Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.16.14

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.

#bookaday is officially underway!  Let the reading begin!

Picture Books

Three Bears in a Boat
Three Bears in a Boat
 by David Soman

4/5 stars
This book is crave-worthy because of the beautiful illustrations!  It makes you want to return to the book over and over just to see them again!  Three little bears have accidentally broken their mother's favorite blue seashell so they set sail on an adventure to replace it.  They meet some other bear sailors, my favorite being the old timer who likes to start his sentences with "I reckon...".  Along the way they learn a lesson about the important things in life and how to admit when you're wrong.

Ninja! by Arree Chung
5/5 stars
I loved this beautiful picture book!  It had several laugh out loud moments!  The ninja descriptions and ninja action words were fantastic.  I loved how some of the pages were separated into frames - almost like a beginning graphic novel.  My favorite part is when the young ninja gets caught, and his downtrodden face and "I am dishonored" will make you giggle out loud!  This is a must read!

Toy Boat
Toy Boat by Randall de Seve
4/5 stars
Beautiful illustrations.  Use when teaching central message.  The book has 2 - the boy in the story learns something and the toy boat learns a lesson.

Bats at the Beach
Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
4/5 stars
I found this book through another blogger (I can't remember who, but thank you!).  This book is so wonderful!  I think kids will love exploring the concept - nocturnal animals and what they do at night.  You could pair it with Snowmen at Night for a familiar theme.  Love the illustrations!

Chloe by Peter McCarty
3/5 stars
Use during Turn Off the TV week

Because I Stubbed My Toe
Because I Stubbed My Toe by Shawn Byous
4/5 stars
Perfect for cause/effect and surprise endings!

Big Bad Bubble
Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin
3/5 stars

If I Had a Raptor
If I Had a Raptor by George O'Connor
3/5 stars

Books Always Everywhere
Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt
3/5 stars

Sophie Sleeps Over
Sophie Sleeps Over by Marisabina Russo
3/5 stars

Informational Texts

A Boy and a Jaguar
A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz
4/5 stars
Fantastic narrative nonfiction about the author and how he was able to rise above his stuttering disability because of his work with big cats, particularly the jaguar.  If you are doing a mock Schneider or mock Sibert Award, I would put this book on both lists!

Books from New York Times Best Illustrated Books List
I read several books from this list this week.

Ballad by Blexbolex

3/5 stars
This was an interesting one for me.  I picked this book up because it landed on the NYT Best Illustrated Books list.  And the illustrations were very unique.  But this book is misleading as it's definitely meant for an older audience.  Few words, more illustrations.  Readers have to infer what is going on.  Would best be used as a whole group, small group, or partner read.  It needs to be discussed while being read.  Lots of interpretations!

Nasreddine by Odile Weulersse
4/5 stars
Turkish folk tale.  Beautifully told.  Lovely illustrations but the dad was a little strange to me.  Looked like he had stilts for legs?

Where's Mommy?
Where's Mommy? by Beverly Donofrio
3/5 stars
Cute story for younger readers, but amazing illustrations.  The details in the illustrations were fantastic.


Outside the Box: A Book of Poems
Outside the Box by Karma Wilson
4/5 stars
If you are a fan of Shel Silverstein, as many young kids are, this book will be perfect.  A collection of poems in rhyme, these poems will make you smile, chuckle and laugh.  Add in illustrations by Diane Goode and you have a can't miss book.

Middle Grade

Circa Now
Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner
5/5 stars
I have a love/hate relationship with these type of books.  I love them.  I get immersed in their world.  I can read for hours at a time.  They are page turners for me.  But I hate them.  I hate when the story is over.  I hate saying goodbye to the characters.  I hate saying goodbye to the amazing writing.  There are not many books I can say this to - Wonder and Snicker of Magic come to mind immediately.
Here is my Goodreads summary:  It's really hard to write a review for a book as good as Circa Now. This is one of those books I slowed down to read, trying to make it last as long as I could. 
It was a fantastic story. I loved the concept of reality mixing with fantasy. While it was a sad story, it was also one of hope. Circa was a lovely main character - one you would want to know in "real life". 
Turner did a fantastic job writing this book. I loved the way she intertwined the parts of the story. 
My favorite line, "Thank you for the thens, she thought. And thank you for the now." pg 265

Counting by 7s
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
5/5 stars
My Goodreads review:  It took me awhile to connect to Willow Chance. I needed time to let her get under my skin. Once she did, I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight; make her world right. I loved this book for the fact that it showed what makes up family. How characters can change. How people can make sense of their world. Beautifully written.
I loved Willow because she realized "books=comfort"
I recommend this book for middle school readers.
So many lovely lines:
pg. 135 "I admire that in a person. The ability to keep your mouth shut is usually a sign of intelligence. Introspection requires you to think and analyze. It's hard to do that when you are blabbing away."
pg. 175 "For someone grieving, moving forward is the challenge. Because after extreme loss, you want to go back... No matter how hard, they try, other people do not understand because I'm incapable of communication. And that is why the deepest form of pain comes out as silence."
pg. 278 "That's why this running matters. I think that the effort put forward in matters of physical exertion is more important than the outcome."
pg. 289 "Dell Duke is not a bad person. He is just bad at being a person."
pg. 351 "A second can feel like forever if what follows is heartbreak."
pg. 355 "This is one of the secrets that I have learned in the last few months. When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama."
pg. 359 "If there is anything I've figured out in the last months it's that you can find labels to organize living things, but you can't put people in any kind of group or order. It just doesn't work that way."

Currently Reading

Absolutely Almost
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

and for me...
China Dolls
China Dolls by Lisa See
(I guess I'm into reading books by the authors with the name of Lisa!!)

My professional book is still Readers Front and Center, I've just taken a break on professional reading for a bit!  I'll have it done in early July :)

Can't wait to see what you are reading!


  1. Isn't summer bookaday great? I am looking forward to Ninja. My students loved the trailer. China Dolls is on my TBR too. Have a great week. :)

  2. Wow! What an amazing list you have this week! I want to read China Dolls, too! I just read about Circa Now at Katherine's blog. I will make sure to read it this summer!

  3. I just finished Snicker of Magic yesterday and have been feeling cranky ever since because I really didn't want it to end! NOW what am I supposed to read?! (Circa Now perhaps??) I loved the illustrations in Nasreddine. Just beautiful. Ninja is one I'm really excited about. Think I'll probably break down and order it this week!

  4. So many fun picture books to add to my TBR list. Thanks!

  5. Ninja is definitely one I am looking forward to reading. And Absolutely Almost is so fantastic! I hope you love it!

  6. I keep seeing Circa Now & Absolutely Almost-new, good books to look for! I enjoyed Counting By 7s, but some of our younger kids didn't care for it, too thoughtful maybe? Instead of action-packed? I have loved some of the picture books you shared, but am really interested in Nasredine and the Toy Boat-both sound just different enough to catch readers. Thanks for so much, Michele!

  7. I added several of your books to my wish lists. Can't wait to purchase the ninja book. It sounds perfect for my library.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

  8. Ninja looks awesome!!!
    I saw The Boy and the Jaguar on a blog for the first time last week, and it looks like something I'll need to get my hands on.
    Counting by 7s is on my to be read soon-ish pile. I can't wait to get to it.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  9. Holy cow. I don't know where to start. There are so many wonderful books here. Reading your review of CIRCA NOW put it on my must-read shelf. As you know, WONDER and SNICKER are two of my favorites as well. I also am glad to read your review of COUNTING BY 7S. You are certainly keeping me busy. :) :)

  10. Ballad was just plain bizarre. I'm still not sure how I feel about that book.

  11. Love Nasreddine! I want my own copy I loved it so much. Counting by 7s was one of my absolute favourites last year. Looking forward to reading Circa Now. I really want to find Ninja.

  12. You do have lots of great titles here. Nasreddine looks like a book I would enjoy. I used Counting by 7s for my book club here in Singapore with young readers and we all just loved that novel. I fell in love with the voice of Willow Chance.