Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.18.16

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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 Two Week's Adventures

I took last Monday off from blogging because I was having fun in Disney!  We went to celebrate my daughter's birthday and my dad's birthday for the weekend.  It's such a perfect quick getaway for us as we live in Florida.  Plus I got to see my Nerdy friend, Kellee!

Two weeks ago I shared my long lists for upcoming Mock units for this fall.  I know I'll add to them and pare them down, but here is my thinking right now:

Mock Caldecott long list

Mock Newbery long list

Mock Sibert long list

Mock Geisel long list

Jazz Day is a book I have on my Mock Sibert and Caldecott lists.  Here is more about it.

Here is a roundup of some new graphic novels!

Picture Books

The Mixed-Up Truck
The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage
4/5 stars
I really enjoyed Supertruck and have been waiting to read Savage's follow up.  Thanks to the generous Margie Myers-Culver, she popped her copy in the mail and I got to check it out!  I think young kids will love this book as much as the first one.  While Supertruck spoke to my heart, this one coats it with sugar - the white stuff (read the book, you'll get it).  The poor little concrete truck makes a few mistakes, but learns it's ok, try, try again to fix them.  Sweet book to use with young readers.


Toby by Hazel Mitchell
4/5 stars
Such a sweet rescue dog story.  Shows patience, love, and respect are the ways to win trust.

Sam and Jump
Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann
4/5 stars
Sam and his stuffed white rabbit, Jump, are best friends.  But what happens when Sam accidentally leaves Jump at the beach overnight?  
I think many of us have accidentally left something somewhere, or had our child(ren) do the same thing.  It can be traumatic!  Many young readers will relate to this story.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle
A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young 
4/5 stars
Oh my, this book is so fun!  Have you ever had that experience where you picture something happening a certain way or picturing it to look a certain way?  And then when it comes to fruition or you see it for the first time and it soooo doesn't match your mental image?  That's what this book is about.  Great book for growth mindset.

Excellent Ed
Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty
4/5 stars
This was a library book that ended up being a purchase.  Everybody has something good about them.  Sometimes it's hard to see it.  This book reminds us to look for the good and acknowledge it.  Really important.

Image result for lucky lazlo steve light
Lucky Lazlo by Steve Light
4/5 stars
Upcoming book by Steve Light, featuring his gorgeous layouts.  This one is different from his concept books.  There is a more traditional storyline for this book, but then you get to the back matter where Light "enlightens" us on the superstitions about stage life.  It's very interesting, and then you can go back and reread the book where each page takes on new meaning.

Transitional Chapter Books

The Infamous Ratsos
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau
4/5 stars
Fun new transitional chapter book, perfect for 1st-3rd graders.  Kids will laugh at the brothers who are working on their tough guy reputations.  But everything they do make them look like nice, helpful guys!  Their reputation may be in jeopardy!  Check this book out in early August!

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, #3)
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? by Kate DiCamillo
4/5 stars
The next book in the Deckawoo Drive series, features my favorite character, Baby Lincoln.  It's so fun to read aloud in my Baby and Eugenia Lincoln voices!  This one is about taking a "necessary journey".

Middle Grade

Going Wild
Going Wild by Lisa McMann
4/5 series
A new series by the author of The Unwanteds series, this one is sure to be a hit with readers.  There's mystery, suspense, sports, and friendship.  
This first book in the series seems to set up the next book.  I'm interested in seeing what happens.
Publishes September 27th.

Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery by Jill Diamond
4/5 stars
Love this book!  I find it oftentimes hard to find fun books for the youngest of the middle grade aged readers but this one fits the bill perfectly!
Publishes 10.18.16, and I'll have a longer review for you closer to the publication date!

The Brightest Stars of Summer (Silver Sisters, #2)
The Brightest Stars of Summer by Leila Howland
4/5 stars
I read the first book in the series last summer, and I felt the same way as I did then - this is the perfect "beach read" for kids book!  Fun, easy to follow, and a book that's made to be read in the sun!

Stef Soto, Taco Queen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
4/5 stars
You'll have to wait awhile for this one - January 2017 - but it's worth the wait. It has a great middle grade voice, kids are going to understand Stef being embarrassed at her family's food truck and they are going to sympathize with her when her overprotective parents won't let her go to THE concert of the year!   Coming in at under 200 pages will make it easier to hand off to many readers!

Hundred Percent
Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young
3/5 stars
I think Young was trying to go for an edgy middle grade novel, reminiscent of Judy Blume.  Many of Blume's middle grade pushed the envelope, talked about things that all of the readers were secretly talking about.  Made it ok to talk about some of those weird middle grade things that were happening to us, the readers.
This book does that too, but in a way that felt too much, too old.  The book takes place during the characters 6th grade year.  The middle grade, especially 6th-8th grade years, are tricky.   People develop at different rates.  The more adult knowledge is passes along to some while others remain happily unaware.  If the characters in this book were at least one year older, I wouldn't have as much hesitation.  But there is a lot of mature content- discussion of sex, calling characters slutty, referring to both male and female body parts.  On the one hand, I like that she keeps the discussion of all of these things in a middle grade voice.  It sounds right, edgy, questioning, saying things more to see the reaction of peers.  On the other hand, I have a 6th grader and she is not ready to read this.  I know one day she will, but it's not time yet.  This book will be enjoyed by readers, but it goes back to having the right teacher or librarian who has read the book and knows their readers to know who to hand this book over to.
Publishes August 9th.

Young Adult

Tumbling by Caela Carter
4/5 stars
Swimming and gymnastics is always my favorite sports to watch in the Olympics.  I've watched trials for both sports already.
When I found out this book was a fictionalized account of 5 girls competing in the gymnastics Olympic Trials, I knew it was a book my younger self (that still lives inside of me) would love to read.
This book was highly entertaining and fun!  Some mature content - sexual identity and eating disorders - but everything was written well.  Upper middle grade could handle the content fine.

Currently Reading

The Rat Prince
The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder

Girl in Pieces
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Another book that is desperately needed.  Another book on mental health, this time looking at characters who are intentionally inflicting self-pain (cutting and other forms).  Amazing voice.

Hope you're finding a great summer read!  What are you reading?


  1. Hi Michele, great books! I LOVE gymnastics too and can't wait for the Olympics! Virtually all of these books are new to me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm looking forward to reading Toby and Tumbling. So many great books and so little time!

  3. The Infamous Ratsos sounds like a great transitional reader title. Lou Lou and Pea looks interesting as well. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of the Rat Prince - that's one I've put on my list to read.

  4. So many terrific books, Michele, & new to me. Thanks for all. I've bookmarked nearly all of them. Stef Soto's description reminds me of a long time ago when cousins weren't allowed to see The Beatles-what an uproar in the family because of that! I'll especially look for Excellent Ed, too! Have a great week!

  5. Ugh, I can't imagine living close to Disney World, so jealous! I remember visiting Florida in February and being so shocked that I could wear a t-shirt outside, without shivering, it was an exciting experience for this Canadian. ;)

  6. Love your Mock Awards list - I've read many, but still need to read a lot more! I've ordered A Unicorn Named Sparkle from my library; looks like a fun book. Glad you and your family had a fun trip! Have a super week!

  7. I think I just wrote down every title in your post to look for! You are such a book pusher!! I'm most excited about a new Deckawoo Drive. I have awesome special read-aloud voices for Baby and Eugenia Lincoln! I really appreciate your thoughts about Hundred Percent. After we read Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, I thought my son was going to want to transition to edgier content, but then we took our 10 book spin into Gordon Korman's books, so clearly not. And I'm glad that he recognizes he's not quite as ready for edgy content as I thought he might be. Right now, we're reading The False Prince, and it's super fun to read aloud. A reread for me, but that's ok!

  8. Henry believes there is no such thing as too many truck books, so thanks for sharing THE MIXED-UP TRUCK! We will be getting it!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your mock lists. It's helpful since I haven't done all of those mocks and I want to add a few this year. :)

  10. There are so many interesting books on this list, I have no idea where to begin. All the picture books look great, but I'm left mostly wondering about Hundred Percent. It seems like the kind of book that might appeal to some of my older readers, but they wouldn't be so interested in reading about students in grade six. Does this make sense? These readers want to read about characters older than they are. I think it is a way of preparing themselves for what it to come or something.