Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.28.15

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.

I hope everyone has enjoyed or is enjoying the holidays!  I've been able to find time and get in some wonderful reading.  
Two weeks ago I shared my favorite picture books, nonfiction picture books and middle grade fiction from this year.  Did you check out those posts?
This week I will share upcoming 2016 titles that I am excited to read.  Be sure to come back and check out the new titles!

Picture Books

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald
5/5 stars
We have English Language Learners at our school.  Most come to school knowing some, if not, quite a bit of English.  But every once in awhile, we've had students start school with zero English.  This book really puts it into kid perspective what that is like for the English Language Learner.  Well written.

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago
5/5 stars
What a powerful book.  Wow.
I first heard of this title at the NCTE Children's Luncheon when it was named a Charlotte Huck Award Recommended Title book.  
This tells the story of a young girl and her father who are clearly on the move, appearing to be looking for a better place to live, perhaps in America?  Why are they leaving?  Is it for a better life?  More money?  Do they live in a country of civil unrest?  This book will surely spark conversations.

Mother Goose Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
4/5 stars
I'm trying to control my picture book spending.  Books like this don't help.
What happens when an egg-loving grouchy bear picks the wrong eggs to eat for his new recipe?  
Young readers will laugh out loud at the silliness.
Older readers will get the subtle sarcasm and tongue in cheek lines.

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood
4/5 stars
I am really enjoying this cranky cat and his holiday adventures.  Great read alouds for kids.

Graphic Novels

Flop to the Top! by Eleanor Davis
3/5 stars
I really enjoy the Toon Books graphic novels.  They make GNs accessible to the young readers.  Kids will enjoy seeing Floppy Dog's rise to stardom and laugh at the silliness of Floppy and his owner, Wanda.

Listened With My Ears

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson
4/5 stars
I am a firm believer that the narrator makes or breaks an audio book.  
Kellee Moye has raved about this series and listening to it on audio.  I bought the book a long time ago, but just never got around to reading it.  My library doesn't have it on audio so I figured I was out of luck.  But then this year I got a teacher's card to my school district's public library and I was fortunate to find it there!
The narrator of this story is brilliant!  Katherine Kellgren is an extremely talented voice actress whose accents and dialogue make this book wonderfully fun to listen to.  Magic, gargoyles, enchantresses and pirates.  This book has something in it for everyone!  Encourage your library to get a copy if it doesn't already!

Middle Grade

I've been really lucky and I've read some great ARCs of upcoming books.  Many of them I'll share in their own separate post closer to the book's release date.  But for now, I'll leave you with this gem:

Booked by Kwame Alexander
4/5 stars
Mr. Alexander is amazing when writing about tweens and their struggles.  Add in some sports.  Write it in verse.  It's pure magic.
In Booked we meet Nick, a soccer star who is trying to get through the eighth grade.  Add in his parents getting divorced.  His mom, who he is closest to, moving away.  His dad, who he is not, makes him study words.  A best friend that is also a rival on the field.  And a girl who makes him tongue tied.  Meet a teacher librarian who knows how to pass on books and keep things interesting.  Throw in conflict when his dreams are altered.  You've got another amazing book for tween readers.  
Bravo, Mr. Alexander.

The Honest Truth
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
5/5 stars
I've owned this book for a year now, and for whatever reason, I just hadn't gotten to it yet.  I'm so glad I put it on my #mustreadin2015 list because I made sure to get to it!  I had heard wonderful things about this book and my nerdy friends did not let me down.  
As a debut author, Dan Gemeinhart has shown he has writing chops.  
This is a book that has a tough topic - cancer and when is enough enough for a young kid. Gemeinhart explores this topic in a way that makes it accessible for young readers.  Our main character, Mark, will get in your heart and you'll cheer for him.  And through it all we meet champion dog, Beau.  Mark's best friend, Jesse, needs a special mention because everyone should have someone who believes so thoroughly in you. 
I enjoyed the organization of the book, with each chapter having its own 1/2 chapter where we get a glimpse of what is happening back at home while Mark is on his journey.

Currently Reading

Fenway and Hattie by Victoria Coe

What books are you wrapping up 2015 with?  


  1. I am already deep into 2016 books from my review stack. I struggle to go back and catch up on the great books I missed because there are just so many new ones to try. Here is what I read last week. Happy reading!

  2. I loved The Honest Truth, although it's very emotional. The setbacks that Mark experiences along his journey only make him more determined to reach his goal. Fenway and Hattie is such a fun book to read. Hope you enjoy it. Have a great week relaxing and reading!

  3. I'm trying my best to get through the amazing 2015 titles I've been hearing so many amazing things about - I have The Honest Truth checked out and hope I can get to it soon. I'm super stoked about Booked and I'm glad to hear it was great! Have a great reading week! Here's what I'm reading:

  4. I'm really excited to read Booked. Mother Bruce really tickled my funny bone.

  5. Will look for your 'upcoming books' post, Michele. So many seem to be finally reading The Honest Truth, so it'll be on my 2016 list for sure. And I will find Booked as fast as I can. Another one I'm excited to read is Mother Bruce, looks fun for the little ones. Thanks for all, and Happy New Year!

  6. So I see The Honest Truth on Carrie's blog, and then I come here and see it on yours, and now I REALLY want to read it! I liked Booked quite a bit. I've got the pirates book to read aloud to my son, but now I really want to try the audio. Maybe we'll get it for a car listen on an upcoming trip to Denver. Thanks, Michele!

  7. I love seeing same titles crop up on IMWAYR posts. I want to check out Two White Rabbits.

  8. Yes, The Honest Truth. Well . . . wow! I instantly put it on my best of the year list! I look forward to your upcoming post as well. And Mother Bruce looks so adorable. I loved Wilfred by the same author.

  9. I cannot wait to get my hands on Booked - glad to hear you loved it so.

  10. I need to read Mother Bruce soon!

  11. Now I need to find Two White Rabbits and you have a few other books her that I am hoping to red as well. Mother Bruce was hysterical.

  12. Agh! I need to add The Honest Truth to my #mustreadin2016 list. Everyone loves it! I feel like I am behind because I haven't read it yet! Thanks for your glowing recommendation. You inspired me!

  13. Hi there Michelle - this is a whole LOT of books, and I envy your copy of Booked! I have a feeling I would love the new Kwame Alexander title. I wasn't deeply into The Honest Truth - I think it hits too closely to home with family and friends suffering from cancer - and the protagonist didn't really appeal to me - especially since he endangered his dog, but yes, it does portray hard truths, indeed.

  14. Well, I've got a few more titles to add to my wish list! I am so spoiled to be working in a library, I can have books brought right to my desk. :)

  15. Yay! I am so glad that you liked Hilary and her adventure! The sequels are just as good!

    I had no idea you were reading The Honest Truth this week! I am behind--I'm sorry. I'll pick it up ASAP! Then we can chat :)
    So.So.So.So. jealous about Booked! I cannot wait to read it and share it with my students.

    Happy new year! :)