Monday, November 16, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.16.15

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

Looking at the NGSStandards is something we've been doing in earnest at our school.  One of the standards has students studying plants.  If you're looking for some books to use for this topic, be sure to include these.

I have found having books for readers that are transitioning from early chapter books to something more challenging can be difficult.  Middle grade books are a bit of a reach.  These students really need to have access to transitional chapter books.  Here's a collection of books that are perfect for these readers.

Are you thinking about doing a Mock Newbery?  Here's our process.  Would it work for you?

Picture Books

Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang
3/5 stars
This was an interesting book.  I adored the illustrations by Marla Frazee.  I wasn't so sure about the text.  Young children ask questions about their mommy using opposites - is she nice? mean? fun? boring?  Each time the answer is the mommy is the worse of the two choices.  I felt conflicted.  As a mom who is probably often boring, ugly and mean, I don't need a picture book telling me that.  But that is not what the author was after.  The author wanted to celebrate moms.  Moms that work.  Moms that do everything they can to take care of their children, even if it doesn't always look pretty.  I understand it better, but for me, it was just ok.

This is my Home, This is my School by Jonathan Bean
As a public school teacher, my knowledge of homeschooling is limited.  From what I know of it, parents put a lot of work and thought into their children's education, including giving them experiences that give them hands-on knowledge.  I had a brief experience of it, for 4 months, having to home school my child while she had her leg lengthened when she was in 2nd grade.  It.  Was.  Hard!!  I was so glad to return to home and return my child to the capable hands of her teachers at school.  I appreciated being able to read more about the author's experience.  I think it would be interesting to share this book with students.
And I really loved seeing the picture of Jonathan Bean in the back of the book with his Rainbow Brite lunchbox!

Bear and Squirrel are Friends. Yes, Really! by Deb Pilutti
4/5 stars
Can a bear and squirrel really be friends?  Even after a looong hibernation when Bear wakes up especially hungry?  Cute story.

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder
4/5 stars
We know a "being there" experience is best to activate all the senses which helps makes connections in the brain which helps children learn best.
Thrya Heder seems to know this as she creates a being there experience for her young character, Sophie.  Sophie meets Olafur the polar bear and he gives her a day in the life of a polar bear.  And at the end of the book, we see how much Sophie learns from the experience!

Informational Texts

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris by Betsy Harvey Kraft
5/5 stars
I really enjoyed Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis.  This book is another fantastic picture book biography about Mr. Ferris and his now very famous wheel.  Going into more detail about events that happened once the World's Fair opened, I enjoyed learning more about the famous invention!

Currently Reading

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
Loving this book.

On Deck

Princess Juniper of the Hourglass by Ammi-Joan Paquette
I had to switch some books around because of books that are currently overdue that need to be read.  I'll be back to Princess Juniper soon!

The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher
I'm hoping to see Kristen at NCTE and would like to get the ARC read!

Looking forward to this week - NCTE!  One of my most favorite weeks of the year - friends, books, and getting excited about what I do!  I will return in two weeks, I don't think I'll have a post ready for next Monday after traveling on Sunday.  Happy reading to all!


  1. Have a wonderful time at NCTE, Michele, all those authors and books! I loved The Bear Report, will find some of the others like the homeschooling one. I know it would be hard to do!

  2. I need to read The Bear Report still. Kristen Kittscher seems to be a super nice lady and I hope you do get to meet her!

  3. Yay for NCTE! Hoping to see you there. I am really excited. Hoping to get my Monday post written in advance--because I'm pretty sure after Wednesday, I won't be reading much more. But who knows if I'll manage: prewriting blog posts is ambitious for me these days! But back to books...I am really excited about that Jonathan Bean title. I really liked Building Our House, and I was disappointed he didn't get a Caldecott for Good Bye Bad Bye.

  4. I'm so glad This is My Home, This is My School exists, because there just aren't a lot of picture books that address home schooling! I'm eager to read The Seventh Most Important Thing, I've heard it's great!

  5. I appreciated your post on the mock newbery. Unfortunately/fortunately I will be retired next year and not get involved. I too need to get The Bear Report. I loved Mr Ferris and His Wheel so I will have to have a look at this book.Thanks for your reviews.

  6. Eeee! I am so excited about the prospect of seeing you! I hope we are able to connect at NCTE!
    I am intrigued about The Seventh Most Important Thing. What is it? ;)

  7. OOOO I hope you get to The Tiara on the Terrace! Kristen's ability to write such a detailed mystery just blows my mind!
    Looking forward to seeing you at NCTE :)

  8. Thanks for recommending The Fantastic Ferris Wheel. It sounds amazing! We will be at NCTE too - Can't wait to connect in person

  9. The Seventh most important thing sounds so much like Counting by 7s which I adored, so I will definitely have to find that one. So many people are traveling to NCTE - I hope you all find the time to meet up and have fun! :)

  10. Envious of all of your visiting at NCTE. Maybe one day I can figure out how to get there. Love the look of lots of your picture books this week. I really want to read this Jonathan Bean title.