Monday, April 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.29.19

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

Who is ready for some new nonfiction picture books about animals?  Your readers are!  Check these out!

Some new early reader books that have new books in their series.

Picture Books

I Have an Idea!
I Have an Idea!
by Hervé Tullet
I have long loved Mr. Tullet's interactive books.  They are some of the first books I use with readers - they love the interactive part and it provides a wonderful and positive reading experience.
This book is different, it is not interactive, but, if you're familiar with Tullet's other books, you'll see pieces of them in here. 
This is a perfect book to use at the beginning of the year when you're launching your writer's workshop time and want to talk about the struggle and joy of finding ideas.
Publishes May 7th.

Up the Mountain Path
Up the Mountain Path
by Marianne Dubuc
Oh, this sweet little book.  Mrs. Badger always climbs the mountain by her house every Sunday.  Except this one Sunday, she has a new explorer with her.  Mrs. Badger passes along her wisdom to Lulu the cat.  And so we see, kindness begets kindness.  Powerful lesson in this quiet book.

Carl and the Meaning of Life
Carl and the Meaning of Life
by Deborah Freedman
Definitely a book you'll want in your Earth Day rotation, but it's also perfect for some big discussions - how are we all connected?  what is our job here on Earth?  why do we do the things we do, or for whom do we do them for?  
As always, Deborah Freedman packs a deep punch in a story that doesn't waste any words.  Oh, and gorgeous illustrations too!

The Panda Problem
The Panda Problem
written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Hannah Marks
Yes to all of this.  You just need this book.
Characters that break the 4th wall?  Check.  Narrators that talk to the character?  Check.  Story that will make you laugh out loud?  Check.  Book that you can use to work on fluency and expression?  Check.
Yup.  Go find this one.

by Andrea Zuill
Here's another must have.  Had to go buy this one since I had checked it out from the library.  Love the message of appreciating who you are and not changing to fit in.  This is a book I feel like I need to share right now.  End of the year things get testy, this would be a great one to pull out.

Gondra's Treasure
Gondra's Treasure
written by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
The newest picture book by Park, this book looks at different dragon lore that comes from the west and the east.  The dragons are depicted as a mom and dad dragon and their child has traits from both.  The curious child asks many questions about how dragons are depicted in the east and the west and how it sits with her.  While the differences in dragons is named, I felt like this can also be a discussion that many children have with parents - traits they get from mom and traits they get from dad.

The Gift of Ramadan
The Gift of Ramadan
written by Rabaiah York Lumbard
illustrated by Laura Horton
A book about the some of the special traditions of Ramadan that is aimed for the younger crowd.  
Young Sophia is getting ready to celebrate the special time of Ramadan with her family and wants to have the special feeling she'll get knowing she is fasting as the adults do during this time.  However, it's hard for a little one to fast from sunup to sundown and Sophia gets down on herself when she succumbs to her hunger.  
This book is a good window for young readers who don't celebrate, as they learn more about the traditions of the holiday.  A great mirror book for young readers who do celebrate!  Don't miss the author's note in the back of the book!

Informational Texts

Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo
Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo
by Thane Maynard
Oh, your animal lovers are going to love this one!  It's such a sweet, feel-good, heartprint story.  Fiona is the premature hippo born in the Cincinnati Zoo in January of 2017.  This is the story how the zoo and community nursed this preemie to health.  

Middle Grade

Song for a Whale
Song for a Whale
by Lynne Cherry
I really loved how Cherry brought together the similarities of a Deaf girl and a whale who sings in a frequency that is too high for other whales to hear.  
Iris is Deaf and other than her grandparents, the rest of her family is hearing.  She has recently lost her grandfather and he was one of the few people who understood her and knew what it was like to be living in a world that didn't always accept you.
Blue 55 is a whale who sings its song at 55 hertz, a higher frequency than other whales.  As a result, Blue 55 often swims through the ocean alone, finding company for no more than a day or so.
Iris decides that she needs to help Blue 55.  She does find a way and creates a song just for him.  She decides she needs to be there when Blue 55 hears it for the first time.  When her family disagrees, Iris finds another way.
I loved how headstrong and determined Iris was.  So often people think of someone with a disability as being weak and needing assistance.  Iris is a great model of how a disability is someone who finds a new way to get things done!

Revenge of the Teacher's Pets
Revenge of the Teacher's Pets
by Jennifer Ziegler
I have really enjoyed getting to know the Brewster Triplets.  This is supposedly the last book in the series - I feel like I know them so well and I'm sad to see them grow up without more books :)
Each of the triplets has their own personalities and so far it's been ok to put aside what one of them wants for the sake of the other two.  But now they are in seventh grade and they are each learning to be independent, but it's hard to let go.  
If you have not checked out this series yet, make sure you add it to your list.  These strong girls are wonderful role models for middle grade readers!

All the Greys on Greene Street
All the Greys on Greene Street
written by Laura Tucker
illustrations by Kelly Murphy
Shoot, this is a hard one to review.  This was my workout book, meaning I read it while on the recumbent bike at the gym.  Rarely I would have 30 minutes to read, mostly it was in chunks of 3-7 minutes at a time (the recumbent bike is always the last few minutes of my workout.... only on holidays and vacations do I get extended time!).  What all of this means is I read it over a period of weeks in short bursts of time.  It was a choppy read and it felt like that.  I had trouble getting into it.  I even binge read the last 100 pages to see if I could fall into it more, but this was a book that really dragged for me.  I'll be interested in seeing what kids think of it.
It's an art mystery, it's a story that has you opening your heart to the MC because her parents are absent for one reason or another.  It's a story that has great friendship.
It publishes June 4th.  When you read it, come back and tell me your thoughts.  I'm looking forward to seeing if this is a book I need to come back and read in a smaller amount of time or if you had trouble with it too!

Currently Reading

The Lost Boy's Gift
The Lost Boy's Gift
by Kimberly Willis Holt
Just starting this one, excited to read it!

Hope you're able to carve some time to read!  With the craziness of life, it always centers me to find some time to read!


  1. Carl, Panda Problem, and Sweety are some of my recent favorites. Up the Mountain Path sounds great. I just finished All the Greys on Greene Street. I enjoyed it and really liked the characters and friendships. It didn't drag for me, but it will be interesting to see what kids think about it.

  2. All of these look wonderful. I have Song for a Whale and All the Greys on Green Street to be read, and now I can't wait.

  3. I shared Sweety today, too, have Carl and Gondra's Treasure, soon! I'm looking forward to Song for A Whale and Up The Mountain Path. I know both will be good! Thanks, Michele!

  4. I don't know how I missed adding Linda Sue Parks' new picture book to my TBR list. My toddler daughter is CRAZY about dragons (and dinosaurs) and I'm certain she'll appreciate this one. I'm also adding I Have an Idea! to my list -- glad to learn of this one. Have a wonderful week, Michele!

  5. I just put in a huge order with my library from this list: Up the Mountain Path, Carl and the Meaning of Life, The Panda Problem, The Gift of Ramdan, and Saving Fiona! Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  6. Had it not meant leaving the house and garden to find a copy, I would have gone right out after reading your review of The Panda Problem. I also like Gondra's Treasure. One of my grandchildren is the product of the east and west, and will have to see if it might be a gift for her.