Monday, October 21, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.21.19

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 took a week off to get ready for next month's NCTE presentation.  It will be here before you know it.  Will I see you there?

I thought about some nonfiction truths and biases in this post.

Celebrating some new Capstone Publishing chapter book series here.

Picture Books

Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time
Nya's Long Walk
written by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Brian Pinkney
A companion picture book to Park's acclaimed novel A Long Walk to Water.  This would be a great book to use to introduce the novel and get a discussion started with readers.

Just Because
Just Because
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
I'll be honest, Mac Barnett's books are hit or miss for me.  Sometimes I am just not the intended audience, and it misses me.  This one, I adored.  A little girl is going to bed and has lots of questions for her dad (male figure in the book).  Her dad gives some very imaginative answers, the inspiration for them is seen later in the story.  

The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral
The End of Something Wonderful: a practical guide to a backyard funeral
written by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic
illustrated by George Ermos
This one was not my cup of tea.  I didn't like how it made light of death and funerals.  However, there are readers who will enjoy this for its lightheartedness.  One I'll keep in the back of my mind.

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
written by Supriya Kelkar
illustrated by Alea Marley
Lots of books written about hijabs lately, this one celebrates the patkas.  Love how this book celebrates colors and feelings while using this traditional headpiece as its focus.  Good afterward at the end of the story for further explanation.

Puma Dreams
Puma Dreams
written by Tony Johnston
illustrated by Jim LaMarche
When this author and illustrator get together, you know you're going to have a wonderful story to read and amazing illustrations.
A story about a young girl who learns to value patience while she waits for her long-term goal to come true.  This is a wonderful book to use in a discussion about goals and how to work towards them... and the celebration you can have once you meet a goal!

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
written by Kat Zhang
illustrated by Charlene Chua
Actually this book compliments Puma Dreams perfectly!  Amy is trying to make the perfect bao.  And even though she has the right attitude, it's not coming together the way she hoped which leaves her frustrated!  Until, Amy uses some growth mindset thinking and comes up with a new solution!

Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows
Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows
by Jessika von Innerebner
I. Love. This. Book.
I love the message.  I love the illustrations.  I love the way everything comes together.
Kevin is a unicorn and unicorns are known for being smiley, glittery, and genuinely happy.  And that's fine... until Kevin has a bad day.  A really bad day.
What is surprising is that maybe not all things are smiley and glittery and happy with everyone....
We need to talk about that sometimes things aren't perfect and that's ok.
Love. This. Book.

Come Next Season
Come Next Season
written by Kim Norman
illustrated by Daniel Miyares
Another beautifully illustrated story by Miyares.
I would put this with mentor texts for narrative writing in the primary grades to show how stories move through time.

Middle Grade

Stolen Girl
Stolen Girl
by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
I had read Making Bombs for Hitler a few years ago when it was at our Scholastic Book Fair.  This is a companion novel, focusing on the other sister in the family.  
I always enjoy Skrypuch's historical fiction novels because they come from actual stories, that tell about a piece of history that kids may have just a little bit of background knowledge about, in a novel that is quick and fast and one they will stick with.

A Place to Belong
A Place to Belong
by Cynthia Kadohata
I can see why this book has been placed on Mock Newbery lists and it was longlisted for the National Book Award.  
While we are starting to get more novels about the Japanese Internment in the USA during WWII, this gives us even more perspective of the time afterward.  Once they released many of the people from these internment camps, they were "given" the right to renounce their American citizenship and return to Japan.  Since many of these people were righteously so angered by what the American government had done to them, they thought this was the best thing to do.  However, upon arriving in Japan, the realization of what the atomic bomb did and how the government/empire was treating the Japanese people made people rethink decisions.  
This story gives us another perspective of what happened during that time period.

Adult reads

Red at the Bone
Red at the Bone
by Jacqueline Woodson
This is the second adult novel I've read of Woodson's and they definitely read differently than her MG or YA writing.  This one has a different voice for each chapter.  Voices only repeat a few times, so there are a few to keep track of!  However, because Woodson crafts these people so well, it's easy to figure out.
The pages are trim with plenty of white space.  It's a quick read, but one that will leave you thinking about the characters for awhile.

Currently Reading

The Heroes Return (Bounders #4)
Bounders: The Heroes Return
by Monica Tesler
This is a series I would love to see more people reading and getting into the hands of readers.  It is so fun - I love the characters and the suspense and adventure keeps me turning those pages!

As always, happy reading!


  1. Red at the Bone is so beautifully written. Woodson is a masterful storyteller. I look forward to seeing you at NCTE!

  2. It takes me a long time to read your post Michelle because I am always adding books to my list and/or checking to see if my library has them.
    Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is an author who's work I admire too. I've been impressed with everything she's written. I think Stolen Girl was previously released as Stolen Child. I adored Red at the Bone.

  3. Now I'm behind, so need to read Red at The Bone! And I am looking forward to Tony Johnston's Puma Dreams and Miyares' Come Next Season. I enjoyed Nya's Long Walk, a good one for younger readers to understand that plight & Just Because is so full of good bits. Yes, A Place to Belong is wonderful! Will look for Stolen Girl! Thanks, Michele!

  4. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao looks delightful! I need to find a copy for my daughter. And A Place to Belong sounds wonderful. I read Kadohata's The Thing About Luck last week, and really enjoyed it.

  5. I want to wait to read Nya's Long Walk once I finish A Long Walk to Water. I've purchased a copy, so just need to sit down and read, read, read it! I'm also looking forward to reading A Place to Belong. LOVED Red at the Bone!! Thanks for the shares, Michele!

  6. I have Nya’s Long Walk on my list this week, too! Love the picture book companion to what’s always been a popular novel in my middle grade classroom. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  7. Many of your picture books are in my TBR stack for next weekend. Just read Red at the Bone on a plane ride. Great book to read in one sitting. I loved how the generations weaved together beautifully.

  8. Amy Wu and the perfect Bao sounds really nice. Sometimes you just need to think a little bit different to achieve your goals. Sounds like a great message to children (and adults). Happy reading.
    Nina@Adventurous Reader

  9. I've had Red at the Bone on reserve at my local library for weeks! Looking forward to reading it when my name comes up. Your books this week are so interesting. Thx for sharing.

  10. Thanks for the reminder about The End of Something Wonderful. I had it on my to-read list & then forgot about it. Just got Kim Norman's book out of the library today. Looking forward to reading it.