Monday, September 30, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.30.19

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

Some nonfiction picture books to use for read alouds!

The new Scholastic Acorn's line is perfect for 1st-3rd grade readers.  Here are some sequels to their line.

Picture Books

The Scarecrow
The Scarecrow
written by Beth Ferry
illustrated by The Fan Brothers
I think I can reread this book over and over and it will always warm my heart.  
The beautiful illustrations may be the best of the the Fan Brothers... yet!  
The story is one that you can talk about and go deeper - what lesson can you learn from the scarecrow.  I would add this to theme and SEL collections.

Astro Girl
Astro Girl
by Ken Wilson-Max
A book that defies gender norms in a beautiful story.  
Astrid and her father go back and forth, Papa asking Astrid if she's ready for something space might offer - like zero gravity, eating out of containers, and science experiments - and Astrid always answering with a confident yes!  At the end of the story, Astrid and her father go pick up a very special astronaut who has returned from a trip.  Can you guess who it is?
I liked how there was some brief backmatter that gives some additional information, including women who have gone into space!

Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever
by Matt Tavares
Tavares is becoming master of the modern Christmas story.  A few years ago we got Red and Lulu from Tavares, this year we get to know the story of Dasher, one of the famous reindeer.  What stands out more than the story are the amazing illustrations.  I feel like Tavares has been missed as someone who deserves to be lauded for his illustrations.... The dark night sky and background are in stark contrast to the Christmas red of Santa and some of the accents of his sleigh and horse.  A beautiful story to be shared.

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home
Stormy: a story about finding a forever home
by Guojing
Oh this wordless picture book has my heart.  It's absolutely beautiful.  Guojing has done it again, the illustrations are outstanding, but the story will touch your heart.  A story about a stray dog and a human... the dog shies away from the woman, but she doesn't give up.  She tries to entice the dog to play with a ball, but the dog is distrustful and isn't willing to engage in playing with her.  She returns to the spot she found the dog and tries to play day after day.  Finally, she leaves but unbeknownst to her, the dog follows her home.  When a horrible storm comes, will the dog finally trust the woman and allow help?  It's so beautiful!

Bruce's Big Storm
Bruce's Big Storm
by Ryan T. Higgins
This is one of those Bruce stories that is sweeter than grumpy.  A story that shows you that friendships can always make you feel a little less grumpy.

by Barbara McClintock
This book could almost work as a wordless picture book.  A young girl uses the power of imagination to take her car out for a wild ride on the road.  Betsy Bird has been listing this book on her Caldecott predictions....

Middle Grade

The Gauntlet  (The Gauntlet, #1)
The Gauntlet
by Karuna Riazi
As I mentioned in a tweet, I had preordered this book, had it delivered on its publication date, and then it sat in a pile with other books because I HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS.  #booknerd problems.
I got to it because I have the follow up to this book - The Battle - and I want to read it too!
The Gauntlet is just like what I had heard it would be - it's a steampunk version of Jumanji and challenges that seem reminiscent of The Hunger Games or other survivalist stories.  If you are looking for an adventure with suspense and something a little different than other books, this is the one you're looking for!  

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
A novel in verse that contains 18 characters (yes, a character map would help, write down memorable things about the characters) in a classroom.  The class is writing poems throughout the school year to put in a time capsule.  Their school will be razed at the end of the year and a supermarket will be built in its spot.  The students will attend a variety of middle schools in the fall, so for many, this is a goodbye-year.  Change is hard for kids and I think Shovan captures it well with this groups of almost-middle-schoolers!

Currently Reading

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
by Kwame Mbalia
Still reading this one!  Coming in at almost 500 pages, it's a long read, especially when reading time is at a premium during the week.  It was not a great reading week so still have a bit to go in this one.  Out of all the actual Rick Riordan/Presents books, I think this one has me laughing out loud the most!  Lots to keep track of in this novel.

Happy Fall Reading!


  1. We are on the same picture book circuit! I LOVED Astro Girl. I am adding The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to my list. Thanks!

  2. Stormy is so sweet and beautiful. I still have to get the most recent Mother Bruce. I don't know what I'm waiting for! Loved The Gauntlet!

  3. Thank you for sharing all the great books!

    I also wanted to remind you and anyone else who visits your blog to nominate your favorite and best children's and YA books published in the last year at the Cybils. Anyone can nominate.

  4. I love all of the Bruce books - need to look for this one! Thanks for the recommendation of The Gauntlet - adding it to my list

  5. I shared Astro Girl today too, a winner! And I gave it to the young girl next door who wants to be an astronaut, so perfect for her & other young ones with this dream! And I loved Scarecrow, too, a loving story for sure. Still need to share Dasher & the new Bruce, will look for Stormy! Thanks, Michele!

  6. I loved, loved, loved The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary and The Gauntlet. I must find a copy of Astro Girl for my preschooler, I think it would be perfect for her. Have a great reading week!

  7. I loved Bruce's Big Storm - I love all of the books in the Bruce series. I ordered Astro Girl from the library, looks like a good one. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  8. Stormy was so good. Definitely a heartprint book.