Monday, April 15, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.15.19

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

So these posts are from two weeks ago.  No time for blogging last weekend!  International Paralympic swim meet, Confirmation and a family baptism kept me very busy!  Most posts coming this week!

My readers love reading nonfiction picture books about animals.  Check these out.

It's April, are you reading more poetry?  Some books to check out!

Picture Books

Nobody Hugs a Cactus
Nobody Hugs a Cactus
by Carter Goodrich
Cactus learns that a small act of kindness can be just the thing to make you feel good on the inside and outside. 
Full of southwest illustrations, this is a book I definitely want to add to my library!

written by Ame Dyckman
illustrated by Charles Santoso
I love this new one by Ame Dyckman!  And Charles Santoso's illustrations go perfectly with the story.  This book shows that a parent's love really knows no boundaries... especially against a field of dandelions!  Perfect for the upcoming Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations!

What Makes a Hero
What Makes a Hero
written by Pamela Bobowicz
illustrated by Eda Kaban
Do your students have Marvel Avengers fever like mine?  Well, actually I do too!  I love talking about these superheroes to readers.  Now I have a book to recommend to them too.  This book focuses on the heroines of the Marvel world.  Each page is dedicated to an amazing female and their traits that make them so amazing.  What I love about this is the spotlight on their strength, smarts and bravery.  Perfect for young readers!

Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival
Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival
by Lindsay Moore
The narrator of this story is a polar bear.  She tells us her story of traveling over sea ice to get to the mainland.  Full of information, this narrative story will have readers on edge as they see the sea bear traveling on the sea ice to get food (seals) and then travel through the sea itself to get to the mainland.  There she has her babies and then wait for the sea to freeze again to travel back home.
The illustrations are really a standout in this book - done in graphite, watercolor, drawing inks, conte crayon and color pencils.
Definitely a book to check out!

One Is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers
One is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers
written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
illustrated by John Parra
A counting book that features words in Spanish, but has illustrations that will help all language learners to figure out the new words.  Parra's illustrations are perfect for this book.  An important counting book that features representation in the words and illustrations.

Me And My Fear
Me and My Fear
by Francesca Sanna
Add this book to your Social Emotional Learning and your immigration collections.  It will be a good one to have.  Similar to some other books I've read about having a fear or anxiety that keeps someone from experiencing new situations, this is another good one for that topic.  Add being an immigrant in a new country, and now there is a new layer to discuss.

The Forever Sky
The Forever Sky
written by Thomas Peacock
illustrated by Annette S. Lee
A Native #ownvoices story, I'm so glad I saw Traci Sorrell's tweet about this one!  Two brothers are laying under the sky one night when the older brother shares their uncle's wisdom about the dancing lights.  A book about celebrating those who have passed away and their belief of how their elders are in the "forever sky".  Beautifully told and illustrated.

The Book Hog
The Book Hog
by Greg Pizzoli
This book is for anyone who loves reading.  And it's really for the reader who smells books since that comes up in the story - it is definitely a thing to you nonsniffers!  The Book Hog LOVES books, but... his big secret is he doesn't know how to read.  One kind librarian sets out to change that.  Love love love this one.

The Great Indoors
The Great Indoors
written by Julie Falatko
illustrated by Ruth Chan
While the human family drives away for their trip to the great outdoors, all of the forest animals take over the house for their trip to the great indoors!  What kinds of things do forest animals want to do on their vacation inside?  Definitely a humorous take on a different perspective of vacation!

Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog
Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog
by Lisa Papp
This series is so sweet and adored by readers and pet-lovers!  
In this sequel/stand alone, Madeline finally gets a puppy but her love for animals doesn't stop there.  She learns about animal shelters and how the animals there are still looking for forever homes.  Madeline's kind heart finds ways to love even more animals.

Informational Texts

The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
The Crayon Man:  The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
written by Natascha Biebow
illustrated by Steven Salerno
It was so fun to read this picture book biography about the creator of crayons, Edwin Binney, and how they came to be.  Kids will love seeing the familiar crayola box, crayons and wrappers, and enjoy learning how the name "crayon" even came to be!
I'm curious as to see where this book is classified - is it a biography?  Does it go somewhere under inventions?  I'm not familiar enough with the Dewey Decimal system to know the answer to that.  The book goes through some of the trials and errors Binney and team went through to get the crayon and the pigments of colors to be just right.
I loved the illustrations by Salerno.  The bright colors popped perfectly for a book about crayons!
The backmatter is fascinating.  It will require an extra day of reading because there is so much information to be found in it - step by step instructions with photographs showing how crayons are made, more about creator Edwin Binney, and extensive source notes.
This is a must have addition for your libraries!

Graphic Novel

The Cardboard Kingdom
The Cardboard Kingdom
by Chad Sell
Sell collaborates with other artists to put the stories of this book together.  All of the characters live in the same neighborhood and bond over cardboard boxes and imagination.  Through imaginative play, characters learn more about themselves and their own identities.
While each mini story stands alone, characters are seen in multiple stories which can be confusing to young readers.  The visual piece will be helpful for those readers to follow everyone!

Middle Grade

The Storm Keeper’s Island
The Storm Keeper's Island
by Catherine Doyle
I'm in a bit of a reading slump.  I think it's because of of the massive amount of reading time I had over Spring Break.  Great books and lots of time to fall into them.  Now I'm having days where I get one chapter read.  This one I had time to fall into, but I was extremely distracted.  I think that kept me from loving it more than I did.  I say all of that because I did end up really enjoying it, but I'm thinking most readers will like it even more.
This fantasy was a bit slow starting for me, but Doyle really sets up the story so you understand the characters and what is happening with them.  Fionn and his sister are visiting their Grandad on an island.  And there Grandad has a very important job on this island, he's the Storm Keeper.  But it appears that it's time for a new Storm Keeper.  Full of folk lore, mystery and of course, some bad guys, the pace of the story picked up until it was hard to put down.  Set up to be a series, I'll be interested in seeing where it goes.  
I'll be interested in seeing what other readers think of this one.  Let me know if you read it!

Finding Orion
Finding Orion
by John David Anderson
Anderson has given us another "Anderson" novel - one that pushes the boundaries just enough to make it edgy and fun!  
Rion and his family are traveling to his grandfather's hometown to lay him to rest, although it doesn't quite go as planned.  There's a funneral to attend instead of a funeral, and a scavenger hunt to find Papa Kwirk's ashes.  But along the way Rion and his family learn more about Papa Kwirk and themselves as a family unit.
Endearing and sweet, but definitely a bit on the long side.  True Anderson fans will love this one.

Elephant Secret
Elephant Secret
by Eric Walters
This one had been in my pile for awhile.  Sorry it took me so long to get to it - wow, it's good!  I've always found elephants fascinating creatures and this one solidified my feelings.  Simply amazing.  But then this book has a science fiction component to it.  Can't give away the secret but woah it threw me for a loop.  Check this one out for sure!

Young Adult

Our Year of Maybe
Our Year of Maybe
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Full of teen angst and tough choices - Peter and Sophie have grown up together.  They have both taken turns being more in like with each other, however, now it is Sophie's turn and she's pretty sure it's love.  But she doesn't want to ruin what they do have, so she remains tormented by her feelings.  Add on top of this that Peter, for the first time in his life, is experiencing what it means to be a "normal" kid.  See, Peter has kidney failure and he's doing much better because Sophie has given him one of her kidneys.  Can Peter live his own life without forever feeling indebted to Sophie?  Especially once he realizes how deep her feelings are for him?  Exploring what it means to be an individual, this was an easy book to fall into.  Mature themes and sexual exploration keeps this in the YA area.

Currently Reading

Because of the Rabbit
Because of the Rabbit
by Cynthia Lord
Lots of kids at my school are reading this one right now because it was at our Book Fair.  Keeping up with the students!

The Doughnut Fix (The Doughnut Fix #1)
The Doughnut Fix
by Jessie Janowitz

Happy Spring Break reading to many readers.  Here's to a good week!


  1. The Book Hog was in my library pile last week - it's really cute. I loved The Storm Keeper's Island. I thought the storm keeper idea was unique. I'm looking forward to the second.

  2. Lots to love here, Michele, but I'm glad you all had fun with family & at the swim meet, too! I've noted several, especially Our Year of Maybe & Elephant Secret. Thanks!

  3. Crayon Man is definitely falls under biography, although you are correct in that it could go in inventions. I'm reading it to the 1st graders Friday when they come to tour our library. I love the illustrations and the story line. So unique and what kid doesn't love crayons?

  4. Thank you so much for sharing The Forever Sky -- this is a new title for me and I'm adding it to my list. Looks good! I currently have The Crayon Man on reserve, so hopefully it'll be available very soon. And I fell in love with the cover of Finding Orion and am looking forward to getting a local copy this year. I enjoyed Rachel Lynn Solomon's debut novel, so I'm hoping Our Year of Maybe is just as engaging. Have a wonderful reading week, Michele!

  5. You have read some amazing picture books in the last while. I've added a bunch to my list. The Cardboard Kingdom didn't really work for me, although I loved the idea of it. I loved Granted by John David Anderson (and everything else of his I've read) so I'm excited about Finding Orion. I too adored Elephant Secret.

  6. You have featured some books on my TBR list like The Book Hog, Dandy, and Nobidy Hugs a Cactus. Just waiting for my library holds to be ready, I absolutely love Madeline Finn and was so excited Lisa Papp wrote the follow up. Her books hold a special place in my heart.

  7. The Doughnut Fix looks interesting. I will have to check that one out. Loved The Book Hog and Dandy!

  8. I liked Because of the Rabbit when I browsed it in the WWUniversity coffee shop as my son checked out the campus. Looks like you had a great reading spring break.

  9. The Book Hog looks good. I need to get that for my great niece.

  10. I have only read Me and My Fear in this list and loved that one - everything else looks very interesting too, particularly Nobody Hugs a Cactus and Because of Rabbit - will need to find them soonest! :)

  11. Elephant Secret took a really fun turn, and The Doughnut Fix was good as well. Sometimes the fantasy books are just more of the same-- hard to do something new that doesn't involve tweens saving the world, I guess!

  12. I am so glad that you got to Elephant Secret, I really enjoyed that one. You have lots of really great picture books. I am hoping to buy a few of these soon. I am also grateful to see the new Anderson novel. Thanks for the terrific post.

  13. Excited for a Madeline Finn follow up!!