Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.21.15

IMWAYR 2015 logo

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.

Last Week's Adventures:

What is the biggest impact a teacher can have on a student? Answered here.

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
Starting Genius Hour? Try reading this pb biography about a small idea that went on to make big changes.  Learn more here

Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks!        Freckleface Strawberry: Lunch, or What's That?
Love this new beginning chapter book series.

Sloth Slept on
This week's reading like a writer post using the book Sloth Slept On.

Picture Books

That's (Not) Mine
That's (Not) Mine by Anna Kang
4/5 stars
I enjoyed Kang and Weyant's Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small last year.  But this one I think even surpasses it.  All kids (and adults) go through the "mine" stage (some stay in it, or go back to it from time to time).  This book is relatable in a humorous way that can be used over and over to bring the lesson home.  I think this book is a stronger medal contender than their previous book!

The OK Book       It's Not Fair!
The Ok Book and It's Not Fair! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I read both of these books to prepare for GRA and I can see why The OK Book will be read in the last week.  What a great book to end on!  Although the "it's not fair" phrase has been used in my household a lot lately.  May need to refer the 10yo to this book....

Informational Texts

I am Lucille Ball
I Am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer
3/5 stars
I do like the "Ordinary People Change the World" series.  I think it's an interesting way to tell a biography, using some narration, some graphic novel format.  And telling the person's story in the first person.  I think young readers will learn a little bit about the person and since it's in a narrative format, it's easy to read.  I also like the message each book has for its young readers - always about being true to yourself and working hard for what you believe in.  
Although those are things that make this series unique, I think it does lack in other areas.  Showing the character as a comic, young person throughout the entire biography, even though the book goes through the character's life, can be confusing for young readers.  In the graphic novel format, there are liberties taken with the dialogue that again, could also be confusing - discussion of what are real quotes would need to occur.  Recently, Meltzer has started adding timelines, real photographs and sources to the end of the books.  Those are welcome additions.
I will continue to add these books to my collection and use them for fun reading.

Middle Grade

Paper Things
Paper Things by Jennifer Richards Jacobson
5/5 stars
Oh, I loved this story.  Like The Thing About Jellyfish which I read earlier this month, both books feature protagonists that find themselves in uncomfortable situations that are out of their control.  When the writing is as well-down as it is in both of these novels, you feel your heart reach out to the characters in a way that draws you into the story and you think about them long after the book ends.  Just gorgeous.

Young Adult

Read Between the Lines
Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles
4/5 stars
I've always enjoyed books that have multiple narrators that center around the same event.  It's a true testament to the author's talent to make you think about one event/idea in multiple perspectives.  Knowles pulls this off well and I enjoyed seeing how the stories came together.  Some people you saw in multi-faceted ways, others were one dimensional.  The only one I was confused about was the last story.  It was told in a different POV and I didn't connect to it the same way.
As I added this book on goodreads, I read the beginning of the review that asked "does anyone ever see us for who we really are?"  I had not kept that question in my head as I read, and now I can't stop thinking about it.  It's a question I want to explore as I talk more about this book.
Did you read this book too?  Join our informal Twitter chat this Wednesday at 9pm EST.  We'll be using the hashtag #RBTLchat.

Currently Reading

My Dog Is Better Than Your ...     Upside-Down Magic     Moving Target
I am getting ready for our upcoming Scholastic Book Fair by reading some of the books that will be featured:
Crimebiters! by Tommy Greenwald
Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins
Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez


  1. I haven't read Read Between The Lines, so will have to pass on the chat this time. I'm sure it's interesting; I always enjoy Knowles' books.I have Paper Things, haven't gotten to it, yet. The picture books, The OK Book and It's Not Fair sound as if they both should be used in younger classrooms, starting good talks about relationships, etc. Thanks, Michele, good to see your ideas about these!

  2. I've got Read Between the Lines sitting in a pile somewhere.... wish I'd planned better to finish (or even start, LOL) in time for the chat. I'm looking forward to GRA and revisiting many favorite Rosenthal titles. I have a feeling I won't be able to limit myself to just those on the list for GRA either! I really want to get my hands on Sloth Slept On--sloths are just awesome!

  3. Nice looking assortment of books. I haven't read any of them yet. Here is my reading week. Happy reading!

  4. I have Read Between the Lines on my to-read list, but I don't think I will get to it before the chat, although I still enjoy reading the chats even when I haven't read the books!

  5. I am so sad that I won't get to Read Between the Lines before the chat! This school year has just been quite hard, and I haven't been able to figure out how to balance blog reading and any other reading. Hope the chat is great!
    I always enjoy Rosenthal's books, but I haven't read these--thank you for sharing them.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  6. I am in the same boat as Kellee. I am very embarrassed to say I also won't make the chat. I didn't anticipate that preparing my proposal defense would eat up my life! I wish I could join, but please know I will be there in spirit!

  7. Thank you for telling us about the Freckle Face series. We are always looking for wonderful easy-to-read series.

  8. Freckleface Strawberry looks so cute. I'm adding Paper Things to my list, too.