Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.10.18

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.

Today's post is going to wrap up two weeks of reading.  I was too sick last Monday to get this post up and running!  I rarely get that sick so I allowed myself a week off from blogging to relax a bit more.  Ready to roll this week!

Last Week's Adventures

Looking for some books about other cultures?  Two new ones you want to know about here.

I love this new book from Melissa Stewart.  Ideas for how to use it as a reading/writing, science and SEL mentor text here.

Visiting some new places and cultures in this #road2reading post!

Picture Books

Always Anjali
Always Anjali
written by Sheetal Sheth
illustrated by Jessica Blank
I am so grateful my friend, Kristen Picone, told me about this book.  There is so much to love and appreciate about this book.
As a one "L" Michele, I've always had a tough time finding anything with my name spelled "correctly" on it.  If I wanted something preprinted, I'd have to become Michelle.  But as my friend, Aliza Warner has written about - names are important!  I've always been aware of this and it's something I am careful about to this day.  I try to always spell names correctly.  I try to always say names correctly.  And even though remembering names and pronouncing every single one correctly can be hard for me, I will continue to work at it because I understand the importance.
Anjali faces something similar.  She is looking for her name on personalized bicycle license plates.  Her friends Mary and Courtney find theirs quickly.  But here's where Anjali's experience is different from mine.  Not only can she not find her name, she is bullied because of her name.  Multiple times and multiple people laugh and make fun of her because her name is "different".  It's through a loving interaction with her mother that Anjali learns the importance and background of her name and it gives her the strength to face the bullies.
Pair with Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book
The Wall in the Middle of the Book
by Jon Agee
This book is going to generate some very interesting conversations about:  perspective, fears and possibilities.
The wall in the middle of the book (yay, we get to talk about the gutter of the book!) is supposed to be protecting one side from the other.  However, what side needs protection?
Publishes Oct. 2nd.

Sir Simon: Super Scarer
Sir Simon: Super Scarer
by Cale Atkinson
While you might pull this book out for Halloween time, it's really a story you can share at any time!  Meet Simon, he's a ghost that has just been assigned to a new house.  He figures he has it made when he notices an old person moving in - they are way easier than kids!  But it's to Simon's surprise when he finds a child in the house.  Luckily for him, he tricks the boy into doing his ghostly chores.  Don't look now, but this may just be a sweet story about friendship!

by Lucy Ruth Cummins
A Halloween story that can be told year round because of its positive central message - you don't have to change, be yourself!  I like that the message doesn't hit you over the head with its positivity - gently unfolds in this lovely story.

The Dreamer
The Dreamer
by Il Sung Na
This book has a great message about determination and growth mindset.  A pig (interesting choice of an animal for this story) admires birds and decides he wants to fly like them.  He tries different ways and ends up enlisting help from friends.  The great thing is he finally figures out what he needs to do to fly.  But then everyone starts building things to fly and that's when the story goes wrong for me.  I guess it's good to show that inventions can help the greater good.... just seemed like this story went on for too long.  In my opinion.....

I'm New Here
I'm New Here
by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Just finding this book because it's counterpart, Someone New, has recently published.  I'm glad I found this one because I think it will be great to have not only because we have students that will see themselves within the pages, it also is a good reminder for classmates to new students to approach things from the other perspective!

Nonfiction/Fiction Book Pairing

Super Manny Cleans Up!
Super Manny Cleans Up!
written by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement
Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement
by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Both of these books feature characters (one real, one fictionalized) who are upstanders in their communities, who despite being very shy and nervous, fight for a cleaner environment.  Share at any point but definitely have these around in April for Earth Day!

Graphic Novels

by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Very powerful book about the refugee experience, this time highlighting the movement from Northern Africa to Europe.
Every time I read a book like this it helps me understand what is happening in other parts of the world that I really do not know enough about.  I'm grateful for books like these and that they are getting into the hands of kids who are going to be, what I really hope, a kinder generation that is going to be more understanding due to the kidlit they are reading today.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens
Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens
by John Patrick Green
From the author of Hippopotamister comes a new series about kittens who just can't be taken seriously for their profession - construction!  Even though they definitely the best "man", errr person, errr animal - for the job, they aren't hired because all anyone sees them as are cute kittens.  
Hmm, I wonder if kids will see the theme of this book or the underlying message.... 
Looking forward to more in this series!

Middle Grade

by Sharon Draper
I always love anything Draper writes!  This one didn't have as many lines that stuck to me as some of her previous books, but I think the topic is so important, it's going to stick to a lot of kids anyway!
Isabella is "blended" no matter how you look at it.  She has two blended families since both her mother and father are divorced and are in new relationships, and her racial identity is blended since her mom is white and her dad is black.  She's also seeing first hand the racial tensions that are so prevalent in our society today.  
Draper takes on very current topics and brings them to a middle grade audience.  Where other books like Ghost Boys, Dear Martin, and The Hate You Give are for upper middle grade, YA audiences, this one is perfect for middle grade.
Publishes Oct. 30th.
DRC from Edelweiss.

After Zero
After Zero 
by Christina Collins
Elise is a character that will stay on your mind and your heart long after you close the pages of the book.  The readers sees Elise's quick progression into mutism and how intense it becomes.  She starts counting the number of words she speaks in a day and is quick to celebrate when she can get to zero.  The causes of Elise's mutism are many and varied - we see her bullied by multiple people, lose friends, and she lives with her mom who borders on being emotionally abusive.  We don't know the cause of Elise's mom's behavior which leaves us a mystery to solve.
I wish the ending had been just a bit more drawn out.  The resolution comes quickly and I wish we had gotten to see a bit more how it came together.
I think readers will fall in love with Elise and hold so much hope for her!

by Monica Tesler
This was another #mustreadin2018 book for me!  I had preordered this based on the advice from people I trust but just hadn't picked it up yet.  Well, I already bought books 2 and 3 and book 4 (which publishes later this year) is in my cart! 
This is a really fun science fiction series and fills a gap for some of my readers.  Kids who enjoyed Countdown Conspiracy or Chronicle of the Dark Star series by Kevin Emerson will really enjoy this series.

My Father’s Words
My Father's Words
by Patricia Maclachlan
Thanks to Jason Lewis for sending me this one!  
As all MacLachlan novels are, this one is straight to the point in as little words as needed.  This one cuts straight to the heart and I imagine will be a very important read for someone.  The children in this story have just lost their father to an accident.  They are both trying to find their way through grief and find healing.
This book publishes Oct. 2nd.

Currently Reading

The Last (Endling #1)
The Endling:  The Last
by Katherine Applegate
I first started reading this book as an e-reader.  I've spoken before about how sometimes it's really hard for me to fall into a book when I read it electronically.  This book is a perfect example.  I think I got about 35% into it and really did not like it.  Since it was Katherine Applegate, I knew it was more likely I was having a bad reading experience because it was electronic, so I stopped, waiting for the physical copy.
I'm so glad I did because I am having a much better time with this story reading the actual copy.  One of the reasons is because it can be confusing - there are many made up animal species and I had to go back and reread sections/descriptions.  I find going back and rereading hard to do in an e-reader.  I also love there is a map on the endpages of the book.  I've referred to it several times.
I'm also really excited because I've been looking for a solid fantasy book to add to my Mock Newbery, and I think I found it!

Hope you're getting back into the school routine and are finding some time for reading too!


  1. There's a couple of these in my pile, but I haven't gotten to yet - Super Manny Cleans Up and After Zero. A few others are on my list - The Dreamer, The Wall in the Middle of the Book. I loved Sir Simon. Have a great week!

  2. Thanks for your comments about e-reading. I have the same struggle. I love the convenience of it (and the instant gratification of it!) but I very seldom truly enjoy or retain a book I read in this format. Just doesn't work for me. Didn't realize there's a new Sharon Draper--yay! Will definitely be pre-ordering.

  3. Stumpkin is such a cute Halloween book! Lots of other great titles for me to check out! Have a great week!

  4. Thanks for the information about so many fabulous books! I
    also hope that children today will become "a kinder generation that is going to be more understanding due to the kidlit they are reading today."
    I have almost abandoned Netgalley because I too have difficulty reading ebooks. I can do picture books in this format (although real books are always better).

  5. So many good reads! I just got Stumpkin from the library and absolutely adored Sir Simon. I also loved My Father's Words. Such a beautiful story! Have a great week Michele!

  6. I have a number of these books on my TBR list, but I'm especially excited to learn about Bounders. I enjoyed the first book of Chronicle of the Dark Star series and have wondered what other similar series I can find out there. Also, I can relate to your e-book experience -- especially with those books where I need to flip back and re-read a section. I do rely on them a great deal (through Overdrive) since the two libraries in my area have extremely low budgets and struggle to get any new books across all the genres. Thanks for all the shares, Michele!

  7. Oh, my Michelle, you shared so many that I'm putting on my list. I agree about names. I had a different last name from my Mom & stepfather & remember it being embarrassing to have to continually explain. I still don't understand why anyone would tease about a name, seems so silly. Thanks for that new book! I also especially enjoyed hearing about Illegal and Blended, two I didn't know about. I have My Father's Words on the way soon from the library. Thanks, and I'm glad you're better.

  8. Your reflections about reading Endlings on an e-reader will be great to share with students. Sometimes reading on an e-reader works well and sometimes it doesn't. We love how you describe what made it difficult. Thanks for telling us about Sharon Draper's new book. We love anything Sharon Draper writes too.

  9. Hey, friend!
    I am so glad to hear that you liked Illegal. I haven't gotten my hands on it yet, but I am very excited to read it. As you know, I trust your judgment of books highly, so I was excited to see you enjoyed it.
    Also, I laughed at your "yay" to gutters. :)

  10. Thanks for all of the recs, Michele! Many of these were not on my radar. As a nature lover and fan, I'm really looking forward to the Rachel Carson PB. I loved Stephanie's PB bio on Carl Sagan--that was lovely.

  11. These all look like great reads! You've done so much reading! I was particularly intrigued by some of the picturebooks you shared here, which I am recommending to our librarians for purchase. Glad to hear that I am not the only one who has issues with e-readers. :)