Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.25.16

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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

With all that is happening in the world around us, we need to spend time talking about kindness and empathy with our students.  Books you may use are listed HERE.

I reviewed the book The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I'm reading the nonfiction picture book biographies you are reading!

Picture Books

This Is My Dollhouse
This is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter
4/5 stars
I used to love getting cardboard boxes and turning them into something.  Having the power of your imagination to make it become anything you want.  Especially in an age where you can buy things ready to go.  This book brings kids back to the power of imagination and how creativity can take you to new places.
I got this book at the library but will have to check it out at a bookstore - behind the book jacket are tips on how to make a dollhouse!

Superhero Instruction Manual
Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey
4/5 stars
Loved how it incorporated kindness as being a super power.  Cute story, bold illustrations.  Kids will enjoy!

The Not So Quiet Library
The NOT So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora
4/5 stars
Don't you love books about libraries and books?  I can see this book featured in lots of upcoming story times!
Ohora has some funny lines and illustrations in this one!

The Airport Book
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
5/5 stars
This really is a brilliant picture book.  First, there is the story line that tells you about a trip to the airport and all the things you do, see and experience.  There is the main text, but then there is conversation bubbles that add more to the storyline.  Perfect to show readers how to read the main text first, but then go back to the story bubbles.
Then there is the storyline of Monkey, the little girl's stuffed animal.  We see his tail sticking out in the suitcase and follow along on his journey.  It ends up being a second storyline to follow in the book.
Then there are all the people we meet in the illustrations.  They find their way into most illustrations and we try to figure out what their stories are.  The diversity in the illustrations is fantastic.
I need to go back and read the story again, I'm sure I'll find more to love!

Steamboat School
Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson
5/5 stars
Great lines to lift in this book about being brave and having courage.
A must-have picture book if you teach civil rights.

Middle Grade

The Rat Prince
The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder
4/5 stars
As the book went on, I felt myself falling farther and farther into this new Cinderella retelling.  By the middle of the book it had gripped me and I raced through it!  Full review coming next week.

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
5/5 stars
Recently there has been a lot of talk about books being windows and doors and mirrors.  This book is a perfect example of that.  It's going to be a mirror book for many students.  They will recognize themselves in Cindy - moving to American without English, leaning English at school and being the constant translator for your parents, having to defend customs, traditions and other things to friends.  It's going to be a window for other readers, including me, to really understand what it's like for our ELL students.
But the best part of this book is how many times you are going to laugh out loud!  Dumas has a way of making the mundane hilarious, while poking fun at the truth.  Great middle grade read!

Currently Reading

Ms. Bixby's Last Day
Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
I've heard wonderful things about this book!

Looking forward to seeing your lists!


  1. I loved the Airport Book. I read it a while ago, but just recently took it out of the library so I could have it available during a class I was teaching on mentor texts. I'm going to reread it, as well, to look more at the pictures. The Rat Prince is one that I want to read. I loved Ms. Bixby!

  2. I loved It Ain't So Awful, Falafel. Thanks for sharing this list. So many books to read!

  3. What a nice assortment of books. All are new to me but I'm going to have to look into The Not So Quiet Library because I do love books about libraries. Come see what my week was like here. Happy reading!

  4. Yep. I'm already planning on using The Not So Quiet Library with my younger students in the library this school year. Loved that book. Zachariah OHora is one of my favorite author/illustrators.

  5. Just got Steamboat School, will add The Rat Prince to my list, Michele. It Ain't So Awful, Falafel sounds very good-already on that list! And yes, I agree that everyone needs to share some books about kindness! Have a great week!

  6. I'm so excited for The Not So Quiet Library - I might be a bit biased, but I'm always excited for picture books that show the library as a fun, exciting place, which is what we're really all about!

  7. Just put a hold on It Ain't So Awful, Falafel We need more books like this! I have been reading so much about Ms. Bixby's Last Day I decided to see if it was finally available from our public library. Hurrah it's on order so I put on another hold. I enjoy Deborah Hopkins information books and am looking forward to Steamboat School.

  8. I loved Ms. Bixby - can't wait to hear what you have to say about this book!

  9. I've not read any of these, but have heard about many of them. Looking forward to tracking them down, especially It's Ain't So Awful, Falafel and The Airport Book. Thanks for sharing them.

  10. I loved your list of kindness books and have ordered several of them that I haven't read yet. I've also order The Superhero Instruction Manual and The Not So Quiet Library. It's a good thing that my library is so close and awesome! Have a great week!

  11. Wow! A lot of great titles here! Steamboat School, The Airport Book, and It Ain't So Awful, Falafel sound particularly good. I will have to look for these titles. It is so true that we need to be teaching all about kindness and empathy. Thanks for this list.

  12. I am so excited for you to read Bixby! I love it! The voice and sadness are perfect!
    It is good to hear the Rat Prince was as good as you had heard.
    I haven't read any of these PB, so I am adding them (along with a ton of your empathy books!) to my TBR :)

    Happy reading this week, and I'll see you soon!