Monday, January 13, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.13.2020

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

Be sure to check out these animal nonfiction picture books.

A big roundup of books for kg-5th gr readers.  Check out this list!

Picture Books

16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "the Red Wheelbarrow"
16 Words: William Carlos Williams and "The Red Wheelbarrow"
written by Lisa Rogers
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
When I first picked up this book, I assumed it was a picture book biography about the poet, William Carlos Williams.  Once I read the book, I discovered it was what the author imagined could have possibly inspired the author to write one of his most famous poems, "The Red Wheelbarrow".  I was happy to see that the book was catalogued in the fiction picture book section of the library, not with the biographies.  
This is a beautiful picture book about the poet, who I did not know was a doctor who wrote his famous poems in between patients and writing prescriptions and other work!  While the author admits we do not know what really inspired Dr. Williams to write this particular poem, it could have been because of his known friendship with Mr. Thaddeus Marshall.  Mr. Marshall used his red wheelbarrow to bring his garden-grown vegetables around the neighborhood to sell.
Great book to use to show inspiration for writing can be found anywhere.

It's a Field Trip, Busy Bus!
It's a Field Trip, Busy Bus!
written by Jody Jensen Shaffer
illustrated by Claire Messer
This book is way more than a field trip story, it's a book you'll want for your Social Emotional Learning collection for young readers to talk about the feeling of jealousy.  Also great to use to talk about how everyone has qualities that make them special.

written by Louise Greig
illustrated by Julia Sardà
This book is almost a wonderful one to use to talk about feeling angry.  The main character of our story is shown through the beautiful illustrations by Julia Sardà as having an accident and it ends up making him feel very upset.  Those feelings grow until he is so angry, he doesn't stop to see the world around him.  But then a gust of wind comes and he realizes how beautiful everything really is and that's the end.  He doesn't apologize for the mess he's created.  He doesn't have a self-understanding of what he did.  And that's where I think the book went wrong.  Would be an interesting conversation to have with readers.

Little Tigers
LIttle Tigers
by Jo Weaver
I love Weaver's charcoal drawings in her other books and this one about tigers, a favorite animal of mine.... loved it.
A mama tiger and her two cubs are on the move because human have gotten too close to their den.  Finding a home is tricky because what makes a home a good one for some animals, does not make it a good home for tigers.
In a note at the end Weaver reminds us that bengal tigers are considered an endangered species because much of their natural habitat in India is being taken over by humans or in danger because of poachers.

Middle Grade

Seven Clues to Home
Seven Clues to Home
by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin
I'm sorry everyone, because this book doesn't publish until June 9, but you really really need to preorder it.
My heart is still inside this book.  My pre-teen heart is still inside this book.  With universal themes of friendship and who you love, and grief and growing, it's a book that will hit home with everyone.  
Home is also an important idea in this book - who is your home?  where is your home?  is a home more than a family?
Written in alternate voices between our two main characters, Joy and Lukas, and written in two different time periods, takes us on a scavenger hunt.  One story line tells us how the scavenger hunt unfolded and one perspective, and the other story line has us follow the character on the scavenger hunt.  Meanwhile the reader is putting both pieces of the story together and while you know you're in for heartache by the end of the story, it also will put your heart back together in the other story line.
I don't want to say too much, because you just need to find out for yourself.
Just go preorder.

Max and the Midknights
Max and the Midknights
by Lincoln Peirce
I bought this one as soon as it came out thinking it would be a quick read that I could get out to my readers.  It was a quick read, I just needed to read it, ha!
Most people know the author because of his Big Nate series.  This is a different foray - one into the middle ages, but what stays the same is the humor.  I laughed out loud many times with this one!  
This should be a big hit with readers in 3rd-5th grade.

Currently Reading

The Line Tender
The Line Tender
by Kate Allen
I've had this book in my pile since before it published!  So far it's a story that has already touched my heart!

Happy Winter Reading!


  1. I enjoyed each of the middle grade books on your list this week. All the picture books are new to me so I have some new titles I need to check out!

  2. I loved The Line Tender; hope you will, too, Michele. I have pre-ordered Seven Clues to Home, jealous that you have read it! Thanks for the others, too. Interesting to read your review of Sweep!

  3. Seven Clues to Home is on my TBR pile, but it seems kind of sad. We'll see! Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. I stopped reading when I saw, 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and "The Red Wheelbarrow". I discovered my library has a copy and immediately put it on hold. Sharon Creech's Love that Dog is still popular in elementary schools. This sounds like an interesting companion read.
    Seven Clues to Home was already on my list, but if it wasn't before it would be now. Two fabulous authors makes it a must read.

  5. Oh, that cover for Little Tigers is so beautiful!!

  6. All of the picture books are new to me. You have identified some aspects of several that are different from what one might expect and that is very helpful. I have the same issue you have with Max and the Midknights, I thought it would be a quick read too, but then I let it get signed out and I haven't managed to snag it yet. Thanks for the post!

  7. I love Busy Bus and was excited that Jody was writing a new adventure. A Line Tender is on my TBR and I keep hearing such good reviews so definitely need to make a priority to read. So looking forward to Seven Clues to Home.

  8. I absolutely love The Line Tender - hope you do too! I read it on Cape Cod with my nieces this summer. It was the perfect setting. I am excited to read 16 Words.

  9. Loved both 16 Words & The Line Tender--both beautiful and very moving.

  10. These all look like terrific books. I haven't read any of them, but they're definitely on my list for my next library trip. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  11. My goodness, with your review of Seven Clues to Home, I HAVE to get my library to order this one right away. Unless I'm forgetting something, I haven't yet read any Gae Polisner -- which is sad since I've heard such good things. Maybe I'll have time to squeeze one in before this one is published. Thanks for all these lovely reviews, Michele. I can always count on you to have several new titles for me to add. <3