Monday, October 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.07.19

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 more nonfiction picture books for your stacks - some of my new favorite read alouds!

Picture Books

Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer
Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer
by David Shannon
This is a book I would use for "what is it really all about".  Mr. Nogginbody thinks he can fix everything with a hammer.  What what looks like a nail, isn't always a nail.  Good springboard to talk about how we don't treat everything, or everybody, the same.  We need to approach each situation individually.

My Footprints
My Footprints
written by Bao Phi
illustrated by Basia Tran
A book about bullying and lifting family up.  Bullying because your family looks different, you look different, your name is different.  A great book to use to talk about kindness, being an upstander, and having conversations within your family.

Our Favorite Day
Our Favorite Day
by Joowon Oh
A grandpa gets ready for his favorite day - the day his granddaughter visits.  A very sweet story about the bond that exists between a grandparent and grandchild.

The Proudest Blue
The Proudest Blue
written by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali
illustrated by Hatem Aly
If you haven't heard already, this is a beautiful, must-own story.  A story about the power of believing in something, a story about seeing the beautiful in something, a story about family and looking up to your elders, and a story about feeling proud of your own identity.

Graphic Novels

This Was Our Pact
This Was Our Pact
by Ryan Andrews
I enjoyed this fantasy graphic novel.  A group of kids make a pact on an autumn equinox to find out where the floating lanterns float downriver.  No turning for home, no turning back.  Only two follow the pact.  
The rest of the story gets fantastical - parts I enjoyed especially towards the end, parts were a bit out there for me.  
But, this graphic novel seems more deep, more literary than others I have read that I think it would be a good step up on the ladder for some readers.

by Jen Wang
A coming of age and a story about figuring out your identity.  What was interesting was the author's note at the end because she sees herself more in the secondary character, not the character who was telling the story.  Thought it was interesting to see a different person/character telling the author's story.
Christine and Moon are unlikely friends whose differences bring them together... at first.  Different parts of their characters work together and clash at varying parts of the story.
There were some universal themes and events that are easily recognized by this adult reader, I think middle grade readers will understand them, too.

Middle Grade

Nightmares! (Nightmares!, #1)
by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
This book has been in the Scholastic Book Fairs and Book Clubs for awhile.  Of course having a celebrity writer helps.  It's always interesting to see what a celebrity comes up with for their stories.  While this one has an interesting plot - looking into our nightmares and the root of them - what disappointed me the most was how the authors deliberately used body shaming words to describe characters, particularly an important secondary character who is a child.  Not cool.  
One of the things I love best about kidlit is how every word has to be chosen so perfectly.  The writing has to be so tight because they don't have the luxury of writing 500+ pages to get to the wrapped up ending like adult books do.  Coming in at 355 pages, this is a book that probably should have 100 less pages because it's so wordy.  
I can see readers who are looking for something scary pick this one up.  

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
by Kwame Mbalia
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint keeps putting out amazing stories featuring mythological characters from many representations.  
This particular book made me laugh out loud more than any of the other books (although Aru Shah is a close second).
Tristan Strong is not having a good year.  After being sent to his grandparents' house in Alabama to try and refocus, he ends up being woken up in the middle of the night by a small creature made out of.... sap?  Meet Gum Baby, a character who doesn't mean to be the comic relief, but wow, she has some amazing and hilarious lines!  And if you ever want to know what Gum Baby should sound like, you definitely need to find author Kwame Mbalia at some point and listen to him do a reading of the story!  Anyway, Tristan and Gum Baby find their way to MidPass, an alternative world of African Gods and creatures.  Tristan finds out some important things about himself and fights alongside his storybook heroes.
If you want to hear more about this amazing book, be sure to watch this video where Rick Riordan interviews Kwame Mbalia.

Currently Reading

A Place to Belong
A Place to Belong
by Cynthia Kadohata
I can see why this book has been longlisted for the National Book Award!  Such an interesting perspective.

Hope you have a fantastic reading week!  Mine has been slow, so much going on this fall.  I'll be taking next week off from blogging as I work on an upcoming NCTE presentation!


  1. The Proudest Blue is my current favorite! I enjoyed Stargazing and I think I've taken This Was Our Pact out of the library at least twice and just haven't got to read it. It sounds great.

  2. Wow - lots of books! I am in LOVE with The Proudest Blue. You added 3 picture to my list - I don't know any of those! Thank YOU!!

  3. I have A Place to Belong sitting on my ebook shelf. I have one book to finish before I get to it. I need to read The Proudest Blue. Love the cover and the concept.

  4. I want to read so many of these books! I had A Place to Belong from my library but didn't manage to get to it before having to return it. Otherwise I am keen to read My Footprints because I adore Bao Phi's work.

  5. A Place to Belong was both wonderful and heartbreaking, but showed that family's love so beautifully. I also loved Our Favorite Day and will look for This Was Our Pact and Stargazing, Michele. Thank you!

  6. Stargazing is in my to-read pile. I loved A Different Pond, so I'm looking forward to My Footprints.

  7. I really enjoyed The Proudest Blue. I need to check out the other picture books on your list. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  8. I placed This Was Our Pact on reserve at my library about 10 days ago so they would put it in my mailbox for me. Then a few days later they sent me a message saying they were sorry because by the time they went to pull it from the shelves, someone had already grabbed it. So since I was lazy, now I have to wait. LOL Anyway, looking forward to it, though! Thanks for sharing all these titles, Michele!