It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 2/6/17



It’s hard to imagine a more powerful introduction to the Civil Rights Movement than John Lewis’s graphic novel trilogy, March. Lewis’s leadership position in the movement gives him an insider’s view of the most important events, but March isn’t only about historical events: it’s also about how to live with integrity and meaning, how to make moral choices in deeply immoral circumstances. Lewis’s unfailing moral and ethical perspective is one of the great strengths of his story.

The second volume picks up where the first book left off and takes us to the church bombing in Birmingham. The major events here are the Freedom Rides through the South and the march on Washington, capped by Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The Freedom Rides are especially harrowing to read about. It is so difficult to understand such hatred, bigotry, violence, inhumanity. Once again, the story of the Civil Rights movement is intercut with scenes from the present that powerfully bring home the lessons of the Movement: Barack Obama’s inauguration.


Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore tackle a subject that’s dear to my heart in Prairie Dog Song. Roth’s incredibly vivid collages bring the grasslands to life, and the nonfiction text highlights the central role of prairie dogs, a keystone species essential for the health of the ecosystem.  Each two-page collage introduces readers to the environment and the different species that interact with prairie dogs to ensure the health of the ecosystem (bison, golden eagles, black-footed ferrets, humans–whose intervention has been both devastating and healing).

I do wish some different choices had been made about the text, because I think the text limits the audience appeal. There is a lengthy nonfiction passage in smaller colored font that provides fascinating information, but the central text on each page is a rhyming, repetitive song about prairie dogs. The song would be suitable to the very youngest readers, though I’m not sure that even their attention would be held throughout, while the nonfiction text is written for much more mature readers. There is ample back matter with incredible photographs and a timeline for the creation of the Janos Grasslands in Mexico.


Marta Big and Small is a fine picture book with introductory Spanish. The reader learns the names of different animals in Spanish as well as different Spanish adjectives as Marta is compared to animals. For example, to the elephant, Marta is very small, but to the bug, she’s very big. A creative and clever way to incorporate a variety of vocabulary.


Lisa Graff’s It Is Not Time for Sleeping is really the perfect bedtime story.  As a boy goes through different parts of his evening routine, it’s clear that he’s moving towards bedtime–but it is never quite time for sleeping. A beautifully rhythmic text with typically strong work from Lauren Castillo.


Rudas, Nino’s Horrendous Hermanitas is a companion to Yuyi Morales’s Nino Wrestles the World and definitely worth a look for fans of Nino, but I don’t think the story, text, or illustrations work nearly as well.


Little Elliot Big Fun is another sweet addition to Mike Curato’s series about a shy elephant and his much more outgoing best mouse friend. Elliot goes to the amusement park expecting to have so much fun, but in reality, he’s overwhelmed and frightened by the very things that are supposed to be enjoyable. Of course in the end, friendship prevails and Elliot and Mouse work things out.






8 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 2/6/17”

  1. Stacy Mozer Avatar

    I have March on hold at the library and can’t wait to see it. Rudas, Nino’s Horrendous Hermanitas and Little Elliot Big Fun look interesting. I will have to find the first book in each series as well. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Just wrapped up March Two this week too. Such an accessible way to get kids interested in learning about that time in history – and how important it still is today!

  3. lindabaie Avatar

    I loved Prarie Dog Song, but agree that it is for older readers doing research. I need to read the new Little Elliot, know it will be “Big Fun”, and still have not started March though I have the first one. Too much on the stack. Thanks, Elisabeth. I’ve noted Marta, Big and Small-cute idea.

  4. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I still haven’t finished the third book in the March trilogy because I don’t want it to end.

  5. crbrunelle Avatar

    My kindergarten students really enjoyed It’s Not Time for Sleeping.

  6. Myra GB Avatar

    I just borrowed Books One and Two of March from the library – but am waiting for my order of Book 3 to arrive before I binge read!! 🙂

  7. cweichel Avatar

    I’ve got the first March book on hold. I’m number 31, but at least there are 7 copies in the system, and I’m not #45. How I miss my library budget. It’s too bad about Prairie Dog Song. The cover is gorgeous. My partner and I just watched a National Geographic program on the reintroduction of the black footed ferret into Saskatchewan, so I got excited when I saw it.

  8. literature593 Avatar

    March and Prairie Dog Song are both very great reads. I think that they are great young adult books.

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