Monday, September 9, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.09.19

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, there were no true last week's adventures because I had to go on a little blogging break.  Things got too hectic and I needed to concentrate on what had to be done.  Earlier this summer we received the exciting news that our daughter would be representing Team USA and swimming at the Parapan Am Games.  The Pan Am games our played every four years and are held the summer before an Olympic year.  Countries participating in the games are from North and South America.  There were highs and lows, but what an experience!  Our daughter was in Lima, Peru for 2 weeks, my husband and I were there for 10 days.  I decided to take a blogging break in the month leading up to our travels because there was just too much to do getting ready for this big event.  Now, things are back to normal and I've got some books to share!

Picture Books

Snowmen at Halloween
Snowmen at Halloween
written by Caralyn Buehner
illustrated by Mark Buehner
Sometimes, follow-ups to books just don't work.  However, this one was a delightful surprise!  The other Snowmen books have been a hit, but perhaps are a bit overdone.  This one, although it follows the same plot line, seems fresh and new and different because of the Halloween spin.  You know what else holds true?  How that autumn snow, falls hard and then disappears within a day!  I loved the illustration at the beginning of the book where the children are rolling their snowballs and there is a trail of green - not winter brown - grass!  Another favorite are the "nose rings" in the carrot nose of a mohawked snowman :)
A great addition is the key to finding all of the hidden items on the back of the book jacket.  No more frustrating looks and no-finds!

Hungry Jim
Hungry Jim
written by Laurel Snyder
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
A really great book to use when talking, "what is this book really about?"  
A young boy wakes up hungry... really hungry.  And what happens next will be quite the contradiction to what you think may happen!  

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
written by Sonia Sotomayor
illustrated by Rafael López
Oh, I love this book so much.  As a parent of a physical disabled child, this is the book I wish everyone would read to kids.  In our experience, it is much better for someone to say why do you have a big shoe instead of the stares, the sad looks, the non-looks, the laughs (oh yes, mostly teenagers).  Just ask.  With that said, I know that is not the experience for everyone, however I think for the majority, people would rather you ask so they can understand.
Each page in the book features a child with a disability.  The disability is quickly explained in a way that makes sense to a young reader.  The child ends the page asking a question that may or may not relate to other kids.

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas
by Aaron Blabey
A rhyming story that will make readers laugh... because there are several mentions of bums (as in, yes, the rear end).....

I Got Next
I Got Next
by Daria Peoples-Riley
Unique story - told in free verse, narrator is the shadow of the young boy.  The two go back and forth getting the young boy ready to ball with some kids.

Ojiichan's Gift
Ojiichan's Gift
written by Chieri Uegaki
illustrated by Genevieve Simms
Oh, really loved this one.  It will stay in my heart for awhile.  
Every year Mayumi visits her Ojiichan in Japan and they work on their special rock garden - raking patterns in the gravel around the large rocks and Ojiichan teaches young Mayumi how to take care of the nature in his backyard.  Until one visit comes and Mayumi sees for herself that her grandfather is no longer well enough to take care of his house and must move.  She finds a way to hold their special tradition near, even if it's not exactly the same.
A beautiful story that honors the traditions family members can have and the love that spans generations.

Middle Grade

Indian No More
Indian No More
written by Charlene Willing McManis
with Traci Sorell
This book must be on your TBR.  This is what we need - books written by #OwnVoices that gives authenticity and actual understanding to all voices.  
This story is based loosely on the life of the author.  She has crafted pieces of her own history into this beautiful and often heartwrenching story about a Native American family whose tribe was terminated and relocated by the American government.  This story takes place when the family must leave their reservation located in Oregon and relocate and integrate into the 1960s era of Los Angeles.  "Indian no more" and now the family must become "Americans"... a strange concept to kids who are just beginning to understand their own identity.
Do not miss this book - publishes Sept. 24th.

Cape (The League of Secret Heroes #1)
The League of Secret Heroes:  Cape
by Kate Hannigan
This is the first of what should be a trilogy and I'm really excited about it.  Overall, it is such a neat concept.  Kate Hannigan brings together historical fiction, taking place in the day when female super heroes were being published in comics, and females had a quiet, yet vitally important part in the war front as computers.  Just like the computers that made a difference in the race to space (Hidden Figures), these female computers had an important part in creating a computer that could help figure out numbers to help Americans on the war front in Europe.  All of these things come together in this middle grade novel.
Three girls who have a knack at puzzles (cracking code) come together and unbeknownst to them, have what it takes to be a real super hero!  Their powers come out when they are together and they each get a few super powers of their own to use against Nazi spies that are in America during WWII.  When the girls become super heroes, most of the story is done in a classic comic style, illustrated by Patrick Spaziante.
I'm interested in seeing how this book goes over with readers.  Since the readers at my school are on the younger side (we only go up to 4th grade), there will probably be some confusion with the time period.  I think they will ultimately be able to understand the plot, just will miss some time period references.  
I thought the addition of the comic was really neat.  They are very reminiscent of Marvel/DC Super Hero comics.  However, I was often confused when I read them.  It seems like it jumped around too fast and there were parts I didn't understand.  I think young readers will like them, but I hope they can figure out when something doesn't make sense.
Hannigan includes backmatter that tells the reader more information about the true parts of the story - about the female computers, the actual computer and project they were working on, and about Nazi spies in America during WWII.  I love that this super hero fantasy book is not just a fantasy, real history is embedded into the story.
Bottom line is I'm interested in seeing where the storyline will go and what will happen to the Infinity Trinity!  Looking forward to book 2!

The Forgotten Shrine (Bounders #3)
Bounders: The Forgotten Shrine
by Monica Tesler
I gushed about book 2 (this is book 3 in the series) in the summer.  If you have not listened yet and gotten this book for your libraries, change that!  It's a must have!!  Adventure, action, suspense and science fiction.  This series is amazing.  So far I have found the first book to move the slowest, but that's because they were setting up the characters and explaining the technology behind the gloves, the packs, and the bounding itself.  The next two books are nonstop once you start them.  I have book 4 ready to go and book 5 will be out before we know it in December.  Don't miss this series!!

Currently Reading

The Gauntlet  (The Gauntlet, #1)
The Gauntlet
by Karuna Riazi
This one has been in my pile for a long time!  Looking forward to it, especially since the follow up has just been published!

Happy reading week to you!


  1. I'm reading Cape right now. I loved The Gauntlet. Your trip sounds amazing. I hope all went well for your daughter.

  2. I loved Ojiichan's Gift, too, Michele, a beautiful story. Just Ask is coming from my library & I will look for Hungry Jim. You've intrigued me with your review. Indian No More is certainly on my list. There are so many heartbreaking stories of our betrayals of Native Americans. Thanks for sharing your review of that one, & all the others, also noted.

  3. What an honor for your daughter, Michele! Adding The Gauntlet to my list for sure. I have really enjoyed the steampunk I've been exposed to the last year and am excited to learn of another. After hearing such great things about Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, I really hope we get a copy soon. This looks wonderful! I'm also curious about Hungry Jim, now, so I'll have to look for this one. Thank you for all these shares!

  4. I just ordered Snowmen at Halloween, Hungry Jim, and Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas from the library. Thanks for sharing these! Have a great week!

  5. I loved The Gauntlet! Hope you enjoy it as well. And wow, Indian No More sounds incredible. I'm adding it to my TBR. Have a great week!

    Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from the library, review books, and of course e-books! This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

  6. Gauntlet has been on my pile for a long time too. I will be curious to know what you think. Snowmen on Halloween looks really cute. I love Just Ask. Sometimes even adults need to know it is okay to ask. Have a happy reading week!

  7. The Gauntlet looks good. I hope you enjoy it!

  8. I really enjoyed The Gauntlet too, but never got to the sequel. I might try to get that one now. Some great shares here, I do have to work on getting Indian No More.