Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.14.16

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
Just because something is labeled nonfiction, doesn't mean it is full of true facts.  Use these books to help students be critical thinkers.

Getting ready for the holidays yet?  Here are some new Christmas books you may want to add to your list!

Picture Books

We Came to America
We Came to America by Faith Ringgold
5/5 stars
After Tuesday, many of us were at a loss.  If that sounds familiar, this book may be a good place to start and talk.  Ringgold shares how a diverse group of people make up who lives in America.  That these people brought, and sometimes lost, their culture, their names, their dress.  And all of these people make up America.

A Small Thing . . . but Big
A Small Thing... but Big by Tony Johnston
4/5 stars
Use for growth mindset.  In order to grow, try new things, do something you're afraid of... you just need to start with a small step forward.

Du Iz Tak?
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
4/5 stars
This is a book I would really like to read with kids, because I'm not sure how they will like it.  It might go over well, and others may be bored.  I found myself getting frustrated with the made up words (hello ELL learners....) and not even concentrating on them, just using the illustrations.  
Since this book is really carried by the illustrations, it will be interesting to see if the Caldecott committee is looking at this.

Is That Wise, Pig?
Is That Wise, Pig? by Jan Thomas
4/5 stars
This book is a must for preK-1st gr libraries.  Laugh out loud funny for kids.  With the short text and repeating lines, it's a book we added to our Mock Geisel unit.

The Boss Baby
The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee
4/5 stars
Oh, how I love Marla Frazee's work.  This book would pair nicely with Kate Beaton's King Baby.

Informational Texts

Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer
Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop Slave-Explorer by Heather Henson
3/5 stars
This book had a different focus than I thought it would.  Bishop was a slave that literally led tourists through Mammoth Cave.  I thought this was going to be about the Underground Railroad.  It was an interesting story, but left me with some questions.

The Great Leopard Rescue: Saving the Amur Leopards
The Great Leopard Rescue: Saving the Amur Leopards by Sandra Markle
5/5 stars
If you ever want to find beautifully written non-fiction, look to Sandra Markle.  Her writing is clear and concise.  It's a mentor text for organization, tight writing, and engaging word choice.  
Markle details these animals, their habits and where they live.  She goes into detail about the rehabilitation effort that is starting to take place and why it is needed.  Her use of text features enhances the information and gives readers another way of looking at information.  The photographs are stunning and left me wondering about these magnificent creatures.
Fascinating nonfiction - can't wait to use it with readers.


Best in Snow
Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre
5/5 stars
Make sure you expose students to poetry like this - that spreads out over a book.  So often young readers think that poetry has a formal format - that it reads across a single page.
This is how I would like to view snow - through a photograph.  And far away from outside my door!  Unfortunately, the weather featured in this book is coming and students will definitely have schema for it.  What Sayre does that makes this book stand out is include fantastic back matter about snow and weather.  I love the science connection in this book.

Middle Grade

Just My Luck (Zack Delacruz, #2)
Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck by Jeff Anderson
4/5 stars
Love this middle grade series.
Return tomorrow to see a review and a giveaway!

Currently Reading

The Diabolic
The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Lucky Broken Girl
Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Just starting both of these books.

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year - NCTE week!  I can't wait for Thursday to come.  It's a few days of friends, books and learning.  It always jump starts my enthusiasm for what I do! 
Happy learning and reading this week!


  1. Best in Snow sounds really interesting. I hope I"ll be able to pick it up soon.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm excited about NCTE too! Thanks for sharing Faith Ringgold's book--looks like one I need to get. I am still reeling from the election and thinking of ways to help my students understand the issues--through reading, of course.

  3. Enjoy NCTE, Michele. I imagine you'll have many, many books and ideas to share after! Thanks for the books today, most new to me!

  4. Zack Delacruz is on my classroom library and my TBR list. Glad you enjoyed it! Have fun at NCTE. I'm hoping to go again next year when it returns to the Midwest.

  5. Best in Snow sounds perfect - I love being able to share poetry in all of its many different forms, and encouraging students to explore their own poetic voice.

  6. I read We Came To America and loved it! Thanks for reminding me about it! You've got several books I should check out. I am so ready for Thanksgiving break to rest up and try to get caught up on my reading. Have a great week!

  7. Thanks for sharing the next Anderson book - he's a favorite in my classroom!

  8. I enjoyed this Zack title too. Have the best time at NCTE! Wish I could be there. Tweet lots!

  9. I am afraid of the complete lack of critical literacy among the population in general, and my peers in particular. Being able to unpack any kind of text is so important. Thanks for these titles here. Have a good time next week. I'm looking forward to reading about your time at NCTE.