Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WW: Summer Days, Tea Parties, and Books

Tea Party

Nothing like starting a lazy summer day off right with a tea party, methinks…

And then follow it up with a reading marathon, since a good stack of books are due back at the library in two days and we want to get through as many as possible.  (Yes, our eyes are often bigger than our brains when checking those books out for three weeks.)

So this is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday and all, but I love reading others’ book lists at this time of year, so I figured we’d give you our summer list so far…
  • Gooney Bird Collection by Lois Lowry.  A four-story audiobook collection that is probably Esmé’s all-time favorite this summer.  Having an out-of-the-mold girl myself, I happen to be a little in love with 2nd-grader Gooney after listening to a couple.  She’s smart and different and stands up for the others when needed.  I want my daughter to have her teacher....
  • The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies.  This is a follow-up to The Lemonade War, which we had enjoyed on audiobook, so Esmé was quite ready to pick up the book and read on her own.  I wrapped up the last two chapters as a read-aloud so I wouldn’t be left in the dark. I like the series not just for “moral” lessons, but for the explicit vocabulary lessons and the fact that one of the characters has skipped a grade and deals with some of the same issues Esmé has gone through.
  • About Average by Andrew Clements.  Listened to audiobook.  If Mr. Clements wouldn’t write so many books, we would probably get through them all this summer.  They all seem to have extremely relatable kids in an extremely relatable school setting who are a bit outside the “normal” box, even in this book about “average,” and the writing is very engaging.
  • The Report Card by Andrew Clements.  The chapter book currently in Esmé’s paws as I type.  I haven’t read yet, but it’s probably a sure bet due to the author.
  • We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School) by Andrew Clements.  I’m encouraging Esmé to pick out one book on her own at the library each week, and this is her latest (and most ambitious) personal pick.  She’s a few chapters into it and won’t let me borrow it to read myself yet. The history/mystery genre is a bit different from his other books, so I’m curious as to whether we’ll like this series.
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  Listened to audiobook.  I can understand why this book seems to be really popular this year, though it is quite long.  I work with people with disabilities, and the emphasis is always on how we are more the same than different, no matter how visible the disability.  This book brings home that understanding to young minds.
  • A Girl Called Tommie by Thelma G. Norman.  We swap-read this chapter book.  It’s a throwback to my childhood that I found while visiting my parents, and I love that Esmé loved the same stories. Lots of little adventures and lessons for young girls…
  • Rush Revere and the First Patriots:  Time Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans by Rush Limbaugh.  A look into American history from a pro-American viewpoint. I’m enjoying it more than Esmé, so we’re using it as a history-lesson read-aloud.  The illustrations are fabulous and the magical time-traveling horse is downright funny.
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.   Listened to audiobook.  We’ve done studies on the Great Depression before, and this is a good tie-in from a different perspective.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Listened to audiobook.  I admit this had me concerned from the get-go – would it inspire Miss Esmé to plan a run-away-from-home excursion?  But we stuck it out and mostly enjoyed it, and it fits in nicely with Esmé’s summer art camp adventures. I was amused to see it is on Esmé’s 4th grade curriculum list (one of three novels), so she’ll get to enjoy it a bit more over the next year.
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.  Listened to audiobook.  To be honest, I swapped several times between not enjoying and enjoying the writing style of this book, but Esmé wanted to listen to the whole thing, so we did.  In addition to being about an amazing kid with remarkable survival skills, it deals with a lot of racial issues.  I do like the ending, so am glad I stuck it out.
  • The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood by Gerald Hausman. A read-aloud picture book.  We’d studied how the Flood turns up in ancient tales across civilizations, and this was an interesting illustration in point.  Speaking of illustrations, it was also a good example of interesting Native American art.
  • No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young.  A read-aloud picture book.  I like the fun storyline with two little bookworms with kid-appealing humor on each page.  And while it is a fun book, it’s even more an educational book about the many creatures who contribute to your chocolate bar, including, yes, the brain-eating coffin fly.
  • Beauty and the Beast by H. Chuku Lee.  A read-aloud picture book. I like books that tell a familiar story or fairy tale from a different cultural perspective, but to be honest, this wasn’t a particularly stand-out one except for the illustrations.
  • The Boy Who Loved Math:  The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman. A read-aloud picture book.  Let’s face it: Esmé was a crazy math lover as a little thing, but Common Core has sucked it right out of her.  I don’t expect her to be another Paul Erdos, but I’d love to spark that math love again, so I’m looking for books like this that illustrate the fun of it.
  • Simeon’s Gift by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton.  A read-aloud picture book.  A whimsical tale of music and love.
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish.  Just a fun early chapter book on Esmé’s book list that’ll make Amelia Bedelia fans smile.
  • Never Girls #1: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe.  The first in a Disney early chapter book series that fed Esmé’s fairy fetish for a bit.  Esmé read and recommends it, though it probably wouldn’t make my list.
  • Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout by Megan McDonald.  Another Esmé-recommended popular series book that I didn’t read and probably wouldn’t put on my list.  Though she keeps bringing up amphibian fact tidbits that she supposedly learned from the book.
  • Rainbow Magic Princess Fairies (and more) by Daisy Meadows.  Yes, this would be the year of the fairy series for Miss Esmé.  Thanks to her cousins’ book supplies, she is well stocked with these whenever she needs a quick enjoyable read to meet her reading quota for the day…
  • Imagination Station Books (Adventures in Odyssey series).  To balance things out a bit, I bought a 16-book set of these that also fit into Miss Esmé’s reading lineup this summer.  A bit like the Magic Tree House series with its history lessons, but with Adventures in Odyssey characters and a Christian theme.