Monday, August 27, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.27.18

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.

Now that school has started, my binge reading weekends have begun!  

Last Week's Adventures

Nonfiction picture books about animals are always hugely popular with young readers.  Here is a roundup of new(er) books to add to collections.

It is so important to have books that kids can read independently in your library.  Sometimes it's hard to find books that hook our newly independent readers.  Here are some more new ones you'll want for those readers.

If you are discussing immigrants or refugees with your students, this roundup of books will be important to have.  They are also great to use to build background info for kids who are reading about these topics in their MG novels.

Picture Books

Two Problems for Sophia
Two Problems for Sophia
written by Jim Averbeck
illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
Sophia is back, this time with her One True Desire (a giraffe named Noodle) who she campaigned for in the previous book.  But with an animal that large, there are bound to be some problems.  Noodle's big issues are wet slobbery kisses with her really long tongue and keeping everyone up at night with her snoring.  
Sophia sets out to solve this problem, similar to before - asking everyone for ideas.  After she gathers some, she works hard at coming up with an inventive (hello Makerspace in action!) idea.  
Love the giraffe facts on the endpage!

* the next few books all publish Sept. 11th.  Thank you Candlewick for the early review copies!

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
by David Ezra Stein
Sometimes you worry about those follow up books.  They so rarely measure up to the success of the first book.
This one is funny... laugh out loud funny.  Chicken has just learned about the "elephant of surprise" that happens in books at school... Papa tries to explain it's the "element of surprise" but Chicken is not having it.  Papa reads some fairy tales to Chicken (note: not the Disney version... some kids may be surprised by the stories) and somehow the "elephant of surprise" always shows up!

Night Job
Night Job
written by Karen Hesse
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
While many of our students have parents that work a traditional day job, there are many that work night hours.  Sometimes these are the jobs kids might not even think about or realize they need workers for them at night!  This is a book that might make a child smile, seeing another parent who also works at night.

Josie's Lost Tooth
Josie's Lost Tooth
by Jennifer K. Mann
Josie, who succeeds in pretty much everything, is the last one in her class to lose a tooth.  After many unsuccessful efforts, she finally loses her tooth but the problem is she actually loses her tooth!  Will the tooth fairy still leave her a coin?
I wish I had this book for my daughter who went all the way through the first grade before losing a tooth!

Informational Texts

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp
I've been on the lookout for this book for awhile.  I had actually first read about the bald eagle, Beauty, in one of our intervention kit books!  
The first half of the book is Beauty's story.  There is some background info about what Beauty's life was like before the accident took place.  And then we find out about how Beauty took a bullet that went across her beak and side of her face.  Veltkamp, one of the authors, is a raptor biologist and one of the first to come to Beauty's aid.  With the help of an engineer, they were able to create a beak prosthetic to help Beauty.
The second half of the story gives further background information, not only on Beauty and how she is doing, but also about many other aspects:  prosthetic capabilities and a lot on bald eagle information.

I Am Neil Armstrong
I Am Neil Armstrong
written by Brad Meltzer
illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
I think the books in the "Ordinary People Change the World" series keep getting better and better.  
I enjoyed this one and there were quite a few facts I had not heard about before - both about space travel and Neil Armstrong.  Meltzer stressed over and over the idea that engineering is about making things better.  In this age of STEM activities, I am glad they talked about it that way.
I can't wait to add this one to my collection.  Look for it on Sept. 11th.

Middle Grade

The Third Mushroom
The Third Mushroom
by Jennifer Holm
I loved The Fourteenth Goldfish and shared it widely.  I remember writing my goodreads summary and said, "Jenni Holm makes science cool."  Well she certainly does it again in the follow up.  This book, while a sequel it could certainly be read as a stand alone, continues to explore science (this time bringing in the very hip axolotl) and the idea of regeneration of body parts.  Melvin, Ellie's grandfather (who is an old man in a teenager's body... the only part about TFG you kind of need to have read first) is back and is trying some interesting experiments with the axolotl.  They make for a great science fair experiment so Ellie and Melvin team up together.  
This time Holm experiments with the themes of friendship and a little romance and comes up with some storylines that young readers will really enjoy.  What I love about reading so many of Holm's books is they feel real.  The storylines are relatable and keep kids coming back for more.  I can't wait to pass this book on to readers!
Thank you to Random House for the review copy!

Just Like Jackie
Just Like Jackie
by Lindsey Stoddard
A book I've owned since it published, I'm sad I waited so long to get to it!  Not that I meant to push it off...just so many books.
This book follows a trend that has characters dealing with issues that are so much bigger than them.  It's sadly something that has carried over from reality - we see kids at a younger age having to take on so much more than they should ever be expected to.
In case you haven't heard of this gorgeous book, here's a quick synopsis - we meet our main character Robinson as she is getting into a fight with a classmate (one who seems to egg people on a lot) because he is making fun of her being motherless using a pun on her name.  We quickly find out that Robinson is a very loyal character - to her friends and especially to her grandfather, who is her guardian.  What is quickly obvious to an adult reader, her grandfather has Alzheimer's.  A young reader will understand that something is wrong with his memory, even if they don't know the name of the disease.  Robinson is doing her best to take care of the two of them, something a child should not have to worry about, all the while trying to learn more about her mother, which her grandfather does not want to talk about.  
I love how a family is not defined by typical norms in this book and how loyal Robinson is.  She is someone who is willing to change her mind and accept people, too.
The only trouble I had with this book is some of the language.  Robinson uses the word "crap" a lot.  I know this is a word that is some homes, is considered a bad word, and in others, it's not.  The thing with middle grade is it reaches a wide age range of readers.  I can hand this book to a seventh grader or a third grader.  And there are third graders who hear words that are a lot worse than crap on an every day basis.  But there are parents of third graders who would be upset if I handed them this book.  I wonder if this book would've been as an important and meaningful if that word (and a couple of others in the book) had not been used.  I don't think that word identified Robinson, so I'm guessing no.  Just my own thinking around this....

Currently Reading

by Monica Tesler
I've heard a lot about this one so it went on my #mustreadin2018 list!

What did you read this past week?  I already have a stack of picture books to read this coming week so it will be another binge weekend next week too!


  1. Beauty and the Beak has been on my list to read for a long time, too, but I still haven't gotten to it. Some of my students also know the story from the book in the intervention kit and they enjoy it.

  2. I remember Sophia! Glad she has returned.

    If anyone hasn't heard, the call has gone out for Cybils judges. I hope some of the wonderful children's/ya bloggers will head over there and apply! There is more information on my blog post, if you need it.

  3. Awesome! Another Sophia book - need to get my hands on this one. We loved the first in my class.

  4. I nearly swooned to find out that there is another Interupting Chicken book. Then I went on to get excited about Beauty and The Beak and The Third Mushroom!
    I wouldn't have worried about a word like crap in a book, so long as I could have justified the caliber of the story. It's all connected to that idea of windows and mirrors for me. I figure that if some students can live through experiences for real, then others can experience it vicariously.

  5. Thanks for sharing sequels for Sophia and Interrupting Chicken. I also must add The Night Job to my TBR stack. I absolutely loved The Third Mushroom and was so happy to see how the characters have grown and changed in the sequel. I especially love Ellie’s relationship with her grandfather. Have a great week Michele!

  6. I really enjoyed The Third Mushroom, too. It's fun and cool for middle grade readers. You've got a good list of new books for me to look for this week! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I loved Night Job, seems like an important book to have for a class. Beauty & The Beak sounds awesome. Thanks for all, Michele. I have Just Like Jackie on my list!

  8. My father in law was a night security guard when my partner was small, Night Job would've been a great read for him!

  9. Sorry for my very late post. My kids just don't seem to fall asleep on Monday nights at a reasonable time. I just got The Night Job in the mail today, and I am very excited to read it, particularly after your review. It seems like it will be a good windows and (parent) mirrors book!

  10. Loved the first Sophia book, and Jennifer Holm is one of my very favorite writers. I especially love Turtle in Paradise & Full of Beans.

    The first chicken book was great--will look forward to this one.

    I hadn't heard of The Night Job, but I also love Karen Hesse's work, especially her verse novels.

    LOVE-LOVE-LOVE Beauty & the Beak!! Proud owner of a copy which I hope to get signed in October, since she's participating in the same local book festival as me :)