It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 11/5/18


On the blog:

In reading:

hey kiddo

Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo will certainly be one of my top ten favorite graphic novels this year. It revisits the territory of his popular TED Talk and develops the outline of his life that he shared there into a memoir that’s by turns heartbreaking and hopeful. The audience is young adult rather than the juvenile audience Krosoczka usually writes for. The subject matter is often difficult, the tone at times quite bleak. At times, I wished Krosoczka had used fewer words: this is often a really wordy graphic novel, and his images are so powerful that I thought they should have been allowed to do a little more of the work of storytelling in some parts. He’s outdone himself with the art, from the muted palette (be sure to read the author’s notes in the back to find out why he chose that orange) to the various styles that capture his artistic development to the emotional resonance of nearly every image. The back matter is equally compelling and moved me to tears a couple of times. His is just such a powerful story of finding your way and surviving through art.


I read Waiting aloud as one of our #classroombookaday titles this week. (Sadly, I’m entirely blanking on the other title I shared. If I don’t write it down immediately after class, it’s gone forever.)  I’ve read the book several times to myself, but this is the first time I’ve read it aloud to a class, and I was reminded of what a difference experience a book is read aloud. The pacing, cadence, repetition, and compression of lines made this poetry. We don’t have time to talk about our #classroombookaday reads, but they must be having an impact because several students have chosen picture books as their models or mentor texts for teaching demonstrations, which is very pleasing.

we sang you home

Richard Van Camp’s We Sang You Home is an exceptionally beautiful and moving board book belonging to that “welcome to the world new baby” category. I don’t read many board books and don’t like them as a tactile experience, but the two that I read this week make me think I should reconsider. This one is especially well-written with lines that I wanted to return to and enjoy all over again.

little you

Little You is another Van Camp-Flett collaboration celebrating the arrival of a new child, also beautiful, and may be preferred by some to We Sang You Home, but my rhyme-phobia got in the way of my enjoyment here.

owl sees clearly at night

And just a little more Julie Flett for you: Owls See Clearly at Night is a bilingual alphabet book sharing words and phrases from the Michif language of the Metis people. The words and art celebrate the Metis culture and strongly evoke a particular place and setting for me as well. Flett’s art is exceptional: I wanted to frame nearly every spread. There are informative author’s notes as well.










16 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 11/5/18”

  1. Scott Day Avatar

    I keep adding books to my TBR because of what you recommend. This time: Hey, Kiddo and Owls See Clearly at Night. Thank you. I’m reading The Light Between Worlds, Birds Art Life (another of your recommendations), The Hare with Amber Eyes, and A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. The latter book is a collection of retellings of Asian myths and legends. The writing is very beautiful. So far, one story had me crying and another had me soaring. Waiting sits in my bookcase. It is one of my favorite books.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Waiting is just a beautiful read-aloud experience. There’s something so philosophical about the story. I finished the book and felt like we needed to take a moment of silence to let all of that wisdom settle into us! I’ve got The Hare with Amber Eyes on my shelf–have been meaning to read for some time. Will look for A Thousand Beginnings and Endings.

  2. lindabaie Avatar

    The board books and Owls See Clearly At Night are new, will look for them. I loved Hey Kiddo!, think the title itself is a wonder that shows his life so beautifully. My granddaughters still pull out Waiting to re-read. It is simply darling. Thanks, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am so glad the granddaughters still pull out Waiting! I’ve read it several times now and realize I see and appreciate something new each time. And of course take great delight in that surprise ending. I’m still thinking about Hey Kiddo!

  3. Jane the Raincity Librarian Avatar

    Hey, Kiddo took my breath away, what an incredible book. And I’m familiar with all those board books – Julie Flett is one of my favourite illustrators, and she lives in my city!!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love her work and realized a couple of weeks ago that there were a few books I hadn’t seen yet, so I’ve been requesting them. Little You was a reread but it only took a second and I was able to focus more on the art. So wonderful!

  4. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I am very much looking forward to Hey, Kiddo. I’m happy to hear about the back matter, as well. I’m over here giggling a little about you blanking on titles you shared in class. When students ask me what we covered in class I’m clamoring for notes. Any notes. Dear me, PLEASE tell me I took notes… lol Have a great week, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Seriously! I used to have the most amazing memory and now it’s just a giant Swiss cheese in my brain! I did see Last Stop on Market Street sitting on my desk when I came into the office this morning, which reminded me: oh yeah, THAT was the other book I shared last week!

  5. Katie @The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    I listened to the Fresh Air interview about Hey Kiddo but haven’t gotten to the book yet. I cannot wait. I look forward to investigating those board books as well!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks for reminding me about the Fresh Air interview. I decided to save that until I’d read the book and then I totally forgot about it!

  6. halliereadit Avatar

    I just read Hey Kiddo last weekend and felt the exact same way. It was such an honest depiction of his childhood

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Such a powerful and moving and sometimes really hard story!

  7. cweichel Avatar

    I read We Sang You Home and purchased copies for my sons and their partners as stocking stuffers who were expecting new babies. I also bought copies of Little You. My granddaughter loves them both, but then, she seams to love anything illustrated by Julie Flett. I’m sure that the fact that I will read and usually purchase anything with her name on it has nothing to do with it.
    I am waiting, not so patiently for Hey, Kiddo, to become available at my library. I may have to just purchase a copy!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I ended up purchasing because I just couldn’t wait! We Sang You Home is going to be my choice for new parents from now on. Such a gorgeous book.

  8. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    I haven’t read Hey Kiddo, yet, but I have checked out the rest of your list, and it is full of great books! I am struggling with the description of Hey Kiddo! As soon as I get a new graphic novel, the grade 4s jump on it and some of the threes, but this one might be a bit much. I will likely have to buy a copy anyways. Thanks for the great post!

  9. Myra GB Avatar

    One of my childhood friends is having a baby and I have just sent her nearly 20 picturebooks including board books. I so wish I had known about Julie Flett’s board books – maybe for her christening? 🙂

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