Monday, July 29, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.29.19

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.

It's hard to believe that July is coming to a close and August is about here.  August always means it's time to start closing the door to summer and thinking about the next school year.  I've also got a list of projects to complete before school starts.  Thinking about my word for this year - BALANCE - reminds me that it's ok to not do everything.  To help me balance my to-do list over these last few days of summer, I'm going to go on a blogging break over the month of August.  I'll be back after Labor Day with lots of new posts.  I will of course continue to read and I'll be sharing the books on Twitter and Goodreads if you want to keep up with them.  Hoping you find some time to enjoy these last few weeks of summer!  See you in September!

Last Week's Adventures

Next in the Chapter Book Summer series are books that feature Mighty, MAGICAL girls!  Check the list out here.

Picture Books

The Little Green Hen
The Little Green Hen
by Alison Murray
I liked this twist on "The Little Red Hen" story where minds can change and everyone can be included.

Angus All Aglow
Angus All Aglow
written by Heather Smith
illustrated by Alice Carter
Angus loves words and attributed sounds to words and objects.  What was especially appealing to him was his Grandmother's colorful glass beaded necklace.  Grandma gifts Angus the necklace and despite his family's reservations, wears it proudly to school.  Unfortunately it is not well-received at school.  Angus is hurt and for awhile stops hearing wonderful sounds.  However, all it takes is one friend to acknowledge his feelings and make him feel validated.
I've seen some people say they don't like it when a character can't feel positive on his/her own.  However, I think it's also very realistic for people wanting to belong and be accepted for what they like/enjoy.  This book shows that and I think readers will appreciate it.

The Don't Worry Book
The Don't Worry Book
by Todd Parr
Maybe not my favorite worry book, but it's a good one to have.  Like Parr's other books, it's straight and to the point.
Parr gives examples of many different types of worries.  And then he gives suggestions for how to deal with worries, including talking to a loved one.  

Prince & Knight
Prince and Knight
written by Daniel Haack
illustrated by Stevie Lewis
There is so much to love about this twist on meeting your fairy tale, one-true-love story.  The prince's family is introducing the prince to princess after princess hoping he will fall in love.  The prince understands that no princess is going to be his one-true-love.  When the prince has to save the kingdom from a fiery dragon, he works together with a knight... who of course ends up being his knight in shining armor!  They fall in love immediately and are married.  The king and queen are overjoyed their prince has found his one-true-love.

What I love about this story is it is a positive, gay experience.  Just like it's completely acceptable in fairy tales to fall in love and get married and everyone is happily ever after, the same goes in this rendition.
What I'm not loving is some of the heavier lovey words.  I'm picturing reading this out loud, and whether it's a straight or gay romance, reading "held in the knight's embrace" and "as they gazed into each other's eyes, their hearts began to race" is going to get some squirms from little ones.  Maybe a bit more G rated in the romance parts.

Ultrabot's First Playdate
Ultrabot's First Playdate
by Josh Schneider
This is going to be a fun read aloud with young kids.  They will relate to Ultrabot's feelings of nervousness before his first big playdate.

My Tiny Pet
My Tiny Pet
by Jessie Hartland
The author writes that in this movement where Tiny Houses have become increasingly popular, she took it further to a tiny pet!  
Our main character's parents have decided to downsize - downsize their house and their lives.  Away goes all of the pets but the girl still wants something.  She finally convinces her parents a tardigrade would be the perfect small pet.  A pet that is so small it must be magnified 300 times to see!
Publishes Aug. 6th

Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations
Sing a Song: How "Lift Every Voice and Sing" Inspired Generations
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Keith Mallett
I first became familiar with this song from attending the Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast held at ALA Annual.  It is sung every year, often performed by a youth choir.  One only has to look around at all of the voices singing it loud and proud to understand the importance of this song.  This book really helped me understand some of its history and the way it is passed down from generation to generation.  Gorgeous illustrations by Keith Mallett accompany the story and I loved the decision of printing the song on the endpages.
Publishes Aug. 6th

Señorita Mariposa
Señorita Mariposa
written by Ben Gundersheimer
illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero
A lyrical story told in dual-language, this book for young readers follows a Monarch butterfly's migration from north to south.  Beautiful illustrations accompany the text.  
Publishes Aug. 6th

If I Built a School
If I Built a School
by Chris Van Dusen
I think this is my favorite book in Van Dusen's "If I Built..." series!  Perfect for the start of the year and when introducing MakerSpace areas.  Readers are going to love the ideas going into this school!
Publishes Aug. 13th


No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse
No More Poems!
written by Rhett Miller
illustrated by Dan Santat
A collection of poetry that is PERFECT for the upper elementary and middle school crowd.  With some of the poems that have a little edgier words or content or illustrations (really Dan Santat?  I needed to see the stream of pee???) that will get the kids laughing out loud, this is going to be a collection of poetry that is needed in libraries!

Middle Grade

by Corey Ann Haydu
This has been in my pile for quite some time.  One that will leave me thinking about it for awhile!  Haydu's stories always have this magical realism thread that goes through, often exploring a melancholy part of life that doesn't get talked about.  It runs through this one as well but the way she explores it is really done in an exceptional way.  In my opinion, this one is her most well written book to date and I'm looking forward to hearing what young readers have to say about it.

Indian No More
Indian No More
by Charlene Willing McMavis and Traci Sorell
This is a book that is so needed - to talk about experiences of Native Americans that have long been erased and not even admitted to in our history books.  Needed because we need to hear the voice of everyone in America - and this voice has long been silenced.  
Regina and her family are being relocated to the Los Angeles area from the Grand Ronde reservation in the state of Oregon as part of the Indian Relocation program.  Regina, her younger sister, mom and dad, and paternal grandmother have mixed emotions about moving.  Her father looks at it as an opportunity - better schools and jobs.  Regina only knows what it feels like to be Umpqua and has never encountered racism before.  
A book like this will help readers with a perspective that has probably never been discussed with them before.  I hope this book is used in classrooms everywhere and there are conversations around the story.  If you are participating in Mock Newbery, this might be a book to add!

Young Adult

Past Perfect Life
Past Perfect Life
by Elizabeth Eulberg
Definitely a book I would have read in upper middle school/high school.  
Ally lives in a small town in Wisconsin.  She has great friends and has been raised by her single-parent father.  Ally has a great relationship with her dad, especially since it's always just been the two of them.  Although they don't have money, she knows her dad will always be there for her.  Until, he isn't.  And it's a secret that rocks Ally's life.  Turns out her father kidnapped her when she was very young and moved her from Florida to Wisconsin.  Her mother is still alive and has never given up hope that Amanda/Ally would be found.  Since she is still a minor, Ally is forced to leave her friends and school behind and assimilate into this new life in Florida.
A fun story that I kept wanting to get back to even when it was time to put it down.  There was a quick conclusion that I felt should have had some more time to draw it out, but it was definitely an enjoyable read.  I've already handed it off to my 9th grade daughter!

Currently Reading

The Tundra Trials (Bounders #2)
Bounders 2: The Tundra Trials
by Monica Tesler
I have had this series since it published but I needed it to get on my #mustread list before I finally got to it!  There are so many books to read that wonderful books get pushed aside and it's my #mustread list that ensures I get to them!  
This is book 2 and I made sure the rest of the published books in this series was on the #mustread list this year!  I am enjoying this book even more than the first!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer reading time.  I'll be back in September with loads more to share!


  1. I hope you enjoy your blogging break next month and we'll all look forward to seeing you again in September! You have so many wonderful books in this list -- I'm making notes left and right! I have re-checked and re-checked and re-checked Eventown and I don't know why I haven't yet read it. I hear so many good things, so I'm going to have to prioritize it in August. I'm also hoping to read Past Perfect Life soon. Thanks for the shares and have a great reading MONTH! :)

  2. I am drawn to both of your MG shares this week, and a few of your picture books as well. Have a great month, look forward to your writing but we all need to take time.

  3. I appreciated your words in your comments about Angus All Aglow.
    You have so many fabulous books here today! If they were not already on my list I've added them. Past Perfect Life reminded me of The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney.

  4. Wow, just imagine what would happen if you were that girl in Past Perfect Life, such a tough revelation. Thanks for every book, Michele, many new to me for my long list. Have a great break, slowing down & then prepping for school. Summer goes so fast!

  5. Wow! This is a whole pile of new books for me to check out! Thanks for sharing and have a great week! I've got to get over to the library! ;-)

  6. I just got a copy of Little Green Hen last week when I went to Candlewick Publishers for their annual Teacher Tea, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I am looking forward to If I Built a School.

  7. Thanks for reminding me about Indian No More. It's so sad to think that the author passed away, but luckily Traci Sorell was able to finish revisions for her.