Monday, August 28, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.28.17

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.

Did anyone else hear the skid marks as my reading came to an abrupt halt??  I forgot about how important it is to find time to read in the edges.  Usually because I was taking a nap between the edges this week!!  Definitely the start of school.  In fact, I finished the one middle grade novel I did read this weekend by finding an hour block of time to read on Saturday and Sunday!  Once we get into routine I'm sure things will go back to normal but until then I'll be working hard to find little pieces of time to read.

Last Week's Adventures

This is a perfect time to be reflective about your classroom library and how you want it set up.  Ideas on how to set it up without levels here.

A roundup of nonfiction picture books that celebrate books and reading.

A review of Cassie Beasley's upcoming book (tomorrow!) Tumble and Blue.

The first ten books we're using for #classroombookaday in the 4th grade class I'm in.

Picture Books

Owl Bat Bat Owl
Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
4/5 stars
I think this book is perfect to read at the start of the year to talk about acceptance, inclusion, looking out for each other and even personal space.  Maybe point out that once the adult animals got out of the way, it was the kids that found a new way to be.  Love that it's wordless so even more room for discussion and interpretation.

Now by Antoinette Portis
5/5 stars
I've been waiting so long to get my hands on this book and it did not disappoint.  Reminding us that the present time is so important.  BE in the now.  Recognize the importance of what you are doing.  Be present.  Such a great message.  Yet another powerful, short picture book that is going to be great to discuss with older readers!

Duck and Hippo Lost and Found (Duck and Hippo, #2)
Duck and Hippo Lost and Found by Jonathan London
3/5 stars
I love the illustrations in this series.  It makes me feel like I am reading a favorite book from my childhood.  The stories are always sweet and have an old fashioned feel to them, as well.  I think these stories would be perfect for a library story time.

All the Way to Havana
All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle
4/5 stars
I went back and reread this book just so I could engross myself in the words and take in the poem by Engle.  What a beautiful small moments story about the value of family in Cuba.  Make sure you read the publication page and the author's/illustrator's notes because they give another glimpse into Cuban life.
Where Engle has an amazing way with words, Mike Curato, the illustrator, has an amazing way with illustrations.  They are gorgeous and really capture, what I imagine, the bright colors you would see in Havana!

Middle Grade

The Stars Beneath Our Feet
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
4/5 stars
What a stunning debut!  This window book for me has us looking in at what growing up in modern day Harlem is like for a 12 year old.  I think this story is powerful one that packs a punch and is full of heart.  Lolly, Rose and Vega are characters that will stick with me for awhile.
But like I said, this is a window book for me and some of the issues that were problematic for me, a white middle class reader, may or may not be problematic for, let's say, a twelve year old child growing up in inner city Chicago.
A longer review will be posted on September 7th!

Currently Reading

Chasing Augustus
Chasing Augustus
by Kimberly Newton Fusco
I loved Fusco's Beholding Bee so I am so excited to dive back into her words!

Hoping to find time to read this week and get into a routine.  We'll see how that goes!


  1. Owl Bat Bat Owl is a book I definitely want to share at the beginning of the school year. All the Way to Havana is a book I've been looking forward to . The cover is gorgeous.

  2. I haven't heard of Now. Sounds very interesting. I hope you continue to find stolen moments to read as you start your year.

  3. I am still waiting for "Now", so many holds! All the books you've shared are on my list, but haven't read any of them. Thanks for sharing how wonderful they are. Best wishes this year, Michele!

  4. So pleased to hear that Fusco has a new novel! I also loved Beholding Bee! I am going to locate Now at the bookstore this week. I am just in love with that cover!

  5. I really enjoyed All the Way to Havana, and I'm really looking forward to Now!

  6. I'm also waiting for Now to arrive from the library. I'm looking forward to All the Way to Havana, because anything Margarita Engle writes is automatically on my list of must reads. I'll keep my eyes peeled for The Stars Beneath Our Feet.

  7. I just ordered Now so I can't wait to get it in my hands. Such a great message to share with students in the beginning of the year. Owl Bat Bat Owl is a new one for me so thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Isn't Now wonderful?! It would be an awesome mentor text to help kids write about their favorite things!

  9. I am adding The Stars Beneath Our Feet to my TBR list. Thanks for keeping me in the know, Michele!

  10. I can't wait to read "All The Way To Havana" - I love everything that Margarita Engle writes. I also am intrigued by NOW - I have a feeling it will be a good addition to my mindfulness text-set.

  11. Now was just as good as Wait!

    As a fan of both owls AND bats, this one looks adorable!

  12. Now is also one that got me. I am eager to read All the Way to Havana. I agree Stars Beneath Our Feet definitely packed a punch and is certainly a great debut.