Monday, August 15, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.15.16

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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

A powerful new novel in verse, Unbound, comes out next month.  I found it to be fantastic, but I'm wondering what the conversation around it will be.  HERE are my thoughts.

I'm really excited about Mo Willems' new series.  Ideas for using the first two books in the series are HERE.

Wednesday was #pb10for10 day!  HERE are 10 books to use at the beginning of the school year to cultivate classroom community!

I love this new picture book that is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction.  Look for it in early 2017!

Picture Books

How to Track a Truck
How to Track a Truck by Jason Carter Eaton
4/5 stars
Another great collaboration between Eaton and Rocco (How to Train a Train).  I love how it starts with advice about tracking, as in tracking prey, this time the prey is a truck!  Lots of funny parts - don't forget about migration, ice cream trucks go south in the winter and snowplows go north!  Sure to be a hit with young readers!
Publishes Sept. 27th by Candlewick Press

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp
4/5 stars
Little Madeline just wants to get a star from her teacher for doing a good job with her reading (don't you just want to sit that teacher down and give her some professional development??).  Reading is hard for Madeline and she's all but given up.  Thank goodness for librarian, Mrs. Dimple!  She introduces Madeline to Bonnie, a library dog who doesn't worry about reading mistakes, she just wants to listen!  
Publishes Oct. 1st by Peachtree.

Never Follow a Dinosaur
Never Follow a Dinosaur by Alex Latimer
4/5 stars
A young boy and girl set out to solve the mystery of the missing dinosaur.  Coming up with clues and imagining the possibilities are very humorous and the illustrations are sure to appeal to young readers.  The ending was ok for me.  Think about the power of imagination and I get it a little more.  Put this book with Josh Funk's upcoming Dear Dragon to talk about perspectives.
Publishes Sept. 1st by Peachtree

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins
4/5 stars
I liked the real life connections in this book.  Both Frank (the human) and Lucky (the dog) learn many lessons outside of school.  Lessons that they might not learn in a classroom.

Leon And Bob
Leon and Bob Simon James
4/5 stars
Leon's family life is going through some changes and the way he copes is by having an imaginary friend.  I like the way he holds onto his friend until one day he doesn't need him.

Transitional Chapter Books

A Boy Called Bat
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
4/5 stars
This one doesn't come out until March 2014, but 2nd-4th grade teachers, put this one on your list!
Bat loves animals and when his mom brings home a skunk kit, Bat is ready to spend all of his time with the little guy.  Unfortunately, life gets in the way.  Like school, and having to go to his dad's house every other weekend, and all of this means less time with the kit.  Knowing his time is limited because they will soon have to hand the kit over to the wild-animal shelter, gets Bat planning on what he can do to convince his mom to keep the young skunk.
This past week I read a new term, and because I didn't use it right away I can't remember what it's called, but basically it means when diversity is included in the story, but it's not the focus of the story.  Anyone know the term I'm looking for?  Anyway, this book has it.  Bat comes from a divorced family, but like Linda Urban's Weekends with Max and His Dad, it's not a story about divorce.  Bat also falls on the autism spectrum, but it not labeled as such.  
This book will be a hit with students who have a special place in their heart for animals!

* thank you to Lisa M, the term is incidental diversity

Middle Grade

Applesauce Weather
Applesauce Weather by Helen Frost
3/5 stars
Storytelling has such a rich foundation, yet it's not something that happens anymore.  This story brings that tradition back in the most loving way - passing stories along from generation to generation.
Lucy and Peter are anxiously waiting for their Great Uncle Arthur to come to their farm to join them for "applesauce weather".  But this year is different because while not explicitly stated, Aunt Lucy is no longer with them.  But we get to hear Aunt Lucy's voice with a song that is continued from chapter to chapter that tells the love story of her and Uncle Arthur.
What really moves the story long is Uncle Arthur teasing the children about the true story of why he only has half of a finger.  That's where the storytelling comes in, we get small stories of what "could have" happened to cause the missing half finger.  The children's patience is tested but rewarded at the end of the story with the tale of what might have happened.
This is a story that I think will appeal more to the adults that read it than young children.  I think those kids who have "an old soul" will appreciate it the most.

Turtle in Paradise
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
4/5 stars
This was a reread for me to get ready for Full of Beans.  I had read Turtle four years ago.  Ironically enough, I read it in West Palm Beach because we were living there during my daughter's limb lengthening procedure.  As most of you know, that's where we are again!  It's fitting to read Beans in the same place.  Beans  is supposed to be a prequel.  I'll be interested in seeing if it can be a stand alone of if it's best to have some knowledge of the characters to appreciate it.
I really love Turtle.  I love the characters.  I love the setting (I really want to go to the Keys!) and I think the time period - the Great Depression - is interesting.  Holm does a great job integrating the culture and feel of the Keys in this book.  My only complaint is it seems to wrap up quickly.  I like the ending, but it's over so quickly.

Be Light Like a Bird
Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schoder
4/5 stars
What a beautiful story about grief and healing.  It's also about staying true to yourself and fighting for things that you believe in.
This book is going to be important to have in libraries and classrooms because there are readers who will need it.  This book will also allow readers to understand how a character can process grief and heal.
Publishes Sept. 1st from Capstone.

Currently Reading

Full of Beans
Full of Beans by Jennifer Holm
Loving it so far!

We Were Here
We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
Making some headway with it, I'm about halfway done.  de la Peña has an amazing way with words.

Not sure what's next.  Have way too many to choose from.  How about you?


  1. I think the term you're trying to think of is incidental diversity. It was mentioned in one of the #pb10for10 posts. I wasn't familiar with the term either. A Boy Called Bat sounds wonderful! It's going on my list.

  2. Love all the picture books! Thanks for sharing these and your other reads.

  3. I have a copy of the Cookie Fiasco by Mo Willems. Thanks for the link! The book is wonderful and I'm so glad that he's writing another series.

  4. Same here, too much to read! I go back to work on Friday and I feel like I need to spend the next few days just reading!

  5. Hi Michele,
    Great books! Just paused to request We Were Here and Applesauce weather.

  6. So pleased you are enjoying We Were Here. I LOVED that book. Thanks for sharing so many titles. Many are new to me!

  7. Great list, and Mary Lee at A Reading Year had the pb10for10 on incidental diversity, if you're looking for her list. (It was my topic last year, but I didn't have the term.)

  8. Oh my goodness, How to Train a Truck is going to fly off the shelves at my library as soon as it hits them! Those illustrations are wonderful, and the story is so imaginative.

  9. Applesauce Weather & Be Light Like A Bird were both good middle grade novels. You've got a lot of books that I'll look forward to checking out. Have a great week!

  10. I can't wait to read Full of Beans. Turtle in Paradise is one of my all-time favorite middle grade novels!

  11. Yes! Incidental diversity - that was a new term to me, too, after reading the #pb10for10 list about it. I loved that. Looks like some good picture books are coming out soon!

  12. Another great list of picture books that I must add to my TBR. I also loved hearing about your idea with the new Mo Willems series--thank you!

    Happy reading this week :)

  13. How to Track a Truck will be a favorite for Henry. Thanks for sharing! I'll be putting it on his wish list!

  14. How to Track a Truck will be a favorite for Henry. Thanks for sharing! I'll be putting it on his wish list!

  15. Oh wow, I am overwhelmed by all your reading! That is a LOT indeed. Great to see a new Helen Frost title here. I am a huge fan of her books, particularly her novels-in-verse.

  16. More picture books for me to discover! Thanks for sharing all you've been reading. They look amazing.