Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Moday! What Are You Reading? 7.20.15

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.

Why is it summer time and I'm having a horrible time staying caught up with my reading?  I've been spending a lot of time reading and writing about some professional reading and learning and I guess that is cutting into my time.  I've been trying to be very sneaky and get some picture books in when I can to up my #bookaday count!

Picture Books

Beach House
Beach House by Deanna Caswell
4/5 stars
What a perfect summertime read!  This book captures a small moment of a family arriving at their beach house and that feeling of getting to a new place but having to be responsible first - unloading and unpacking - before the fun begins.  Told in rhyme, the rolling language and beautiful watercolor and pencil illustrations by Amy June Bates, this book is a sure fire hit for summer!

My Dog Is the Best
My Dog is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson
4/5 stars
I love this early reader picture book!  I think there are some great possibilities for this book that I wrote in this post.

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! by Elise Parsley
4/5 stars
Super cute school story.  Loved the illustrations.  I'll be reading this to students at the beginning of the school year.

Middle Grade

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
5/5 stars
Katherine Applegate amazed me with Ivan.  Her ability to make Ivan say just enough and leave the rest up for the reader to figure out.
She does the same thing with Crenshaw, but with a different voice.  This time Jackson is our narrator, a young boy who is faced with problems that are too big for him.   Jackson teeters on the line of being too young to understand, but smart enough to figure it out.  That's where the magic fits in.  Crenshaw, Jackson's invisible friend from years ago, makes a return.  And sometimes, magic is what you need.
Beautiful story that echoes the magic found in Beekle by Dan Santat and Yard Sale by Eve Bunting.  
This book is a must reread on Sept. 22!

Transitional Chapter Books

Judy Moody and Stink: The Wishbone Wish
Judy Moody and Stink and the Wishbone Wish by Megan McDonald
4/5 stars
Thanksgiving is a time for traditions and this book has plenty of them.  I love how McDonald stays true to Judy's personality while fitting her into timeless acts of Thanksgiving.
Sure to be a fall favorite.  Publishes Sept. 8.

Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time, #2)
Ranger in Time - Danger in Ancient Rome by Kate Messner
4/5 stars
I enjoyed this Ranger story even more than the first one.  There was more fast paced action and excitement that will keep students turning the page.  I'm really looking forward to book 3 where Ranger helps on the Underground Railroad!

Adult Reads

In the Unlikely Event
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
5/5 stars
Judy Blume never fails to amaze me with her talent.  I loved reading this adult novel - the woman still has it!
It was even more fun reading Kathleen Krull's new book - Women Who Broke the Rules - Judy Blume, after reading this new novel!  I wrote about this new series this past Wednesday.

Currently Reading

Goodbye Stranger
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
This is actually my first Stead book, although I have another one in my #mustreadin2015 pile.  I'm really enjoying this one, so far.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Calpurnia Tate, #1)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Still reading it.  I went from listening to reading it.  I listened to 2/3 of it on the way to and from NerdCamp.  For me, this book did not work for an audio.  I had a very hard time paying attention, I think because there is not a whole lot of dialogue or action.  I know there is so much book love for this book and I've read how everyone loves the writing.  I'm hoping by switching to reading it, I may fall in love with it more.  Right now I'm not all that interested.  I really do think audios can make or break a book.  Read below!

Finished Listening With My Ears

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
5/5 stars
I loved reading this book, but listening to it brought it to a whole other level of enjoyment!  There were 4 different narrators and there was music.  I loved the piano and harmonica accompaniment to the words.  My daughter listened with me and loved the stories.  I think had she read this book on her own, she would not have been as engaged.  She is not one to enjoy historical fiction, and I don't think she would have stayed with the book at this age.  But with the music and different storytellers, she always wanted to listen in the car.
For me, this book worked better as an audio than a written text.

I cannot believe it's already the middle of July.  I have so many books I want to read before school starts, and so little time.  I'm already thinking ahead to Mock Newbery time.  We've started a new voxer thread to talk Newbery and I have many books I want to read to prepare for it.  Have you thought about Newbery time?  Any books you would put on a Newbery list yet?  Please leave titles in the comments!

Happy Reading!


  1. I have Crenshaw on my review stack and its nearing the top. I can't wait to read it. Come see my reading week here. Happy reading!

  2. Look at all of these books! I would say you are doing a lot of reading! I read Calpurnia Tate aloud to my children and we loved the language and having a chance to talk about it. I hope you start enjoying it more. Newbery? Hmmm I haven't thought about this yet really. Love to know some titles you are thinking about. I LOVE Stead. When you Reach me is OMG great.

  3. Echo and Crenshaw need to make it to the top of my pile after reading so many rave reviews! I absolutely agree with you about the audio sometimes making or breaking a book. It certainly sounds like the audio of Echo is well done and worth finding. Have a great reading week!

  4. I loved both Callie Vee books but I can definitely see where it would be much harder on audio ... one of the main reasons I liked it was going back and just marveling at the beautiful ways she could put words together! I also enjoyed Echo ... but almost wished she'd have written three separate books. It was VERY long as is for most of my students and I wanted more detail on each of the stories! Nothing can beat Ivan for me because I used to go and visit him (and feel sad for him) when he lived at the mall. I enjoyed Crenshaw for the brave way the family dealt with their crisis. Happy reading!
    Angie from MsOReadsBooks

  5. I am going to have to find Echo on audio. I took the book home, but was kind of overwhelmed by it's length! Have a great week! ~Megan

  6. Calpurnia Tate was a battle of the books book, and my students didn't take to it all that well. Historical fiction is a hard sell, despite my love for it. Ancient Rome, now-- that's always popular! I don't think Echo would do well with my readers, either-- it's funny how some books do well with some students and not with others. Good thing there are lots of books out there!

  7. I've read most of these, loved Crenshaw, but I think Echo is the best I've read so far, Michele. I now need to get the audio, though. I'm sure I missed more beauty by just doing the print book. I love the look of Beach House. Since we do have our house each year, this will be wonderful to take along with us. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks, Michele, for this great list! I also adored ECHO and CRENSHAW. Looking forward to checking out the rest, especially GOODBYE STRANGER!

  9. I love Rebecca Stead. When You Reach Me is a wonder, especially if you're familiar with A Wrinkle in Time, but Liar & Spy is my favorite. I've tried to get through Calpurnia three different times and stalled out each time. Not sure what it is, as so many things about this book seem like they'd be right up my alley. Funny how some books just don't click with certain readers.

  10. Great list, Michele! I picked up Crenshaw at ALA, and it's incredible. Probably one the best books I've read this year.

  11. Oh there are so many gorgeous books on your list. I've orderd My Dog is Best after reading your review. I wish I had Crenshaw in my hands but I'm trying to wait patiently for it. (It isn't like I don't have piles of books waiting for me) I've got Echo as and audiobook on reserve at my local library. It's a long list, so there is another book that is teaching me patience. Happy reading this week.

  12. You are still reading so many books! And I'm feeling your pain! I just am not in the reading groove this summer (I blame it on a toddler!).

    I cannot wait for Crenshaw! I have it, but I am waiting a bit because I want to review it closer to the release date. It taunts me.
    I am definitely going to get the Echo audiobook for when school starts. It is a book I want to read, and everyone is raving about the audiobook.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  13. Echo is so special. I kind of don't want to review it because I fear I won't be able to communicate just how special it is. I agree that the audio is an even better experience than the written text.

    I just started the audio of In the Unlikely Event today. Not sure I'm liking it yet but I haven't even finished the first disc so I need to give it some time. I just dislike how much exposition is needed in adult novels. I don't have the stamina for it. :p

  14. Crenshaw is also on my list! It looks lovely, and now I really want to read it. Cal Tate is one of my absolute favorites, and it surprises me a bit that you aren't enjoying it because it is similar to the ones we tend to love. I really think the audio is playing a big role, and I am glad you switched. If you don't end up loving it, I am still going to blame the audio. :) :)

  15. I enjoyed reading Echo but also wonder about its popularity with young readers, but then again, the mere fact that something as exquisitely written as this exists for young readers gives me hope. I have The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate for a looong time now, but never had the chance to read it yet, I hope I get to it soon enough, I know that there's a sequel that just came out. Love seeing how much love Crenshaw is getting.