Sunday, September 7, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.08.14

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.

I am coming off a very busy week and weekend.  Even though we had Monday off, there is always so much to do.  We had Back to School Night this past week and then this weekend my brother got married!  We had a great weekend in Indianapolis, but it did keep us busy.  I'm trying to pull this post together late Sunday afternoon, so most of my reviews will be carbon copies of my Goodreads reviews.  

Picture Books

Cheetah Can't Lose
Cheetah Can't Lose by Bob Shea
5/5 stars
Ok, when you write a book and you use the phrase "I am very skilly", you have to laugh!  And I did at this hilarious book.  I love how so many of Shea's books have the underdogs being crafty and clever, but always with a big heart.  Use to teach central message - you don't always have to win.  Pair with Pizzoli's Number One Sam.  
In some people's review they talked about how they wished Cheetah had changed more, had a bigger transformation.  I would agree with that.  But I still loved the book!

Inside My Imagination
Inside My Imagination by Marta Arteaga
4/5 stars
This book has many possibilities for teaching writing - ideas, similes, creativity. Great book to use in elementary schools.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki
5/5 stars
Thanks to Carrie Gelson for both this book and the Imagination one.  Great recommendations!
Beautiful story of persistence and working hard for something you want to do.

Aw, Nuts!
Aw, Nuts! by Rob McClurkan
3/5 stars
Young kids are really going to like the antics of squirrel in his quest to have the perfect acorn!

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner
4/5 stars
I love the message of finding the book that speaks to you in this book!

Miss Brooks' Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome)
Miss Brooks' Story Nook by Barbara Bottner
3/5 stars
Follow-up to Miss Brooks Loves Books! This one shares the message that everyone has a story inside of them. Cute, but not as fun as the original.

Show Way
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson
5/5 stars
So frequently, the older the grade level, the less frequently picture books are used in daily teaching. This book is a perfect example of why picture books need to be used in elementary, intermediate and middle school classrooms. 
Beautiful story of how each generation creates a Show Way quilt to tell and teach the story of how slaves helped each other move from the south to the north and continue to fight for freedom over the years.

Middle Grade

A Million Ways Home
A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget
4/5 stars
I loved Poppy's story! My heart went out to her and I wanted to make sure everything was going to be ok. When the book begins, Poppy is living in a home for orphaned/abandoned children while her Grandma Beth recovers from a stroke. Her Grandma Beth is the only family she has, and she means the world to Poppy. When Poppy tries to go visit her, Poppy inadvertently sees a horrible act of violence and is seen by the gunman. 
Go on Poppy's journey as she is protected by a policeman and ends up finding something she is good at (working with dogs) and making a new friend.
This story reminded me a lot of One for the Murphys. My heart went out for Poppy just as it did for Carly.
Thank you Scholastic and Net Galley for the early review copy. This book was released Aug. 26.

The Time of the Fireflies
The Time of the Firefles by Kimberley Griffiths Little
4/5 stars
Part mystery/ghost story/historical fiction. Really enjoyed this story that takes place in the Louisiana bayou. Larissa's family seems to have a lot of bad luck that happens generation to generation. But after some mysterious phone calls, on a phone that doesn't even work, Larissa goes on some mysterious time warp trips that helps her understand more about her family's bad luck streak.

Currently Reading

brown girl dreaming
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
I've been putting off reading this one too much because it's just so beautiful.

Death by Toilet Paper
Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart
I've heard some really great things about this book!


  1. You have some really great books here. I have The Time of Fireflies to read now, but loved Brown Girl Dreaming and I'm very curious about A Million Ways Home. Thanks for posting about these and have a great week.

  2. A Million Ways Home looks good, Michele. thanks for that one especially. I still need to find Hashi Hashimoto! Lots of holds for it at my library! Soon I'll get it. I loved Inside My Imagination, being passed around at school now! I'm not familiar with the Bob Shea books, will look for them, too!

  3. Show Way looks amazing and I agree that picture books need to be utilized more in intermediate classrooms. I will definitely be getting that for our library! Hana Hashimoto is a beautiful story, as is Inside My Imagination. Can't wait to read the Cheetah book! Thank you!

  4. I'm trying to get to Death by Toilet Paper and Brown Girl Dreaming this week too! (Along with 62 trillion other books, it seems like.) I think I'm going to reread Show Way this week. I LOVE the illustrations in that book, but I don't remember the text as well. I agree with you about PBs in upper grades. I've bought quite a few for my son's 6th-grade reading classroom library, though I worry that the teacher won't be able to book talk any of these books and won't know how to use them. Gotta find a way to spread the PB book love! So glad you enjoyed Cheetah Can't Lose--a recent favorite with me too, and I LOVED the line, "I am very skilly." Bob Shea is hilarious!

  5. I need to get around to reading Inside My Imagination. It looks so beautiful.

  6. Show Way looks absolutely beautiful. I love everything by her! I completely agree with your discussion of picture books at the upper level. Thank you for promoting them. Maybe if we all say it, people will start hearing us!

  7. Jacqueline Woodson's picturebooks are haunting and just beautiful. I didn't know about Show Way - is it a new publication? I will definitely look out for that one. Brown Girl Dreaming sounds like a book to fall in love with. :)