Monday, October 5, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.05.15

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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

I love finding books for younger readers.  Seedlings has a great new series to check out.

It's week one of #GNCelebration.  See how I use GN in guided reading.

Ready to celebrate the book birthday of the new Little Elliot?  Some mentor text ideas here.

My reading teacher's heart was happy this week.  I celebrated here.

Picture Books

Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
3/5 stars
You look at the cover of the book and you think this will be a concept book about shapes.  Clearly that's what my library thought too since there is a "concept shapes" sticker on the cover.  
Yeah, that's not what it's about.
It's about friendship.  There is a line on each page about friendship and what it means.  The shapes do a little illustration, often with some short dialogue, but that's about it for there being shapes in the book.  Certainly not teaching about shapes.  Maybe my library should have read the book before slapping the sticker on there. 
I do think you could use the lines about friendship with older students and have them write "longer" about what the line means.
Deceiving little cover and title....

The Only Child
The Only Child by Guojing
5/5 stars
Beautiful wordless text.  Absolutely would've been a Caldecott contender if the author were American.
I was so happy to see the author's note at the beginning of the text because it makes a difference as you read the book.  The author was born under China's one-child rule and grew up as an only child.  This experience went into the creating of the book.
Be sure to look for it in December.
Thank you to Edelweiss Above the Treeline for the advanced e-copy.

I Used to Be Afraid
I Used to be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
4/5 stars
Seeger's brilliant use of cutaways and simple text to get at the heart of a child never fails to amaze me.  This wonderful book about fears and perceptions will go into my Mock Geisel for sure.

Fire Engine No. 9
Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin
4/5 stars
Great book for early readers.  With minimal text on each page, we follow a fire company into a fire.  The illustrations are gorgeous!  Another book for my Mock Geisel list!

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle
4/5 stars
This book has been popping up on some Mock Caldecott lists, and deservedly so.  The color palette the author uses is beautiful.  

Transitional Chapter Books

Pigsticks and Harold And The Tuptown Thief
Pigsticks and Harold and the Tuptown Thief by Alex Milway
4/5 stars
The first Pigsticks and Harold book was cute.  I like finding those chapter books to pass off to my students who want chapter books but need them to be reader friendly for those who are just ready for them.
This second Pigsticks and Harold book is hilarious.  There is a mystery to be solved and Pigsticks and Harold are on the case.  

The lines are laugh out loud funny.  Enjoy these:
pg. 1 "and best of all, someone would win the Spirit of Tuptown Prize for being brilliant."
(I love that, I want a prize for being brilliant.)
pg. 24 Pigsticks is interviewing Pirate George, a large hippo  "I know you're hiding something."    "All right, it's true!  I'm wearing pink underpants."
pg. 25 Pigsticks is interviewing Bonzo, a dog   "What's your alibi?"    "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."     "No, Bonzo, that's a lullaby."

I think this book would actually make a really good read aloud too for a younger classroom.  Maybe start with this one and let the students read the first one on their own?

Middle Grade

Upside-Down Magic
Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins
3/5 stars
I'm looking forward to sharing this book with our 3rd and 4th graders.  A book about kids, magic school, and wonky magic, this is sure to be a hit with readers.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer
5/5 stars
So heartbreakingly beautiful.  I think it's hard to read about a child who has lost their mother.  But I fell so hard while reading this book.   Holczer has a command of language that you don't read too often.  It reminded me a lot of Natalie Lloyd.  This book and Snicker had me stop several times, look away from the book, and just think and ponder about what I read.  A line I want to treasure:
pg. 303 "....sometimes believing something didn't make any kind of rational sense."
She's right.  It doesn't.

I've got a few books on my radar to start next.  Just need to figure out what will be next!


  1. You had a good mix of things this week. Know what you mean about needing to organize reading!

  2. Wow - great list! The only ones that are familiar to me are Drum Dream Girl and The Secret Hum of a Daisy - loved both of them! Thanks for all the new titles!

  3. I saw Friendshape at the library & didn't pick it up, now sorry I didn't. I loved Secret Hum, too, beautifully done. Lauren Myracle will be at our local indie this week & I already have something planned, so bummed not to go see her. I'll look for I Used To Be Afraid, sounds very well done. Thanks for all the variety, Michele.

  4. The Only Child looks so beautiful! That cover! Can't wait to get my hands on it. I really should read Secret Hum of a Daisy, but books about kids who lose their mothers make me so sad! (Mine is alive and well, but it always makes me think about my son and worry about my own aliveness!) So I tend to avoid... maybe someday!

  5. I have Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey in our new books display. After reading your comments here, I had to pull it out and read it. I was enchanted and if my readers are, i'll definitely get more of this series. Also, thanks for the heads up about the Seedling series.

  6. So many wonderful titles - Thank you so much. After reading your post, we are putting The Only Child, I Used to Be Afraid and Pigsticks and Harold on our TBR list.

  7. Man! I should have joined in on the GN celebration! I love graphic novels.
    So glad you loved Secret Hum. Such a special book.
    Thank you for sharing all of the PBs :-)

    Happy reading this week!

  8. Drum Dream Girl gives me the feels. Such an amazing book.

  9. Yes, yes, yes to Secret Hum! I am so glad you and I continue to have such an excellent track record. I'll be honest that I am disappointed that Friendshape is not a concept book. There are so many clever possibilities. Perhaps we should write our own Friendshape?

  10. I need to check out Drum Drum Girl--it looks and sounds beautiful. I adored Secret Hum of the Daisy! And Pigsticks and Harold is new to me. Definitely going on my list.

  11. I really enjoyed Hum of a Daisy also. I am on the lookout for The Only Child now.

  12. The Secret Hum of a Daisy does sound like a very lyrical read - and I would definitely look out for that one. Drum Dream Girl is absolutely gorgeous - I always share it whenever I do presentations. :)