Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.28.14

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.

As of today, school starts in 3 weeks.  The beginning of school always brings excited anticipation for a new year, but it also means my reading has to slow down!  And it means I need to bump up my reading, I don't think I've gotten far in my summer Must Reads list!  

I read a lot of books, particularly picture books this week.  All are reviewed on my goodreads page.  Here are some of the standouts from the week:

Picture Books

Mogie: The Heart of the House
Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt
5/5 stars
Having experience with staying at a house close to a hospital, I can't tell you what places like Ronald McDonald Houses do for families with sick, injured or recovering children.  They are amazing.  I love that this book shows them but also what the people - or in this case, animals! - do for the kids.

The Most Magnificent Thing
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
5/5 stars
Why did I wait so long to read this book??  This book and the following 2 I've owned since their release dates (awhile ago now), but I'm just now getting the time to read them.
I love this book because it's me.  I have an idea in my head and sometimes it's so hard to get that idea down on paper, whether writing or drawing.  And that's me when the little girl get so frustrated she ends up hurting herself.  Well, I don't always hurt myself, but I know that feeling of explosion!  And then needing a walk to clear your head, and coming back to your project with a clear mind.  Love this book.  It will pair really well with....

What Do You Do with an Idea?
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
5/5 stars
Yup, this one has been sitting in my house for awhile too.
I love this book because I think you can do so many different things with it.  I think it also take multiple readings of this book to really either get it, or to form your own idea of what it is talking about.  And there will be different ideas that come from different thinkers.  It's going to be a really good book to talk about in a classroom!  I think I'll actually use it with older kids.  I think they will be able to interpret it in different ways.
I think this book would also be good to use to show how your thinking changes as you read it.  At least, my thinking changed.  

The Mermaid and the Shoe
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell
4/5 stars
My last PB that I've had for months and just finally read.
Sweet story, I love books that show how people can find their own passion/identity/person.   Also great to add to fairy tale collection.
I loved K.G. Campbell's illustrations in Flora and Ulysses, which is the primary reason why I bought this book.  The illustrations were beautiful and stunning to look at.  But... did anyone else get a little weirded out by the interesting shell placement?  They just looked odd to me!

The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life
The Bathing Costume or The Worst Vacation of my Life by Charlotte Moundlic
4/5 stars
This is the perfect book to read right now, in the summer.  It's written across a week of young Ronnie's life while going on vacation with his grandparents and mean, older cousins.  Ronnie, being the youngest, is of course the butt of all jokes.  Literally.  At one point he has to wear a "bathing costume" (aka swimsuit) that is huge on him and falls down.  This book is deceiving because it is a picture book, but is longer and is separated by each day he is on vacation.  This would be a good read aloud for the beginning of the year because of the length of the book, because so many kids will relate and the laugh out loud moments!
Thanks Alyson for originally showing this book!

The Bad Birthday Idea
The Bad Birthday Idea by Madeline Valentine
4/5 stars
This book should be read to (and by) anyone who has siblings!  Tale as old as time...
Younger sibling wants to play with older sibling and the older sib's cool toy.
Older sibling says no.
It's the younger sib's bday.  Younger sib gets the NEW model of the coveted toy.
Older sibling does something not good....

for me, it was Cabbage Patch Dolls.  And I was the older sibling  *hangs head in shame*

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by Anne Isaacs
4/5 stars
Perfect book to use with 3rd-5th grade.  Great examples of exaggerated language.  I love how the illustrations add to the story.  Longer picture book and a lot to talk about with older kids!

Informational Texts

The Fly     The Worm
The Fly by Elise Gravel
The Worm by Elise Gravel
3/5 stars
Thanks to Carrie Gelson, I found this new series - Disgusting Critters.  In both books I read, I repeatedly said, "ewwww!"  This series stays true to its name (disgusting critters) by providing true, but disgusting information but in a fun way that will attract young readers.  The books provide just basic information, no details or nonfiction text features and no additional information at the end.

Middle Grade

The Great Greene Heist
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
4/5 stars
I snuck this book in earlier than anticipated because I needed to get ready for #sharpschu book club!  I knew I needed to read it early to make sure it was ok for my 9yo.  It's a little above that level, but nothing stood out as being inappropriate.  I'm sure she missed a few things, but she overall understood it pretty well.  I loved reading her tweets.  She had better insight to the book than I thought, and certainly said more in her tweets than she did in the conversation I had with her about the book!  The best news of the night came from the author, Varian Johnson, that he is currently working on a sequel to the book!
Here's my Goodreads review:

The Fourteenth Goldfish
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
5/5 stars
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Net Galley.
I can't wait to actually have a copy of this book in my hands to pass out to kids.  This is a perfect example of a talented author - Holm writes a book that is so different from her others (well, there's maybe a little bit of "Squish" in here!) and still writes it so well.
I think kids will like reading about Ellie and her grandpa.  I hope they hold the question, "when does science go too far" in their heads as they read this book.  Check it out on 8.26!

Listening with my ears

Things Not Seen (Things, #1)
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
This book has been in my TBR pile for years!  I think the outside pages are actually yellowing, that's how long I've had this book!  I saw the audio CDs at the library and figured this would be a great way to get this book read :)

Currently Reading

I will finish this book this week!  
The Enchantress Returns (The Land of Stories, #2)

Coming up next:

Night of the Twisters     We Were Liars

And continuing to read these too:

Read Write Teach: Choice and Challenge in the Reading-Writing Workshop     Readers Front & Center: Helping All Students Engage with Complex Text


  1. Isn't The Most Magnificent Thing fantastic??? So much good stuff in that book to share with students about the creative process. Come to think of it, I need to buy my own copy of that book so I can have it for my classroom!

  2. I wish I'd had The Bathing Costume last week at the beach-a must get for next year! Glad you enjoyed The Great Greene Heist, and The 14th Goldfish-both good for very different reasons I think. And The Most Magnificent Thing is a book to use a lot in classrooms. Great books here, Michele. Thanks for Mogie, too-I haven't seen about it.

  3. Just added the Most Magnificent Thing to my list and I cannot wait for The Fourteenth Goldfish. I really enjoyed The Great Green Heist. I look forward to your thoughts on We Were Liars -- a powerful, haunting book that has stayed with me for lots of reasons. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great books this week! I am so glad that you got to and enjoyed What Do You Do with An Idea? Such a lovely little book. Love the cover of The Bathing Costume! I am so excited about The Fourteenth Goldfish. So, so excited. I just picked up another Disgusting Creatures title - The Worm. True, these titles don't have any nonfiction features or guaranteed information you might be looking for - but there is great kid appeal. And I hope they lead my little readers to read more comprehensive nonfiction titles on the same topics! I am going to introduce them with a companion book.

  5. Great list, thanks! Waiting on my library to order "What Do You Do with an Idea" because I have been seeing so many intriguing reviews (especially paired with "The Most Magnificent Thing). Also put in a request for "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch" - love this kind of book!

  6. Things Not Seen audio was my very first audio book ever! I really enjoyed it--I hope you do too.
    Lots of good books this week! I have many of these in my TBR and have already ordered Mermaid and Idea from my library :)

    Happy reading this week! :)

  7. I read What Do You Do With an Idea and The Bathing Costume this week too. Did a really quick post this week and didn't include Bathing Costume, but I did like it quite a bit, especially the humor and the art. I am also really liking those longer PBs right now. I am going to share What Do You Do With an Idea with my college students this fall in my new Digital Literacy course (which is going to focus a lot on making stuff). Looking forward to the discussion! I think I go back in 3 weeks too. Can't believe summer is almost over. I have so much reading I still want to get too! (I also have Linda Rief's new book at the top of my PD stack!)

  8. I just requested a copy of The Fourteenth Goldfish. Thank you for sharing! It looks delightful. I hope you enjoy We Were Liars. It is a goodie!

  9. I loved The Most Magnificent Thing too! I'm reading the Fourteenth Goldfish right now and am going to use that for the Global Read Aloud. Like it so far! :)