Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.17.16

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.

Last Week's Adventures

Part 2 of the series - reading longer nonfiction when you don't read cover to cover.  Be sure to check out the book Watch Out for Flying Kids.

Have you heard about Holly Goldberg Sloan's upcoming book Short?  Check out some quotes here and then make sure it's on your TBR for January 2017!

In this day and age, and with this presidential election, I feel so strongly about the need to spread kindness amongst this generation.  Here are some books to use to talk about wishes and kindness.

Picture Books

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker
3/5 stars
This would be a great book to include in a Morning Meeting.  We all have bad days, but it's how you react to them that is important.  Use this book as a springboard to talk about how to make a good decision.

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
4/5 stars
Another book to use in Morning Meetings.  This time to talk about kindness - and how that one small ripple can continue and make bigger impacts.  

I think this book has gotten some buzz recently because it is part of the Scholastic Book Fair carts for the primary grades.  It's a good one to purchase to have in the classroom.

Yellow Time
Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer
4/5 stars
Definitely a book to read this time of year if you live in the midwest or experience that moment when all the yellow in the trees get blown off in one big gulp onto the floor!

Home at Last
Home At Last by Vera B. Williams
3/5 stars
I first heard about this book through The Horn Book magazine.  It was a fascinating story of how Vera Williams and Chris Raschka collaborated on this book.  It's quickly told in the back matter of the story, as well.
I think this story will be important to some young readers.  The writing seemed a bit off to me - it didn't flow like other Williams stories flow.  

Henry & Leo
Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
5/5 stars
I really didn't know much about this book and I ended up being very pleasantly surprised.  Henry's favorite toy is Leo and Leo almost takes on a lifelike quality in Henry's mind.  One day Leo is lost in the Nearby Woods and to Henry, he has lost his best friend.  The reader sees the woods come alive with animals and take care of Leo and bring him home.  
This book is going to resonate with young readers who have a favorite toy.

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes
The Princess and the Warrior by Duncan Tonatiuh
5/5 stars
I believe this is my favorite Tonatiuh picture book.  Tonatiuh gives a spin to a Mexican folklore that explains the story of two volcanoes located outside of Mexico City.  A love story told in a Romeo and Juliet vein, the readers learn how far love will go for a princess and a warrior.  
I really hope this book sees some awards in January!

Hotel Bruce
Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
4/5 stars
I was so glad to see Bruce again!  I think he's quite the amazing bear since he puts up with geese.  I'd get rid of them!
Bruce and his goslings are back from their winter migration to Miami and find out 3 mice have turned Bruce's house into a hotel.  Of course chaos ensues!

Informational Texts

Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter
Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter by Amy S. Hansen
5/5 stars
I found this book through Linda Baie, and I'm so glad she blogged about it when she did!  Our school is getting ready to start a Woodland Project - it's project based learning where the students are going to be immersed in a real life problem that will require them to use inter- discipline concepts to solve it!  First grade will be specifically looking at insects and the adaptations they go through to survive.  What a perfect book to use to show how insects survive through winter!

Adult Reads

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
3/5 stars
I remember a few years ago hearing the buzz for this book.  I preordered it and then get a signed copy at ALAMW Chicago.  But I just never got around to reading it.  Too many other good books were put in front of it.
I saw the trailer for the movie, and knowing what I knew about the book, I wondered how the movie would be put together.  So, I promised to read the book first (always have to do that, it's an unspoken rule) and then go see the movie with friends.
I did not love the book.  I read Gone Girl years ago and that's what drew me to this book.  Like Gone Girl, this book had deplorable characters, but unlike GG, TGoaT did not have the exciting twists and turns that kept me going.  Until we reached the end, it was all just a train ride and unlikable characters.  In my opinion.  
The movie stayed pretty well with the book.  There were things that were cut or slightly changed, I imagine due to it going from a book to a movie.  None made me mad.  They took something out that happens close to the end that I didn't quite understand.  But no spoilers here.  I will say Emily Blunt did a fantastic job acting drunk and unlikeable.  Make me like her more as an actress!
Glad to be done with that book and back to children's literature!

Currently Reading

Like Magic
Like Magic by Elaine Vickers
Finally started this yesterday.  Darn TGoaT kept me busy all week long.  I really really like the character of this book.  They are diverse, yet all have the universal need of friendship.  I'm excited to see where this book takes me!

Happy Reading!


  1. You have some great books on your list. Most are new to me, but I have been eagerly awaiting Hotel Bruce. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Princess and the Warrior is one of the Cybils nominees and I am on the hunt for it. I imagine that the author will be at the Texas Book Festival in early November. I can probably read it then, if not before.

  3. I also want to find a copy of The Princess and the Warrior. Isn't Hotel Bruce hilarious!? What a bear.

  4. There are lots of great books on this list. Unfortunately The Princess and the Warrior isn't available from our local library. I might have to see if it is at our local book shop and read it there!

  5. I'm so excited for Hotel Bruce, I'm waiting for my copy to finally come in!! Henry & Leo looks beautiful, I'm sure it will resonate with a lot of little ones.

  6. Like Magic didn't quite do it for me. Maybe just too young for my students.

  7. I'll check back in for your thoughts on Like Magic.

  8. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade is one we are putting in our TBR stack. I (Tammy) read The Girl on the Train with my book club and I was disappointed with it. I just didn't find the characters believable. Good to know you felt the same.

  9. Like Magic is a new title, will note it, Michele. I'm glad you liked Bugsicle, fun & great information! I need to find Hotel Bruce & Yellow Time, both must be good. There are so many wonderful books about fall! I felt the same way about Girl On A Train. Those characters are not nice! I don't think I'll see the movie, don't go very often & it will not be a first choice. Wish more adults would read some of those 'kindness' books!

  10. There's a new Bruce book?!?! We just got the first one from Trent's book fair, and I love it! I cannot wait to read Hotel Bruce! :)

    Hope all is good with you and K! XO
    Happy reading this week :)