Monday, June 6, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.06.16

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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.

It's been a few weeks since I've posted!  I had no idea time would get away from me like that!  My reading and writing life were interrupted.  Even once I was able to start reading more, as you can see, I still didn't get as much read as I normally do!  But, I think we have a new routine now that will give me a little more freedom.

Last Week

I took some time to celebrate my daughter's limb lengthening journey.

Review of Jenn Bishop's new book THE DISTANCE TO HOME

Guest Bloggers - 3rd graders book blurbs for Laura Murray's new GINGERBREAD MAN story.

Spotlighting some great new early readers.  Part 1

Wonderful new nfpb about simple machines.  Great for NGSS!

Picture Books

Keep Curious and Carry a Banana: Words of Wisdom from the World of Curious George
Keep Curious and Carry a Banana
4/5 stars
Definite uses in the classroom.  It was fun to see the nostalgic Curious George illustrations!

Early Chapter Books

Bradford Street Buddies: Backyard Camp-Out      Bradford Street Buddies: Block Party Surprise
Bradford Street Buddies:
Backyard Camp-Out and Block Party Surprise by Jerdine Nolen
2/5 stars
Early chapter book series, just a bit more difficult than the Henry and Mudge books.
I like that this is realistic fiction and it features a diverse cast (main characters are African American, 1 Caucasian friend, 1 Hispanic).  In the two books I read, the plot lines were all over the place.  Kids who read at this level, need a linear storyline.  I could see this confusing some readers.  I will put these in my library and I think kids will like the illustrations and characters.  I don't think they will be as loved as the Henry and Mudge series.

Middle Grade

Midnight Without a Moon
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
4/5 stars
Wow.  What a powerful book.  And one that teaches me, yet again, how little I know about our history.  It shocks me how much of history we missed in school.  Is it because there is too much to learn?  Is it because I wasn't mature enough to absorb what was being taught? Is it because we censor too much of our own history?
This story takes place during the 1950s in rural Mississippi.  Jim Crow laws are in effect, the civil rights movement is starting to create quite a buzz in the deep south.  Rose is coming of age during this time when figuring out who you are is made even more complicated because of the color of your skin.
There are many tough questions throughout this story - tough questions for the character and tough questions I asked of myself, a white reader.  What an amazing book to discuss.  I think students in grades 6 and higher should read books like this and Revolution by Deborah Wiles instead of those dry history textbooks.  
The voice that Jackson uses for her characters is spot-on fantastic.

Sticks & Stones
Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper
5/5 stars
Future post about this book coming later this month.
In the meantime, make sure you have it preordered!

Towers Falling
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
4/5 stars
Future post about this book coming later this month.

Young Adult

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
4/5 stars
The first half of this book, I would rate it 3 stars.  It was slow moving, setting up the second half of the story.  Once I got there, the plot line started moving faster and I got more into the story.  This type of story is more plot driven, so when it slows down, it slows down my reading and I get bored.  
It is a solid next book in the series and has a better cliffhanger ending than Red Queen, in my opinion.


The Summer Wind (Lowcountry Summer #2)
The Summer Wind by Mary Alice Monroe

4/5 stars
I really like Monroe's Lowcountry series.  I'm not big on adult books - I hate that I can usually figure out the ending within the first 50 pages and have to wade through 300 more pages with the characters circling around each other.  I think what makes this series interesting to me is I like the characters.  

I still have so many books to get to and so little time!  I'm sure you'll add more books to my pile!


  1. Midnight Without a Moon sounds like a fabulous book. I will have to look for a copy soon. It seems like you have a whole list of great books. I will look forward to seeing your thoughts on Sticks and Stones and Towers Falling. Have a great reading week!

  2. I really enjoyed Towers Falling. With the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attack upon us, I'm glad there are several good books to use with students that weren't even born when these awful events took place.

  3. I hadn't seen Midnight Without a Moon. Added it to my TBR list. Thanks! If you're interested in the 48 Hour Book Challenge for next year, let me know!

  4. Midnight Without a Moon sounds great. And I've been hearing good things about Sticks & Stones -- will look forward to your post. Thanks!

  5. When I was in school (in Canada) our history classes were laughable - we learned about fur traders and the Hudson's Bay Company and the earliest days of European settlement, and then we pretty much just moved on to the history of other countries because it was more interesting.

  6. Several books here that I really want to read. I love getting these previews of interesting upcoming books from your blog!

  7. How have I not heard about Midnight Without a Moon? Thanks for sharing this title with us!

  8. How have I not heard about Midnight Without a Moon? Thanks for sharing this title with us!

  9. I just started Midnight Without a Moon - I am at the part where the title is "explained." I love the writing so far. I will be sure and get back with you when I am done.

  10. We are definitely ordering Sticks and Stones and Midnight without a Moon based on your post. Do you think they are appropriate for students in grades 4-6?

  11. We are definitely ordering Sticks and Stones and Midnight without a Moon based on your post. Do you think they are appropriate for students in grades 4-6?

  12. I was very distressed to discover that Midnight Without a Moon is not yet available from our local library! Then I realized that it won't be published till next year. Sigh... Sticks and Stones is another book I have to wait for. I really really hate waiting!

  13. The Red Queen is on my nightstand, and I feel behind that I have to read The Glass Sword, too! These are the things that keep me up at night. ;)

    Thanks for your compliment about my All American Boys review. As I was thinking back to books I loved this year, I was alarmed to realize that I never reviewed it. :)

  14. I was a trifle disappointed with Red Queen but still looking forward to reading the other titles in this series - glad to hear that it is a bit better than the first book.

  15. Aveyard is a name I've been hearing a lot lately. I should check out her series.