Monday, February 17, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2.17.2020

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

It was #nf10for10.  This year I featured 10 books that show kids who are showing us the way!

Some poetry books here.

Picture Books

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots
by Michael Rex
This book is even more than just a book about facts and opinions.  It goes into, without preaching, the importance of respecting other's opinions and not getting upset and losing your cool when your opinion is different.

The Bear Must Go On
The Bear Must Go On
written by Dev Petty
illustrated by Brandon Todd
A funny book - what happens when three overzealous friends plan a show without planning the actual show?  Shy, quiet Bear must take over and overcome his stage fright to help his friends.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (Questioneers Picture Book, #4)
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
written by Andrea Beaty
illustrated by David Roberts
Another book to add to her collection of kids who show they can do it all, with a lot of help and some creative disbelief - this time Sofia gets the city involved in cleaning up a landfill and making a public park.  There were some oddly placed monkeys in the story that didn't add to the story and I could have done without.

The Paper Kingdom
The Paper Kingdom
written by Helena Ku Rhee
illustrated by Pascal Campion
A book that cannot be read without the accompanying author's note.  This book is written in dedication to all of the hardworking families, who are doing their best to help their families get by.  The author's parents were night janitors and she would have to accompany them from time to time.  Memories of this time are brought to life in this story where a young boy must go with his parents to their night time work.  When the boy is sleepy and tired and just wants to sleep, its his parents who bring light-hearted stories to pass the time.  Much like the author's parents did when she was little.  But it plants the idea into the young boy's head that one day, he'll work hard enough so maybe his parents won't have to work as hard.  It's the stories from his parents that give the young boy inspiration, and the power of believing what can be, to fuel new dreams.
This is an important book to have in libraries today.  Whether a child sees a familiar story or it brings to light a new experience, it will provide a good discussion.

The Perfectly Perfect Wish
The Perfectly Perfect Wish
written by Lisa Mantchev
illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
A book about empathy and selflessness.  I would use this during writing and showing ways you can write about a topic.  It seems like writing about wishes is common, but how can you turn that story?
My one complaint is in one illustration.  I thought the illustrations were beautiful, but there is one where a girl in a wheelchair is getting off the bus.  You can see the ramp attached to the front door of the bus.... but then there are stairs once you get on the bus.  Sooooo, how did that work with the wheelchair?  Minor detail but one that made me roll my eyes.

written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by T.L. McBeth
Don't read through this book too quickly, you might miss something (not like I know from personal experiences....).  The story actually begins on the title page where we see the smallest duck chasing after a butterfly and then eventually losing sight of the three older ducks.  The rest of the story, told in limited words, has the small duck seeing clues of where the elder ducks may be but it's always something else.  The reader can see the visible frustration of the small duck as each lead turns out to be something else.  While the ending is a happy one, it's also a surprise because the small duck discovers while being so busy looking for the elder ducks, they were also looking after their lost small duck!
Perhaps a 2021 Geisel contender?

It's Okay to Be a Unicorn!
It's Okay to be a Unicorn!
by Jason Tharp
Good message about the importance of being yourself, although quite didactic.  The horses went from not accepting to accepting in a page turn....

Nonfiction Books

This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work
written by Tiffany Jewell
illustrated by Aurélia Durand
This is a powerful book that we need NOW.  I highly recommend this one in all intermediate, middle school, and high school libraries and classroom libraries.  This book would be an excellent one to read with students and unpack all the learning.

Middle Grade

My middle grade reading has taken a hit.  Not because I haven't been reading any.  On the contrary, I've read a lot.  Just not the middle grade that is piling up in my stacks.
I've read a lot of books in preparation for the 2021 IL Bluestem Award list.  Our committee met last weekend and developed our list of 20 books.  I'll be excited to share it soon!
I've also read a lot of books from the Jennifer Serravallo's Complete Comprehension Fiction Assessment list.  We just ordered a kit and there were quite a few books I needed to read.  Some have been on my reading list for decades!  I've now read all of the books that our 3rd and 4th grade students may read at this point in the school year.  I have a couple of more books to read, but they are at a much higher level that I have some time to get to those!  It's interesting to see what books are selected for the different levels.  Some of the higher level books have some interesting word choices (I heard, "Mrs. Knott, there is a swear word on every page!"..... that might have been a slight exaggeration but there were a lot!) and situations for a level that is at the end of 4th grade.  I understand there are readers who will be reading those books that are much older than 4th grade and it will be important for those readers to be engaged in these books too.  But at least I've read all of them and can answer questions as they come up!

Currently Reading

by Michelle Obama
Yup.  Still going.  Hoping to make some headway this week since my other commitment reading is completed!

The Disaster Days
The Disaster Days
by Rebecca Behrens
I've had this one checked out from the library for a long time with multiple renewals.  So glad to finally get to it!  I can tell this is the book you'll want to hand off to your I Survived readers.

I know some of you are on your February Break.  Hoping you get some reading in during your time off.  Many of us at least are enjoying a 3-day weekend and then it's back to work.  Whatever your situation may be, hoping you find some time for yourself!


  1. Ducks! Sounds very interesting. I feel like I’m not getting to as many middle grade books as usual. I still have a ton from NCTE!

  2. You've sold me on The Paper Kingdom, will find it soon! And I love Bear books, will look for that one, too. Much to note here, Michele! This Book is Anti-Racist sounds also like one I need to read. Thanks, and hope your reading settles down. Interesting about that language in the lower level books.

  3. I went over to read your links and now really want to read Being Frog. I'm fascinated by these creatures. I've added Duck! to my list. It looks like a lot of fun. I'm about to start reading boxfuls of books for the Chocolate Lily award so I can connect to your comments about middle grade reading. Luckily, many of these are picture books as it's a reading program for multiple ages.

  4. I just put Ducks on hold at my library. Sounds intriguing! I also reviewed Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots and can't wait to read it to students to launch an opinion writing unit.

  5. I can't wait to see what you chose for your list!!!
    Also, I totally agree about the weird monkeys in Sofia Valdez...
    And I have Opinions vs. Robots to read--I look forward to it.
    (P.S. Closer to Nowhere is tentatively for October.)

    Happy reading this week :)

  6. Ducks! is a book I'll have to find for my preschooler, as ducks are her favorite animals. Great selection of books!

  7. The Paper Kingdom sounds just wonderful, Michele -- definitely adding this one to my list. I finally read Night Job just two weeks ago and am looking forward to this one, too. I hope you're enjoying Becoming!!