Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.19.14

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.

Mondays are so hard but I do love Mondays to see what everyone is reading!  Thank you for posting, it makes my Monday!
Here what I read:

Picture Books

Two Speckled Eggs
Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann
4/5 stars
Do you do a friendship unit?  Or maybe need mentor texts for central message or theme?  Add this book to your collection!  Sometimes you find friends when you least expect it.

Number One Sam
Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
5/5 stars
My Goodreads review:  Greg Pizzoli is a master at early readers literacy.  He does what so few can.  He writes about what kids understand - whether its swallowing a watermelon seed or wanting to be #1 - but does so in simple text.  He can convey what kids are thinking and doing in an easy and accessible language.  Love passing these along to young readers!

Tea Rex
Tea Rex by Molly Idle
4/5 stars
I'm putting this one down to use as a mentor text for first grade - getting information from the text and illustrations RL.1.7 

Camp Rex
Camp Rex by Molly Idle
4/5 stars
read above :)

Informational Texts

Chameleon Chameleon
Chameleon, Chameleon by Joy Cowley
5/5 stars
This book is such a win - text by Joy Cowley and photos by Nic Bishop.  Perfect nonfiction text for young learners.  Thanks to Carrie Gelson for introducing this book to me!

Secrets of the Seasons: Orbiting the Sun in Our Backyard
Secrets of the Seasons by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
4/5 stars
Attention 1st gr CCSS teachers - this book will be perfect for the Next Generation Science Standards!  Thank you to Alyson Beecher for first talking about this book!

Gravity by Jason Chin
5/5 stars
Simple text, yet it introduces important vocabulary in a fun way.

Early Chapter Books

The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure
The Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin
5/5 stars
I love that Doreen Cronin has taken her snarky characters from The Trouble with Chickens series and put them in a chapter book series for younger readers.  This series is going to be perfect for 1st and 2nd graders.  My favorite line is when the squirrel who is terrified of something big and scary and the chick (I think it was Dirt) says, "Lots of things are big and scary.  My mom is big and scary."  Funny.

Middle Grade

Boys of Blur
Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson
4/5 stars
Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  This book was so amazing.  Why the 4 stars?  There were just a few spots that dropped my interest.  Mostly in the beginning and very few and far in between.  Once you get the 1/2 way mark, it's very very difficult to put down.
My Goodreads summary:  Wow. Great writing, great story. I'm still thinking about this one.
The book starts fast and quickly gets into the heart of the story. From time to time, I felt a lull in the book (this could be the times that I was reading before bed and couldn't keep my eyes open). It wouldn't last long, but I noticed my attention fading just a bit. Once you reach halfway, it was hard to put the book down.
The writing was fantastic and many reviewers before me have given many examples. With this being a "slim" book, there is a slight misconception as to who this book is for. I think the writing and content is advanced enough that I would put it in the hands of fifth graders and above. A mature fourth grader would probably do fine with it as well.
There are references in the story to Beowolf and while I read it (or maybe it was an excerpt) in high school, I don't remember much about it. When I read the reviews of other people, I think it enhanced their understanding of the story, but I didn't feel my forgetting about it detracted anything. And since I'm pretty sure most middle school readers do not have much background on the story, they should be ok!
I liked the fast pace of the book. It will grip readers and keep them hooked. The writing is tight - no extra descriptions so the reader is kept on a treadmill - the belt just keeps moving

Calli Be Gold
Calli Be Gold by Michele Weber Hurwitz
4/5 stars
This is the second Hurwitz novel I've read this past month and I really enjoy her writing.  I think her target audience is definitely more for girls and I think that audience will really like the characters in her books.  She also sneaks a message in there that is a positive one for girls.  This one is it's ok to be yourself; don't try to make yourself into someone you're not.  Love it!

Can't wait to see what you read!


  1. I enjoyed your cross section of books this week. You are absolutely right about Greg Pizzoli books. He relates well with kids.

  2. Love your lists this week, have added many to the TBR pile!! Thanks...

  3. Wow! What a lot of great books this week! Just saw Two Speckled Eggs on another post so I will definitely be looking for this one! I shared Gravity last week - I love Jason Chu's books! Boys of Blur sounds really interesting - and one that might appeal to my 13 yr. old. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Boys of Blur is one I hope to someday read to my son. I think he would really like it, but he's not quite ready for it yet. Wonderful PBs this week! I've added several to my list. I've been checking the library for Jason Chin's new book, as he's one of my favorite illustrators. I question whether it's possible to make gravity interesting as a concept to me personally, but maybe!

  5. Happy you liked Boys of Blur-so interesting. There is background there that was fascinating to me. I'd love to do a book group with it. Thanks for the science books, too, Michele. You share such good ones & they're always new to me. And Two Speckled Eggs sounds so cute-will look for that, too!

  6. I have Boys of Blur on my list of books to read soon. Gravity looks fantastic. I love his books.

  7. So pleased that you enjoyed Chameleon, Chameleon! I am looking forward to reading Gravity - I am such a fan of Jason Chin.

  8. I should read Boys of Blur soon - there are just so many great MG novels, it seems like I shall never catch up. I just borrowed two picture books by Jason Chin over the weekend, we still don't have Gravity in our library, but I'm sure it's great.