Tuesday, December 31, 2019

#mustreadin2019 recap 12.31.19

Click on the #mustread tab on the right side of the screen and you'll see that I've been a part of this community for years.  This is the first time I have completed my list, whoo hoo!  Completing my list may have been the goal, but it was never the real reason to participate in this community.  Being able to get to some of the books that have been gathering dust in my piles, books I know I'll enjoy but just haven't gotten to... I'm guessing we all have piles like that.  We want to read the books, the problem is there is always more books!  

A few years ago I changed how I selected the books on my list.  Now I choose just one book each month.  I try and make time once a month for these books.  Sometimes I end up doubling up books in a month because some months are busier than others.  But I love that I try and ensure that there are 12 books I read that I've been wanting to read that year.

2019 was the year to finish series.  Every book was part of a series or a follow-up to another book.  I did switch out a book on my list so I could finish up with a series that was a must read.  I'm looking forward to creating my 2020 list.  I cleaned out some shelves this summer and already started a pile!

Here's a recap of my 2019 reading.

Ashes (Seeds of America, #3)
by Laurie Halse Anderson
read 2.23.19
This was an amazing trilogy and I will always be amazed the way Anderson was able to research, document and write this series.

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)
by Marissa Meyer
read 3.23.19
I always enjoy reading books that feature the perspective from another character.  Especially the villains!

Revenge of the Teacher's Pets
Revenge of the Teacher's Pets
written by Jennifer Ziegler
read 4.28.19
Love this series for young middle grade readers.  Strong, fun girl characters!

The War I Finally Won (The War That Saved My Life, #2)
The War I Finally Won
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
read 6.06.19
This one didn't reach my heart quite like the first one but I enjoyed being back with Ada.

Most Valuable Players (Rip & Red, #4)
Most Valuable Players
by Phil Bildner
read 6.25.19
Sad to say goodbye to these characters.  I enjoy sharing their stories with 4th grade readers every year!

The Tundra Trials (Bounders #2)
Bounders: The Tundra Trials
by Monica Tesler
read 7.29.19
I read 3 books in this series for my mustread list.  If you do anything for 2020, make sure the series is on your mustread list!

The Forgotten Shrine (Bounders #3)
Bounders: the Forgotten Shrine
by Monica Tesler
read 8.16.19
I love this series.  I will forever book talk it and share it with readers.

Stars So Sweet (All Four Stars, #3)
Stars So Sweet
by Tara Dairman
read 10.14.19
Took me awhile to get to this third book because the last few years this series has been in demand by readers!  Glad to finally return to Gladys and her cooking world.

The Heroes Return (Bounders #4)
Bounders: The Heroes Return
by Monica Tesler
read 10.29.19
The journey these characters have been on has been exciting and I have enjoyed seeing the change over time!

Hide and Seek (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #2)
Hide and Seek
by Kate Messner
read 12.02.19
It's been awhile since I read the first book in this series but it didn't take me too long to get caught up!  Another fun adventure.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)
by Marissa Meyer
read 12.07.19
Wow.  800+ pages and it was a lot of action!  I have one more book in this series, a novella full of stories from all of the characters.

Manhunt (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #3)
by Kate Messner
read 12.28.19
A satisfying conclusion to this trilogy!

Glad to have completed these stories.  Looking forward to the stories 2020 will bring!  Stop by tomorrow and find out what was added to next year's mustread list!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - a Science Stack! 12.18.19

Wednesdays I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
#kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Here are some new science books for your nonfiction stacks!

Earth: By The Numbers       Dinosaurs by Steve Jenkins
Earth by the Numbers
Dinosaurs by the Numbers
by Steve Jenkins
These infographic books are amazing, I especially could not stop reading facts about our planet to everyone around me.  And the fact that every page is an infographic makes it understandable even if you can't read every word.  
You'll want the dinosaur book for your dinosaur-connesoirs.
You'll want the Earth book.... I think everyone would find something fascinating in it!  This is a book I am planning on book talking very soon, I think it's going to find a lot of readers!

Summer Green to Autumn Gold
Summer Green to Autumn Gold: Uncovering Leaves' Hidden Colors
by Mia Posada
Great science connections for first and second grade who study patterns over time and plants.  
I wish books like this could have been my science textbooks - they are so much more fascinating than what we grew up reading!  Authors, keep writing awesome science books likes these!

The Truth About Hawks by Maxwell Eaton III
The Truth About Hawks
by Maxwell Eaton III
I enjoy these books and so do young readers.  This one is really busy, even more than the others, in my opinion.  But, kids will learn a lot of facts about hawks.  They may need some scaffolding and help in how and what order to read the information in this book since it's full of main text, captions, and talk bubbles.

Gross as a Snot Otter by Jess Keating
Gross as a Snot Otter
written by Jess Keating
illustrations by Dave DeGrand
You know it really is gross when you keep upping the number of "eww"s you say on each page!
I love "The World of Weird Animals" series Jess has written and this one fits in just fine!  You'll say "eww" when you see the animal - although sometimes you don't because at first there doesn't seem to be anything "eww" about the giraffe or chipmunk but just wait because there really is!
Caution:  this book may make you think about vacationing on a Caribbean beach... just warning you!
Happy eww-ing!

I'll be back in 2020 with more nonfiction books for your read alouds!  Happy end of the year reading!

Monday, December 16, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.16.19

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

Check out these nonfiction picture books for your read alouds!

Picture Books

You Loves Ewe!
You Loves Ewe! 
by Cece Bell
I love this one even more than the first one.  Full of homonyms and lots of wacky, word misunderstandings, if you aren't laughing out loud by the time this one is done, you're clearly in a really bad mood!

How I Met My Monster (I Need My Monster)
How I Met My Monster
written by Amanda Noll
illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Reading I Need My MonsterI out loud is still one of my favorite read alouds - I always have lots of fun changing up the monster voices.  I was excited to see this prequel that explains how young Ethan gets Gabe to be his monster.

A Tiger Like Me
A Tiger Like Me
written by Michael Engler
illustrated by Joƫlle Tourlonias
translated by Laura Watkinson
I find a lot of books that are translated to get lost in the translation.  This one retains its charm.  A young boy dresses like a tiger and becomes a tiger all day.  The book follows the young tiger boy throughout his day and uses adjectives to describe his adventures.

A Fox Found a Box
A Fox Found a Box
by Ged Adamson
A book about how music leads forest animals to use their senses in new ways to experience the world around them.

A Map Into the World
A Map Into the World
written by Kao Kalia Yang
illustrated by Seo Kim
My absolute favorite of the week - this beautiful book about opening up your heart and seeing what is around you absolutely grabbed my own heart.  This is a must own!
And don't miss this post from the Lerner Books blog that explains where this story originated.

Young Adult

Kent State
Kent State
by Deborah Wiles
This is such a powerful book and Wiles is such a masterful writer she is able to take an event that took place decades ago and make it very relevant.
It's never easy to look back at an event and say there is one way to look at it.  With Kent State, Wiles writes from a variety of perspectives and does so with only using the most essential of words.  This entire book is written in verse and comes in at 144 pages.  Not a single word is wasted, especially when you hear the event told from the different perspectives.
What makes this book so powerful is at the end where Wiles ties this book with what is happening in today's world.
I really hope high schools around the country take note of this book and find a way to add it to their libraries, their curriculums, their discussions.
Be sure to find it on April 21st.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Tiffany D. Jackson
Jackson's books have been on my radar for some time.  Nothing but praise for her books by all of the people I talk to. I heard her speak at the Coretta Scott King Awards this past June and I knew I really needed to get to her books.  I had been told that this book, her third book, was different from her other two and maybe a bit weaker.  If this book is weak, I can't wait to get to the others!  
Told back in the 1990s when Tupac and Biggie's deaths were fresh on minds, this book tells the story of three teenagers who are living through the rappers' deaths, but also one of their own friend's.  Trying to piece together what happened as well as not let their friend's death be in vein, these friends come together and become even closer.
With lyrics by Malik  woven through the text, this book will resonate with young adult readers everywhere.

Currently Reading

Yeah, I'm still reading The Toll.  I don't think I read anything from it all this past week.  Not sure why I thought I would get any reading done during the middle of December!

I'll be taking a blogging break on my regular posts for the remainder of the year.  Enjoying the season and time with family!  I'll return in January 2020!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - sharing my nonfiction stack! 12.11.19

Wednesdays I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
#kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I've been sharing my nonfiction stacks lately.  Here are some more to add to your reading list!

Paper Son by Julie Leung
Paper Son:  The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist
written by Julie Leung
illustrated by Chris Sasaki
I had not heard of artist Tyrus Wong before but after reading this book I bet many of us have seen either his work in the Disney movie Bambi or the way artists today have been inspired by his work.  
This was a very interesting immigration story and shows how despite treatment of the American government and citizens, immigrants like Tyrus have left a lasting mark on his adopted country.

The President Sang Amazing Grace by Zoe Mulford
The President Sang Amazing Grace
written by Zoe Mulford
illustrated by Jeff Scher
A simplistic summary of a horrible American tragedy.  Mulford captures the essence of what happened on June 17, 2015, when a shooting happened at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Using a brief text to explain what happened, this book is certainly a stepping stone teachers may choose to use into a further discussion.

Manhattan by Jennifer Thermes
Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island
by Jennifer Thermes
Wow, hope you have a while to delve into this amazing book.  A fascinating history of this island with well illustrated pages that will keep you looking at them for hours.  I appreciated the visual since I have yet to visit!  It does make me want to book a trip!

Finding Narnia by Caroline McAlister
Finding Narnia: The Story of C.S. Lewis and His Brother
written by Caroline McAlister
illustrated by Jessica Lanan
A very cool story and one that is a must read if you've read any of the Narnia books.  Great background and the author explains where Lewis got much of his inspiration from when creating this series.
Very cool hardback cover under the jacket.  Make sure you take a peek!

As always, happy nonfiction reading!

Monday, December 9, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.09.19

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

Some nonfiction books for your stacks!

From the Scholastic Preview:
I was able to read some upcoming books from Scholastic.  Here are some you want to know about:

The Return of Thelma the Unicorn
The Return of Thelma the Unicorn
by Aaron Blabey
Readers love anything by Blabey.  Regardless of what adults make of them, kids enjoy which means I'll keep getting them!  Coming in about a month is the sequel to Thelma the Unicorn.  Thelma is back and agrees to give the people what they want, lots of Thelma love!

Macca the Alpaca
Macca the Alpaca 
by Matt Cosgrove
Written in rhyme, I think readers will love Macca, who is obviously, an alpaca.  Macca is getting a little competition from Harmer, the llama, who turns out to be a bit of a bully.  Publishes in March.

The Way Home For Wolf
The Way Home for Wolf 
written by Rachel Bright
illustrated by Jim Field
Another story in rhyme, the story is almost surpassed by the fantastic illustrations.  Wilf the young wolf gets separated from his pack and learns to rely on the help of others.  We'll get to see this one at the end of 2019.

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey
One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey
by Henry Cole
This is absolutely one of my favorites coming from Scholastic in 2020.  Cole gives us a wordless picture book that is drawn in ink, other than one item that appears throughout the book - a small brown paper bag.  It's a story that shows generations of a family and how they pass down this important bag from person to person, each one showing a little more love for the bag.  
The author's note at the end will make you love it even more.  This book publishes in April, perfect timing for Earth Day.  Preorder it.  You'll be glad you did!

Picture Books

Home in the Woods
Home in the Woods
by Eliza Wheeler
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous book at ALA this past summer.  I've read it a few times but never reviewed it!  If you have not picked up and read a copy of this book, make sure you check it out NOW!  It's simply beautiful and I like the comparisons readers can make between life now and then.

written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
illustrated by Scott Magoon
I am always happy to have more stories from AKR because I know at some point, we won't.  
This story is cute and it has a good message, although it will always be hard for a book to measure up to Chopsticks.  Still my favorite.
We all know that kid that has to be first.  How do you get the child to understand that rarely is that important?  AKR has put a spin on that by explaining it's not about being first, it's the journey you take to get there that matters.  I'm not sure if that will change any young people's thinking, but it's a start!
Loved the AKR and yellow umbrella cameo in this one.
Pubs Feb. 2020.

Pluto Gets the Call
Pluto Gets the Call
written by Adam Rex
illustrated by Laurie Keller
An informational fiction story about Pluto and the planets.  Pluto gets the call from the scientists letting him know he's no longer a planet.  Pluto doesn't take it so well but wants to show the reader all around so off we go to visit all the planets.  Full of informational facts delivered by talking planets.  

Henry and Bea
Henry and Bea
by Jessixa Bagley
A true friendship lasts even when one is feeling more than sad and needs time alone.  
Henry and Bea are BFFs who know exactly what the other is thinking.  But when Henry wants his distance, Bea is left feeling confused.  Henry finally confides he lost his cat the week before.  Bea understands and gives Henry the support and the space he needs in order to grieve.  An important look at friendship and how to support each other even if it's not the way you would want support.

Middle Grade

How to Disappear Completely
How to Disappear Completely
by Ali Standish
This is the third middle grade I have read by Standish and the third one I have loved!
The genre is the same - realistic fiction with a bit of a mystery thrown in.  It's even another heartprint book that will stick with you long after you've closed the pages.  But this one is different because it has a character with a physical flaw.  Emma has developed vitiligo which is slowly stripping her skin of pigment which leaves white patches all over her skin.  She must decide how she is going to approach this and with a mother and sister who is perfect, new schoolmates who are being less than nice, and a family member who she was very closely with recently passing, this is not something Emma needs.  But with a new found friend and a mysterious person who is adding writing in her hidden journal, Emma finds her outside support, but can she dig deep down inside and find the power to believe in herself?  This one publishes in April 2020, make sure you have it on your list!

Young Adult

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)
by Marissa Meyer
This was my March #mustreadin2019 book that I had pushed off reading.  It was a perfect time to get to it since we're out of town for Paralympic Nationals and I had extra time to read in between sessions!  It's an 800+ page book and there is A LOT that happens in this one and if I had read it during a normal week, well, much like The Toll, it would not be done.  There are some books that are just meant to binge read and this was one!
It was a very satisfying close to the Lunar Chronicles.  I will get to the novella stories next year, but I liked the way this ended.  I had thought it was going to end one way, but Meyer pulled out some surprises along the way!  
I really love this series for upper middle grade, early high school.  It fits a wide age range because it's edgy enough and long enough that it can appeal to a range of readers, yet it stays very mild on the edgy side so even if elementary readers get to it there shouldn't be much concern.

Currently Reading

Well, I'm still going to get to The Toll this upcoming week.  Need some time to binge read that one!  I have quite the stack of YA books looking at me, plus some books that have been sitting in piles for too long, plus some of my new ARCs from NCTE.  Not sure what will come out of the stack but I'll let you know!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - what's in my stack? 12.04.19

Wednesdays I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
#kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Wow, the amazing nonfiction picture books keep coming this year!  What an amazing time for nonfiction reading!  You won't want to miss these!

Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars
Red Rover Curiosity on Mars
written by Richard Ho
illustrated by Katherine Roy
Wow, this book blew me away.  I've been waiting for a book like this about the Mars rover, Curiosity.  I have a few other books about this informative rover, but they have never been perfect read aloud length books.  Now we have one and not only will it be great to use as a read aloud, the illustrations are also outstanding!  This is one I'm considering for my Mock Caldecott list.  Roy, a Caldecott Honoree, has really outdone herself with her barren landscapes in shades of Mars reds.  Don't miss this one!

It Began with a Page by Kyo Maclear
It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
written by Kyo Maclear
illustrated by Julie Morstad
When I first saw this book was going to publish I was so excited.  Gyo Fujikawa wrote and illustrated some of my very favorite childhood books.  There was something about her illustrations that spoke to me as a child.  I remember pouring over her picture books, noting the style in which she drew and the way her colors worked together.  When I think back on my childhood and the illustrators that inspired me it was absolutely Fujikawa, as well as fellow Disney artist, Mary Blair.  I'm so glad there are picture book biographies about these two ladies!
This book was fascinating because I knew nothing about Fujikawa's life before reading this book.  Although Fujikawa and her works are from decades ago, the arguments she had with publishers are still relevant today.  She wanted to show a diverse representation of babies in her book, but at that time (1960s) publishers were very hesitant to put any illustrations with characters of color in books.  Fujikawa fought it and wouldn't publish her book until they allowed all of her beautiful babies!  
I wish Fujikawa's books were still in print.  My favorite book by her was Oh, What a Busy Day.  Would love to have a copy of it in my library!  Morstad's illustrations beautifully capture Fujikawa's drawings and I am enjoying getting a second peek at them!

Prairie Boy by Barb Rosenstock
Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland Into a Home
written by Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Everytime I read a biography about someone's life I've already read about, I look for the new information.  The thread I did not know about before.  In Rosenstock's biography about Frank Lloyd Wright I learned more about his childhood and fascination with shapes.
I loved Neal's illustrations and interpretation of Wright's shapes and thinking.

I Am Farmer by Miranda  Paul
I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon
written by Baptiste and Miranda Paul
illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Turning the spotlight on an impoverished area in Africa - Cameroon - and what one man has done to improve clean, drinking water and growing foods in this area.  Farmer Tantoh followed his passion of learning about the environment, even when it was something that brought him ridicule by classmates and other people in the community.  
A powerful story about following your dreams and thinking creatively.

As always, happy nonfiction reading!

Monday, December 2, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.02.19

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

Here are a few things for you to get caught up on!

Cover reveal for Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog

Check out the books from the new imprint Make Me a World.

More nonfiction picture books for your stacks.

New books for your newly independent readers.

Spotlight on poetry - a roundup of new books.

NCTE Preview
Here are some books that I picked up or quickly read at NCTE that you will want to have on your 2020 radar!

Be You!
Be You!
by Peter H. Reynolds
Sometimes the sentimental and uplifting books are nice, but are maybe meant more for a caregiver and child experience.  This one though, is going to be perfect to read with students.  The influential message of being you no matter who that may be is an important message you want to resonate with readers.  This is going to be a perfect book to read at the end of the year as you send readers off to the next grade.  Or it could be a perfect book to read with kids at the beginning of the year to let them know who they are is exactly who you want them to be.  Or maybe you want to talk about character traits.  See, it's just a great book to have!  Pubs March 2020.

by Allen Say
A story about believing in yourself and seeing your truth.  
Almond does not believe she has a talent.  Other people see what she is able to do but it takes Almond believing in herself before she sees the possibilities.
Pubs March 2020

by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter
Wow, this is a powerful book.  About the causes and effects of oil pipelines - from how it goes across the country disrupting places and the effects of an oil spill.  Can't wait to share this one. 
Pubs March 2020

I'm Gonna Push Through!
I'm Gonna Push Through
written by Jasmyn Wright
illustrated by Shannon Wright
Love this book about perseverance and determination.  Featuring people in history and present time who have pushed through and persevered even when it has been difficult.  Also shows kids overcoming and working through child-centered problems.  I love how the text isn't bogged down with a lot of information.  Instead, the book relies on the illustrations to give information and when needed, additional information is shown in the backmatter.
Pubs Feb. 2020

Picture Books

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion
I Am Love: A Book of Compassion
written by Susan Verde
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Another book in her "I Am..." series.  This book is a bit more abstract and probably needs a good discussion to go along with it.  I would read it and emphasize the idea of compassion more than love.  
Don't miss the author's notes at the end.  Verde mixes yoga to help young readers understand the idea of opening up your heart.

I Wonder
I Wonder
written by K.A. Holt
illustrated by Kenard Pak
Add this to your collection for curiosity seeking books.  This would be perfect to introduce a Wonder Wall or Passion Projects.

Octopus Stew
Octopus Stew
by Eric Velasquez
A book written to celebrate the author/illustrator's Afro-Latino heritage, it features a Latina grandmother who is getting ready to take her superhero-cape-wearing grandson to the store to buy an octopus in order to make octopus stew.  The grandson clearly enjoys the arts as he documents the story unfolding around him.  There is a surprise as we see how Velasquez pays homage to his African heritage and their ancient tradition of oral storytelling.

Finding Kindness
Finding Kindness
written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Irene Chan
Sometimes when we think about kindness and doing something for others we come up with ideas on a grand scale.  Sometimes kindness just needs to be a small gesture, and one that starts close to home.  
I love seeing how kindness can stretch across a community in this book.  It's a story to go back and share and look at the kindness chain throughout the story.

Croc  Turtle: Snow Fun!
Croc and Turtle Snow Fun!
by Mike Wohnoutka
What happens when best friends have different interests?  They learn to compromise, of course!  Fun, winter time story!
The entire story is told through dialogue and the author/illustrator designates one color to each character so young readers can visually discriminate who is doing the talking.

Middle Grade

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
by Jonathan Auxier
This book has been in my stack for a long long time.  Since he would be speaking at NCTE's Children's Award Luncheon, I wanted to make sure I got to it.  
Auxier does an amazing job blending reality and magic and historical fiction in this beautiful story.  Readers will love meeting Nan and Charlie and how they need each other in unexpected ways.  I really loved the setting Auxier builds and just loved the melt of what was real and what was magic.

The Queen Bee and Me
The Queen Bee and Me
by Gillian McDunn
I loved reading Caterpillar Summer by McDunn earlier this year and I can tell you after reading this book, she definitely has a flair for middle grade writing!  Both this book and her debut are realistic fiction and they both will stay on your heart for awhile.  You can't help but think about the characters long after you close the pages.  However, that's where the similarities end.  In The Queen Bee and Me, we meet Meg who is in a toxic friendship, however she doesn't quite recognize it herself.  Beatrix takes control of all situations and puts her needs before Meg's.  When Meg becomes friendly with a new neighbor, Beatrix pushes their friendship to new limits.
Even though I'm decades past middle school, the themes and conflicts in this book are as old as time.  McDunn's words would have felt true years ago as much as they do today.  I can't wait to share this book with readers in March 2020!

Currently Reading

Hide and Seek (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #2)
Hide and Seek
by Kate Messner
This was one of my #mustreadin2019 books.  I'm about done and will be ready to start the third book in the series.
I'm also still getting through The Toll.  I'm really enjoying it, but having difficulties finding time to read!