Monday, January 30, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I apologize for not posting a library update last Wednesday; I was busy preparing for a long road trip to Iowa for a college visit with my son!

What did I do on that road trip?  Read!

Michael Morpurgo's An Elephant in the Garden was one of my fifth grade Book Lunch Bunch picks, and did not disappoint.  Yes, there is an elephant--a young one named Marlene, who is saved from certain death in a zoo during the bombing of Dresden in World War II.  The story is told by an aged woman in a nursing home, eager to pass on the tale from her teenage years to her nurse and the nurse's son.  Based on a real news article, it is less about the elephant, and more about the courage to survive horrific circumstances, crossing the artificial boundaries of "we" and "them" that can mean life and death during wartime.

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a first person narrative about living with ASD, or autism spectrum disorder.  My background is in special education, and I have worked with many students with autism; this book gave me a deeper appreciation for their daily struggles with sensory and information processing.  I was exhausted on the character's behalf by the fiftieth page, and would love to have students with similar diagnoses read this book and give me their feedback as well.

At our district's monthly librarians' meeting, we are asked to pick books sent by publishers to read and review.  I had just seen this cover on Facebook, so I knew I had to scoop it up:
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison, is THE timeliest book I've ever chosen. Sura and her five children fled Iraq in 2015 to escape the war.  Their cat, Kunkush, accompanied them as smugglers took the family to the Turkish coast, where they joined other refugees for the dangerous boat trip to Greece.  Kunkush was lost at the landing, and it took an international effort to reunite him with Sura and her children.

Lost and Found Cat is a true story.  Doug Kuntz is a journalist who photographs the plight of refugees, and Amy Shrodes is a volunteer helping the refugees as they arrive on safe ground. Kunkush's journey is merely the backdrop for explaining what refugees endure to find a safe home, recounted in a manner that children can easily understand. The timing could not be any more relevant, given the national U.S. headlines this week. It will be a must-share for the students on my campus.

It's Monday! Have you read any books with headline connections this week? 


  1. I just checked our public library - we don't have a copy of Lost and Found cat yet - sounds like a title I should definitely get my hands on. - Myra form GatheringBooks

    1. It's a wonderful, simple, apolitical story. I am glad I scooped it up!

  2. Requesting Lost and Found Cat to read to my students. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Or I will be as soon as there are copies ;) Just saw it is released today!

  4. It's not yet available in my library either. I'm hoping to read it soon as I'm working to come up with a list of picture books adults should read. This sounds ideal.

  5. I haven't read any of these though I do have Anything But Typical in my classroom library--I need to read it so I can booktalk it. Thank you for reminding me :)

    Happy reading this week!