It’s Monday! What are you reading? -a little of everything

It has been a few weeks since I have posted on Monday so I have a few books to share. I can’t really pull a connection for these books other than to say I am reading fiction.

51EpRcVLjxL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Picture Book: The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock (2014)

This is a fun and colorful book that tells the story of Kandinsky’s life. The life of a perfect and prim childhood that explodes into color and sound when he is introduced to a box of paints.

Vasya Kandinsky is known for his abstract paintings full of color and movement but his early childhood was very stiff, formal and structured with math, history and classical piano lessons.

Kandinsky was a child who experienced what we now call synethesia, where a person experiences stimulation of one sensory pathway that leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory pathway.  When he saw colors he also hear sounds. For him the mixing of colors was like the tuning of instruments for an orchestra. Needless to say he did not fit into the quite formal life of his family.

This is a wonderful book that gives us the life of Kandinsky and the message to follow our heart and passion to create. It is rich with great illustrations from Mary Grandpre’.  She captures the tone of the writing perfectly.

Middle Grades: The Day Joanie Became a Boy by Francess Lantz joanie1(2005)

This is an older book but the title caught my attention when I was looking for books for a young friend who was frustrated with her friends.  She loves to play sports, loves to be rough and tumble and hates sitting around with the girls chatting. She is a action packed type of kid. Although easier to find books for her to read – lots more high action girl books these days – this one was perfect in expressing those emotions.

Lantz has set up a great situations to explore these feelings. Joanie is one rough and tumble young lady. She is good at and wants to play football but the guys just won’t let her in. When she moves to a new school and her name is misspelled she slips into the role of John the new boy at school.

She is now excepted in the boys world without a fight. She sits with the guys at lunch, is part of the group playing football and all is right with the world. Or is it? What do you do when you are one of the guys and they start bullying a girl. A girl like you who just wants to play sports.

This quick read is perfect for discussions about the roles boys and girls play. It opens up a place to talk about bullying and stereotyping. It would be a great read aloud to start the year with – short, quick, lots of action and plenty to talk about.

urlYoung Adult: The Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (2014)

Wow! What a leap from my other reading!  Smith writes a wild book. This is a book of humor, smoking, giant bugs, violence, horny boys and bugs, and the ending of the world. To top it all off it all begins in a small town in Iowa. Who knew such disasters could come from a few non thinking boys in rural mid America.

This book is perfect for guys the age of 15 – 18. Yes, I believe everyone should or could read it but this group of guys would really appreciate the humor way more than I, the old lady. Through all the craziness Smith still leaves us with a message about what we learn or don’t learn from history, and how history is really written.

There is a lot here to think about both in terms of the story content and the writing style. I would love to sit in on a high school class discussing this book. The female characters are flat and lost to old stereotypes, the writing repeats itself often and flips back and forth to present day craziness and old family history. There is so much to keep track of so much to like and dislike.

We will be discussing this book with my children’s book group – Chapter and Verse- next week.  I am super excited to see what others think of this book.  It just won the Boston Globe-Horn book award so there are lots of other opinions out there.  Check them out!

On the reading pile for this week:

  • Manhunt by Messner
  • The Night Gardener by Auxier
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: a novel by Zevin
  • The Fire Horse Girl by Honeyman

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you reading? -a little of everything

  1. Julie says:

    The Noisy Paint Box sounds wonderful! My daughter is an aspiring artist, so I think I’ll get that one for her! Have a good week.

  2. Megan says:

    I am almost done with A.J. Fikry; it is delightful! Grasshopper Jungle sure was something, huh? You are definitely right about there being plenty to talk about. It wasn’t my favorite, but I appreciate that the target audience is loving it! Have a great week! ~Megan

  3. Myra GB says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Grasshopper Jungle – and such varied reactions too! I am definitely looking forward to featuring it for our scifi theme soonest. The Noisy Paint Box has been on my radar for quite some time now. Hope to find it in our libraries soon.

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