Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.20.14 and #MustReadin2014 update

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 caught up on some reading this Sunday, but it seems like there is always more to do!  I read Sam and Dave Dig a Hole this week and it's begging for another read before I review it.  I need a little more time to process it!  I have a huge stack of books that I need to get to, just not sure where I'll get the time! 
Last week I was supposed to update my #MustReadin2014 books, but with as crazy as I've been, it didn't happen.  I'm attaching it to the bottom of this post, but not much was crossed out! I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to get to the adult books, but that's ok, so many great books have been read this year!  I think I may be a little pickier with my 2015 picks!

Picture Books

Ruby's Wish
Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges
4/5 stars
Love how strong and determined Ruby is!  Great story to encourage students to work hard at their goals.  I read this story years ago, but it's always fun to pick a story up after years of not reading it, it's always interesting to think how a different class would react to the story!

Informational Texts

Voices from the Oregon Trail
Voices From the Oregon Trail by Kay Winters
4/5 stars
I really liked this book for students to learn about what the people went through as they traveled the Oregon Trail.  So much can be learned by the narrative stories - different from a dry, historical account, I think it would be interesting for kids to read this with the lens of "What can I learn about the Oregon Trail?"  There are very detailed end pages, with the author detailing her own car trip of the Oregon Trail in 2008.

Books for 2nd/3rd graders

Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
4/5 stars
I read books 1-4 this weekend and #5 has its Book Birthday this Tuesday!  This is such a great series for kids.  Young kids who are ready for chapter books will love this series, as will kids who are a bit older but just enjoy reading a good book.  I'm so thrilled that this series has been republished with Dan Santat illustrations.  His full color pictures bring the book to life, so much more than the original black and white illustrations.  The comic pages will entice readers to return to the series again and again.  The flip-o-rams pages, which are even written to be cheesy, are cheesy, but kids will love them.  I'm thrilled to have a fun series to pass off to my reluctant readers!

Young Adult

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
4/5 stars
This book had a very interesting concept.  It was actually 2 books in 1.  The chapters alternated between the story of the writer and her life - which had plenty of drama - including how she brought her story to life, and the story of the story.  The main character is Darcy, a recent high school grad who wrote a novel in 30 days.  Her story is about what happens after the novel is purchased by a publisher and what happens from that point to publication.  I really enjoyed hearing about this side of publishing, since you don't always hear everything that goes into the pre-pub life of a book.  Darcy falls in love for the first time with another female writer and their lives intertwine while trying to both work on their novels.  However, we also have another story to follow with another main character, Lizzie.  Lizzie's story is the novel that Darcy is writing.  We get to read that whole novel, as well.  I enjoyed Lizzie's story the most, which is about her journey into the afterworld - although not dead, she is able to go between both worlds.  
The writing was very good, but there were parts that I had to push through.  Something about it held me back a bit.  I thought it was interesting to see what Darcy was thinking about her story and how it came together while reading the story.
Good read for high school students, I would love to hear how they interpret the many levels.

Currently Reading and On-Deck

Isn't this how it always works, lots of great books out to read but also a lot of great books just came into the library for me??

El Deafo
I'm starting El Deafo, but I'm also trying to get through these library books before they are due:  Garth Stein's A Sudden Light, Marie Lu's The Young Elites and Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time.  


Middle grade:

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Treasure Hunters by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo read 2.16.14
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan read 6.15.14
The Quirks by Erin Soderberg read 8.07.14
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen read 6.27.14
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt read 1.28.14
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff read 4.05.14
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Winners Take All by Fred Bowen
The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff
Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder read 3.16.14
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd read 1.31.14


eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell read 2.23.14
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
delirium by Lauren Oliver
Divergent by Veronica Roth read 2.27.14
The Land of Stories The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer read 7.30.14


Dream It! Do It! by Marty Sklar
What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Morning Glory by Sarah Jio
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Inferno by Dan Brown


  1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts about El Deafo! It's one of my favorite 2014 reads!

  2. I still want to get El Deafo,certainly on my list of "musts". As for your list of 'must reads'-I've fallen behind too, but have read most of the ones on your list-funny! Of all of them, I just finished Better Nate Than Ever, & really loved it, now looking forward to the recent one out! Hope your week is full of good reading, whatever you choose, Michele!

  3. Afterworlds looks intriguing! Just about to start El Deafo, too - I'll have to check your review next week.

  4. I've got to get the Ricky Ricotta series with Dan Santat's illustrations. We LOVE Dan Santat's work--when I give my son a pile of books to look through to select our next read-aloud, if there's a Dan Santat cover in the mix, he always picks that one! One of my reading goals for 2014 was to read more books for grown-ups, but it hasn't happened. I'm too happy in my world of children's and middle grade right now!

  5. Scott Westerfeld is very hit or miss for me. I was glad to read your review. I hadn't heard of that new book by him, but it seems interesting. I may check it out---although based on your review, I won't go running to read it. :)

  6. Hi there Michele, Shirin Bridges was one of our speakers during the Asian Festival of Children's Content last year. :) I have yet to read her Ruby's Wish though. :)