Monday, August 21, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.21.17

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

I continued #pb10for10 day in my #road2reading post - 10 books for your readers who are starting their independent reading journey!

I hosted the cover reveal for author Annette Pimentel's upcoming book, Girl Running.

This is by far one of my new favorite middle grade books - The First Rule of Punk.

Picture Books

Creepy Pair of Underwear!
Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds
4/5 stars
When you see the names Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown on a book, you know to set yourself up to laugh.  Definitely a different storyline, but with the characteristic humor, black and gray and one highlight color palette, and eye appealing illustrations, readers are in for a treat!

It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk
It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk
5/5 stars
Two Lions sent me a copy of this book and I was thrilled to get a sneak peak of the upcoming Josh Funk book!  It has what you expect from Mr. Funk - witty, smart, and well-played, but it's his first published book that is not in rhyme format!  I think this book is going to have many uses as a read aloud and mentor text.  Longer spotlight post on this book coming in September!
publishes September 19th

Skin Again
Skin Again by Bell Hooks
5/5 stars
Thank goodness for Twitter friends.  They led me to this book and it's one I will be buying.  An important book to read now and in the future.  We need to continue to have the discussion with students from here on out about what is important in people - the inside, not our color, appearance, what we have or don't have.

Boo Who?
Boo Who? by Ben Clanton
4/5 stars
A sweet book about including people in your play, especially when they are new.  Also about looking for things to do that includes people of all abilities.  Would be a good book to use at the beginning of the year.

Early Readers

What This Story Needs Is a Vroom and a Zoom
What This Story Needs is a Vroom and Zoom by Emma J. Virján
3/5 stars
Another fun book in the "What this story needs" series.  I read it to my 4yo niece and it was a hit!  I can see young fans of the "Cars" movies flocking to this book!  
Sad to see this is the last book in the series.  It's been a fun series to hand off to our young readers.

Middle Grade

Cyclone by Doreen Cronin
4/5 stars
I really enjoyed this complex story.
Nora has blackmailed her cousin, Riley, to ride the crazy rollercoaster, the Cyclone.  After the ride is over, Riley suffers a stroke due to an unknown heart condition, which lands her in critical condition at the hospital.   
One part of the story is about Riley's rehabilitation at the hospital.  The way a stroke can affect a person was an interesting part of the story, as Riley ends up speaking better Spanish than English.  I liked the use of footnotes to explain a lot of the medical terms for a reader.  The use of words are also explored through drawings and the many ways you can say the "f-word" without actually saying it!  Cronin was creative with that one!
Another part of the story is piecing together what lead up to going on the rollercoaster.  We know there had been a fight and Nora had information that Riley did not want her mom knowing.  We get the background information in pieces but see how this affects the present part of the story.
Another part of the story is how grief hits us all differently.  We meet Jack who is important to Nora in understanding grief, hospitals and relationships.  Although Jack's story isn't a main part, he passes on a lot of important things for Nora to think about throughout the story.
This story was hard for me to put down.  I was a little conflicted at the end.  I wanted more redemption for one of the characters.  
I think readers who enjoyed Jenn Bishop's The Distance to Home or Ali Standish's The Ethan I Was Before will really enjoy this one.

The Running Dream
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
5/5 stars
I'm including this book with middle grade, although I would recommend it for upper middle grade.  It could easily be read by young adult fans, as well.
I loved this book because of the positivity.  This is a disability book, but it's one that deals with the disability in a realistic and positive way.  
I love how the main character is realistic about her views, but has the stubbornness to confront issues and try.  
I've had this book for a very long time and it's one I knew I would love, just needed the time to read it.  I think I read it at the best time as my child goes through her own rehabilitation program.  I immediately handed the book to her to read.
As we talk about #weneeddiversebooks, please remember to include books like this in your collection.  The more we show physical disabilities, the more understanding we have for people with these challenges.

Miles Morales
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
5/5 stars
I've never been a big Marvel fan.  I've seen handfuls of the movies here and there.  I've only recently heard of there being different Spider-Man(s).
With that said, I'm guessing if you know more about the Miles Morales story, you'll probably understand the story just a bit more.  But if you're like me and don't know it, you can fill in the holes and understand what you're missing.
This is a Spider-Man story for today's generation.  The storyline is very relevant and having Miles as the Spider-Man is even more important.
What I liked about this story is it stays true to today's generation instead of it being about the action and adventure you find in super hero stories.
I hope Mr. Reynolds has more coming!

Currently Reading

The Stars Beneath Our Feet
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

#bookaday has ended for me!  School starts this week and I have no doubt that my reading is going to slow down!  Between school, the regular routine, and my daughter's physical therapy, the waking hours are packed.  It's always a little bit of a withdrawal, but I know we'll find our rhythm soon!


  1. Thank you for this great list of books. I am so excited to read It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Mike's Morales, and The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Skin Again sounds like a very important read. Happy Back to School!

  2. I'm interested in reading Doreen Cronin's book. Her picture books and Chicken Squad books are popular with students. I can't wait to read It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk!

  3. I read your review of The First Rule of Punk, and am so happy that my library has it on order and I am the first to get it! Cyclone looks like it is very different from Cronin's picture books. I agree with you about Miles Morales. I'm not a superhero book fan, but as usual, Jason Reynolds enthralled me with his writing.

  4. I also enjoyed many of the books you mentioned. Miles Morales is a wonderful book. As a teacher it's a vivid reminder of how NOT to teach aside from it being a fabulous story. The First Rule of Punk is one of my favorites of the year also. I can't wait to share it with students. The Running Dream is such a well told story. And oh how we need Skin Again. Have a great start to the school year.

  5. OK, so, I want each and every book you've got here this week! What a fantastic lineup! And I totally agree, my twitter friends have helped me find so many amazing books I might have otherwise missed.

  6. I'm really looking forward to reading Creepy Pair of Underwear and It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk! I love those two authors and think their books are so much fun!

  7. I'm with you about never being a Marvel fan, but I will read anything Jason Reynolds writes!

  8. I'm in the midst of Miles Morales and enjoying it very much - The Running Dream is a classroom favorite for just the reasons you mentioned.

  9. I LOVE The Running Dream, but am curious to see what you think of the language choices in The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Have you thought about being a Cybils judge this year? You read widely enough to apply for several different divisions.

  10. I just ordered Skin Again for our school wide read aloud initiative. Glad to know it was a good choice! Must place Creepy Pair of Underwear in top of TBR list!

  11. It seems everyone is reading Jason Reynolds. Rightfully so. I'm reading Patina right now.