Monday, July 4, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.04.16

IMWAYR 2015 logo

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

I didn't post last week because we were coming back from our fun weekend in Orlando!  I was fortunate to attend ALA Annual Conference and had a blast.  On Saturday, my daughter and I wandered around the exhibit hall for most of the day.  We met great authors, got a lot of books, and I was able to hang out with some great Nerdy friends!

Selfie fun at ALA!
Kellee Moye, Kathy Burnette and me

The weekend finished with the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet.  It was so amazing to be in the room and listen to the amazing speeches.

So here's a couple of weeks of reading!

Last Couple of Weeks Adventures!

I'm talking about transitional chapter books on Spotlight Fridays.  Part one is here.

I reviewed The World From Up Here.  It's a cannot miss book!

I reviewed Towers Falling.  I really liked the way Jewell Parker Rhodes framed this 9.11 story!

Last week was Shark Week.  Here is a new shark book that is perfect for primary classrooms.

Picture Books

Let Me Finish!
Let Me Finish! by Minh Le

4/5 stars
This book will be a delight to read out loud!  Our poor reader in the story just wants to sit down in a peaceful spot and read.  Perfect, right?  But he constantly finds himself by other animals who just want to tell him all about the book he's reading.
This would be a really fun book to use at the beginning of the year to show students how NOT to book talk a book!  Love the surprise inside the story, too!

School's First Day of School
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex
4/5 stars
I love Christian Robinson's illustrations in this book!  The stark white background in contrast of the bright, bold colors is so eye catching.
I enjoyed the text but it caught me by surprise some of the children's reactions to the school in the book.  There were boys that "hated school" and a little girl who had to be carried into school because she didn't want to go.  It surprised me to have such strong emotions in the book.  But when I thought about the perspective - the school's - those are the kinds of emotions that might upset the very building, should it have emotions.
And make sure you allow time to pour over the end pages.  A-maze-ing!

Poor Little Guy
Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen
4/5 stars
So much to love about this book.  Love the end pages (but make sure you read them in order, pages in between included), love the shades of blue in the background, love the big, bold parts of the illustration with the small swirls in the background, the fonts, and of course, the hilarious part I did not see coming.  This will be a great read aloud to see everyone's reactions.

Jill & Dragon
Jill and Dragon by Lesley Barnes

4/5 stars
What will stay with me about this book is the illustrations.  Simply gorgeous.  The muted tones take on a tie-dye look in the larger spreads.  Cute story about thinking outside the box to see positive traits and being able to get along with everyone.

It Came in the Mail
It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton
4/5 stars
When you're laughing out loud by page 3, that's a very good thing.
Loved this story about a boy who just wanted some mail.  I still love the thrill of getting something mailed to me.  Not the bills, advertisements or inserts, but real mail.  Book mail is the best.  

When Penny Met POTUS
When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz
4/5 stars
With the election coming up this year, this will be a good book to have in your classroom.  It would be fun to have students write down what they think POTUS is/means.

Can I Tell You A Secret?
Can I Tell You a Secret by Anna Kang
4/5 stars
I really enjoy the Kang/Weyant collaborations.  This one will be good to use with young students to talk about trying things that they perceive to be hard/difficult.

Bear's Big Day
Bear's Big Day by Salina Yoon
4/5 stars
Love this book for the preK-1st grade crowd!  
Salina Yoon's books are some of the most comforting books I've read.  I think all primary grades should be introduced to her books!

Transitional Chapter Books

Dory Dory Black Sheep
Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon
4/5 stars
This series keeps getting better and better.  I laughed out loud many times, thinking this would be such a fun one to read out loud.  
In this story, Dory finds that while it's difficult to read the words in a story, it doesn't stop her from making up creative and imaginative stories.  I love that Hanlon stayed true to the characters, and didn't make up an ending that felt false.

Middle Grade

Wolf Hollow
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
5/5 stars
This book is as wonderful as everyone has said it is.  
Haunting and heartwarming.  This book makes you question humanity and the decisions we make, and at the same time be happy for the kindness you see in people.  This is one that people will continue to talk about - it has a timeless feel about it.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
5/5 stars
If you haven't read Barnhill's work, run to your closest bookstore or library.  Amazing.  I have a future review coming about this beauty.

The Meaning of Maggie
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
5/5 stars
This book has one of the best middle grade voices.  I had bought this book a long time ago, I think around the time it had come out, but just hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.  I put it on my #mustreadin2016 list because I knew it was one I wanted to get to this year.  I'm so glad I finally did, and if you have not gotten around to reading it yet, please do!  I was laughing on every page because of the tongue in cheek sarcasm!  It was realistic and funny and beautiful.  

Young Adult

This Is the Story of You
This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart
I was excited for this book because it was about Superstorm Sandy.  I had not read a book about this tragedy and I thought it was perfect timing for many young readers who had lived it, now are young adult readers.  
There is something about young adult books that have teenagers speaking in this philosophical way that I do not care for.  I had a great discussion about this with Kellee Moye and Kathy Burnette about this and they assured me there are teens that do this.  I guess I wouldn't be able to keep up with those kids :)
I think there are readers for this book.  It just wasn't for me and that's ok.  If you enjoyed Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun, you may want to check this book out!

Currently Reading

The Friendship Doll
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
Another #mustreadin2016 title and another one that has come highly recommended!

Hope you found some titles here this week!  Happy 4th of July!


  1. I read School's First Day this week, too. The illustrations are lovely. I read it a few times thinking about the negative emotions of the children as well. In reality there is excitement on the first day of school, too. I think the author was trying to get across the uneasiness about the first day of school that many students do feel. Yes, these would be the emotions that the school would pick up on. I haven't read any of the middle grade novels - I'm not sure which one I should read first! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I didn't realize School's First Day of School already came out. I hope my library gets it in soon!

    Yay for attending ALA! It looks like everyone who went had an amazing time.

  3. So great you had fun at ALA. Everyone seems to have loved it very much. I envy you hearing those speeches. I've listened to a few, & they are wonderful. Thanks for these great recommendations, Michele. Will find The Girl Who Drank The Moon when it comes out, & have found The World From Up Here at my library. Have a wonderful day today!

  4. I loved Towers Falling & It Came In the Mail! You've got a lot of other great books that I need to add to my list! Looks like you had a terrific time at the ALA conference. I would love to go some day! Have a fun 4th of July!

  5. ALA sounds amazing...some year, I hope to go. I loved Wolf Hollow, too, but Kelly Barnhill is new to me. I'll have to check her out!

  6. I enjoyed The Meaning of Maggie as well. I think it's great to recommend during election years!

  7. I keep seeing School's First Day listed. Sounds like I should definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing your list!

  8. I love the selfie! I am jealous of your hangout and wish I was there! I was just looking at Wolf Hollow on my shelf today and thinking I need to read it ASAP!

  9. Yay us!!!!!! :)
    So many I want to read in this list. I am just going to go to Goodreads :)

    Happy Fourth, and happy reading this week!
    P.S. See you this weekend!