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

IMWAYR-2015-logoThe blog has been busy with poems this week, as I continue to attempt the National Poetry Writing Month Challenge. If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Karen Benke’s Rip the Page!, a inspirational creative writing guide, just comment on the Juxtaposition poem inspired by one of her exercises. I’ll draw a winner on Wednesday.

girl from everywhere

I picked up Heidi Heilig’s Girl from Everywhere on a lark and then couldn’t put it down, though it was not technically part of my reading plans for last week. I appreciated the page-turney, twisty plot as well as the often very beautiful prose. Setting is really well-developed–especially the time-traveling pirate ship itself and the Hawaiian Islands, where they are moored for much of the novel. Heilig creates an interesting world with sharply-drawn, believable characters. I very rarely finish a fantasy series, but I am committed to starting Book 2 this week.

working in the reggio way

I’ve been interested in learning more about the Reggio approach to schooling since I read The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning, and Teaching. Julianne Wurm’s Working in the Reggio Way is a reasonable introduction to Reggio for American teachers. It blends a description of the Reggio values and beliefs with a personal account of Wurm’s early years working at a Reggio school and with reflective questions designed to help American teachers figure out how to apply Reggio principles in their very different classroom settings.

Most of all, I was struck by how gentle and humane this approach to education is, how it focuses on the whole child in the context of his or her whole life and world, how it honors the child and the mind. In a Reggio school, four year olds are considered experts in how to manage their own time and how to decide one what projects to pursue. And they absolutely rise to the challenge. The purpose of learning should be to make amazing discoveries about ourselves, each other, our worlds, and the Reggio approach seems ideally suited to this.

The book did have one flaw that I find nearly unforgivable: no bibliography! Wurm cited several texts that I was interested in reading, but I’m going to have to construct the bibliography myself.

hello hello

Brendan Wenzel’s Hello Hello shows just how much can be conveyed through simple repetitive text and large animal eyes. Wonderful animal illustrations throughout, very appealing language, and a thoughtful note at the end pointing out that most of the animals depicted in the book are threatened in some way. A guide at the very end identifies each animal (such a variety!) and its status.


my pet wants a pet

Very funny title by Elise Broach about a little boy who’s desperate for a pet–and gets one–only to decide that his new pet also needs a new pet. And that pet’s new pet needs a new pet. And so on. Well worth a read–and probably a read aloud.

where's halmoni

Julie Kim’s art in Where’s Halmoni? is dazzling, but I’ll be honest: the story had me confused just about from page one. I’d turn a page, be totally confused by the new scene, characters, and plot, rub the pages between my fingers to see if I’d accidentally skipped one, realize I hadn’t, then try to orient myself. It was a strange reading experience. I appreciated what Kim is doing here–weaving various Korean folklore stories into an adventurous tale with modern children at the center. But…. it didn’t quite work for me.

I recently went around house and office collecting books I’ve started but haven’t finished and the pile was preciously high, so my goal over the next two weeks is to try to finish some of those books I’ve already started. Sometimes my serial book starting gets a little out of hand….

I am also continuing to work on many poetry titles–both collections of poems and poetry writing guides–to support my current writing challenge.

And can I just say what a wonderful pleasure it was to write this blog post IN PROSE? If nothing else, writing poetry has taught me that I really, really love using lots of words instead of just a few.

What will you be reading this week?






23 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 4/16/18”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    Isn’t Hello Hello delightful? I particularly love this one.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So lovely! I love Wenzel’s work.

  2. Akilah Avatar

    Ha! That last line! I can relate. Maybe try to write a prose poem this week?

    I haaaaaate when books don’t have bibliographies. Just add your works cited, people! It’s not hard!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s such a weird thing to be missing in a PD book! And yes to the prose poem–I’ve got that on my list to try.

  3. lindabaie Avatar

    You’ve convinced me to at least put The Girl from Everywhere on my list. I don’t read PD books anymore, but you’ve certainly intrigued me about the Reggio Way, sounds close to my former school’s philosophy, lots of choice! Thanks, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I just got the second book from the library today and might start it tonight–though I also started The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which is quite fun so far, so it might get pushed down in the queue.

  4. 2shaye Avatar

    I had never heard of the Reggio Emilia approach before. But after reading your review I had to do some Google investigation. And once I came upon the description as “constructivist” in nature, I was rather excited. It’s sad, to me, just how little trust we have in children’s natural inclination to learning. We forfeit so much by not following and nurturing their personal passions. I’m guessing one of the reasons we avoid it is because of the messy work space it creates. That can be frustrating with whole classroom instruction (which I’m assuming might be addressed in this book??).

    My Pet Wants a Pet looks really cute. I bet my younger three will love this one. Probably a great discussion starter, too!

    Poetry month can be such fun. I’m so glad you’re enjoying writing it every day!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, the first chapter in the book (or first-ish) is about environment, which is considered very important in Reggio–the environment basically teaches. It’s set up in a way so that children interact and engage with their environment and learn. It doesn’t sound very messy, though. Reggio teachers sound VERY organized! Very quick read, though, and at the campus library–or will be when I get my books returned!

  5. Jane the Raincity Librarian Avatar

    I loved Hello, Hello – such great art, and such an important, powerful message.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I wanted to linger over every picture!

  6. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Mm… just put The Girl From Everywhere on my library list. Thanks for another recommendation!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s really good! AND there’s a significant cameo from the Terracotta Warriors from China, which has been one of my son’s favorite things to study this year.

      1. Amanda Potts Avatar

        It showed up TODAY at the library. That was so fast. And I just finished another book. And the one waiting for me is just not calling my name… I think I have a new read for tonight.

  7. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    I love this list! I haven’t read any of them yet! I am reading two YA books right now and one for me…none of them are really hooking me right now.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ugh, never fun when you’re reading several things and nothing is really hooking you. I think that’s how I ended up with so many books started. Hope you find something very engaging soon!

  8. Kellee Moye Avatar

    I have Halmoni to read soon–thanks for the heads up about the text structure, but you are right–the art is AMAZING!

    Happy reading this week ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I look forward to reading another perspective on it. I think it’s one I need to reread.

  9. Michele Avatar

    I really need to spend every waking moment reading if I want to get my piles down! Out. Of. Control.
    Hello Hello was really quite beautiful, wasn’t it!

  10. crbrunelle Avatar

    I am eager to read Hello Hello. Where’s Halmoni? was a favorite of mine. I think it’s one that improves greatly with repetition because there is so much to notice. I can see how it’s not for everyone though. I am also learning Korean, so that added to my enjoyment.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s what I was wondering. I had to return it to the library and didn’t have a chance to sit with it for a few days and then reread, but I am not surprised to learn that it improves with repetition. I’ll check it out again and read it once more.

  11. Myra GB Avatar

    Now I am intrigued by The Girl from Everywhere – will have to find that one soonest! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s really well done. I’m not a fantasy fan, really, but I had trouble putting this one down.

  12. The Book Keeper Avatar

    I like your description of yourself walking around piling up more books to read, despite having so many waiting already ๐Ÿ™‚ :). There is no such thing as too many!

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