Monday, September 5, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.05.16

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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.

Has anyone else felt the grinding halt of their reading life come to a stop with the start of the school year??  It took me three weeks to read the middle grade novel I was reading!  I'm hoping things will start to change as we get into a routine again.  Luckily I had Sunday to get caught up in my picture book reading!

Last Week's Adventures

I featured a round up of early readers.  These books are so important to have in kg-3rd grade classrooms!  

Here's my #mustreadin2016 update.

It's hard to believe that we are coming up to the 15th anniversary of 9.11.  Here are some books to share with readers of all ages.

It's an election year and it's such a great idea to share how far our nation has come in the right to vote.  This is a great book to use and I added a few other fun books to share this season.

Picture Books

Bella's Fall Coat
Bella's Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde
4/5 stars
Remember that favorite thing from childhood that you wore or played with until it literally fell apart?  Bella has that too, it's a special coat.  Good thing she has Grandma to make her something new, and finds a great place for the something treasured!  Beautiful fall colors make this a timely read!

Sophie's Squash Go to School
Sophie's Squash Go To School by Pat Zietlow Miller
4/5 stars
Friendship is a big topic.  There's more to it than being a good friend, making friends, keeping friends, the give and take in a relationship... see, it's big!  The more books we have that explore this topic, the more likely we're to reach what kids need.   This is another book that will reach the right reader at the right time.

The Wonder
The Wonder by Faye Hanson
4/5 stars
I wonder how often we accidentally turn off the wonder in our students' heads?  The young boy in the story has a head full of wonder, but is always told to stop - stop daydreaming, start paying attention.  But what happens when his imagination is allowed to take flight?  Beautiful illustrations.  Great story to use right now to encourage young learners to think outside of the box!

88 Instruments
88 Instruments by Chris Barton
4/5 stars
Choices and patience.  Patience when making choices.  Great topics to explore and discuss!  What do you do when you have too many choices?  How do you figure out which one is right?  What about when things look too big, how do you use patience to slowly figure it all out?  Great, quick read to talk about these big ideas!

The Cranky Ballerina
The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel
4/5 stars
Ada is cranky on Saturdays because she has ballet class.  And as we soon find out, it's not a talent of Ada's.  When something is hard and difficult, we often do not enjoy it.  But what is your passion?  For Ada, she accidentally finds out it is karate!  Now, she's not so cranky on Saturdays!

Some Pets
Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi
5/5 stars
I loved DiTerlizzi and Wenzel's first collaboration in Some Bugs.  Now the duo is back, describing pets this time!  These books are mentor texts for me because I feel like there is so much you can study within the pages.  I love thinking about the words DiTerlizzi uses - then I think about how she put it all together as a writer.  Did she brainstorm the words before she wrote?  How can we put the words in categories?  What does it teach us about pets?  So much to do with this book!

City Shapes
City Shapes by Diana Murray
4/5 stars
I've been waiting to read this book for so long, and it did not disappoint.  Labeled as a concept book, it's also an interesting book on perspective.  This would be a good book to use with They All Saw a Cat.  We see all of the shapes within a busy city through the eyes of a girl and a bird.  Interesting contrast.

Little Elliot, Big Fun
Little Elliot Big Fun by Mike Curato
5/5 stars
I have loved each and every one of Elliot's adventures, but this one may be my favorite.  Maybe because of the beautiful Boardwalk setting.  Maybe because the little guy is the brave one who helps his bigger friend who is a bit nervous.  But I think mostly it's because of the illustrations.  Simply beautiful.  Maybe this is the Elliot book that will get Mike Curato a Caldecott.  I hope so.

Middle Grade

As Brave As You
As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
3/5 stars
Blame it on the season.  Blame it on how stressed I've been.  For some reason, I had a really hard time getting into this book.  Sometimes I would forget it was written in 3rd person, and then it would confuse me seeing a name or he/she.  For some reason, I wanted the character Genie to be telling the story, I don't know why I kept thinking that.  But it threw me off a few times.  Anyone else have that experience?  I also thought the ending was too quick.  It took so long to get there and then you turned the page and bam, it was over.  I've seen many reviews about how much they loved the writing, but I feel like I've seen Reynolds' writing much more powerful than in this one.  
I'm looking forward to reading Ghost, his other middle grade that just came out.  I'm hoping for a different experience.

Currently Reading

Holding Up the Universe
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
I am really enjoying this one.  Similar format to All the Bright Places with 2 characters alternating chapters.  Different topic in this one but like AtBP, digging into important topics.


  1. I really enjoyed 88 Instruments and feel like I want to share it with our instrumental music teacher. City Shapes is great, so I bought a copy to have in my classroom library. I've ordered all the rest of the picture books on your list from my local library, so I'm definitely looking forward to reading them. Thanks for your awesome suggestions. Have a great week!

  2. Will look for the new Eliot adventure & Bella's Fall Coat-fun! I haven't read As Brave As You, but will remember what you said, Michele. I know the beginning of school takes much time. I hope things settle down for you a bit. Thanks for all these new books!

  3. I have put Holding up the Universe on hold. I get your response to As Brave as You. It was very slow. I wish I could have had someone to talk to about it, since there was a lot going on under the surface of it I think. I agree, I wanted a bit more for the ending.

  4. 88 Instruments is new to me, on to the library holds list it goes! :)

  5. So many people are raving about 88 Instruments - We have to get a copy. Thanks for telling us about Angela DiTerlizzi's books. She is a new author for us and we will have to check them out.

  6. Even with slowing down, you got some great reading done! Thank you for the election post! Also, you reminded me that I need to catch up on Elliot books...

    Happy reading this week! :)

  7. I must find Holding up the Universe. I really liked As Brave as You. It might be a book that needs time to sit and really enter the lives of these characters. Some wonderful picture books here.

  8. Ooohlala, Holding Up The Universe sounds really good. I loved Niven's All the Bright Places - so will definitely check if my friendly local distributor also carries this title.

  9. Holding UP the Universe is what I'll be reading next. We were kind of fighting who would get to read the ARC first at work, lol.