Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.15.14

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.

Another tough week to find time to read.  I squeezed most of these picture books in on Sunday night!  I have quite a few more picture books to read and I always have more chapter books and I even have some adult reads waiting for me.  I need to find a way to not sleep!

Picture Books

I Know a Bear
I Know a Bear by Mariana Ruiz Johnson
3/5 stars
I thought this book was hard to rate.  I really wanted to like it.  It had a sweet character and I liked the story ok, but I thought the central message, while a good one, could be easily misinterpreted by a younger audience.

Telephone by Mac Barnett
4/5 stars
Very cute story about birds telling each other, one at a time, a message to pass on to the younger bird.  

Louise Loves Art
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
5/5 stars
How can you not love a book that exclaims on the opening page, "I love art!  It's my imagination on the outside."  That line grabbed my attention and my heart, and I knew it was a book I would love!  I love the characters - Louise and her passion, Art and his desire to please his sister, and the cat who knows how to own a pose!  Kids will love this book!

Patient for Pumpkins
Patient for Pumpkins by Linda L. Knoll
4/5 stars
Primary teachers will want to see this book!  Teaching the life cycle of a pumpkin compared to other fruits and vegetables sold in a farmer's market in a narrative style.  A young boy is excited to get a pumpkin, but must be patient for fall's arrival.  The far left side of the page shows what a pumpkin is doing during that month the boy visits the market.  For example, when the boy visits in July, the cutaway shows the pumpkin plant flowering and a bee pollinating it.

I'm My Own Dog
I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein
4/5 stars
Use this for point of view.  Use as a mentor text - have students write from another point of view!

Wordless Picture Books

The Girl and the Bicycle      The Boy and the Airplane
The Girl and the Bicycle and The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett
I really enjoyed both books, but I thought The Girl and the Bicycle had a better story to follow.  I think The Girl would be a great book to use when taking about characters.  I liked the beginning and end of The Boy, those parts brought the idea of the book together.

Middle Grade

Death by Toilet Paper
Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart
5/5 stars
Fantastic middle grade read.  Your heart will break for Ben and you'll want to open your arms to Ben's family and help them out.  You heart breaks for Ben not only because of the things he has to deal with, but because you know there are kids out there today dealing with these issues:  the death of a parent, wondering where your parent is going to get the money for the rent, and clothes and food, and in Ben's case, toilet paper, dealing with a loved one who is going through memory loss, the ups and downs of friendship and the worst, peer bullying.  Ben goes through all of this with a grace that you wish you had an ounce of, to get you through situations that don't seem quite as bad as Ben's.  Gephart has captured the feeling of loss but having just enough hope to get you through.

Currently Reading

brown girl dreaming
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
I've been reading this for a couple of weeks now, but I'm going to have to finally finish this beautifully written book this week!

Fish In A Tree
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of this book. Can't wait to really dig in.


  1. Those two middle grade books are on my list/in my TBR pile - cannot wait to begin reading them!

  2. I read Death by Toilet Paper this week too and thought it was excellent. I've also been reading Brown Girl Dreaming for over a week now--not wanting to pick it up and finish because I don't want it to be over! Just added Louise Loves Art to my new book order.

  3. I agree! Art IS our imagination on the outside! I am going to see if my library has a copy of that book. Thank you for your review. I was thrilled to hear you got your hands on a copy of Freedom Summer. I can't wait to hear what you think about it! :)

  4. Wow - fantastic looking novels - I want to read them all. Loved both of these wordless titles. Just so clever.

  5. Jealous that you have Fish In A Tree, Michele. Can't wait till it comes out! I love the idea of Patient for Pumpkins, will look for that one! I noted Louise Loves Art too!

  6. Great reviews, and now you have me intrigued about Death by Toilet Paper!

  7. I just wrote a fall TBR list of 5 books, and you have two of them on your list: Toilet Paper and Fish. I so want to read them both!
    Enjoy brown girl dreaming. Beautiful!
    Love "Art is our imagination on the outside"!!!! Wonderfully said book! I definitely need to read that one.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  8. I think my last comment disappeared. I loved The Girl and the Bicycle but wasn't a fan of The Boy and the Airplane. Strange how that works out.

    1. I was also a bigger fan of The Girl and the Bicycle. :)

  9. Hi Michelle! You have some GREAT new books here that I haven't seen! Patient for Pumpkins looks like a must for my school library! And Death By Toilet Paper - what a great title and one that will certainly appeal to the middle school crowd! I have Telephone on my post this week too - it's a great one! Thank you!

  10. I read Louise Loves Art last week (though I forgot to record that on Goodreads - eek!) and that same line stood out to me. It's a cute book.

  11. I loved The Girl and The Bicycle - found it several weeks back from the library. Will be looking for the other one by Mark Pett as well. Death by Toilet Paper sounds like so much fun! :)