Monday, October 1, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.01.18

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.

Last Week's Adventures

Only one post last week - if you do any kind of "how to" writing, you'll want to check out some new mentor texts here.

Picture Books

The Remember Balloons
The Remember Balloons
written by Jessie Oliveros
illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Oh this book - it gives me so many feels. 
It makes me sad to see a loved one lose memories.
It makes me happy to have a book like this to hand to children who need it.
It makes me glad to have a book like this to explain something difficult to young children.
Beautifully written and illustrated.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
We Are Grateful - Otsaliheliga
written by Traci Sorell
illustrated by Frané Lessac
Yes!  I've been looking for Native #ownvoices books, especially those that tell about current culture, not just traditional tales.  This is a book I'll be adding to my library.

Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian
Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian
written by Jacob Sager Weinstein
illustrated by Vera Brosgol
Very cute - of course it's with books the super hero saves the day!

The Patchwork Bike
The Patchwork Bike
written by Maxine Beneba Clarke
illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd
It was after reading the notes by the author and illustrator that I had to go back and read the book again, slower this time.
A beautiful story about a family living in poverty yet still find time to hope and dream by putting together a bike out of found materials.
Take your time when reading this one.

Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy
Sleepy the Goodnight Buddy
written by Drew Daywalt
illustrated by Scott Campbell
I did not know what this one was going to be about - and man did I laugh out loud once I figured it out!
Definitely a great read aloud - especially for older students who will really appreciate the humor.  

No Peacocks!: A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies
No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies
written by Robin Newman
illustrated by Chris Ewald
I used this as a read aloud for my reading intervention students last week and they loved it!  Who knew peacocks were such foodies.... or are they?
These three peacocks just wanted a taste of something different than their regular seeds.  Since they live on the campus of a school they get to smell delicious aromas, especially that of mac and cheese!  It becomes their goal to get into the school and try some.
I loved reading the author's notes to the students because while the story is a bit fictional, it is based on three peacocks that live on a school campus!
Thanks to author Robin Newman for the book and treats!  

Neema’s Reason to Smile
Neema's Reason to Smile
written by Patricia Newman
illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
Thanks to my colleague I got to read this story.  Neema and her mother have a Dream Jar that they collect money in to send Neema to school.  Beautiful story about hopes and dreams.  I think it's especially important for many young readers to understand that school and learning and education is not something to take for granted. 

Rock What Ya Got
Rock What Ya Got
written by Samantha Berger
illustrated by Kerascoët
Perfect words, perfect illustrations.  They compliment each other so well.
Great message - you don't need to change, appreciate what you have, don't look for what you are not.
Pair this one with The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken.

Middle Grade

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
by Alex Gino
I loved this book for many reasons.  First, I loved reading about a disability - because these kind of books are sorely lacking in kidlit right now - and reading more about the Deaf community is near and dear to my heart.  My niece has cochlear implants and much of what is described in this book is about an infant and her family deciding on the best course of action for her, is some something I watched my sister and her family go through.  But it also meant a lot to me because as a parent of a child with a disability, there was a lot I related to on that end - especially everyone giving you their two cents (when not asked) in regards to your child's treatment.
I also liked the conversation about racial issues.  I thought the way it was handled was appropriate - at least to my white self.  It seemed like conversations I have seen that are handled respectfully and honestly.
With that said, there is so much being said about #ownvoices and Alex Gino is white and hearing-abled.  I think Gino wrote everything well,  but I wonder if readers who are Black and/or Deaf would think otherwise?  Just a topic that is out there right now, and I did think about it as I read this book.  

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina
Finally finished this one, and it took me a long time.  Not because of the book, but because of too much on my plate.  I savored every word of this book!  I think readers are going to want to be friends with Merci.  I also appreciated having this beautifully written book about loving and understanding what Alzheimer's looks like when a loved one is suffering with this disease.
For me, I absolutely loved the setting which was in Palm Beach/West Palm Beach, Florida.  I consider this our second home and seeing familiar sites and names of roads in this book was so fun for me!

Currently Reading

Garbage Island (The Nearly Always Perilous Adventures of Archibald Shrew, #1)
Garbage Island
by Fred Koehler
Just starting this one!  I've heard lots of good things from other readers.

I hope you have a great reading week.  I'll be taking next week off to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family.  Can't wait to report back in two weeks - I see my reading stack and it looks good!


  1. Garbage Island sounds very interesting. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it.

  2. Great list! I shared We Are Grateful with my students last week, and we had some great conversations about Native peoples today.

  3. I am reading Merci now too and it is taking me too long because of busy times. Now I want to locate many of these delightful picture books on your list I have yet to read - especially The Remember Balloons.

  4. ooo there are so many books I want to check out from your post. I also think that characters with disabilities are seriously lacking in kidlit. One of my fav books that I read with my boys is called Boy. It's about a deaf little Viking boy who helps a dragon and king work out there differences. They talk about his "dancing hands" and even had some signs to learn at the end of the books. My kids were really interested in learning more about sign language and it just opened up a conversation on how deaf children are the same as us but talk differently.

  5. I loved Merci Suarez, am looking forward to Garbage Island, Michele. I can get The Patchwork Bike & others from the library, so thanks for each one, a great list.

  6. I'm so excited to hear about We Are Grateful - Otsaliheliga so I'm going to add that to my list. Also looking forward to reading You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! Thanks for all the shares this week, Michele!

  7. Merci Suarez Changes Gears is a terrific middle grade book that I think a lot of kids will be able to relate to. I'll have to check out the rest of the books on your list. They look awesome. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

  8. We love how you described The Remember Balloons. Can't wait to read Alex Gino's new book. We loved George.

  9. We Are Grateful is now on reserve for me.
    I appreciated your comments about You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! I am also nervous when I read books like this. Everywhen who has read Merci Suárez Changes Gears has loved it so I'm hoping my library copy arrives soon.

  10. Nice blog
    Nice and very good collection of books

  11. I'm just starting Garbage Island, too!
    I cannot wait to read Merci Suarez! Same with Jilly P.
    And Sleepy made me laugh out loud too! :)

    Happy reading this week!

  12. We love how you described The Remember Balloons. Can't wait to read Alex Gino's new book. We loved George.