Monday, July 8, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.08.19

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 always love adding nonfiction picture book biographies to my collection!

Week 3 of my Summer Chapter Book Series has a roundup of books about SCHOOL!

Picture Books

The Sad Little Fact
The Sad Little Fact
written by Jonah Winter
illustrated by Pete Oswald
I'm pretty sure you can say this is a kidlit satire!  
People are starting to not believe certain facts and as a result, the facts (who look like round puffballs with arms and legs) are gathered up and buried in a chest.  Meanwhile, a bunch of lies "created by the Authorities" are put out into the world.  Some people believe them because they look just like facts.  Other facts denounce these new additions.  It's up to other Fact Finders to find the missing facts and release them back out into the world!
FYI, some of the buried facts - "...people are causing the Earth to get warmer!", "the Earth revolves around the sun!" and "Christopher Columbus did not discover America."

This Is MY Room!: (No Tigers Allowed)
This is MY Room! (No Tigers Allowed)
written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
A sweet book to read to young readers, little JoJo wants to sleep in her own room and bed tonight instead of her big sister's, Margaret.  However, large creatures keep coming in her room and Jojo must rush back to Margaret's room to get materials to make a sign to let these animals know they are not allowed.  But what happens when Jojo discovers something surprising about a creature?  Great nighttime story or one to read to celebrate the love of letters and reading and writing.

Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family
Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, From Farm to Family
by Elizabeth Zunon
As described in the backmatter, this is a love letter to the author/illustrator's own grandfather, whom she never met, and the stories her father told her about visiting his father's (her grandfather's) plantation when he was growing up.
I also loved reading more about the artwork, it was interesting how she changed up the media to show the different time periods in the book.  
When I first checked this book out, I thought it was going to be nonfiction.  While readers will certainly learn a lot about the cacao pod and how they turn it into chocolate, it is actually a fiction story.

Where Are You From?
Where Are You From?
written by Yamile Saied Méndez
illustrated by Jaime Kim
Oh, what a beautiful book. A young girl of color gets asked by classmates and adults, "where are you from?"  What a confusing question to ask a young child and full of insinuations.  However, the young girl has an amazing grandfather that tells her of all the beautiful places her ancestors come from but ends with a beautiful idea that really captures the love for a child.

How to Read a Book
How to Read a Book
written by Kwame Alexander
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
What a gorgeous love letter to reading!  This is a book you'll go back and reread many times because there is so much to discover.  I definitely need more time to linger over Kwame's words.  And to see every minute details of Melissa's illustrations.  And to look at the fun spreads that make this book unique.  Adding this to the beginning of the year collection!

A Normal Pig
A Normal Pig
by K-Fai Steele
I am so grateful that Rebecca from Harper Collins made sure I get a copy of this book at ALA.  Chad Everett talked about the word diverse and when we use it, what are we centering as the norm?  That was a huge a-ha for me, but it's hard to tell really young readers what that means.  This book will help explain that concept to them.

Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All
Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All
by Bob Shea
Unicorn is back and has maybe a few more lessons to learn.  Unicorn's self-esteem is called into question when new fads come and Unicorn's popularity is no longer on top.  So Unicorn decides to change a few things but learns that it's not the things you wear that makes the unicorn...
Love the cameos in this one!

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
Goodbye Friend!  Hello, Friend!
by Cori Doerrfeld
I love Cori's illustrations.  I don't know if it's the colors, the details, but they all draw me in!  
For every cause, there's an effect - hellos and goodbyes.  A beautiful story about the highs and lows of a young person's life and how one thing can lead into the other.

The King of Kindergarten
The King of Kindergarten
written by Derrick Barnes
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
I'm so glad this book is in the world!  It's a book that is perfect for young readers, no matter what grade they are entering.  All of the feelings that come with starting school are captured in this joyful book.  A definite must read for the start of the year.

I'm Trying to Love Math
I'm Trying to Love Math
by Bethany Barton
I'm pretty sure this book didn't make me love math, but it sure was fun to read about it!  And as always, Barton will make you laugh as you read along!

Middle Grade

Carnival Catastrophe (The Problim Children, #2)
The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe
by Natalie Lloyd
Any book of Natalie's is an instant favorite of mine!  This is the second in her Problim Children series and is my favorite in the series... so far!  Probably because it focuses on Mona Problim who is a delight to read about - deep down, she wants to do well, but doesn't mind having some clever fun along the way!
The Problim siblings are still trying to find Mama Problim and they think they may be able to get to her, if they can just find ways to win at the carnival.  Of course the O'Pinions are also involved and in this second book we find out even more about this dastardly family.  
I thought the first book in the series really set up the characters and the storyline of the missing family members.  But this second book gets to the plot of the story even faster and really starts to get good.  I'm now anxiously awaiting book 3!

Most Valuable Players (Rip & Red, #4)
Most Valuable Players: a Rip & Red Book
by Phil Bildner
This book concludes the popular Rip and Red series and I will be sorry to see it go.  It's been a fun year in Mr. Acevedo's room and watching Rip and Red grow as characters.
In this last book Rip has some grown up decisions to make.  His classmates have decided to opt out of the upcoming state academic tests.  However, that decision comes with consequences and Rip has a lot on the line.  Rip has been hiding a surprise from his classmates.  They know that Hoops Machine (think Harlem Globetrotters) will be performing at an upcoming school event, what they don't know is Rip has been practicing with them and will be a surprise guest at the event.  Will Rip be able to jeopardize his big performance to stand for something else he also believes in?
This was my June #mustreadin2019 book!

The Spinner of Dreams
The Spinner of Dreams
by K.A. Reynolds
Whoa.  This book blew me away.  I really wasn't sure what to expect, I had heard some positive things, even amazing things, but it really didn't prepare me for the awesomeness of everything - the story, the writing, the feels...
Annalise was born with a curse that comes from the evil Fate Spinner.  Her left hand is larger and has a large, black, broken heart on it and inside lies a curse.  A curse that does not do nice things, does not play well with Annalise, and seems to have something growing inside, something that wants to be outside.  With this curse, it seems her fate to live an unlucky life where bad things happen to those she loves and everyone around blames her for the bad things that happen.  Annalise grows past the point of frustration and wants it gone.  Despite her anxieties, despite her heavy feelings that weigh her down, she decides to face her fears and rid herself of the curse and be able to choose her own destiny.  Annalise must enter the Mazelands and face the Fate Spinner all while hoping the Spinner of Dreams may help her realize her dreams and release her from her curse.
A book about a noble quest and a girl who just wants peace, it's a story that had me interested from the beginning.  However, it was the way Reynolds wove through the storyline the feelings of depression and anxiety that made me celebrate this book.  I've read many realistic fiction stories that have characters dealing with depression and anxiety, but the way it was woven through this fantasy made me stand up and applaud.  Her descriptions of the feelings of being weighed down as you deal with an unspeakable sadness hit me in my heart.  I know those feelings and to see them described in such a way made me so grateful for this book.  I know readers who deal with anxiety will also recognize themselves within Annalise.  I loved how it was a part of the book - it is why the quest is taking place - but it does not take over the storyline.  
Also loved the secondary characters.  Lots of representation.
So well done.  This book is absolutely worthy of a preorder - publishes Aug. 27th.

Currently Reading

Wilder Girls
Wilder Girls
by Rory Power
Dang.  This YA.... it's scary good.  Kristin at Random House sold me on this one at ALA.  It's like a modern day Lord of the Flies with lots of twists that keep you reading way past your bedtime!!!

Now that I'm back from ALA and vacation has officially ended, looking forward to buckling down and getting some summer reading done!  It won't be too much longer and it will slow down with the start of school.  How much can I get done?


  1. So many great books here! How to Read a Book is a definite beginning of the school year read. I'm Trying to Love Math didn't help me love math any more either (I'm not sure anything ever will), but I definitely enjoyed it. It was great to see you at ALA!

  2. I have Where Are You From & How To Read a Book, still need to share them, both wonderful, I agree. And A Normal Pig is one I'll definitely look for, along with The Spinner of Dreams. Thanks for all, Michele, what a bunch of books to love here.

  3. You have so many brilliant books on your list today. I'm gnashing my teeth in envy.
    I think it's fascinating that people who are not white get asked, Where Are You From? I am a mongrel and that my ancestors come from nearly everywhere, but no imagines that I don't just belong here in Canada. I'm looking forward to this one.
    I've added The Sad Little Fact, A Normal Pig, and Carnival Catastrophe to my list if they were not already on it. My library has a few of them on order even!

  4. I have the King of Kindergarten sitting in my stack from the library. Looking forward to it!

  5. You've read a number of the books on my TBR list, but I'm especially looking forward to How to Read a Book, I'm Trying to Love Math, and the new The Problim Children. I have Spinner of Dreams on my list, but will have to wait until it's released. Thank you for this wonderful review, Michele!

  6. I loved the picture books you read this week! I'm going to find a copy of The King of Kindergarten for my four year-old. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of Wilder Girls, I'm glad that you're enjoying it so far!