This Week – School in back in session (sort of)

August 1st brings a new month of reading possibilities. I’ve never been driven to read what’s new. Unless it’s a favorite author I prefer to let the dust (and my expectations) settle first.

For August I’ve decided to read only books published this year. I went a little crazy at the library and here they are, my intentions for the month. Sammi was excited to check them out too!

I started with Own It: The secret to Life by Diane Von Furstenberg and I hope this is not an omen of the rest of my book choices. Set up like a dictionary with with trite thoughts about them, this book failed in almost every way for me. The few bright spots were the short stories that she attached to some words. If the whole book had been that it would have been fun. As it is you get advice such as this…

PINK. Pink is what white does to red. It is the most feminine and flirtatious of all colors.

PURPLE. Purple is what blue does to red. It is a color we either love or hate.

LOSER. I sometimes feel like one, and then I remind myself, only losers don’t feel like losers.

At least it was relatively short.
Hairpin Bridge started off strong with a twin sister trying to find the truth behind her twin’s supposed suicide. It ended on the same day after lots of action, storytelling, and revelations. It read fast and had a solid suspenseful idea. It lost momentum in the way it kept going back and forth, but managed to surprise in the end, which is always nice.

We took our first half day of school on the road to Penitentiary Glen, about 30 minutes from us. We decided to take the book on a bit of our hiking trail. 
We took Yang Warriors with us on our morning walk to Shadow Lake. This 40 page, beautifully illustrated book tells the true story of a group of children in a Thai refugee camp. The author lived at the camp with her family when she was five. Her sister was part of a group of children who snuck out of camp to gather fresh food for the weak and sick younger kids, giving them all hope of better days. Those kids were, and still are, viewed as heroes in the eyes of those they fed at much risk to themselves.

It didn’t explain why the kids were there or even what a refugee camp was so if reading this with your child it would be helpful to talk about that before reading the story. Otherwise, it was a great book with kids providing inspiration to other kids. Bravery has many faces and it’s important that kids see as many of them as possible.

My mom loaned me How Lucky telling me it was different. I agree and that’s what I really liked about it. Confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, Daniel lives in Georgia near his best friend since birth who makes sure he has a social life. Daniel sees a girl kidnapped and tries to do the right thing, even if the police are not especially helpful.

There was the mystery of the disappearance, but it was the story of his life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, past and future that kept me reading and interested. He was a great character and I loved his relationships with friends.
I picked this up purely for the fun cover and had a fun time hanging around Hampstead Heath. What Abigail Did That Summer is #5.3 in the Rivers of London series, but I had no problem jumping right in to the world of the talking foxes and the fae.

Abigail is still in school and must pass Latin before her uncle will let her begin training in magic. She spends the summer with a new friend investigating strange disappearances.

It was mostly light and fun and Abigail was a hoot.
I loved this sweet throwback story. Rosetown Summer is 84 pages about friendship and family in a small Indiana town in 1974. Ten-year-old Flora doesn’t like change, loves quiet, and has many anxieties about things out of her control and I think any child who fits that description would probably like this one.

This is a sequel to Rosetown.
We started half days of homeschool this week, each day a different park to explore. We hiked, enjoyed swings and playgrounds, and still managed to carve out some book learning at picnic tables. This is our August plan and a great way to ease into 5th grade.

I is for Immigrants was recommended to us and counts as a new book since it was just released. We both had fun going through the alphabet picture book full of words that describe the immigrant experience. So much great discussion. Recommended.

Journey: Based on the True Story of OR17 The Most Famous Wolf in the West. A recent news story told in a fabulous way alternating between the wolf’s journey and a 10 year old following his path. Great facts pages at the end. Highly recommended for older elementary kids who love animals or nature.

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains. This is told as a tall tale with fun illustrations sure to appeal to the plant and tree lover.

How was your week? Have any new books to recommend I read this month?

17 thoughts on “This Week – School in back in session (sort of)

  1. Care says:

    Sammy is an excellent model. So, only losers feel like losers? It sounds a lot like that quote from MASH – it’s nice to be nice to the nice… Both good thoughts but sounds so…. forlorn. HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL and great reading. Be well.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Sammi has been Johnny on the spot in pictures lately. Back to school was put on hold as Gage has been sick this week. But that’s another advantage of homeschooling, there’s no pressure to get back to it until he feels better.

  2. Diane says:

    I liked Hairpin Bridge – not perfect but, pretty solid page turner. How Lucky is on my list. I wish I wasn’t drawn to new releases but, the truth is I’m rather obsessed by the hype factor oftentimes 😦

    Hope school goes well for Gage – it begins here Labor Day week, in person with masks.

  3. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    I like how you decided to focus on books published this year during August. I tend to forget about new books unless I go to library conferences, and that has not happened for a long time.

    Rosetown and How Lucky both sound like books I’d like.

    Your photos of books are fantastic, Stacy.

  4. gulfsidemusing says:

    What fun to have a monthly theme! My favorite book of 2021 so far is Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard. Will be curious to hear what you think of How Beautiful We Were if you get to it. Mbue’s previous novel, Behold the Dreamers, was a favorite the year I read it.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      The theme does seem to make it a little more focused, as long as the choices are many 🙂 I haven’t had much time this week to continue with How Beautiful We Were, but I am over halfway and LOVE the narration.

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