It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 4/11/16


On the blog:

In reading:


I took at least a week to finish reading the last 20 pages of Euphoria because I simply didn’t want it to end. I read a page or two a night, and then picked up something else so that I could make Euphoria last a little longer. The story is inspired by Margaret Mead’s experiences in the field in the 1930s, though things do not end as well for Lily King’s main character, anthropologist Nell Stone, as they did for Mead. (Not really a spoiler–it’s pretty clear from the first page of the book that something bad is going to happen in this novel!).  The novel wears its research lightly, and it’s easy to forget that it’s based on some real events. The characters and story take on a life of their own. I’ve had a book hangover all week after finishing this one–nothing feels quite right to read afterwards.

full cicada moon

Marilyn Hilton’s Full Cicada Moon is a historical verse novel about Mimi, whose family has just moved to Vermont. It’s 1969, and Mimi is obsessed with the space program and dreams of becoming an astronaut, even though that’s not considered an appropriate dream for girls. It’s challenging enough to be the new girl in a small, insular community, but Mimi has an additional challenge: she is half Japanese, half Black, and she and her family encounter prejudice and racism in their new community. Full Cicada Moon is a surprisingly gentle book, given its themes. Its appeal lies in its rich character development, reflective tone, and strong writing.

imaginary fred

I have a whole pile of picture books to read right now but only got through Imaginary Fred this week. Oliver Jeffers’s illustrations are the usual delight, but the text by Eoin Colfer didn’t entirely work for me. It’s a bit too long, which messes with the pacing of the story. Perhaps I’m just burned out on the imaginary friend theme? There have been so many good imaginary friend picture books published over the past year or two, I feel like a new book really does have to offer something fresh and new, and I’m not sure Imaginary Fred does. Still, several of my students liked it well enough to vote for it as the winner in the early brackets of Picture Book March Madness.


18 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 4/11/16

  1. I enjoyed Full Cicada Moon very much, but thought that less happened considering the race theme than I would have imagined. Thanks for the push for Euphoria. I will try to get to it someday, and the author’s books sound like other good ones to read.

    • I’ve requested another from the library–hoping it will be just what I’m looking for! I agree about Full Cicada Moon–I thought that made for a more balanced, nuanced, and ultimately realistic story. Euphoria deserved all the praise–it’s a really good novel, and surprisingly page-turney!

  2. I agree with your thoughts for Imaginary Fred. Something about the text, was ok.
    I loved Full Cicada Moon. It was my January #mustreadin2016 book! A quick read, but much to think about.

    • I have a feeling Full Cicada Moon is going to be one that lingers. I really think the main problem with Imaginary Fred is length–if you cut about 1/4-1/3 of the text, you’d have a significantly stronger and tighter book. It’s very rare when I read a long picture book and think the amount of text was necessary. Picture books are so close to poetry to me. They need to be condensed!

  3. There HAVE been a lot of imaginary friend books, but a lot for middle grade. I don’t really have any students interested in the topic, so I’ve passed. Did like Full Cicada Moon but wish it hadn’t been in verse– you don’t get as much information when they are.

    • I wasn’t sure I felt like the verse was really necessary for Full Cicada Moon. I liked that the verse made it a quick read, and in some places it felt quite artful but not consistently all the way through for me.

  4. I will now add Full Cicada Moon to my multicultural text-set for my August semester – and now I am drawn to Euphoria too! Thanks for sharing such an enthused response.

  5. I enjoyed Full Cicada Moon too. I thought I had read Imaginary Fred, but if I did, I didn’t record it in good reads. It might have been one of those books I looked at in a bookstore and went meh, and left it there. I’m really looking forward to reading Euphoria!

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