Monday, November 7, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.07.16

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

I always enjoy picture book biographies, but these are some really great ones out there.

I always find lists of books so helpful!  Here is a list of books you may want to give as a "Welcome to the World" or Graduation congratulations gift! 

Picture Books

It Is Not Time for Sleeping
It Is Not Time For Sleeping by Lisa Graff
5/5 stars
This is going to be a bedtime story that is begged to be read by millions of young children in the years to come.  It's timeless.  
And of course Lauren Castillo's illustrations are as beautiful as always.  I pour over each detail.  I think they are endearing to young children - they speak to them.

Pond by Jim LaMarche
4/5 stars
I loved this book about young Matt who decides that he is going to try and restore an area that looks like there had been a pond.  As the pond comes back, so do the wildlife and animals.  Kids can make a difference in our world and this book could be the springboard to make a child think about that!

I Don't Want to Be Big
I Don't Want to be Big by Dev Petty
4/5 stars
I admit I like the first one better, but this is a silly follow-up.  Fun to be in the mind of this child - his reasonings of why he doesn't want to be something (a frog, or in this one, big) are pretty transparent in everyone's eyes... except his.  And I love how quickly he changes his mind.

A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon
by Matthew Olshan
4/5 stars
The mostly true account of the two men, Dr. John Jeffries, an Englishmen, and Jean-Pierre, a Frenchman, who made the first international balloon flight.  It's humorous, many parts are silly when they are bickering.  Although mostly true, the story ends up fiction because of the liberties the author took in telling the story.

Informational Text

Because of an Acorn
Because of an Acorn by Lola Schaefer
4/5 stars
I read this book and the next one over and over to small groups of students in honor of our school's Woodland Day.  This one was my favorite because of how much it teaches in such simple text and the wonderful illustrations.  Perfect book to use for cause and effect.

Coyote Moon
Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari
4/5 stars
Another book that I learned more and more from with each subsequent reading.  Perfect book to show the food chain and how animals use their defenses to get away from prey.  The back matter is also full of good information.

Giant Squid
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
5/5 stars
What an amazing mentor text!  I actually just used it to show my daughter how to write an exciting lead for a nonfiction text!
I guess I didn't realize how little we knew of the giant squid.  It's interesting to think about how many there are and how little we've seen.  
An exciting nonfiction text you definitely want to share with your students.


Garvey's Choice
Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes
5/5 stars
Wow.  Powerful.  Great middle grade themes - parental expectations, bullying, friendship, coming of age.  This book will speak to its readers.
Grimes writing is amazing as always.  Each poem/chapter is written in tanka verse.  The ability to tell a story while writing in a specific format will always amaze me.

Middle Grade

The Poet's Dog
The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan
5/5 stars
I am not a dog person.  I did not grow up with a dog, and while I wouldn't mind having one now, my lifestyle - too much traveling for extended periods of time - really does not make sense for us to have a dog.  As a result, I am often not over emotional with dog stories.  It's the well written ones that I fall in love with.  And this book is one of them.  I love how the story threads go together.  I love how every word matters in this short book.  I'm not sure this book is for every reader, but it's definitely right for many!

Young Adult
Replica (Replica, #1)
Replica by Lauren Oliver
5/5 stars
This book is actually two in one.  Two girls' stories - Gemma and Lyra - that tell the story from two points of view.  But neither story can be told without the other.  
Oliver talks about how all of our stories are seen differently through the eyes of other people who are involved within the story.  This book shows this and it's a great talking point.
How you read the story is up to you - you can read in alternating chapters, although this requires you to flip the book upside down and start from the other side (this is what I did) or you can read through one girl's story and then the other.  
I was fascinated with the concept of the book and the theme - human cloning - and I finished this book quickly.  Now if the sequel would hurry up and arrive...

Currently Reading

Just My Luck (Zack Delacruz, #2)
Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck by Jeff Anderson

Happy reading to you this week!


  1. I wish I had liked the Poet's Dog more. Everyone has said how beautiful it is, but I just had difficulty connecting to it. I have to read the Zack Delacruz book. It sounds like it would be great for reluctant readers.

  2. I loved Garvey's Choice, too, Michele, and Because of An Acorn-both wonderful in their own ways. Glad to hear about the new Replica by Lauren Oliver and the Zach Delacruz. I'm sure they're great! Also looking forward to It Is Not Time for Sleeping!

  3. Thanks so much for the Welcome to the World list. I am hoping to soon hear that at least one of my boys is about to turn me into a grandmother. The Poet's Dog is getting a lot of buzz these days. I like the idea of owning any kind of furry creature, but have allergy issues. I even contemplated getting chickens, but like you, our lifestyle just doesn't work for owning any kind of animal.

  4. Another great selection of books, as usual! It's Not Time for Sleeping just looks so fantastic, so sweet and loving. Can't wait to share it with families at babytimes!

  5. We loved The Raft by Jim LaMarche and can't wait to read The Pond. We will also have to read Garvey's Choice. Thanks for the recommendations.

  6. I shared Coyote Moon with my students, and it was a big hit. The illustrations are gorgeous. I'm anxious to read It's Not Time For Sleeping! Have a great week!