Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3.16.15

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.

A little more normal reading week!  I've had so many holds from the library come in, so lots of picture book reading!  With all the holds, that means my #mustreadin2015 slows down a bit with these other books taking priority.  That darn 3 week checkout!

Picture Books

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise
Hoot Owl Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor
4/5 stars
When I first started reading this story, I didn't know how I was going to feel about it.  It ended up being very cute, one I want to share with my younger readers.
It's a great mentor text for simile and metaphor, too!
The "disguises" the hoot owl comes up with will have younger audiences laughing for sure.  And his last "prey" is very amusing :)

Home by Carson Ellis
5/5 stars
This one went on my must purchase list.  First of all, the illustrations are beautiful.  I think it could also be used to talk about what makes up a home?  What is a home to you?  The simple text packs a powerful message.  
And I think I could go back and look at the illustrations days in a row and find something new!

The Thing About Spring
The Thing About Spring by Daniel Kirk
3/5 stars
It was cute, but I didn't love it.  As spring arrives, Bunny is not happy about winter leaving (what????).  He's going to miss making bunny angels and snow forts.  His friends show him the fun things about this next season coming until Bunny finds how his remaining piece of winter combined with spring to make everyone happy.

Informational Texts

The Thrills and Chills of Amusement Parks
The Thrills and Chills of Amusement Parks by Jordan Brown
3/5 stars
I think Alyson Beecher featured this series on her blog a few weeks ago.  I'm hoping to find some readers that will be interested in this series.  I like that the science of common experiences are explained.  Make those kids think a bit!

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Seeds of Freedom by Hester Bass
5/5 stars
Beautiful story about the integration that took place in the 1960.  Great mentor text how to take a smaller moment to write about - the civil rights moment is huge and so many important events took place in Alabama.  The author pinpoints the town of Huntsville, Alabama and how it tried to have a peaceful integration in 1963.  The author clearly shows how the city had more peace than violence during this tumultuous time.  This is a book I will be adding to my collection.

Transitional Chapter Books

My Family Adventure (Sofia Martinez)
Sofia Martinez My Family Adventure by Jacqueline Jules
4/5 stars
I found this book on Crystal Brunelle's blog a little ways back and I'm glad I was able to get it from the library.  This is a great transitional chapter book series for young kids.  There are 3 stories in the book and each story has several chapters.  Easier text and colorful illustrations will catch student's interests.  The series tells Sofia's adventures and features her familia (Spanish glossary found in the back of the book!).
Fans of Kylie Jean and Heidi Heckelbeck will find a new friend in Sofia.
I got this copy from the library, but I will be purchasing a few from this series.  I know some girls who will really enjoy these stories.

Graphic Novel

Sidekicks by Dan Santat
4/5 stars
I know I'm a little late to the game reading this one.  I've checked it out from the library before, just never got around to reading it.  It landed on the 2016 IL Bluestem Choice Award list and I knew it would be an easy sell to many of my students.  I really enjoyed the Sidekicks and their passion to help their owner!

Middle Grade

Listen, Slowly
Listen, Slowly by Thannha Lai
5/5 stars
Oh my gosh.  Put this on your must read now list.  
It was such a pleasure to read.  I said on my goodreads review, I think this was the book of 2015 that I immediately hugged to my heart upon finishing it. 
I loved the main character, Mai.  She has the perfect middle grade voice.  She was sarcastic, but unsure of herself.  She wanted to please adults, but was self-centered at times.  She loved her family, but needed space.  She learned so much about herself by being put into an unfamiliar place.
Woven in with Mai's story, is Ba's story.  Ba is Mai's grandmother who is on a return trip to Vietnam to find out what really happened to her husband after the war.  Told in bits and pieces, Ba's story is as important to us as Mai's self-discovery.

Currently Reading

My adult read is Jeffrey Archer's Mightier Than the Sword.  I'm almost done with this fifth installment of the Clifton Chronicles.  I enjoy this series and I know it won't be the last one. All I can say is I'm really glad my family isn't involved in politics or business to the level the Clifton family is!
My middle grade read is The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold.
A colleague loaned me The Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim.  Have you heard of this one?

One more week and it's Spring Break reading time!


  1. Listen Slowly sounds wonderful--can't wait to get to it. I really loved Inside Out & Back Again so I'm excited about a new title from this author. Home is a must-purchase for me too. I'm actually thinking about purchasing two copies--one to cut up and frame. I was just thinking this past week that I love children's picture book art so much--why not buy some of my favorites and cut them into prints to frame? I have Seeds of Freedom sitting on my shelf to be read--hopefully this week!

  2. I've added Home to my shopping cart along with Listen Slowly. At my library we love Inside Out and Back Again. I'll try to find a copy of Sofia Martinez My Family Adventure, to preread before deciding on purchasing it.

  3. We just got Listen Slowly in our library and I gave it to a student. Me, next? I'm still interested in Home, not sure I want to buy it, but will certainly share with the primary teachers. I have Seeds of Freedom, maybe will review for Wednesday. It's such a nice idea, isn't it? We have two more weeks till break-conferences this week! Thanks, Michele.

  4. Oh I am very curious about this Sofia Martinez series. Wonder if my bookstore will have. My girls love Heidi Hecklebeck. Home is on my wishlist. May not be able to resist too much longer!

  5. We are reading Listen Slowly right now too - such as incredible story. Thank you for telling us about Sofia Martinez and The Thrills and Chills Amusement Parks. We are always on the lookout for new series that kids will love.

  6. Hi Michele, Seeds of Freedom and Home are going right on my library request list.

  7. How can I NOT pick up Listen, Slowly after your review? Thank you for sharing your love of it! I will be sure to get a copy!

  8. Yay Sidekicks! I love when one of my friends gets to read a book I love for the first time. It makes me jealous because I always wish I could go back to read books the first time.
    I am looking forward to reading Lai's newest. Inside Out was so powerful.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  9. I just got Home from the library but haven't read it yet. I'm looking forward to it after reading your thoughts.

  10. Your description of Listen Slowly made me fall in love with it, and I haven't even read it yet. I absolutely loved Inside Out and Back again and looking forward to reading more of Thanhha Lai's novels-in-verse. :)