Thursday, 13 April 2017

March Update: 101 Books to Read Before you Grow Up

March was a productive month. I have had conversations with many people who are undertaking the same challenge which has been great! I also managed to knock a few more titles off my list but I still haven’t managed to tackle 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
I have always been a massive fan of Dr. Seuss. Not as much as an adult because reading his books out loud always involve a mass of twisted tongues and mispronunciation on my part but as a child I remember pouring over the pages of many of his stories.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go
 has the most amazing message anyone can give to a child (or adult who needs a bit of a boost). A reminder that everyone has the potential to be great and even though there will be bumps along the road there is a 98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed chance that you will succeed.

Where the Wild Things Are
After Max is sent to his bedroom, he imagines a world filled with wild things. Eventually he begins to miss home and begins the long trek back to his family.

Although I think the illustrations in Where the Wild Things Are are amazing, I found I did not connect to the text in the way that I was expecting. In my opinion there are many other pictures books I would rather share with others.

The Snail and the Whale
Snail wants nothing more than to travel the world and see faraway places, much to the disbelief and
dismay of all his snail companions. Thus begins the tale of two unlikely travel companions - a whale and a snail.

I absolutely LOVED the rhyme and rhythm of this book. As I was reading it, I was tapping my foot along to the beat. I can’t wait to share this book with my classes this week.

Whoever You Are
All around the world people look different, live differently have different life experiences. This book reminds the reader that although this is true, beneath it all we are all the same when it comes to our feelings.

Whoever You Are
has a great message which people do need to be reminded of. It wasn’t the best picture book I have ever read but I believe it is a book to be shared widely.

The Story of Ferdinand
Ferdinand is a bull. He doesn't want to fight and butt heads with the other bulls, he loves sitting under his favourite cork tree and smelling the flowers. One day five men arrive to take the strongest, fiercest bulls to fight in Madrid. Ferdinand, stung by a bee, catches their eye and is taken be in the bull fights. Much to everyone's surprise he refuses to fight and returns home to sit under his favourite cork tree and smell the flowers.

I enjoyed this story and I really enjoyed talked to my co workers who remember this from when they were children or read it to their children. What I was most interested in was finding out about how the message of peace in this story got it banned in many countries, including Nazi Germany where it was burned.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander's day starts of dismally, complete with gum in his hair, tripping on a skateboard and dropping water all down his front. The day does not get any better and the more that goes wrong the more frustrated Alexander feels. Will things start to look up?

Who doesn't have those days where nothing goes right? You really feel for Alexander even though some of his misfortune is of his own making. It is easy to see yourself in Alexander which makes this a fun read aloud and book in general.

A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water is told as two story lines following two 11 year olds in Sudan. In 2008, Nya does a four hour round trip walk, twice a day, seven months of the year to provide her family with drinking water. In 1985, Salva is forced to run from school with only the clothes on his back after it was attacked by rebels and bombed. He becomes a lost child moving from camp to camp hoping to find his family one day.

I was given it by a friend who had shared it with his 11 year old. This book is deceptive. It is small, only 128 pages but it is 128 pages that make you think, feel and remind yourself how lucky you are. There were times I had goosebumps and wanted to cry but I feel like it is a story that needs to be told. Salva is a real person and this book follows his journey across Africa and to America and his goal to help others back home.

The 13-Storey Treehouse
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton live in a treehouse as they write an illustrate books together. They
both managed to forget their latest book deadline and now have only 48 hours to produce a book to Big Nose, their manager, or they will be sent back to live in the money enclosure at the zoo. Of course, nothing goes to plan including procrastination, sea monkeys who are actually sea monsters and sea monkeys who are actual monkeys, flying yellow catnaries and a giant banana eating gorilla.

I was a big fan of Andy Griffiths when I was younger and after reading this book, I remembered why. He is a great author to recommend to get anyone to pick up a book and read and you will always have a good giggle.

Nicholas Allen cannot sit still, he has an idea and he runs with it. He has just entered the fifth grade and he has heard how strict his new teacher, Mrs Granger, can be. She is in LOVE with the dictionary and after a time wasting stunt goes wrong, Nicholas is forced to do some research about the dictionary and how words come about. Thus begins a war between Nicholas and Mrs Granger over the new word for a pen - a frindle. This is a story about how an idea can become bigger than just one person.

Who hasn't sat down an pondered who decided that a chair would be called a chair. Why can't it be called a fork!? This book perfectly captures the curiosity that is in all of us and the power that friendship and an idea and a great teacher can have.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Dorothy lives with her Aunt and Uncle in Kansas until, during a tornado, she is transported, along
with her house and dog Toto, to Oz. To find her way home she must make it to the Emerald City to visit the wonderful wizard of Oz. Along the way she makes friends and some enemies. Will she be able to make it home?

I have never read the book or seen the movie before so I was in for a surprise. Quite possibly, everyone is my workplace has heard my rant about how dark this book is in places. If you don’t believe me just read about how to tin man became the tin man. Otherwise, the book ticked along nicely for a quick read.

Brian’s parents have recently divorced and he is on his way to spend the school holidays with his dad. As they are flying, in a one man plane, over the remote Canadian wilderness, the pilot suffers a heart attack. The plane crash lands in the middle of nowhere and with no way to know how far away help might be Brian must learn to survive with only a hatchet gifted to him by his mother before he left.

Hatchet is a book that was read aloud to me while I was in school. I remember loving it and over the past month I have had many discussions with others who had the same experience. Not one person said “Oh yeah, we read Hatchet and I hated it!” I think it says a lot about the content and story line that it is a book that is still remembered 15 or 20 years on.

Reviewed by Kristen

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