Monday, October 28, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.28.19

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

Looking for some nonfiction picture books to use for #classroombookaday?  Here are some ideas!

Books for readers who are starting their independent reading journey here.

Picture Books

written by Lupita Nyong'o
illustrated by Vashti Harrison
This book is so beautiful - inside and out!  
You never know how a book is going to go when it's written by a famous actor.  This one, feels real and authentic.  
The illustrations, oh, put this on your Mock Caldecott list.  I've long admired Vashti Harrison's work, but I really do mean it when I say this one is her best.  Just beautiful.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Parker Looks Up
written by Parker and Jessica Curry
illustrated by Brittany Jackson
A picture book that brings to life the moment of a young African American girl who is mesmerized by the portrait of Michelle Obama, hanging in the National Portrait Gallery.
I wish they had put the original photo in the backmatter.

Cece Loves Science     Cece Loves Science and Adventure (Cece Loves Science, #2)
Cece Loves Science
Cece Loves Science and Adventure
written by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes
illustrated by Vashti Harrison
It's a Vashti Harrison illustrated books kind of reading week!
This series is really fun and great for science, STEM (and it could have been STEAM), and girls in science!  Perfect to use at the beginning of the school year, or anytime!

The Hundred-Year Barn
The Hundred-Year Barn
written by Patricia MacLachlan
illustrated by Kenard Pak
A story that slowly unfolds, doesn't have a sweeping plot, but lyrical language that still takes you on a journey - yes, you are reading a Patricia MacLachlan story!
This book stands out for setting - one to use to talk about why it is important, the impact on the story.

Image result for intersection allies
Intersection Allies: we make room for all
written by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi
illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith
A good book to use when talking about what being an ally means and how it looks.  While at times it strays on the verge of being too didactic, it's such a big concept for young readers that I think at times it has to stay preachy and to the point.  I loved that there are teaching and conversation ideas for every single page in the back of the book.  

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
collected by Eric Walters
artwork by various illustrators
A book of aphorisms, words of wisdom.
I can see these quick statements being used to write longer off of - kids need practice expanding their thinking.  These would be great.  Could use alongside Mr. Browne's precepts!

Small in the City
Small in the City
by Sydney Smith
Great Aha Moment in this book!  The book took on a whole different meaning as I read the story.

Chicken Break!: A Counting Book
Chicken Break! A Counting Book
written by Cate Berry
illustrated by Charlotte Alder
I love when a concept book is more than just about the concept itself.  This time young readers get to count along with some chickens who are breaking the coop and out to have some fun!

Middle Grade

Stars So Sweet (All Four Stars, #3)
Stars So Sweet
by Tara Dairman
Another #mustreadin2019 is done!  I moved this one up a few slots because I had introduced the series in a #FirstChapterFriday selection.  I have a feeling kids will be ready for book 3 very soon!
I love this series - Gladys is such an enjoyable character and kids love the baking aspect.  I wish there were more, but it sounds like this may be her last?  Let's hope for more!

Young Adult

Inventing Victoria     Saving Savannah
Inventing Victoria and Saving Savannah
by Tonya Bolden
I read both of these books in preparation for my NCTE panel with Tonya Bolden.  I'm here to tell you to add these to your lists - especially if you are a fan of historical fiction, especially if you enjoy learning about parts of our United States history that is not often taught in history classes or books.  History that gets a quick mention but had a larger impact than what is taught.
Both of these books, along with the earlier Crossing Ebenezer Creek, has a common tie that threads the stories that go through the generations together.  In these two books, we first meet Victoria.  Born Essie, whose Mamma we first meet in Ebenezer Creek, is living in her Mamma's whore house where sex and liquor is seen all around her.  Essie has a small corner of the house that is her own and she tries her best to rise above what is all around her.  With the help of caring friends, Essie meets someone who will help her rise above her station and give her a new life.  With a new life comes a new name.  Essie becomes Victoria and learns the etiquette of high black society.  
Victoria's story is continued through her daughter's story.  Savannah, while living in comfort, knows she wants something different, especially as she sees how not all blacks are treated equally.  Taking place during 1919, when women were fighting for the right to vote and during the riots and bombings in urban cities (Red Summer), Savannah works hard to change the narrative she sees around her.  
Including extensive source notes in both books and author's note in Savannah, these books contain an important part of history that needs to be shared with young adult readers.

Currently Reading

The Heroes Return (Bounders #4)
Bounders:  The Heroes Return
by Monica Tesler
I love this series so much!  This is the fourth in the series - the fifth publishes in December and I think it's the last!  This series is so perfect for readers who enjoy fast moving, suspenseful plots.

Happy Reading to all this week!


  1. Stars So Sweet is new to me. I'll have to check it out!

  2. Thanks for the YA books, Michele. I am looking forward to Sulwe, The Hundred Year Barn & Small in the City, liked Intersection Allies a lot!

  3. I've enjoyed every Tonya Bolden book I've read. I will look for these two books. Thanks. This is what I'm reading today

  4. Even that cover art for Sulwe is gorgeous -- can't wait to get my hands on this one! I would like to check out the All Four Stars series, but I just noticed our library only has books #2 and #3, but not #1. How strange! Will have to ask if we can spring for the first one this year. Do they need to be read in order? Thanks for sharing the series with us, Michele!

  5. I want to get Cece Loves Science books! I think Trent would love them :)

    Happy reading this week!

  6. The first two are so eye catching but I haven't read them yet.