Our Week in Books: August 30-September 5

September 6, 2015 @ 5:28 pm | Filed under: , , , ,

Bonny Glen Week in Books Sept 6 2015

Time for another weekly roundup! Here are the books we read alone and together this week.

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke  Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke  Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Read by: Huck, Rilla, and Beanie, all at different times this week.

These graphic novels have wide appeal, as you can see by the range of ages enjoying them at my house—kids ages six through fourteen, this week! One morning this week, I left Huck home with Jane while I took the other kids on an outing. Now, normally Huck would jump at the chance for a whole morning of undivided attention from his big sister, but on this day I returned home to find him sitting on the couch, engrossed in the third Zita book. “The entire time you were gone,” said Jane, answering my inquisitive glance. “He read the whole series, one after the other.” When a six-year-old boy gives up the chance to trounce his grown sister in Mario Kart, you know you’ve got a winning series.

On to picture books. I never manage to track them ALL, because the boys read them in bed at night. You should see the stack on their floor right now. Actually, no you shouldn’t, it’s a mess.

Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes  The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom and Felicia Bond  Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss

Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes. Read to: Huck.
The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom, illustrated by Felicia Bond. Read to: Huck.
Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss. Read to: Huck.

I wonder how many times I’ve read The Big Green Pocketbook out loud. It never gets old. And I still always choke up at the end!

Super-Cute Chibis to Draw and Paint- Giant-sized Fun from a Micro-sized World by Joanna Zhou Bake Sale by Sara Varon

Super-Cute Chibis to Draw and Paint: Giant-sized Fun from a Micro-sized World by Joanna Zhou. Enjoyed by: Rilla, Beanie, and me.

Beanie and Rilla have been using this book for inspiration and instruction for at least a couple of years now. Seems like it is ALWAYS out on a desk or table beside a pad of paper. Has to be their favorite how-to-draw resource. I’ve been trying to add more pictures to my bullet journal and I decided (inspired by SailorMimzy, Ms. Cendolife, and Chotskibelle on Instagram) to try to design chibi figures for our whole family. Naturally I turned to my resident experts for advice. I’m still a rookie compared to my girls, but I’m getting there.

Bake Sale by Sara Varon. Read by: Rilla.

Another beloved graphic novel. Sara Varon illustrated my friend Cecil Castellucci’s wonderful Odd Duck, a great favorite around here. Bake Sale is a quirky story about friendship. Yes, that’s an eggplant and a cupcake making…cupcakes. Rilla almost missed our Saturday night art date because she didn’t want to put this one down. (I’m seeing an absorbing-graphic-novel trend this week.)

A Child's History of the World Curious George's First Day of School by Margret & H.A. Rey

A Child’s History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer. Read to: Huck and Rilla.

I guess I didn’t mention this one last week or the week before, but I should have! This is Rilla’s history spine. We read a couple of chapters a week, with Huck listening in—one of our narration texts. This week was the Trojan War.

Curious George’s First Day of School by Margret & H.A. Rey. Read by: Wonderboy.

Sudden Curious George attachment happening here. I expect there will be many more in our roundups, as soon as I get a chance to make a library run.

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace. Read by: Beanie.

Oh, I just love this book so much. I asked Beanie to reread it as context for our early 20th-century studies. Betsy’s tour of Europe involves a romance in Venice, a long stay in Germany, and a hurried departure for home from England when the Great War begins. The final chapters involve one of my favorite moments in all of literature. I mean that without any hyperbole at all. It’s even better than the end of Pride and Prejudice.

Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. Read by: Wonderboy (in progress).

This book makes the list twice this week! Rilla and I are still listening to the audiobook (below) during our Saturday-night art dates. I pulled out the hard copy to check how much we had left, and Wonderboy wanted to read it. He’s slowly making his way through. Fun fact about the edition pictured here: I’m pretty sure this was the first book I ever wrote cover copy for.

UPDATE: I am informed that Jane, age 20, saw this book lying on a table and reread it this week as well. 🙂

Storm Thief by Chris Wooding Vanessa and Her Sister A Novel by Priya Parmar

Storm Thief by Chris Wooding. Read by: me (in progress).

Rose asked me to read this—one of her favorite books. I’m only a chapter in so far, but it’s gripping. I’ll report back later.

Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel by Priya Parmar. Read by: me (in progress).

My bedtime Kindle reading is this fictionalized tale of Virginia Woolf and her sister, as told by Vanessa. So far: fascinating and fraught. After I finished To the Lighthouse I was hungry for background on Woolf, and I found this in my queue of digital review copies. Perfect timing. More to come on this one too, I’m sure.

Books Continued from Last Week:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White   Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild audiobook

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis


Beanie’s lit class (which I teach) finished a two-week discussion of An Old-Fashioned Girl. Alcott is so funny—this is such a heavy-handed, moralistic book, quite preachy in places, with absolutely zero subtlety in its contrast of simple, wholesome, “old-fashioned” ways of bringing up children (especially girls) and the unhealthy “modern” practices she observed in the middle- and upper-middle class East Coast society of her day. And yet…despite the many anvils she drops all over the place, I am drawn in, I get wrapped up in the characters’ ups and downs. My group of 14-year-old girls found much to discuss in the contrasting upbringings of Fanny and Polly, and in the vision Alcott paints of a “future woman”—”strong-minded, strong-hearted, strong-bodied, strong-souled,” she says—envisioning us, the girls and women of generations to come.

Next up for this group: Sarah Orne Jewett.

We’re nearing the end of Charlotte’s Web—too soon, too soon! When we left off, the crickets were singing about the end of summer, and everyone’s preparing for the county fair. “Summer is over and gone,” sang the crickets. Good-bye, summer, good-bye, goodbye!”



books to read with my 9yo  TEXT HERE (2) Books We Read This Week - Here in the Bonny Glen

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20 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Emily D. says:

    I love Vanessa and Her Sister. It’s so beautifully written.

  2. Penny says:

    A crazy amount of good here. I forgot about the Big Green Pocketbook! We loved that book 🙂

    Looking forward to reading Vanessa and Her Sister. I’m off to Amazon shortly for that one…


  3. Kortney says:

    Using a Betsy-Tacy book as background for 20th c, studies is brilliant! Did I already recommend the Woolf biography by Hermione Lee? Talk about background for the 20th c. It’s lovely and lush and deep and pulls in sooo many sources and strands. It does everything a biography should.

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Thanks for the rec! I had to order it via interlibrary loan, but it’s here already and somehow I enjoy a book even more when it has a university library stamp on it. 🙂

      • Kortney says:

        My ILL favorites come from the monastery down the valley from us <3

        • Kortney says:

          Oh, and Mabel got to the end of the second Zita book and came to me crest fallen. “I got to the end, and it says to be continued!” It’s waiting on the holds shelf, but the poor girl has to wait till the library opens.

          I picked up Vanessa and her Sister just because I can’t pass by Bloomsbury. If the Woolf interest holds, you have absolutely got to get your hands on Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury by Sigrid Nunez. And that will lead you back to Virginia’s Flush which I think you’ll eat up.

  4. Susanne Barrett says:

    I met Sarah Orne Jewett in grad school at USD, and I’ve loved her ever since. Every few years, I pick up my Library of America copy and re-read all of the books from stem to stern. She’s simply amazing. Enjoy teaching her!! 🙂

    I’m teaching “The Yellow Wallpaper” this week to two high school girls I’m tutoring in exchange for their math-maven-mom tutoring B in geometry. It’s my fave short story/novella–so many layers to peel back and discuss. I’ll need to pull out my copy to re-read tomorrow. 😉

    Thanks for your week in books! Our youngest is 15, so I don’t get to bask in the beautiful world of picture books any longer. I miss having HBJ’s Children’s division here in San Diego; I worked in their big, beautiful bookstore in the late 80’s thru early 90’s, and I loved when the children book editors came down to show off the original artwork for some of the most brilliant picture books. Meeting Audrey and Don Wood was definitely a highlight! 🙂

    Have a lovely week!

    Susanne 🙂

  5. sarah says:

    Lissa–Loving the book recaps especially the picture books. The library finally got Sophie’s Squash, and it was positively delightful. Now it looks like I have to wait for The Big Green Pocketbook…

  6. Louise says:

    My mother and I quoted “I must be amoosed because I’m fractious,” in season and out all through my growing-up years. That book does have some great moments.

    I’m totally with you on Betsy and the Great World. Never fail to get chills and a lump in my throat when I read those last couple of chapters.

  7. Sara says:

    I wish I had lots of littles to read to still! My youngest is a reluctant reader and we fizzled out this summer in the middle of the Great World. I can’t get her to start it again….and I love the ending, too. My all-time favorite which ranks right up there with Persuasion (which you must admit is better than P & P!).

  8. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh yes, nothing tops the ending of Persuasion! My favorite Austen by a mile. 🙂

  9. Lisa says:

    Vanessa was well worth it.

    “Saturday night art date”–you Just.Plain.Rock. How cool!! I miss my kids putting on Saturday night shows for me [sweet memory]

    Big Green Pocketbook is going into a great-niece’s Christmas box–came here for early shopping ideas and I was not disappointed. I love your book posts and have since you began.

    Promise you’ll keep writing after the kids grow up (Don’t worry–they do! mine did!)

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Lisa, thanks for the kind words! 🙂 Our Saturday night tradition has become my favorite part of the week. My two boys are early-to-bedders. The teens watch movies with their dad (well, it started with S.H.I.E.L.D and then Peggy Carter and now movies in the summer hiatus), which leaves Rilla and me to entertain ourselves. 🙂 We spread our art supplies all over my bed and listen to audiobooks while we sketch. Made our way through most of Dahl, and last night we finished Dancing Shoes. I’m thinking Swallows & Amazons next. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. Alysa says:

    Aaand now I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking at chibis on Instagram (^_^)