It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share some of the titles you’ve been enjoying, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.
Did you have a great week? I wrote a couple of posts this week that I’d love to share with you – I made a list of ten pictures books perfect for father’s day, reviewed the absolutely adorable Little Bot and Sparrow, rounded up five things that make me happy, and wrote about a beloved song that’s absolutely perfect for tough times.
I’m also adapting to life as a full-time employee again, after nearly a year of substitute work. It’s been a bit of a jolt, let me tell you! My hour-long commute isn’t the best, but at least I’m getting a lot of reading done. Speaking of which…
“The definitive history of the successful battle to halt the AIDS epidemic from the creator of, and inspired by, the seminal documentary How to Survive a Plague.
A riveting, powerful telling of the story of the grassroots movement of activists, many of them in a life-or-death struggle, who seized upon scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease.”
How to Survive a Plague is a great title for readers who think they don’t like nonfiction. It’s absolutely gripping, and provides a perfect balance of information and story, educating like the best informational texts, and inspiring and entertaining like the finest fiction. Be warned, though – this is not a book for the faint of heart. The prejudice, injustice, hostility and cruelty that the LGBTQ community has been subjected to (and in some places is still subject to) is absolutely heartbreaking. The tales the book tells are harrowing – stories of terminally ill young men being turned away from hospitals or left to die on gurneys in hospital hallways, of families disowning their dying sons, of dedicated and loving partners being denied access to their loved ones in their last moments. Reading of such injustice, such heartlessness and cruelty, made my heart cry.
In the midst of all the sadness and desperation, however, there are moments of real hope and inspiration – doctors who dedicated themselves completely to the treatment of their patients and the search for a cure, and grassroots activists who refused to be silent in the face of a deadly epidemic. For all the injustice, there were still helpers to be found, within the queer community, the medical community, and just the larger community. No matter how dark things seem, it’s heartening to know that there are always good people trying to make a difference.
How to Survive a Plague is at times a painful read, but it is also a vitally important one, and absolutely worth reading.
The deciphering of the Rosetta stone was one of the great intellectual triumphs of all time, unlocking the secrets of thousands of years of Egypt’s ancient civilization. Yet in the past two centuries, the circumstances surrounding this bravura feat of translation have become shrouded in myth and mystery. Now in his spellbinding new book, Daniel Meyerson recounts the extraordinary true story of how the lives of two geniuses converged in a breakthrough that revolutionized our understanding of the past.
To preface this, let me say that I’m still only half way through this slim nonfiction title, so I can’t give a final verdict on it. I’ve long been fascinated by the Rosetta stone (having my picture taken beside it was one of the highlights of my trip to London), and I was immediately drawn to this account of its deciphering. If you’re looking for a straightforward historical narrative, or in fact much detail about the Rosetta stone itself, you might be disappointed. The Linguist and the Emperor reads more like a character study of two intensely talented, intensely flawed individuals. Told in the present tense (which can at times be jarring), with flowery, poetic language and winding sentences, The Linguist and the Emperor is a strange little book, quite unlike my typical nonfiction reading. I’m not sure yet what to think of it, but I am enjoying it so far.
More Jan Thomas!! Yes indeedy, I do love me some Jan Thomas. And this one went down like a treat! The kids immediately recognised the cows from previous books, and were thrilled! This is such a sweet, silly sorry – the brave cowboy isn’t all that brave, spotting dangers behind every corner that aren’t really there. If you had a ukulele you could really get into this one by singing your own cow lullaby! The story led to a beautiful conversation about fears, and why it’s OK to be scared – even big, brave grownups like cowboys get scared sometimes! We shared some of the things that we’re scared off, then talked about ways that we could be supportive and caring when our friends get scared. Preschoolers have such wonderful hearts, so full of love and so ready to share and comfort. As educators, it’s all we can do to try and nurture and nourish these hearts, and not let the world grind them down.
And there you have it – a bit of a departure from my usual lists of picture books! Don’t worry, though – I’ve got a pile of fantastic picture books to share with you in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post, and come back again soon!