didn’t hate it, I recommend watching the original if you prefer a movie that actually follows the the author’s original story. Besides, Angelica Houston makes a much more believable Grand High Witch.
🇫🇷 I picked this book up because we were heading to France and I wanted to learn a little more about the culture before we got there.
Linnea is a character created by Swedish author, Christina Björk.
I recognized the book when I picked it up from the public library. Sometimes, I recognize books because they have been in one of the libraries that I have managed. But this time I recognized LinneainMonet’sGarden because it was published in 1985, the peak of my elementary school days. I had no doubt read it as 12 year old many years ago.
So I read it again.
If you have ever re-read a book from your past (childhood, high school, college, a specific time in your life) you know that you may often glean something new or unexpected the second or third or fourth time through. With maturity, oftentimes you understand more, appreciate more, linger in the words or the themes just a little bit more. This was true for me while reading about Linnea.
In it’s most basic form, it is the story of a girl and her adventures with her neighbor, Mr. Bloom. To a child it may be nothing more than a story about the places that they visit. But for me, it was a delightful non-fiction account of the beginnings of Impressionism and the painter that created the genre.
Appropriate for ages 8 and up (simply because of the length and complexity of the material). This is a great book to get conversations started about art, artists, gardens and France.
Take a visit to Monet’s Garden. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library.
Since we traveled quite extensively at the beginning of the summer, I decided that I would like to write some posts suggesting books that can help you go on a vacation “by the book,” (by reading a great story). I have seen the book All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle in a handful of the trade journals that I read in order to hear about the best books to hit the market. This book seemed to fit the category I was aiming for, so I thought I would give it a try. I have never really thought much about Cuba until a friend told me that she was going to visit this year for Spring Break. She told me about all of the extra steps that her family needed to take to travel there because of US/Cuba relations and rules set up by the American and Cuban governments. Upon completing her trip, she posted pictures of her travels and it became evident that some aspects of Cuban life were frozen in time. One of those things is cars. As the author explains in the author’s note, “due to a complex historical situation, many of the American cars on the island of Cuba are pre-1959.”That’s what this book is about: a family that travels into Havana in their 1954 Chevy Delray in order to celebrate and visit a newborn family member. Ms. Engle’s poem is beautifully illustrated by Mike Curato in this standard-sized picture book. This book can be adapted for a variety of age levels. Use it as a richly illustrated picture read-aloud for littles or the springboard for an in-depth discussion about politics, history and foreign relations. Available at the Kitsap Regional Library (as soon as I return it).
I am not sure how I stumbled upon this phenomenal app called Epic!, but I am glad that I did. Epic! is an app (available for iOS or Android) that gives you instant access to over 15,00 books. Good books. Not the ones that your child doesn’t want to read. It is designed to be used in a classroom setting or at home with your own children.
Epic! is free for verified educators and $4.99/mo. for parents. Parents can even try it out free for 60 days by using the promo code: “EPICREADS” at www.getepic.com/promo
Aside from INSTANT access to ebooks, audiobooks, articles, short educational videos and ‘read it to me’ books, my kids and I really like the the variety of content available. Epic! also keeps track of what my kids are reading, how long they have read for, and the number of ‘pages flipped.’ I can even view and print their reading log by week, month or year. My kids stay motivated, partly because they know I am checking their profiles, but also because they can earn badges.
Kai is ten and going into the fifth grade. She likes that you can put in your age and multiple interests and it will help you find things that you are interested in. She says, “if nothing stands out you can just go to the ‘popular’ category and browse through what other people like.”
For educators, Epic! is completely free. After setting up a teacher profile, you can add up to 36 student accounts to keep track of student progress. The website also offers .pdf flyers to send home to families to explain the app. Students are able to read at school and then pick right up where they left off on a device at home. It’s seamless! Like in a parent account, Epic! enables teachers to view and print reading logs.
As an educator, my favorite thing about Epic! is that it gives students that struggle with reading a positive way to interact with books – by listening to them. Listening to books not only helps students build vocabulary and fluency but it also offers students opportunities to engage in reading material that may be above their reading level but is not above their interest level.
I hope you have all taken a look at my previous post about summer reading incentive programs. You can earn free goodies just by reading!
My goal this summer is to earn my 100 hours of reading shirt from Kitsap Regional Library. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble achieving that goal if I start making my way through my summer reading list.
Here it is (in no particular order):
Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller (graphic novel) by Joseph Lambert
Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin
My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights by Claire Rudolf Murphy
Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price
Baba Yaga’s Assistant (graphic novel) by Marika McCoola
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain
Some of My Best Friends Are Books by Judith Wynn Halstead
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me (graphic memoir) by Ellen Forney
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague & Robby Novak
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things by Carlos Bueno
Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Schamander
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerdherd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenon
When to Rob a Bank…And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier
Bad Unicorn by Platte F. Clark
The Land of Stories: Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer
The Land of Stories: The Mother Goose Diaries by Chris Colfer
An Author’s Odyssey (Land of Stories Book 5) by Chris Colfer
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Michel Chikwaine
Phoebe and Her Unicorn (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
Unicorn vs. Goblins (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
Looking for a heartwarming Christmas story? Try this historical fiction picture book about Allied and German soldiers in the trenches of France during World War I taking time out from their fighting to join together in song – “Silent Night.” A delightful book written from the point of view of a miserable British soldier’s letters home. A lovely story to share to put our modern lives into perspective. Text and gorgeous illustrations by John Hendrix. Find it at the EPO library.
I loved this book so much that I decided to share it with my intermediate classes before winter break. I found some great videos to go with it if you want some more visuals to accompany the story.
For a dramatic reenactment, I found that this Sainsbury’s (a UK grocery store chain) commercial tells a nice story and leaves out the gory bits: Sainsbury’s Official Christmas Advert 2014. Sainsbury’s also has a “the story behind” video that helps to explain some of the finer points.