Monday, June 10, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.03.19

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

Well, last week didn't happen as far as blogging.  Took a little break to be with family as we celebrated my daughter's graduation from 8th grade!  As I'm learning, not every state holds a big graduation ceremony for 8th grade but where I live in IL it has always been a tradition.  Between that and a weekend long swim meet, I decided to put blogging on hold.  Luckily, this was my last week of school so now it's time to get back to a reading life!

Here's what popped up in my nonfiction picture book stack 2 weeks ago!

Picture Books

Just Like My Brother
Just Like My Brother
by Gianna Marino
Such a sweet book for young readers about identity - and with a surprise ending!  Marino's illustrations are beautiful, as always.

You Are Your Strong
You Are Your Strong
written by Danielle Dufayet
illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
I'm so glad I caught Aliza Werner's tweet about this book.  This is one you want for your SEL collection.  It shows how sometimes you need to lean on others for positive emotional support, and other times you must look deep inside yourself to find positive emotions - calming, soothing, gentle yet strong and brave - in order to deal with tough times.  Also includes a note to parents and caregivers in the backmatter.

Lion and Mouse
Lion and Mouse
written by Jairo Buitgrago
illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
A retelling of the Lion and the Mouse fable, this one has just a bit more to the story and ending without it being overly long.

Sea Glass Summer
Sea Glass Summer
written by Michelle Houts
illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Loved this story!  A young boy finds the magic of sea glass - with each piece he finds that summer he dreams of the story of where the sea glass originated from and the story behind it.  The story ends up coming full circle.  Perfect end of the year, beginning of summer read.  And some great end of the year writing tie-ins with it!

Koala Is Not a Bear
Koala is NOT a Bear
written by Kristin L. Gray
illustrated by Rachel McAlister
A book that clears us some misconceptions, but also has way deeper meaning.
Koala is headed to camp for the first time and is a bit nervous about fitting in.  Upon arrival, turns out she's right because know-it-all Kangaroo informs her all of the ways she is not a bear.  A story about wanting to fit in and find your group, and maybe even the kind way to pass on knowledge... this is one of those books you'll want to talk about what is it really about.

There's Only One You
There's Only One You
written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook
illustrated by Rosie Butcher
A book about all the ways that make you unique and who you are.  I like the different representations in the book.  Not only diverse in race, but also in families, physical and hearing challenges, even down to freckles.... seems like a strange thing but kids who have a lot of freckles rarely see other characters that have them.  Would be a good read at the beginning of the school year.  Pair with Pat Zietlow Miller's Remarkably You.

Papa Put a Man on the Moon
Papa Put a Man on the Moon
written by Kristy Dempsey
illustrated by Sarah Green
A narrative story about a young girl waiting for the day when the first American would land on the moon.  Extra special for her because her father worked in the textile mill that helped make the space suits.  
There is a brief author's note that gives a bit more information about the mills that worked on the special fabric.  I wish there had been more information about this woven into the story.  Would be interesting to learn more!

Linus The Little Yellow Pencil
Linus the Little Yellow Pencil
by Scott Magoon
LInus the pencil and Ernie the eraser are entering an art contest where the winning piece must be full of heart.  The art may have to have heart, but what really does is this book.  It's sweet and touching and has a great message about cooperation, working together, and the joy it can bring you.  It also makes you think about perspective and thinking about things in different ways.  Oh yeah, and the illustrations are really fun too!  And it's pretty "punny".  Definitely a book for your collection.

Camp Tiger
Camp Tiger
written by Susan Choi
illustrated by John Rocco
Just read a finished copy of this one.  It's simply gorgeous.  I will come back to this one over and over just to view the illustrations.
I think this story was meant to be a metaphor for growing up.  I'm just not sure readers will catch on what this story is trying to say.  It's one I'll have to share with several groups of readers to gage their reaction.

Mango Moon
Mango Moon
written by Diane de Anda
illustrated by Sue Cornelison
A book about losing a parent due to not being a citizen, this book comes at a perfect time.  Whether you are introducing the topic, continuing the conversation, or needing a book that just right book for a child, this is a good book to have.

My Fourth of July
My Fourth of July
written by Jerry Spinelli
illustrated by Larry Day
One of my favorite holidays is the 4th of July.  It's one of those holidays that has always been full of traditions for me.  Spinelli shares the traditions of one family and it's a joy to be able to share in the celebrations!

Middle Grade

The War I Finally Won (The War That Saved My Life, #2)
The War I Finally Won
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
I finally put this one on my #mustread list because I kept not getting to it.  At first, it was because I loved the first book so much I was a bit nervous about starting this one.  Sometimes when you hold a book to such high standards, it's hard to follow it.
I think I still love the first book the most, but this one was a beautiful follow up.  I loved seeing Ada's character arc and watching her grow and change.  I appreciated that she was so unworldly and needed so much guidance.  It felt very true to her character.  I will miss Ada and Susan!

Currently Reading

The Clockwork Ghost (York, #2)
York: The Clockwork Ghost 
by Laura Ruby
This series is one of the smartest mysteries I've ever read for young readers.

Looking forward to my official summer break!  The last two weeks have been really difficult for me to find reading time.  Time to start making up for lost time!


  1. My students really like the War I finally won-- can't recall how many reserves there were for it! I think a 5th grade teacher read the first book to a class. That always influences readers greatly! Looks like a great week.

  2. I loved Seaglass Summer, one of the few on your list I've read, but I found My Fourth of July at the library, waiting to read in July! Thanks for all the rest, too, Michele. My school held a big 8th grade ceremony, too. It was special to see those growing up kids & sad to say goodbye to them! Congratulations to your daughter!

  3. I am excited to hunt down Seaglass Summer. And how have I missed You Are Your Strong? Definitely adding this one to my TBR list. I know what you mean about being nervous about starting The War I Finally Won. They were very different stories, but I enjoyed each one. I'll definitely miss these characters, too! I still need to read The Shadow Cipher, but both book #1 and #2 are on my list. I love hearing when YOU enjoy a series like this! Have a great reading week, Michele!

  4. I think I'm the only one left that STILL hasn't read The War That Saved My Life or The War I Finally Won! I know lots of people that have read them and loved them. They've been on my list forever, but other books keep coming along and crowding them out. I have to get to it soon. Thanks for reminding me! Have a great week!

  5. I am often very disappointed with sequels, but I really liked The War I Finally Won. Mango Moon sounds meaningful. Congratulations to your daughter! Hope to see you soon in D.C.!

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  7. I am often very disappointed with sequels, but I really liked The War I Finally Won. Mango Moon sounds meaningful. Congratulations to your daughter! Hope to see you soon in D.C.!

  8. I've seen that Laura Ruby series but never picked it up. It's good to know that it's one I should try out. I enjoyed The War I Finally Won. I'm not sure which book made me cry more.

  9. I've only read Camp Tiger (which I loved!), but I know I need to get to The War I Finally Won and some of the PBs you recommended.

    Happy reading this week! And see you soon!

  10. I just read You Are Your Strong - you are absolutely stop on - it is perfect for SEL! In fact, I will be adding this to our SEL Bookshelf. :) Have a great reading week!

  11. I loved both of the Brubaker Bradley books--such a great voice and touching stories!

    I have Camp Tiger on request--can't wait to read it based on all of the rave reviews I keep reading

  12. I haven't read any of those but now I want to!

  13. So many good picture books releasing! I look forward to reading Linus and Koala is Not a Bear.