Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.01.19

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.

I took a week off from blogging to enjoy Spring Break with the family.  We had a fantastic week in Florida, the weather was just about perfect.  I also had a lot of time to read so lots to share with you this week!

Last Week's Adventures

Did you check out the new Yogi book about baseball great Yogi Berra?

Don't miss these books for young readers.

Some new poetry books for your collections.

Picture Books

The Nature Girls
The Nature Girls
by Aki
The girls from The Weather Girls are back, this time they are traveling to different biomes.  Perfect if you study biomes as part of the NGSS.

written by Hayley Barrett
illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Make sure this one is on your gift list - a perfect gift for first-time parents!  I love the explanation it gives for the concept of a "babymoon" - that time when you're getting used to all the newness a baby brings!
Beautiful illustrations from Alma and How She Got Her Name author/illustrator, Juana Martinez-Neal.

A Piglet Named Mercy
A Piglet Named Mercy
written by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
It's the origin story you never knew you were waiting for!  All of your questions about Mercy are answered in this delightful prequel of the Mercy Watson and Deckawoo Drive books.  Whether your readers are familiar with Mercy or not, they will love hearing this story!

Growing Season
Growing Season
by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Some of the best social emotional books are written by this author.  Her books explore friendships and differences in real, concrete ways that children understand.
In this book she explores friendships and what it feels like when something you've always had in common with a friend changes.

Informational Books

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
written by Sarah Aronson
illustrated by Robert Neubrecker
It was NCTE 2017 when Sarah first told me about this book she was working on.  It was about a man named Rube Goldberg.  At the time, I had never heard of him.  Since then, I've heard him referenced many times, but I still didn't know for sure what he did.
It was after reading this book that I had that A-ha moment - ahhh, now I know this guy!  He made impossible machines, kind of like that child's game Mouse Trap (and thank goodness for backmatter because that is where I learned he was the inspiration for that game!).
Rube Goldberg had a passion - he wanted to be a cartoonist for a newspaper.  Because of this passion, he was going to work towards it no matter how difficult the road was.  That's the first thing that stuck with me - when you look back at highly successful people, they get there because of their determination, but they have that because of the passion they feel for it!  
Rube became a very successful cartoonist, but what he is mostly known for was the crazy inventions his alter ego, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, designed.  Crazy machines that were intricately designed that did something in many, many more steps (and impractical ones) than it needed.  I love that Sarah includes many examples, both in the illustrations and on the endpages, of these crazy inventions.
I think readers will really enjoy learning about this man who through determination, hard work and his passion for his field, was able to do what he wanted!

Middle Grade

The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
by Rebecca K.S. Ansari
Whoa, this book has some twists and turns!  Some I had a guess about, others took me totally by surprise.
Charlie is missing his younger brother, Liam.  He disappeared about a year ago.  However no one else, including his mom and dad, miss him... in fact, they don't even remember him!  Charlie won't let go of his memory and will do whatever it takes to find him.  Getting some help from friends, Charlie sets off to solve this mystery.

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins
The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins
by Gail Shepherd
I really enjoyed this one!  Lyndie is a character that makes you equal parts want to hug her, and the other part you end up being so frustrated because of the decisions she makes.  
Lyndie lives in a home that is full of adults, but short on love.  Her grandfather is often at work and her grandmother wants to turn Lyndie into somebody she's not.  With the help, and sometimes tough love, of friends, Lyndie navigates through her tricky home life.  With her father struggling from PTSD, her mom from migraines, and her grandmother scheduling out all of Lyndie's life, it's amazing she stays in that household!  I thought the way things came together at the end left you with a hopeful feeling inside.

by Alyson Gerber
I absolutely loved Gerber's debut Braced so I was eagerly awaiting this one.  It did not disappoint - and may I add kept me thoroughly entertained as we had an over 2 hour delay in the airport.... This is the story of Clea as she learns that her difficulties focusing and organizing are not due to her not trying hard enough, it's because she has ADHD.  The first part of the book leads up to the diagnosis, the second part is her learning how to manage it.  I think this was a fantastic book for kids who have ADHD to read, for kids who don't have it and need a window to understand it and for teachers to read.  Highly recommend this one!

Caterpillar Summer
Caterpillar Summer
by Gillian McDunn
This may be one of my favorite titles from 2019.  I read some great stories this week, but this is one I am still thinking about.  Cat has a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders, but none more so than taking care of her brother, Chicken.  While it doesn't say, Chicken seems to be on the autistic spectrum.  Cat always has to stay a few steps ahead of Chicken and anticipate what he may do because sometimes it happens so fast, Cat is afraid she'll lose him.  
What promises to be the start of a wonderful summer, ends up taking a different turn.  Cat and Chicken end up at their grandparents' house on an island.  What is strange about that is they had never met these grandparents before and now they'll be staying with them for three weeks.  However, there are a lot of surprises in store and Cat learns it's ok to lean on others for some help.
This is just a beautiful coming of age story that has characters that will stick around in your heart and mind long after you read the last page.

The Next Great Paulie Fink
The Next Great Paulie Fink
by Ali Benjamin
I loved The Thing About Jellyfish so I was eagerly anticipating this one.  I liked the back half.  It took half the book to lead into the main part of the story.  I think this book needed to be edited so you get into it faster.  I also did not love the character who was telling the story.
This is a book that needs to be put into the hands of kids and see what their opinion is.  I'll be interested in seeing if they stick with the story or not.  I may be pleasantly surprised!

Nikki on the Line
Nikki on the Line 
by Barbara Carroll Roberts
I'm glad I saw Ms. Yingling's glowing review of this book because it made it jump up my bookstacks and into my Spring Break pile.  So much to love about this book.  Nikki is a character that will be very relatable to middle school readers - her passion is basketball and she's finding her way onto a very competitive club team which takes her away from her studies.  And on top of that she has to watch her younger brother after school, which means time helping him study and playing with him instead of getting her things done.  But it was the compromise she reached with her mom so she could continue playing for the expensive club team.  And if that wasn't enough, she also has lots of questions about the genes she has inherited - will she be taller?  why are her eyes two different colors?  is she going to be a good sports player?  Hard to get the answers to that when her dad is a sperm donor, not someone she could exactly track down and get answers.  
I think this is a perfect read for middle school readers!

Young Adult

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)
by Marissa Meyer
This was my February #mustreadin2019 title.  Not my favorite from the series but it gave an interesting turn in perspective as we learn what makes the evil character be so wicked.

How to Make Friends with the Dark
How to Make Friends With the Dark
by Kathleen Glasgow
Oh my, Kathleen Glasgow can write.  Really write.  As I said on my Twitter post - I think my heart was ripped out of my chest, twisted and bled dry.  
I've read both of her books at the health club and I think that is a wise decision to avoid the ugly cry.
My heart is still bleeding for Tiger Tolliver, whose mother has just died unexpectedly.  Tiger is beating herself up over it because she wasn't home when it happened, she was busy kissing a boy, and worse, she had had a huge fight with her mom that morning.
We watch Tiger go through mourning and have to deal with being a ward of the state.
While this was a very tough topic to read about, Glasgow handles it with such poise that you don't mind your heart has been stomped on 400 pages later....

Currently Reading

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus
by Dusti Bowling
I will have actually had this book read by the time this post goes live, but I won't have time to update the post.  What I will say is I am so so glad Aven had more to say!

Finding Orion
Finding Orion
by John David Anderson
Can't wait to start this one!

Hope you're enjoying some spring reading.  Now that I'm going back to school my reading will drastically slow down.  Hope you found some books you might want to try!


  1. I keep seeing this Lyndie B Hawkins title this a.m. I have a copy and am now very motivated to read it! I am heading back to school this morning too. So less reading time ahead. Oh well! Loved reading all of your reviews.

  2. I really think I need to get a copy of Babymoon, I'm in that stage of life when everyone is having babies, and I need some new books to add to my collection of baby shower gifts!

  3. I love your reading lists -- I need to go make sure that any of these I haven't yet read are on my list. First and foremost, I am THRILLED to hear about Babymoon. My last three children were born at home (my first two were cesarean section babies) and a "babymoon" is a very big event in the homebirth community. But you just don't hear much about it, these days. Hubby took all his available leave time, cooked, cleaned, and took care of our other children for over a month so that I could rest, heal, and simply bond with baby in the quiet comfort of our bedroom (with he and our other children visiting often, of course). So this is a "must have" title to add to my collection of my pregnancy, birth, and babyhood books! And I can't wait for Caterpillar Summer. Everyone is raving, so it has to be amazing. The synopsis of The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly sounds very intriguing -- I have had that one on hold, so hope to get it this week. And I am SUPER envious of your reading of Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus. I adore Dusti Bowling! Hope you have a wonderful reading week, Michele!

  4. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to read about A Piglet Named Mercy. I ran off to see if I could get it anywhere only to realize that it won't be published til tomorrow. I wish Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines was available as I am always looking for interesting nonfiction to read to older groups in the school library I am at these days.
    Honestly, it took me a very long time to finish your post today because I kept wondering off to other sites to see if this and that book was available. So many fabulous titles! Thank you so much.

  5. I can't wait to read A Piglet Named Mercy! I love all of Kate DiCamillo's books. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  6. I have A Piglet Named Mercy, soon! The chapter books all look/sound awesome, Michele. What a vacationing week of reading you had. I loved the Rube Goldberg book, used to have students building those kinds of machines, a fun project. Thanks for sharing so many!

  7. Finding Orion is on my tbr list. I look forward to hearing what you think!

  8. You had some good reading! Though I am so sad that I didn't get to see you!
    I need to get A Piglet Named Mercy! We haven't read the series yet, so it'll be fun to read the origin story :)
    Glad you liked Charlie O'Reilly!

    Happy reading this week!

  9. You had a great reading spring break Michele! I too enjoyed Lyndie and Focused. Catepillar Summer is on my TBR list and may wait to enjoy it this summer. And who can't resist Mercy? I love prequels when you find out the back story! Have a great week!

  10. Just like rube goldberg caught my eye - as I am always always on the lookout for great PBBs. Focused has been receiving a great deal of hype recently, and really looking forward to finding a copy here in Singapore soon. :)