Monday, January 6, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.06.20

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.

Happy 2020!  I'm looking forward to all of the reading this year is going to bring.  While I'm ringing in the New Year I'm sharing some books that rounded out 2019.

Last Week's Adventures

Final update of #mustreadin2019 books

My #mustreadin2020 list

Picture Books

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Fry Bread
written by Kevin Noble Maillard
illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
This is a book, that I think, all the pieces come together.  Every word in the story is just right, the illustrations are a stand-out, and the backmatter is vitally important.  It's really hard to get your hands on this book, but if you can, just know you'll need awhile to get through this important book.

Swim Swim Sink
Swim Swim Sink
by Jenn Harney
It's the duckling that wouldn't give up.  But much like the book in The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley Spires, this little duck doesn't solve his problem by the end of the book.  The duckling has to think outside of the box and come up with a new solution.
Good lesson for kids.  And adults.

The Cool Bean
The Cool Bean
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald
Out of the three books in this series, I think this one has the best message.

written by Jacob Kramer
illustrated by K-Fai Steele
A great book for the conversation what was this book really about?  Use to talk about social justice - what to do when laws don't make sense, how that makes us feel, how do you react?

The President of the Jungle
The President of the Jungle
by André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro, Paula Desgualdo, and Pedro Markun
translated from the Portuguese by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Gives basic understanding of the democratic process of voting via jungle animals.

Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall
Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall
written by Derek Hughes
illustrated by Nathan Christopher
This detail-rich illustrated story of Humpty Dumpty gives a bit more backstory, if not imagined backstory, to why Humpty Dumpty so desperately wanted to climb that wall.  Make sure there is time to pour over the illustrations in this one.  

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker The Galaxy Needs You
Star Wars: The Galaxy Needs You
written by Caitlin Kennedy
illustrated by Eda Kaban
I'm always glad to have some Star Wars picture books for the collection!  This one has a positive self-identity message (which if you know Rey's story arc in this trilogy it makes sense).  I liked seeing how the illustrations are from some big scenes from this recent trilogy.

Tomorrow I'll Be Kind
Tomorrow I'll Be Kind
by Jessica Hische
Another book that shows the small gestures that kindness can bring.  Good story to talk about with young readers so they understand kindness really can be all around them!

Bird Count
Bird Count
written by Susan Edwards Richmond
illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
This was a really neat story about an event I had never heard of before.  The Christmas Bird Count, put on by the Audubon Society, is an event where people meet in regional areas to count, track, and note the number of birds seen in their local region over the course of a day.  There are specific rules to follow, but you don't have to be an official scientist to take part - you just have to be a citizen scientist!  

Middle Grade

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Home for Goddesses and Dogs
by Leslie Connor
I enjoyed this story - Lydia must go live with her mother's sister, Aunt Brat after the passing of her mom.  Figuring out who she is in this new place, with new adults, making new friends, all the while trying to stay true to who she was with her mom is quite the journey for Lydia.
Positive same-sex parenting is a part of the story.  
Will be a great book to add to middle school libraries.  Publishes Feb. 25th.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the early e-galley.

Manhunt (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #3)
by Kate Messner
This was my final #mustreadin2019 book.  A conclusion to the trilogy, it was fun to travel to a different location to solve the next big art heist.  
Now that I've read the trilogy, I'm excited to talk about it with readers and bring even more readers to the series!

Fractured Futures (Bounders #5)
Bounders: Fractured Futures
by Monica Tesler
This is the fifth and final book in the series and I am very sad to be done with it.  But so excited to continue to get this series into the hands of readers.  They have five amazing books to look forward to reading.
This final book was an amazing conclusion to the series.  It really brought everything together and is a great reminder that science fiction can be amazing to read.  It's so exciting and suspenseful.
If you have not started this series, do yourself a favor and find it today!

Young Adult

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me
Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me
by Gae Polisner
I'm not sure I can put into words how much I loved this book.
The blurb on the front cover of the ARC uses the words "real, raw, emotional" and I agree completely.
If you grew up in the 80s you grew up reading Judy Blume.  And while there was the Judy Blume of the middle grade years, there was the next step up of Judy Blume - Tiger Eyes and Forever.  Both of those books gave readers a window or a mirror into their lives.  A mirror of what existed, maybe in the darkest corners of minds and thoughts, or a window into what the reader was thinking and wondering and asking.
This book is going to be this generation's book.
Because teenage readers will see themselves within the main character, JL.  Or they will see something they are wondering about, or thinking, or the possibilities of something.  Readers will see the uncertainties of friendships, the exploration of sexuality and the many questions that go along with it, the ramifications of absent parents and parents who have their own demons to fight.  JL is such a complex character but it was so easy to slide into her shoes and feel such familiarity of her life, regardless of how far away it was from my own.  
Polisner's writing is gut-wrenching, raw, and yet will leave you feeling she saw into your own teenage heart and mind.
Do not miss this book.  Do not miss putting it in the hands of teenage readers, as well as adults.  
Publishes April 7th.

Currently Reading

Seven Clues to Home
Seven Clues to Home
by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin
I have about 40 pages left and my heart is absolutely stuck in this middle grade story!

I still have quite a few 2019 books to read and I haven't scratched the surface of all the 2020 ARCs I have.  Lots to read coming up!


  1. Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me is in my stack. Seven Clues to Home is a book I wanted to keep reading, but also didn't want to get to the end since I knew what was coming. Love the message in Cool Bean, too.

  2. I loved Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me, hoping that many teens discover it. And am looking forward to Seven Clues to Home, happy to hear how wonderful it is! Happy New Year, Michele!

  3. I am really looking forward to Fry Bread. Just the title takes me back to being a kid and eating it with my mother and grandmother. Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me is on my device. I need to get to it soon. Seven Clues to Home has now been added to my list!

  4. I have Bird Count and President of the Jungle on my “who-wants-to-send-them-to-me?” list!

  5. I'll have to get Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me. You've convinced me. Thanks!

  6. Sounds like a great reading week -- I love it when something is recommended so passionately. My TBR list is increasing :-)

  7. I enjoyed The Cool Bean as well. Another great Christmas Bird Count book is Counting Birds by Heidi Stemple.

  8. I liked the Cool Bean a lot! I thought it had some good messages about kindness. I requested all of the other picture books on your list, they look awesome. Thanks for sharing and have a terrific week!

  9. I'm excited to read The Cool Bean -- have loved the rest of the series by Jory John
    and Pete Oswald! And I've totally missed the Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries series. But your review has made me add it to my list. I'm also hoping to get to Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me very soon. Excellent review! Hope it's been a great reading week, Michele!

  10. I loved Cool Bean and am excited that there is a new book publishing in February, The Good Egg Presents: The Great Eggscape. My students absolutely love this series and I do too!