Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.18.16

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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

Study monarch butterflies?  How about migrating animals?  This is a great book to add to your collection!

This is a MUST add to your read aloud collection.  Peter Brown's The Last Robot is great for discussing theme and essential questions.  Ideas here.

Books that make you DO something - love the way this book added steps for community action plan!

Picture Books

Flora and the Peacocks
Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
5/5 stars
Idle's color schemes have always been just beautiful, but the regal greens are simply gorgeous in this book!  As always, a beautiful give and take in a friendship is spotlighted between Flora and, this time, a pair of peacocks.

Are We There Yet?
Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
4/5 stars
Everyone has suffered from "are we there yet?" syndrome, usually asked hours away from the destination.  I like how Santat has turned the age old question into something more philosophical, just not sure if the targeted demographic will get it.  Although, again, this proves, that picture books should be read by older readers, as well!  The illustrations are pure Santat, and that will keep everyone interested.  The QR codes are fun, but I thought there would be more to them.

The Whale
The Whale by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow
3/5 stars
The pencil drawings of this story are reminiscent of Brian Selznick's The Marvels.  Stunning, with every minute detail, you feel like your eyes might miss something important!  With as beautiful as the illustrations are, I just didn't love the story.  It felt disjointed, and I had to go back and reread because I felt like I was missing an important detail, or there weren't important separations between story lines where there needed to be.

On the Farm, At the Market by G. Brian Karas
4/5 stars
Do you visit a Farmer's Market?  It seems that they are popping up in more places as people are being more conscious about what goes into their food.  Great book that shows the work it takes to get the food to the market to sell.

Chicken Lily
Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen
4/5 stars
Intended for younger audiences, yet this book stays smart and clever.  Lily is many things but one thing she is, is a chicken.  Yes, the animal chicken, but also a scaredy chicken.  Lessons are learned, while staying true to who she is.  Cute humor is embedded in the story.

Secret Tree Fort
Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley
4/5 stars
Didn't you want a fort when you were younger?  I made countless forts, but certainly never had a special one in a tree.  But if you use the power of your imagination, you could have something like in this book.  

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
5/5 stars
Just got this from the library and it's a must-own.  And one for your Mock Caldecott unit.  It's beautiful.

Informational Texts

This Kid Can Fly: It's About Ability (NOT Disability)
This Kid Can Fly: It's About Ability (NOT Disability) by Aaron Philip
4/5 stars
You know with a title like that, this would be a book that would grab me!  This was a chapter book autobiography and a good length for readers who need something a bit longer, but short enough to hold stamina.  
Aaron was born with cerebral palsy, but shows middle grade readers that with love, support and hard work by him, his parents, and the many "angels" in his life, he's been able to set goals and achieve them.  Aaron, who was born with a disability, has not let that define him, and instead has worked towards many new opportunities.  He speaks directly to the reader and I think this can put a nugget of thought into middle grade readers - look past the disability and see the person.

Transitional Chapter Books

The Case of the Missing Tiger's Eye (Rider Woofson Book 1)
Ryder Woofson: The Case of the Missing Tiger's Eye by Walker Styles
3/5 stars
I'm always on the hunt for transitional chapter books and if it's a series, all the better.  This is a cute new series about the PI Pack - a group of dogs who are ready to take on crime in the town of Pawston.  Four dogs round out the PI Pack and they each bring a talent to help keep crime down in the town.  With mystery and crime at the center of this series and doggy characters, I think this series will be enjoyed by 1st-3rd grade readers.


Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems
Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka
5/5 stars
Poetry is iffy for me.  I seem to either love it or only think eh.  This one fell in the love category.  Fantastic collection of concrete poems.  Many made me laugh, almost all made me smile, all were very clever.  Add this one to your collection.

Graphic Novels

Babymouse #20: Babymouse Goes for the Gold
Babymouse Goes For the Gold by Jennifer Holm
5/5 stars
Oh, I got a huge kick out of this book.  Babymouse joins the swim team.  If you don't know this about me already, when I'm not at school, I'm at the pool.  Either watching my daughter swim (it's where I get some reading and blogging done!), or I'm in the pool myself.  So I laughed out loud throughout this whole book because I GOT it!  My daughter has been passing this book around her team!

Young Adult

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
4/5 stars
This book took a little bit for me to get into, but once I did, I really enjoyed it!  I like how Meyer took bits and pieces of the timeless tale and wove it through the book.  This was definitely not a retell of the infamous story, but it was fun seeing familiar pieces.  I enjoyed Cinder's cyborg side, even though it was what she hated most about herself.  I saw the big twist coming, but some of the smaller ones throughout the story were a surprise.  I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

Currently Reading

Finding Perfect
Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
It's heartbreakingly beautiful.

Have a great week of reading!


  1. All the picture books look amazing! On the Farm, At the Market caught my eye, but that is just the farm girl in me swooning a bit at how people have really taken an interest in where their food comes from. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Enjoyed your honest reviews! Very curious about the poetry book!

  3. Your blog is becoming dangerous - I am always finding something I MUST have. I just ordered Maybe Something Beautiful so am thrilled that you liked it. And I can't wait to get this new Flora! My other two Flora titles are signed - I sure love Molly and would love to meet her again and get this one signed!

  4. So many titles to love, Michele. I will find Maybe Something Beautiful, but also This Kid Can Fly. I have a niece with CP, and while she may be too old for it (she's an adult) she may like to take a look at this boy's journey. Thanks for all the titles!

  5. We have never heard of Maybe Something Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this one with us.

  6. Maybe Something Beautiful looks like a "must-have"!

  7. I became addicted to Meyer's series. I think I did the last two in a binge session while sewing Christmas presents! I've ordered a copy of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. I can't wait for it to arrive!

  8. Babymouse is very popular in my classroom library, so I'm glad there's a new one coming! I have several of your books ordered at my library, including Secret Tree Fort, Maybe Something Beautiful, and Whale. Can't wait to get my hands on them. You always have such awesome book suggestions. Thanks a lot and have a terrific week!

  9. A lot of winners this week! You were busy with some great books! Flora and the Peacocks looks great to me. I think I've loved every book with a narrator or title that has Flora in it. :)

  10. I need to get my hands on "This kid can fly", there's not nearly enough books starring kids with different abilities or facing different challenges, I'm always thrilled to hear about a new title.

  11. Concrete poems are so fun. I think I ordered that one and Maybe Something Beautiful on my last big order. I am eager to see both of them.

  12. Hi there Michelle, I initially resisted Cinder too, it took me a bit before I got into the novel, but now I really am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. Great to read about Wet Cement. :) Looking forward to reading Are We There Yet. :)

  13. Can't wait for Flora and the Peacock!