Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.22.14

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.

This is the first year I've really tracked my reading and blogged about it.  Apparently around the holidays is a time that I've had trouble keeping up with my reading life!

Here are the very few books I've read in the past two weeks.  I'm really looking forward to holiday #bookaday and getting my reading life back!

Picture Books

Shooting at the Stars
Shooting at the Stars by John Hendrix
5/5 stars
This is such a beautiful book.  It's a great mentor text for historical fiction and it's a great text to use, really at any time during the year, to talk about peace.  I didn't have time to use this book this year with students before it needed to go back to the library, but it's one I would like to purchase.  I'm interested in hearing the conversations kids would have!

Blue on Blue
Blue on Blue by Dianne White
4/5 stars
This really is a beautiful book.  The illustrations are done by Caldecott artist, Beth Krommes, and they are spectacular.  I loved the colors and the detail that went into some of the layouts.  The text is simple, but I think young children will enjoy the simplicity and descriptions of a stormy day.  Another one on the to-be-purchased list!

Informational Texts

Who Is George Lucas?
Who Is George Lucas? by Pamela Pollack
3/5 stars
I really like this series for beginning biographies.  I think this one in particular will be a good one to have on hand with the new Star Wars coming out!

Transitional Chapter Books

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny
Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman
4/5 stars
I had seen some great reviews of this book, just never picked it up.  But when it showed up on John Schu's and Travis Jonker's Best of 2014 list HERE I knew I needed to check it out.  I didn't realize it was a chapter book.  As I flipped through the pages, I got more and more excited.  Each chapter is a little story.  That means young readers don't have to carry the story all the way through.  Perfect for those very young kids.  The font is larger and there is a picture on most page.  Again, makes it perfect for those young chapter book readers.  Or, in my case, perfect for my reading students who want a chapter book, but aren't quite ready for the more difficult vocabulary.  This book is a perfect find for me!

Middle Grade

Bigger than a Bread Box
Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder
4/5 stars
So glad to finally get to this book, and it was on my #MustReadin2014 list (oh my, that's almost over!!!  Carrie, is it time to start thinking of 2015??? And updating, oh my!)
I think it's so important for kids to see themselves in books, and while many characters come from a divorced family, there aren't as many that are going through divorces.  And what every kid wants, regardless of what they are going though, are wishes.  It's a magical book that can combine both.

I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
I Survived the Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis
3/5 stars
It was interesting reading this book, since I grew up in the Chicago suburbs!  I've read many accounts, but most are factual and boring.  I think kids in my area will like having this historical fiction book to read.

Currently Reading

Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole
Santa Clauses by Bob Raczka
My daughter and I continue to read 1 haiku each day.  It's been a great way to countdown to Christmas!  And I've really enjoyed the haikus!

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)
The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson
I loved reading The False Prince this summer and I'm so glad to get back to Sage!  I have Jennifer Nielson's newest book and I'm looking forward to getting into that one too!

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
My True Love Gave to Me:  Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
This would be a perfect gift for a YA-lover!

Hope you have a great holiday and have plenty of time for #bookaday!


  1. Bigger Than a Bread Box is a book we fight over for book club - such important themes there, and so deftly handled for my sixth grade crowd of readers.

  2. I'm in the middle of Breadbox too--not my favorite of the year, I find the writing a bit flat and the characters underdeveloped, but I can see how it would be a good one for the age group it's published for and surprisingly there just aren't that many middle-grade books I've read about divorced parents! Same thing happened to me when I read the Schu/Jonker list--hadn't seen Bunjitsu Bunny anywhere but knew I had to get it! My copy is on its way. Very glad it's more like a chapter book! My YA Book Club read My True Love Gave to Me for our December meeting. I still haven't quite finished it but planning to before Dec 31. Lots of good short stories!

  3. I bought My True Love Gave To Me, & it's being passed around the classroom. I haven't even got to read one story! Love the idea of Shooting At The Stars. Like others who've told that story, it should be good. Just saw Blue on Blue with someone else-on my list, Michele. Thanks for all!

  4. I really enjoyed Bigger Than a Bread Box. It was a great story and the audiobook narrator was fantastic too.

  5. I loved the Big Head Biographies and I Survived series because I think they are both very important in getting kids to read biographies and historical fiction respectively. I didn't know about these two, so thank you for letting me know they are out.
    I love so many of the authors in True Love, so I know I need to get my hands on it.
    So glad you got to Breadbox! I love that the protagonist has divorced parents--it is a needed gap in MG.
    I NEED to read the False Prince series. Maybe if I partake in #mustread2015 I'll put it on my list.

    Happy holidays, and happy reading this week! :)

  6. Yes, to Must Read in 2015 and yes to updates!! I am thinking exactly that as I try and squeeze in a few more titles! Some I won't get to but I have very good reasons why not . . . :-) Going to be smarter with my 2015 list! (It is already in draft form!) I loved the False Prince series. Excited to read the next series by Nielsen. It is a family affair. I read her books aloud to my children!

  7. I have had Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny on my TBR list for quite some time. You and Carrie both blogged about it this week. I better get to it! Shooting Stars also looks excellent. Thank you for sharing these books this week! Happy holidays, friend!

  8. Shooting at the Stars sounds so much like "And the soldiers sang" by J. Patrick Lewis - if I am not mistaken the setting is exactly the same. I will have to find this newest novel from that moment in history. :)