Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.12.16

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.

Oh goodness, where have the last 4 weeks gone?  I haven't posted on a Monday in 4 weeks!  Between NCTE, going to Florida for my daughter (Paralympic Canada American swimming championships and outpatient surgery on her knee) and holiday business... I just haven't read!  I tried to get into a little reading groove this weekend and here's the results of that and the little bit I got done in November.

Last Week's Adventures

Trying to add more nonfiction in your read alouds?  How about trying a Mock Sibert in January?  Need books?  Here are 10 picture books I would recommend for a Mock Sibert.  Here are 10 more from Alyson Beecher.  And check out Melissa Stewart's ideas to get a Mock Sibert started!

It's important to discuss same/different in a positive light with students today.  These three picture books came up multiple times at NCTE and they should all have a place in your classroom.

I was able to get to some of the publishers booths at NCTE and take a good look at the picture books and early chapter books that are coming our way.  Make sure these are on your 2017 TBR radar!

Picture Books

Little Penguins
Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant
3/5 stars
Anytime there are illustrations by Christian Robinson, the book is already a good one!
Sweet story about winter coming.  Maybe a little silly that it's penguins getting ready for the winter arrival....

Waiting for Snow
Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold
4/5 stars
The animals are anxiously waiting for the first snowfall (there seems to be a pattern in my book choices so far...)
A few things:
1.  Raccoon bangs on pots and pans to try and get the snow to fall.  I would never. Not ever.  Do that.  
2.  There is an overhead projector in one of the illustrations.
3.  They are playing Chinese jump rope in one of the pictures.  Anyone else remember that?  I spent hours playing that!

A Well-Mannered Young Wolf
A Well-Mannered Young Wolf by Jean Leroy
4/5 stars
Whoo hoo, another sarcastic book to add to my collection!  I love these tongue in cheek stories, they make me laugh out loud.
A  book about keeping your promises.  And karma.

The Friend Ship
The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh
3/5 stars
Sweet story about friendship.  Little Hedgehog is feeling sad and lonely until she hears that "friendship is out there".  Except she thinks it's The Friend Ship.  She gets to work building her ship and when she sets sail, Hedgehog learns there are many other animals out there looking for the same thing.  This book has a good theme - finding friendship - and would be great to use for discussions on finding friendship (how to find them, where to find them).  I wish the ending of the book was just a bit stronger - I thought Hedgehog needed a bigger revelation - but this book will still be loved by young readers.

Margarash by Mark Riddle
4/5 stars
Have you ever thought about where all of those things go that fall in between the couch cushions?  Apparently they go to Margarash, the monster that lives under all of the couch cushions, collecting the coins, TV remotes, silverware and pens that have dropped in the depths between.  Poor Collin finds himself trapped within this world but perhaps his magic coin will do in a trade?
I think this would be a perfect book to use with older readers to talk about ideas for writing.  Linda Urban explained our missing socks in the dryer (Milo Speck, Accidental Agent), now we know what happens with everything that falls between the couch cushions.  What other mysterious losses can be explained???

Today by Julie Morstad
4/5 stars
This is a book I would've poured over as a child.  A page that asks a questions and gives many options - what to wear with all sorts of clothing choices with labels, or what to eat for breakfast, with many breakfast food options and labels.  I adore Julie Morstad's illustrations and this is another one that will draw you in.

The Bossier Baby
The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee
4/5 stars
Anyone who has witnessed baby #2 arriving home, or if you ask young readers if they remember when it happened in their house, would probably say this book is a fairly accurate adaptation of when baby comes home! 

Bunny Slopes
Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda
4/5 stars
If you're familiar with Cat (Santa Cat, Tooth Fairy Cat) from author Deborah Underwood, you'll be familiar with illustrator Claudia Rueda.
Rueda is the author-illustrator for this fun interactive book.  Bunny is off to the slopes but needs just a bit of help from the reader along the way.
My students love interactive books so I know it will be a hit!

Luis Paints the World
Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish
5/5 stars
Really beautiful story about the way a young boy copes when his older brother is deployed in the army.  Love seeing art used as therapy. 

Information Texts

My Name Is James Madison Hemings
My Name is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter
4/5 stars
Pieces of history that I was never taught growing up is starting to be written about in children's literature today.  It wasn't until I was older did I learn that Thomas Jefferson was the father of many children - most being born by his slave, Sally Hemings.  Yet another layer of our history that is being exposed and hopefully so we don't repeat it.

Graphic Novels

The Great Big Boom (HiLo #3)
HiLo 3: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winnick
5/5 stars
I think this is my favorite HiLo yet!  As the series goes on it shows more heart and creativity than ever! 


Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole
Dear Wandering Wildebeest by Irene Latham
5/5 stars
If you aren't familiar with Irene Latham's poetry, you will want to change that!  Beautiful poems that are accompanied by additional information about the topic.  Perfect for a science (animal habits) or social studies unit (ecosystems).

Middle Grade

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
4/5 stars
This was on my #mustreadin2016 list and I'm glad I finally got to it.  It's a fun fantasy series that will appeal to middle grade readers.  This book is meant to appeal to readers of the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, and that is well marketed.  Now that the Hunger Games movies are out, there aren't as many younger middle grade readers flocking to the series.  I love the series, but it has themes that are meant for older middle grade readers.  "The Unwanteds" series has elements of Hunger Games, but not as mature.  And lucky for us we get more Harry Potter with the "Fantastic Beasts" series, but the theme of magic is one that kids can never get enough of.  This book blends the dystopian world and magic very well - add in suspense and mystery and you've got a hit!

Moon Shadow
Moon Shadow by Erin Downing
5/5 stars
This book will have its own blog post closer to release date (May 2017), but for now just know that this book must be on your TBR list.  Perfect upper middle grade read.  Loved loved loved.

Terror at Bottle Creek
Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key
4/5 stars
This is the book you hand off to the student who finishes Hatchet.  This is perfect for the reader who has trouble sticking with a book.  Once the action started (hurricane), I found it very hard to just stop reading at the end of a chapter because it was always at a place where some high action was taking place!

Currently Reading

What Elephants Know
What Elephants Know 
by Erin Dinerstein
For those readers who read The One and Only Ivan and are ready for the next book on the reading ladder!  Would also pair with Lynne Kelley's Chained.

Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang (Fenway and Hattie, #2)
Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang
by Victoria Coe
Can't wait to see what Fenway is up to next!

The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give 
by Angie Thomas
I'm reading an e-galley of this book when I workout which is why it's taking so long.  But oh my... it's going to be a very important book for YA readers.

Happy Reading to all!


  1. Great list! I'm also looking forward to seeing what Fenway is up to nextl.

  2. Thank you, thank you for this list! Just ordered this Watt Key title for my son - needed one more book for Christmas and I think this is the one! On the look out now for Julie Morstad's book - how I love her!

  3. Awesome list!. I'm definitely going to read the Hate U Give soon. I just ordered it for my library too.

  4. Wow, lots to note from your list, Michele. I hope your daughter is recovering well & had a great meet, too. I am looking forward to Terror at Battle Creek, sounds great. And the picture books: I have the Cynthia Rylant coming from the library, & will find Today by Julie Morstad. I'm sure I'll enjoy them both. Thanks for all and have a happy week!

  5. I'm really looking forward to reading THE FRIEND SHIP. The artwork looks beautiful too.

  6. HiLo 3 is my favorite also! I cannot wait for the next one, but it is in 2018!!!
    You gave me a lot of picture books I want to read--thank you!
    Happy reading this week :)

  7. You've got an awesome list this week. I've just put in library requests for 5 of them. Hopefully they'll be ready just as I start Winter Break next week. Hope you have a great week!

  8. Wow! You read a ton this week. Really looking forward to reading Luis Paints the World

  9. Thanks for the Sibert lists. I am planning to do a Mock Sibert with one of my grades in Jan. The new Hilo and Dear Wandering Wildebeest are two I will want to get soon. Thanks!

  10. I want Erin Downing's book now! Might have to put What Elephants Know and The Hate You Give on my must read list for next year.

  11. Today looks absolutely fabulous! I am going to add it to my list. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Such lovely titles here! I've been reading a lot about My Name is James Madison Hemings - looks like a very important book to read.