Monday, January 28, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.28.19

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

I reflected on our nonfiction collections in classroom libraries here.

I love series and some of my favorites for readers in 2nd-5th grade have some new ones that have recently published.  Find more about them here.

This week I'm just spotlighting picture books.  I'm in the throes of reading for my upcoming meeting to decide our 2020 IL Bluestem Award list.  This is our 3rd-5th grade list.  I'm cramming in the last few books so all other reading has been put on hold.  I'll be back to it soon enough!  In the meantime, some picture books you don't want to miss:

Picture Books

by Jeff Newman and Larry Day
Our readers at school fell in love with the book Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  The emotions that come up when a book is about a dog and a child...  I think readers will love this wordless picture book about the meanings of found.

What Is Given from the Heart
What Is Given From the Heart
written by Patricia C. McKissack
illustrated by April Harrison
Wow.  This book is so important to read right now.  I don't see too many young kids who really understands what it means to give from the heart.  To really think about another and what they may need and how a young person, without financial means, can give that something to another.  I will be interested in seeing how this book can reach young readers and if it makes them think about the message.
And I cannot talk about this book without mentioning the illustrations.  The mixed media seems to be a perfect choice that compliments the message of the story.
Glad to see Patricia McKissack's words live on in this beautiful book.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery
There Are No Bears in This Bakery
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Another bear story that might not be what you first think it is (don't miss The Bear Ate Your Sandwich).  I think this one misses the mark just a bit, but still proves to be a pretty fun read aloud.  I'm wondering what the reaction of young readers would be if you first read this book without showing them pictures and asking what they were visualizing.  Then read it again with the illustrations.  Same story?  A definite mentor text for similes, this book has uses in the classroom!

Someone New
Someone New
by Anne Sibley O'Brien
A fantastic companion to O'Brien's I'm New Here..  You'll want to own both books so students can see both perspectives - a new immigrant, to students meeting the new person.

Love, Z
Love, Z
by Jessie Sima
The concept of love probably looks different to individuals and it being such a big idea, I wonder how many young readers have trouble identifying what it looks, sounds, feels like?  
Z the Robot is wondering what love is after finding a message in a bottle with only the words "love" and "Beatrice" on the letter inside.  On a mission to find Beatrice and find out what love really is, readers might be surprised to find the answers.

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color
written by Monique Fields
illustrated by Yesenia Moises
A perfectly timely book that explores the mixed up feelings of a biracial child.  
In today's society, we often hear people described in terms of colors - white, black, brown - but what if those colors don't describe, or define, who you are.
I can see this being a powerful read aloud in classrooms and libraries today.

I actually have more picture books to share but I had to put everything on hold to watch Rent on FOX.  Oh my goodness - did any of you watch it?  I'm just in awe, it was absolutely amazing.  So impressed with the cast.  I want to keep watching it over and over.  
But I guess I'll have some time to read after the awards show - it's a snow day for us!  I'll have more for you next week!  Happy reading!


  1. Oh my, so many great book this week. I didn't yet have What Is Given From the Heart on my list, so adding that one right now. Thanks for all the shares, Michele!

  2. I've loved Jessie Sima's other books, I'm so looking forward to Love, Z! Even if I pronounce it "Love Zed" ;-)

  3. I have Love, Z in a stack of books I just picked up at the library. So I'm looking forward to reading it this week. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  4. I missed Rent, didn't know about it until after. Bummed! I noted 'Love, Z' earlier, sounds nice. I am surprized the McKissack book isn't at my library yet, but I'll find it. Have fun with your Bluestem list making! And thanks for all these books. I've only read Someone New, a needed story.

  5. I saw Honeysmoke on some book list just recently. It sounds like an important book. I hope you got in some great reading on your snow day!

  6. Clearly, from all of the blog posts, I missed RENT. I am hoping I can watch it on repeat. Honeysmoke looks very interesting! I am going to add it to my list. ;)

  7. Patricia McKissack - We are so excited that her words live on in this story. We love her work!

  8. I read and adored Love, Z this week also. Honeysmoke sounds very interesting. My granddaughter is half Korean from her mother and a mix of nearly everything else from our side. Her mom worried that being biracial (I hate that term - we are all the same race) would cause her grief. Where we live it's pretty normal, but there are places here in British Columbia where just not being white could be an issue. She said, not being 100% Korean would be a problem for Ada in Korea.

  9. I keep seeing reviews for What is Given From the Heart. Adding to my TBR right now. I reviewed Found on my blog as one of my dog picks. Such a beautiful book that really tugged at my heart.

  10. I agree about What is Given From the Heart. Beautiful and timely. Honeysmoke is one that I hadn't heard of and I'll have to look for it. Thanks.