Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.19.17

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

Blog tour for Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

I answered 3 questions about early reading here.

Talking sharks here.

Blog tour for Welcome to Wonder Land 2: Beach Party Surf Monkey and giveaway

Celebrating Father's Day with this new book.

Graphic Novel

The Great Art Caper
The Great Art Caper by Victoria Jamieson
4/5 stars
The second book in the "Pets on the Loose" series - this time GW, Sunflower and Barry, the friendly class pets, are trying to save the art show from Harriet and her Minions.  They have an evil plan that will not only ruin the art show, but make fun of the administration and get GW sent to a horrible school for unruly pets!
I love this series and it has been a huge hit for the readers at my school.  Anything Victoria Jamieson does is an automatic purchase for me!

Middle Grade

Halfway Normal
Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee
5/5 stars
e-copy from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
This is going to be such an important windows/mirror book!  Norah is returning to school after being gone for the past two years as she battled leukemia.  Middle school is awkward for anyone, but try returning after a very significant illness that has left you looking like a boy instead of a girl, terrorized your body so it's still catching up to puberty, and because of homeschooling, has you skipping a grade level for a few classes.  To adults, this might not seem horrible.  To a middle schooler, this is horrible!  The story is carefully crafted to talk about empathy.  I love the inclusion of mythology Dee uses to emphasize empathy within the school setting.  Empathy and sympathy can be similar yet very different.  How middle schoolers display, show and react to it are explored.
Barbara Dee has written this from her heart.  She has experience with this as written about in her Nerdy post.  As a parent who has a child that has to return to school after prolonged absences, this book absolutely spoke to my heart.  I'm hoping my daughter gets to it soon - I had an e-galley of it and she does not like reading electronically so not sure when she will get to it - because I would love to hear her take on it since it's a mirror book for her.
Whether it's a window or mirror book, I think this book provides the opportunity to gain new perspective, or see themselves within the book.
publishes Sept. 5th.

The Explorer
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
5/5 stars
e-copy from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Do you have fans of Hatchet or maybe the Watt Keys books?  Those kids who are looking for nonstop adventure and suspense?  This is the book you'll want to get into their hands this fall.  
My first thought was this book is going to be exactly like Hatchet but with 4 main characters. We meet Fred, Con, and brother and sister Lila and Max, as they are heading over the Amazon when all of a sudden their pilot has, what seems to present, a heart attack.  Crash landing in the middle of the Amazon, the four need to get back to society to get home.  Of course what do four kids, one of them being only five years old, know about surviving in the wilderness?  They must rely on each other and on someone unexpected they meet.  Meanwhile, they learn an important lesson that changes their outlook on their situation.
What I love about this book and other Rundell novels is her way of weaving stories and plot lines together that end up giving you something deeper to think about.  This ends up being not just a survival story, but one that has deeper meaning.
publishes Sept. 12th

Currently Reading

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
Can't wait to dive into this one!  Look at that gorgeous cover!

I'm looking forward to this weekend - it's time for ALA, in Chicago!  I will be taking off next Monday with the excitement of ALA, but can't wait to return to update you on all of the upcoming books!


  1. These all sound wonderful. Have a great time at ALA. Sounds exciting for sure!

  2. Great books for me to check out! Have fun in Chicago!

  3. I love Rundell's books, Michele, so glad to hear about this one! Halfway Normal does sound like one that could be a good read aloud, too. Thanks for sharing those new books! I'm glad you're going to ALA. Have fun and bring back lots to share!

  4. Halfway Normal sounds powerful, and really beautiful. And have fun at ALA!! I'm so jealous!!!

  5. These sound like great middle grade titles. I need to find those Jamieson books.

  6. Wow! So happy to hear about The Explorer - This sounds like a must read. We are big Victoria Jamieson fans and can't wait to read The Great Art Caper

  7. I am looking forward to reading Halfway Normal. We had a couple of students at my school who went through similar experiences.

  8. My goodness, you are very productive! You are really rocking the ARCs and finding good ones! Thanks for sharing these!

  9. So many good reads here! I admit to getting all excited about The Explorer by Katherine Rundell and almost forgot to read the rest of your post. Have a fabulous weekend at the ALA.

  10. I have Peculiar to read, too! :) It may be my plane back book :) The other two MG books are now on my TBR--thank you for the recommendations.
    See you soon!