Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 4.25.16

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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

Matt Tavares is at it again with another fantastic picture book biography.  Check it out here.

Imagination is such a powerful thing - love this new picture book about imagination and picture books!

Picture Books

Tell Me a Tattoo Story
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee
5/5 stars
I don't have any tattoos.  I don't have a desire for any tattoos.  I've got to believe that most people who go into a tattoo shop, are getting their ink design for a specific reason.  And so many of them walk out with these beautiful displays of art.   I love that the dad in this story shares with his son the stories of his tattoos.  I love that they mean something and it's something special he shares with his child.  Eliza Wheeler captured the words in her illustrations perfectly.  

Don't Call Me Grandma
Don't Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
4/5 stars
I enjoyed reading this prickly great-grandmother's relationship with her doting granddaughter.  The author did a great job of showing us great-grandma's characteristics.  

Grandad's Island
Grandad's Island by Benji Davies
4/5 stars
Beautiful story, but heartbreakingly sad.  I had no idea it was a book about death.  I think it was very well written because it wasn't a hit you over the head book about death, it's one that can open the discussion that a loved one is now in a better place, and it's ok to miss them and think about them.

Graphic Novels

Lowriders in Space (Lowriders in Space #1)
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper
4/5 stars
I absolutely have readers for this series.  The pen drawings make it unique and I enjoyed the integration of Spanish throughout the book.  Looking forward to book 2!

Transitional Chapter Books

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness
Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb
4/5 stars
I've owned this book for awhile and I wish I had gotten to it sooner.  This is the kind of transitional chapter book that is perfect for kids who aren't quite ready for middle grade.  I loved Cody and her big brother, Wyatt, and I loved GG, the neighbor.  The story is quiet, which could make it too slow for some striving readers, but I'm going to do my best to book talk this series (yes, there is a second one that just came out!) and get it into hands of readers.

Mischief Season
The Witches of Benevento: Mischief Season by John Bemelmans Marciano
4/5 stars
This book started out slowly, then slowly picked up, then ended with a big cliffhanger!  My 5th grade daughter read it very quickly and told me how much she loved it and wanted to the 2nd one.  I had only read a few pages and was surprised she enjoyed it as much as she did.  But once I got well into it, I can see her enjoyment.  This is another one that I think will need some front loading for readers - explaining life in Italy in the 1800s, giving some vocabulary, especially for the name of the supernatural spirits (it's not a scary story) and a little bit of the characters.  Once they're hooked, I think they will enjoy the series.  
And the illustrations are by Sophie Blackall.  That helped for me!

Middle Grade

Finding Perfect
Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
5/5 stars
I'm not going to say much because I have a blog post about this book.  It won't go live until September because the book isn't released until October 18.  In the meantime, do yourself a favor and preorder it.  It's fantastic.  It will break your heart and then slowly put it back together.  But this book isn't for you and me, it's for kids.  Kids who need this book.  Kids who need to understand the Mollys that are in their class.  
It's fantastic.

Save Me a Seat
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
4/5 stars
I really enjoyed this story, told in alternating chapters.  It was fun to meet the two characters and see their stories collide.  Great message about not making assumptions.

Currently Reading

All Four Stars
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
This is my April #mustreadin2016.  I added this one to my list because my good friends Jason Lewis and Kristen Picone have raved about it!  And my 10yo gave it two thumbs up!

Happy Spring Reading to all!


  1. Most of these are new to me. Thanks for sharing them. Come see what my reading week was like. Happy reading!

  2. The books you've shared added quite a few to my list, Michele. All new to me! I'll be sure to find the Cody book for my older granddaughter, just making the transition from easy readers. The final chapter books sound very good! Thanks for all!

  3. Lowriders in Space is very popular in our school library. All Four Stars is a great read! Dairman has a sequel also that I haven't managed to get to yet. I've added Finding Perfect to my list of must read books.

  4. I really enjoyed Tell Me a Tattoo Story - I don't have any tattoos either, but I know a lot of wonderful people who do, and I know that tattoos can have deep significance in many cultures. It's nice that picture books are helping to challenge different kinds of stereotypes, and showcase the diversity of today's families.

  5. Thanks for telling us about Cody and the Fountain of Happiness. We are always on the lookout for books for transitional readers.

  6. I have been meaning to read All Four Stars for a really long time now since it's a natural fit for my blog, but I just keep forgetting to pick it up.

    I just got Tell Me a Tattoo Story at the library last week but haven't read it yet. Your review reminded me that I need to. I think that's what I'll do after I comment on #IMWAYR posts. :)

  7. Ooh, I haven't even heard of All Four Stars. I am glad to see a new-to-me book! It sounds like it is a good topic. I look forward to your review!!!

  8. I have Tell Me a Tattoo Story on order and am looking forward to reading it. Finding Perfect sounds amazing. I will have to watch for it. I'll be looking for Don't Call Me Grandma too.

  9. You've got a lot of interesting looking books on your list. I have ordered Tell Me a Tattoo Story from the library and I'm looking forward to reading it. Have a great week!

  10. Finding Perfect sounds like a truly special book. Tattoo Story also caught my eye. My husband and I both have tats - so that would be a nice book to read.