Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.16.17

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

On the #road2reading Challenge I talked about the importance of labeling books so all readers are validated.  Post is here.

I gave an update on our #mockSibert #sibertsmackdown here.

Don't miss this amazing wordless picture book, Wolf in the Snow.

Picture Books

I Am Not a Number
I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis
4/5 stars
Twitter friend Scott Fillner alerted me to this book about a point in history that I was not familiar with.  A book about the unfair treatment, this time of Canadian indigenous people and the removal of children to residential schools where harsh punishments and conditions awaited them.  Great author's note in the back about the origins of this particular story.

Also An Octopus
Also An Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
4/5 stars
A lot of people have read this and talked about what a great book it is to use for writing.  I agree and would also add that what I like is it keeps asking "what if".  I hear a lot of authors talk about this in Skype visits and I'm not sure if we say that to kids often enough.  What if...

XO, OX: A Love Story
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex
4/5 stars
I chuckled my way through this book.  Written in back and forth letters, a smitten ox and a famous gazelle have differing opinions of each other - good thing the ox is so easy going!  
I added this book to my list of books that would be good to use for turning point.

A Family Is a Family Is a Family
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary
5/5 stars
Wonderful author/illustrator combination of Sara O'Leary and Qin Leng.  I've owned this book since early fall but just finally got around to reading it.  Love the celebration of families in a very matter of fact way.

Faraway Fox
Faraway Fox by Jolene Thompson
4/5 stars
At first, the reader has to put the text and illustrations together to really understand what the narrator is not telling us.
The narrator, a young fox, is letting the reader know about what he remembers about living in the forest with his family.  As he gives us bits and pieces, we see the fox living in a suburban community, which is not matching the story he is telling us.  Soon, we realize that somehow he had been separated from his home in the forest to where he is now.  We also can see, via signs that construction is being done to create a tunnel that can be used by wildlife so they don't get caught between their own habitat and a suburban environment.  
Wonderful author's note giving additional information about human encroachment on animals' natural habitats and what some places are doing to help.

Early Chapter Books

My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories
My Kite is Stuck and Other Stories by Salina Yoon
5/5 stars
I love this new series by Yoon!  I already know for a fact that young readers love the characters of Big Duck, Little Duck and Porcupine.  In this second in the series, Little Duck finds himself being the only one, besides the reader, who really sees and understands what it is going on.  It's obvious to the reader and it makes the reader feel like we are "in" on the joke/funny situation along side Little Duck.  I appreciate that Yoon does not write down to her young audience, instead inviting them along with the characters.

Middle Grade

Masterminds: Payback (Masterminds, #3)
Masterminds: Payback by Gordon Korman
4/5 stars
A satisfying end to the trilogy.  The first one blew me away with its clever I-did-not-see-that-coming plot.  It was so fun to read!  The second one certainly developed on the big idea of the first book and was filled with action.  This third one did too, but now it seemed not as exciting as the first two.  I think readers of this series will be happy with the conclusion.

The House of Months and Years
The House of Months and Years by Emma Trevayne
I'm going to refrain from rating this one.  This is one of those books that may have been wrong time for me to read books.  It took me awhile to read it, often I read one chapter at a time, and I never got into it.  I'll be interested in seeing what readers think of it.  
In the same vein as The Night Gardener, but wasn't as developed, in my opinion.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
5/5 stars
Oh, there is so much to love about this book.  Love the characters (almost all of them anyway) and the way they rise up - for each other and in life (totally want to sing some Hamilton right now...).  Loved Perry and his way of looking for the positives.  I think there are kids who are born with the ability to do this.  I am not one and because of that, I admire those that can and do!  While this was a lengthy book, I was intrigued the whole way and enjoyed seeing how the plot and characters developed.  As I read, I kept thinking about how this is not a situation that I am familiar with or the majority of students I teach.  I think it was so interesting to change the perspective on how I might feel about the families in this situation.
This is a current Mock Newbery selection for our students.  It will be interesting to see how the conversation goes with young readers!

Currently Reading

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
At 624 pages, this is a read and an exercise program.  Working those biceps!  I see the third one is going to be even longer!

Happy Reading this week!


  1. I just love anything Salina Yoon writes! I am behind on the Masterminds trilogy. I just ordered book two. I have All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook setting in my to read pile that I pick from. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing your reads! I have added to my pile and plan to revisit Also An Octopus for more "what ifs."

  3. The House of Months and Years was different, the ending especially. I don't read too many ghost, haunted house stories because it's just not the type of story I love. When I was reading it I thought of The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price because of the fact that the character has to choose between real life and one that is magical. The Night Gardener is not one I've considered reading because it seems a little too spooky, but maybe I should check it out.

  4. I enjoyed going and reading you other posts Michele. Our teacher librarian group had to defend a TL whose administration wanted everything in the library levelled!
    I am on the Perry Cook band wagon. He is one of the most amazing characters I read last year!

  5. Glad to know about some of these, Michele, like the Faraway Fox, and have managed to find them at the library. I chuckled over your "heavy" book as both exercise and good about Court Mist Fury. Funny! Have a good week!

  6. I just read about XO, OX over on Earl's post. I guess I need to look for it. I requested Perry Cook and am eager to see what all the fuss is about. :)

    I'm excited for My Kite is Stuck. I love finding out about good books for early readers.

  7. I recently purchased All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook for my Kindle. I definitely need to get on it and read it soon! Have a wonderful week!

  8. I LOVED Perry T. Cook - got an ARC awhile ago and I'm so excited that everyone else loves it as much as I did!

  9. I can't wait to read XO, OX. I love all things Adam Rex. :)

  10. I Am Not a Number sounds like a must read. We have our American version of this same sad story...

  11. We loved All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook - Have you listened to the story corp about a mom and daughter sharing what is was like when the mom was in jail? -

  12. I felt the same way you did for Masterminds 3. I'll definitely check out the Family book now seems it's been getting lots of positive reviews.

  13. How are you finding the Sarah Maas novels?? A family is a family is a family is a book I should buy soonest!