Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.29.16

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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.

Reporting two weeks of reading this week!  Between driving from Florida to home, packing and unpacking, appointments and getting ready for the first day of school, I did not get a post up for last Monday.  
I enjoyed being in Florida this summer and I am going to miss it, but I was really glad to get back to my home libraries!  I loaded up on picture books over 3 visits.  
Anyone else having the reading blues after starting school?  The only thing I can get read are picture books.  I'm managing one chapter a night in my middle grade novel before needing to go to sleep!

Last Few Week's Adventures

I am so excited for The Inquisitor's Tale to be released.  If you teach middle grades you may want to add this book to your Mock Newbery list!

Do you think Nursery Rhymes are for the young?  Take a look at these books!

Make sure these August releases are on your TBR list!

We all have to face tough choices.  Talking about them to kids and how to make the right choice is a great conversation to have.  This book is a great one to use!

Picture Books

Monsters Go Night-Night
Monsters Go Night Night by Aaron Zenz
4/5 stars
Oh this was such a fun and cute book!  I immediately turned around and ordered this book for my nephew!  I know young readers are going to LOVE the hilarity of some of the pages.  If you're ever looking for a good gift book for a young reader, keep this one on your radar!

Peep and Egg: I'm Not Trick-or-Treating
Peep and Egg: I'm Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl
4/5 stars
I really like the characters Peep and Egg.  I like the back and forth between the characters and Egg's reluctance to try anything new.  The bold illustrations by Joyce Wan are perfect for these stories.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas
5/5 stars
A beautiful book, definitely one to consider for #mockCaldecott.
This book would be a great mentor text for show don't tell and using metaphors.
I can see how Cuevas poured over each and every single word, making sure each word was perfect.
And Erin Stead's illustrations are amazing, as always.  You naturally took time reading this book because there was so much to admire.

I Dare You!
I Dare You! by Nicole Maubert
3/5 stars
This touch and feel book will be a hit with the younger crowd.  I really like some of the different sensory pages, the sticky one being the most fun!
publishes Sept. 6th by Chronicle/Twirl

A Tiger Tail: (Or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School)
A Tiger Tail (Or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School) by Mike Boldt
4/5 stars
Fun book to read at the beginning of the year.  I like that it shows how differences really don't matter.  The mom and dad's suggestions for what to do with her "challenge" are pretty funny.  And Mike Boldt's illustrations are always a treat!

Middle Grade

Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
Frazzled - Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
4/5 stars
Isn't that middle school - everyday disasters and impending doom??
Vivat has captured middle school perfectly in this book.  Abbie Wu is a perfect middle grade character.  Middle grade is about finding your place without sticking out too much.  It's being different from your siblings but not knowing how you'll be different.  It's about being out of your comfort zone and not knowing what your comfort zone is.
This book is a mix of doodles and writing.  Unlike The Dork Diaries, in my opinion, I think the tone of voice is calmer.  I don't love how the characters talk to each other in that series, this one, while maintaining a middle grade voice, doesn't sound rude.
I tweeted Vivat and she said more books are in the works!  I'm excited to see more Abbie Wu!

Young Adult

We Were Here
We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
5/5 stars
I read this story as part of our Voxer group's challenge.  After the Newbery win, we thought we would get more acquainted with Matt's work, but we agreed to wait until the summer.  By then, the discussion of books being mirrors and windows started.  We wanted to explore this  more and Matt's work seemed to be a great place to start.  With the start of school here, we had a short but interesting conversation.  I appreciate that I can learn from these great educators!  
We Were Here is the story of Miguel.  He's headed to a group home after a stint in juvi.  The judge has ordered him to keep a journal so he can learn about what someone with his background thinks about.  We are reading the journal.  We read about Miguel and how he breaks out from the group home with 2 other guys, all who end up being unlikely friends.  I loved the character development of Miguel, Mong and Rondell.  Definitely not a mirror book for me, but allowed me into Miguel's world, Mong's and Rondell's.  I think the power of this book is it allows us to think about the lives of those who appear one way.  I think it's a powerful read for those who may see themselves in this book.

Currently Reading

As Brave As You
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
I've been reading this book for awhile.  With school starting I'm having a really hard time getting into it.  I knew my reading would slow down, but with moving home and starting school in 4 days, it's been hard.
And, if all else fails, I'll get some more picture book reading done!


  1. Even though I am only working at the elementary this semester, I still think of myself as a MS/HS Media Specialist. I alternate my reading between adult books and MS/HS all year round though I read less during the school year. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  2. These picture books look like fun! I agree that middle school is full of everyday disasters and impending doom! Frazzled sounds like it nails it.

  3. As Brave as You is a slow book, but I found that once I was into it, I couldn't put it down. There is a lot going on between those pages. I'm almost done We Were Here. So far I'm enjoying it, but it feels like there is almost too much going on.

  4. I devour picture books, sometimes they're all I can handle if my brain is particularly frazzled by a stressful day! I love Peep and Egg, so sweet, and so relatable! :)

  5. Hope you are settling in and things are going well! I need to read We Were Here, but have a lot on my stacks first, older ones too. Guess it's not a bad thing, really. Thanks, Michele.

  6. We Were Here sounds wonderful - Matt is such a talented writer. I am having a hard time with As Brave As You, too - it may have to wait until late in the Fall, when the school year is off and running.

  7. A Tiger Tail is a fun one to read during the first days of school! Have a great week!

  8. I absolutely loved The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles and We Were Here. I am so happy that our soulmate reading union prevails! The way I worded that, we sound like a cult.

  9. Wasn't Uncorker beautiful?! Other than that, I haven't read any other books you mentioned--I'll need to fix that! We miss you hear in Florida though!!!

    Happy reading this week :)